We spend an hour with former Shelmerdine owner, Jan Pedersen, who is a wonderful garden designer with shrubs. He tells us how to refresh out favourite shrubs after they have completed their first flush in the spring, whether this means flowering or spring foliage colour.

One great example is Amber Jubilee ninebark, a shrub that was bred at Jeffries Nurseries to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee back in 2002 when she had been in power for 50 years. Th shrub has a beautiful golden glow in spring that changes slowly to amber and then to green. In fall, it brightens up again and the foliage becomes green to purple. Jan advises trimming back that first flush as it begins to fade. He says the new leaves will be golden again and will retain their colour through the summer season.

He also tells us how to keep spirea looking bright and fresh by again removing the spent flower and a bit of the foliage.

Shrubs are not the only plants that can be refreshed. Many perennials, including hosta and pulmonaria will look far better if you remove their blooming stems once the flowers have faded.  With hosta, if you decide to cut them while still in bloom, know that the cut flowers are long lasting and wonderful in bouquets. With pulmonaria, take the flower stem out right to the ground to get some new growth and a fresh-looking plant.

Tahitian Bridal Veil.

Jan also introduces us to one of his favourite potted plants, Tahitian Bridal Veil. A photo is included.

The conversation moves on to discuss some terrific summer garden tour experiences, one of which is the Selkirk Garden Club run North Red River Garden Art Tour.

A well-kept secret for those who don’t mind driving a couple of hours is the Westwood Ranch and Garden Centre at Kola, Manitoba just about 20 minutes southwest of Virden.  This surprising gem is not just a garden centre, it is a sort of zoo, complete with kangaroos, ponies, emus, goats, lamas, and even zebra! Jan says it Is well worth the trip. Take a look https://westwoodgardencentre.com/

As always, Jan surprises us with a couple of his favourite musical finds by Canadian artists: Beautiful Life by Doc Walker, a happy upbeat message from the boys that are the pride of Portage la Prairie, and  I Wanna Fly by Errol Ranville, Manitoba’s great Métis writer/singer/ This version was  produced by Fred Turner of Bachman Turner fame.