The experts here at Savvy Gardening love to grow unusual plants. Here’s a peek at some of the uniquely freaky plants we plan to include in our gardens.
Life in the garden is never boring because something new is always happening. A new seedling is sprouting, a shrub is coming into flower, fruit is ripening in the sun, or a butterfly is busy sipping nectar – all reasons to revel in the uniqueness of each new gardening day.
READ MORE » about Fancy plants: Our current obsessions
Sunflowers are among the most useful flowers in the garden. Not only are they cheerful and stalwart, they’re also capable of supporting a huge diversity of insects. Their pollen and nectar is readily accessible to hundreds of species of bees, beetles, butterflies, flies, and many other pollinators and beneficial insects. Avoid pollenless varieties if possible because their flowers can’t provide the protein-rich pollen many predatory beneficial insects need. Sunflowers also produce extra-floral nectar (EFN) from glands on the undersides of their leaves.
It’s a common tale. A bed of carrots is seeded, they sprout and start to grow, and a harvest of crisp roots beckons in a few short months. Yet, when it comes time to dig the crop, it’s discovered that some of the carrots have forked, developing multiple roots. The multi-rooted carrots may look a little funny and are harder to clean, but forking doesn’t affect the flavour. So, what causes carrots to fork?
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The worth of pollinators is undeniable. Each year, more than $20 billion dollars of food crops come to fruition across North America because of creatures far smaller than the coin in your pocket. That’s a lot of weight on those tiny shoulders. And unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock, you know about the troubles facing European honeybee populations. So, with European honeybee numbers at risk and pollination rates dropping, attracting more bees and pollinators is more important than ever. But, what’s a gardener to do? Well, helping native bees is a good place to start.
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In 2014, I came across one of the most clever uses of a hashtag I’ve seen on social media: #GotMilkweed. The hashtag was part of a campaign launched by the David Suzuki Foundation that aimed to create a monarch butterfly corridor in Toronto. (For readers who live in the U.S. and abroad, David Suzuki is a prominent scientist and environmentalist here in Canada.)
READ MORE » about Plant milkweed to help save the monarch butterflies