Monday, November 19th, 2018
There are many things to love about the holiday season, but if you ask us, one of the very best parts is seasonal decorating! It’s probably no surprise that fresh greenery is our favourite way to get into the holiday spirit, and to get you started we’ve put together a few tips on how to decorate your own home with fresh greenery:
Starting early? Choose greenery that lasts.
Pine, fir, and cedar dry slowly and retain needles well in indoor temperatures, making these a great choice if you can’t wait to get festive. Hemlock and spruce are better used for outdoor decorations, such as urns.
Use pruning shears, floral wire, and floral foam to construct the look you’re after.
Use boughs of pine, fir, or cedar for swags above doors, garlands along banisters or mantels, table displays, wreaths… wherever you want to use fresh greenery to warm up a space! Take some time to create the shape you want by trimming with your pruning shears, and use florist wire to secure pieces together for your desired length, shape, and volume. Floral foam can be used to create beautiful container arrangements.
Embellish with add-ons like pinecones, branches, or lights.
Once you have the basic shape of your greenery achieved, add texture, colour, and interest with some additional items. Natural materials like pinecones and branches – especially branches with colour like red dogwood, red willow, birch, or ones with dried berries – or items like lights, ribbons, or bells can add some magic to your arrangement. Are you going for a rustic, country look? Use natural pinecones, rusted bells, and branches. Do you prefer more glitz and glam? Go for glittery ribbon and glass baubles.
Mist or water your greenery to keep it fresh all season long.
Keep your greenery as humid as possible with frequent misting. If your arrangement includes a container filled with floral foam, water the container daily so that your greenery has lots to drink. Avoid placing greenery near floor vents, and if you decorate the fireplace mantle, remember that the heat will dry your arrangement out more quickly. It’s best to place this as close to Christmas as possible.
Find more beautiful holiday greenery inspiration on our Christmas at Shelmerdine Pinterest board right here.
Friday, October 26th, 2018
Get creative, and enjoy the process!
While many people put out seed and fill bird baths in the spring and summer, caring for birds tends to be largely forgotten when the leaves turn and the snow flies – a shame, because at this time of year it is actually more important than ever to look out for the birds. The tough birds that stick around for our cold and snowy months have many ways of coping, like growing extra feathers or huddling together for warmth.
Here are some ways to support and encourage bird activity in your backyard over the fall and winter:
As you can imagine, finding adequate food sources is a lot trickier for birds over winter than during the summer, so keeping your feeders full is a big help. Some birds actually store food for the winter, while others adapt by changing from a diet of insects to one of seeds, nuts, and berries.
In order to attract the widest variety of birds, place several feeders with different types of seed around your yard. A mixture containing a good percentage of sunflower or safflower seeds (or both!) is a good place to start.
Birds need grit – small, hard objects such as small pebbles, eggshells, and coarse sand – in order to digest their food, and in winter, snow tends to cover natural sources of grit, making it harder to find. You can help out by ensuring that the seed mixture you provide includes this, or by adding an extra-fine grit to your seed mix in the winter.
Birds that winter in Manitoba include:
In addition to stocking feeders, you can also help out by planting shrubs and trees that provide berries for birds during their migration in fall, as well as for those who stay throughout the winter.
Trees and shrubs for fall and winter berries:
- mountain ash
Whether natural or artificial, providing areas of shelter and protection will entice birds to turn your yard into their winter home. Including evergreen trees and shrubs in your landscaping will provide great year-round shelter. If your yard allows, leave a dead tree standing to attract woodpeckers and owls over the winter, or pile deadfall together with some brush to provide another place for birds to hide.
Birdhouses can be used over the winter as well. Mount birdhouses on a tree if possible, facing the entry away from the most bitter winds – in Manitoba, it’s best to face the entry toward the south or southwest. Make sure there is a clear flight path to the entry. As part of your fall yard work, clean out old nesting material and plug ventilation holes to insulate the house over winter.
Outdoor water fixtures normally get shut down for the winter, but a dripping water source is still the number one way to attract birds, even during the coldest months. Pick up a birdbath water heater to keep your birdbath free of ice.
Find more tips for fall and winter yard prep on our blog like planting fall bulbs and fall pruning 101, and be sure to check out our printable fall gardening checklist.
Monday, October 1st, 2018
Be a friend to birds this winter!
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:
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Monday, October 1st, 2018
Embrace fall planting, and see the payoff next spring!
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
A rounded plant with arching branches that develop outstanding fall colour, barberry is an ideal shrub to use as an accent plant.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
The spirea is a wonderful all-season plant with something to appreciate year-round: showy flowers, beautiful summer foliage, and crimson fall colour.
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:
There are many varieties of maple, and all have outstanding fall colours.
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 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.
The beautiful lacy foliage of a honeylocust turns a pretty medium-yellow in the fall.
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.
Monday, September 3rd, 2018
Welcome here, autumn!
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.
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.
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.
Thursday, August 30th, 2018
Don’t be intimidated by pruning – you’ve got this!
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.
Wednesday, August 1st, 2018
Be proactive for a healthy garden, all summer long!
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.
- 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.
Monday, July 16th, 2018
And of course, there’s that fresh-cut grass smell – enjoy!
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.
Friday, June 29th, 2018
Enjoy the summer!
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.
Tuesday, June 5th, 2018
Make a plan, stick with it, and watch your garden flourish!
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:
“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.”
“One of my favourites, this dwarf hydrangea shows off deep pink-mauve flower heads in summer.”
“This dwarf, rounded selection tops off at 2-3 feet in size, and features pretty white flower heads in summer.”
“The Invincibelle Ruby features enormous ruby-red and silver-pink flower heads in mid-summer, which last for a very long time.”
“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!