Cool weather now changing gardening trends

CHARLES TWEED/Ponoka News

April showers are meant to bring May flowers — that cliché hasn’t necessarily held true for avid green thumbs in Ponoka over the last several years.

After frost bit some gardeners who tried to get plants in the ground off to an early start, Gail Pugh of Rock Lake Garden Centre said weather is the one thing you can’t control.

“The weather has been rather uncooperative and gardeners are always optimistic but we’ve had a few people by to replace some plants that were hurt by the frost,” said Pugh, who credits Lois Hole as one of her big inspirations.

With such a short growing season, Pugh said most people in the area like to stick with what is tried and true.

“People in the area tend to plant what has worked in the past and what has stood by us. I find a lot of people are looking for a finished product because with the growing season so short it’s the only way they can see big results,” explained Pugh.

Big baskets and proven winners may be the top sellers but finding something different that sets a part your garden is always a challenge people are looking for.

“We like to get a lot of the plants you can’t find in the big stores, like asters that don’t bloom until late. The big stores are buying bulk from B.C. so they tend to stick with what they know but it’s nice to see some of the rare plants and old-fashioned flowers that our grandparents used to grow,” she said.

Part of that branching out has included a new foray into water plants that grow in and around ponds and pools of water. The plants require an extreme amount of moisture and can really punch up a backyard pond.

Tomatoes and cucumbers seem to be the favorite when it comes to vegetables.

“We had a lady that requested 30 tomato plants for herself and everyone that wants one at work. We’ve also seen a lot of younger people buying peppers for salsa this year but tomatoes and cucs (cucumbers) are definitely the favorites.”

Pugh, who has been running her greenhouse east of Ponoka for 23 years now, originally got into the business as a hobby and like the flowers she plants, it just kept growing from there.