Nursery Notes: Plant life bursting with colour in Creston Valley spring

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Evan Davies owns Beltane Nursery at 2915 Highway 3 in Erickson.

In full bloom right now is a B.C. native, King Edward VII flowering currant. Hardy to –25C in the sun or shade, this plant’s bright red flowers are a real show stopper. They grow to five feet high and three feet wide. Next to them in the nursery are the “show off” forsythias. Older varieties of these plants pale in comparison to this new one, which is twice as bright, with gold flowers from top to bottom. I’d say it, as well as the currant, should grow to five or six feet as. It is rated at least Cranbrook hardy, so anywhere in the valley should be just fine. It is deer resistant and, as always with spring flowering shrubs, one should prune them after they have flowered.

Nearby we have a small patch of pyracantha with two colours of berries to choose from. “Mohave” and “Teton” can be trained to grow as an upright bush or even espaliered against a brick wall would look pretty great!

“Blue Ice Bog” rosemary is a very nice low-growing plant with bright pink flowers on a silver blue mound of foliage reminiscent of rosemary foliage. Not for culinary use, this plant makes a great ground cover, especially happy to thrive in damp soil conditions, perhaps near a pond edge.

In the perennial section we have “Sherwood Purple” Phlox stononifera in bloom. Tagged as a welcome herald of spring (like the yellow forsythias) this plant forms a dense mat of spreading foliage full of colour. It reminds me of Easter. It grows four to six inches and can tolerate a light shade.

Not in flower but still looking great we have some evergreens, including the “Bruns” Serbian spruce. These little trees are prairie hardy and grow to 10 feet wide and 25 feet tall. Their foliage has a two-tone effect. Where the needles face up, they are a beautiful dark green and underneath they appear silver. Tall and narrow, they make a great vertical accent to a landscape. The dark green helps other smaller plants to stand out against their outline.

Last but not least there are a few plants related to the early flowering apricots. Russian almond (Prunus tenella) is about to flower. They have solid pink flower buds that open to a clear dark pink single flower. We also carry Prunus triloba “Multiplex”, also known as the double flowering plum. These plants have the same pretty flower buds, but slightly bigger and opening to a fully double pink flower before the plant leafs out in green.

Similar and yet edible are the Nanking cherries. They, too, are about to flower. These little plants (Prunus tomentosa, “hairy leaf”) have an edible fruit. People from the prairies should recognize most of these plants, as they are all quite hardy. I have seen an awesome little hedge made from the Nanking cherry. It has such nice foliage.

Anyhow, we are out of time for today. Hope you enjoy your new gardening season!

Evan Davies own Beltane Nursery at 2915 Highway 3 in Erickson.


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