The Evergreen Hedge – Without Conifers!

gardening tips

In B.C. we love to use conifers to provide an evergreen border to our property, but, what about mixing it up a little for more visual interest?

Evergreen Hedge

The key to a great evergreen border is to not insist that everything be evergreen.  That might sound like a contradiction, but stay with me here…

Take a hedge / border that incoporates evergreen boxwood (you can use the single green or variegated variety) teamed with ornamental grasses, red Japanese Maple and Rhododendron.

The Boxwood and Rhododendron provide a solid anchor giving privacy while the ornamental grasses and red Japanese Maple provide color, texture and architecture.

Boxwood and Rhododendron are evergreen and don’t normally lose their leaves here on the West Coast.  Red Japanese Maples do lose their leaves.  They provide height and visual interest throughout the year – first with the foliage and then with the bare branches.

Ornamental grasses can be added between or in front of the Boxwood, Rhododendron and Japanese Maples providing softness and movement.

Throw in a Goldy™ euonymus as an inner border along the edge of the hedge for added pizzazz. This is a very versatile and showy, glossy gold-leafed plant can be used as a ground cover, climber, or even a small shrub.

Voila! An evergreen hedge with colour and interest!  Plus, it’s low maintenance!

Fall Or Winter Gardening Projects For Kids

Tanglebank's History

Just because it’s getting colder doesn’t mean that you can’t entertain and educated kids with gardening projects.

Because kids have short attention spans and like instant gratification it’s a good idea to do a variety of projects – some with immediate payoff and some where they’ll learn patience as they wait for results.

Here are a few ideas to keep kids busy and engaged:

Immediate results:

    1. A miniature garden / fairy garden
      Both boys and girls will enjoy putting together a miniature garden if you gear it to their interests.  Here are some suggestions:
      – fairy garden
      – leprechaun garden
      – hotwheels garden
      – dinosaur garden
      – a beach garden
      There are no limits when it comes to miniature gardens. The requirements are fairly simple. You can purchase fairy garden accessories from us and you can also utilize your child’s own toys.  All you need is a a suitable container, potting soil, your container plants of choice and the accessories.
    2. A indoor herb garden

    1. An indoor planter using plastic bottles

    1.  A worm farm

 

Planting patience: teach your kids about the virtues of patience while you teach more about how nature works with these projects:

  1. Plant bulbs for spring flowers
  2. Container indoor vegetable garden
  3. Planting seeds

Fall Foliage For Fall Colour

fall container gardening 1

Perhaps your garden doesn’t yet have a good mix of colour for all seasons.  No problem.  Bring colour into your landscape and around your home by planting Fall colour containers.

Fall is a beautiful season so why not enjoy it to the fullest?

There may not be too many colourful flowers at this time of year, but you can still create a show by combining plants with colourful foliage, texture and shape. Look for plants with interesting bark, berries, shapes and foliage. When it comes to containers, you’ll find lots of choice for colourful Fall foliage.

Here are a few ideas for plants that provide colour:

  1. Heuchera – there are many varheucheras fall containerieties, each with its own distinctive coloured foliage. Although they dies down somewhat in winter, they can still provide colour and are pretty hardy.  They work well in containers paired with ornamental grasses.
  2. Heucherella Brass Lanterns – similafall containerr to Heuchera, their rich warm bronzy orange colour can add a glow in a Fall container
  3. winter heather Fall ContainerWinter heather – while heather is normally planted directly in the ground, small winter heather plants in containers can add an element of bright colour.
  4. Fall ContainerVariegated ivy – provides a softness as it drapes over container edges.  Ivy is extremely hardy and will winter well.
  5. Ornamental grasses – the beauty of ornamental grasses isFall Container that they come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours.  They add movement, texture and interest to containers. There are varieties that show well in winter – ask your garden center for advice on which will work best in your specific situation.
  6. Bergenia Bressinghawinter interest plants Fall Containerm Ruby which is great in both spring and winter.  It has pink flowers in early spring but in winter the green glossy leaves turn rich red.
  7. Skimmia RubellaSkimmia Rubella is a small shrub that will also do well in containers. It boasts beautiful clusters of deep red buds in September right through to March when the buds open to reveal creamy pink fragrant blooms.

To get the best results from your Fall container gardening, here are some tips on the planting process http://tanglebank.com/blog/container-gardening-101/

If you are not sure how to choose compatible container companion plants, our friendly and talented horticulturalists can help you by offering suggestions and laying out these suggestions in groupings so that you can see what they would look like in a container.

They’ll also be happy to give you information on how to take care of your containers so that they continue to provide visual interest all year long.

What’s In Store – Gift Giving Guide

gifts

Tanglebank Store is the home of unique, special and coveted gifts for everyone on your list.

gifts

Here are just a few of the wonderful gift choices in store:

gourmet vinegars giftgourmet preserves giftGourmet Vinegars and Preserves

Thymes Frasier-FirThymes Frasier Fir gift

 

 

 

 

 

The ever popular Frasier Fir from Thymes – Fragrances, Candles, Soaps and more

Thymes GingerbreadThymes simmered cider

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mistral soaps for menmistral-soap-black-amber

Michel Design Works Into the WoodsHome fragrances, soaps, candles and more from MichelDesignWorks

 

gifts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cucina by Fruits and Passion

cucinacucina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Decor for the season:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

from IngeGlas, Christian Ulbricht and more

christmas decor gifts

Inge Glas Ornaments1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Handbags, jewellery and scarves:

handbag gifts

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plus Rogers Chocolates for everyone!

giftsRogerChocolates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And plenty for the kids as well:

giftsbooks giftsmaileg-rabbits

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maileg Doll House Furniture

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paper Whites and Amaryllis

paper whitesAmaryllis Holiday

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remember to collect your Holiday Dollars and redeem them in December!

holiday dollarsAnd if you still can’t decide… these gift certificates suit everyone!

Tanglebank gift certificate

So many choices… so little time!

Tips For Pruning Fruit Trees

Pruning Fruit Trees

Having your own apples, pears, plums or other fruit right in your backyard is a wonderful thing.

Pruning Fruit TreesUnderstanding how to look after those fruit trees ensures that you’ll enjoy their fruit for years to come.

Fruit trees aren’t necessarily high maintenance but they do need regular attention.  They need to be fertilized and protected against disease.  They also need pruning if you’re to enjoy edible fruit long term.

Here are a few tips on the best time and methods for pruning:

  • Prune ‘stone’ fruit such as plums, apricots, peaches, cherries etc by as much as two thirds in height. This helps the tree become bushier and stronger and it will bear more fruit.  Do this roughly in mid summer once all the spring growth has happened.
  • Prune to shape the tree in late winter – but be sure to do so when it’s dry and there’s no too much danger of frost due to rain.  This can be tricky in our climate!
  • Prune so that the branches are around the outside of the tree i.e. trim away the inside branches so that all the fruit is easier to reach. This also helps with air circulation through the tree which can help prevent disease.
  • Prune in the right place on the branch: just above the bud node that faces toward the outside of the tree. Remember you only want branches growing out, not into the center of the tree.
  • Prune using the right tools. Make sure your pruning tools are heavy duty enough and sharp enough to not tear the branch but cut through easily and cleanly.  Ragged cuts can become diseased.

 

Indoor Plants for Very Low Light Rooms

low light plant

As the cooler weather approaches, our focus turns indoors.  Indoor gardening is healthy – both for the air as well as for your physical, mental and emotional well being.

But, with our Northern climate, we often struggle with indoor gardens due to the low level of light at this time of year.  Small windows are great for keeping the heat in, but it does present challenges for the indoor gardener.

You can use grow lights, but, if you don’t want to do that, there are certain plants that will grow well even in very low light conditions.

Here are a few choices that work well with a minimum of light:

low light plantMother-in-Law’s tongue / Snake plant – it has stiff, sword shaped leaves often variegated with dark green / light green / gold.

 

 

low light plantCast iron plant looks a little like Mother-in-Law’s Tongue in that it also has sword shaped leaves although these are a bit more floppy and they are a dark green with no variegation. They are completely ‘dummy proof’ as they’re not only tolerant of low light but also dampness, dust and general neglect.

 

 

 

low light plantPeace Lily also has dark green sword shaped leaves, but it has a creamy white ‘flower’. It likes moist soil.

 

 

 

 

low light plantDracaena has spiky long leaves in a mid to light green colour and can be variegated.  It looks like a cross between an ornamental grass, a reed and a small palm. It is easy to grow and should be trimmed to keep it at the size you prefer.

 

 

 

low light plantPhilodendrons come in many varieties  including creeping or vine-like varieties. They may have variegated leaves or areas of other colors on a green background. These can look lovely in a hanging basket as well as in a pot.

 

 

low light plantChinese evergreen looks a bit like the Peace Lily or Arum Lily, but with variegated leaves.

 

 

 

 

low light plantHen and Chicks / Spider Plant  is often a summer hanging basket favourite, but it also does well as an indoor low light plant.

 

 

 

low light plantZZ plant looks a little like a ficus tree except that it’s a pot plant and comes up from the roots in multiple stems with dark green oval leaves that are quite fleshy.

Honey-Sweetened Marshmallows

honey sweetened marshmallows 2

CHEF KAYLA’S HONEY SWEETENED MARSHMALLOWS:

I created a recipe to be a little more health conscious using only 3 ingredients; honey, gelatin, and water.  That’s it friends! I then rolled half in toasted unsweetened coconut and the other half in cocoa powder.  Of course the weather was not cooperating the day that  I created these so I pulled out the good ol’ torch and torched those marshmallows at the kitchen table. Hey! you gotta do what ya gotta do! I hope you enjoy these tasty marshmallows as much as my girls and I!
honey sweetened marshmallows 2

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp gelatin
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla, or flavoring of your choice
  • pinch of salt
  • toasted coconut
  • cocoa powder

Directions

  1. Lightly grease a 9×13 pan and then layer with parchment paper.  Lightly butter the parchment paper. (At this point, since I was making toasted coconut and cocoa marshmallows and I dusted cocoa powder over half the pan and sprinkled the coconut on the other half of the pan).
  2. Sprinkle the gelatin over 1/2 cup water  in the bowl of your mixer and let bloom. Set aside.
  3. In a small sauce pot pour the other 1/2 cup water, salt and 1 cup honey.  Cook over medium-low heat until the temperature comes to 240.  Do not stir during this process. Once it has reached the desired temperature take off the heat.
  4. Now very carefully, on low speed, slowly drizzle the honey syrup into the bowl with the gelatin/water mixture and beat. Once the mixture begins to fluff up, slowly increase the speed to medium-high and continue beating for about 10-12 minutes.  When it looks fluffy and cloud-like, add in the vanilla (or any other flavoring you prefer) and pour into the prepared pan.  Let it side for a minimum of 4 hours.
  5. Once it has completely set, I cut into about 1 inch cubes and roll into my desired garnishes.  I did half toasted coconut and half cocoa.  Then eat away and enjoy!

For more delicious recipes from Chef Kayla, click the ‘Life from Scratch’ tab in the menu above.

Braised Moroccan Lamb Shanks

braised moroccan lamb shanks

A FAVOURITE FROM CHEF KAYLA:

This is one of my most loved dishes, Moroccan Lamb Shanks, which I created when I was running Brambles Bistro. It is the perfect combination of spice and aromatics, perfectly warming and comforting. I know that lamb shanks can sometimes scare people off and they are not too common, but they are quite simple to prepare and get deliciously tender, and the flavor is extremely rich and decadent. My taste buds are already getting excited thinking about eating the welcomed leftovers tomorrow night. I hope you enjoy this truly loved dish as much as myself and my loved ones do. Enjoy!

Braised Moroccan Lamb Shanks

Lamb Shank Marinade

  • 6 lamb shanks
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 
1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp chopped mint
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
Braising Liquid/Sauce
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup good red wine
  • 1 onion, large dice
  • 2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 8 cardamom pods (the seeds inside)
  • 
3 star anise
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 
2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • 1 can canned tomatoes
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 3 sprigs mint
  • 1/2 cup whole cilantro
  • 1 cup whole apricots
Directions for Lamb Shank Marinade
  • Combine olive oil, spices, salt & pepper, mint, and cilantro in a medium sized bowl and mix together.
  • Place lamb shanks in marinade and let sit for a minimum of 8 hours.
  • Once it has sat sear the lamb shanks in a hot pan until all sides are nicely seared.
Directions for Braising Liquid/Sauce
  1. Heat oven to 300.
  2. Heat a large ceramic pot/dutch oven over medium heat and add olive oil.
  3. Saute onions, garlic, & ginger until translucent.
  4. Add the cinnamon stick, star anise, cardamom seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric, cumin, and fennel seeds.
  5. Saute for about 10 minutes over low heat.
  6. Add a little water at a time to prevent the spices from burning.
  7. Once you have thoroughly cooked out the spices add the wine and reduce until about 1/4 cup.
  8. Add coconut milk, canned tomatoes, chickpeas, lemon zest & juice, fresh mint, fresh cilantro, and apricots.
  9. Add the seared lamb shanks to the braising liquid/sauce. Place the lid on the top and place in the pre-heated oven until the meat is falling off the bone, approximately 2 hours.
  10. Check and rotate lamb shanks every 45 minutes.
6. Garnish with more freshly chopped mint, cilantro, and lemon zest. You can either serve alongside couscous or fresh naan bread.

braised moroccan lamb shanksFor more delicious recipes from Chef Kayla, click the ‘Life from Scratch’ tab in the menu above.

October In The Garden

october

It’s October and Fall is making its appearance in the garden.

As Fall kicks off during October, it is one of the best times of the year to garden and there’s plenty to keep you busy!

October

Here is a brief list of garden-keeping tasks for this month:

OctoberPrepare for color:  it’s time to plant your spring flowering bulbs and late flowering perennials.  Because those bulbs are underground and won’t pop out till next Spring, it’s a good idea to put markers on the spots where they are buried so that you don’t plant over them or dig them up by mistake!

OctoberDivide and move perennials that have grown too much in a clump over the summer.

Plant your paperwhite bulbs so that they’re blooming in time for Christmas.

Plant garlic.

 

Skimmia RubellaPlant or move shrubs nowFall is a great time for planting as the plants energy goes into establishing roots rather than growing upwards into shoots and leaves.

 

 

OctoberTrim your climbing vines and make sure they are securely fastened to their trellises so that they don’t get broken when the winds begin.

Prune all the shrubs and herbaceous perennials that should be trimmed at this time of year – hostas, certain ornamental grasses, spirea, bearded iris, beebalm, columbine, corydalis, crocosmia, daylily, margeurite, golden star, ground clematis, hardy begonia, peony, ph;ox, salvia.

Many plants should not be pruned until spring, so be sure to check with your garden center to avoid winter damage.

OctoberGet a head start on your flowers next spring: dig up all the tender ones that would normally die off in winter. Pot them and keep them in a light place protected from cold and frost, then replant in the spring. Geraniums and fuschias can be overwintered by removing from soil, trimming back and storing. Geraniums can be hung roots up while fuschias can be buried under soil.

If you’ve grown apples, now is the time to store them at between zero and seven degrees celcius.

Dry beans well before storing in airtight containers.

Clean and dry onions before storing.

Store root crops that have been cleaned in a cool, dry, dark spot. Trimming off the tops will help them to last longer.  Squash / Pumpkins need to be cleaned well with bleach or vinegar solution and then stored in a cool, dry place.

To Rake or Not To Rake: Now’s the time when the trees really begin shedding their leaves.  Some people like to take advantage of dry Fall days to blow these leaves clear, gathering them up and adding them to the compost heap.  Others prefer to leave them in the garden as a protection for shrub and tree roots from the cold.

 

 

Indoor Plants To Combat Dry Winter Air

indoor gardening

Have you ever thought about using indoor plants to combat that dry winter air that has your skin cracking and your clothes crackling?

detoxify indoor airIndoor plants are a wonderful way to keep the air inside your home clean and toxin free, especially during those colder months when the windows and doors are closed.  But, did you know that they can also help rehydrate the air that’s being dehydrated by your central heating and gas fireplace? They’re also helpful in maintaining respiratory and skin health.

No one enjoys those cold weather cracked skin issues, or the build up of static electricity that makes your clothes cling and crackle and sparks of static electricity when you touch things.  The answer is becoming an indoor gardener!

Plants grow by absorbing water and nutrients from the soil.  The moisture they absorb hydrates the plant cells.  However, a lot of the moisture is excreted on the leaves and this evaporates into the atmosphere, helping to add much needed humidity into the air in your home. The dryer the air, the more moisture the plant ‘sucks’ from the soil and the more it releases via evaporation.  It’s your own smart humidifier!

Nearly all plants will add some moisture to the air, however plants with broader leaves tend to do a better job.

Rainforest plants are very good at this. The larger the leaves, the larger the area available for evaporation.  Conversely, small leaf or succulent plants are not good humidifiers in an indoor situation.

Be sure that there is good air circulation around your plants as this will help with the evaporation process. Remember to water as is recommended by your garden center. Over watering will only cause your plants to rot and die.

You also don’t need too many plants to achieve a good humidity level. Add too many and your home will become muggy and you’ll create an ideal environment for mold and bacteria.  As with most things, moderation is key.

Some examples of plants that are good humidifies and are easy to grow indoors are:

  • Peace lily
  • Dracaena
  • Areca Palm
  • Bamboo Palm
  • Philodendron
  • Ficus Benjamina
  • Ginger

plants that humidify areca-palmDracaena_humidify dry winter airhumidify dry winter airhumidify dry winter air

 

humidify dry winter airhumidify dry winter air