Let me introduce myself.
My name is Elke Lange and for 40-plus years, together with my late husband, a horticulturist, we worked commercially in the greater Vancouver area and later here in the beautiful Okanagan Valley.
Although I’ve since hung up my tools, I remain very involved in the landscape sector and I am passionate about helping homeowners create well designed and practical landscapes.
As manager, you can find me at Kel-Lake Greenhouse here in Lake Country.
I was looking out of my window on another bleak winter morning when a bright idea hit me.
Why don’t I start sharing my long standing love and knowledge of the plant world with other devoted gardeners and wannabe gardeners by writing about it.
So here I begin with my first of many weekly garden hints for the Lake Country Calendar.
With thoughts towards spring I’ll start out with two of my favourite early spring plants the Spring Crocus (Cornus vernus) and the Christmas Rose also called the Lenten Rose (Hellebores)
The Spring Crocus’ delightful spring flowers come as a bulb and are one of the earliest to bloom. Often you will see them poking their colourful heads out from under the last of the winter snow.
Crocus come in many varieties and often come as a colourful mix when you purchase them. These hardy low growing spring plants—approximately six inches tall—will naturally multiply and spread through the garden over time.
The time to plant crocus is in the early fall along with your other spring bulbs. The best way to plant them is in small drifts (waves) throughout the garden using several bulbs at a time.
The ideal places to plant them is where they will appear natural in the landscape, such as rockeries or even sprinkled throughout your lawn, which looks delightful. Crocus prefer well-draining soil but need regular watering if the winter or spring weather remains dry.
Remember to add a little bone meal or bulb food when planting your bulbs to give them a good start.
Christmas Rose or Lenten Rose has a name that suits it well for you will see it often blooming from early winter, around Christmas time, even when under the snow, right through to the spring.
The Christmas Rose is not only exquisitely beautiful it is also deer resistant, drought tolerant, survives cold temperatures and will even stand up to a bit of neglect, making this plant a must have in all our Lake Country gardens.
My favorite Christmas Rose, Ivory Prince, is the one that I have in a planter on my deck. It is dark leaved with wonderful pink to ivory toned large blooms.
I can’t think of any two nicer early blooming plants to cheer me up during and after a long bleak winter.
Find out more information and contact Elke Lange through her web site elkelandscapingcoach.com.