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Get on the bus for garden tour

Come with me, gardeners, as I tell you about a breath-taking garden that we were lucky enough to tour a short time ago.

Come with me, gardeners, as I tell you about a breath-taking garden that we were lucky enough to tour a short time ago. It was like entering another world, with the soothing sound of trickling water in the background to tickle our ears, and a lush array of plants and colors as a feast for the eyes.

So many plants, so little time! We could barely take it all in; for myself, I was in heaven as I gazed at all the beautiful hostas that were like green jewels scattered throughout the garden. Obviously long-term residents, they were rich and full and just stunning! There were so many plants to enjoy, with a soft perfumed aroma wafting through the whole garden, it was a delight for the soul!

The very kind and generous gardener shared a new plant with me from her garden: I won't tell you the common name of it because I have no idea of the spelling, and I think it's one of those plants that has many everyday names. But the botanical name is "Atriplex Hortensis Rubra", a very imposing and stern name for a care-free annual that is hardy, and lives to spread its love all over the garden!

Homework time! I read several articles about this plant, and learned that while it came from Asia, it has become a comfortable weed all over Europe and North America. I hesitate to say "weed" because I always think of that expression: "a weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered". The Atriplex Hortensis has many virtues indeed: it is an annual that self-seeds; it grows well in poor, sandy soil; it can tolerate some drought; and I read that it can even tolerate light frost. Sounds great, right?

What else? It is a striking plant, growing up to six feet tall with triangular, burgundy colored leaves. It does flower, but the flowers are not that noticeable. It is edible, and can be compared to spinach. I think it would look beautiful in a salad. And here's a bonus, it will not lose its color when cooked. If you want to try this plant, it is also known as "orach" or "mountain spinach". After reading about it, I think it is a distant cousin to quinoa. So that's our plant of the week!

The Saskatchewan Horticulture Association bus tour takes place July 19 - 21. It's a gardening road trip that goes to Nipawin, Carrot River and Tisdale. If you'd like to go, call Liz at 782-2830 for details.

The Yorkton in Bloom competition takes place at the end of July; don't be shy, enter your garden and share the beauty that is the result of all your hard work in your garden.

How's your garden? So far, I am pleased to report that things are coming along; the potatoes look very nice, with no sign of bugs at this moment. Earlier today I found two potato bugs having a romantic moment on a sunny leaf; they quickly met the step-and-stomp method of pest control.

The tomatoes look a little poor, but I hope they will improve; I will be optimistic and not even think of blight! At this moment the day-lilies are in their glory, absolutely heavenly! And we have a beautiful double columbine that is looking better than it ever has! Maybe that storm last year scared some of the plants into trying their best!

That's it for this week; wear mosquito protection outside, they're wild and hungry! And be sure to wear a hat! Have a good week! Happy Canada Day: how blessed we are to live here!