Plant of the Week #9: Caragana arborescens

This is one of those cases where pretty much all of us have taken at least a passing glimpse at a Siberian pea-tree, also known as Siberian pea-shrub or simply Caragana (Caragana arborescens) many times but outside of the gardening world no one really pays attention to it; it’s simply another shade of green that blends in with the peripheral landscape of more familiar things. It tends to stand out most in spring, when it’s bright tender foliage emerges in sync with vibrant yellow pea-shaped blossoms. This handsome woody legume is your 9th plant of the week. (more…)

Foraging Fun: Thlaspi arvense

17°C is a little bit on the warm side for the middle of April, but I am certainly not about to complain, especially after enduring my first winter here in southern Manitoba. The winters here are as real and as long as I would ideally like to subject myself to, considering I hail from Canada’s deep south where the last few winters have been more akin to Vancouver than is typical for southern Ontario. But at long last, with the onset of warm days and cool nights, the first fresh green leaves of the year are emerging. (more…)

Plant of the Week #8: Nasturtium officinale

In most parts of the country, spring has undoubtedly begun to creep back into the landscape, however subtle that may be in some places. The lengthening days and strength of the sun is unmistakable and fills us with encouragement and hope for yet another prosperous and bountiful growing season. As such, many plants are beginning to show themselves as they put forth their first flush of green leaves after a long, cold winter. Many of the earliest plants to reveal themselves (even when temperatures are barely tipping above freezing) are members of the mustard family (Brassicaceae) which includes some of our favorite and most familiar garden vegetables. (more…)

Plant of the Week #7: Stachys affinis

Hello everyone, and happy April! Depending on where you are living the spring season may already be thoroughly underway, just beginning or still a faint murmur as you gaze out the window at snow drifts. No matter what climate you may find yourself and however prolonged or brief spring may be it is undeniable how satisfying it is to see the first edible plants (whether wild or cultivated) emerge from the formally frozen soil. They are absolutely delicious and so refreshing after surviving on a winter diet that is all too often very rich but also monotonous and usually lacking in fresh vegetables of all kinds.

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Plant Of The Week #6: Dioscorea polystachya

This week I would like to share with you a hardy, perennial vine that I learned about earlier last year and at some point (hopefully sooner rather than later) would like to add to my living collection of useful and beautiful plants. Although drab by most gardener’s standards, this vigorous and fast growing plant definitely deserves some space, especially if you are interested in unusual yet perfectly practical plants that, really, just haven’t quite caught on yet. Diversity is strength, and never is that more true than in your garden or on your plate. Your 6th Plant of the Week is Dioscorea polystchya.

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