Wednesday, May 30th, 2018
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!
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!
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
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
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!
Tuesday, May 15th, 2018
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
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.
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!
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!
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
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.
Monday, April 9th, 2018
Time to start dreaming!
By the time winter starts to recede, most of us are longing for a little colour in our surroundings! While spring is taking its time this year, our greenhouses are filled with rows and rows of bright, happy flowers to bring into your home like hydrangeas, orchids, azaleas, jasmine, chrysanthemums, and bromeliads that will help you make it through these last days of white and brown before the outdoors comes to life.
Colourful flowers aren’t just a way to surround yourself with a little beauty and brighten up your space – different colours can have very real effects on your mood and energy, too!
Pink tends to feel caring, joyful, and nurturing. Choosing red blooms can create a feeling of excitement and energy, and is even thought to have a positive effect on the immune system!
Orange and yellow are generally found to create feelings like optimism and happiness. These colours are also often associated with food, which means they might be the perfect choice for your kitchen or dining room.
While we love a brightly coloured bloom, we always have a soft spot for white flowers too. White makes your room feel clean, calm, and open, with a classic and timeless beauty.
And don’t forget about all that greenery that comes with your flowers! Green is one of the colours we love most, and it brings with it feelings of tranquility, health, and harmony. If you’re looking to create a calming or peaceful environment, green is the perfect colour to get you there.
See what colours are blooming in-store right now by browsing our Full Flower gallery!
Enjoy your blooms!
Monday, March 26th, 2018
If you stop to think about it, gardening might actually be the ideal activity for little ones. Most kids love to dig in dirt and splash in puddles, and are inherently curious about bugs, worms, butterflies, and bees. Taking advantage of this to get them involved in the garden has SO many benefits: they’ll be more connected to and aware of where their food comes from, they’ll learn important lessons about science, and conservation, and they’ll build a genuine and lifelong love of nature. Sure, you might end up doing a few extra loads of laundry, but that’s a small price to pay! A recent article from our friend Bernie Whetter, owner of The Green Spot Home & Garden in Brandon, got us thinking about kids and gardening, and now we’re sharing a few tips for getting your kids or grandkids interested in helping around the garden.
Make sure they have some ownership
Something Bernie mentioned in his article that we really appreciated was ensuring that children have a sense of ownership around the garden. They’ll be a lot more invested if they feel like the garden is theirs, too. Don’t dictate every part the experience; loosen up and let kids truly be involved. It will be more fun for you this way too, we promise!
When it’s time to start planning, do some research together and let your child choose several plants or vegetables that he or she wants to grow. You might even consider giving them their very own section of the garden to plant whatever they want. Talking about the different kinds of plants, touring through the seed store, and letting kids make choices, followed by involving them in the day-to-day gardening chores, will get them excited and keep them interested.
Embrace beneficial bugs
We’ll say it again – kids love bugs! Gardening just happens to be the perfect opportunity to indulge that attraction, while teaching them about the importance and usefulness of these tiny garden friends. Incorporate flowers and plants that attract bees with this pollinating bulb kit, and put a ladybug house or butterfly house in your garden. Your child will be out there constantly, peeking at the tiny residents.
Make it fun
Play is obviously a huge part of being a kid, and the way to get kids to stick with anything is to make it fun! We loved Bernie’s suggestion of having your child make hand-drawn signs for each plant variety in the garden, and that’s just one way to involve kids. Install a rain gauge so he or she will want to run out and check it after a downpour. Make a game out of regularly checking on the progress of your plants, and get excited when you see them grow and change. Pick up some kid-sized tools in bright colours and fun gardening gloves to make it easy and appealing to dig in the dirt and help you with your regular garden tasks. Pair watering the garden with running through the sprinkler or a fun water fight with the hose! The possibilities are endless – just think like a kid.
Not only will you have fun spending time with your little one outdoors, but the teachable moments it will create are so wonderful. Before you know it, your family will be enjoying fresh veggies right from your own garden – and that will be so much more exciting for little ones if they helped! Ready to start planning? Try these 6 edgy veggies to shake up your garden, and your dinner table.
Monday, March 12th, 2018
Have fun, little sprouts!
Every holiday comes with its cherished family traditions, and Easter certainly has its share. There’s the excitement of hunting around the house or yard for chocolate treats and the anticipation of sitting down together for a beautiful meal, but decorating eggs is the quintessential Easter activity we look forward to most each year. One of our favourite ways to make the egg decorating experience even more special is the German tradition of hanging Easter eggs on a branch, tree, or bush, creating a cheerful display of bright colours that is exactly what we need to get us through the last few weeks till spring. Consider how much your kids love decorating the Christmas tree, and you’ll get a great idea of the hit this project will likely be! You just might find yourself with a new family tradition that you’ll all look forward to each spring.
It’s super simple to create an Easter Egg Tree – here’s how:
Choose your tree or branch
If the weather outdoors is still more wintery than not, trim your tree indoors by choosing a nice branch with lots of forks on which to hang eggs. If Mother Nature is cooperating and you want to take the fun outdoors, choose a bush or tree in your yard to decorate.
Blow out your eggs
This part is really fun for kids, so we highly recommend letting them help! Just poke small holes in either end of the egg, use a toothpick or straightened paper clip to break the yolk, then blow out the yolk and whites. If you happen to break an egg or two, don’t sweat it – set them aside and make these sweet eggshell succulent gardens later!
To save your eggs after the season is past, place them back in the egg carton for safekeeping. It can be a lot of fun to look back on past decorating efforts as children grow, or even reuse them to fill the same tree or bush in your yard more and more each year!
Get out your colours, and let the kids go for it! If you have young children and want to forgo the traditional but messy dyes and paints, try this spinning EggMazing egg decorator to make beautiful designs using markers. Watch our video to see the decorator in action.
Trim your tree
Use the holes you created when blowing out the eggs to run a string or ribbon through the egg. Your kids will have so much fun stringing the eggs up on your branch or tree like ornaments, and running to look at the finished product again and again.
If you create an Easter Egg Tree or decorate eggs this year, we’d love to see them! Tag us on Instagram or Facebook to share your photo. And now that you know how you’ll be keeping the kids busy, check out this post for inspiration on creating an elegant Easter table setting.
Sunday, February 25th, 2018
It happens each year around the same time and yet, without fail, we are always filled with the same level of unbridled joy at the mere thought of it: Spring. Is. Coming! Among many other wonderful things, the lengthening days and upward-creeping temperatures (honestly, it’s happening!) mean it’s almost time to start your vegetable seeds! This printable seed-starting calendar is a helpful guide for when your favourite veggies and annuals should be started for best results, but before you reach for the same old standbys, let us introduce you to six unexpected edibles that are worth shaking up your garden plan – and your dinner plate.
1: Caramel Crisp Popcorn
If you, like us, go to ball games and amusement parks specifically for the caramel popcorn, then you’re about to have your dreams come true. This popcorn is bred specifically for caramel coating, with a special mushroom shape when popped that helps the coating cling to the kernel. The large sweet cobs are also delicious fresh!
2: Bloody Butcher Corn
The kernels of this cob dry to a deep red colour – no doubt the inspiration for the somewhat sinister name. A dense kernel means this corn is suited to grinding into cornmeal or grits vs enjoying as corn-on-the-cob – it’s also a beautiful ornamental variety for fall displays. This one needs to be started as early in the season as possible, so don’t drag your heels!
3: Lemon Cucumber
These do not look like your average cucumber – the round shape and lemon-coloured skin are distinctly different than what you’re used to. Inside, the flesh is mild and sweet, with no bitterness, and perfect for slicing. Be prepared for the vines to sprawl and produce a lot of fruit – along a trellis or fence is the perfect spot for your new favourite cucumber plant to thrive.
4: Parsley Pea
This plant is the gift that keeps on giving! Pick the delicious edible tendrils, leaflets, and flowers, or resist the temptation to harvest the greens and wait for the snap peas instead (we’d suggest getting the best of both worlds by simply planting lots!). These do well in a patio container or flower box – ideally, one conveniently located close to the kitchen for snipping fresh tendrils to enjoy on salads and sandwiches.
5: Chile de Arbol
If you like a salsa that bites back a little, this pepper is exactly what you want in your garden. Easy to dry, they develop a pleasantly hot and smoky flavour and have a long shelf life. It’s extra worthwhile to put a little TLC into starting this pepper yourself – when planted in a container and brought indoors over winter, this variety will survive as a perennial for several seasons.
6: Wasabi Radish
Anyone else instantly craving sushi, just from the name of this radish? Us, too. If you’re the type that orders extra wasabi, you’ll love this bright green radish with a similar flavour and heat. Enjoy the crisp flesh, or grow it for micro-greens with the same lovely spiciness.
Thursday, February 22nd, 2018
In a climate like ours, where outdoor plant life goes dormant under a blanket of snow from November through March, those cheerful green houseplants bursting with life around your home can become a bit of a lifeline, and seeing their health begin to falter after months of winter can feel like an emergency of pretty real proportions. Many are friends you’ve been tending to for years, after all, and you’re not about to let them meet the garbage bin on your watch. If you’ve noticed your indoor greenery is looking a little worse for wear these days, don’t despair – reviving your houseplants is totally doable, and you don’t have to be a greenhouse expert to pull it off! Here are six simple things you can do:
1. Dust the leaves.
Everyone knows that plants need light, but many don’t realize that the dust which accumulates on leaves can actually prevent your plant from taking in light, reducing the efficiency of photosynthesis and affecting the overall strength and health of the plant. To make sure they’re taking in all available winter sunlight, such that it is, regularly swipe the front and back of leaves with a soft, damp cloth or better yet, use Leaf Shine for even more glowing results. Leaf Shine contains natural oils which help to clean and shine the leaves, maximizing your plant’s natural beauty. After all, if a leaf is shiny, it just looks healthier!
2. Rethink your plant placement.
Because the sun’s position in the sky changes over the course of the year, your plants might need a summer home and a winter home. Take a fresh look at your space and notice whether your plants are getting too much or too little light as compared to summer months. The number one sign that a plant is not getting enough light is that leaves will begin to pale. Remember that more isn’t always better – direct sunlight can be harmful to most plants, burning the leaves. Look into the ideal light conditions for your various species, and then take a Saturday to do some reorganizing. Think of it as the winter version of gardening!
3. Feed – but don’t overfeed.
Plants need more than just water and light – they’ll really thrive when they’re fed properly. There are different schools of thought about how much to feed your plants over the winter, but we find it works well to fertilize between Easter and Thanksgiving. This is because plants are naturally dormant in the winter, and it’s best not to encourage growth by giving fertilizer over this period. Once it’s time to start feeding, you can’t go wrong with this all-purpose plant food for almost any plant.
4. Boost humidity with misting or moisture trays.
There are no two ways about it, February in Winnipeg means your home has been filled with forced-air heat for months now, and that creates a really dry environment. While running a humidifier is certainly an option, there are simple and cost-effective ways to specifically target humidity-loving plants like orchids, tillandsias, and ferns. One option is to regularly mist your plants (call us crazy, but there is something about how beautiful this mister is that makes the task a treat). Another option is to fill a plate or tray with river rocks and water, then place your humidity-hungry plant on top of this. The water evaporating from the tray will create a miniature atmosphere of humidity around your plant.
5. Do NOT overwater.
This mistake is so common that we probably should have put it first. So many of us show our houseplants love by watering… and then watering some more. However, overwatering is the number one killer of indoor plants, so before you go back to the tap, check out the signs your plant is giving you. While browning leaves can signify a need for humidity and drooping leaves insufficient watering, leaves that are yellowing might be telling you to back off with that watering can. Make sure your pots have proper drainage, and that soil is dry to the touch before you water. Better yet, get yourself a moisture meter to eliminate the guesswork and to ensure the optimum moisture level for all of your plants.
6. Get some advice.
Last but not least, we are always here to answer your questions and offer ideas for solving your nagging plant problems, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Believe us, we can – and do! – literally talk about plants all day. Call or email us, send a message on Instagram, or of course, stop by! We’ll do everything we can to help.
Spring is just weeks away and we can see the days starting to get longer, so show your plants a little extra love now and before you know it, they’ll be back to their summer selves. And if you’ve suffered a plant loss this winter or are just starting to wet your green thumb, check out these 6 hard-to-kill houseplants for some great options to get you back on track.
Friday, December 8th, 2017
Keepin’ it green!
The smell of a crackling fire, a fresh Christmas tree, or gingerbread cookies baking in the oven… the sure signs and scents of Christmas! Because our sense of smell is a trigger point for emotional memories, fragrances play an undeniably central role in the holidays. That’s why the scents associated with Christmas can instantly transport us back to the feeling of being a kid waiting in anticipation for Christmas morning. Tapping into the powerful sense of smell by playing with holiday scents is a surefire way to get into the festive spirit.
Here are a few ideas to get your home smelling great this season.
Seasonal Simmer One of the simplest ways to infuse your home with an intoxicating aroma is on the stove top. Grab a saucepan and add a few cups of water along with your favourite holiday ingredients. We love cedar or pine branches, sprigs of rosemary, and classic holiday mulling spices. Head to the pantry and get creative! Simmer on a low heat or in an open crockpot throughout the day, adding water as needed, or start your simmer just before your holiday guests arrive.
Citrus Garland A citrus garland made from thin slices of home-dried oranges and grapefruits is a perfect DIY for the holidays. After slicing, drying and hanging, a citrus garland creates a beautiful stained-glass effect when hung in a window — and leaves a delectably fresh scent in the air!
How to: First, thinly slice oranges or grapefruits and pat dry each segment with a towel. Add a few drops of your favourite holiday-inspired essential oils to each disk — try eucalyptus, peppermint, citrus, frankincense or bergamot. Then, bake disks on a baking rack at 250 degrees for three or more hours, flipping occasionally. Allow the slices to dry in the open air for another day or more — you want the discs to be completely dry before stringing them up with your choice of twine or string.
Simple Scenting One of our favorite items this season is a simple yet intensely scented Cinnamon Wreath that can be hung from any door or wall in the home. It adds instant warmth and aroma to your surroundings. If you love the simplicity of this method, you’ll also enjoy using Frasier Fir Home Fragrance Mist to add a quick spritz of crisp, natural fir to the room.
Fragrant Candles A tried and true way to bring warmth and aroma into your home is with scented candles. We love these hand-poured soy candles by Winnipeg candle maker Soy Harvest Candles. Some of our favourites include new holiday scents like Treetops, Sleigh Ride, and Grandma’s Cookies. It feels like Christmas already!
Have fun creating a warm and fragrantly festive home this holiday season!
Words + Photos by Sarah Carson @the.botanical