Tuesday, March 30th, 2021

DEALING WITH DEER

We can certainly appreciate the natural beauty of a deer stepping through a forest or quietly making its way across the prairie. But, deer and gardens definitely do not mix. Deer are not uncommon in Winnipeg backyards. It can be tricky to keep them from eating your plants and trees. Here are a few tips and products that will help you prevent your yard from becoming a deer feeding ground.

The only sure thing

The only sure and permanent way to keep deer out is to construct a garden deer fence. To eliminate the chance of a deer jumping the fence, it needs to be sturdy and at least seven-and-a-half to eight-feet high. That’s a big investment that many of us don’t want to go to those lengths (or should we say heights?!). So let’s discuss deterrent products, which can be very effective when used properly.

Keep deer away by staying one step ahead

Deer are surprisingly undiscriminating when it comes to what they will eat, and they’re also incredibly adaptive. There’s a good chance that those you see in your yard from time to time are repeat visitors since deer don’t typically travel far. Varying the types of garden deer repellents, rotating them throughout the season and changing tacts, often are crucial to ward off deer.

We recommend using Bobbex, which deters by taste, and Plantskydd, which deters by smell. Use these products intermittently, starting in the spring. Another variation to add to the mix is an electronic deterrent like Sonic Shield, which is motion-activated to produce ultrasound waves unwelcoming to animals.

Whatever products you use, the key is to mix it up and start early in the season – remember that prevention is a lot easier than interrupting an established pattern! In addition to being useful, these products are also completely safe for your family and pets. They don’t harm deer in any way either.

Gardened stone path

Deer-resistant plants are a guideline, not a rule

Deer tend to avoid plants that are sticky, rough, fuzzy or plants with spiny protection. They also dislike fragrant leaves or a pungent flavour. However, take any list of “deer-resistant” plants with a grain of salt because deer will eat almost any plant if hungry enough. They will overcome their preferences if it means an easy meal, mainly when nothing better is readily available.

You can see a list of plants that deer are not attracted to right here. It may help to use these plants on the perimeter of your garden, creating a kind of fence around the plants that deer enjoy. Keeping wild grassy areas trimmed and cleaned can also prevent deer from being tempted to bed down.  

Staking a tree

Protecting your trees

Deer are notorious for eating cedars and evergreens in the winter when nutrients are scarce. Deer are also known to strip the leaves off of young trees in the summer months. To keep deer away from your trees, create a perimeter around them with stakes and securely wrap wire mesh (such as chicken wire) around the stakes. Be sure to make a wide enough boundary that deer can’t merely eat the foliage right through the mesh.

We know it can be frustrating, but with a little patience and persistence, your yard and garden can co-exist with the deer passing through it. If you need additional tips or resources, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us—we’re always happy to help.

Make a plan, stick with it, and watch your garden flourish!  

Monday, March 1st, 2021

GROWING BEGONIA BULBS INDOORS

Even though there’s snow on the ground, now’s the time to put some spring into your step! Take advantage of the month of March by beginning to grow begonia bulbs indoors. Begonias are such bold and brightly coloured flowers, and growing them comes with beautiful rewards! In our climate (zone 3), you can begin your begonias mid-March—between 8 to 12 weeks before the threat of frost ends. They’ll be in bloom and ready for planting into your garden and containers come planting time. 

LET’S GROW BEGONIA BULBS!

1. PREPARE YOUR POTS OR TRAYS

Fill pots or trays with 2-3 inches of soil and moisten. Surround the bulbs (also called tubers) completely in potting medium. Begonias love arid mixes such as soil mixed with coco fibre and/or coir. These mixes retain moisture while allowing young, new roots to breathe. Be aware that roots develop all around the bulb. Place the tubers hollow side up, and cover them with another inch of soil and water them in.

Begonia bulbs indoor pot

2. KEEP COVERED AND COZY ON

Begonias like to grow in warm and humid environments. Cover pots or trays with plastic wrap or a clear plastic dome, but make sure they can still ‘breathe’ under there. Keep the bulbs at 20 degrees Celsius or higher – but never cooler than 15 degrees Celsius.  Bulbs prefer bright, direct light or indirect sunlight. Monitor their growth and keep the soil moist, but not overwatered or the bulbs will rot. After about 5-6 weeks, you should see shoots or leaves coming out of the soil. Remove their plastic covers and continue to offer sunlight and regular waterings.

3. TRANSPLANT AND ENJOY BEGONIAS OUTDOORS

Once the begonia leaves have started to show good growth you can begin to ‘harden them off’ by setting them outdoors during the daytime and bringing them in at night. This gets them used to being outside and in cooler temperatures. When the risk of frost has passed, (this is typically after May 18 in Manitoba), transplant them outside into your containers or shaded garden beds. Fertilize every two weeks for maximum growth and vibrance. Keep watered and enjoy the bright colours all summer long!

WHAT TYPE OF BEGONIA BLOOM TO CHOOSE?

There are four common begonias varieties and within each variety you’ll find a rainbow of colors!

FIBROUS BEGONIAS

Fibrous Begonias are known for their colourful flowers, compact shape, and rounded green, bronze, or variegated leaves. They can even be overwintered inside the home in a sunny window as a pretty tabletop plant.

fibrous begonias

TUBEROUS BEGONIAS

Tuberous begonias are in a class all their own! They’re big, lush, rose-like flowers are incomparable, and are one of the best (if only) blooms that can bring colour to the shade garden or north facing containers. At the end of summer, tuberous varieties can be stored in a cool, dry place over winter, to be grown the following spring.

Yellow Begonia

RIEGER BEGONIAS

Rieger Begonias, also known as Solenia, offer outstanding performance in flower beds and in containers. They are vigorous growers with a mounding habit that are wind resistant, drought tolerant, and mildew resistant. Unlike other shade loving begonias, Riegers can take full sun! Solenia turns heads wherever they’re grown, with small colourful blooms that sprout from every branch.

begonias in garden

REX

Rex begonias are as cool as their name sounds! Prized for their patterned and uniquely shaped leaves, they’re at home in the shade garden or planter, as well as a houseplant. Rex lovers tend to collect multiple varieties – they’re a strangely addictive plant family! 

rex begonias growing indoors

We hope that we’ve inspired you to try out a new gardening activity by starting some begonia bulbs this spring. Our team gets so excited for the arrival of begonia bulbs each March – they truly are work of nature’s art!

GROW SOME BEGONIAS FROM BULB THIS SPRING!

Hours of Inspiration

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

Shelmerdine Garden Centre Ltd.

7800 Roblin Boulevard
Headingley, MB R4H 1B6

Phone: 204.895.7203
Toll Free: 1.888.895.0032
Fax: 204.895.4372
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