Monday, September 3rd, 2018

How-To: Fall Pruning 101

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 pruning is critical for establishing healthy looking plants and for 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

The right equipment will not only make your job easier, it will also 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 manoeuvre easily, making these the most popular choice.
  • For branches up to 2.5 inches in diameter: For this size of branch, 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: For these bigger jobs, choose a hand pruning saw, which will make a clean cut that will heal nicely. Make sure you choose a saw that is large enough for the branches you want to cut.

Proper technique

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, but 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. This can be done with a solution of 1:1 bleach and water. Using tree paint to seal a wound is not necessary, and often not recommended.
  • Pruning for most deciduous trees should be done while the tree is dormant. This means 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 should not be pruned in the fall. Rather, prune evergreens in late spring to early summer after new growth has started – mid-June is usually best.
  • Fruit-bearing trees should do not be pruned 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.
  • Spring-flowering bushes and shrubs such as lilacs should be pruned 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

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

When pruning a branch with buds that grow opposite each other in pairs, make 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 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!  

Thursday, August 30th, 2018

Our Gardens: Help Your Garden Beat the Heat!

While most plants enjoy a certain amount of sun, very few can tolerate high temperatures for too long without extra help. Vegetables will wilt quickly, and crops like lettuce may bolt and end up tasting bitter. As that summer heat wave rolls on, here are a few things you can do to protect your garden:

1. Don’t water during the heat of the day.

A deep watering in the morning or evening will guarantee that water gets down to the roots of your plants and doesn’t simply evaporate off the soil surface.

2. Try an automated timer.

Automated timers for sprinklers and hoses are ideal for watering late at night or while you’re away on holidays. Try a simple-to-use water timer that attaches to your faucet or garden hose, no batteries needed.

3. Give vegetables an extra drink when it’s extra hot.

Keep a close eye on annuals and vegetables for wilting – when temperatures really soar, these plants may need an extra bit of water to help them through the day. If that is the case, use your watering can to water close to the roots, and avoid splashing water on the leaves.

4. Soaker hoses will save water and money.

Obviously, watering is essential if you want your garden to thrive in heat, but all that moisture can come at a cost. A soaker hose can save from 30-70% water usage!

5. Rain water is best – collect it with a rain barrel!

Rain water is soft, pure, aerated, the perfect temperature, and free! Catch it with a rain barrel that can be attached right to your hose for easy watering.

6. Fertilize regularly for strong roots that take up water.

Watering with a fertilizer like Myke at regular intervals will encourage root growth. Deeper, stronger roots mean plants can take up more water and better stand against those long, hot summer days.

7. Keep moisture in soil with mulch or landscape fabric.

The best garden mulches are wood and bark chips, because they absorb moisture, as opposed to rock or stone. Soaking thick layers of newspaper can also work as a temporary water-retaining mulch while you’re on holidays! Mulches and fabrics will also help to keep weeds at bay, and will protect plants from damage during the winter.  

8. Plant some shade!

If you need to plant shade-loving plants in a sunny garden, you can try blocking them with leafy, sun-loving plants. If you really finding it tough to keep up with watering during the summer, take a long-term strategy and plant a shade tree in a strategic location to help you out.

Talk to our experts for advice on types of trees and how and where to plant for the best results, or use our Plant Finder tool to dig up the best options for your garden.

Be proactive for a healthy garden, all summer long!

Wednesday, August 1st, 2018

Outdoor Living: Lawn Mowing Tips and Tricks

A soft, inviting lawn is one of our favourite parts of summer – great for kids, fun for your dog, and a perfect place to lay down a blanket and have a picnic or just read a book. Plus, a well-kept lawn really ratchets up the curb appeal of your home! With that in mind, here are a few of our professional mowing dos and don’ts, to help you achieve the lawn of your dreams.

Blades and bags:

  • Do: Have your lawn mower blades sharpened before the mowing season begins and check them once a month. Sharp blades make a clean cut, while dull blades make ragged cuts that don’t heal well.
  • Don’t: Use a bag to collect grass clippings. The clippings actually feed and fertilize your lawn as they break down.

Lawn length:

  • Do: Cut your lawn “high.” Grass should be trimmed only to about three inches. That little bit of length helps limit weed growth, reduces the need for watering, and promotes strong root structure.
  • Don’t: Buzz-cut an overgrown lawn to “get back on schedule.” Instead, cut the grass back in increments, never by more than a third of its current length.

The right time to mow:

  • Do: Take any chemical, weather, or moisture changes into consideration before deciding to mow, rather than following a strict schedule.
  • Don’t: Cut your lawn obsessively. Like any plant, grass needs time to recover after being cut. Plus, excessive use will only wear out your mower.
  • Don’t: Mow your lawn when it’s wet. This causes damage to both your mower blades and your grass.

Extra nutrients make extra green and healthy grass:

  • Do: Try an iron supplement! Get the greenest lawn on the block by applying this Iron Chelate.   
  • Don’t: Bag your leaves in fall. Mowing or mulching leaves into your grass will provide your lawn with a good source of nitrogen, encouraging healthy growth come spring.  

These really simple adjustments to your mowing habits can make such a big difference that’s it’s worth it think twice before you fire up the mower! Plus, a well-kept lawn will be a less-enticing place for deer to bed down, and that means less risk of your trees and garden being eaten – see more here.

And of course, there’s that fresh-cut grass smell – enjoy!  

Monday, July 16th, 2018

Outdoor Living: Caring for Your Hanging Baskets

Here we are, smack dab in the middle of summer, and our gardens are officially at prime lushness! If you picked up some flowering hanging baskets at the start of the season that you’re struggling to keep looking fresh and full, here are 4 quick tips for making sure that your baskets are only more beautiful as the summer stretches on.

Tip 1: Cut back leggy plants to clean up their shape and promote new growth.

As mid-summer comes around, plants in hanging baskets can start to look straggly – around here, you’ll hear our garden experts say it’s time to ‘give it a good haircut!’ Aggressively cutting back plants like verbena, petunias, and impatiens will encourage new growth, and a new set of fresh blooms will emerge within a week! Just make sure you have a good set of pruners like the Gardena Classic Secateur.

Pro tip! Cut leggy stems back by about 2/3 of their length.

 

 

Tip 2: Baskets are susceptible to wind and are quick to dry out, so water often and thoroughly. 

Plants in containers generally need to be watered more often than those planted in the ground, and this is especially true for hanging baskets. You should expect to water hanging baskets every day, or even twice a day when temperatures or winds are really high. Run water over the center of the baskets and around the edges, and water until you see a continual stream pouring out of the bottom of the pot.

Pro tip! A quick way to assess whether your basket needs watering is to reach up and lift the pot from below – if the basket feels light, it really needs water.  

 

Tip 3: Deadhead blooming plants regularly to promote new blooms, and keep plants in good health.

As flowers fade and die, simply pinch the dead blooms off where they meet the stem. Not only will your plant be healthier, but you’ll be more likely to see another bloom before the season is over!

Pro tip! If you do a quick deadhead sweep each time you water your plant, the task will be quick and easy and your plant will always look its best.

 

 

Tip 4: Nutrients will leave the potting mix quickly due to frequent watering, so replenish soil by fertilizing.

Most hanging baskets are planted with a slow-release fertilizer in the soil mix, but after weeks of frequent watering you’ll need to top it up. Around mid-summer, start to feed your plant with a liquid fertilizer like Ultra Bloom Plant Food, and continue to add this to your watering routine every two weeks or so.

Pro tip! Always feed when soil is moist, and never when plants are wilting.   

 

If you’re still struggling with a particular plant, drop by or remember that you can always email our experts with your questions! And while you’re spending so much time in your outdoor spaces, get some inspiration and tips for beautiful container arrangements right here.

Enjoy the summer!

Friday, June 29th, 2018

Our Gardens: Protecting Your Garden from Deer

While we can certainly appreciate the natural beauty of a deer stepping through a forest or quietly making its way across the prairie, deer and gardens definitely do not mix. Deer are not uncommon in Winnipeg backyards, and although deterring them from eating your plants and trees can be tricky, there are a few tips and products that will help you prevent your yard from becoming a feeding ground for our wildlife neighbours.

The only sure thing

The only sure and permanent way to keep deer out is to construct a fence, but if you’re looking to completely eliminate the chance of a deer jumping the fence, it needs to be not only sturdy but at least seven-and-a-half to eight-feet high. Obviously, this is a big investment and many of us just don’t want to go to those lengths (or should we say heights?!), particularly when a large property is involved. This is where deterrent products come in, 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 extremely adaptive. Because deer typically don’t travel far distances over their lifetimes, there’s a good chance that those you see in your yard from time to time are repeat visitors. This all means that the key to warding off deer is to vary the types of deterrents you are using, rotating them throughout the season and changing tacts often so that your neighborhood deer do not get used to the products you’re using. We recommend using Bobbex, which deters by taste, and Plantskydd, which deters by smell, intermittently starting in the spring. Another variation to add to the mix is an electronic deterrent like Yard Gard, which is motion-activated to produce ultrasound waves that deter deer and other 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!

It’s nice to know that in addition to being effective, these products are also completely safe for your family and pets, and don’t harm deer in any way either.  

Deer-resistant plants are a guideline, but not a rule

It’s true that deer tend to avoid plants that are sticky, rough, or fuzzy, and plants with spiny protection. They also dislike fragrant leaves or a pungent flavour. However, any list of “deer-resistant” plants should be taken with a grain of salt, because if hungry enough, deer will eat almost any plant. As we’ve already mentioned, they’re also very good at adapting and will overcome their preferences if it means an easy meal, particularly when nothing better is readily available. So, just because a plant wouldn’t be a deer’s first choice, doesn’t mean it won’t end up suffering the fate of their more expected targets.

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, leaving the plants deer enjoy well within. Keeping wild, grassy areas trimmed and cleaned can also prevent deer from being tempted to bed down.  

Protecting your trees

Deer are notorious for eating cedars and evergreens in the winter, when nutrients are scarce, or stripping the leaves off of young trees that you are trying to get established in the summer months. To protect your trees, create a perimeter around them with stakes and securely wrap wire mesh (such as chicken wire) around the stakes. Be sure to create a wide enough perimeter that deer can’t simply 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!  

Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

Inspiration: Hydrangea Heaven

The single most popular flowering shrub in our region has to be the head-turning hydrangea, with its gorgeous large blooms. Its popularity is no surprise, since there are so many reasons to love this stunning shrub. Reasons like:

  • Colourful, vibrant blossoms all season long
  • Perfect for cut flower arrangements indoors
  • Thrives in our climate, and overwinters extremely well

Chances are good that you already have a hydrangea or two in your garden, but with so many lovely varieties to choose from, there’s every reason to try something new! The hardest part will be deciding which option to add to your yard, so to get you inspired, we’ve asked John, our Nursery Manager, to share his five favourite hydrangea varieties for 2018. Here are John’s top picks:

Invincibelle Limetta  

“This is a new dwarf variety that tops out at 2-3 feet in height and diameter, and features enormous lime green flower heads in mid-summer.”

 

Invincibelle Mini Mauvette

“One of my favourites, this dwarf hydrangea shows off deep pink-mauve flower heads in summer.”

 

Invincibelle Wee White

“This dwarf, rounded selection tops off at 2-3 feet in size, and features pretty white flower heads in summer.”

 

Invincibelle Ruby Smooth

“The Invincibelle Ruby features enormous ruby-red and silver-pink flower heads in mid-summer, which last for a very long time.”

 

Incrediball Blush Smooth

“This variety produces huge flower clusters on sturdy stems, and blooms from mid- to late-summer.”

 

Come by our nursery to snap up your favourite, and while you’re here, don’t hesitate to ask John or any of our helpful staff for tips and recommendations about whatever you’re growing this summer. And if you’re still stuck on which hydrangea variety to choose, check out some fun facts about colour when it comes to the power of flowers.

Always in bloom… we’ll see you soon!

 

Wednesday, May 30th, 2018

Our Gardens: The Dirt on Dirt

Healthy plants start with healthy soil! But with everything from bison manure to sea soil on our shelves, knowing what to grab, what to mix, and what does what can be a bit of a head scratcher. So in the interests of this whole issue becoming a lot clearer than mud, let’s get you the dirt on all the different kinds of dirt.

The dirt: Red River Basin Clay

What it does: Honestly… not a whole lot!
We love our hometown as much as anyone, but the soil around Winnipeg is notoriously tough on gardeners, due to the very high clay content. It is difficult to dig into, and low in nutrients.

How to use it: Break up the clay and add organic material
To see success in your garden, you’ll need to give your natural soil a little helping hand by both breaking up the clay and adding nutrients. In other words – read on!

 

The dirt: Claybuster

What it does: Loosens tight clay, to let air and water penetrate the soil

How to use it: Turn over clumps of soil in the fall, for great results come spring
While it can be used at any time, our preference is to apply claybuster in the fall. Spread generously, then work into your garden using a spade to lift large clumps of soil. Come spring, those clumps will melt like butter! Repeat yearly.

 

The dirt: Peat Moss

What it does: Loosens clay soil and improves texture; retains moisture and improves drainage
Peat moss has always been many a gardener’s favorite soil amendment, and will greatly improve our high clay content soil.

How to use it: Using liberal amounts, mix thoroughly with your existing soil

The dirt: Coir

What it does: Decomposes slowly while conditioning soil, improving moisture flow, and retaining water
Harvested from coconut husks, coir is naturally disease and weed free and 100% natural and renewable, making it an eco-friendly way to improve your soil. Coir will help your plants develop stronger root systems and improve soil’s nutrient and moisture retention – it holds up to 10 times its volume in water!  

How to use it: Mix with any soil (it’s especially great for sandy soil), or use it to line hanging baskets


The dirt: Compost

What it does: Improves soil texture, and adds a TON of nutrients
Compost trumps most other soil amendments due to the sheer amount of nutrients it contains. Compost can include everything from decomposed egg shells and banana peels to leaves and grass clippings – anything organic that has sufficiently broken down to look like rich, dark soil.

How to use it: Mix generous amounts of compost into soil

 

The dirt: Manure

What it does: Improves soil structure, and increases organic nutrient value
Similar to compost, manure will give your plants the food they need to grow and thrive. There is little difference between sheep, steer, and mushroom manure.

How to use it: Mix with soil in a ratio of up to 50/50
Bagged manure is odour-free and highly concentrated – a win-win!

 

The dirt: Bone Meal

What it does: Builds soil fertility over time, with a slow and steady release  
Bone meal contains lots of phosphorous for bigger, bolder blooms and stronger roots. It releases slowly and steadily, keeping your plants healthy and strong over time.

How to use it: Mix with any soils, but especially for use with roses, bulbs, and blooming plants

 

The dirt: Blood Meal

What it does: Gives anemic plants an organic boost; repels mice and other rodents  
High in nitrogen and fast-acting, blood meal is a perfect compliment to bone meal, which is why they are often mixed together in the same package.  

How to use it: Use together with bone meal

 

The dirt: Worm Castings

What it does: Cycles nutrients, consumes pathogens, and stabilizes soil  
This stuff is 100% organic black gold! It’s also worm poop, which has an amazing diversity of plant-beneficial biology. Along with cycling nutrients, worm castings will actually destroy pathogens, and even create stable soil aggregates – the perfect triple-threat for the healthiest of plants.

How to use it: Work into your garden for healthy, stable soil

The dirt: Wood or bark mulch

What it does: Breaks down over time to add organic matter; retains moisture, insulates, and keeps weeds at bay
Good gardeners know that mulch is the ticket to healthy soil and strong plant growth. Like the forest floor, organic mulches break down over time, contributing to soil health. Over the shorter-term, it retains moisture and reduces temperature fluctuations during the growing season, and insulates soil to minimize injury over the winter.

How to use it: Top up once a year to refresh appearance, maintaining a depth of 2 to 3 inches

Once your soil is up to snuff, you can be confident that the time and energy you put into planting and tending to your garden will be well worth it. If you’ve got a large project on your hands this year, remember that we deliver bulk loads of topsoil, compost, peat moss, sand, and other commodities to help make the process a little easier. Just a quick phone call to 204-895-7203 is all it takes, and we’ll deliver your order to your property in 2 days.

While you’ve got growing on the brain, check out our top 5 tips for growing herbs in containers!

Happy planting!

Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

Grow: Our Top Five Tips for Growing Herbs in Containers

Fresh basil on homemade pizza, fresh oregano in a pasta sauce, fresh thyme on roasted chicken – when it comes to cooking, fresh herbs are the secret to taking your dish from good to mouthwatering! Luckily, herbs are also one of the easiest things to grow and will thrive in containers, which means that you can blow your dinner guests, or just your family, away with homegrown scents and flavours that totally transform your cooking.

Here are our experts’ five essential tips to growing a vibrant and lush potted herb garden:

1. Grow organic

You may be surprised to learn what a difference this makes, but herbs grown in organic soil and with organic fertilizer have much better flavour and potency. We recommend using a quality organic soil like this one to get the best results. Don’t forget that regular feeding is an important step in caring for any plants, and it’s best to go organic here as well when it comes to growing herbs. During the growing season, feed your herbs with a slow-release organic fertilizer, or a half-strength solution of organic liquid fertilizer such as Sea Magic every three to four weeks.

2. Provide good drainage

Herbs thrive on good drainage, so before you do anything else, make sure that your pot has sufficient drainage holes. Elevating pots on pottery feet, bricks, stones, or even another pot turned upside-down can also help to improve drainage. And it’s not just your container or your pot placement that matters – well-draining soil is KEY! To help you on this front, we’ve created a lightweight and porous ‘Magic Mix’ that is perfect for herbs. The mix combines lava rock with organic soil for optimum drainage. You’ll want to be sure to grab some Magic Mix when you’re picking out your herbs to make sure you get the most out of your herb garden!

3. Plant with the herb varieties’ needs in mind

Chives are perennial and overwinter very well, so they are a great option for planting directly into the ground. Mint is an aggressive plant that will take over an entire area or container, so you’ll want to give it its very own pot. Watering needs will vary according to the variety of herb as well as the pot size and type, where you place the container, and the time of year, so be sure to consider all of these factors when planting.

4. Know when to water, and when to wait

Mediterranean and other drought-tolerant herbs such as rosemary, lavender, thyme, and oregano like soil that is on the dryer side, so let the potting soil dry slightly between waterings. For moisture lovers like basil and chives, keep the mix slightly moist – about as damp as a wrung-out sponge – at all times.

The best way to tell when it’s time to water is to let your finger be your guide. If the soil feels dry 1 to 2 inches below the surface, then it’s probably time to water. Be sure to do so thoroughly until you see water flowing freely from the pot’s drainage holes.

5. Pinch and harvest!

Remember that the more you pinch off and use your herbs, the more they’ll be encouraged to leaf out and produce. The result will be a bushier and more productive plant, so don’t be shy – snip those flavourful sprigs and flowering stems and get cooking! If you really want to get the most out of your herb garden, place your pots in close proximity to your kitchen; you really will use them more often. A wall planter like this one below can be hung in a sunny spot right in your kitchen!

Now that you’re prepped and ready to grow, get started by scrolling through this lovely list of fresh herbs that are popping up weekly in our nursery. Then, browse this helpful collection of specific tips for your favourites. You can make your selections with total abandon, or have fun with a theme like Mexican or Italian – it’s all up to you.

Now… what’s for dinner?!  

Sunday, May 6th, 2018

Grow: Purple is the perfect colour, from garden to table!

When colour giant Pantone declares its annual Color of the Year, everyone from fashion leaders to interior designers take notice, and before long we start to see the colour all around us. We were overjoyed and very much on board when Ultra Violet got top honours for 2018, because purple just happens to be one of our favourite colours in the garden!

It’s no secret that colours have serious power – take a look at how the beautiful blooms you choose can affect things like mood and energy here – but our love for purple goes beyond the aesthetic. Fruits and vegetables of this hue have been linked to many health benefits that prevent disease and enhance our wellness.

Studies indicate that antioxidants produced by purple power foods can:  

  • reduce the risk of high blood pressure
  • lower cholesterol
  • help prevent obesity and diabetes
  • assist in lowering the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and neurological diseases
  • reduce inflammation and therefore chronic disease
  • aid cognitive functions
  • help prevent urinary tract infections, fight ulcers, and reduce liver damage and diseases which affect cell development

So with all of that in mind, here are a few of our favourite ways to put some purple on our plates!

 

Purple Ruffles Basil

Why we love it: The large purple leaves of this basil plant have both a strong fragrance and flavour.

How to serve: We recommend using this basil to create colourful and flavourful herb vinegars.

Cosmic Purple Carrots

Why we love it: Who says you can’t mess with an old favourite? These beautiful carrots will not only make your side dishes more lovely, the flesh is also particularly sweet.

How to serve: Try it cooked in a side dish, or add some colour and variety to snack time and enjoy raw.

Red Ball Brussel Sprouts

Why we love it: These little beauties are sweeter than your average brussel sprout, and pack an even heavier nutritional punch.

How to serve: Pull the leaves apart for a lovely salad, serve whole drizzled with a creamy hollandaise sauce, or go with a classic roasted method to get these on your table.

Pomegranate Crunch Romaine Lettuce

Why we love it: Is the name enough reason? Think of this lettuce as a cross between romaine and butterhead varieties.

How to serve: The salad possibilities are endless!

Honeyberry or Haskap

Why we love it: The first reason to love this berry is its sheer hardiness; this plant was made for the Canadian prairies, just like us. The second reason is that nutritional studies show the haskap to have antioxidant levels similar to or perhaps even greater than blueberries! The plant attracts butterflies to your yard, and the berries are delicious.

How to serve: Eat fresh, or make preserves.

Ruby Mizuna Mustard

Why we love it: It looks pretty and tastes great, but a major reason to love this plant is how easy and versatile it is to grow. Expect great results in cooler soil and winter harvests, in outdoor containers, or right in your kitchen.

How to serve: This plant makes for tasty microgreens or delicious and nutritious salads.  

Frontenac Grape

Why we love it: This grape is perfect for making wine… need we say more? Aside from its edible properties, it also makes a great landscaping component for hedges and screening.

How to serve: Try your hand at making juice or wine!

Long Purple Eggplant

Why we love it: The eggplant is such a beautiful purple that “eggplant” has become a colour in its own right. This particular variety is productive and hardy.

How to serve: Try in a stir-fry, or roasted in the oven.

Purple Peacock Pole Beans

Why we love it: These beans are a triple threat! They flower and produce quickly, provide an extremely prolific yield – as long as you pick them, they’ll keep coming in – and they retain flavour extremely well after being picked. Basically there are no reasons NOT to love them.

How to serve: Any way you enjoy green beans will translate – we like these lightly steamed!

Saskatoon

Why we love it: Ah, the saskatoon, that uniquely prairie berry. Like its cousin the haskap, this plant is hardy and versatile, and the berries are lovely but also delicious.

How to serve: If you’ve never had saskatoon pie, you’re not really living. Okay, that might be a little dramatic, but it really is a must-try!

Northcountry blueberry

Why we love it: This beautiful plant produces clusters of lovely little blueberries that are sweet and juicy. So long as you get the soil and drainage formula right, you can expect a bumper crop from this plant.

How to serve: Really, you can enjoy these in almost any way. Sprinkle them fresh on cereal, salads, or ice cream, mix up blueberry pancakes, bake in pies or crisps, make jellies, jams, and preserves… the list is endless!

Some cultures consider purple to be the colour of royalty, and it’s not hard to see why! Add this shade to your garden and your table, and you’ll feel like you’re eating like a king.

Long live purple!

Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

How-to: Composing Beautiful Outdoor Planters

Nothing adds beauty and curb appeal to a home or business like beautifully designed planters. Plants and flowers add so much life, texture, and colour to walkways and outdoor areas, not to mention the huge variety of gorgeous containers that are stunning in their own right! Our design team can create planters that will completely transform your space through our Container Design and Installation Service, or if you looking to take a DIY approach, we have the beautiful containers, gorgeous plants, and everything else you need to create a stunning arrangement. Whether you want to amp up your home’s first impression or transform your patio into an tranquil oasis, here are our designers’ top tips on creating a perfectly composed container.

Step 1. Decide on a look you love

Think about the colours, textures, and fragrances you’re drawn to. Do you like a monochromatic, modern look? Or do you prefer an energetic mix of bright colors, or sweet pastels? There are no limits and no wrong answers here – it’s all about what you like!

You’ll want to know the size and shape of your container and its general placement before you move on to choosing your plants, so start by selecting a container (or containers) that compliment the aesthetics of your home or business, and then start picking out your plants.

Step 2. Choose your “thrillers”

Think of these plants as the star of your show – you want to choose your thriller first, then plan the rest of the cast around it. Thrillers have attention-getting characteristics like bright or dramatic flowers, interesting foliage, or an unusual form. You also want your thrillers to be the tallest plant in your arrangement, so keep that in mind when casting your starring role.

Some of our favourite thrillers: Dracaena Spikes, Canna Lily, Banana Plant, King Tut Grass, Prince Tut Grass, Purple Millet, Cordyline, Dahlia

Step 3. Choose your “fillers”

Filler plants do just what the name suggests: they nestle around your thriller to fill out your container, without competing for attention. The best fillers are generally mounded plants of a medium height – the ideal height will depend on how tall your thriller is – and they should contrast and compliment your thriller plant in colour and texture, for a combination that’s both interesting and beautiful.

Some of our favourite fillers: Lantana, Coleus, Geranium, Sun-Patiens, Heuchera, Celosia, Strawflower, Osteospermum

Step 4. Choose your “spillers”

Last but certainly not least are the spillers. These trailing plants that spill over the sides of your container might just be our favourite parts of a container arrangement; they add a lushness and beauty to any planter display that really take the composition to the next level. And there are so many beautiful options to choose from!

Some of our favourite spillers: Silver Falls Dichondra, Bacopa, Millionbells, Sweet Potato Vine, Lobelia, Creeping Charlie, Trailing Verbena, Vinca, Doreanthus Mezoo, Lysimachia Goldilocks  

Step 5. Put it all together!

Once you have your plants picked out and your container ready, it’s time to build your composition! We like to set the plants into the container and move them around until we come up with the perfect arrangement, before planting them into the soil.

Start by placing your thriller, and be sure to consider how your container will be viewed when you decide on where this plant goes. If your container sits in a location where it will be viewed from all four sides, you’ll likely want to place your thriller in the centre, but if your container will only be seen from one side, it’s likely ideal to set your thriller in the back. Once you’ve got this down, start arranging your fillers around the thriller, and set your spillers in place as well. You want your container to feel full and lush, but don’t forget to leave a little room for your plants to grow!

Truckload Sale! Save 50% off a huge selection of outdoor pots!

Now that you’re inspired, make sure you drop by this week to take advantage of our truckload sale! Our beautiful selection of glazed ceramic containers is 50% off! We also have several free container gardening classes happening this week – see what’s available here. You can find more inspiration by ordering a free copy of Proven Winners Gardener’s Idea Book here, or explore Container Garden Recipe Ideas here.

Time to start dreaming!

Hours of Inspiration

MONDAY - SATURDAY / 9AM - 5PM CLOSED SUNDAYS

Shelmerdine Garden Centre Ltd.

7800 Roblin Boulevard Headingley, MB R4H 1B6

Phone: 204.895.7203 Fax: 204.895.4372 Email: [email protected]