“We’ve got to garden, not only for ourselves but also for future generations,” says Annette Schewe, the chairperson for the Steinbach and Area Garden Club.
Schewe has been with the gardening club for about 4 years now and finds that especially this spring, folks are eager to get their seeds and plants into the ground. However, she encourages gardeners to wait until at least the beginning of June. That said, she recognizes that “some gardeners are gamblers. They don’t mind getting their nails dirty, and if you lose a few plants, you can always seed it twice.”
When it comes to trends for the 2021 gardener, not only here in Manitoba, but across the continent, Schewe says, there is the move toward native plants, especially native perennials. Mostly in an attempt to feed the pollinators, which she believes is so critical.
“There are so many options now,” says Schewe. “For native flowers, you've got so many colours and ranges of bloom times that you really can enjoy those native plants nearly anywhere on your yard.”
She has also noticed that many homeowners are now tearing up their lawns and putting in meadows of native grasses and flowers which Schewe is very pleased with.
“It's really exciting and you see it everywhere. I think people are starting to recognize that we've got to take care of the future. We can't just garden for ourselves we have the garden not just for our kids and our grandchildren, but generations thereafter. And if we don't have pollinators, that isn’t going to happen.”
When it comes to Covid restrictions and gardening, Schewe says, there’s been a huge influx of people getting into gardening and experimenting with different combinations of vegetables and plants. Given that many homes don’t have a lot of space for gardens, there are more raised beds, garden boxes and even homeowners that are trying their hand at vertical gardening. She says, this new generation of gardeners is willing to try different things, which are not always “Grandma’s kind of growing.” Schewe also mentions that many gardeners are planting ornamental edibles, which are both nice to look at and delicious in a salad or a meal.
Schewe continues with the fact that today's gardeners recognize that the soil needs to be healthy and are refraining from using synthetic fertilizers, but instead, there’s a big move towards composting and adding that mulch to your garden.
As for meeting virtually these days, the Steinbach and Area Garden Club Chairperson says it’s been a good move for the club. They’ve been able to do presentations online and promote videos other gardeners have put together. Their website is filled with answers to questions asked by local gardeners and many resources are also local. These days the club hosts Meet & Greet events at a local greenhouse. They also maintain the MHV Gardens. Schewe says, their club will also be planning a garden at the Peace display on the MHV grounds, where they will be putting in native plants and then moving to the MHV retention pond, where they will be adding plants to stop soil erosion along its shoreline. She says this will be another opportunity to volunteer and work alongside other gardeners from the area.