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Home & Garden

A makeover for the garden in spring we can use the off season to plan for what we like, to remember what was blooming so that when September comes we can actually do the planting! Spring flowering bulbs need a period of stratification or cold period in order for the blooms to be able to form. In our climate, September is the very best time to plant spring flowering bulbs as our temperatures outside are still pleasant and there is some time for the bulbs to grow some roots before winter comes.

Confessions of a city girl

What’s a girl to do? By Sherry Richards

Spring is a time of rebirth, a time to rejoice that green will again become the predominant colour in our landscape. Scilla siberica, or Siberian squill, is one of my favourite spring flowers. They do best in full sun and, like all bulbs, do not like to be ne of the biggest challenges when in wet areas. Plant them in drifts and in the landscaping is to ensure you have spring you will enjoy waves of happy blue colour in the garden for as long as flowers dancing in the spring breezes in April possible. This challenge is often the greatest and May. They are about six inches high with in the early spring when winter is losing its narrow leaves. I especially like to “naturalize” hold. Spring is a time of rebirth, a time to scilla in my low traffic lawn areas. I personrejoice that green will again become the pre- ally like the blue scilla but there is a white dominant colour in our landscape. This is the scilla and a blue-striped cultivar that is also perfect time for a garden makeover. Start with available. spring and continue through all the seasons. The prairie crocus is a sign of spring. Our Some of the earliest spring bloomers are native crocus (Anemone patens) is in bloom bulbs. As these must be planted in the fall, in the early spring. They are actually not true crocuses as they are not bulb-forming plants. However, to anyone who grew up in the prairies they will forever be the “real” crocus. The flowers are light mauve on stems about four inches high. The seed stage is also attractive as it is a billowy mass of seeds on long feathery stalks. When you plant non-native crocus you will be planting true crocus that grows from a corm, a storage organ similar to a bulb. VALON OOD ART There are many crocuses that we cannot grow here but some that we can grow AS AR successfully are: C. tomasinianus for pale Full lavender blooms, C. ancyrensis for rich orange blooms, and C. alativicus for white Service blooms speckled with purple with a sunny Convenience yellow throat. Store Tulipa tarda is another early spring New Gas Bar bloomer. It is native to eastern Turkestan. The flowers are yellow with white tips Open 7 Days a Week and are nestled in the centre of leaves up to nine inches long. The blossoms are 7 am to 11pm enjoyed in full light and will close under Lottery Tickets lower light conditions. They expand merrily in the garden so you can expect many 2601 Broadway Ave. 343-9551 years of bloom with nary lifting a finger…or a spade! Make this year the year for the “garden INC. makeover” and enjoy every season in your garden. by Patricia Hanbidge

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Patricia Hanbidge is a local horticulturist. She can be contacted through the Saskatoon School of Horticulture at 306931-GROW(4769) or through the website www.growyourfuture.ca

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uring the winter months I often try able happened. I turned just in time to see to plan improvement or renova- my precious paint can flying through air as tion projects for the spring. I think if in slow motion. Paint splashed the walls back to projects of the past and remember and windows to display an instant work all the lessons I have learned the hard way. of modern art. Crash, sploosh, the can hit I spent eight months working on our house the floor with such force that paint flew in in Big River before we moved in. It was all directions including back up toward the eight months of hard work and memorable ceiling and onto my pants. For some reason mishaps. I just stood still staring down from my 10 The great room in our country home has foot perch. a 16-foot ceiling. The walls of the room are Normally this would have extracted a finished in pine but guttural scream from Driving down the highway I the very core of my the ceiling was white plaster. White bores being and a string of laughed as I thought about expletives to make a me, and I wanted a vibrant colour to what my sister-in-law would sailor blush, but for show off the beautisome reason I just ful wood – something hung my head. After say about the red ceiling. that would make the a moment of silence room warm during the day and dramatic I realized that my horrid pink primer was at night. What colour could be better than probably soaking into the raw wood floor roasted pepper red? and I should quickly begin the arduous task A week earlier I had erected scaffolding of clean up. in the great room. Most of the finish was For the rest of the day I scrubbed the worn off the oak floors so a few pieces of walls, windows and floor and marveled at cardboard under the legs of the scaffold my sense of calm. “Maybe it’s this country was all that was needed to protect the floor. air,” I pondered, “I sure hope it’s always this I bought my paint and opted for a tinted way.” I was to be disappointed in the days (dark pink) primer to cut down on the num- to come when more renovation projects ber of coats and to seal the plaster. brought further stress and my already large I was ready to paint. As I left my house vocabulary of expletives expanded. in Saskatoon that day, I was excited about There was the odd scream, and a day or the outcome. Driving down the highway two when I could be found, head in hands, I laughed as I thought about what my sis- thinking “I must be crazy,” or “who shall I ter-in-law would say about the red ceiling. kill, I pick (my husband) Jack.” She had expressed with graphic detail her The upside of that period of reno hell is distaste for my choice of paint colour. The that the red ceiling is fantastic and my sisprotest just seemed to spur me on and fuel ter-in-law despises it. It’s a lucky thing that my passion for a red dome extravaganza. I still admire the colour because for as long Arriving at the Big River house, I lugged as I live in Big River I will never again paint the paint and tools up the side of the scaf- the great room ceiling. fold, opened the can and poured some ugly What about the living room though? Is it pink primer into the paint tray. At the last time for a new paint job? minute I decided that it would probably be a clever precaution if I tied the paint can to After 22 years of living in Saskatoon, Sherry the scaffolding to prevent an accident. Richards abandoned her familiar surroundings I stepped over the primer to climb down and moved North to live in Saskatchewan’s and get some rope. As I did, my heel boreal forest. She can be contacted by emailing touched the side of the can and the unthink- tillee@xplornet.com

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