2018 the year of the...

Manitoba Gardener Magazine - - Local Dirt -

Each year the Na­tional Gar­den Bureau, the gar­den­ing in­dus­try's mar­ket­ing arm, se­lects one an­nual, one peren­nial, one bulb and one ed­i­ble plant as their crop of the year. Each se­lec­tion is made by con­sid­er­ing the plant’s pop­u­lar­ity, ease of grow­ing, adapt­abil­ity, ge­netic di­ver­sity and ver­sa­til­ity. Here are this year’s picks.


The tulip says “spring” like no other flower. This colour­ful bloom is a feast for our snow-blind eyes. With over 150 species of tulips and over 3,000 dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties, it’s hard to imag­ine a colour that doesn’t ex­ist! Red tulips rep­re­sent true love, white tulips say “I’m sorry,” and pur­ple tulips sym­bol­ize roy­alty. The world’s an­nual tulip crop ex­ceeds four bil­lion bulbs, with Hol­land pro­duc­ing the bulk of them. Tulips look best when planted in in­for­mal groups of 12 or more and shine their bright­est the first spring af­ter plant­ing.


The Cal­i­bra­choa is a rel­a­tively new flower, mak­ing its rise to star­dom in the early 1990s. It orig­i­nated in Brazil just like its cousin, the petu­nia, and in fact, it used to be a part of the same genus. They were pop­u­lar for hang­ing bas­kets and pots but not so much in the soil as they had a rep­u­ta­tion as be­ing “hard to grow.” Now there are much more tol­er­ant va­ri­eties of cal­i­bra­choa and their vi­brant colour makes them stand out wher­ever you plant them. Some colours will even change, based on tem­per­a­ture, fad­ing or deep­en­ing as the weather changes.


The beet con­tin­ues to climb in its pop­u­lar­ity as we learn more and more about just how good it is for us. In an­cient Rome it was ac­tu­ally con­sumed as a medicine and now we con­sume ev­ery part of this nu­tri­tious plant! We en­joy the greens in salad, the roots in our borscht and pickle slices and shreds taste good with just about any­thing! Beets are high in anti-ox­i­dants, cal­cium, potas­sium, phos­pho­rus and folic acid. Table beets come in many shapes and colours and are great for the health-con­scious in­di­vid­ual as well as be­ing easy to grow.


This “cheer­ful” mem­ber of the sun­flower fam­ily ex­udes a lovely sunny pres­ence wher­ever it finds its home. The early North Amer­i­cans used these yel­low and gold flow­ers to make tea be­fore cof­fee came on the scene. The name co­re­op­sis comes from the Greek words “ko­ris” for bed­bug and “op­sis” for view, re­fer­ring to the shape of the dry fruit on the plant. Botanists of­ten re­fer to it as “tick­seed” in ref­er­ence to the an­noy­ing lit­tle crit­ters that their seeds re­sem­ble. The co­re­op­sis has a care­free grow­ing na­ture and prefers well-drained soil in a sunny lo­ca­tion but will also do well in con­tain­ers.

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