Fall is my favourite season in the garden. I love to sit back and see how everything grew over the summer. It is a time of contemplation and action, a time to make lists of what did well and what didn’t, what needs to be moved, and what we want to try next year.
I thought it would be fun to celebrate fall and talk to some of Squamish’s finest gardeners and see what plant would top their favourite list for summer 2013. So here we go:
• Cheryl from On The Farm raved about begonia solenia. “Without a doubt, begonia solenia was the best-performing annual I have ever planted.” These easy-care begonias are available in a variety of colours and grow well in full sun or part shade. “I wasn’t great about staying on top of the watering and they flourished, even without deadheading.” These continuous bloomers provide a great show all summer and fall.
• Veggies topped the list for a number of gardeners as well. Brackendale garden enthusiast Annabel, who grows a wide array of plants and shrubs, said hands down her favourite plant of the year were her scarlet runner beans. These beans are the perfect example of how beautiful and eye-catching edibles can be. “So many people would walk by my house and see the profusion of bright red flowers and ask me what they were. Not only are they lovely, but they produce such a huge yield I was sharing them with everyone who popped by.”
Also in Brackendale, long-time garden expert Jude Smith provided a long list of everything from canna lilies to succulents. But she, too, was on the vegetable bandwagon. “My ‘Tall Telephone’ peas were amazing. A few got to five feet and they had mountains of beautiful peas.”
Tall Telephone shelling peas (sometimes called Alderman’s peas) are an heirloom shelling pea variety that grows up to six feet. This tried-and-true pea variety has a heavy yield which is staggered over the growing season. “These peas were so tasty, my two four-legged friends Chi-Chi and Niki (Jude’s beloved chihuahuas) would grab the vines and pull them down and suck back all the peas.” I think I have to try these next year.
Last but not least, my absolute favourite thing I grew this season was a red Abyssinian banana. This plant has made me fall in love with tropicals, as banana plants are not hardy in our zone 6/7 climate. Standing more than six feet tall, this plant has bright green leaves with a delicious red midrib. Underplanted with “angel wing” begonias, it is a spectacular container combination. I’ll let you know how it overwinters once I do a bit more research.