Beware of Valeriana officinalis

by Elizabeth Sellors, Master Gardener

Valeriana officinalis (common names: garden heliotrope, garden valerian, common valerian, greek valerian) is classified as an alien species in North America, having been introduced from outside its normal distribution. It is a plant native to parts of Europe and Asia. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has defined alien species as those whose introduction and/or spread threatens biological diversity, and whose establishment and spread will modify ecosystems, habitats and affect native species. Invasive species grow and spread quickly because they are able to adapt to a variety of growing conditions and lack the usual predators and diseases that control a population. A native species, on the other hand, is one that occurred in the region before human settlement introduced non-natives. Local native species are referred to as “indigenous”. Read More

California Super Bloom

CAParishs Poppy

As experienced in Spring 2019 by Master Gardener Gary Krushel

California was experiencing a “super bloom” this year. What is a “super bloom”? It is a veritable explosion of wildflowers occurring at a number of locations across the state. As most of us have heard, seeds can lie dormant for years waiting for the right conditions in order to germinate. This past winter California experienced unusually wet weather. All that moisture saturated the desert landscape, and when the warmer spring temperatures arrived, the warm, moist conditions caused a significant amount of that dormant seed to germinate, resulting in a riot of colour blanketing some hillsides. This type of event typically only occurs every 10 to 20 years.

To appreciate just how extensive this bloom was there are photos on the web that were taken from space showing large swaths of colour. Read More

Is Your Cake Baked?

MMGA Presents
Thomas Hobbs – ‘Is Your Cake Baked’
Saturday, May 4, 2019 – 1pm
Canadian Mennonite University Auditorium
North Campus – 500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Wpg., MB

Thomas Hobbs is an internationally known impresario of garden and floral design. He runs Southlands Nursery in Vancouver, Canada, and his private garden has been featured in many prominent magazines, including Horticulture, House Beautiful, Garden Making, Better Homes and Gardens, and Garden Design. Tom has a weekly television show in Canada in which he offers gardening tips and encourages gardeners to tap into their creativity for design projects. He has been featured on Martha Stewart Living television and magazine and the exceptional television show ‘Recreating Eden’ dedicated an entire episode to Thomas Hobbs’ life with plants. He travels across North America giving popular lectures on inspirational garden design.

Thomas Hobbs was born in Winnipeg obsessed with plants and had his first greenhouse at age six. He emphasizes the importance of design as a means to connect with the earth. His first book was the acclaimed bestseller Shocking Beauty, and The Jewel Box Garden is his equally stunning sequel.

Tickets: Members – $10.00 Non-members – $20.00

We are thrilled to have permission through Merit Jensen Carr of Merit Motion Pictures and MGIT Elise Swerhone who is the director and writer of the Episode to share the link to Recreating Eden – Season 2, Episode 7- A Charmed Life – Thomas Hobbs.
More of Recreating Eden can be found at the series website

Thank you to Mere Hotel, Winnipeg, for sponsoring Thomas Hobbs’ hotel accommodation!

Thank you for Donations from:

Red Valley Plant Market – Vic Lesser, Red River Soils – Lacoste Garden Centre – Huna Natural Apothecary – Bobbex Canada – Watson Designs & Landscaping – B&D Spice Mixers – Kaz Sawicz – Jensen Nursery and Garden Centre – Schreimer’s Greenhouses & Garden Centre – Front Door Stories – Sunshine Nursery & Greenhouse – Shelmerdine Garden – Centre – The Prairie Garden – Lee Valley Tools – Vandermeer Greenhouses- Lenora Kehler – Canadian Tire, Fermor – Avenue, Winnipeg- McKenzie Seeds – Dirt ‘N’ Grow Evolve Organics

Clematis in My Garden

Clematis Parmiat Serdtsa

by Sandra Venton, Master Gardener

Clematis and I have had a long and storied history. My first clematis was Clematis ‘Rosy O’Grady’ (Group 1), a hybrid of Clematis macropetala and Clematis alpina. It was huge, luxurious, hardy to the n’th degree, and never needed to be cut back. It was a lovely pink colour and grew on a trellis against our neighbour’s garage. I planted it in the 1960’s and it was still there when the house was sold in the 1980’s. ‘Rosy O’Grady’ was hybridized by Frank L. Skinner, and as far as I know, it is still available at some nurseries. Read More

Growing Tomatoes – Part 2 of 2, from Transplants to Harvest

Lenore Linton, Master Gardener

Part 2 of 2
Each fall before the garden is dug, an inch of our home compost is spread over the garden. The garden is dug by hand and left in lumps that are broken down by winter frosts. By spring the clods of soil have broken down and the garden needs only a light raking to smooth the surface before planting, and our heavy Red River soil is made soft and friable. When choosing where in the garden to place 13 tomato plants I am mindful of their need for a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight each day, as well as the need to avoid planting where tomatoes were planted last season. As sunlight is most important I often plant where tomatoes were grown the year before. Read More

Using Native Plants in our own Backyard

Using Native Plants in Our Own Backyard
Saturday, March 16/19 – 1:30 – 3:30pm
Canadian Mennonite University,
South Campus
500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB

Hosted by Manitoba Master Gardener Association

John P. Morgan – President, Prairie Habitats Inc., will present about why we should consider using native Manitoba plants in our familiar, but often fairly sterile, urban and rural landscapes. Some of the plant’s unique history, importance, folklore, benefits and aesthetics will be examined. Patterning our approach to land use after the ecology of the natural systems that evolved over millennia has economic, social and environmental effects. Integrating native wildflowers, grasses and shrubs successfully into modern landscapes takes knowledge, passion and time. The results, however, can lead us to a better appreciation and stewardship of those same natural processes that sustain our species.

Members: Free Non-members: $5.00
No registration required.

This event is an educational opportunity for Master Gardeners.

Come Grow with Us

“Come Grow With Us”
Seed Starting
Presented by Gardeners Share North
Saturday, March 16 @ 12 noon

Gaynor Family Library Theatre
806 Manitoba Ave., Selkirk, MB

Have you always wanted to start your own seeds so that you are ready for spring planting?
Join Master Gardener Mick Manfield as he explains how to start your own plants from seed, what equipment to buy that will help with successful seed starting, the advantages and disadvantages of certain growing pots and some useful tips and tricks on seed storing and seed viability.
We are pleased to offer a variety of tomato seedlings at this event.

Growing Tomatoes – Part 1 of 2

Lenore Linton, Master Gardener

I have been growing tomatoes for 56 years, but it is only in the last 20 years that I’ve been starting them from seed. For 36 years I bought my starter plants at a local greenhouse. I had my favorites: Big Beef, Better Boy, First Lady, Early Girl and Sweet 100, before that Manitoba. I always had plenty of tomatoes for fresh eating as well as sharing, sauce making and freezing.
When I retired in 1996 I began gardening with a passion. My adventures growing tomatoes started with a package of heirloom seeds. If I remember correctly it was Anna Russian or Early Annie. I was hooked. If I was to grow heirloom tomatoes I needed to grow them from seed as they were not available as starter plants.
One of the first rules I quickly learned was not to be in a rush to plant tomato seeds. The next lesson was the importance of adequate light for the young seedlings. I keep these two lessons in mind as I start my tomatoes. Otherwise you end up with tall spindly plants before planting time. Read More

Gardening with a difference.

by Karen Loewen, Master Gardener and MMGA Board Member at Large

We gardeners welcomed recent snowfalls and enjoyed watching snow bury our gardens. Following the last dry growing season many plants went into dormancy dehydrated, and with temperatures dipping to record lows prior to significant snow cover, the survival of our plants is being tested this winter. We are hoping our precious charges, trees, shrubs and perennials won’t succumb. As well, gardeners ‘pushing the zones’, growing tender plants rated a zone or two warmer than Manitoba’s zone 3 designation, have some additional concerns.

Experts on climate change advise us to expect more extreme weather – hotter, drier summers and colder winters, so adopting gardening practices to mitigate these effects, will increase our chances for success in the garden, and benefit the larger landscape.It’s interesting how our efforts to grow a more plant resilient garden also result in a healthier ecological environment for pollinators and birds. Everyone wins! Let’s not underestimate the collective difference we and our gardens can make.

Following are just a few ways we can garden for that difference:
Read More

Film – Five Seasons the Gardens of Piet Oudolf


MMGA Hosts the Film
Five Seasons-the Gardens of Piet Oudolf
Saturday, February 2, 2018 – 12:30pm

Cinematheque, 100 Arthur Street, Winnipeg, MB

This film about the world’s most celebrated garden designer immerses viewers in Oudolf’s work and takes them inside his creative process, from his beautifully abstract sketches, to his theories on beauty, to the ecological implications of his ideas.
Discussions take place through all four seasons in Piet’s own gardens at Hummelo and on visits to his signature public works in New York, Chicago and the Netherlands.
The film also follows Oudolf as he designs and installs a major new garden at Hauser and Wirth Somerset.