5 More Easy Going Perennials

Summer Colour

Unless you’re a fanatical gardener or have a lot of time on your hands, you’ll probably be looking for plants you don’t have to replant and you don’t have to pamper.

Here are 5 really easy going perennials you’ll definitely want to check out because they exactly fit your wish list for easy to plant, easy to grow and easy to look after!

easy going perennialsSwitch Grass – Prairie Winds® Panicum
Native switch grasses are amongst the easiest ornamental grasses to grow. These hardy perennials will grow in any soil whether sand or clay, and in any moisture level, from dry to wet, but they do need full sun. Plant as wherever you need a privacy hedge, or a nice strong background or a Fall landscape focal point.
Cut foliage back in late winter / early spring.

easy going perennialsCatmint ‘Cat’s Meow’ Nepeta
This is a hugely popular perennial! It blooms in late spring with a dense mass of vibrant periwinkle purple flowers. Bees, butterflies and hummingbirds love catmint. ‘Cat’s Meow’ is a lower maintenance Proven Winner’s selection because it forms a nice, tidy mound without pruning and won’t sprawl all over adjacent plants. It loves full sun and very well-drained, dryish soil.

easy going perennialsLavender Sweet Romance® Lavandula
Sweetly fragrant lavender is one of our favourites. We love the rich violet purple flowers of Sweet Romance which blooms from early summer through fall, with new flowers appearing throughout the growing season. Gorgeous in bouquets, sachets, sweet treats, and lemonade as well as a host of other things!
Sweet Romance is very easy to grow in a sunny, dry spot in sandy or very well-drained soil. Don’t fertilize. Trim back lightly in spring if necessary.

easy going perennialsFalse Indigo – Decadence® Baptisia
Baptisia, commonly known as false indigo is one of the longest-lived perennials and is native to the prairies. the Decadence variety grows to 2 ½-3’ tall and wide. It is very drought tolerant once established and loves full sun and heat. Doesn’t need fertilizing or deadheading. In fact, don’t cut off dead blooms, or its decorative seed pods won’t form. So just plant it, then leave it be and it will be fabulous!

easy going perennialsBaby’s Breath: Festival Star™ Gypsophila
Festival Star is a game changer when it comes to baby’s breath. This improved selection blooms from late spring through to fall without deadheading or going summer dormant, and its short 12-18” height is easy to manage. This plant needs good drainage to grow well, so if you have clay, add mulch and organic material to add drainage. Loves the sun and it can dry out a bit before being watered. Feel free to clip some of its fragrant blooms for your fresh or dried bouquets. New flowers will quickly take their place.

 

5 Summer Colour Choices

Summer Colour

Here are 5 great choices for late summer color and interest. 

Not only are these Proven Winner favourites, they are beautiful showy plants, and best of all, low maintenance, easy going perennials – meaning there’s not a lot of work involved in keeping them looking good.

Summer ColourDaylily – Rainbow Rhythm® Hemerocallis
Daylilies are everywhere in summer and there’s a good reason for that. They’re very low maintenance – just needing a little water plus, they last for years and multiply, filling your flower beds quickly and producing a reliable crop of summer flowers.
The Proven Winner varieties do come in a variety of colours including purple, yellow, red, orange, peach and bicolor – check with us as to what’s in stock at the moment.

Summer ColourFalse Sunflower – ‘Tuscan Sun’ Heliopsis
These easy going flowers add a gorgeous yellow gold to your garden from midsummer into early fall. The look is reminiscent of Black-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia), but they’re less fussy, easier to maintain and will rebloom if you trim it back after the first round of flowers finishes. They prefer a mostly sunny to partly shaded spot in ordinary garden soil. Although it’s fairly drought resistant and loves the heat when established, you will need to water well until it is.

Summer ColourRussian Sage ‘Denim ‘n Lace’ Perovskia
Russian Sage is super easy going, prefers dryer soil and flowers during the hottest summer months. The only maintenance required is to cut back the stems in early spring. Some older varieties may be too large for smaller gardens, but the smaller ‘Denim ‘n Lace’ will be perfect just about anywhere. It grows to 2 ½’ tall and 3’ wide. It forms a dense, upright clump covered in flowers from midsummer.

Summer ColourSedum Rock ‘N Grow®  (Autumn Stonecrop)
Rock ‘N Grow stonecrop is very drought tolerant. It stores water in its succulent leaves and stems as a reserve meaning that you mostly don’t need to water it once it is established. Plant it in full sun and very well-drained soil, and do not add fertilizer or organic matter. Sedum comes in many sizes, shapes and colors. The Rock ‘N Grow collection includes both upright mounded and low spreading types that are hardy in zones 3-9. Expect them all to bloom in late summer and fall, providing a late season pollen source for bees and butterflies. Leave it alone in fall and then cut any remaining foliage down to the ground in early spring.

Summer ColourHosta Shadowland®
Here’s one for the shade garden. It’s the easiest, low maintenance perennial you can get.  Yes, we’re talking about Hostas which disappear underground during the winter only to pop up bright and healthy in the Spring. They quickly fill large spaces with their interesting foliage and thrive during the Spring, Summer and Fall in those difficult shady spots. Hostas grow best in organically rich soils and tolerate clay well. They like moist soil. They are happiest when grown under the canopy of tall trees

Hot August Colour

August Colour

Here are some great plant choices for vibrant colour and texture during those dog days of summer when most flowering plants are looking a little lack lustre in the heat.

Hydrangeas – of course!

hot august colorHydrangea Paniculata ‘Limelight’ is a delightful choice with it’s pearly cones of white flowers with a touch of blush that deepens into a lovely pinky bronze as the season wears on. It’s an easy going and hardy shrub that grows with very little maintenance. Pruning consists of simply clipping off the flowers to grace a vase somewhere in your home.  Talk about a big bang for very little bucks!

 

Miscanthus:

miscanthus ornamental grassIt’s similar to Pampas grass but the flower fronds are smaller and often have a pink cast to them.  This is another easy growing plant and it spreads quickly.  If you have a sunny corner that needs some height and interest, this is the one for you!

Another varient is the Miscanthus Rigoletto

Miscanthus-Rigoletto - August colourThis beautifully graceful grass glows in the late summer sun with its arching blades of creamy white and green stripes. At around 3′ tall, it’s smaller than the larger Miscanthus which can grow anything from 6′ to 8′ tall.

Pennisetum Fountain Grass ‘ Hameln’

Pennisetum Fountain Grass ‘ Hameln’ Pennisetum Fountain Grass ‘ Hameln’ august colorThe perfect fall plant to add to your garden. It forms a fountaining clump of dark foliage that turns a lovely amber in the fall and has pinky-brown, soft foxtail-like flowers that make nice cut flowers as well. It is perfect for the front or middle of the flower border in a container garden. Growing 24” tall and 30” wide.

Helenium ‘Short and Sassy’

Helenium ‘Short and Sassy’August colourPerfect compliment to fountain grass or even in containers. These gorgeous summer flowers produce clusters of yellow blooms edged with shades of orange. This is a very reliable garden plant. In full sun, this plant will grow to be 12-18” tall and 24” wide.

Crocosmia ‘Emily McKenzie’

Crocosmia ‘Emily McKenzie august colour’One of the most dramatic late summer bloomers is the crocosmia. This clump forming, grass-like plant, sports flame orange flowers with a red center and a yellow throat and makes a gorgeous cut flower. In full sun, this plant will grow 30-48” tall and 18” wide.

 

The Sustainable Garden – Biggest Trend This Season

sustainable garden

The biggest trend this season is the Sustainable Garden.

If you’ve not up to speed on sustainability trends, don’t worry.  This one is really easy to follow and it’s pretty easy to implement as well.  In fact, you probably already do to one extent or another.

vertical garden sustainable garden

Here are some of the most common features of a sustainable garden:

  • Firstly and most obviously, no chemical pesticides or herbicides.  Here are some natural alternatives.
  • Plant pollinator friendly plants that attract the bees, butterflies and birds.  Here are some suggestions and here are some more..
  • If you use lighting in your garden, make it solar, or at least LED
  • Upcycle and recycle old garden and home items as garden decor.  Recycle old pots with a new look.  Check out some ideas here and here and here and here.
  • Make your garden edible for humans as well as for birds and insects. Growing veggies and fruit and even edible flowers is a fun way to eat healthy produce without the chemicals and G.M.O. influences found in most store bought produce.
  • Make use of storm debri.  Instead of throwing away the broken branches and other debri from those storms and strong winds, collect them and use them for creating bedding borders and interesting garden pieces.
  • In the same way you can use rocks to add interest to your landscape.  In B.C. there are many places you can collect river rocks for special features in your garden.
  • Green your vertical spaces.  If have boundary walls, trellis or other upright spaces in your landscape, think about creating a vertical garden.  Here are some ideas.

We hope that this has given you some great ideas to begin looking at your garden with new eyes!  Have fun becoming a sustainable gardener – and remember that we are always available for help, advice and supplies!

DIY Compost Tips

DIY Compost

We all know that compost is a great addition to the garden and we all know that recycling is a good idea. 

So combining the two composts and making your own compost should be a great idea, right?

DIY CompostIf you’d like to try your hand at recycling your own kitchen and garden waste to create your own compost, here are some tips to help you achieve that goal.

The great thing about making your own compost is that it doesn’t need to cost you very much at all.

You don’t need to buy fancy composting systems or additive microbes or any other tools.  All you really need is a few containers to handle the various compost components during the various stages..

Your kitchen and garden waste, as it rots will create all the necessary microbes on it’s own. And all you need to do is to keep the kitchen waste in some kind of bin or container and keep the yard waste in another, bigger container.

Allow the kitchen waste to begin decomposing and then add it to the yard waste container a few times a year.

The containers can be as simple as garbage cans with holes punched into the lids to aerate them.

A few popular methods of DIY Composting:

DIY CompostSome people just put the yard waste in a big pile in a corner, out of sight.  This works but the trouble is that it can also provide a home for rats and other unwanted pests.  It’s best to keep it contained so that these critters don’t have easy access.

Others like to keep it even simpler.  They keep their kitchen waste in a container in the fridge until they’ve built up enough, then simply dig a hole and bury the waste in the designated area in the garden.  The earth takes care of the composting process and pretty soon there a lots of nice, juicy worms working away!

The key is to just get started.  It’s easy. It’s realtively quick. It’s super inexpensive.  It’s also great compost that you can then dig into your garden to enrich the soil and add vital nutrients that will keep your plants healthy and vibrant.

Please feel free to come into Tanglebank Gardens and have a chat with us about making your own compost if you have any questions or need advice.  We’re always happy to help!

 

 

5 Perfect Perennials For Shade

It’s not always easy to find the perfect perennials for shade.

Most perennials like at least a little sun.  However the following top choices will thrive in a sheltered shady spot.

  1. Shade Garden Hosta Perfect Perennials For ShadeHostas come in a variety of shapes and sizes and in a variety of colors too. There are those with variegated foliage and those with solid green in a variety of shades, as well as the ‘blue’ hostas. Whether you have a small space or a large space, Hostas are the #1 choice for shade.  Ranging in size from 6″ to 6′ you will definitely be able to find one (or a variety) that will be perfect in your garden. These shade garden staples mostly flower in spring and summer and some even have a fragrance. Best of all, they multiply so you can, after a few seasons, divide them and plant them in other shady spots as well!  These plants die back in Winter but come Spring they’ll pop up again!
  2. Perfect Perennials For ShadeGeraniums – we’re not talking about the so called geraniums you associate with Swiss Chalets, but rather the original Geraniums which spread and have a gorgeous blue or pink flower. They grow in mounds and are very easy going requiring little or no maintenance. They do die back in Winter but come Spring they’ll spring to life again and will flower from late Spring right through the Summer.
  3. Perfect Perennials For ShadeAjuga is a tough little ground cover that has dark green or even purple foliage and striking blue flowers in the spring.It’s pretty hardy and doesn’t really die off in winter.
  4. BleediHummingbird_bleeding-heart Perfect Perennials For Shadeng Heart is another very showy and very easy perennal.  Their gorgeous multilayered pink and white heart shaped flowers are a delight in Spring and early Summer. Some varieties have green foliage and others have a golden tint. These gorgeous plants die off early – mostly around June, but they will pop back up in the Spring.
  5. spring helleboresHellebores pop up early in the Spring.  They have unusual flowers that look almost as if they’re hand made from tinted silk in understated pinks, mauves and tinges of green.  These lovely plants are also known as ‘Christmas Rose’.  They will begin fading by mid Summer.

While these are the most popular and well known of shade plants, there are many more, both flowering and non-flowering.  Shade gardens can be an oasis of tranquility and cool in the heat of summer.  Come in and chat with our talented horticulturalists to find out what varieties will work best for your particular garden and preferences.

6 Eco Friendly Garden Tips

spring is almost here

Gardening, like anything else, is easier when you have the right tools and know the right short cuts.

eco friendly gardening tips

Here are a few tips that you’ll find make your life easier and make gardening more fun:

 

  • Don’t like wearing gloves when you garden?  No problem. Take a bar of soap and run your fingernails into it so that you have soap on and under the nails.  You can now put your hands in the dirt without having to scrub it out from under your fingernails for hours afterwards.  If you’re gardening with bare hands, invest in some heavy duty gardener’s hand cream to moisturize them afterwards so they don’t get rough and hard.
  • Use the water left over when you steam your vegetables and pour it onto your pot plants.  It’s full of nutrients and plants love it.
  • Save your coffee grinds and tea bags!  Dig them into your flower beds – plants love coffee grinds! Hydrangeas, Rhododendrons and other acidic loving plants benefit greatly.
  • Got bugs?  Little pests like aphids can be blasted off plants with a spray of water.  Just be sure not to break the plant. Or you can pick them off with sticky tape or masking tape.  It’s gross but it works!
  • Put your wheelbarrow to work when you’re potting.  Put a plank across the top of the wheelbarrow and rest the plants on the plank along with your tools.  In the wheelbarrow put your potting mix. Voila!  A mobile potting table!
  • Use a mixture of vinegar and water to do clean up outside.  Whether it’s garden tools or crusty terracotta pots, this mixture is eco-friendly and works like a charm!

Gardener Newbie? Easy Gardening Tips To Get You Going

garden tips

So you’ve decided that it’s time to garden but you feel overwhelmed.  Don’t panic, we have easy tips to help you make a success of your gardening efforts.

attract butterflies gardening tips

Take inventory

For an existing garden:

If you’ve inherited a garden someone else planted then the best way to begin is to take some notes and pictures so that you can speak with your friendly horticulturalist at the local garden center.

Take a series of pictures of the garden layout, then photograph each plant close up.  You may not know what the plants are so the photos will help the garden center identify them for you.

For a new garden:

Make a note of what you like and don’t like.

Walk around your neighborhood to see what looks good in the surrounding gardens.  Taking pictures will help your garden center both identify the plant and tell you whether it’s likely to do well in your garden.

Take a picture of the garden area and make notes of the sun /shade patterns.

gardening tips

Dream and Plan:

For both new and existing gardens:

Look at garden pictures online and in magazines. Save the pictures that you like.  Make a note of what you’d like your garden to look and feel like.What does your dream garden look like?  If you’re going to start gardening, you may as well work towards making that dream a reality.

Also make a note of your lifestyle.

Do you have lots of time to garden?  Do you love being outdoors? Do you want something low maintenance and functional?

All these details will help your garden center advise you about how to plan and plant a garden or plan and alter a garden to suit your specific requirements.

Put the Plan on Paper:

Mapping out your dream garden layout and the plants you want to surround yourself with is the best way to figure out what you’ll need to make that dream come true.

It will help you, together with your garden center horticulturalist, figure out exactly how many of each variety you’ll need and the tools you’ll need.  All this will help you work out what it will all cost.  If it’s beyond your budget, you can still work towards the end goal, but just scale it down by either doing a section of the garden as you can afford to, or by planting a ‘skeleton’ garden that can be fleshed out later.

 

Don’t have space for a vegetable garden? Use a Container

If you don’t have space for a full out vegetable garden, you can still grow veggies! Just do it in a container!

Growing vegetables in a container is very similar to growing flowers in a container. The video above gives you quick step by step instructions.

Step 1:

Choose your container

Step 2:

Choose your vegetables according to similarities in the type of environment they’ll do best in.  For instance, if the container is to be in full sun, choose vegetables that all like full sun.  If some like shade and some like sun, only some of them will be happy and grow healthy.

Step 3:

Add good quality potting mix to the container

Step 4:

Soak the vegetable plants in the nursery pots in water until the soil around the roots is wet

Step 5:

Remove the vegetable plants from the nursery pots and untangle the roots if they are at all root bound

Step 6:

Plant them in the container at the same depth they were in the nursery pot

Step 7:

Water well and make sure you water again when the soil begins to dry out.

Plan, Plant and Prosper: Vegetable Garden Tips

Were you disappointed with last year’s vegetable garden? 

If so, don’t despair: here are some tips to help you make your best vegetable garden ever!

Plan before you plant:

Planning ahead of time will save you time, money and frustration.  In order to plan, you need to know where your vegetable garden will be and the conditions that prevail.  Is it sunny all day, or partly shady?  Is it sandy soil, or clay?  Is it exposed to wind or is it sheltered.

You’ll need to choose the vegetable plants that will do well in this particular location – and that will do well when planted together. If you want to plant lettuce and squash, you’ll probably need to have vegetable beds in two different locations: one in a partly shady spot and one in full sun. You’ll also need to decide if you’re going to start those plants off from seed or planting seedlings?

If you’re a gardening novice, then take photos and notes and head on down to your garden center for advice.

vegetable garden

Plant Productively:

The best way to plant vegetables is to do so with a harvest in mind.  If you want to reap for longer, you’ll need to plant successive crops.  Many vegetables have varieties that ripen at different times.  Check before you plant.  If you’re planting vegetables that all ripen at exactly the same time, you’ll end up with a huge harvest and not be able to use all the vegetables you reap.  While you can always donate and give away the excess, you also don’t want to be left with nothing else ripening for the rest of the season.

While all this planning might feel like a chore, if you take care of it before you begin preparing your beds, you’ll find that you do less work for better results.

Here’s a link to a vegetable garden planner you’ll find helpful.