Sedums in Spring Video


March 4, 2011 at 10:15 am Leave a comment

Understanding a Veggie Tag – Video

Simple directions explained

Continue Reading March 3, 2011 at 12:06 pm Leave a comment

White Clover – a lawn alternative with pros and cons

Are you dreading the spring thaw because it means you will have to fight with that ugly lawn again this year? Let me ask you a few questions: Do you like to save money? What about time? Is water efficiency important to you?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you may want to consider over seeding with White Clover. Commonly mistaken as a weed, White Clover has more cultural qualities than any blade of grass.

Before the days of pesticides and manicured lawns and white picket fences, clover was considered a horticultural standard in healthy and aesthetic lawn care. Now, as less and less of us want to or are even able to use pesticides, Clover has been making a slow comeback to our residential yards.

Let us discuss the benefits of White Clover:

  • Drought Tolerant

o   Once establish clover will grow well with no extra watering

  • Stays green all season long

o   In times of drought and water bans, clover will stay green while grass will go dormant or die

  • Needs little to no cutting

o   Clover spreads wide and will grow anywhere from 2 to 8 inches high.

o   Weekly cutting is not necessary to promote health

o   Cutting at 2 inches will promote reseeding and new growth

o   Possibly may want to cut during flowering (see* concerns)

  • Softer sponge like feeling under bare feet

o   The dense mat like format of clover is thick and soft

  • Weed resistant

o   Clover is a strong competitor to most weeds

o   The root structure is dense

  • Immune to dog urine

o   Clover will not discolour from dog pee

  • No need to fertilize

o   Not only is it a self fertilizer, it can fertilize other plants near by

  • Aromatic

o   Sweet scent

  • Grows in almost any soil condition

o   Clover can be established in most soil but like all plants, the better the conditions, the stronger the plant

  • Inexpensive

o   It is less expensive to seed with Clover than most grass seeds

o   Cheaper than lawn rolls

  • Works with other growing mediums

o   Clover is a great plant to introduce into an existing struggling lawn

Concerns about White Clover

  • Allergies

o   Don’t plant if you or any one in your family are allergic

  • Flowering and Bees

o   Bees are an essential part of our ecosystem and should be encouraged more

o   Consider creating a clover patch bordering or in gardens to promote bee pollination

o   Regular cutting and removal of flower heads will keep the bees away

  • Clover may stain your clothes  more than grass does

o   Do not use in an area where this may be a concern

  • It may require more over seeding than grass over time

o   Clover is considered a “short term” perennial, but if kept mixed with regular lawn, it will most likely take care of itself

o   As recommended for grass lawns, re-seed with clover every few years to promote strength and health

March 2, 2011 at 3:08 pm 1 comment

Shade Gardens

As a professional consultant, I often hear the pleas of homeowners to help them with a dark corner, or shady spot under a tree, as if perhaps it might take a magical spell to fix it! Shade gardens can be defined as a space where little or no sunlight occurs during the day. This shade can be caused by natural or artificial walls of trees or buildings.

I personally love shade gardens. They offer peeps of colour, and marvellous shades of greens from spring to autumn.

Some common shade loving plants are Hosta, Fern, Clematis, Coral Bells, Bergenia, and Solomon’s Seal. The list can go on and on, but you can check out our resource centre for more options on shade plants.

Things to consider when planting a shade garden

–          Soil type; sandy or loamy? Dry or moist?

–          What type of shade is it? Dappled light in the morning? Full shade all day long?

–          Type of garden you are looking for; low maintenance?-Exotic?-Habitat friendly? Native?

Shade gardens under trees:

One of the biggest issues gardeners combat is the root system of trees, and growing plants underneath. Shade tolerant groundcovers such as Periwinkle, Sweet Woodruff, Hosta, and Canada Violet have been known to excel in these conditions.

Full shade nooks and corners:

These are often the areas where the grass just won’t grow, and turns into a muddy mess in spring time! It is best to build up areas like this with loamy nutrient rich soil and plant a small clustering of one or more of the following shade lovers:

Polypody Fern, Hosta, False Solomon’s seal, and Coral Bells will do well with little maintenance, once established; these plants will come back strong each season. Gardens like this will excel with a 2 inch layer of mulch to keep moisture and nutrients in.

Japanese Anemone, Creeping Phlox, Jack-in-the-pulpit, and Bleeding Heart enjoy a little extra care and water, and offer unique textures and colours to a shade garden.

There are some bulbs like Daffodil, Crocus, Lily, and Wild Hyacinth that do well in shady areas and can give an unappealing spot some early season colour!

Before planting, make sure you understand the Sun/Shade factors, amend your soil, and decide on your theme. Then pick your plants based on their abilities. All good plant manufacturers offer the plant statistics with it, so remember to read the details before committing to a purchase!

February 23, 2011 at 12:22 pm Leave a comment

Favourite Plants A to Z: Umbrella Plant

The Umbrella plant is a tropical plant, considered an indoor plant in zones 1-7. Commonly sold at garden centres, the umbrella plant comes in tall and dwarf forms, variegated or plain. This house plant does well in sunny spots, but not direct sunlight. The umbrella plant is quite hardy, and would be a great housewarming gift for the person who claims not to be a “green thumb”, it practically takes care of itself! Click here for some great images of the different types of Umbrella plants

February 23, 2011 at 11:03 am Leave a comment

Favourite Plants AtoZ: Thyme

This old herb has been a staple in any herb garden I have seen. Useful not only for culinary purpose, this sun-loving groundcover can fill in a blank space in one season. A fragrant sun lover, with many varieties, it is sometimes hard to differentiate. Woolly Thyme is less used for culinary and more for its aesthetic features like the fuzz leaves and dense flowers. Garden Thyme is a descendant from wild Thyme, and is the form most commonly used. I usually have a hardy Creeping, a lavender, and a Lemon Thyme in my herb gardens, and I use the many varieties of Woolly, Creeping and Compact Thyme available as rock garden and walkway accents.

February 22, 2011 at 11:30 am Leave a comment

Favourite Plants AtoZ: Sweet Woodruff

Oh sweet sweet woodruff, with your dainty little white spring flowers and your tropical like leaves how pretty you sit under the big shade tree. This hardy perennial acts as an aromatic groundcover, and can tolerate part sun.  Its shallow roots allow for hard to grow areas like tree roots and rocky soil. They do well in rock gardens, naturalized gardens, as well as formal ones, how versatile is that? Easy to propagate, and if not exposed to a hot sun, Sweet Woodruff has been known to flower from spring through most of the summer. Also known as an insect repellent, use this shady herb en mas, or below roses and peonies, or as a border.

February 22, 2011 at 9:12 am Leave a comment

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