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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

The Summer Garden

The Summer Garden

Posted By: Marian Vaughan in Gardening

There is a myth, probably born in heat & nurtured in the longing for shade & leisure, that there “isn’t much to do” in the garden in the heat of summer. There is another, born more respectably of summer’s flat light, that the garden itself is dull.

Alas (in one case) and fortunately (in another) both are myths: the summer garden has much to offer in way of work and beauty. Let’s start with chores. Do them early in the day, promising yourself some time in the shade, with your beverage of choice to follow as a reward for your hard work.


Generally, you have still got to keep weeding, but it’s time to stop feeding. By the end of the month, you don’t want to encourage new sappy growth. Winter is not coming soon, but it is coming. You want all your plants to be aware of this change: allow berries to form, allow growth to harden. In each department specifically:

Trees

Keep well hydrated, but intelligently. When you water a plant that has good drainage, and it has dried out 4 inches below the surface, water it well around the dripline and you will be carrying oxygen to the roots along with water. If drainage is bad, the roots sit in water and the plant drowns.  If you water too briefly, the plant maintains a shallow root system and the need for water is increased.  Trees with shallow roots are also more vulnerable to wind.  So, in sum: ensure good drainage from the beginning, then water infrequently but deeply (at least 8-12" into the ground).

Mid Summer is also a good time to prune several fruit and ornamental trees.  There is a kind of secondary dormancy that sets in during the heat, and difficult trees like Japanese maples can be thinned and shaped without difficulty as long as the temperature is not above 27C.  

Shrubs

In the shrub garden, roses should be pruned for the last time in August to encourage new growth.  After this pruning, you must leave them alone to form hips. Rosehips are nature's way of saying to the plant: winter is coming, enough with the new growth. A rose hardened off in this way will survive much better than one that keeps trying to throw out sappy growth.


Hydrangeas will be performing their yearly colour change. Some people like to nip the top flowers to encourage more shoots from the sides on the “repeat” varieties. On the other hand, the maturation of that flower urges the plant to form strong growth for the coming year.


In general, it is better to leave shrubs alone at this time, the urge to be too tidy can lead to winter death.

However, yew and boxwood hedges should be trimmed now to encourage the formation of dense growth. It is also a good idea to do a good shearing of cedar hedges at this time.

Perennials

In the perennial garden, it is time to divide iris and peonies to share.  They too enter a dormant period in July and August, and it is not difficult to lift them and break off pieces of rhizome or root to create new plants for your friends. Broken roots of poppies will also regenerate surprisingly quickly if planted at one.

It is also a good thing to deadhead or shear back perennials. You will often get a small rebloom in the summer, but don't go crazy, cutting them back to nothing: remember here too that sappy growth is dangerous when the cold comes in fall.  Luckily here in the lower mainland, the real cold doesn't typically arrive until December and January, so these cautions only apply in October or so.

Bulbs

It is the time when many bulbs come on sale at local nurseries. Plants such as daffodils, hyacinths, tulips, crocus and many more. Try to get to them, and get them planted, as soon as possible. Some bulbs (notoriously snowdrops) really loathe being dried out, and the sooner you can get them in the ground, the better.

Lawn

In drought & heat, reserve water for gardens. Lawns cope with heat by going brown & rebound as soon as rains start. Heaven knows we have a LOT of rain.  Once it starts, you can mow, but leave lawn clippings on surface to nourish the growing grass.

 

On the bright side - Hardy fuchsias are still going strong, hibiscus & buddleia are holding their own, and of course, there are roses, whose wonderful fragrance we can enjoy. It is a long time before autumn will start to turn the colour of the leaves and lay a frigid hand on the garden.  

Having done your self-assigned chores in the morning, you now have a chance to sit on the deck, gaze upon with pleasure and enjoy the fruits of your labour.


Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Posted By: Marian Vaughan in Gardening

 

Summer

is finally here, and the garden is in full bloom and the weeds have settled to a dull roar. One of the delights of the summer garden is watching hummingbirds & butterflies while listening to the humming of bees. These creatures perform an essential role in the garden as pollinators and many people have begun to deliberately create pollinator friendly gardens. Here are a few of the many plants that can and do attract pollinators for the summer season, as well as tips to make the garden more inviting to them.


 

Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds love red & if it’s red & tubular even more. Crocosmia, fuchsia, the huge tubes of lilies & the tiny ones of centranthus (Jupiter's Beard) as well as honeysuckle & penstemon. They also enjoy albizzia (the tree) and such annuals/tender perennials as firecracker plant, petunias & callibrachoe. While they don't only feed from red flowers, an abundance of red or deep pink in the garden will keep them coming back; they then zip around the garden seeing if there is anything for a second course. Hummingbirds serve double duty in our gardens, they also catch insects on the wing: flies, gnats & mosquitoes; their favourites being spiders and daddy long legs.  


 

Bees

Bees, on the other hand, are colour blind to red & zero in on the blue side of the spectrum: earlier in the year, lilacs & ceanothus & early campanulas. Now, in full summer, buddleia is always swarming with bees as are subshrubs such as rosemary, lavender, sage & thyme. Perennials such as veronica, delphinium & hardy geraniums are good bee plants, as are the scented verbena, agastache and anchusa. Bees don't shun plants just because they aren't blue: both monarda (bee balm) and asclepias (butterfly weed) can & do attract lots of bees, as does eryngium (sea holly) and many annuals & biennials: cleome, cornflowers, snapdragons & foxglove are good examples.

Butterflies

Butterflies happily trip back & forth between the two colours, adding yellow & white to the mix. They prefer flat flowers: achillea, eryngium, echinacea & rudbeckia; but still they share with hummingbirds a love of centranthus & with bees a love of buddleia & lavender. Such strong scented plants as nepeta (catmint) lemon balm, mint, monarda & hyssop attract not only bees & butterflies but many of the lesser pollinators & helpful insects such as parasitic wasps.  If you plant a few night blooming plants: evening primrose, phlox or cardinal flower, you will also be providing food for nocturnal moths; some of these are incredibly lovely.

In considering how to bring butterflies to your garden, it is important to care for them in their larval stage. The caterpillars of the gorgeous Western Tiger Swallowtail, for example, live & feed on poplars, willow, birch & bitter cherry, while the Pale Swallowtail prefers alder. Stinging nettle is home to many baby butterflies as are native thistles. If possible, a small "wild" section at the edge of the garden will ensure an abundance of butterflies. Leaving garden cleanup til spring also means that overwintering chrysalises will not be destroyed

Water & Other Needs

Similarly, bees need more than just nectar: the right housing can increase the number of kinds of bees that come to the garden: in BC our gardens can attract honeybees, mason bees, leaf cutter bees as well as bumble bees to mention just a few.   Some of these are ground nesting and are very important pollinators.  They are not aggressive, stinging only in self defense.   For these bees it is good to leave a bare (uncultivated) area of soil, which remains fairly dry.  Some hornets & wasps also nest in the ground, and they DO sting!!!  Its important to learn to tell the difference between a bee and a wasp before leaving or destroying that nest.

All bees also need a source water: any shallow container with pebbles or twigs as landing sites (changed daily) will keep the entire hive healthy. Butterflies will also take advantage of this "pool".  Hummingbirds prefer to fly through a daytime sprinkler for a bath, or else sit in the rain with their wings open "bathing"' They drink dew in the morning but will drink from a shallow birdbath with a very narrow rim.
 

What Not to Do

It goes without saying, I hope, that the primary way to keep your garden attractive to pollinators is to refrain from using pesticides which are not natural in origin. Pesticides are the worst enemies of butterflies, and if they must be applied, even organic pesticides should be applied in the evening when butterflies are mostly inactive.
 

By Design

Plants that attract the various pollinators vary greatly in appearance. This variation of colour & form can make for a very satisfying garden in summer. Most experts suggest a minimum of ten types of plants to keep pollinators coming back, but in honest anything we do in our gardens is a bonus for these small but very essential creatures.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Gardening

I think someone flipped the instant Fall switch!! There are some trees that have begun to colour up and I have driven through the first bits of ghostly morning fog. I am pretty excited to hit the farmers markets this season as the tree fruit harvests are absolutely fantastic!

Actually, I am also pretty stoked about pumpkin pie and sweet potatoe pie too! I know I can eat them any time but they just taste better in fall…seriously they do! Well, if you are super busy like me you are probably thinking just get on with the list already…you asked for it:

Turf For Sale at Arts Nursery

Lawns

You can aerate and apply a fall fertilizer to your lawn. Don’t apply fall fertilizer if you lawn is dormant (beige), that will not help, water will and I believe Mother Nature is about to supply it. If you have completely dead patches, you can lay turf, if you really need to redo the lawn, you can also renovate and over seed. You will also have to mow, but you can start the mowing countdown before you can take your winter mowing holiday.

Trees and Shrubs

In the Pacific Northwest, Fall is my favorite window for planting! The air is cooler, the ground is still warm and Mother Nature usually helps a bit with the watering.

Pruning Advice

You can do a small bit of pruning and deadheading of trees and shrubs. Do this by removing the dead, damaged and diseased branches, but leave the main pruning till the winter when your trees and shrubs are fully dormant. For garden renovations and tree and shrub moving, wait a bit until the ground is holding a bit more moisture and your plants are fully dormant.

Garden Beds

Weed, deadhead, clip back and generally tidy…but not too much. I know I sound like a broken record but native pollinators nest in the hollowed out stems of perennials, on sandy type soils and on South facing slopes so if you see them or their tiny holes try to leave them be. It is a great time to add new plants to the garden but wait a bit towards the end of the month for perennial divisions. Now is a great time to take a wander through the garden centre to give you some ideas for fall colour if your garden is lacking.

Planters & Hanging Baskets

Planters and hanging baskets - Continue to water and fertilize your annuals and hanging baskets. You‘ll get a few more weeks out of them yet! Once your summer hanging baskets have started to look a bit worse for wear cut off the stems and compost the top part and stick the pots with the root mass and soil in the back yard till you are ready to fill them full of evergreen boughs for Christmas. The root mass acts as a kind of oasis and is great to keep the branches in place! If you have some gaps in your all season planters, you can fill with pansies, grasses, wintergreen and other fall and winter colour.

Fall Planters

Hanging Baskets aren't just for Spring anymore! A new trend has emerged for Fall - introducing: the Fall Hanging Basket! Our designers and local growers have created fabulous combinations that will keep your home looking good until the harsher frosts arrive!

Ponds & Water Features

It's busy time for you coming up with the leaf drop! Good idea to put a bit of a net if you have a smaller pond to catch the leaves. Scoop out the spent annual floaters like water hyacinth and water lettuce. Do some general tidying each week to save you a big weekend job come October.

Veggie Gardens

Harvest, harvest and harvest…weed a little too. There are a few things you can still get in the ground for a fall/winter crop like some lettuces & kales. You can plant Garlic towards the end of the month. Try to stay on top of the powdery mildew. At this point I am just removing it as I see it.

Powdery Mildew

Flower Bulbs!!!

Be on the lookout for some new combinations. I usually pick some up as soon as they come out now and plant mid-October. There are some beautiful red and white combo’s to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary along with a veritable rainbow of your favorites. If squirrels and a challenge you can soak the bulbs in the bitter tasting Bobbex, Plantskydd or similar product or plant your groupings with the skunky smelling (the bulb not the flower) Frittilaria.

Tool Display

Tools

Now is a great time to inspect and fix the fixable and toss or repurpose the tools that are not (hint…they make great stakes or gate attachments). Need some inspiration…think Pinterest!

That ought to keep you busy for now. There are a ton of farm gate veggie sales and farmer’s markets to take advantage of right now. There are also some wonderful Fall Fairs coming up…our Scarecrow Festival is one of them on Sept.24 is one of them with over 60 scarecrows to wow you placed throughout our nursery!

Our Scarecrow festival kicks off our build your own scarecrow event that lasts until Halloween. Bring your imagination, some clothes for your scarecrow and we supply the hay, frames, burlap heads, pompoms, pipe cleaners, googly eyes etc. to help you build your own for a ten dollar donation!

Hope to see you there!


Friday, June 17, 2016
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Gardening

We are starting to get into the swing of things by June. Mowing, planting, fertilizing, trimming, deadheading and staking oh my! I hope you are not so immersed in the gardening shoulds that you are forgetting to stop and smell the flowers…literally!! Weather wise we have had a little bit of everything so far but we are fierce gardeners and are ready for anything…k maybe not anything but a lot.

It’s a jungle out there so remember to stick together (gardening clubs are good), be safe (wear a hat and sunscreen and for the love of Pete take your time when pruning if you want to keep all of your fingers),share (plants and knowledge…ok maybe not tools but the first two are enough) and above all HAVE FUN OUT THERE!! Here’s your list.

Lawn Watering Restrictions

Lawn

Stage 1 Water regulations are on but Mother Nature has been helpfully taking care of much of the watering in the lower mainland. Once we get into the hot part of summer though you can mow high, use a mulching blade. If you have to water do so in the early morning. Our lawns need only about 1 ½ “ of water per week. That is about 2 -30 min watering sessions for most sprinkler heads. You can also consider going ‘au naturel´ and allowing your lawn to go dormant (that’s just a nicer way of saying brown). If it’s not a heavy traffic area, it will begin to grow again once we get some cooler evenings and a bit of rain by September.

Thin Fruit Trees

Trees and Shrubs

Mulch your trees and shrubs with composted mulch or even a green mulch aka a groundcover! Groundcover plants can help keep moisture in the soil. Remember if you have fruit trees that have a heavy crop to start thinning the fruit. Don’t be greedy, or you are going to have broken branches and bent over trees! You can remove dead, diseased or damaged branches at any time. Consider getting a tree gator if it gets hot this summer or you plan on going away for any length of time.

Butterfly on Flower

Garden Beds

Dead head, mulch, fertilize and stake as needed. Don’t worry about being too perfect with your trimming. Remember to 'bee' observant in the garden. Many pollinators use the hollowed stems of perennials as nesting and a huge percentage of them are ground nesters. If you see tiny holes in the ground especially in sunny areas you would be doing a kindness by not weeding, mulching or cultivating in that area. Another funky thing you can do in the garden is put in a butterfly mud wallow, sunning rock and pollinator watering pebble tray. I know I am a bit of a plant and bug geek, but this stuff is cool!! Some great butterfly info sites are:

If you want to check out some cool information on other pollinators both Simon Fraser University and the David Suzuki foundation have great info:

If you would like to add some plants, we have some great butterfly, humming bird and bee favorites still at the nursery! Watch for plant damage. Expect collateral damage in the garden and weigh your options before you spray. More often a good sharp stream from the hose will do the trick and you can pass on the chemicals especially in the case of aphids and spittle bugs. Balance.

Hanging Baskets On Display

Planters and Hanging Baskets

We have some lovelies available. It is hanging basket city in the courtyard!! Think about hanging them low in groupings using our various wall hooks and shepherds hooks. Hanging your planters lower means you can enjoy them sooner instead of looking at the bottom of the pot. Also easier to water, deadhead and fertilize…just sayin’.

If you are like me and STILL haven’t done your front planters yet - don’t fret! There are lots of choices and they are bigger and when you put them into the planter it looks like you’ve been fawning over them for months. Procrastination is sometimes awesome!! Stumped for ideas? Come and visit our creation station and we can help you!!

When it comes to keeping them looking good, remember that the growers fertilizer lightly everytime they water a basket. The plants get used to that amount of food. If they run out of food, they stop blooming... therefore, feed lightly everytime you water!

Bell Peppers on Plant

Veggie Gardens and Fruit

Keep on weeding, planting and yes…thinning. I know you don’t like to thin but you HAVE to think some of those baby carrots out to give the others room. You know who you are…THIN. YOUR. VEGGIES. We have lots of great tomatoes and fiery peppers…think salsa!! As the heat starts to hit you can think about mulching some of your beds with straw.

You will get weeds but if water is an issue especially if you have an allotment plot somewhere, a straw layer will keep the moisture in the soil. I can’t believe I already have raspberries so it looks like our harvest season will be compressed again. Check fruit often and don’t be surprised if it is about 3 weeks early…plan accordingly!!

That should do for now! Get outside and enjoy the fresh air…and fresh food too!! We are lucky enough to have some of the freshest and most amazing markets and eateries!! Try something new or check out some of our farmers markets!! Think also about the critters around us and not just the cute ones either. As smart gardeners we can make a difference!!

Cheers ... Laurelle


Friday, May 6, 2016
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Gardening

Hello Everyone!

We’ve been very busy here at Art’s and I hope you come by and see our new look!! We have changed things around a bit to make it easier for you to shop and be inspired! Mother nature has certainly given us some interesting weather to work with this spring but we are West Coast Gardeners…we can adapt our strategies! Ladies and gentlemen, here is your list:

Lawn Care

Lawns

Mow, Fertilize with a good slow release lawn food and over seed any worn areas. We have some handy dandelion pullers and some really therapeutic long handled weed torches for those problem areas. Remember, ideal growing conditions for lawn is a nice deep non-compacted, well-draining soil between 6-8 inches, 6 or more hours of sun and a neutral ph. A healthy lawn is able to outcompete just about any weed.

If you are having lawn issues, figure out which of the growing conditions are not being met and fix it. If you cannot fix the issue ie, only 1 or two hours of sun then perhaps turf grass is not for you. There are a number of options and we can help!! You can come in and talk to Dave our own Lawn Whisperer or any of our horticulturists.

Trees and Shrubs

Protect your trees with a cleared tree circle 2-3 feet, mulched with composted mulch or even a living groundcover mulch to prevent weed whacker damage. On new plantings and shrubs with soft growth such as roses watch for aphids at this time and spray them off with the hose. With the temperature fluctuations this spring powdery mildew is an issue on many plants, watch for it and remove affected leaves early or cut back affected branches on fast growing vines such as honeysuckle.

Tree Gators

There are also organic as well as non- organic control methods available. Now is also a great time to plant and mulch your garden beds. Treegators are a good investment if you are planting larger trees in your yard. They are quick to fill up and will slowly trickle water down into the plant roots. Now is also a good time to feed your plants, we have a good selection of organic fertilizers as well as fertilizers specific to your planting needs.

Hanging Baskets

Planter Pots and Hanging Baskets

Yes, I would say you could get cracking on these. Do be mindful of the evening temps though and if you’ve planted tender annuals be prepared to throw some Remay or newspaper over them if the evening temperature takes a dip. Our hanging baskets have just arrived and we do have a very good selection of basket stuffers.

We have a number of planter classes coming up if you need some inspiration, we also have our new Creation Station for you to come out and visit to help you get some Plantspiration! Consider straying from the norm and mix up your planters with Dwarf Conifers, Perennials, Herbs and a dab of Annuals. You can even incorporate a hard feature such as a decorative shovel, water bowl or concrete ornament to bling out your pots! Don’t forget to feed your plants every third time you water to get maximum impact!!

Veggie Starts

Veggie Gardens

We have some handy dandy growing charts so you can make sense of what you can plant now by seed and what you can plant out as starts. Even with the warm weather I am keeping my tomatoes and peppers in for a little bit. The daytime temps are good but the night time temps are still a little cool for the heat lovers like tomatoes, peppers and watermelon.

We have tons of seeds and veggie starts. We have a great selection of the colourful tomato cages which I like to use the tomato cages for tomatoes and peppers (I can cover with a clear plastic bag for an instant greenhouse), snap peas…I put the cages wide side down and bend in the legs as well as for some of my floppy perennials such as peonys!

Water Hycainths and Pond Plants

Water Gardens

Make sure everything is in working order, clean up any remaining debris. Feed your water lilies and add some marginals such as Marsh Marigold or some cool Equisetum. Add floating oxygenators such as Water Hyacinth and Frogbit. You want to achieve about 75% surface coverage to prevent algae blooms. Feed your fish as they become active once they run out of mosquito larvae to snap up!

That should be enough for now, don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers and even get out and go for a walk in your neighbourhood to see what’s in bloom!! A lot of plants are blooming early so don’t miss them!!

Happy Gardening! Laurelle


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Art's Nursery is a 10+ acre retail and wholesale garden centre located in Surrey, a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. We've been in business at this same location since 1973 and we're proud to serve you today!

We carry an incredible selection of plants, shrubs, trees, annuals, perennials, vines, groundcovers, roses and much more. Soils, bulk materials, pottery and a variety of garden accents are also available.

Our plant selection is so large that you can actually drive a golf cart while you shop!

We pride ourselves on providing high quality plant, expert advice and an exceptional gardening experience.


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