Growing Plants in Southeast Manitoba
In a world flooded by social media, why would anyone want to start another blog? In my mind, there had better be some good reasons. In your mind, I hope these qualify.
First of all, there are a lot of trees, shrubs, and flowers that get introduced but never have a stage to flaunt on. There is no catwalk for the newest flowering crabapple. We will introduce plants with the knowledge we have of them, helping you determine which ones are good for your yard.
Second, Southeastern Manitoba’s environment has specific challenges that a broad spectrum magazine article simply cannot address. Our soil is often heavy, high pH, too dry or too wet. Then there are our winters; oh, my goodness, who even wants to think about them!? We would like to help you evaluate which plants have a fighting chance in your yard.
In talking with our customers, we realized that plant care has become a foreign language. Staking, pruning, fertilizing, appropriate amounts of water… what does this all mean when you’ve never had a yard before? This blog will help alleviate some of the angst of those who really would like a nice yard but may not be quite sure how to make that happen.
Now, pardon me if I get a little philosophical. What good is all this really if we don’t have a value on plants? When I look at my environment in Manitoba, I believe that flowers, shrubs and trees have a significant role. There are only 6 significant dimensions that make up our visual environment. Hills or contours; water, be it a lake or a river; buildings – including homes, apartment blocks and commercial; the actual ground itself; and finally the big blue sky.
Unfortunately, living in the Red River Valley or Southeastern Manitoba eliminates most of the hills. Water: well, some of us are fortunate enough to live by a creek or a small river, but many of us don’t have that luxury, either. That just leaves the ground, the sky and buildings. Saying it that way kind of makes it feel a little drab, doesn’t it? Well, there’s hope that plants can change all that. Flowers can decorate the ground or the deck; shrubs can soften the hard straight lines of buildings; trees can actually compete with some of those boxy buildings. Not to mention the colour diversity that gets added to our panoramic view. So that’s the aesthetic side. Let’s just call it an appreciation for beauty.
Let’s leave the philosophical perspective behind and look at some of the pragmatic purposes of plants as well. Looking after trees, shrubs, or your lawn is good for you in multiple ways – it provides exercise, fresh air, and psychologically peace (compared to the office and the stresses of the “daily grind”). Don’t look at it like work, look at it as a free gym membership with benefits.
On the financial side, trees and shrubs can slow down the wind, making our environment more comfortable on a cooler day. On the flip side, shade trees could make our day more comfortable when it’s hot. Trees also lower your air conditioning cost by creating shade in summer and your heat cost by limiting the wind chill during our five months of winter. Trees and shrubs can also bear fruit if you choose the right kind. Of course the vegetable garden will enhance your dinner plate.
Did I mention oxygen? It’s not a bad idea to have some of that around, either. Most of us don’t give it much thought since we’re not as connected to the industry, but our houses are made of wood and wood doesn’t come from the store, it begins in the forest.
I’m sure I won’t exhaust this list because there are many more things, including medicinal purposes. But I think I’ve made my point: they are valuable in many different ways, and so we blog for many different reasons, but mostly to give helpful understanding and joy in developing your outdoor living spaces.