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Gardening Tips from Georgina Garden Centre

georgina garden centre gardening tips

Annuals

Annuals are those plants whose life cycle is completed within a single season. The seed germinates…

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Annuals are those plants whose life cycle is completed within a single season. The seed germinates, the plants bloom, set seed and then die. Owing to their short life span, annuals allow you to experiment and express yourself anew each year.

Colour

Annuals should be planted so that they complement the plants around them, for example, mauve or orchid-coloured Petunias in front of a yellow-flowering potentilla shrub, low-growing white Alyssum interplanted with blue Forget-me-nots, or blue Ageratum and yellow Calendula surrounding red Salvia.

Light Requirements

The bulk of annuals prefer sunny locations but the following list will help you choose plants for all areas of your garden

Sun

Ageratum
Alyssum
Asters
Carnation
Celosia
Coleus
Dahlia
Dusty Miller
Geraniums
Marigolds
Morning Glory
Petunias
Portulaca
Salvia
Snapdragons
Sunshine Impatiens
Verbena
Zinnia

Semi-Shade

Ageratum
Alyssum
Begonias
Browallia
Coleus
Dusty Miller
Geraniums
Impatiens
Lobelia
Marigolds
Morning Glory
Nicotiana
Pansy
Petunias
Salvia
Snapdragons
Vinca

Shade

Begonias
Browallia
Coleus
Fuchsia
Impatiens
Lobelia

Grouping

Annuals, often referred to as bedding plants, show themselves best when planted in groups rather than individually. Even when planting on a small scale, use a minimum of three plants and try to plant so that each group overlaps with the one beside it, creating a unified flow rather than isolated spots of colour.

Height

In designing your garden, keep in mind that annuals offer a tremendous range of heights accommodating virtually any area in your yard. Here is a small but representative sampling of the possibilities:

Ageratum ‘Blue Blazer’ 15 cm
Browallia 30 cm
Butterfly Snapdragons 75 cm
Celosia plumosa 45 cm
Dahlia-flowering Zinnias 90 cm
Dusty Miller 20 cm
Dwarf Marigolds 20 cm
Evening Scented Stock 38 cm
Fibrous-rooted Begonia 25 cm
Geraniums 36 cm
Dwart Impatiens 18 cm
Lobelia 13 cm
Petunia 25 cm
Sweet Alyssum 10 cm

How to Plant Annuals

  1. Prepare the flower bed to a depth of 30 cm, using garden soil, featured at Georgina Garden Centre.
  2. Gently loosen the roots of each plant as you remove them from the “cell-pack.”
  3. Water thoroughly and use transplant or all purpose fertilize.
  4. Keep the bed well watered for the first two weeks until the plants are rooted.
  5. In choosing and placing your annuals, consider their need for sun or shade.
  6. Should the floral display diminish, “pinch” the plants by nipping or cutting the stems back. In a week or so your plants will look better than ever. Do this before going on vacation and your garden will delight you when you return.

Pinching

One of your most important pruning tools costs nothing! It consists of your thumb and index fingers. Annuals and perennials or, for that matter, anything you can break off with your fingers will become more dense and bushier with new growth after pinching.


Benefits of Trees

What could be more obvious than the fact that horticulture benefits…

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BENEFITS OF TREES

Quick Facts for Homeowners

What could be more obvious than the fact that horticulture benefits people?  Anyone making a living in the trades understands it instinctively.  However, that fact is not so apparent to your customers, who live farther away from the land with each generation.

Benefits of Trees

Improve Health

  • Trees improve moods and emotions, and they create feelings of relaxation and well-being.
  • Trees provide privacy and a sense of security.
  • Foliage helps to settle out, trap and hold particulate pollutants (dust, ash, pollen and smoke) that can damage human lungs.
  • Because of their potential for long life, trees frequently are planted as living memorials.  We often become personally attached to trees that we or those we love have planted.
  • In cities, trees can act as buffers, absorbing a significant amount of urban noise.

Add natural character to our cities and towns.

  • Provide us with colours, flowers, and beautiful shapes, forms and textures.
  • Trees add interest by changing with the seasons.
  • Trees and associated plants create habitat and food for birds and animals.

Reduce pollution

  • Trees absorb carbon dioxide and other dangerous gasses and, in turn, replenish the atmosphere with oxygen.
  • And acre of trees produces enough breathing oxygen for 18 people every day.
  • And acre of trees absorbs enough carbon monoxide over a year’s time, to equal the amount you produce when you drive your car 26,000 miles.
  •  A single mature tree can absorb 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year, and release enough oxygen back into the atmosphere to support two human beings.
  • Over 50 years, a tree generates $31,250 worth of oxygen, provides $62,000 worth of air pollution control, recycles $37,500 worth of water, and controls $31,250 worth of soil erosion.
  • City streets lined with trees show a 60% reduction in street-level particulate readings
  • One 12-inch sugar maple along a roadway removes 60 mg of cadmium, 140 mg of chromium, 820 mg of nickel and 5,200 mg of lead from the environment each growing season.

Conserve water and prevent soil erosion

  • Trees reduce surface runoff form storm water, and prevent soil erosion and sedimentation of streams.
  • Trees increase groundwater recharge to help make up for losses in paved areas.
  • Trees prevent wind from eroding soil.

Save energy

  • Deciduous trees provide shade and block heat from the sun during hotter months.  By dropping their leaves in the fall they admit sunlight in the winter.
  • Shade from trees over hard surfaces such as driveways, patios and sidewalks minimizes landscape heat load.
  • Shade trees can reduce air conditions costs up to 30%.
  • Evergreens planted on the north sides of buildings can intercept and slow inter winds

Increase economic stability

  • Trees enhance community economic stability by attracting businesses and tourists.
  • Healthy trees can add up to 20% to residential property values.

Sources

South Carolina Forestry Commission, www.state.sc.us/forest/urbben.htm

Colorado Tree Coalition, www.coloradotrees.org/benefits.htm#Large_tree

International Society of Arboriculture, www.treesaregood.com/treeecare/tree_benefits.aspx

Shannon Lindensmith, Georgina Garden Centre, Georgina, Ontario.


georgina garden centre gardening tips

Birds & Butterflies

All trees and shrubs will provide something of value to birds: nesting sites, insect food, shelter from weather and…

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Inviting Birds to Your Garden

All trees and shrubs will provide something of value to birds: nesting sites, insect food, shelter from weather and predators.

There are, without doubt, birds in your garden now. If you wish to encourage more birds and more varieties of birds around your home, you can do so by providing a variety of trees and shrubs, particularly those that provide food in the form of fruit, berries, nuts or seeds.

Birds Love Cherries

If you grow Sweet Cherries, you know they have to be netted to prevent the birds from taking them. Mayday trees and Shubert’s Chokecherry have fruit we do not find palatable but is enjoyed by birds. Sour Cherries that we use for pies also make a nice ornamental small tree.

Mountain Ash

The brilliantly coloured berries of Mountain Ash are eagerly devoured by Robins, Cedar Waxwings and other birds. Many varieties and forms of Mountain Ash are available and they are highly ornamental trees. (The birds do not like the fruit of the variety ‘Leonard Springer’). If not eaten in the fall, they persist on the tree all winter. Their height above snow cover provides food when mid-winter sources are scarce and are also used in early spring by the first returning migrants.

Russian Olive

Many trees have desirable fruit for birds, which we hardly notice, however the birds find with ease since the fruit is not highly coloured. Russian Olive is a good example and with its silver foliage and fragrant yellow flowers, it makes an excellent choice for gardeners.

White Birch

Seed-eating birds such as Redpolls, Pine Siskins and Goldfinch find an abundance of seed on this attractive tree. It is particuarly valuable to those birds which stay with us all winter.

Maple and Oaks

If your garden is large enough for those tall trees, you will attract Orioles, Tanagers and the Red-eyed Vireo as they prefer the safety of the high upper canopy.

Conifers

The dense foliage of Spruce, Pine, Fir, Larch and Hemlock provide secure nesting sites for many birds and an ample supply of seeds from their varied cones. Cedar Waxwings love the red fruit of the Yew in the early fall.

Shrubs that Attract Birds

Small fruit, such as Currants, Raspberries, Blackberries and Gooseberries will certainly attract birds. Blueberries will have to be netted as they are so desirable.

Among ornamental shrubs, there are many with choice fruit. The dark mature fruit of Elderberry is ravenously eaten by many songbirds, including Thrushes and Warblers.

All Viburnums except the double-flowered Snowball, have berry fruit. The fruit of the High Bush Cranberry is not usually taken by birds, but can be a life-saving source of food in severe winters. Nannyberry fruit is found more palatable and is a favourite of the Brown Thrasher.

Other shrubs with berries are: Oregon Grape Holly, Flowering Currant, Bush Honeysuckle, Rugosa Rose, Redleaf Rose, all Dogwoods, Serviceberry, Privet, Coralberry, Snowberry, and Autumn Olive. The fruit of the Cotoneaster and Firethorn are not usually taken by birds.

Weeds and Grasses

If you can provide a “wild” spot in your garden for tall Grasses, Thistles, Goldenrod and Ragweed, you will add greatly to your list of bird visitors: Horned Lark, Meadowlark, Butings, Bobolink and others.

In a cultivated garden, ornamental grasses can be used, leaving them to stand into the winter with their supply of seeds. So too, with many annual and perennial plants, which we normally remove or cut down in the fall; if left in place, they provide abundant seed for birds in winter. For example, Sunflowers, Cosmos, Zinnias and Asters.

Virginia Creeper

A climbing vine with brilliant foliage in fall, Virginia Creeper’s bountiful harvest of shiny black berries is enjoyed by many birds, including Kingbirds, Flycatchers and Bluebirds.

Water

Hummingbirds need eight times their weight in water everyday. If your property does not include a pond or stream, providing water in a birdbath or large saucer will bring birds to your garden and keep them coming back. Sugar-water dispensers designed to attract Hummingbirds are also available.

Bird Feeders

The larger the menu you offer, the more types of birds you will attract. Try bread crumbs, dried fruit, suet, cracked corn and Sunflower seeds.

Many birds will feed from an elevated tray, while some will feed only on the ground; for others, a seed encrusted ball of suet suspended from a tree is ideal.

Birds eat insects too

Enticing birds to your garden with desirable fruit and seeds will help greatly in controlling insect populations, as most birds prefer a varied diet. The importance of insect control by birds can hardly be over-rated. Robins may take “garden-friendly” earthworms, but also feasts on Ants, Beetles, Cankerworms, Caterpillars, Cutworms, Crickets, Flies (puppae and adults), Slugs, Snails, Sowbugs, Spiders, Termites, Wireworms, and Weevils. Wood Warblers are almost 100 per cent insect eaters.

In bringing birds to your garden, you add a new dimension of interest and will be rewarded by their colour, movement and song. The trees and shrubs will enhance your garden so you benefit again.

Attracting Hummingbirds

The preferred flower for the Hummingbird is red in colour and tubular in form. Hummingbirds prefer a massed bed as it has to visit about one thousand blooms per day to meet its requirement of sweet nectar. Next to red, hummingbirds prefer orange and pink but also visit other colours of flowers. Other summer flowers that attract are: Petunias, Phlox, Snapdragon, Cleome, Sweet William, Nicotiana and Zinnias.

Favourite perennials include Gladioli, Red Hot Poker, Monarda, Bleeding Heart, Columbine and Penstemon. Vining Honeysuckles like Dropmore Scarlet and Heckrot’s Goldflame have the correct shape and colouration. Also, Morning Glory, Trumpet Vine and Scarlet Runner Bean. Flowering shrubs include Weigela, Beauty Bush, Butterfly Bush, Coralberry, Flowering Currant and Flowering Quince.

Plants to Attract Hummingbirds

The plants listed below are among the Hummingbird’s favourites. While reds dominate the list, there are plenty of other colours suggest to allow a varied planting. The most important aspect of designing a Hummingbird garden is to plant for continuous bloom from spring to fall ensuring an endless supply of nectar.

Flowers

Plant Colour Bloom Time
Bee Balm red, pink Jul – Aug
Bleeding Heart rose May – Jun
Cardinal Flower red Jul – Aug
Bugleweed blue, purple May – Jun
Columbine red, pink, yellow May – Jun
Coralbells red, pink Jun – Sep
Dahlia red, pink Jul – Frost
Delphinium red, blue, pink Jul – Frost
Foxglove red, purple, rose Jun – Jul
Fuschia red Jul – Aug
Gladiola many colours Jul – Sep
Nasturtium scarlet, orange Jun – Frost
Petunias many colours Jun – Frost
Phlox many colours Jul – Frost
Red Hot Poker red, yellow Jul – Aug
Snapdragon red, pink, white Jun
Sweet William red, maroon, rose May – Jun
Zinnias many colours Jul – Frost

Vines

Plant Colour Bloom Time
Honeysuckle red, yellow Jun – Frost
Morning Glory red Jul – Frost
Scarlet Runner Bean red Jul – Frost
Trumpet Vine orange, yellow Jul – Sep

Shrubs

Plant Colour Bloom Time
Azaleas red, pink, white May – Jun
Beauty Bush pink May – Jun
Butterfly Bush purple, pink Jul – Frost
Flowering Quince red Apr – May
Rose of Sharon red, blue, pink Jul – Sep
Weigela red, pink May – Jul

Trees

Plant Colour Bloom Time
Horse Chestnut white, yellow May
Black Locust white May
Flowering Crabs red, rose, pink, white Apr – May

georgina garden centre gardening tips

Inviting Butterflies to Your Garden

  • Choose a sunny, sheltered location for your butterfly garden
  • Place a flat rock in a sunny area so butterflies can rest in the sun and warm up
  • Choose plants with bright, fragrant flowers that are tubular or flay-topped
  • Create mud puddles in the garden for a source of water and nutrients

Food Sources for Butterflies

  • Black Eyed Susan
  • Bergamot
  • Liatris
  • Joe-pye Weed
  • Coneflower
  • Butterfly Weed
  • Phlox
  • Shasta Daisy
  • Blanket Flower

 


georgina garden centre gardening tips

Bulbs

Hardy fall bulbs such as Daffodil, Tulip, Hyacinth, Crocus and Snowdrop are spring flowering…

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Fall Bulbs

Winter Chilling

Hardy fall bulbs such as Daffodil, Tulip, Hyacinth, Crocus and Snowdrop are spring flowering plants that must be planted in the fall. They are mostly native to mountainous areas of Europe and the near east: Spain, Turkey and Afganistan. They actually need the dormant rest period of a long, cold winter. The melting snow and ice in early spring provide needed moisture as they start to grow and flower. Plant from September to December, even after the first frost if the ground can still be worked.

Planting

Bulbs can also be planted in individual holes. Dig a hole and sprinkle a tablespoon of a high phosphorous (middle number) fertilizer like Holland Bulb Booster in the bottom of the hole. Place the bulb in the hole with the pointed end up.

Cover the bulb with soil and water thoroughly. A 5 cm layer of mulch on top of the bed will help prevent winter weeds, retain moisture and insulate against severe winter cold and temperature fluctuations.

Preparing a Bed for Fall Planted Bulbs

Prepare the bed
Double digging will help to make a well-drained planting bed.
Condition the soil
Improve soil by adding garden soil. Then work into depth of 30 cm. Add 1 kg Bonemeal for every 92.9 m2 (1000 sq.ft.)
Plant – the sooner the better
Point bulb upward. Add sprinkle of bloodmeal to deter squirrels from stealing bulbs for food.
See chart at bottom for planting depth chart.
Add 2-5 cm of mulch.
After Flowering

The foliage must be allowed to remain to soak up sunshine and replenish the stored energy in the underground bulb. Only the flowering stems should be removed. In a few weeks, the foliage withers and dies down. This is a natural defense against the too hot summer sun in their original habitat.

Replanting your flower bed with summer annuals gives you the opportunity to use more bone meal which, with its high phosphorous content, is beneficial to both the new planting and the bulbs.

georgina garden centre gardening tips


georgina garden centre gardening tips

Clematis

Clematis vines are a fantastic group of plants offering bold seasonal colour. From the beautiful…

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How to Grow Clematis

Clematis vines are a fantastic group of plants offering bold seasonal colour. From the beautiful, large-flowered hybrids, to the more subtle but equally stunning smaller flowered species, these plants have definitely earned their place in the spotlight.

Planting and care of clematis

Clematis are sold in plastic or fibre pots. While plastic pots should be removed, fibre pots should be left on. Remove only the rims to just below the soil line and make three cuts halfway up from the bottom. These pots will decompose in the soil.

Dig a hole four to five inches deeper than the root ball depth and fill that area with garden soil. Place the plant in the hole, ensuring the top of the root ball is slightly higher than ground level. Backfill with the enriched soil.

Soil conditions:

Clematis prefers a fertile, well-drained soil. Alkaline soils can be attained by regular applications of horticultural lime around the root ball. Regular watering is required to ensure the root ball does not dry out.

Fertilizing:

Clematis should be fertilized regularly to maintain healthy growth and flowering potential.

Light requirements:

Clematis prefers a sunny location, but will not tolerate excessively hot environments. Some varieties will adapt to lower light conditions such as north- or east-facing exposures, and still bloom quite well. Equally important is that the roots of a clematis plant stay cool. Provide shade from nearby leafy shrubs or perennials. The use of mulch also helps to reduce soil temperatures.

 

Pruning:

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of clematis care is their pruning requirements. Different varieties flower at different times of the year, and in order to prune properly, one needs to know its blooming habits. Generally, clematis can be organized in one of the following groups:

Group 1

Blooms in early spring on last year’s growth. Prune only dead or weak branches after flowering to tidy the plant.

Group 2

Blooms on new growth in May, June or July. Light pruning to strong buds in April is recommended to promote branching.

Group 3

Blooms late in the season, from July through the fall. They can be pruned back hard in early April to just above a good set of buds, usually around 30 cm.

Clematis tips:

Clematis vines need to be supported with a trellis or archway. They can also be trained to ramble over stumps, rocks or to grow among shrubbery. Taller growing varieties should be selected for archway and arbor applications.

Planting two to three different varieties of clematis will provide a sequence of bloom, contributing a continuous display of colour to the garden.

 

 


clematis

Clematis – How To Prune

Click ‘more’ to see information on many Clematis varieties. How to prune, colours, size, and more!

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VARIETY COLOUR HEIGHT FLOWERING PERIODS PRUNING CODE FLOWER SIZE FLOWER POSITION

Alpina ‘Pamela Jackman’

deep blue

12-13 ft

Apr

1

small

any

Alpina ‘Ruby’

purple-pink

13-14 ft

Apr-May

1

small

any

Alpina ‘Willy’

mauve-pink

7-8 ft

Apr-May

1

small

any

Macropetal ‘Blue Bird’

mauve-blue

13 ft

Apr-May

1

small

any

Macropetal ‘Maidwell Hall’

blue

8-12 ft

Apr-May

1

small

any

Macropetal ‘Rosey O Grady’

pink

13 ft

Apr-May

1

small

any

Montana ‘Alba’

white

8-12 ft

May-June

1

medium

any

Montana ‘Rueben’

deep pink

8-12 ft

May-June

1

medium

any

Florida Sieboldii syn. Ramona

lite blue

12 ft

June-Sept

3

medium

SW

‘Beeis Jubilee’

blue/pink

8-15 ft

May-June, Aug

1

large

any

‘Blue Ravine’ – C.O.P.F.

blue-mauve

8-12 ft

May-June

3

large

any

‘Comtesse de Bouchard’

mauve-pink

14-15 ft

Jul-Aug

3

large

any

‘Captain Thuilleaux’

cream-pink bar

8-12 ft

May-June,Sept

1

large

any

‘Daniel Deronnda’

semi double blue

7-8 ft

May-June,Sept

1

large

any

‘Dorothy Walton’

dark purple

8 ft

June-Aug

3

medium

any

‘Dutchess of Edinburg’

double white

8-12 ft

May-June, Sept

1

Double bloom

N

‘Dr. Ruppel’

purple/red/rose

14 ft

Jul-Aug

2

large

any

‘Ernest Markham’

magenta

12 ft

Jul-Sept

3

large

SWE

‘Etiole Violet’

deep purple

13-20 ft

Jul-Sept

3

medium

any

‘General Sikorski’

dark lavender red

8-12 ft

Jul-Sept

1

large

any

‘Gypsy Queen’

violet-purple

14 ft

Jul-Aug

3

large

any

‘Hagley Hybrid syn Pink Chiffon’

rosey-mauve

8 ft

Jun-Aug

3

medium

N

‘Henryi’

creamy white

10-12 ft

Jul-Aug

2

large

any

‘Huldinei’

pearly white

15 ft

Jul-Sept

3

medium

any

‘Jackmanni’

velvety blue

8-10 ft

Jul-Aug

3

medium

any

‘Lady Betty Balfour’

purple

12 ft

Aug-Oct

3

large

SWE

‘Miss Bateman’

creamy white

7-8 ft

May-June

2

medium

SWE

‘Mme Le Coultre’

white

12 ft

Jun-Sept

2

large

any

‘Mrs. Cholmondeley’

lite blue

10-12 ft

May-Sept

2

large

any

‘Multi Blue’

violet red

12 ft

May-Sept

2

large

any

‘Nelly Moser’

mauve-lilac bar

8-10 ft

May & Aug

2

large

NWE

‘Nelly Thompson’

deep violet

6-8 ft

May-June, Sept

1

small

any

‘Paniculata’

pure white

13 ft

May June

none

medium

any

‘Pink Fantasy’

shell pink

7-8 ft

June-Sept

3

medium

any

‘Show Queen’

snow white

8-12 ft

May-June, Sept

1

medium

any

‘Tangutica’

small yellow

8-12 ft

Jul-Oct

3

small

any

‘The President’

rich purple

10-12 ft

May-Sept

2

large

any

‘Ville de Lyon’

carmine red

10-12 ft

June-Sept

3

large

WE

‘Villicella Kernesina’

crimson red

20-30 ft

Jul-Oct

3

small

any

‘Voluceau’

rosey red

8-12 ft

Jun-Sept

3

medium

any

‘Vyvyan Pennell’

lavender

10-12 ft

May & Aug

2

large

SWE

‘William Kennett’

lavender blue

12 ft

Jun-Aug

2

large

any

 Flower Size:

Small: Up to 4″ diameter

Medium: 4 to 8″ diameter

Large: Larger than 8″ diameter

Pruning Codes:

Group #1: Tidy up after flowering

Group #2: Lightly in April to strong buds

Group #3: Hard in April to width 6″ of soil

Best Flowering Position:

N/S/E/W: North, South, East, West


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Composting

Almost every day we hear about the three R’s: reduce, reuse and recycle…

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The ABC’s of Composting

Almost every day we hear about the three R’s: reduce, reuse and recycle.  Did you know that one common gardening practice combines all three?  Composting.  Compost is a natural organic fertilizer made by decomposed vegetable waste.  By recycling your family’s garbage, you can reduce household waste, and can then reuse the compost as organic matter to improve the quality of soil in your garden!

Studies have shown that one0third of household waste can be composted.  Your yard rakings, such as fallen leaves, weeds, grass clippings and the disease-free remains of garden plants can go in you compost pile, as can fruit and vegetable peelings, egg shells and coffee grounds.

Composting is simple and requires only a little effort on your part.  There are many types of composting containers on the market that encase the compost pile in a neat package.  You can build your own, making sure the organic waste will be exposed to plenty of air, or simply make a neat unstructured pile in the corner of your garden.

Left alone, kitchen and yard waste will certinaly decompose on its own, but there are a few things you can do to speed up the rotting process and ensure a sweet smelling compost pile all season long.

Composting Do’s

  • choose a level, shaded spot for your compost pile and a convenient distance from the house for adding kitchen waste regularly
  • start with a layer of nutrient-rich material such as manure, bone meal or your own previously finished compost
  • continue to add layers of kitchen and yard waste with occasional thin layers of topsoil (to add friendly bacteria)
  • because grass blades have a high water content, it is a good idea to let grass clippings dry outon the lawn before adding them to your compost pile
  • keep the pile as moist as a squeezed out sponge – it is a good idea to keep the pile covered to prevent rain from completely soaking it
  • turn your compost pile once every week or two so that fresh air eventually reaches all surfaces.  Letting oxygen into the pile of organic waste prevents an unpleasant sour smell from developing
  • you can continue to add to your compost pile throughout the winter, although the bacteria that decomposes the waste will not become active until the warmer weather returns.  With the spring thaw, your compost pile will warm up and begin to work again

Composting Don’ts

  • wood ashes can be composted but don’t compost charcoal ashes from your barbecue
  • pet waste should not be added to your compost pile if you plan to use this compost on a vegetable garden
  • don’t compost meat, bones or fatty foods like cooking oil, cheese or salad dressings, as they may attract unwanted pests

A well cared for compost pile will reward you with a nutrient-rich, earth-smelling conditioner you can add to planters, window boxes, flower beds, shrub borders – or any other landscape site.  You will also be rewarded by knowing that by reducing, resuing and recycling your waste, you are helping to conserve our precious environment.

 


georgina garden centre gardening tips

Container Gardening

Containers allow you to bring the garden to the deck, patio, steps, driveway or the front…

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Container gardening

Containers allow you to bring the garden to the deck, patio, steps, driveway or the front entrance way. By using hanging containers, colour can be added to sheds, garages — any place you can mount a bracket!

Getting started:

The first step is to select an appropriate container. A drain hole is a must and after that just about anything goes. Containers come in plastic, wood, fiberglass, iron, cement, stone and more. Extra work is needed to keep smaller containers watered as plants grow, while larger containers allow you to use a more diverse selection of plants, and are easier to keep moist.

 

Always use a light growing medium (soilless mix). This allows water to flow easily and provides the roots with sufficient air. Most commercially available mixes are a blend of peat moss, vermiculite and perlite. We like ‘fluffy’ lightweight soils. Some brands incorporate fertilizer into the mix, while others add a polymer, which expands and retains moisture. Do not use garden soils that are too heavy and may contain weed seeds. If using a large container, fill the bottom third to half with a less expensive ingredient such as pine mulch. Most annuals will survive quite well in 30 cm (12”) of soil.

 

Know the light conditions of the spot where you intend to place the container. Most annuals will not do well in heavy, all-day shade, while shade loving annuals don’t like sun at the peak of the day, but do very well with some morning or late afternoon sun. Also remember that very sunny locations will need more watering than shade areas.

 

In May, newly planted containers may require watering every two to four days, As the plants establish, increasing in size and filling the containers with heavier roots, watering needs will increase. Water thoroughly each time you water. It may be necessary to water daily, particularly in the summer and especially those containers that are 30 cm (12”) or smaller.

 

Plants in containers should be fertilized regularly to keep them looking their best. A balanced fertilizer such as 20-20-20 works well. Fertilizing every two weeks is a good rule of thumb, but in hot weather you may need to feed more often as water use increases. Keep in mind that over-fertilizing will cause lush growth but less blooms, Slow release fertilizers may be applied to the soil’s surface. These products release small amounts of nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K) with each watering, thus reducing the amount of soluble fertilizer required. Slow release products do not contain the micronutrients that plants require, however, so your fertilizing program should always include the use of solubles.

 

Plants in containers will require the dead-heading (a garden buzz word for removing old flowers once they look ratty) of old blooms, depending on the plants used. Some are self-cleaning. Plants may also need trimming.

 

The real fun of container gardening, besides enjoying their beauty, is selecting the plants. You need not limit yourself to annuals, although their long-lasting colour and the many new varieties now available make them a natural choice. Herbs, perennials and even vegetables, can be planted in containers. The sky is the limit, so experiment and have fun!

The Dos and Don’ts:

Do use specialized soils such as growing mixes or specialty planter mixes.

Do not use garden soils as they tend to compact and air does not reach the roots. These soils either hold too much or too little water.

Do fertilize regularly, as most planter mixes contain no nutrients.

Do water containers as required, as the light mixes do not retain water and dry out quickly.

Do line the pot with Styrofoam if you intend to keep pots planted with evergreens, trees or shrubs over the winter (overwintering trees and shrubs in a pot is not guaranteed but styrofoam will increase the chances).

 

georgina garden centre gardening tips


georgina garden centre gardening tips

Cut Flowers

Allow newly bought flowers, still in their wrappings, to drink clean…

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Cut flowers
  1. Allow newly bought flowers, still in their wrappings, to drink clean, fresh water for a while.
  2. Make sure the flowers are put into a clean vase.
  3. You will enjoy your flowers longer if you feed them cut-flower food. Make sure you give them the right amount.
  4. Before arranging the flowers in a vase, first cut off one inch from each stem.
  5. Stems should never be broken off or flattened – not even woody stems. Scraping off the bark is also a fallacy.
  6. Leaves should never be covered by water. They will only make the water dirty and will shorten the lives of the flowers.
  7. Do not forget to top up the vase regularly with clean, fresh water.
  8. During the night, flowers will benefit from a lower thermostat setting.
  9. Flowers can not stand direct sunlight and drafts.
  10. Daffodils can be deadly to other flowers because they secrete a poison in the water. After trimming, leave daffodils on their own for a whole day. Do not cut them again when combining with other flowers.

In the centre, a firm leaf can serve as a transition between flowers and the vase or bowl. Now, add some smaller leaves to soften the straight lines and the arrangement is complete.

georgina garden centre gardening tips


Dormant Oil Spray

Dormant oil can kill up to 80% of insect eggs that were laid on the…

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Dormant Oil Spray

Use dormant oil and lime sulphur in combination to help combat the spread of over-wintering insect and diseases.

Dormant oil can kill up to 80% of insect eggs that were laid on the buds and stems from the previous year.

The combination spray kills insect and disease by smothering it and not letting the insect hatch or the disease to spread.  Oil also kills insect eggs in flower beds and in other places where they hibernate.

The use of dormant oil also controls diseases that are transmitted by insects.

Dormant oil spray is environmentally friendly.

Apply dormant oil and lime sulphur prior to bud opening (when the snow melts – usually mid-late march), when the danger of frost is gone.


Fall Checklist

Plant mums, kale, millet & pansies in spots where summer annuals have…

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Fall Checklist for the Garden

1) Plant mums, kale, millet & pansies in spots where summer annuals have been cleared out. They will usually bloom into December depending on the snow fall.

2) Leaves are garden gold. Spread small leaves of trees, such as locust, birch, beech, serviceberry and silver maple (or shredded larger leaves), over all exposed soil. They will degrade into mineral nutrients and worms will turn them into fertilizer.

fall leaves

3) Wait until the soil is almost frozen before covering plants.

4) Cut roses back by 1/3 it’s size,  rake all fallen leaves, place a rose collar around the plant and fill with soil to cover as much of the plant as possible.

5) For wrapping tender shrubs and evergreens, use winter wrap or burlap around the plant at least 3 times and tie with twine securely. Or put stakes in around the plant and burlap around the stakes.

winterizing shrubs 300x200

6) Lift larger clumps of perennials and divide with a sharp spade or knife; tease apart the fleshy roots, and replant where you’d like.

7) Plant garlic in October, in a sunny spot with lots of manure dug in. Set individual cloves 8cm deep and 15cm apart, and mulch with 5 to 8cm of leaves. When planted in October, garlic can be harvested in July, just as the first cherry tomatoes turn red.

8) Autumn is a good time for planting evergreen trees and shrubs. The evergreens’ root systems pump water all winter, so be sure to water them well before the ground freezes. And don’t hesitate to purchase deciduous flowering shrubs at discounted prices. Even after a summer in containers, they’ll adapt and make strong root growth in cool autumn soil. Just make sure that all your plants go into the winter well watered.

georgina garden centre gardening tips

9) Autumn is the only time to move clematis or honeysuckle vine to prevent shock to growth: both vines begin extending leaves and shoots while frost is still in the spring ground. If the vines are large, cut them back by half, and they’ll leap forward next spring.

10) Use generous amounts of anti-transpirant sprays (Wilt Pruf) on needle evergreens and broadleaf evergreens, such as euonymus and rhododendrons. The waxy coating helps to preserve tissue moisture and prevent winter windburn and sunscald. — Don’t forget to use it on your Christmas tree and winter urns to help keep it fresh through the holidays.

11) Root vegetables such as carrots and parsnips are sweeter after hard frost and can be harvested all winter. Remove top foliage from the plants and cover them with a 15cm thick mulch of leaves or straw spread to similar thickness. Throw an old piece of carpeting on top and let it snow. Lift the coverings to dig out veggies as needed.

IMG_20140824_185800 300x200

12) As for garden hygiene, pick up or rake diseased leaves from under roses (blackspot), crabapples (scab), maples and oaks (tar spot) and dispose of them in the garbage, not the compost pile. Left on the soil all winter, they’ll re-inoculate the plants with disease spores the following spring.

13) Squirrels “read” the disturbed soil and marks you leave when planting their favourite tulips and crocuses. Outwit them by concentrating spring bulb plantings in large groups and disguising your marks by flooding the soil surface with water. Then cover them with 5cm of leaves and blood meal.

planting bulbs

14) Remove the debris of summer annuals, then be honest with yourself: will you really go out in early spring to remove remaining perennials? Clean up as much as possible now, leaving strategic clumps for attractive winter display and food for birds. Ornamental grasses are beautiful in snow.

15) Fertilize and grass seed your lawn. If you didn’t topdress your lawn in the spring, now is a good time.

IMG-20121007-b


georgina garden centre gardening tips

Forcing Bulbs

Bulbs can bring spring cheer indoors, particularly in the middle of winter after…

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Forcing Bulbs

Bulbs can bring spring cheer indoors, particularly in the middle of winter after all of the glitter of Christmas is over.

Bulbs can be planted in almost every type of container, providing it has good drainage. The bulbs will be planted closer together in containers than outdoors. You can combine bulbs with other plants or with other bulbs to prolong flowering enjoyment.

Step by Step

  1. Select a pot that is not too small so that several bulbs can be planted at the same time. Cover the bottom with a layer of pot shard or clay marbles for better drainage.
  2. Partially fill the pot with soil, (you can also use marbles or stone chips), and pat down lightly. Next, press the bulbs slightly into the soil. They can almost be touching each other. Place tulip bulbs with their flat side toward the wall of the pot, so leaves will grow on the outside and flowers on the inside of the planter.
  3. Put additional soil in the pot so that the tips of the bulbs disappear under the soil. Water the soil liberally to encourage rooting.
  4. Give the planted bulbs the required cooling period. As soon as the first buds emerge from the bulbs, the pots can be brought into the room.

Hyacinths are used mostly for forcing as they do not perform well in the garden next year. They will come again to the same stage as when first purchased with plenty of fertilizer and good rich soil. Outside, plant about 15 cm apart and 20 cm deep. Cover with 5 cm of mulch for frost protection.

Hyacinth glass jars are also used to force indoors. A small piece of charcoal in the water will keep water fresh until the bulb grows. The bottom of the bulb should just touch the water.

Once potted, water thoroughly and store in a frost-free environment (not above 55C). You may bury outside in a well-drained area of the garden. Cover bulbs with straw for protection.

Beware of squirrels and rodents which may use the bulbs for a food source.

If indoors, store for 8 to 13 weeks (depending on bulb type) at about 40 to 45C. As the roots are the first to develop, the pots do not need any light. After the cold period, bring pots into light and warmth (68 to 70C). Water plants thoroughly and keep moist during blooming. After blooming, plant outdoors in an out-of-the-way area for bulbs to develop in size, which allows for reblooming, or simply discard.

Forcing tips:
If bulbs are cooled for too short a time, the stems of the flowers will be too short; too long a cooling period ensures that stems are too long.

The flowers can be “held back” for up to a week if needed. Simply store the pot in a cold area, but do not freeze!

 

Amaryllis and Paper Whites (Tazetta) require no cooling period. Plant and place in a warm area immediately after purchase

 


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Fragrant Gardens

Plants that have attractive and colourful flowers, which are also scented, provide…

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Plants that have attractive and colourful flowers, which are also scented, provide an exciting and delightful aspect to any garden. The rewards: fragrances that can range from the extremely potent to the subtle.

The diversity of plants with scented flowers is extensive and enables designers to create gardens using plants with form, texture, colour and size. Plants can be strategically positioned close to windows, patios, decks and walkways to maximize their aromatic and soothing charms.

Plants with fragrant flowers are not limited to one specific group and can include standard and grafted trees; broadleafed evergreens; shrubs; vines; ground covers; roses; perennials; annuals; and spring and summer bulbs.

Woody plants:

Dwarf Korean Lilac (Syringa meyeri palibin)

This is a handsome lilac with small, profuse violet-purple flowers, which are very fragrant and appear before the leaves. Available as a shrub or grafted tree, this small densely mounded shrub of 1.25 metres likes full sun and well-drained, slightly acidic soils. Prune after flowering. Perfect plant for use in shrub border with an evergreen background or as a small specimen tree.

Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii)

Butterfly Bush is a large, arching herbaceous shrub with grey to blue-green foliage. The fragrant, long, upright or nodding panicles of lilac-purple-white flowers are borne in August and September. Plant in full sun in well-drained fertile soil for contrast in a shrub or perennial planting, or in mass plantings. Early spring pruning promotes vigorous growth and larger flowers. Attractive to butterflies. Several varieties are available.

Other scented options:

Magnolia – many varieties
Flowering Crab (Malus) – many varieties
Mock Orange (Philadelphus) – many varieties
Cherry (Prunus) – many varieties
Lilac (Syringa) – most varieties
Littleleaf Linden (Tilia cordata)
Viburnum – many varieties

Plants with fragrant flowers:

Serviceberry (Amelanchier)

Annuals with fragrant flowers:

Nemesia (Nemesia fruticans)
Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus)
Lavender (Lavendula species)
Dianthus (Dianthus species)
Helitrope (Helitrope arbroescens)


georgina garden centre gardening tips

Hedges – Planting and Growing

Dig a trench 12 to 15 inches wide and about 12 inches deep, sides extending straight…

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Planting & Growing Hedges

Planting Procedures

Dig a trench 12 to 15 inches wide and about 12 inches deep, sides extending straight down. Improve the soil by adding garden soil and mixing thoroughly. They should be planted right next to each other (making a hedge). Container grown or not, plant the depth of the root ball and place in the middle of the trench. The trench is then half filled with the soil mixture and filled with water. After the water has drained away fill in the rest of the soil, gently firming it. Use transplant fertilizer and water well until established.

Pruning a Hedge

To start to train the plants into a dense hedge it is wise to prune one third off the ends of the branches at planting time. This encourages branches close to the ground to develop. Once the plants start to produce new growth higher than 6 inches over the old pruned level, remove it with a pair of hedge shears. Trim the sides as well, but leave 6 inches of growth on both sides from the centre of the plants. Trim a hedge a few inches wider at the base than at the top. The following year, start trimming when the new growth is 6 to 12 inches over the old pruned level. Once the ultimate height of the hedge is reached, keep pruning at the same level, never permitting more than 4 to 6 inches growth before pruning. The best form for a hedge is wider at the base than at the top to allow the sun to reach the slower growing lower branches. If you trim wider at the top, the bottom will soon become bare.

Fertilizing your Hedge:

For newly planted hedges, fertilize with transplanter fertilizer. For established hedges, use Tree & Hedge Food, in once in May and again in July.

 

georgina garden centre gardening tips


georgina garden centre gardening tips

Herb Gardening

A group of shrubby herbs from the Mediterranean, Oregano and…

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Favourite Herbs

Add Zing to your meals with these favourite herbs that you can grow

 

Sweet Basil (annual)

40 to 60 cm tall; tender annual that can not be planted out until early June; the perfect flavouring for tomatoes and tomato dishes; highly aromatic clove-like scent and peppery taste; young leaves are best; leaves in excess of your immediate needs can be dried or packed in jars and covered with oil. They can also be dry frozen or frozen in ice-cubes.

Bush Basil (annual)

25 cm tall; a small compact plant, good for pot and windowsill culture. This ‘picollo’ Basil is thought best for PESTO, a delectable sauce for ‘al dente’ spaghetti and other pasta.

Chives (perennial)

The chopped hollow stems add flavour to salads, soups, omelet’s and cheese dishes. The attractive flowers are worth growing for their ornamental value.

Garlic Chives

Chinese Chives (Gow Chow) (perennial)

The stems are not hollow. The attractive white flowers bloom in August and September. Garlic Chives are recommended for rock gardens or the front of perennial borders. Culinary uses are the same as regular Chives. Both Chives can be forced indoors if a dormant or resting period is provided. Pot up sections of a garden clump in September and keep in a cold place. Bring indoors in January and place in a sunny window.

French Tarragon (tender perennial)

Grows to 90 cm and needs full sun in light, well-drained soil. Famous as a flavouring for vinegar, French Tarragon is also used in marinades and sauces.

Sage (tender perennial)

Evergreen shrub, usually 60 cm. The silvery-gray foliage is very attractive. Best known use is Sage and Onion stuffing for poultry.

Lovage (annual)

A clump-forming perennial with stems growing over 2 m in rich, moist soil. Somewhat like a large celery with a yeasty celery flavour, it adds greatly to soups and stews. The tang of the yeast extract and herbal flavouring ‘Maggi’ comes from Lovage.

Thyme (perennial)

The common cooking Thyme is a bushy shrub 20 to 30 cm tall, spreading to 60 cm. To survive Ontario winters, it needs gritty well-drained soil.

Lemon Thyme (perennial)

The Lemon Thymes are best used fresh in summer salads or a garnish and flavour for soups or boiled potatoes.

Oregano and Marjoram (tender perennial)

A group of shrubby herbs from the Mediterranean, Oregano and Marjoram are not easy to overwinter in Ontario gardens unless perfect drainage is provided. Winter cover with such material as evergreen boughs is also essential. The best for flavour are listed below.

Sweet Marjoram and Greek Oregano (tender perennial)

They are essential ingredients in Italian cookery, the pizza herb. The hot, spicy flavour works well in all tomato dishes as well as meat stews, soups and gravies.

Florence Fennel (Finochio) (annual)

Approximately 1 m tall, this annual is more of a vegetable than herb. The swollen, bulbous base is similar to celery and should be blanched by mounding soil around the base once it is larger than an egg or lemon. Florence Fennel can be sliced raw for salads, sauteed or quartered in a chicken casserole. It has a delicate anise-licorice flavour.

Sweet Fennel (annual)

Sweet Fennel is 1 to 2 m tall. Although it is a perennial, Sweet Fennel must be treated as an annual in the Ontario climate. The leaves, stems and seeds are anise flavoured. If the foliage is the only part to be used, it is best to pinch out the flowering stems. The finely chopped leaves are used in salads and sauces. Fish and Sweet Fennel go together well. Fresh leaves can be used as stuffing for baked fish or added to the water when poaching.

Curled Parsley (annual)

Perhaps the most popular herb of all, Curled Parsley is a biennial herb, which is grown as an annual for its often used, finely dissected leaves. 15 cm.

Italian Parsley (annual)

Approximately 30 cm, Italian Parsley is a taller variety with flatter leaves, similar to celery leaves but with a strong parsley flavour.

 

georgina garden centre gardening tips


Holiday Decorating and Plant Care

In Canada, poinsettia are the most popular of all Christmas…

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Home Care Tips for your Poinsettia

 

In Canada, poinsettia are the most popular of all Christmas houseplants. Millions of poinsettia are purchased each year during the Christmas season by people who enjoy the colour and warmth they provide to the home. Proper selection will help to insure a long lasting plant that you will enjoy throughout the Christmas and winter months.

Purchase Tips

Choose plants that appear strong and healthy. Check for signs of insects by looking at the underside of the foliage and avoid plants whose leaves are spotted or yellow. Next, check to see if the small yellow flowers are still on the plant. Remember, the red colour of the poinsettia is provided by modified leaves called bracts. The small yellow flowers should be located at the centre of the red bracts. Finally, never buy a plant which is displayed with a paper or plastic sleeve pulled right around the plant. The leaves will turn yellow and may fall off if the poinsettia was sleeved too long.

Taking your Plant Home

Our garden centre will provide your poinsettia with some protection when transporting it to your home. Never expose the plant to cold temperature for more than a few minutes; a chilled or frozen plant will drop leaves very quickly. When you have the plant at home, remove the protective wrapping immediately.

Taking Care of Your Poinsettia

With proper care, your poinsettia will last through the Holiday season and right into late winter. Play close attention to the following tips:

  • Place in a room where there is bright natural light but not where the sun will shine directly on the plant.
  • Keep the plant away from locations where it will receive hot or cold drafts.
  • Place the plant high enough to be out of reach of unmonitored children and pets.
  • Set the plant in a water-proof container to protect your furniture.
  • Water the plant thoroughly when the soil surface is dry to the touch. Discard any excess water which remains in the saucer after 10 minutes.
  • The bright colour of the bracts will remain longer if temperatures do not exceed 22�C.

Re-flowering your Poinsettia

If you cannot bear to throw your poinsettia out when it is finished providing colour, you may want to try your hand at re-flowering your poinsettia next year.

 

 

December Full bloom. Water as needed.
April Colour fades.
Keep near sunny window and fertilize when new growth appears.
Cut back stems to about 20 cm.
June 1 Repot if necessary.
Fertilize with a balanced formula 20-20-20.
Continue to water when dry to touch.
Move outside if temperatures do not fall below 10oC.
Place in light shade.
Late August Take inside.
Cut stems back, leaving three or four leaves per shoot.
Sunny window.
Water and fertilize as needed.
Sept. 20 ’til December 1 Keep in light only from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Put in dark (NO LIGHTS) 5 p.m. to eight a.m.

Remember the Key to Success: Follow the strict light/dark instructions carefully.

Poinsettia plants

The botanical name for poinsettia is Euphorbia pulcherrima. The United States’ first ambassador to Mexico, Joel Robert Poinsett, sent several plants back to his home in Greenville, South Carolina in 1825. The poinsettia is not a poisonous plant. Research has proven that the poinsettia is not lethal to humans or pets unless eaten in extremely large amounts. However, your poinsettia and all other houseplants should be kept out of the reach of small children and pets since varying degrees of discomfort may be experienced if plant parts are ingested.

georgina garden centre gardening tips


georgina garden centre gardening tips

Hydrangeas

A genus of long-lived flowering shrubs…

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Hydrangeas

A genus of long-lived flowering shrubs and climbers. They are best in rich, moist, well-drained soil. They grow well in sun or part-shade with adequate moisture.

Smooth Hydrangea

(H. arborescens) Is the hardy American native including “Annabelle”. Spectacular large white rounded flower heads in late summer in either sun or shade. If unpruned these plants can grow quite large. However, they are usually pruned to about 30 cm in April for fewer but larger flowers.

Oakleaf Hydrangea

(H. quercifolia) is another native but from further south. Hardy enough for Toronto, it produces large white conical flower heads and displays large leathery leaves that colour red in fall.

Panicle Hydrangea

(H.paniculata) is of Japanese origin but proven very hardy in Ontario. The popular “Pee Gee” Hydrangea is available in both shrub or tree form. The large white flowers turn pink with age. Spring pruning produces the largest flowers.

Big Leaf Hydrangeas

(H. macrophylla) can be of two types – lacecap or mophead. For bright blue flowers use peat moss plus aluminum sulphate. For stronger shade of pink or red use horticultural lime. Use a balanced fertilizer (15-30-15) for healthier plants. Leave the spent flowers on the plant over winter as protection for the topmost buds. Mound the plants with soil 6” deep in the fall for winter protection. Cut back to the topmost pair of sprouting buds or to ground level in the spring, if necessary.

georgina garden centre gardening tips


Landscaping for a Quick Real Estate Sale

Whether the real estate market is hot or cold, you always want to…

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Landscaping for Quick Real Estate Sale

Whether the real estate market is hot or cold, you always want to make a few extra dollars when selling your home. Most people focus on the inside of their home when it comes time to sell, but first impressions, even from the outside, are critical. Landscaping will definitely improve your curb appeal, but you don’t want to invest in a house you’re about to sell. Here are four easy steps for you to take right now that will improve the curb appeal of your home and improve the sale price.

Step one: Don’t cut down trees

According to the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers, “A mature tree can often have an appraised value of between $1,000 and $10,000.”

Step two: Add plants

Money Magazine says that landscaping can bring a recovery value of 100 to 200 per cent for landscaping at selling time. If you have a long lead selling time, then professionally landscape your property. If you have a shorter lead time, follow the directions below.

Step three: Get rid of the brown

  • Rake the lawn to remove any overwintering dead leaves or dead grass stems. It will instantly make the remaining foliage look brighter and more appealing.
  • Shrubs – remove any dead branches first thing in spring.
  • Put a thin layer of new mulch around all shrubs to freshen up the look. Do not use coloured mulches. People who don’t like them will reduce offers, but people who do like them can still tolerate natural bark mulches.
  • Weed constantly because a single weed can reduce the impact you’re trying to create. Weeds say “neglect.”
  • Avoid hanging baskets unless you can really grow them. By July they tend to look weather beaten.
  • Pavers and pavement – clean them within an inch of their lives.
  • Perennials – deadhead, deadhead, deadhead. Keep those perennial plants trimmed up and neat.
  • Bulbs – cut them to the ground as soon as possible and plant annuals over top of them.
  • Water gardens – clean out, get the pumps working immediately and toss as many clumps of oxygenators into the pond as needed to get rid of the spring algae bloom and get the water clear.

Step four: Look for the wow factor

This isn’t any single thing but a combination of small, inexpensive steps.

  • Edge all flower beds and lawns at driveway and entrances. Remove all weeds from between pavers.
  • Overseed the lawn with a high quality lawn seed preferably conatining Kentucy Blue grass. Do not skimp! A healthy lawn is the first thing a prospective buyer sees.
  • If you have a huge overgrown and partially dead shrub, plant bright annuals underneath it to divert attention.
  • Large well-tended container gardens make a great impression, but they have to be in greenhouse condition to add value. The bigger the better.
  • There are three things to do with annual plants.
    1. Fill all available bare spaces and plant heavily. If the tag says plant 12 inches apart, then plant eight to 10 inches apart to fill the area quickly.
    2. Feed and water them all summer so they’re always looking big, bushy and flowering.
    3. Pick colours that are fashionable to attract women buyers.
  • Roses: Trim and prune so there are no dead branches or dying blossoms left on the plant. Plant fragrant ones exclusively.
  • Take large foliage plants, put them in decorator pots for instant indoor or outdoor landscaping. Big is better.
  • Houseplants: put fresh flowers and African violets on windowsills and in strategic places. Toss these out when they begin to fade and replace them with fresh flowers.

What every real estate agent will tell you to do:

  • Paint the front door, polish the door handle, knocker, etc.
  • Clean all the windows in the house.
  • Get a new doormat.
  • Clean the garage.
  • Hang up the hoses in the garden and put away the garbage.
  • Take down the Christmas lights.

Source: www.simplegiftsfarm.com/sell-your-home.html

 


georgina garden centre gardening tips

Lawn Care

Since herbicides came off the market in Ontario in 2007, many homeowners…

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How to maintain a healthy lawn in seven simple steps

 

georgina garden centre gardening tips

Since herbicides came off the market in Ontario in 2007, many homeowners puzzle over the right strategy to keep their lawns healthy. Fear not! All the turf management tools you need follow below. Proper lawn care techniques, done at the right time, can make your lawn greener than it’s ever been!

If your schedule gets in the way, don’t worry, Georgina Garden Centre would love to help you out! Call at any time for a quote on any lawn care services you are interested in.

Step 1 – Aerating and Thatch Control

  • Aerate in the spring and fall before top dressing or fertilizing.
  • Aerators can be rented or Georgina Garden Centre can provide the service.
  • Alleviates compacted soil and allows water to penetrate deeper, producing deeper roots.
  • Creates space in soil for penetration of air, water and nutrients.
  • Physically breaks up thatch.
  • A healthy lawn has 1 cm (1/2 inch) of thatch – more than 2.5 cm is too much.
  • Unhealthy amounts of thatch prevent water and nutrients from reaching roots.
  • Thatch can harbour insects and diseases.
  • Use a de-thatching machine or hire Georgina Garden Centre.

Step 2 – Improving Soil Quality

  • Grass grows best in a moist, fertile soil that is not waterlogged.
  • Sandy soil and heavy clay both need humus to improve the texture.
  • A deep dense root system is most important to support top growth in grass.
  • A minimum of 4″ (10 cm) of soil is needed.
  • More soil = deeper roots.
  • Soil samples can be sent for analysis. The results will include levels of phosphorus, potassium, pH and lime.
  • pH levels are the measurement of acid and alkaline level. The best level is between 6.0 and 7.0. Test can be done by Agri-Food Laboratories, Imperial Rd. Guelph, 1-800-265-7175
  • Top dress lawn with good quality soil only 1/4 inch deep

Step 3 – Overseed

  • Top- dressing and overseeding are ideal opportunities to push out weeds.
  • Overseed at least 3 times a year – spring, summer, and fall – the more the better.
  • Choose a grass seed that is best suited for your area – sun, shade, dry or a general overseed

Step 4 – Mowing

  • Mow high: 6 to 9 cm (approx 2.5 – 3.5″).
  • Keep Mower blades sharp.
  • Mow frequently – cut no more than 1/3 of shoot length.
  • Leave clippings on the lawn to provide a natural source of nitrogen.

Step 5 – Fertilizing

  • Very important to grass health.
  • Provides nutrients to out grow weeds.
  • Use a slow release type and follow instructions.
  • Use a spreader for even application.
  • Consider using organic fertilizers.
  • Fertilize late April, early June, September, and end of October
  • Late fall fertilization is best to increase fall and spring root growth and also results in an early spring green up.
  • Promotes a thicker lawn.

Step 6 – Spot Check for Weeds and Insects

  • Pull any broadleaf weeds by hand.
  • Annual weeds – prevent flowering by mowing and/or hand pulling.
  • Grass weeds – pre-emergent (prevents germination) – try corn gluten.
  • Perennial rye grass mix – will minimize chinch bugs, bluegrass billbugs, sod webworms.
  • Apply Nematodes for grubs in late April/early May & end of August/beginning of September.

Step 7 – Watering

  • Let a healthy lawn go dormant during extended dry periods. It can survive 4 to 6 weeks without adequate water.
  • Water only if an extreme drought or lawn under stress or renovation to begin with. If your lawn is dormant:
    • Check regularly for insect pests
    • Keep traffic off
    • Stop mowing
    • Do not fertilize

    If you do water:

    • Water deeply: 2.5 cm (1″).
    • Water once a week 20-30 minutes per area.
    • Water before 10:00 a.m. to avoid evaporation and for best health.
    • Follow any regional watering restrictions.

Month-by-month Lawn Guide

April Clean-up, rake, investigate winter damage
Apply corn gluten for weed control, wait 6 weeks to grass seed
Grass seed & fertilize (if you don’t apply corn gluten)
Apply Nematodes late April-early May
May Apply Nematodes early May
Aerate if needed
Top-dress & overseed (or top-dress in the fall)
Pull dandelions and other weeds
Fertilize
June Pull dandelions and other weeds
Fertilize & overseed
Monitor grubs
July Monitor grubs
Monitor chinch bugs
Keep lawn watered
August Apply nematodes if necessary for grubs
Keep lawn watered
September Early – Fertilize & overseed
Monitor weeds and pull
October Top-dress (if you top-dressed in the spring you don’t need to do it again)
Late – Fertilize & overseed (after fall leaf clean up)

 


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Moist Areas

The majority of garden plants are tolerant…

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Gardening for Moist Areas

The majority of garden plants are tolerant of wet soil for short periods of time. It is very natural for many areas to be quite wet in the spring as the ground thaws and the snow melts.

However, garden sites that remain wet throughout the year demand the use of moisture-tolerant or even moisture-dependant species.  Note: we suggest that the following plants are not planted somewhere where the water ‘sits’ as no plant can stand those conditions for any length of time.

The following is a selection of plant material that enjoy moist soil:

Shade Tree

  • Red Maple (Acer rubrum and cultivars)
  • Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum)
  • Pin Oak (Quercus palustris)
  • Willow (Salix species)

Evergreen Trees

  • Weeping False Cypress (Chamecyparis nooktatensis)
  • White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis)

Shrubs

  • Chokeberry (Aronia species)
  • Redtwig Dogwood (Cornus sericea, C.Stolonifera)
  • Winterberry (Ilex verticillata)
  • Spice Bush (Lindera benozoin)
  • Pussy Willow (Salix)
  • Elder (Sambucus varieties)
  • Witherod (Viburnum cassinoides)

Ferns

  • Leather Wood (Dryopteris marginalis)
  • Toothed Wood (Dryopteris spinufosa)
  • Marsh Fern (Dryopteris thelpteris)
  • Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris)
  • Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis)
  • Cinnamon Fern (Osmunda connamonea)
  • Royal Fern (Osmunda regalis)
  • Virginian Chain (Woodwardia Virginica)

Hardy Perennials

These plants do not demand boggy soil and are hardy in the regular garden. They are all moisture tolerant and provide greater choice for poolside or boggy plantings.

 

 


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Native Plants

If you’re looking for a landscape filled with good looking, easy…

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Landscaping with Native Plants

If you’re looking for a landscape filled with good looking, easy-to-maintain plants that are well adapted to our climate, then native plant material may be your best bet.

Trees, shrubs and flowers that occur naturally in our surroundings are, generally speaking, better adapted to local climate and soil conditions and more resistant to local disease and pests than are the more highly bred, exotic species.

On the whole, native stock requires less of your time and money to maintain – they don’t receive any extra moisture or fine manicuring in the depths of the forest! Because of their adaptations, native plants stand a greater chance of healthy, strong growth than most hybrid species.

To begin planning your natural planting, take a look around our garden centre. Our staff will be happy to show you some of the native plants listed. In addition, we have many perennial flowering plants that are local; a carefully selected group of native perennials will give you easy-care colour all season long.

Once you have chosen the native plant material for your garden, try laying them out before planting. Remember that clumps of plantings will look more natural than single plants scattered all over. For a truly natural look, try to incorporate ”layers” of vegetation. By combining large and small trees, shrubs, evergreens and groundcovers, you should be able to create an attractive, yet low maintenance planting. Often the gardens that look thoughtlessly natural required a great deal of careful consideration in the planning stage.

If you’re looking to attract birds, butterflies or other wildlife to your garden be sure to include lots of native plants in your landscape. Our wildlife evolved in these habitats so they are better suited to our native plant communities.

Evergreens

White Pine – Pinus strobus
White Cedar – Thuja occidentalis
White Spruce – Picea glauca

Shade Trees

Red Oak – Quercus rubra
Pin Oak – Quercus palustris
Paper Birch – Betula papyrifera
Red Maple – Acer rubrum
Sugar Maple – Acer saccharum
Silver Maple – Acer saccharinum

Small Trees

Pagoda Dogwood – Cornus alternifolia
Serviceberry – Amelanchier alnifolia
Staghorn Sumac – Rhus typhina
Redbud – Cercis canadensis

Shrubs

Red Osier Dogwood – Cornus sericea
Honeysuckle – Lonicera

Vines and Groundcovers

Trumpet Vine – Campsis radicans

 


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Perennials for Shade

One of the most common problems with shade in the garden is…

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Perennials for Shade

One of the most common problems with shade in the garden is the lack of it!!

In a new home, in a new subdivision, where can you grow lush leafy ferns. Astilbes and Hosta? There are so many plants that actually LIKE SHADE! If you can create a garden in the shaded north side of your home, then you can enjoy a broad range of plants that thrive in shade.

All Shade is Not the Same

Perennials for Shade

At our latitude in summer, even the north side of the house gets sun. Rising in the far north-east in the morning it catches the north side and again from the north-west as it sets. Plants on the east and west-side get at least six hours of sun in the summer, sufficient for all plants except the true sun worshippers.

Open Shade

On the north side of the house, but open to the sky. Plants listed, for light shade will do well.

Light Shade or Filtered Sunlight

Dappled shade; light or shadow moves with the sun like under a Locust or Birch. Lawn grass does well and do most plants. Not shady enough for true shade lovers.

Medium Shade

The north side of the house, further obstructed by overhead branches. A shade-tolerant lawn grass will still grow and now we can plant Astilbe and Hosta.

Deep Shade

(In the plant list, those for deep shade are indicated “*”)

Permanent, year-round shade from buildings and large evergreens and shade trees. Usually found in the older residential area. Grass will not grow well, but ferns will.

Dry Shade and Moist Shade

Deep shade is often moist since it does not receive the sun’s heat, but it can be dry under large trees that take all available moisture. There are very many plants for moist shade; dry shade is more difficult but the problem can be overcome by watering and mulching. A good perennial for dry shade is Barrenwort (Epimedium).

All shade is not the same. Deep shade is usually found in older gardens where trees are mature. In deep shade, the soil will usually be cool and moist – perfect conditions for Ferns and Hosta.

The large-leafed Hostas are luxurious in shade, some with glossy, dark green foliage, others are variegated green and white or green and gold. They all have attractive lily-like flowers mostly in shades of blue. One very nice variety is Royal Standard, with dark green leaves and fragrant white flowers.

Ferns are easy-to-grow, maintenance-free plants that mostly need or prefer cool, moist shade. As ferns become popular, an increasing number of varieties are appearing at garden centres. Ostrich Fern, Lady Fern and Sensitive Fern have long been favorites. Now available is Japanese Painted Fern, with blue-gray fronds, and colourful Autumn Fern with young coppery foliage. The Christmas Fern and Holly Ferns are evergreen.

Astilbe are the most beautiful plants for shade with their gorgeous plumes of red, pink or white flowers in June and very attractive spring foliage that remains green and handsome all summer – as long as the soil is moist.

Hosta, Ferns and colourful Astilbes will make a very attractive show in combination and are long-lived perennials for a garden in the shade.

Perennials for Light Shade or Part Sun

(Those that take deep are marked with “*”)

  • Anchusa
  • Tall Phlox
  • Monrada (Bergamot)
  • Day Lily
  • Bergenia *
  • Bethlehem Sage*
  • Balloon Flower
  • Siberian Iris
  • Carpathian Harebell and other Campanula
  • Creeping Jenny
  • Meadowrue
  • Virginia Bluebells *
  • Foxglove *
  • Oriental Poppy
  • Astilbe *
  • Marsh Marigold
  • Trollius
  • Primrose
  • Feverfew
  • Gold Moss
  • Cimicifuga
  • Chives
  • Arabis
  • Trillium
  • Purple Coneflower
  • Planted Daisy
  • Filipendula
  • Shasta Daisy
  • Columbines
  • Gas Plant
  • Leopard’s Bane
  • Macleaya
  • Christmas Rose
  • Jacob’s Ladder
  • Hosta *
  • Cardinal Flower
  • Gooseneck and Yellow Loosestrife
  • Japanese Anemone
  • Peony
  • Brunnera
  • Solomon’s Seal *
  • Saxifrage *
  • Nepeta
  • Spiderwort *
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Viola
  • Aconitum
  • Bleeding Heart
  • Goatsbeard
  • Globe Thistle
  • Geum
  • Perennial Geraniums
  • Obedient Plant
  • Coral Bells
  • Veronica
  • Lupines

Perennial ground cover for shade

  • Ajuga
  • Goutweed *
  • Crown Vetch
  • Cotoneaster
  • Epimedium*
  • English Ivy
  • Hall’s Honeysuckle
  • Virginia Creeper
  • Pachysandra*
  • Creeping Potentialla
  • Periwinkle
  • Euonymus
  • All ferns *
  • Many ornamental grasses
  • Lily-of-the-Valley
  • Wild Ginger
  • Wintergreen *

Pest Management Natural

The grub is the larvae stage of a variety of…

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Grubs in the Lawn

The grub is the larvae stage of a variety of beetles. Japanese Beetle, European Chafer and Junebug are the most common three. European Chafer is the worst one for destroying lawns in our area.

white grub

Damage and I.D.

Grubs feed on grass roots causing your lawn to die. The key symptom of grub invasion is irregular deed patches which will lift up easily if tugged on These patches have had the roots severed and there is nothing to anchor the sod in place. The lawn may also have patches that have been burrowed in or been up-turned by moles, skunks or raccoons feeding on grubs. The highest concentration of grubs will be found in dead turf bordering green areas. The grub is ‘C’ shaped with a brown head, white body and six legs on its upper half.

Grubs were first imported from the Orient in their adult stage and first discovered in North America in New York.

Life cycle

The grub’s life cycle is very simple. The grub feeds on grass roots from mid-March to mid-May, and then develops into its pupal form. The adult beetle then emerges in mid-June, mates over a two week span and retreats back into soil to lay its eggs. The grubs hatch and begin to feed in late July to August. The grubs will burrow below the frost line in the fall and stop feeding but if there is a thaw, they will resume feeding at any time, even during the winter. The grubs will continue to feed in the spring, constantly growing larger.

Cultural Control

When a lawn is well maintained, well watered and well fertilized, there may be grub problems but because the lawn is so vigorous, it will grow more roots as they are destroyed. You may not even detect a problem and if you do, the damage will not be as severe.

Natural Control

Nematodes are used to get rid of any grubs in your lawn. Nematodes are small colourless, round worms that travel through waterways and feed on grubs. They are typically sold in a sponge filled with around 10 million microscopic nematodes that will cover up to 3000 square feet. Keep refrigerated until you use them. Before and after use: water your lawn thoroughly. It is best to apply on a cool, cloudy day. To use: soak sponge in a bucket with 4L of water, add some food colouring, then put this concentrate in a sprayer that can attach to your hose. Note: Do NOT use a sprayer with a screen or the nematodes will not be able to come out or a sprayer that has been used with a fertilizer or herbicide in it as this will kill the nematode. Spray evenly over your lawn until you run out of concentrate. Make sure you keep your lawn moist for at least two-three days after so that the nematodes can travel through the waterways. Nematodes will continue to thrive in your soil as long they have water and food.

 

 


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Planting

Your new plants should be installed as soon…

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Planting Instructions

Helpful hints on how to successfully plant your newly purchased nursery stock

Preparation

Your new plants should be installed as soon as possible. If there is some delay in planting, then it is important to guard against moisture loss. Store plants in a shady, wind protected area, and keep root area evenly moist.

Handle plants gently and use the container or root ball to move the plant. Never hold onto the plant itself. Be sure to place your plants in their preferred growing environment for best results.

Balled and Burlap

Many trees, shrubs and evergreens have the root ball wrapped in burlap and secured with string or rope. Large sizes have the ball contained in a wire basket. These must be planted just the way they are, burlap, rope and wire basket too. Fill around the ball with a good soil mix to three-quarters and water thoroughly.

THEN – untie all string or rope from the trunk or stems. Fold back burlap and ropes and tuck down out of sight. If there is a wire basket, fold back the loops and push down, leaving the wire basket on. Add more good soil mix to fill the hole. Water again using a root-stimulating transplant fertilizer.

Size of planting hole

It is vital to dig your planting hole at least 5″ larger than the root ball on all sides to allow for soil enrichments before planting. When planting large heavy balls, the soil at the bottom of the hole should be left solid to prevent the tree from settling lower (see illustration). The finished level of the tree should be the same as it was grown, or up to 3″ (8 cm) higher.

Fibre Pots

We can not over stress the importance of leaving the pot ON! These pots are made of paper and will rot away in the soil, and are readily penetrated by healthy plant roots. Break off the pot rim down to the soil level. Make three cuts halfway up from the bottom. DO NOT remove the bottom of the pot. Fill in around the pot with a good soil mix. Water thoroughly with a root stimulating transplant fertilizer.

Plastic Pots

Water thoroughly before removing the container. If a light tapping on sides and bottom does not release the soil, make two cuts the length of the pot on opposite sides and gently pull away the halves. Use your fingers or a knife to gently loosen and spread exposed roots that appear crowded. To free the very matted or circling roots, make several vertical cuts 1/2 to 1 inch deep through the root mass.

Perennials and Annuals

These are usually grown in beds where 3″ to 6″ sphagnum peat moss is spread over the surface and worked into the soil to a depth of 3″ to 12″. A good general purpose flowering fertilizer can be added at this time. Thorough bed preparation is important for healthy perennials since they will be growing in that same location for many years to come. If a specimen is being planted or being added to an existing bed, then prepare the planting hole as you would for a tree or shrub.

Special Care for Special Plants

Roses may be in fibre or plastic pots. Most roses are grafted on to different root stock. For reasons of hardiness, the grafted area (which will be the swollen area where the stems originate) must be planted 2 inches below the soil. For Rhododendrons, Azaleas and other Broadleafed Evergreens, increase the amount of sphagnum peat moss used by half. Peaches, nectarines and cherries demand excellent fast drainage. DO NOT plant in wet areas. DO NOT overwater.

When the planting is completed…

Watering

Plants grown in plastic pots tend to dry out more quickly, therefore, more frequent watering may be necessary to avoid plant wilt. It takes several weeks for roots to extend beyond the original soil ball, so be sure to check this area as it often dries out faster than surrounding garden soil. Deep watering encourages a deep root system and your plant will become more drought tolerant.

Mulching

Apart from their good appearance and the retarding of weed growth, mulches help to retain moisture. Mulch also keeps roots cool in summer and insulated in winter. Maintenance is easier and your plants will thrive.

3 Easy Steps to Success

  1. Plant the tree or shrub no deeper than it grew at the nursery.
  2. It is necessary to plant trees and evergreens in a soil that offers good drainage. Therefore, if you are planting in an area with heavy clay soil, you must make certain modifications before planting.
  3. It is vital to dig your planting hole at least 5″ larger than the root ball on all sides to allow for soil enrichments before planting.

Tip

The high phosophorous “Transplanter” type fertilizer is the only appropriate fertilizer to be used in the first season.

Tip

You can help to prevent permanent damage or discoloration caused by dessication (drying out) of evergreens by watering thoroughly in the fall, before freeze-up.

Tip

Divert downspouts and sprinklers away from planting area.

Tip

Water only when the soil feels dry to the touch, 2″ to 3″ down into the root area. Continue this form of watering until the plant is well established and growing.

Tip

Use garden soil and transplant fertilizer when planting.

 

georgina garden centre gardening tips


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Planting Guide

Helpful hints on how to successfully plant your newly purchased…

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Planting Instructions

Helpful hints on how to successfully plant your newly purchased nursery stock

Preparation

Your new plants should be installed as soon as possible. If there is some delay in planting, then it is important to guard against moisture loss. Store plants in a shady, wind protected area, and keep root area evenly moist.

Handle plants gently and use the container or root ball to move the plant. Never hold onto the plant itself. Be sure to place your plants in their preferred growing environment for best results.

Balled and Burlap

Many trees, shrubs and evergreens have the root ball wrapped in burlap and secured with string or rope. Large sizes have the ball contained in a wire basket. These must be planted just the way they are, burlap, rope and wire basket too. Fill around the ball with a good soil mix to three-quarters and water thoroughly.

THEN – untie all string or rope from the trunk or stems. Fold back burlap and ropes and tuck down out of sight. If there is a wire basket, fold back the loops and push down, leaving the wire basket on. Add more good soil mix to fill the hole. Water again using a root-stimulating transplant fertilizer.

Size of planting hole

It is vital to dig your planting hole at least 5″ larger than the root ball on all sides to allow for soil enrichments before planting. When planting large heavy balls, the soil at the bottom of the hole should be left solid to prevent the tree from settling lower (see illustration). The finished level of the tree should be the same as it was grown, or up to 3″ (8 cm) higher.

Fibre Pots

We can not over stress the importance of leaving the pot ON! These pots are made of paper and will rot away in the soil, and are readily penetrated by healthy plant roots. Break off the pot rim down to the soil level. Make three cuts halfway up from the bottom. DO NOT remove the bottom of the pot. Fill in around the pot with a good soil mix. Water thoroughly with a root stimulating transplant fertilizer.

Plastic Pots

Water thoroughly before removing the container. If a light tapping on sides and bottom does not release the soil, make two cuts the length of the pot on opposite sides and gently pull away the halves. Use your fingers or a knife to gently loosen and spread exposed roots that appear crowded. To free the very matted or circling roots, make several vertical cuts 1/2 to 1 inch deep through the root mass.

Perennials and annuals

These are usually grown in beds where 3″ to 6″ sphagnum peat moss is spread over the surface and worked into the soil to a depth of 3″ to 12″. A good general purpose flowering fertilizer can be added at this time.Thorough bed preparation is important for healthy perennials since they will be growing in that same location for many years to come. If a specimen is being planted or being added to an existing bed, then prepare the planting hole as you would for a tree or shrub.

Special Care for Special Plants

Roses may be in fibre or plastic pots. Most roses are grafted on to different root stock. For reasons of hardiness, the grafted area (which will be the swollen area where the stems originate) must be planted 2 inches below the soil. For Rhododendrons, Azaleas and other Broadleafed Evergreens increase the amount of sphagnum peat moss used by half. Peaches, nectarines and cherries demand excellent fast drainage. DO NOT plant in wet areas. DO NOT overwater.

When the planting is completed…

Watering

Plants grown in plastic pots tend to dry out more quickly, therefore, more frequent watering may be necessary to avoid plant wilt. It takes several weeks for roots to extend beyond the original soil ball, so be sure to check this area as it often dries out faster than surrounding garden soil. Deep watering encourages a deep root system and your plant will become more drought tolerant.

Mulching

Apart from their good appearance and the retarding of weed growth, mulches help to retain moisture. Mulch also keeps roots cool in summer and insulated in winter. Maintenance is easier and your plants will thrive

3 Easy Steps to Success

  1. Plant the tree or shrub no deeper than it grew at the nursery.
  2. It is necessary to plant trees and evergreens in a soil that offers good drainage. Therefore, if you are planting in an area with heavy clay soil, you must make certain modifications before planting.
  3. It is vital to dig your planting hole at least 5″ larger than the root ball on all sides to allow for soil enrichments before planting.

Tip

The high phosophorous “Transplanter” type fertilizer is the only appropriate fertilizer to be used in the first season.

Tip

You can help to prevent permanent damage or discoloration caused by dessication (drying out) of evergreens by watering thoroughly in the fall, before freeze-up.

Tip

Divert downspouts and sprinklers away from planting area.

Tip

Water only when the soil feels dry to the touch, 2″ to 3″ down into the root area. Continue this form of watering until the plant is well established and growing.

Tip

A good soil mix is 50 per cent soil, 25 per cent peat moss, 25 per cent manure.


Pruning Basics

Pruning is an essential part of gardening. Correctly pruned trees…

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Pruning Shrubs & Evergreens

Pruning is an essential part of gardening. Correctly pruned trees, shrubs and evergreens will be superior in appearance, vigour and in flowering to neglected plants.

Pruning Tools:

Hand Held Pruning Shears

Use for cutting stems up to 13 mm in diameter. Scissor types (illustrated) cut closer than anvil types, which can crush bark if they are not very sharp.

Hedge Shears

Use for trimming formal hedges when a neat wall of foliage is the goal.

Lopping Shears

Their long handles provide extra leverage, making lopping shears capable of cutting through stems up to 38 mm in diameter.

Tools Required

  • Hand Pruners (secateurs) for stems up to 13 mm in diameter.
  • Lopping Shears for stems and branches up to 2 cm.
  • Hedge Shears or Electric Hedge Trimmers for shaping hedges and pyramidal evergreens.
  • Pruning Saw for larger branches. Cuts over 2 cm should be protected with wound paint or paste.

Pruning Evergreens

Pyramidal Cedars and Junipers may be lightly pruned in early spring to remove any winter-killed tips. By mid-June, it should be apparent that shearing is needed again as the warmer weather produces a rush of growth.

Clip them with hedge shears just like a hedge. No upright evergreen should ever be allowed to outgrow its place in the garden. Spreading evergreens can be similarly sheared or thinned by removing individual branches. Make the cut under an overhanging branch and the pruning will be unseen.

Pruning Conifers

Spruce and Fir produce buds along the branch. New growth should be removed by about half in the third week of June. This provokes dormant buds to break, creates denser foliage and new buds will be set at the cut.

The “leader” of such trees can become disproportionally long and should be cut at this time. Do not cut below the lowest bud or the leader will die back.

Pines do not have buds along the stem, only on the tips. As these buds enlarge in the spring, they are likened to “candles.” Half of this growth should be removed each year, before the end of June.

Pruning Flowering Vines and Shrubs

These spring flowering shrubs should be pruned immediately after flowering: Caragana, Deutzia, Forsythia, Flowering Almond, Lilac, Purpleleaf Sandcherry, Rhododendron.

In the case of Lilac and Rhododendron, even if pruning for size is not required, at least remove the spent flowers and prevent the plant from setting seed. This will make them more floriferous next year.

Summer flowering shrubs should be pruned in early spring before growth begins, then pruned again to remove spent flowers. These include Roses, pink Spireas, Potentilla, Butterfly Bush, Blue Mist Shrub and Hydrangea.

Bittersweet Vine and shrubs with attractive fruit or berries, some roses, cranberries, etc., offer no best time for pruning. If pruning is required, then do so after flowering, or make use of the decorative berries indoors by cutting the fruited branches � Holly berries at Christmas, for example. Spindly Mahonia with bare lower stems should be cut right down in spring.

Most flowering vines: Clematis, Honeysuckle, Silverlace Vine, etc. are extremely vigorous and should be pruned in early spring. Some Clematis, Nelly Moser and Duchess of Edinburgh are examples that flower on old wood, then flower again on new growth. If the vine is overgrown, you may have to forgo early blossom in some years.


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Rhododendrons Azaleas and other Tender Plants

Rhododendrons are heavy flowering evergreen plants which enjoy…

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Rhododendrons & Azaleas

Rhododendrons are heavy flowering evergreen plants which enjoy a sheltered and shaded location. Azaleas are also heavy flowering plants and enjoy a sunny or semi-shaded location.

Where to Grow

Rhododendrons should be planted where some sun is available to encourage bud formation and compact growth. Shelter rhododendrons from strong winds which desiccate the foliage, and provide shade during the hottest part of the day. Rhododendrons must be protected from the winter sun. Build a tent of burlap around your rhododendrons and fill the tent with leaves or straw. The leaf or straw mulch can also serve to shelter rodents from winter’s frigid temperatures so mouse bait should be placed around the rhododendrons to protect your plants from the animal’s tiny teeth!

Azaleas should be planted in a sunny location but not in a location that is too dry because like rhododendrons, they enjoy lots of moisture.

How to Plant

Remove azaleas and rhododendrons from the plastic pot before planting. Acidic soil is required for rhododendrons and azaleas. Use garden soil and transplant fertilizer when planting. Dig a large hole and fill it with half topsoil and half peat moss. Water your plants well after planting and mulch with bark chips.

Moisture

Rhododendrons and Azaleas do not like to dry out, therefore, your soil must be consistently moist but never soggy.

Fertilizing

Rhododendrons and Azaleas benefit from an application of acid fertilizers in the spring such as CIL Rhododendron, Azelea and Camillia Food 4-12-8. Do not over feed and do not fertilize after June 30.

Do not use aluminum sulphate to acidify the soil. Ordinary sulphur or ammonium sulphate is appropriate such as Nutrite Soil Acidifier Elemental Sulfur. A small amount of sulphur should be added to the soil each year to keep the soil acidic.

Pruning

Pruning is seldom required for your azaleas and rhododendrons. To increase bloom, you should deadhead the plants and pinch the tips of the new growth in June.

Deadhead rhododendrons by breaking off spent flowers.
Be careful of buds underneath the flower.
To increase blooming in rhododendrons pinch tips of new growth in the spring.

Japanese Maples

The diverse beauty of Japanese maples has captivated gardeners for centuries. During the Edo era in Japan, over 250 named cultivars were selected and grown. Today, there are over 1,000 varieties of different sizes, shapes and hardiness levels.

Japanese maples are especially prized for the diversity of size, shape and colour of foliage. Foliage colour changes with the season, and many are especially spectacular in the autumn.

Japanese maples are usually categorized according to leaf type. These include: Palmate types: large leaves that look like your hand. Deeply divided types: the leaves are divided down to the petiole Dissected leaf types: the leaves are fine and deeply dissected or serrated. Other: these include variegated leaf types and linear lobum or line-leaf types.

Planting and care of Japanese maples

Site Selection:

Japanese maples grow well in our climate if a few basic principles are followed. The most important is to select a sheltered planting site that is out of the severest northwest winter winds. If it must be exposed to wind, ensure the tree is well wrapped with burlap in the winter months. Japanese maples grow well in any well-drained soil. They grow in full sun to almost full shade and will do best with protection from mid-day sun. The amount of light will affect the leaf colour; red leaf types will be more colourful in higher light conditions.

 

Planting:

Mix one part peat moss to three parts of soil in the planting hole, which should be much larger than the root ball. Water heavily at time of planting and mulch the entire area with a two-inch layer of bark or leaves to ensure water retention and keep the roots cool. Only moderate amounts of fertilizer such as ‘transplanter’ with a formula in ratio of 5-15-5 should be used at planting time.

 

Fertilizing and trimming of established plants:

Once established, Japanese maples may be lightly fertilized only in the early spring (April) with 4-12-8 fertilizer or 15-30-15 water soluble mixture. Major structural trimming may be done before the new leaves unfurl in spring. Lighter pruning can be accomplished any time in June after the first major flush of growth begins.

 

Diseases:

Japanese maples are subject to very few pests. Aphids, leaf cutters and rollers may appear in the spring and can be effectively treated with an approved spray. (Ask your garden centre representative to recommend an appropriate product). Mildew may appear in humid conditions.

 

Winter protection:

Wrap Japanese maples with burlap for at least the first three years in the garden. In more exposed locations, wrap every year. A heavy watering just prior to freeze-up will help to guard against water loss in winter. An extra heavy layer of mulch will also help to protect the root system.

 

Japanese Maple varieties:

The diversity and popularity of Japanese maples make it virtually impossible to predict their availability in any given year. Please consult with our garden centre staff for the varieties currently available. Following is a brief list of some of the more commonly stocked Japanese maples.

 

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Rock Gardens

Creating a rock garden on an existing slope can turn…

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Rock Garden Plantings

Rocks gardens should be in full sun

Creating a rock garden on an existing slope can turn a difficult planting area into a garden asset. Using the rocks to create a series of terraces forming flat planting areas avoids the problem of erosion from rain or nitrogen.

The rocks should be well sunk in the ground and should have the finished appearance of a natural outcrop. For this natural look, the rocks should be of only one type and the larger the better. It is a common mistake to use rocks that are too small. Fewer but larger rocks are more impressive.

Rock gardens are raised planting areas

Rock gardens are often constructed in conjunction with a garden pool. Using the excavated soil from the pool area as a base for the rock garden is simpler than getting rid of it otherwise. Even if the water garden is not in your plans, the same end can be achieved by creating a sunken garden as an attractive seating area or patio. The pool or seating area should be on the south or sunny side of the rock garden.

Bulbs & Perennials

Because a rock garden is a raised area, plants enjoy good drainage which is important in winter. The soil will also warm up more quickly in spring to the benefit of many popular rock garden plants that are spring flowering. The earliest flowering plants are the small bulbs such as Snowdrop, Crocus and Winter Aconite. These are ideal rock garden plants and are usually in bloom by mid-March. Ground Phlox in many colours, white-flowered Rock Cress (Arabis) and blue or purple-pink False Rock Cress (Aubretia), follow in April.

Perennial Alyssum (on Aurinia) is the popular Basket of Gold with showers of bright yellow blooms. The well drained soil of the rock garden is an ideal place for a collection of Thyme varieties, many with coloured foliage and flowering in many shades of pink plus white. Woolly Thyme is a favourite that will form a low carpet over the rocks.

The Sedums or Stonecrops are another family ideally suited to rock gardens. All have interesting foliage in many shades of green, green and gold and wine-red. They all flower with starry blooms in white, yellow, pink and red. They vary greatly in their bloom times, so that with a full collection, one Sedum or another will be in flower from early summer to fall.

Sempervivums or Hens and Chickens are rosette-forming plants that can be inserted into holes in the rocks or into rock crevices.

With the exception of spring bulbs, most of the perennials mentioned so far are not truly herbaceous but are sub-shrubs or have winter persistent stems or foliage. The winter interest is no doubt one reason for their longtime popularity.

Dwarf Evergreens and Dwarf Shrubs

It is always the garden ideal to have year-round interest. Evergreen plants provide this in many garden situations and many dwarf varieties are perfect for rock gardens. The very low-growing Juniper ‘Blue Rug’ forms an evergreen carpet suited to the lowest level of the rock garden. In the middle tier, round or arching shapes are found in the many choices available from dwarf forms of Juniper, Hemlock, Spruce and False Cypress.

Pyramidal forms have great architectural merit, adding solidity and permanence to the design and perhaps reminding us of mountainous regions. Alberta Spruce is a slow growing dwarf that requires no maintenance. Sunkist Cedar is burnished gold and very striking in winter.

Many smaller forms of flowering shrubs can be used in the rock garden. Potentillas are naturally small enough and dwarf forms of Lilac, Weigela, Spirea, Deutzia, etc. are all available.

Balance and Design

The suitability of any plant in the rock garden is dictated by the size of the rocks. It has already been stated that fewer larger rocks are preferable to many small ones. The larger the rock, then the larger the plant may be to achieve a visual balance. Smaller rocks should be used with smaller plants. The bare rocks and soil should have a pleasing effect even before planting.

It is unlikely to have rocks of pyramidal or roundish shapes (boulders are not recommended) so contrast in design is found in pyramidal and spherical plant forms.

Plants with a cascading habit are well-placed coming down over the rocks. Weeping Hemlocks, Weeping Spruce and shrubs like Cutleaf Stephenandra and Cranberry Cotoneaster will follow the contours of the rocks. It is not the only Cotoneaster for rock garden use, but it is one of the best with wine-red foliage in fall and winter persistent bright red fruit.

On the shady side

Depending on the placement and construction of your rock garden which should be in the sunniest location, you may nevertheless have a shaded area. Here, one can use small Ferns, Primrose and other shade-loving plants. Saxifrage are small rosette-forming plants with starry flowers not unlike Sedums and appear to be typical rock garden candidates. But they need moist shaded locations so they are not to burn and wither. The very lowest level of rock garden where moisture might accumulate can also provide a home for atypical plantings – Lungwort, Prunella, Hosta and other plants more normally used in woodland settings.

No hard and fast rules can be set for which is or is not a rock garden plant.

 

 


Roses

The rose bed or planting hole should be well-prepared. Dig…

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Rose Care Throughout the Year

Spring and Summer

  • Fertilize with Transplanter fertilzer.
  • After three or four weeks, change to a brand name rose food. Established roses should be fed every week from early spring to late August.
  • On the premise that prevention is easier than a cure, spray once per week with insecticide/fungicide.

Fall or early winter

  • Change from rose food to 0-0-20 (straight potassium) for overwintering vigour.
  • Let the last flowers go to seed; do not prune.
  • When the soil is frozen, tie up the rose canes, install a rose collar and fill it with soil.

The Following Spring

  • Remove the collar and then the soil as it thaws.
  • Cut back the strongest canes to 10 or 15 cm, cutting to an outward facing bud.
  • Start to fertilize when growth begins. Ever blooming roses need to be well nourished.

Soil

The rose bed or planting hole should be well-prepared. Dig as deep as the soil is in the pot. Use our Garden Soil, plus 4 kg of bonemeal for every 10 square meters or, a cupful for each plant.

Depth of Planting

Choice roses are produced by budding selected types to hardy rootstock. The bud union, which may look like a swollen portion at the bottom of the canes, should, in our Canadian climate, be planted one or two inches below the soil. Be aware that American or English publications may specify the union above the soil. If you plant your rose with the bud union above the soil, it is very important to cover it for the winter.  If you plant your rose with the bud union below the soil, you’ll have less blooms.

Fertilizer

Newly planted, potted roses should be fertilized with transplanter fertilizer. Follow the label’s instructions. Established roses should be fertilized with a name brand rose food. These formulations contain many trace elements essential to the roses’ health. Apply in early May, mid-June and again in mid-July.

Watering

Roses should be watered deeply and well once per week. The best method in beds is to use a trickle hose that can be left on running slowly on the ground, thereby avoiding wetting of the foliage and splattering of the soil.

Mulching

Pine mulch makes an excellent mulch for roses. It dresses the bed, conserves moisture and keeps down weeds. Other suitable mulches include bark chunks or shredded bark.

Winterizing

Start thinking of over-wintering your roses in mid-July at the time of your last fertilization. The rose canes should be allowed to harden off; they should not be succulent. Reduce the watering schedule in the fall. Allow the last flush of flowers on the plant to go to seed.

When the ground is frozen, (not too early, mid- to late November) “hill-up” the rose canes with soil, which you have kept unfrozen for this specific purpose, to a height of 45 cm. Do not prune at this time, unless the canes are so tall they could whip about in the winter winds, thereby damaging themselves or disturbing the hill of protective soil. Leave as much cane as possible. In beds or in mass plantings, rose collars are a must, � they are easy to use and reduce the amount of soil required. Where collars are not used, the hill of soil, once frozen, should be covered with evergreen boughs after Christmas so that the soil remains frozen and does not thaw in mild spells.

 

 


Roses

Large, many pedaled, single or double flowers, usually…

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Roses: Types & Pruning

Rose Types

Hybrid Tea

Large, many pedaled, single or double flowers, usually alone and occasionally in clusters of three to five. Blooms are usually held singly on straight long stems that are good for cutting. Many are fragrant. Ideally used in formal rose beds. Always grafted, 60 to 125 cm tall.

Floribunda

Blooms range from singles to fully double, produced in clusters. The blooming period is maintained throughout the year. Hardier than Hybrid Teas, although the flowers are smaller. Very showy when mass-planted in beds, or spot them through a foundation planting. 40 to 100 cm tall, usually grafted.

Grandiflora

The largest-blooming and showiest type. Flowers are large like the hybrid teas, but produced in cluster like the Floribundas. Vigorous and tall, from 100 to 200 cm. Always grated.

Climbers

Sports or mutations of bush roses. The flowers may be single or double, of Hybrid Tea or Floribunda Type, according to parentage. The main shoots should be trained as horizontally as possible, resulting in growth of lateral branches. These laterals will grow to provide height and cover and it is here the flowers will be produced.

Shrub Roses

Greatly under-valued and under-used. Modern shrub roses, derived in some cases from native roses that are free of disease and insect problems, are extremely hardy and require no special care. Some are as neat as Floribunda, with flowers as large as Hybrid Tea and many are fragrant. Include shrub roses in the border with lilac, forsythia, and mock orange/ As an informal flowering hedge or privacy screen, they are unsurpassed. The bright red fruits of some varieties add colour in the fall and winter.

Spring Pruning

As soon as thawing permits, take away the evergreen boughs or remove the rose collars. Somewhat later, remove the soil and rough prune by cutting winter-killed tips down to the live wood. When the yellow flowers of Forsythia are in bloom, your roses should be showing signs of life. The buds should be swelling and quite obvious but showing no leaves. At this time, cut out all dead stems, twiggy growth and retain only three or four strong canes at the most. Cut these down to about 15 cm and cut within 6mm of an outward-facing bud.

Pruning to Encourage Reflowering

Observe the arrangement of the leaves on the rose stem. Under the flower will probably be a single leaf and then sets of leaves with three leaflets and then a series of leaves with five leaflets. Do not simply remove the dead flower, but cut quite low in the stem to the five-leaflet leaves. This form of pruning in mid-summer results in strong, vigorous, fast replacement of new blossoms and is practiced by the cut-flower rose trade. Remember to cut an outward-facing bud. The bud originates in the corner where the leaves emerge.

Hard pruning

stems are cut back to three of four buds from the base, leaving short, sturdy stems about five inches long. Recommended only for newly planted roses or to rejuvenate old or neglected shrubs.

Moderating pruning

recommended stems are cut back to half their length.

Weak stems are cut back further. Always cut to an outward-facing bud. Winter weather may have already killed the top half, so cut to the first live wood.

Light pruning

stems are cut back by 1/3. Not recommended as it produces tall spindly plants with early but inferior blooms.

Soil

The rose bed or planting hole should be well-prepared. Dig deep, at least 45 cm. The soil should be two parts sandy clay loam, one part well-composted manure and one part peat moss, plus 4 kg of bonemeal for every 10 square metres or, a cupful for each plant.

Depth of Planting

Choice roses are produced by budding selected types to hardy rootstock. The bud union, which may look like a swollen portion at the bottom of the canes, should, in our Canadian climate, be planted one or two inches below the soil. Be aware that American or English publications may specify the union above the soil.

Fertilizer

Newly planted, potted roses should be fertilized with diluted transplanter. Follow the label’s instructions. Established roses should be fertilized with a name brand rose food. These formulations contain many trace elements essential to the roses’ health. Apply in early May, mid-June and again in mid-July.

Spraying

For disease- and insect-free roses, a combination fungicide/insecticide spray should be applied every week, commencing in spring as soon as buds begin to swell and growth begins.

Watering

Roses should be watered deeply and well once per week. The best method in beds is to use a trickle hose that can be left on running slowly on the ground, thereby avoiding wetting of the foliage and splattering of the soil.

Mulching

Mulch dresses the bed, keep in moisture and keep down weeds.

Winterizing

Start thinking of over-wintering your roses in mid-July at the time of your last fertilization. The rose canes should be allowed to harden off; they should not be succulent. Reduce the watering schedule in the fall. Allow the last flush of flowers on the plant to go to seed.

When the ground is frozen, (not too early, mid-to late November) “hill-up” the rose canes with soil, which you have kept unfrozen for this specific purposes, to a height of 45 cm. Do not prune at this time, unless the canes are so tall they could whip about in the winter winds, thereby damaging themselves or distributing the hill of protective soil. Leave as much cane as possible. In beds or in mass plantings, rose collars are a must, –they are easy to use and reduce the amount of soil required. Where the collars are not used, the hill of soil, once frozen, should be covered with evergreen boughs after Christmas so that the soil remains frozen and does not thaw in mild spells.


georgina garden centre gardening tips

Trees and Shrubs

The first year for newly planted nursery stock is the most…

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How to Maintain Your Newly Planted Trees & Shrubs

The first year for newly planted nursery stock is the most crucial, as trees and shrubs expend their energy in getting established in their new environment.

Evergreens & Broadleaf Evergreens

Fertilizing

Water-soluble fertilizers are the easiest to use. For evergreens, mix 1 heaping tablespoon of 20-20-20 in one gallon of water and apply with a watering can or pail to 3 to 5 evergreens depending on size. Apply every two weeks from April to August. When planting use transplant fertilizer, it will also help anytime during the summer season.

Pruning

Evergreens are best pruned between the middle of June and the middle of August. This is right in the middle of the growing season, so the plants can produce more new growth after the pruning takes place. Prune spreading evergreens selectively, so that you reduce the total size of the plant. However, do not make secure cuts in the branches that will become unsightly stubs later on. Upright evergreens generally need just enough trimming each year to keep them neat and manageable. A bit of pruning will also keep the broadleaf evergreens full and compact.

Winter Protection

Most evergreens are completely cold hardy and require no winter protection. Upright evergreens may be loosely wrapped with mesh or burlap to prevent snow load damage. Some broadleaf evergreens like Rhododendrons, Kalmias and Pieris should be wrapped in burlap in late November and uncovered in April.

Flowering Shrubs

Fertilizing

Deciduous shrubs should be fertilized with Plant Products 20-20-20 or 15-30-15 soluble fertilizer twice monthly from April to August. Transplant fertilizer should be used when planting and will help all throughout the blooming period.

Pruning

  • Foliage Shrubs: Plants such as Silverleaf Dogwood, Purpleleaf Sandcherry, and most Spireas should be pruned back hard in early spring before growth emerges, so as to encourage vigorous healthy foliage all season long.
  • Flower Buds Formed in Previous Season: Shrubs like Forsythia, Lilacs, Snowball, Juneberry, Quince, Flowering Almond should be pruned back hard after the flower buds have dropped. This will encourage vigorous growth which will form numerous flower buds for next season.
  • Flower Buds Formed in Same Season: Shrubs like all Spireas, Butterfly Bush. Hydrangeas, Potentillas, Rose of Sharon, Kerria, Weigelas are best pruned in spring to encourage the vigorous growth through spring and summer on which the flowers are born.

Shade Trees

Fertilizing

Shade trees can be fertilized with Plant Products 20-20-20 or with a granular tree food 14-7-14. Both are applied at the drip line of the tree (as far as the branches extend from the trunk). Fertilize in April and again in June. Transplant fertilizer should be used especially when planting.

Pruning

Pruning is not always a yearly necessity for your shade trees. They should normally need pruning only to promote a better shape, or to eliminate weak, diseased or damaged branches. Most trees may be pruned in early spring even if bleeding occurs. Research indicates this bleeding is harmless. When pruning, do not leave stubs that can cause problems later on. Sealing wounds is not beneficial to the plant but may be done for cosmetic purposes.

Winter Protection

If rodent damage has occurred in the area previously, it is best to protect the trunk with tree wrap, or a plastic tree guard. Paint on rodent repellents are also effective.

Watering Trees and Shrubs

Watering is generally dependent on soil and weather conditions. The spring and fall seasons are usually rainy, so most watering is necessary only in summer (except in unusual weather conditions). Clay soils tend to hold water “like a sponge” so be careful not to over water the plants. Even in July drought conditions, a good soaking once a week is usually enough. Watering may be required more often in sandy soils, Always check a few inches below the soil surface first to ensure growth and appearance of your plants.

 

georgina garden centre gardening tips


Tropical Plants

Foliage Plants are like adding a breath of fresh air to a…

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Tropical plants

Clean Air for Your Home

Foliage Plants are like adding a breath of fresh air to a room and in fact, that’s exactly what they do is increase the amount of oxygen in a room. They are also very attractive, decorative and functional, as well as being relatively easy to care for.

 

Light

Light is the most important element in successfully growing a houseplant. Without adequate light a plant cannot produce the food it needs to survive.

It is almost always better to give a plant more light than it needs rather than not enough. For example, the Draceana family is generally regarded as a low-light to medium-light family of plants, but it is common to see Draceana massangeana and Draceana marginata, among others, growing in the direct, blazing sun of the tropics. This family of plants grows naturally in high light but it also grows naturally in lower light areas, and is thus well suited for most homes and offices. High-light plants such as Ficus benjamina and Crotons cannot be forced into lower light areas to suit a design function unless they are supplemented with proper additional electric lighting. Additional lighting may be provided in the form of spot grow bulbs, flourescent grow tubes or various kinds of high-intensity, industrial-type lighting.

A good way to determine if an area has enough light to support a given plant is to take a light reading. You can easily do this by purchasing a combination moisture meter available here in the garden centre.

 

Water

More houseplants are killed by over watering than by all other factors combined. Water requirements vary for each different type of plant. Generally, the more light a plant is exposed to, the more water it requires. Temperature, humidity, soil mix and the type of container are all contributing factors to a plant’s need for moisture.

It is a good idea to check plants at a regularly scheduled time, but it is almost impossible to say that a particular plant will need water every week or any other time frame because of all the above factors may vary from time to time.

Moisture Meters can be a valuable tool when checking plants to see if they require water. However, they should be used as a guide only; always use your senses to determine if the Moisture Meter is working properly. Droopy plants usually indicate a need for water, but may also be a result of stress caused by over watering.

A plant standing in a saucer or pot of water will absorb too much moisture through its root system. The plant will not have an opportunity to dry out. This will result in a plant performing poorly, even though the water given at any one time may not have been excessive.

 

Temperature and Humidity

Tropical plants will survive a wide range of temperatures, but like ourselves, tropical plants find that moderate temperatures in the range of 15 to 30°C are ideal. Evening temperatures should generally drop about 5°C to sustain plant vitality. Drafts, air conditioning and heating ducts usually have an adverse effect on most tropical plants.

Most plants prefer higher humidity levels than the average house can provide, but they adapt to their surroundings and normal house humidity levels are usually not a problem.

 

Fertilizer

Some fertilization of tropical plants is necessary to provide the proper nutrients to sustain overall plant health and vigor. Plants should be fed when in an “actively growing” stage, which in Canada is usually from March to October. It is better to feed more often with diluted concentrations of fertilizer than giving a double dose once in a while. Never fertilize a dry plant as this can cause root burn.

Most foliage plants respond well to balanced fertilizers such as 20-20-20, while flowering plants prefer a higher concentration of phosphorous, such as 15-30-15.

 

Disease and Insects

Diseases and insects are something that plant owners should be aware of but should not be cause for a great deal of concern as long as the plants are purchased from a legitimate garden centre where they have been cared for properly.

 

Indoor Plants for Cleaner Air

 

The office buildings, condominiums and homes of today are all very energy efficient, tightly sealed pollution traps. Scientists are now calling this “Sick Building Syndrome.” Many dangerous vapours occupy these places, emitted by building materials, cleaning solvents, furniture, carpeting, copying machines, second hand smoke, etc.

Studies done by NASA and the Foliage for Clean Air Council are finding that plants have incredible air cleansing abilities in the home or office. Dr. Bill Wolverton, a NASA research scientist, believes that eight to 15 plants in an average size home will significantly improve air quality. The plants take in the harmful molecules, process them, and release fresh air.

 

By improving the quality of air in the office, employees will feel and perform better. Most symptoms of sick building syndrome (indoor air pollution) are similar to allergy symptoms at first, but can lead to much severe problems. With the installation of plants, these symptoms will subside. Buildings that have natural ventilation and high numbers of microorganisms (associated with sickness) have less employee health problems than buildings with mechanical ventilation and low microorganisms. Therefore, it’s not microorganisms in the majority of cases, which cause employee absenteeism.

 

Some of the vapours are very dangerous and toxic. The NASA research team has found at any one time, up to 107 different toxins or gases in the air we breathe indoors. Following is a description of three of the most common chemicals found. These chemicals are greatly reduced by plant introduction.

 

Trichlorethylene (TCE)
Trichlorethylene is a potent liver carcinogen. It is found in the metal degreasing and dry cleaning industries, in printing inks, paints, lacquers, varnishes and adhesives.

 

Benzene
This chemical has long since been known to cause skin and eye irritation. It can also cause dizziness, nausea, headaches, and loss of appetite, blurred vision, respiratory diseases, irregular heart beat, tremors, liver and kidney damage, paralysis and unconsciousness. Benzene is found in gasoline, inks, oils, paints, plastics, rubber, detergents, explosives and pharmaceuticals.

 

Formaldehyde
This chemical will cause irritation to the upper respiratory tract (nose and throat) and eyes. It irritates mucous membranes and can cause dermatitis. Formaldehyde is used in foam insulation, particleboard and pressed wood, grocery bags, paper towels, facial tissues and waxed paper. Most products which require a resin to produce it will probably have formaldehyde. Some plants appear to cleanse the air more efficiently than others do.

 

Dealing with indoor pollution
With each plant, we are providing you its light requirements and a list of the pollutants in the order they cleanse the air.

 

  • Trichlorethylene
    Low light: Dracaena marginata, Peace lily, Mother-in-law’s tongue, and Bamboo palm.
    Bright indirect light: English ivy and all of the low light plants listed above.
    Full sun:Gerbera Daisy
  • Benzene
    Low light: Mother-in-law’s tongue, Dracaena warneckei, Peace lily, Chinese evergreen, Dracaena marginata, Bamboo palm.
    Bright indirect light: Pot mums, English ivy, and all of the low light plants listed above.
    Full sun:Gerbera Daisy
  • Formaldehyde
    Low light: Mother-in-law’s tongue, Bamboo palm, Heartleaf philodendron, Spider plant and Golden pothos.
    Bright indirect light: English ivy, and all of the low light plants listed above.
    Full sun: Banana tree (use a dwarf variety).

 

It should be noted that the plants are listed by their efficiency per square centimeter, so a larger plant of a lower efficiency may do a better job than a smaller plant of high efficiency.

As you can see, the plant world will make or break us. We should see that these years of research have also revealed to us another underlying theme. Man needs to realize how dependent we are on the plants and ecological cycles around us � which we are now destroying. We can act now, individually, on this article to change our lives inside our offices or homes, but we need collective action to change and save the indoor atmosphere. All the plants in the world can’t stop the pollution without our genuine and immediate help and hope.

 


Vegetable and Fruit Growing

Find an area, which will receive at least five to six…

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Planting vegetables

Garden planning

Find an area, which will receive at least five to six hours of direct sunlight daily. Decide which vegetables and the amount of each you want to include in your garden. Take into consideration: the amount of space you have available (some vegetables need more “growing room” than others); your own requirements for canning, freezing or table use; local frost dates and climate conditions. For a longer harvest period, plant vegetables at staggered time intervals. Allocate part of your garden for small, rapidly-maturing vegetables (such as radishes, lettuce, spinach). Keep tall vine or pole varieties from overshadowing smaller plants.

The following plants should be started from seed: beans, beets, carrots, corn, peas and radishes. When growing plants from seed, follow the instructions on the seed pack.

Soil preparation

Spade soil deeply. Loosen up heavy clay by adding garden soil. Add 1 kg of garden fertilizer per 10 square meters. Turn the soil over again and rake smoothly.

Pre-planting care

Vegetable No. of plants required family of four
Beets 24-30
Broccoli 6
Brussels sprouts 6
Cabbage: early, late 10-12
Cantaloupe 4
Cauliflower 6
Celery 6
Cucumber 2-4
Eggplant 2
Lettuce: head, leaf 10-12
Onions (Spanish) 25
Parsley 4
Peppers 4
Spinach 6
Squash 2-4
Tomatoes 4-6
Watermelon 3-6
*For successive harvesting, plant some of each variety.

If you cannot plant the same day of purchasing, water vegetables
thoroughly and keep them in the shade. Evenings and cloudy days are the best times to plant.

Planning your garden

First, make a list of all the vegetables your family enjoys (there’s no use growing a vegetable if it won’t get eaten). Then, put a number beside each variety indicating the number of plants required to feed you and your family. The table on the opposite page will help you as it indicates the number of plants required to feed a family of four.

How to plant

Moisten soil before planting, allowing it to dry slightly until it’s workable. Generally, plant seeds about three times as deep as their diameter. Cover small seeds with finely sifted compost, soil or vermiculite. Plants not in individual containers should be gently separated to retain as much soil around the roots as possible.

Watering

Vegetables are thirsty! Water them thoroughly with a mild fertilizer to give them a good start. Thereafter, water whenever the soil begins to dry. Water early in the day by soaking the soil. Do not just sprinkle the foliage with water.

After-planting care

Cultivate out weeds as soon as they appear. For easier weed pulling, moisten soil an hour before cultivating. When removing weeds, do not disturb the roots of the plants. Your vegetables may have problems with insects or disease. If they do, bring a sample of the problem to your closest garden centre and let one of our experienced nurserymen identify the problem.

 


Vegetables

How to protect your crops…

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Tomatoes

Blight on Tomatoes

What is blight?

Blight is a fungal disease that causes browning, yellowing, spotting, wilting, or dying plant foliage. Most commonly found on tomato and potato plants. If not treated it can spread through out an entire garden.

How to protect your crops

  • immediately remove any infected foliage
  • spay plants with a fungicide
  • take off bottom leaves of plant
  • stake plant and leave space between for circulation
  • water from the bottom
  • garbage infected plants (do not compost – spores will spread)
  • turn soil in mid winter

Blossom End Rot

Blossom end rot is a disease that causes a dark spot on the bottom of the tomato which enlarges and becomes darker as the fruits develop. The lack of water and calcium supply causes blossom end rot. Cultivation too close to the plant or tomatoes planted in cold and heavy soils often have poor developed roots. This can also lead to the development of blossom end rot. It can also be found less commonly on eggplant, peppers, squash, and watermelon.

Preventions

A tomato cannot be rid of blossom end rot once infected but you can decrease the risk of infecting your whole plant(s).

  • apply calcium
  • take off any infected fruits

For next year:

  • select a planting area with lots of drainage but water regularly
  • do not plant too early in the season
  • cultivate before planting and not to close to stems once planted
  • add lime when planting to ensure lots of calcuim
  • use a tomato fertilizer with high amount of phosphorus (higher middle number)

 


Winterizing Your Garden

Yews and Alberta spruce are the most susceptible to…

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Winterizing

Evergreens

winter injury dwf alb spruce
Yews and Alberta Spruce are the most susceptible to winter wind and sun burn. It is, therefore, advisable to keep these plants wrapped with burlap from top to bottom, beginning in the late fall. Never use plastic as a wrap – even in the winter months plants must be able to “breathe.” Evergreens should be well-watered before the severe ground frost of mid-December to guard against desiccation (drying-out) caused by cold winter winds.

winterizing shrubs 300x200

Upright evergreens, such as Junipers and Cedars suffer the most damage from the weight of snow on their branches. This will not usually kill the plant, but can make it unsightly the following year. The best protection is to cover the juniper with netting. Apply in late fall and leave on the plant until the threat of snow has passed in early spring.

Rhododendrons and Azaleas

These plants are very susceptible to wind, sun and snow damage through the winter months, especially if they have been planted in an unprotected location. Be sure to cover the root area with up to eight inches of mulch. Then build a shelter around each plant with burlap and stakes to keep out the wind and the sun.

Roses

pruning 300x200

Cut your roses back approximately1/3 by removing all frozen buds after the first heavy frost. Remove all leaves as much as possible and dust the lower branches with a general fungicide. Using a rose collar, build fresh garden soil 2′ high around each rose bush. Do not use manure, peat moss or other material high in organic matter. Straw and leaves are not advised to be used instead of soil.

Climbing roses

Climbing roses should be pruned only very slightly in the fall by removing the frozen buds and tips of the most tender growth. The branches of climbing roses should be tied together and wrapped in burlap. Again, never use plastic. Build up soil around the roots the same as for other roses.

Lawns

iStock_000016539182Large

Apply fall fertilizer any time in the fall and overseed. If weeds are a problem, consider applying Corn Gluten instead. Fall fertilizing helps to strengthen your lawn and the lawn’s roots, providing stamina to help it survive the long winter. The last mowing should be done very close to the ground and the clippings raked away. This will prevent fungal diseases from destroying grass roots over the winter.