Monday, July 16th, 2018
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.
Tuesday, May 15th, 2018
Enjoy the summer!
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?!
Thursday, May 7th, 2015
With an abundance of vertical structures available for our garden spaces, we’ve brought in colorful, climbing annual vines to match. Ready to scale even the tallest trellis in a single season, annual vines are growing in popularity as they’re easy to grow and are an effective way to beautify a wall or fence, or to create a privacy screen. All annual vines have similar requirements; they like full sun, they like to be moist but not wet, and when fed a regular diet of 15-30-15 fertilizer, will produce an abundance of blooms all summer long. Once established, vines require little attention, perhaps just a little cutting back to control unwanted spreading.
Our latest arrivals, Moonflower and Morning Glory, are fascinating ‘plants in motion’ which open and close their flowers throughout the day and night!
Moonflower Vine: The Moonflower Ipomea alba is a popular fragrant variety which opens in the evening with an enticing sweet fragrance and lasts through the night until touched by the morning sun. Its petals curl up and these flowers sleep during the day. The Moonflower is the ideal plant for anyone who loves being in the evening garden! On a warm summer night, Moonflowers can open in a matter of several minutes. Large, heart-shaped leaves further enhance this attractive vine. Moonflowers can reach heights of up to 10 or more feet, happily twining around anything within their reach.
Morning Glory Vine: Morning Glory was first known in China for its medicinal uses. It was introduced to the Japanese in the 9th century, and they were the first to cultivate it as an ornamental flower. The Japanese have led the development of hundreds of varieties and Morning Glory has come to symbolize summer in Japanese horticulture and art. Morning Glory flowers are funnel-shaped blossoms in white, red, blue, purple and yellow. In early morning they unravel into full bloom and after a few hours the petals start to curl up and close. A favorite heirloom variety arrived this week, watch for Sunrise Serenade, a stunning ruby-rose double flowering morning glory.