Speaking to Innisfil, Paul Zammit, horticulturist and director of the Toronto Botanical Gardens, gave his advice on planting the perfect garden
Forget everything you’ve ever heard about âputting the garden to bedâ for the winter.
âStop thinking about it. The garden does not stop. In fact, a well-designed garden is of interest all year round.
Paul Zammit, horticulturist and director of the Toronto Botanical Gardens for the past decade, brought a new take on fall and winter in the garden.
As Zammit told the Innisfil Garden Club this week, “There are things we are doing right now that are invigorating the garden.”
This includes planting bulbs – a âpromiseâ for the coming year – and collecting and trimming fallen leaves to create a mulch that returns nutrients to the soil.
And if the gardener has planned well, there will be a lot of interest, colors and even flowers, before the “quiet” season.
Zammit spoke of late bloomers – asters, geraniums, mums – that add color, including an Iris, “Immortality,” which “actually blooms again profusely in the fall.”
Other plants add beautiful foliage to the garden, such as hellebores. âI love them for the fall foliage,â Zammit said. Geraniums, Ornamental Grasses – “Verbena is absolutely amazing this time of year,” he noted. “There is no excuse for things not to be happening in the garden.”
He encouraged gardeners to plant taking into account the color of foliage, berries, woody stems, structural shapes of trees and shrubs. “Don’t tell me there’s nothing going on in the garden!”
Zammit talked about creating plant partners – by putting together plants with contrasting foliage and colors, which share similar soil and moisture preferences – and using the foliage, and even seed heads and withered leaves, under the pallet.
The subject was Planning and planting for all seasons as Zammit addressed the Innisfil Garden Club on Visitors’ Night, offering a mix of information, humor – and controversy.
âI think the flowers are beautiful, but they’re a bit overrated,â he said, to the audience gasps, suggesting that the foliage, berries and stems can be just as colorful and dramatic.
And he challenged gardeners to rethink their standards of beauty. Hellebores, a group of versatile and hardy flowering plants, have been bred to produce “double” flowers – but the doubling of the petals comes at the expense of nectaries and pollen. Pollinators cannot feed on doubles.
âWhat is beautiful? Let’s really think about the cost of being beautiful, âhe said. The statistic always quoted is that âa third of human food crops depend on beesâ¦ I think we are very selfish. It’s not just human food, Zammit noted, â90% of all flowering plants depend on pollinators, including trees. This is the point that has to come out there.
He didn’t suggest gardeners ditch all their double and hybrid flowers – but to intersperse pollinator-friendly species and “singles” throughout the garden, just to “make sure the salad bar is still there. open â, from early spring to late spring. publication date.
Planting spring mayflies under later leafy and flowering plants, ensuring there will be color and interest in spring, summer, and fall, is part of garden planning. âRead the packaging and take a closer look,â Zammit said, looking for early, mid-flowering and late-flowering plants. “Extend the season of interest.”
And don’t put the hose away just yet. âJust because the temperature is cooler doesn’t mean the plants don’t need water. Plants still need moisture, âhe said. âWe don’t usually lose conifers because of the cold, but because they wither. “
Finally, he suggested using the lawns as “a new planting space” – interspersed with crocuses or other spring flowers, “allowing lawns to have that freedom”. There is an added benefit, Zammit said: âYou have a reason not to mow your lawn in the spring! “
When it comes to fall and winter, “Remember, this is not the end,” he said. “Now is the time to give back.”
The club also hosted its last flower show of 2018, with 37 entries submitted by 11 exhibitors – “Fairly good for this time of year,” said Jenni Murrell, member.
Jan Drybrough took a first with his Dahlia; Ritva Heath a first with her New England Aster.
Murrell won the award for best chrysanthemum and took first place with his flower arrangement in the category Witches potion.
Agnes More took first place with her âSome Like It Hotâ flower arrangement and took home the judge’s award with her whimsical âWitches’ Brewâ arrangement.
The next Innisfil Garden Club meeting will be on Sunday, November 18 at 4 p.m. at the Churchill Community Center in Churchill, Innisfil. The AGM and potluck will feature the 2019 executive election, awards and awards ceremony.