Volume 12 Week 5

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(Posted 9:30 a.m., May 19)
Long weekend signals the start of gardening season in Orléans

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

A happy customer leaves J.A. Laporte Flowers and Nursery with a cart load of plants on Sunday. Local nurseries and garden centres are reporting brisk business on the opening weekend of gardening season. Fred Sherwin Photo

Local nurseries and garden centres were reporting brisk business on Sunday, day two of what has become the unofficial start of the local gardening season.

While for some people Mother's Day signals the start of the growing season, most experienced gardens chose to wait for the May long weekend when a late frost is less likely to occur.

This year a perfect confluence of a long winter, beautiful weather and the long weekend has lead to a shopping frenzy at growing centres across the east end.

"Wow, it's been crazy," said J.A. Laporte Flowers and Nursery owner Estelle Laporte. "At one point this morning the cars were lined up down the driveway waiting to get a parking spot."

The Old Montreal Road nursery has been around for over 50 years and has more then 13 greenhouses. Their stock is plentiful and the product is grown on site.

"We've seen a lot of new customers this morning. A lot," said Laporte. "And they're buying everything. You name it; annuals, shrubs, fruit trees, hanging baskets, tomato plants... it's been across the board."

Besides selling plants and shrubs, Laporte also spent the day explaining the impact the long winter and flash snow melt has had on rose bushes and evergreens.

"A lot of people lost their rose bushes especially the tea hybrids and the biggest culprit are those rose cones. People use them and they forget to cut a couple of holes in the bottom to allow for the air to circulate. If you don't cut a couple of holes in the bottom, when the air starts warming up, it gets too humid inside the cone and the plants rot."

As for the evergreens, the speed with which the snow melted caused them to burn, especially near the centre of the tree or the shrub.

While gardeners can find hundreds of varieties of plants at JA Laporte the one plant you won't find there are impatiens. The popular bedding plant has been ravaged in recent years by an airborne fungus called downy mildew.

Some garden centres still sell the popular plant, but they usually don't last very long. Laporte stopped selling impatiens last year.

"It's really bad. I heard from some people whose plants were dead in less than a month."

While the most popular variety of the plant called Impatiens walleriana is susceptible to the disease, New Guinea Impatiens are not. Laporte still sells New Guinea Impatiens.

(This story was made possible thanks to their generous support of our local business partners.)

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