We always talk about plant ideas for Mom on Mother’s Day but somehow Dads seem to be relegated to ties, tools and sports equipment. Well, it’s time to rethink the Dad-plant thing. Planting a tree in his honour or memory is not only a wonderful idea, but it’s also, in a small way, good for our planet.
Smaller shade and flowering trees can cool him and his patio down on hot days, as well as providing privacy and stunning fall colour. They are also a great place to hang a bird or hummingbird feeder. Today, there are many more compact varieties of trees that are disease and insect tolerant and easy to grow, even in a container.
Food trees are fabulous. Apple, plum cherry, pear, peach, apricot and nectarine trees can provide Dad with his own fresh fruit for a lifetime. If he has limited space, but still has some sun between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., how about giving him some blueberries, ever-bearing raspberries or pots of strawberries to enjoy all summer long?
There are now combination blueberries with early, mid and late varieties all in one container, providing proper pollination and enjoyment over a longer period. It may be a little hard to find this year, but there is a new dwarf thornless ever-bearing raspberry called Brazelberry that will be hugely popular next year.
Don’t forget about grapes – planted on a trellis, they make a nice patio screen. From figs, persimmons and currants to gooseberries and thornless blackberries, you can provide Dad with a delicious food garden.
If Dad has a culinary flare, try picking up a special herb garden with an assortment of basil, lettuce, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, Italian parsley and so much more to add unique flavours to his creations. Fruiting cherry tomatoes in pots, Tumbling Tom and Tumbler would give him a head start on his salads.
More and more Dads are keen gardeners who really appreciate new and rare perennials, grasses, roses, and conifers. Easy care indoor bonsai trees and orchids make wonderful gifts that he can enjoy all year. Even a gift certificate for his favourite garden store would be appreciated. If he has a rather ‘sterile’ patio, a water feature like a gurgle stone would add sound, light and motion to this space to liven it up.
If you haven’t yet purchased a tie, shirt, drill or golf club, visit a garden store this week and surprise Dad with a green or foodie fun gift.
Brian Minter is a master gardener who operates Minter Gardens in Chilliwack.