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!

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!


Friday, May 6th, 2016


green evening dresses

In spring, the very mention of frost sends gardeners scurrying for sheets, boxes, or whatever they can scrounge up to keep their plants safe from a possible cold snap.  Read on to take the guesswork out of what you can, and what you cannot plant until the threat of frost is over.

The threat of frost exists until the first full moon in June, which this year falls on Sunday, June 5.

There’s truth to this old wives tale! Therefore up until June 6 . . .

It is not safe to plant: annuals, herbs, vegetable plants, or greenhouse-grown perennial plants.

It is safe to plant: shrubs, trees, bulbs, and vegetable seeds sown directly into the ground such as peas, beans, corn, onion sets and potatoes.

And if you just can’t wait until June 6 to start planting your annuals, vegetables, herbs and perennials, get ready to watch the forecast closely.  Cool, clear nights with low humidity are signs of an impending frost.  In case of a frost warning, you will need to protect these plants, or they could perish.  You can protect your plants with these measures:

  • IRRIGATE The air temperature above wet soil is 5 degrees F higher than that above dry soil. Thus, plants should be well watered the evening before a frost.
  • COVER Covering plants can give you 2 to 5 degrees F protection. The covers can be laid right over the crop, but more warmth is provided by covers that are supported on stakes above the foliage. Any material can be used to cover the plants, however woven fabrics such as bed sheets and burlap are better insulators than plastics or paper. The best time to apply frost covers is in the late afternoon after the wind has died down. Remove covers the next morning before the sun hits them.

For those of you who like to buy your plants early in May, store them in a sunny, warm room and keep them well watered right up until it’s time to plant. Plants kept in garages often suffer from a lack of sunlight.

Happy (early) spring!


Thursday, May 7th, 2015

Plants in Motion

Blog Image May 5, 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.

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

Heaven Sent! An Early Spring

Blog Image May 3, 2015

By golly spring has sprung! It’s hard to believe that just overnight we’ve burst into bud and bloom! An exceptionally warm, early spring like this doesn’t come our way very often, and as glorious as it feels, it also catches us gardeners a little off guard. We’re tempted to frantically plant our tomato plants and herb baskets, and to pot up our containers with colorful annuals and perennials.  But remember, Mother Nature is a quirky lady, and she may have a cold spell or even a frost up her sleeve! In our area, we’ve experienced frost as late as June 7, a tragedy for newly planted bedding plants.

So what’s a gardener to do with an early spring?

Take this time to start from the ground up. We suggest amending the soil in your beds by adding compost and manure. Thatch, aerate and topseed your lawn. Check your garden tools and tune up your mower – are they sharpened and ready for action?  Taking care of these fundamentals before you begin planting will ensure that you have a successful gardening season with thriving plants. And if you just can’t wait to see some colorful flowers, play it safe by potting up some cold-tolerant pansies or a few fresh hanging baskets that are easy to bring indoors in case a frost threatens.

Patience is a gardener’s virtue!

Hours of Inspiration

Monday – Friday 9am-8pm
Saturday 9am-5pm
Sunday 12pm-5pm

Shelmerdine Garden Centre Ltd.

7800 Roblin Boulevard
Headingley, MB R4H 1B6

Phone: 204.895.7203
Fax: 204.895.4372