Flowering shrubs are a giving type of plant in gardens across Canada, with every season bringing a different bloom or colour or shape. Jan Pedersen of Shelmerdine Garden Centre talks about various varieties with Dorothy and Shauna, giving a few tips about pruning and cultivars that really perform.
Jan answers questions about the huge number of hydrangea cultivars that have been marketed in the past 15 years and talks about the differences between them. The three agree that ‘Annabelle’ (a naturally occurring cultivar that was discovered around 100 years ago) is hard to beat because of its beautiful form but also for nostalgic reasons. Lilacs are the same; there are re-bloomers and dwarf lilacs available now, but some of the big old Canadian Preston varieties at the sites of long-forgotten homesteads are impossible to overlook.
Jan mentions diervilla, ninebark and willows, which are not so floriferous as other flowering shrubs in Canada but bring stunning foliage or form to the table. These are great across the country, with willows being especially hardy.
Buddleias are less hardy across the country, though some cooler Zone gardeners will experiment with them in the ground or in containers. The same is true for hollies and yews and wisterias. Shauna, in Toronto, has a huge wisteria in her back yard; Jan and Dorothy could only wish to grow them.
On the other hand, with viburnum, Shauna lost one to viburnum leaf beetle several years ago, which Jan had never heard of. The nasty critter, from Europe, hasn’t travelled so far west as Manitoba yet. Viburnums come in many varieties and are winter hardy across the country to Zone 3.
They also talk about the haskap honeysuckle and its delicious blue berries. Haskaps are hardy down to -45 Celsius and bear fruit in June. Jan notes that you need at least two for cross pollination.
To listen to Episode 1 about Seeds, click here.
To listen to Episode 2 about Starting Tomatoes, click here.