By Miles Hunter, April 10, 2014

April 10th, 2014

The Magnolias are Bursting into Bloom!

It must be April because the Magnolias are bursting into bloom and covering our streets with beautiful flower petals. There is nothing quite like the blooms of Magnolia trees and shrubs. The blooms emerge before they produce leaves allowing us to see all of the beautiful blooms that can cover the entire tree. Flowering can begin in late March and bloom through April. The latest blooming varieties are the Grandiflora or Evergreen Magnolia. These varieties bloom in May and June with large white fragrant flowers.

One of the most popular varieties is the Magnolia stellata or Star Magnolia. These small trees (or large shrubs) make an excellent focal point in a garden bed. In the spring they are covered with large white flowers that look like a star exploding in the sky.


By Miles Hunter, April 7, 2014

April 7th, 2014

The Rhododendrons are coming into bloom!

Spring is bursting into bloom and the most florific plants here in greater Vancouver are the Rhododendrons. There are hundreds of varities available in a range of colours from white to purple, red to yellow. As you walk or drive around the city you see them everywhere. One of the first to bloom is Rhododendron ‘PJM’. This beautiful purple variety will light up a dark corner of your garden. It will grow 4 to 6 feet tall, likes acidic soil.

Flowering Cherries

By Miles Hunter, April 4, 2014

April 4, 2014

The Flowering Cherries are Blooming!

There is no surer sign of spring than when the flowering cherry trees begin to bloom. There will be thousands of trees in bloom over the next month. The first to bloom are usually the Flowering Plums including ‘Pissardi Nigra’ and ‘Bliriana’. The rest will bloom over 6 to 8 weeks.

To celebrate the flowering cherries as they come into bloom The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival runs from April 3rd to 28th. For more information about the varieties you might find in bloom throughout greater Vancouver visit the Cherry Blossom Festival website here. At David Hunter Garden Centers we have many of these varieties trees to choose from including:

  • Flowering Plum ‘Pissardi Nigra’- pink flowers
  • Flowering Plum ‘Blireriana’ – pink flowers
  • Flowering Cherry ‘Kiku Shidare’ – double pink
  • Flowering Cherry ‘Kanzan’ (aka Kwanzan)- double pink
  • Flowering Cherry ‘Mount Fuji’ – double white
  • Flowering Cherry ‘Shirofugen’ – white
  • Flowering Cherry subhirtella ‘Pendula’ – weeping form, pink flowers
  • Flowering Cherry ‘Whitcombi’ – single pink


By Miles Hunter, March 24, 2014

March 24th, 2014

Camelia 'Chansonette'

Camellias are bursting into Bloom!

Camellias are one of the most beautiful spring flowering shrubs. The flowers come in a range of colours from reds, pinks, white, and some are even yellow. The flowers can be single, semi-double, or double. The double flowers resemble roses when in full bloom. They are evergreen shrubs which make an excellent backdrop to your flower garden. Varieties can range in height from 6 to 8 feet high or as tall as 10 to 12 feet. They are hardy to zone 6 (-20 C or -5 F).

Camelia 'Winter's Snowman'

If you are choosing a place for a Camellia in your garden they like to be in a location that gets partial sunshine. When Camellias are young they apprecaite being protected from cold winter winds so plant them against a wall or fence. If you plant one close to a house and it is under the eaves of your house do not forget to water it during the winters. If they go dry they are more likely to attract pests and diseases.


By Miles Hunter, March 20, 2014

March 20th, 2014

When the Forsythia are in Bloom it is Time to Prune!

One of the first spring flowering shrubs to delight us with its blooms every spring are the Forsythia. These beautiful shrubs are filled with bright yellow flowers. They are also an excellent reminder that it is time to prune your tree and shrubs. Roses, Fruit Trees, Small Fruits (Blueberries and Raspberries), and summer flowering shrubs.

One of the best new varieties of Forsythia to be introduced in the past few years has been the Proven Winners variety called “Show Off’. This great dwarf variety grows only 2 to 3 feet high and wide and is covered every spring in beautiful golden yellow flowers. ‘Show Off’ is hardy to zone 4 (-34C or -25 F).

For more information visit Proven Winners website by clicking here.

Sea Soil

By Miles Hunter, March 10, 2014

March 10th, 2014

Re-energize your soil with Sea Soil!

Sea Soil Bag

Does your vegetable or flower garden need some more nutrients for this year? It is recommended that you add compost or manure as well as some fertilizer to your garden every year and there is no better way than with Sea Soil. This OMRI Certified Organic soil is a mixture of composted forest fines and fish which are excellent sources of organic matter and nutrients for your vegetable or flower garden.

To apply Sea Soil to your garden simply spread a 1 to 2 inch layer on the surface of the soil and mix it in with a shovel or garden fork. You can also use Sea Soil as a top dress in your shrub beds. Sea Soil is an excellent soil of Iron and other micronutrients for you Rhododendrons, Azaleas, and other shrubs. If you top dress the soil under your roses with Sea Soil the composted forest fines (Bark) will help to supress fungal spores to prevent black spot or mildew. The layer of bark also helps to retain moisture in the soil to reduce you watering needs.

Really, you just need to put Sea Soil on everything in your garden!

Fruit Trees Have Arrived

By Miles Hunter, February 28, 2014

February 28th, 2014

Grow your own fresh fruit!

If you have been thinking about growing your own fruit now is the best time to plant fruit trees and other berries. You can choose from over 75 varieties of Apples, Apricots, Cherries, Peaches, Pears, Plums, and more. Please call the stores to check whether we have an item in stock as they sell out quickly. If you have a small space garden we have a selection of Dwarf fruit trees including apples, cherries, and peaches.

Please Note: Due to space limitations not all varieties are available at our Vancouver store but you can have any variety transferred to the Vancouver store from our Surrey store.

Click here to download our 2014 Fruit Tree List

Spring Lawn Care

Spring is a great time to start caring for your lawn!

A well established healthy lawn requires less water, care, and maintenance during the summer.  The following is a list of a few things that you can do now to help ensure that you lawn is healthy and strong all year:

Starting a New Lawn

If you are starting a new lawn it is recommended that you wait until the risk of frost has passed. This is usually in Mid March. It is also important to ensure that there is at least six inches of soil for the lawn to grow its roots. So be sure to till the soil to an even depth to allow for the roots of the grass to develop. Next ensure that the area is level to reduce the possibility of drainage issues in the future. Then you can apply the grass seed or sod to the area and water thoroughly.

If you have an existing lawn you can top dress the lawn by spreading a thin layer (1/4 inch) of top soil and then apply the grass seed on top. Water thoroughly to ensure that the seed germinates.

Watering your Lawn

Adequate watering ensures that your lawn has an established root system to cope with the dry summer months. Be sure to water thoroughly and deeply. Watering restrictions come into affect on June 1st and are in effect until September 30th. Please not that they have changed as of 2013. They are as follows:

Residential Addresses:

  • Even-numbered address: Monday, Wednesdays, and Saturdays 4 am to 9 am
  • Odd-numbered address: Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays 4 am to 9 am
  • Please note: You can no longer water your lawn during the evenings

Non-Residential Addresses:

  • Even numbered addresses: Monday and Wednesday 1 am to 6 am
  • Odd numbered addresses: Tuesday and Thursday 1 am to 6 am
  • All addresses: Friday 4 am to 9 am

Newly planted lawns need special attention. It is best to keep the soil moist for at least 4 to 6 weeks to ensure that your lawn develops an adequate root system. If you are starting a new lawn in the summer be sure to apply for a permit to water outside of the watering restrictions.

Mowing your Lawn

Lawns should be mowed at regular intervals with a sharp mower at the correct height. Lawns should be cut every 7 to 10 days. A rotary mower should to be set at 2 to 3 inches for the season. You lawn mower should be kept sharp at all times. A dull mower tears the grass instead of cutting it, making it more susceptible to diseases. You should use a catcher, or rake the cut grass to remove the cuttings and prevent the build-up of dead grass. If you do not remove the dead grass you should power rake you lawn on a regular basis to remove the layer of dead grass (thatch) that builds up, this is called de-thatching.

Applying Moss Control

Before your moss goes dormant in the summer heat you should take steps to kill and remove the moss in your lawn. To do this apply either a liquid or granular Moss Control to affected areas. Approximately two days later, use a mechanical power rake to remove the dead black moss. The area should then receive a thin layer of soil or sand followed by an application of grass seed to grow where the moss was.

Moss Out

Moss Out

Fertilizing your Lawn

The beauty of your lawn, its resistance to disease, insects, moss and weeds depends largely on how you feed it. With our heavy rains in the coastal area, much of the mineral content (food or fertilizer) of the soil is washed away each year. Every fertilizer shows the percentage of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potash (N.P.K.) For example 12-4-8 is 12% Nitrogen, 4% Phosphorous and 8% Potash.

  • Nitrogen                     – gives the green to lawns and is the main food a lawn responds to
  • Phosphorous            – encourages good root growth
  • Potash                       – promotes strong healthy stems

Lawns should be fed at regular intervals.  We recommend an application of 28-3-8 in early spring. This will feed your lawn for 10 to 12 weeks. For late spring and summer, we recommend 12-4-8. This feeds your lawn for 6 to 8 weeks. Fertilizing should be done when the grass is dry and should then be watered in thoroughly. To ensure an even application, it is best to use a fertilizer spreader.

When you apply fertilizer you should water your lawn to make sure that the fertilizer make it to the soil and does not remain on the leaves where it could burn them.

Applying Lime to Your Lawn

Lime is an important soil conditioner that helps you lawn absorb fertilizer and deter moss from growing. Lime does not kill moss, but does neutralize the pH of the soil making fertilizer applications more effective. To be effective Dolomite Lime should be applied in spring and again in fall.

Top Dressing Your Lawn

After power raking and/or aerating in the spring, your lawn may appear sparse. Top-dressing is a reliable way of rejuvenating it. You can top-dress your lawn with Peat Moss for sandy soils, peat and sand for clay soils, sand if you have wet soil, or top soil. Top-dressing is best done in March or April. After top-dressing you can also apply a thin layer of lawn seed to help fill in the spaces left by the power rake.


By Miles Hunter, February 27, 2014

February 27th, 2014

Grow Your Own Potatoes!

Potatoes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow yourself. All they require is a nice sunny location in rich fertile soil. You can plant them from March to May and harvest them from July to October. You can grow white, red, and/or yellow varieties that are good for cooking, frying, boiling, or baking.

The Vancouver store has the following varieties; Bintje, Caribe, Cecile, Norland, Pacific Russet, RedPontiac, Warba, and Yukon Gold.

The Surrey store has the following varieties; Bintje, Caribe, Chieftan, Dakota Pearl, Kennebec, Norland, Pacific Russet, Russet Burbank, Warba, Red Pontiac, Sangre, and Yukon Gold. As well as the specialty varieties; Banana, and French Fingerling.

Click here to download our Potato growing brochure with a list of the varieties and descriptions for each of them.

Photos courtesy of W&A Farms


By Miles Hunter, February 24, 2014

February 24th, 2014

Onions are ready to plant!

If you are eager to get growing in your garden the first vegetables are arriving at our stores. One of the earliest vegetables that you can plant are Onions. You can choose from Red, White, and Yellow Onions.

Dried or fresh, raw or cooked, onions are an indispensable ingredient in a variety of soups, salads, breads, and casseroles. Onions are easier to grow than you might think, and they’re a great plant for tucking into spare corners and along the edges of garden beds.

You can choose from Red, Spanish, White, or Yellow onions to grow in your garden this year.

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