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Gardener's Notebook: Trip to Muttart Conservatory in Edmonton revisited

The Yorkton and District Horticultural Society will be holding their Fruit, Flower and Vegetable Show on Wednesday, August 10 at the Parkland Mall,
It's never too early to record plants to try next year. (File Photo)

YORKTON - Flower update! I was recently telling you about our wonderful visit to the beautiful Muttart Conservatory in Edmonton, and how we were captivated by the display of impatiens at the entrance. Guess what, I heard from Sarah at the Conservatory and she gave me this information about the plants. “These are actually called sunpatiens. They are a very beautiful choice for sun exposure which is why we use them in our giant flower towers at Muttart.”

So, time for more homework! While we always think of impatiens as shade plants, sunpatiens are an exciting new variation that actually like the sun and hot conditions! How was this achieved? A Japanese seed company, Sakata, thought of a match made in flower heaven: they combined the shade-loving impatiens with a New Guinea impatiens, making another wonderful plant for us to enjoy! As Sarah shared with us, the plants like sunny locations, and I read that they also do very well in containers.

Like so many plants, they like well-draining soil. There are three types of sunpatiens: compact; spreading, which sounds like the perfect choice for containers; and vigorous, which would love to live in our flowerbeds and have lots of room. And as if all this flower power wasn’t enough, they come in a beautiful and showy selection of colours. Read more about them at

There we have it, gardeners: another plant to note into our garden notebooks to try next year!

I say “next year” because not only is it too late to find something like these delightful flowers for this growing season, but it sounds like many of us are a little “garden-weary” this year. The weather has thrown us curve balls that even the Blue Jays would have a hard time dealing with, and we know that many gardening friends we have chatted with all said the same thing: that they have decided to take a “time-out” and step back from their gardens a bit. Completely understandable this year, with so much rain, hail, and heat in such a short time.

But someone, somewhere, said some wise words…to the effect of “when in doubt, do nothing.” And so it is with our gardens. After Hail #1, the garden looked like coleslaw, but for those of us who cleaned up the debris but left the plants alone, they began to make a surprising comeback.

Then came Hail #2. Just when everything was starting to revive a bit. Can anything be more disappointing to a gardener than to be in the house, watching the storm through the window, and then start hearing those dreaded “pings” of hail start outside? Well, Hail #2 left us more debris and those poor plants were shredded yet again.

But aside from clean-up, we did nothing. And those amazing plants are more resilient than we can even imagine. We left them where they were, didn’t pull them out, and they are coming back nicely. While they will understandably be set back in their growing, they are definitely trying; so we always feel that if they are trying, we have to, as well! So don’t lose hope, gardeners!

The Yorkton and District Horticultural Society will be holding their Fruit, Flower and Vegetable Show on Wednesday, August 10 at the Parkland Mall, Yorkton. After being away from a live show for two years, we look forward to seeing our gardening friends! Visit our site at for full details. Thank you to our friends at YTW for their great work every week; have a good day!