Thursday, September 10th, 2020

THE JOY OF PLANTING FALL BULBS

Don’t put away your gardening gloves just yet – this time of year when the leaves are turning and the temperature is cooling happens to be the right time to plant bulbs that will bring your garden to life with that first burst of colour in the spring. To get you inspired, here’s a look at some of our favourite fall bulbs:

Allium

Onions, shallots, and garlic are members of the allium family, but there are many ornamental alliums that will add beautiful variety to your perennial garden. They come in a range of colours and heights, and they don’t need a lot of space to do well.

Planting guide: 6” deep if near a heated building; 6-8” deep if away from buildings

Crocus

Crocuses will pop up even when there’s still a little snow on the ground, making them a must-have if you really long for spring each year. You can plant crocuses around your yard or even in your lawn to add interest – they’ll finish blooming by the time you need to cut the grass, and the leaves should be left to die back naturally in order to replenish the bulb’s nutrients.

Planting guide: 6” deep regardless of placement

Daffodil

There are few things in life as cheery as a daffodil. Daffodils are hardy and easy to grow, which probably accounts for their ubiquitousness come springtime.  

Planting guide: 8-10” deep, near a heated building

Browse daffodils   

Hyacinth

Fragrances are a big part of spring’s appeal, and hyacinths are one of the most fragrant options available. Because these bulbs won’t survive outdoors in our climate, you’ll need to force them indoors. Head over to this post to see a simple breakdown of this process.

Planting guide: Force indoors

Iris

Beautiful and showy irises are versatile, dependable, and easy to grow. They like a sunny location best, so take a little care in finding the perfect spot.  

Planting guide: 4” deep if near a heated building; 4-5” deep if away from buildings

Tulip

To say tulips are popular is an understatement. There are literally thousands of varieties and new ones are cultivated every year, so take some time to see what’s out there!

Planting guide: 6-8” deep if near a heated building; 8-10” deep if away from buildings

The options mentioned here are just a few of the most popular fall bulbs, and you can always visit our garden centre to see more varieties that are available. Experimenting with new bulbs each fall gives you a little something special to look forward to in the spring!

See our printable Fall Gardening Checklist for some tips on how to take care of your garden, yard, and lawn this fall.

Embrace fall planting, and see the payoff next spring!

Thursday, September 3rd, 2020

FALL PRUNING GUIDE

As the seasons start to change, so do the outdoor tasks around our yards, and fall is the perfect time to prune back your landscape plants. If you’re new to pruning, it can be a little intimidating – after all, you don’t want to damage your tree or plant. But, proper fall pruning is critical for establishing healthy-looking plants and maintaining an attractive landscape.

To get you started, we’ve gathered some advice to help you prune like a pro, no matter how new you are with the shears.


Proper tools

Pruner cutting tree branch

The right equipment will make your job easier and protect the long-term health of the tree. Clean cuts heal well, while rough, jagged cuts make the plant more susceptible to disease.

  • For twigs and branches 1 inch or less in diameter: A good pair of sharp pruning shears is best for cutting smaller twigs and branches. Bypass pruners make clean cuts and are usually small enough to maneuver easily, making these the most popular choice. Keeping your pruning shears sharp is key to not injury your plants. 
  • For branches between 1 to 2.5 inches in diameter: A pair of loppers is recommended. Loppers have long handles that provide more reach, perfect for getting to the center of larger trees and shrubs.
  • For branches larger than 2.5 inches in diameter: A hand pruning saw works best for these bigger jobs. The saw will make a clean cut that will heal nicely. Make sure you choose a saw large enough for the branches you want to cut.


Proper technique

Pruner cutting tree branch

Here are some pruning dos and don’ts that will make sure you’re helping and not harming your tree or plant:

  • Prune up to 25% of branches, all the way around. This type of pruning will promote dense growth on most trees and shrubs. You should never remove more than one third of the total branches or more than one third of the crown. It is ok to remove a whole branch if it is damaged or infected.
  • It’s a good idea to sterilize your pruners or saw after every cut. You can do this with a solution of 1:1 bleach and water. Using tree paint to seal a wound is not necessary, and often not recommended.
  • Prune most deciduous trees while the tree is dormant. Which is any time after the leaves have dropped in the fall and throughout early spring, before there are signs of new growth.
  • Maple and birch should be pruned during the summer while there is less sap to seep out.
  • Evergreens shouldn’t be pruned in the fall. Instead, prune evergreens in late spring to early summer after new growth has started – mid-June is usually best.
  • For fruit-bearing trees, do not be prune all the way around. As mentioned earlier, this type of pruning promotes denseness, which in this case will inhibit fruit production. Fruit trees should be thinned to allow sun exposure and air circulation, resulting in the best crop possible. Suckers that are growing from the base of the tree or around the trunk should also be removed, as they will steal energy from fruit production.
  • Prune spring-flowering bushes and shrubs such as lilacs as soon as flowers fade in the spring. These kinds of plants flower on old growth, so pruning at this time will give the plant time to produce new flower buds before next spring. If you prune in the fall, you might not have flowers the following spring.


Pruning Large or Heavy Branches

pruning cut angle related to stem buds

When pruning a branch with buds that alternate along the length, cut above the growth bud at a 45 degree angle, make sure the cut’s lowest point is opposite the bud and even with it and the highest point about 1/4 inch above the bud.

Pruning a branch with buds that grow opposite each other in pairs, call for a flat cut above the buds.

When pruning larger limbs (2″ diameter or more), there is a technique involving a series of three cuts that will prevent damage to the tree as the limbs fall.


We’re here to help!

If you still have questions about fall pruning for your particular plants or trees, we’re happy to offer you some advice! Just get in touch with our gardening experts, or come see us in person. And now that you’ve started thinking about fall gardening, take a look at our printable Fall Gardening Checklist to make sure you’re ready to start settling your yard in for another fall and winter.

Don’t be intimidated by pruning – you’ve got this!  

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2020

HARD-TO-KILL HOUSEPLANTS

The popularity of indoor plants is on the rise!  A connection to nature is an essential way to enrich our daily lives and to enjoy a healthy and happy lifestyle.  So this year, we’re keeping things simple with low-maintenance indoor plants.  With that in mind, we asked our greenhouse team for their top hard-to-kill houseplants that can thrive – without a green thumb. They share their thoughts on six favorites, below, to make it easy for you to make the green connection!

1. Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica): Very easy to care for, this ornamental specimen is low-light and low-maintenance. Rubber plants should only be watered when the top layer of soil is dry to the touch; be sure you don’t over-water. Keep your rubber plant in a warm location, and avoid exposing it to any sudden temperature changes, which can cause leaf drop. Not only are rubber plants beautiful, they’re also excellent air purifiers. They emit high levels of oxygen, and remove toxins like formaldehyde and airborne mold from a room.

2. Snake Plant (Sansevieria Trifasciata): East, west, north windowsills with filtered light, or in office spaces with flourescent light. Wait until the pot is quite dry before watering. Water if you notice the leaves are drooping and the pot feels dry.

3. Z Z Plant (Zamioculcas Zamifolia): This is a nice, compact, neat and tidy looking plant. Almost impossible to kill, the ZZ can accommodate a broad spectrum of light conditions, except for bright, south facing light.  It can also withstand drought, so it’s the perfect plant for someone who forgets to water.  Expect it to do very little; it doesn’t grow, it doesn’t die, it just kind of sits there.

4. Succulents/Cactus All cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti. There are thousands of varieties of succulents and cactus to choose from! Succulents and cacti are defined by their moisture-storing capacity allowing them to survive in arid climates by retaining water in their stems and leaves. They require very little water (read: maybe once a month waterings) and love bright, sunny windowsills to grow on.

5. Pothos (Epipremnum aureum): A great choice for novices, this vining plant can be trained to climb around windowsills, or to hang down from tall ledges.  They also look great in hanging baskets or in wall planters. I love the different shades it comes in, from lime green to variegated to deep green. It can thrive even in very low light such as offices that only have flourescent lights, and won’t suffer if it goes a bit too long without water.

6. Bromeliad (Vriesea, Neoregelia, or Aechmea): There are more than 3,000 known species of bromeliads, but the three varieties listed are some of my favorites. They offer an interesting, architectural shape and bright, beautiful flower stalks. Bromeliads can withstand drought, but aren’t tolerant of excess watering. They can thrive in a variety of light situations, but most prefer brighter environments with some protection from direct sun.

Our greenhouse is filled to the brim with hundreds of these hard-to-kill plants!  Be sure to stroll through our collection of stylish pots and planters while you’re here, to design the perfect plant and pot duo for your decor. Our greenhouse team will pot your new houseplant up for you (free of charge) when you select both a plant and pot.

Here’s to the green life!

Tuesday, September 1st, 2020

OUR FAVORITE TREES AND SHRUBS FOR FALL COLOR

Autumn is a beautiful season when we get to enjoy many colours that don’t show up throughout the rest of the year. And while summer usually gets all of the glory in this department, fall is actually a great time for gardening! The ground is still warm, which plants love, and the air is not as hot, which is more comfortable for us while working outdoors.

The pigment that causes the vibrant colours we see in fall is actually present in the leaves of your favourite trees and shrubs throughout the year, we just can’t see it until chlorophyll production slows and eventually stops in the fall. Fall colours can vary from plant to plant and even from year to year, and taking advantage of the changing colours is the best way to extend your gardening season and enjoy your yard for as long as possible! Below are some suggestions for trees and shrubs that will add vibrancy to your autumn view, with links to our Plant Finder so that you can take a closer look at your favourites.

Shrubs for Fall Colour

Barberry

A rounded plant with arching branches that develop outstanding fall colour, barberry is an ideal shrub to use as an accent plant.

Amur Maple

We love the fine-branched, compact, and rounded form of amur maple for borders, hedges, or foundation planting. We also love the beautiful orange-red fall colours it produces!

Saskatoon

In addition to pretty white flowers in spring and delicious berries in summer, this mounded shrub turns a range of stunning yellow-orange to red colours in the fall, even when growing in shade.

Burning Bush

There’s a reason for the name of this shrub – the brilliant red fall colour is gorgeous, and in the winter the corky bark will add some interest to your yard as well.

Hydrangea

Who doesn’t love a hydrangea?! This showy landscape shrub will flower right up until the first frost, and will change colour as the weather cools.

Sumac

All sumacs display beautiful, red fall colour. The mature size can vary greatly depending on the variety, so you’ll find lots of flexibility with this shrub.

Spirea

The spirea is a wonderful all-season plant with something to appreciate year-round: showy flowers, beautiful summer foliage, and crimson fall colour.

Cranberry

Most cranberry shrubs prefer a part-shade location and moist soil, and if you find the right spot you’ll get to see its beautiful crimson fall leaves.

Trees for Fall Colour:

Maple

There are many varieties of maple, and all have outstanding fall colours.

Birch

Paper Birch are native to parts of Manitoba, which makes them a great choice to include in your yard. The birch has beautiful exfoliating bark and a bright gold fall colour.

Dogwood

Dogwood is a lovely ornamental tree that flowers in the spring and produces berries in the fall that last through winter. The fall leaves are a reddish purple colour.

Honeylocust

The beautiful lacy foliage of a honeylocust turns a pretty medium-yellow in the fall.

Oak

Pin Oaks are especially good for fall colour, with pyramid-shaped crowns that have a yellow to copper red colour. As a bonus, the leaves may actually hang on through winter rather than falling off completely.

Linden or Basswood

The bright green heart-shaped leaves of linden or basswood trees turn a pretty yellow in the fall. These are great trees for boulevards and shade.

Whether you’re brimming with ideas or are looking for a little advice, visit our outdoor sales yard to get what you need to fill your yard with fall colours! There’s still plenty of time to get outdoors and enjoy your outdoor space. While you’re out there, here are some tips for fall pruning.

Welcome here, autumn!

Hours of Inspiration

Monday-Friday / 10am-5pm
Saturday / 9am-5pm
Sunday / 12pm-5pm

Curbside Pickup Hours
Tuesday-Saturday / 10am-4:30pm

Shelmerdine Garden Centre Ltd.

7800 Roblin Boulevard
Headingley, MB R4H 1B6

Phone: 204.895.7203
Fax: 204.895.4372
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