Meredith MacKeen

Gardeners looking for something new can visit our three local nurseries: Jardins Foster, owned by Rémi Lamontagne, Rèves et Jardins, owned by Jonathan and Maxime Gagnon, and Serres Lafleur, owned by Suzanne Lafleur and Chantal Larose. If you are overwhelmed by the beautiful plants, you might follow Suzanne LaFleur’s advice; “Just go with your heart, smell the flowers and taste the herbs.” She is celebrating forty years in the business and everything she sells is grown from seeds, cuttings or bareroot to ensure they are pesticide-free.

For specifics, Maxime Gagnon recommends Senecio Angel Wings with fantastic white leaves or Canna Cleopatra with two-toned leaves and flowers. Rémi LaMontagne suggests geraniums, the all-time favourite and recommends Germanium Calliope with its deep fire engine red. Another standby is begonias. Jardins Foster has Winged Begonia Canary Wings, and as you guessed, it has yellow leaves. Serres Lafleur features fragrant begonias, one smelling like peaches and another like apricots. Unusually, Solenia Begonia thrives in the sun.

Among the perennials, Maxime is pleased with the results of Echinacea Osiris Mont Blanc or Osiris Grenadine and Salvia Nemorosa Bumblesnow, all of which attract bees. A new trend is to use succulents and cactus everywhere, especially in boxes and hang- ing baskets. They are resistant to drought and can be brought indoors for the winter. Gardeners looking for edibles might consider dwarf blueberries or scarlet runner beans and nasturtiums which are attractive additions to any garden.

Thinking about edibles in the vegetable patch, what about white cucumbers, black cherry tomatoes or hot peppers such as Super Chili or Jalapeno from Jardins Foster? Maxime recommends sweet potatoes and heirloom varieties of favourites treasured for their flavour.

The big question is always when to plant. Suzanne LaFleur recommends after the full moon at the end of May when frost is most unlikely. Maxime suggests mid-May for carrots, spinach, cabbage, beets and corn and the end of May for most summer bulbs and annuals.