The Gardener Episode 6

Flowers, flowers, flowers, and a few veg!

Flower fairyland is another good name for Our Farm Greenhouse of Portage la Prairie. It is a bucket-list trip for Winnipeggers every spring. Shea Doherty has one of the largest collections of hard-to-find petunias, and just about everything else you can imagine.

A big hit this year is the absolutely gorgeous Rieger begonia which puts out cascades of flowers in white, and pink and yellow. The whites are already sold out, but the pinks are eye stopping.  

Shea even has eucalyptus, something few garden centres grow because they need to be started in November, this plant is oh-so worth it. This is one of the round-leafed varieties (Eucalyptus gunnii ‘Silver Drop’) that heavily rewards you in a hot summer. Buy it small – it does not like tis roots disturbed once it establishes. If it is really happy and the season is long enough it can grow to 5 feet in a single season, but I am happy with 36 inches. It is not about flowers, but those heavenly, aromatic, blue-green leaves that make a striking cut bouquet in fall that will last all winter r—or even longer if you cut them back before frost.

Shea has a huge supply of started vegetables for the seed challenged, and he knows his stuff about edibles — not just how to grow them but how to cook them.

When it comes to a chat with Shea, his first-hand knowledge about plants and all nature is astonishing. For example, he talks about how plant roots will curl inward to avoid cold. How does he Know? He experimented with plant roots in a glass jar observing their reaction to cold expose.

If you listened to his previous show a few weeks ago, you would know all about the sound nightcrawlers make when they pull leaves below the surface in the midnight hours.  Shea tells us about meeting his cat on the trail between the greenhouse and his home late one night last week. He saw the cat (improbably named “Hamburger”) pouncing on piles of leaves. Standing still and listening, Shea soon figured it out. Hamburger was following his ears to learn what that rustling sound was all about!

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