Friday, November 17, 2006

Garden Photo Website : Maureen & Glen's Gardening on the Prairies

Foxtail BarleyI was researching a plant today, I saw a wonderful photo of it in a gardening book, but haven't seen it in any gardens, that I can recall. Having researched it more, I understand why. It is Hordeum jubatum (see more modest photo right), commonly known as foxtail barley. It has large silky pinkish seedheads, quite stunning visually. It tolerates wetland conditions, which would make it suitable for some of the more "difficult" areas of my garden. However, all references to it include words like "weedy" and "invasive" - not something I should try to introduce into my garden.

During my search, I found an interesting PDF booklet on invasive species of Western Washington (which is a similar climate to our Vancouver Coastal Region), with recommendations for other non-invasive alternatives. I have to say, some of the descriptions of the alternatives were a little too rosy, I wouldn't agree that they are so wonderful in comparison, but if our runaway garden plants are going to wreck havoc in our native forests, we should at least read it and be aware, to try to avoid them in the first place, or prevent their spread.

I also encountered a WONDERFUL gardening site, by Maureen and Glen in Regina, Saskatchewan, and immediately bookmarked it! It is FULL of photos (over 1900, according to the site) of Saskatchewan native plants, grasses, annuals, and my main interest - perennials. The photos of most plants include a closeup (the kind you'd expect from a seed catalog), and then a photo of the whole plant, to see it in the context of the garden, as well a good description of the plant and growing advice. The perennials section includes a Glen's score, from 1 to 10, of how much he likes the plant, and a summary of his favourite perennials.

Each section of the site is available as framed (i.e. a column of links on the left, can click to view the photos & description on the right), or unframed (navigate through links, and hit the "Back" button to return). What a wonderful reference site! The photos are of great documentary quality - please respect their request not to reuse them without permission.

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