Friday, November 20th, 2020

NATURAL GIFT WRAPPING IDEAS

Despite the glitter, glamour, and the tempation to go over-the-top during the holidays, it’s the little things that make the holidays so magical. This year, inspired by blogger @simplykellya, we’re being mindful to slow down and to choose simplicity for wrapping our gifts. Enter natural gift wrapping! Our botanically inspired gift-wrapping ideas will make you feel as good about gifting as your loved ones do about receiving. 

Natural Gift Wrapping Ideas

Think about it, once the entire family has finished opening their gifts, a pile of non-recylable wrapping is usually left behind. With little effort, you can feel good about taking part in a more earth-friendly Christmas!

Here’s What You’ll Need!

  • Paper: For the earthy look, go for kraft, simple white or upcycled newspaper.
  • Toppers: Fresh spruce, cedar, and pine clippings are instore at this time of year. Better yet, they can freeze, so you don’t need to worry about them wilting.
  • Little Extras: Twine, butcher string, jute, or vintage ribbons and yarn.
  • Inner Wrapping: Protect the gift inside the box using newspaper, or upcycled fabrics from old sweaters and clothes.
  • Boxes: Visit local stores to ask if you can use their used materials. At Shelmerdine, we make every effort to recycle our packaging – just ask!
  • Santa Sack: Turn a used or upcylcled bedsheet as a way to gather up all of your gifts into a sack!

While the final result is elegant, simplicity is at the heart here. Use whatever you have on hand, or even what you can find in your backyard, or local thriftshop.  The best part? You’ll reap all of the added benefits of working with nature — the perfect thing to keep a calm and happy Christmas mind. We hope that you enjoy practising these natural gift wrapping ideas and that they bring you peace and joy!

Merry Christmas – xo Team Shelmerdine

 

Friday, November 20th, 2020

SLEEPING WITH A SNAKE PLANT

Of all the plants that grace our greenhouse, one special plant rises above all others, and it’s the Snake Plant. The Snake Plant or Sansevieria (san-se-vi-ee’-ri-ah) is a tried-and-true houseplant that anyone can keep and enjoy.  But it’s also a superb air purifier that has the power to improve your sleep and change your life. Our team is so passionate about the benefits of Snake Plants, and here’s why!

Let’s talk about air quality.

Air quality is important – we all know this, but sometimes air quality escapes us. We don’t see it, so we don’t think about it. But the air in our homes can be a far greater source of unhealthy air than outdoor air pollution. This is especially true in Manitoba, where we tend to spend the majority of our year indoors.  Poor air quality in your home can effect your heart and lung health, hurt your sleep quality, and impact your mood, with children being even more succeptible to this than adults. The air we breath is as important as the food we eat.

Now, let’s step into the bedroom!

You will spend about 26 years of your life sleeping. Sleep disorders are on the rise, and one facet that effects our sleep is the air quality in our bedrooms. If you have to choose one room to focus on air quality, it should be the bedroom! So how exactly does keeping a Snake Plant in your bedroom improve the air quality? The Snake Plant is unique because it has the ability to perform a type of photosynthesis called Crassulacean Acid Metabolism. What this means is that it converts CO2 (carbon dioxide – the air you exhale) to O2 (oxygen – the air you inhale) – at night!  Most plants go throught this process during the day.  While the Snake Plant performs this oxygen producing function, it’s also filtering chemical toxins like formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene, and benzene from the air. These are chemicals released by mattresses, bedding, furniture, carpeting, and paint, which we would otherwise inhale.

According to NASA’s Clean Air Study, the Snake Plant is so effective in producing oxygen that if you were locked in a sealed room with no airflow (yikes!), you would be able to survive with just 6-8 plants in it. NASA recommends 15 to 18 medium-to-large size plants for a 1,800 square-foot home for optimum air quality.

As if this plant weren’t amazing enough, it’s also the most durable of all plants to survive even the most unsuitable growing conditions, abuse and neglect that a plant could receive. Basically, you have to work really hard to kill a Snake Plant! It’s the perfect plant for apartments, dorm rooms, and of course, the bedroom. Purchasing a couple of these miracle plants will greatly enhance your sleep quality.  Try it for yourself!  We guarantee that you will notice a difference within a week or two.

Sweet dreams!

Sunday, November 15th, 2020

FESTIVE FRAGRANCING FOR THE HOME

The smell of a crackling fire, a fresh pine and cedar, and gingerbread cookies baking in the oven . . . it’s time to do some festive fragrancing in the home! Because our sense of smell is a trigger point for emotional memories, fragrances play an undeniably role in our celebration of the holidays. And so, surrounding ourselves with holiday scents is one of the best ways to get into the festive spirit.

Here are a few ideas to fill your holiday home with fragrance!

Forest Floor Seasonal Simmer  

One of the simplest ways to festively fragrance your home is on the stove top. Grab a saucepan and add a few cups of water along with your favourite holiday ingredients. We love to boil sprigs of fresh cedar or pine branches, rosemary, and eucalyptus. Mix and match to create your own personalized simmer pot and let the hot steam fill your home! This is also a great way to add humidity to your home, which will make your houseplants happy.

Cinnamon Spice Simmer Pot

You’ll love this stovetop recipe – not only does it smell incredible, but you also get to drink it! Our Mulling Spices have been a staff and customer favorite for decades! Simply fill the pot with either apple juice or red wine, add the mulling spices and let it simmer. The longer you let it simmer, the more intense the spice becomes. Want to enhance it even more? Get creative! Add some star anise, cardamom pods, citrus slices, cranberries or cinnamon sticks to the pot. It will all serve to enhance the flavor and your entire home will smell warm and delightfully spicy.

Frasier Fir

Our favorite holiday fragrance of all time is Frasier Fir by The Thymes.  This lineup of candles, room sprays, diffusers, scented sachets, and potpourri delivers an unrivaled fragrance of crisp, natural fir that literally screams ‘Christmas is here!’.  Frasier Fir has achieved a cult following by our customers over the years, and with good reason – it delivers an aromatic snap of Siberian fir, cedarwood and earthy sandalwood that evokes warmth and comfort. If you’ve yet to discover this collection, rest assured it’s a staple in our Christmas store!

Have fun and get creative while you enjoy some festive fragrancing this holiday season!

 

 

Sunday, November 8th, 2020

OUR BASIC GUIDE TO HOLIDAY GREENING

There are so many things to love about the holiday season, but if you ask us, nothing beats greening up the home with fresh cedar, pine, and fir! As soon as our fresh greens arrive, we fill our arms full of bunches, bring them home and whip out the pruners. In just an hour or so, you can fill vases, planters, even old teapots with fragrant greenery in every corner of the house. Whether this is new to you or you just need a refresher course, follow along with our basic guide to holiday greening.

Grab a glass of holiday cheer, and enjoy!

1. Nothing but the freshest greenery will do!

Only choose the freshest greenery you can find. Garden centres (like us!) expertly store and keep our greens at optimal humidity and temperature levels, whereas big box and grocery stores, well, not so much! Needles should be vibrant green and pliable, so avoid any greenery that is yellowing, browning, or crispy to the touch. Plan to use your greenery the same day that you buy it. In the case that you need to store it temporarily, keep it in a cold garage.

Shelmerdine Christmas Greens

2. Decide on your vessels.

Any watertight container will work. From vases to plant pots, teacups to tupperware – anything that holds water will do the job. And size doesn’t matter either! You might opt for smaller vessels for nightstands, bathrooms and offices, and larger vessels for dining and coffee tables. Think through where you will place each vessel in your home, and then line them all up on your work surface.

3. Assemble your supplies.

To get started, you’ll need: pruners or strong pruning snips, blocks of floral foam (often referred to as Oasis), a mixture of fresh greenery boughs, and any additional decorative items such as pinecones, bows, and baubles. And of course, your vessels!

4. Soak and fill.

Fill up your sink with cool water and completely submerge and soak the floral wire for about 10 minutes. Here’s a little pro tip! Take a toothpick and poke into the middle of the foam a few times – it will help water soak through to the center quickly. Once soaked, fill the vessels with the foam. It doesn’t have to be perfect and you can cut the foam with a knife to get the shape right. If you end up with little scrap corners of foam, use those up too.

Shelmerdine Holiday Greening

4. Start chopping!

Using your pruners, cut your boughs into various sizes of pieces. They can range from 4″ to 8″ depending on the size of the vessels you’re using. Having a variety of sizes will give you more options in terms of shaping the arrangement. Making your cuts on a diagonal 45% angle will make them easier to insert into the foam, as opposed to a blunt 90% angle.

5. Let the greening begin!

At last, the fun part! Begin by pushing a spring of greenery into the middle of the vessel. As a rule of thumb, this center sprig should be x 1 to x 1.5 compared to the height of the vessel. Working from this center piece outward, push more and more greenery springs into the foam, working with taller pieces towards the center and shorter pieces towards the edges. Here’s the trick – don’t think too hard! Just keep adding and filling! As an end result, you shouldn’t see any floral foam at all. Use any and all sprigs that you have, and as many varieties as you can, just make sure they are in contact with the wet foam. If, at the end, a few pieces look askew, pull them out and reposition them, or use your pruners to snip them to size.

Shelmerdien

6. Embellish with pinecones, ribbon, decorative picks – play!

Now that you’ve greened up your vessel, add some holiday flare with whatever items you have! Some of our favorites are picked pine cones, baubles, ribbon, and little twigs from the garden. Some choose to leave their greenery arrangements ‘naked’ and this is just as beautiful!

Shelmerdine Greenery Arrangement

7. Top up the water. 

Dip your finger into the corner of the container. If you feel fluid water, you’re fine, but if water doesn’t pour out of the container, fill it up as much as you can. Greenery arrangements are thristy, and daily watering should be expected. Avoid placing your arrangements near floor vents and fireplaces altogether. As a general rule, fresh greenery arrangements last about 2 weeks indoors. Therefore, if you plan to create a centrepiece for your Christmas dinner, time that project as close to Christmas as possible.

We hope that our basic guide to holiday greening is helpful and that greening will become part of your holiday tradition. Don’t forget – fresh greenery arrangements are wonderful and economical gifts for your loved ones too! For even more inspiration, visit our Shelmerdine Pinterest board right here, or better yet, visit us!

Happy Holidays!

xo Team Shelmerdine

Friday, November 6th, 2020

HOT MULLED WINE

Hot mulled wine is the bomb! If you’re of European descent, you cherish the taste and feeling of hot mulled wine taking the winter chill out of your body. It’s the loveliest, most intoxicating of holiday indulgences!  This simple recipe brings back memories of gathering around the fire at outdoor winter markets and of good ol’ holiday cheer! You may know it as Glögg in Sweden, Gluhwein in Germany, and Vin Brule in Italy, either way, hot mulled wine is an international crowd-pleaser. So let’s get you started! This festive holiday drink is easy to make and will warm up your guests – in minutes! 

shelmerdine-hot-mulled-wine-glogg

INGREDIENTS:

– 1 bottle red wine. Use Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon – NOT Merlot!

– 1/3 cup honey. We use our favorite local honey.

– 1 navel or blood orange, sliced into rounds, or a few shakes of orange bitters

– 2-3 piece of of each cloves, nutmeg, star anise, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, cardamom, black peppercorns, or 1 package of our famous Crave Mulling Spices

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine honey, sliced orange, and spices in a large pot. Cook over medium heat, adding just a small glug of wine to start (water works just as well here). Stir this to create a syrup-like consistency. Bring this spice base to a boil, and then turn down to simmer for  4-5 minutes.  The longer you let it mull, the better it tastes!
  2. Add the remainder of the wine and turn the heat down to low. Allow the wine to warm gradually without coming to a boil (and burning off alcohol content).
  3. Ladle into mugs, garnishing with a cinnamon stick or a slice of fresh orange.
  4. Enjoy – and pace yourself!

Tip: Wrap the loose spices in a reusable tea bag or some cheesecloth. Don’t have oranges? Substitute for chopped apples or raisins. Also, consider substituting the hot red wine for apple juice or tea to create a sweet, alcohol-free version of this festive drink.

Cheers to the holidays!

Thursday, November 5th, 2020

GROWING BULBS INDOORS

As we put our gardens to rest for the winter, it’s time to turn our focus to gardening activities indoors. Growing bulbs indoors, or ‘forcing’ them, is one the funnest ways to do this! ‘Forcing’ a bulb essentially means coaxing it into producing a shoot, stem and flower outside of its regular environment and schedule. With just a little bit of sunshine, warmth and attention, you’ll enjoy gorgeous paperwhite, amaryllis, and hyacinth blossoms!

Here’s are our step-by-step guide to growing bulbs indoors:

Growing Bulbs Indoors

STEP 1: PLANTING THE BULBS

Keep your bulbs away from warmth and sunlight up until you’re ready to force it into growth. When you examine your bulbs, it will be very clear to see where the root meets the bulb. As long as the roots are kept moist, your bulb will be encouraged to grow. You have 2 options here – you can either plant your bulbs in some well-draining potting soil, or you can set them into a soiless bulb vase, whereby only its roots touch the water. Remember — this will be the container you display your bloomed arrangement in, so choose wisely! At this stage, set the bulbs in moderate light and in a cooler spot.

STEP 2: SPROUTING UP

The fun part! Once the sprouts begin to emerge, move the plant to brighter light and a slightly warmer spot if possible. Remember to check its water daily and to rotate it each time you check it. This will encourage an upright growth pattern, rather than it leaning towards the light. 

STEP 3: FILLING OUT AND BLOOMING

After a few weeks, you’ll notice the plants beginning to fill out. Now is the time to move them to a bright, sunny location with a temperature of about 18° C. Any warmer, and the flowering time may reduce. Once the flowers open, move them out of direct sunlight — this will help the flowers to last longer. Enjoy your gorgeous blooms and continue to water them until they expire. Many gardeners enjoy storing their bulbs from year to year. Simply place the spent bulb into a paper bag with some lightly dampened peat moss, and store it away in a cool, dark spot until next winter.

We hope you get as much joy out of growing bulbs indoors as we do!

Shelmerdine Paperwhite Bulbs

 

 

Thursday, November 5th, 2020

A LOOK INSIDE OUR POINSETTIA CROP

Look Inside Our Poinsettia Crop

Each and every year, we lovingly grow more than 10,000 gorgeous poinsettia plants right here at Shelmerdine. We take immense pride in this crop, because the quality, size, and health of our plants are unlike any that you’ll find elsewhere. Here’s a look inside our poinsettia crop and why our plants are so special!

It All Starts in July!

The poinsettia plants arrive in the form of rooted cuttings known as ‘plugs.’ Led by our owner and head grower, Chad Labbe, our team transplants over 20 varieties of plugs into larger pots, in which they’ll mature. Once the babies are potted up, the work begins. “The amount of control we have over how they turn out is far greater than any other crop. Through lighting and fertilization, we control the plant’s height, spread, how many bracts it’ll have, and when it’ll ripen into colour,” Chad explains. “We regularly measure growth and height with a ruler throughout their cycle. This way we ensure that they’ll be the perfect size in time for the holiday season.”

Fast Forward Five Months!

Behind the scenes, as autumn comes to a close, the poinsettia crop evolves, under Chad’s careful crop management. “They feel like babies that we get to nurture intto maturity. Poinsettias take more than five months to grow, so we get really intimate with this crop.” And then the day arrives! The poinsettia bracts—or leaves—turn from green into brilliant shades of reds, pinks and white. This is the day that our entire team celebrates – when the greenhouses turn from a field of green into a carpet of colour!

“Our favourite part about growing the poinsettia crop is the time we get to spend with them.”

This is an exciting time of year for schools, charitable organizations, and community groups who raise money through our Poinsettia Fundraising Program. It brings us so much satisfaction to deliver our (once baby) poinsettias to thousands of homes. But it’s also an exciting time for Chad and his team. They get to see five months of hard work come to fruition in a grandiose display of colour.

Once the poinsettias leave our greenhouse, the challenge becomes ensuring that they thrive in their new home. For this to happen, be sure to check out our poinsettia care tips.

We hope that this look inside our poinsettia crop will encourage you to buy local. Happy holidays and a joyous season from our families to yours!

xoxo Team Shelmerdine

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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