Hibiscus

By , July 20, 2015

July 20th, 2015

Add a Tropical Touch to your garden with hardy Hibiscus!

Hibiscus come in many forms. If you have ever taken a Hawaiian vacation you have probably seen them used as hedges. However, if you live here in the greater Vancouver area there are varieties of Hibiscus that are hardy enough to survive our winters. The Hibiscus syriacus varieties, known as the Hardy Hibiscus or Rose of Sharon, are capable of surviving winters as cold as -20 C (-5 F). The most attractive feature of these plants is their blooms. They produce an abundance of blooms from July through September. Every garden should have a Hardy Hibiscus as they make an excellent back drop to your annual or perennial flower beds. There are several varieties to choose from including:

  • ‘Blushing Bride’
  • ‘Lavender Chiffon’
  • ‘Red Heart’
  • ‘White Chiffon’

Grapes

By , July 18, 2015

July 18th, 2015

Grow your own Grapes!

Grapes can make an excellent addition to your garden. In addition to producing grapes they serve many purposes. They can be grown up an arbour to provide shade for your patio. Grapes can also be grown up a trellis to provide privacy from your neighbours. You can even use the leaves to make Dolmades.

There are two basic types; wine grapes or table grapes. For 2015 you can choose from the following varieties:

Wine Grapes

  • De Chaunac
  • Foch
  • Merlot
  • Pinot Noir
  • Reisling Type (GM318)
  • Sauvingnon Blanc

Table Grapes

  • Concord
  • Niagara
  • Valiant
  • Vanessa

For more information about growing grapes click here.

Echinacea

By , July 1, 2015

July 1st, 2015

Add warmth to your garden with Echinacea!

Echinacea (or Coneflower) are one of the most popular perennials, they love full sun and lots of heat. They have large, showy flower heads, blooming from early to late summer. Many varieties bloom until frosts in the fall. Some varieties can be used for herbal or medicinal purposes. They work well at attracting butterflies to your garden. There are many varieties for you to choose from including:

purpurea

This is the most common form of Echinacea which has large purple flowers and grows to 24 to 36 inches high. Click here for more information.

Cleopatra

A newer form that has a compact bushy habit with fluffy golden yellow flower petals surrounding a tight cone.

‘Pow Wow Wild Berry’

A medium sized variety with dark green leaves and magenta-pink flowers. Click here for more information.

Some photos courtesy of www.perennials.com.

California Lilac

By , June 8, 2015

June 8th, 2015

Ceanothus ‘Victoria Blue’

Ceanothus is more commonly know as the California Lilac. This beautiful shrub has masses of electric blue flowers in June and early July. It prefers to grow in a location with full sun and well drained soil. One of the best features is the ability to attract hummingbirds and butterflies as they emerge for the summer.

You can easily grow the Ceanothus as a centerpiece in your garden or even make it into a hedge. You can prune Ceanothus vigorously every spring and it will still produce an abundance of blooms. If you are looking for a reliable summer flowering shrub look no further than the Ceanothus ‘Victoria’.

Lavender

By , June 2, 2015

June 2nd, 2015

Enjoy the sweet scents of summer with Lavender!

Lavender (Lavandula) is a romantic flower and every gardener should have at least one variety in their garden. They love a sunny location with good drainage. Lavender is extremely drought tolerant once it is established, but it should be watered regularly when young.

Two of the hardiest and best know varieties are the English varieties (Lavendula angustifolia) ‘Hidcote’ and ‘Munstead’. These varieties of English Lavender produce wonderfully fragrant blue-lavender coloured flowers during the summer. You can also try several new varieties of English Lavender including one called ‘Blue Royalty’. This new variety produces beautiful royal blue flowers in late spring and early summer.

Another popular variety of Lavender is the Spanish Lavender (Lavendula stoechas) ‘Anouk’. This variety produces a consistent display of flowers from June through September. To encourage them to repeatedly bloom is it best to cut them back after they produce their first set of flowers to encourage the second bloom. There is a new variety of Spanish Lavender called ‘Silver Anouk’ (Aka Silver Summer). The ‘Silver Anouk’ has beautiful silver foliage and the repeat blooming capability of the ‘Anouk’.

 

Summer Lawn Care

By , June 1, 2015

June 1st, 2015

Summer Lawn Care

During the summer months your lawn goes dormant. Before the heat of the summer starts be sure that you lawn has been adequately fertilized. One last treatment of the Evergro Spring and Summer Lawn Fertilizer (28-3-8) or the Evergro Premium Lawn Fertilizer (12-4-8) is all that you lawn will need until you apply the Evergro Fall Fertilizer (6-3-20) in late September or October.

Watering your Lawn

When watering your lawn it is best to water early in the morning to minimize evaporation loss. This saturates the soil more thoroughly and provides better absorption of the water. Watering your lawn less frequently but more thoroughly encourages deeper roots that can withstand drought.

In the greater Vancouver are watering restrictions come into affect on June 1st and are in effect until September 30th. Please not that they changed in 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

Here’s a better idea than getting up at 4am, we have electronic water timers and sprinklers to make it easy for you to water your lawn and not violate the restrictions. Be sure to ask us when you come by to see us.

Newly planted lawns need special attention. It is best to keep the soil moist for at least 4 to 6 weeks after you apply grass seed 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.

Click here for more information from Metro Vancouver’s website.

If you have applied fertilizer or lime to your lawn it is best if you water the lawn to ensure that the fertilizer is washed off the blades of the grass to prevent burning. Watering also helps the fertilizer reach the roots faster.

Mowing your Lawn

Lawns should be mowed at regular intervals. For best results your lawn should be cut every 7 to 10 days. A rotary mower should to be set at a height of 2 to 3 inches for the season. Your 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 your lawn on a regular basis to remove the layer of dead grass (thatch) that builds up, this is called power raking or de-thatching.

Fertilizing your Lawn

If you have not fertilized your lawn do it now before the heat of summer comes. Once the summer gets too hot it is not recommended that you fertilize until fall when we have cooler temperatures again. You should ensure that your lawn is fertilized before the end of June.

The beauty of your lawn, its resistance to disease, insects, moss and weeds depends largely on how healthy it is. 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 lawn its green and is the main food a lawn needs
  • Phosphorous – encourages good root growth
  • Potash – promotes strong healthy stems

Lawns should be fed at regular intervals. 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. We carry several fertilizers that can help you invigorate your lawn:

  • 12-4-8 is an ideal fertilizer to promote a flush of new growth in your lawn. An application will last for 6 to 8 weeks. So applying in May will require only one more application in July.
  • 28-3-8 gives your lawn a jump start promoting an abundance of new growth. One application will last 10 to 12 weeks ensuring that you will not have to fertilize again for the rest of the summer. Ensure that the blades on your lawnmower are sharp as you will need to cut your lawn every week with this fertilizer.
  • 6-2-3 is an Organic lawn fertilizer that provides a balance of nutrients that you lawn needs. If you wish to keep your lawn healthy using an organic fertilizer this is the best choice for you.

Starting a new Lawn

Summer is not a good time to start a new lawn. It is best to wait until fall when the cool fall weather and rains provide enough moisture for the lawn to grow better.

Herbs

June 1st, 2015

Savour the Flavour of Fresh Herbs!

If you enjoy cooking with fresh herbs there is nothing more rewarding than a herb garden full of Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, and Basil to use in your culinary creations. There are many flavourful herbs that are easy to grow in your garden or in pots on your patio. In addition to their flavour many herbs are very aromatic and make an excellent addition to your garden. The beautiful blue flowers of rosemary are as ornamentally beautiful as they are culinarily delicious. I can not imagine a garden without at least a few herbs.

You can choose from a broad range of herbs including:

  • Basil
  • Bay Leaf
  • Cat Grass
  • Chamomile
  • Chives
  • Cilantro/Coriander
  • Curry
  • Dill
  • Lemon Verbena
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Majoram
  • Mint
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Savory
  • Stevia
  • Thyme

For some advice on growing herbs, including a chart of culinary uses, click here. For a list of companion planting, including herbs and vegetables, click here.

Tomatoes

By , May 11, 2015

May 11th, 2015

Taste the flavour of home grown Tomatoes!

The weather is now warm enough to start thinking about putting tomatoes outside in the garden. If the night time temperatures are below 10 degreec Celcius it is recommended that you provide some protection. You can do this by covering your tomatoes with plastic or a white cloth like our “Crop Cover” or “Frost Blanket”. When the night time low is above 10 degrees Celsius, or 50 degrees Fahrenheit, you can leave them uncovered.

Whether you are a seasoned tomato growing veteran or a new gardener here are a few tips to help you grow better tomatoes:

  1. Tomatoes are heavy feeder, they are the teenage boys of the plant world. You should add manure and fertilizer to the soil before you plant.
  2. When you plant the tomatoes plant them deeper as new roots will develop along the stem helping your plants grow faster and stronger. (Except ‘Mighty Mato’ grafted Tomatoes, do not plant them below the graft)
  3. Water regularly all summer, twice a week early in the season and daily during the summer months. Tomatoes that do not get regular water are more likely to develop diseases and are less likely to produce as much fruit. They also develop thicker skin if not watered properly.
  4. Fertilize weekly with a water soluble fertilizer like Miracle Gro Tomato Food 18-18-21 or monthly with a granular fertilizer like Evegro’s Vegetable and Tomato Food 10-15-19.
  5. Add Lime to your soil before you plant and every month during the growing season. Lime helps balance the pH and provides Calcium and Magnesium to the plants.

With so many varieties of Tomatoes to choose from here are a few varieties that perform well in our climate:

  • Ball Extra Early – a medium sized tomato that produces early
  • Beefsteak – one of the largest tomatoes with lots of meaty flesh
  • Early Girl – a medium sized early producing variety
  • Sungold – a golden cherry tomato
  • Sweet 100 – an excellent small cherry tomato
  • Sweet Million – a smaller version of the sweet 100 that produces an abundant crop
  • Tumbler – a great cherry tomato for hanging baskets that produces all summer until frost
  • Tomaccio – a super sweet grape type tomato that is great for making Sun Dried Tomatoes

In addition to these varieties you can choose from a selection of Heirloom Tomato varieties including:

  • Bloody Butcher – a medium sized tomato that is great for slicing
  • Brandywine Black – a large heirloom tomato
  • Latah – an early producing medium sized tomato
  • Nyagous – a medium to large early to mid season tomato
  • Prudens Purple – a medium tomato great for slicing

Be sure to stake your tomatoes as they grow to give them support as the fruit matures. You can stake them up with a basic bamboo or cedar stake or buy a “Tomato Cage” that provides support for the leaves as well.

Click here to download our information brochure on Tomatoes.

New Guinea Impatiens

May 11th, 2015

New Guinea Impatiens are made for the Shade!

If you are looking for the old standard Impatiens (Busy Lizzies) this summer you may find that they are not available at most garden centres. This is becuase in 2013 Impetiens were stuck with a disease called Downey Mildew. This killed almost all of the Impatiens in greater Vancouver. If this happened to you it is recommended that you not plant the regular Impatiens in your garden for the next 3 to 5 years.

As an alternative we recommend that you plant New Guinea Impatiens. These new varieties will blooms all summer for you. They will grow in the shade or sun and are heat tolerant. They are available in all of your favourite colours includng white, red, violet, and many more.

New Guinea Impatiens

New Guinea Impatiens

New Guinea Impatiens

New Guinea Impatiens

Hanging Baskets

By , May 8, 2015

May 8th, 2015

Hanging Baskets make a great Mother’s Day Gift

The most popular gift for Mothers Day is a Hanging Basket and our stores carry a great selection of them. You can choose from the mixed baskets for sun or shade. These will have a mix of Geraniums, Petunias, Lobelia, Fuchsia, Calibrachoa, and many other great trailing plants. They start at $24.99 for a 10 in pot and go up to $119.99 for the large Moss baskets.

Be sure to come in to our stores and have a look at the great selection available fo you or your mother.

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