Making A Christmas Wreath And Garland

Christmas Wreath Christmas Wreath and Garland

It’s time to get your greens on!

Christmas greens on your door and mantle that is!  Here are a few videos from our friends at Garden Answer which demonstrate very nicely just how to make a Christmas Wreath and Garland.

How to make a Christmas Wreath:

 

How to make a Garland:

 

Remember – we have all the fresh greens you need plus lots of trimmings to make the perfect Christmas wreath and garland! If you prefer to buy these ready made, we have them here for you!

 

Keeping Your Holiday Plants & Greenery Looking Great

holiday

You go to a lot of trouble to make sure that your home is bright and welcoming during December. Part of that is adding plants and greenery as part of your holiday decor.

HolidayThere’s nothing brighter and more quintessentially a Christmas plant than Pointsettia.  Keeping it looking good – or even keeping it going so that it’s alive and well for the following year takes a little attention.

First of all, make sure that you don’t forget to water them frequently, but, whatever you do, don’t allow the pot to stand in water. Remove the tray underneath so the pot can fully drain. Pointsettias come from warmer, dryer climates so they like to be warm and dry – cold feet aren’t good for them! Make sure they get plenty of light. They especially like sunlight.

Christmas Greens HolidayEvergreen Christmas wreaths and garlands.  When you purchase the ‘fixings’ to make your Christmas wreath and garlands, choose the freshest possible.  Soak them in water overnight before you make them up.  This helps them to absorb moisture and stay fresher longer. You can also gently mist them every few days to maintain them even longer.

Amaryllis HolidayAmaryllis makes a delightful show at this time of year and they’re popular as hostess gifts too!  Because they’re bulbs you can enjoy them for years to come with just a little care.  Water sparingly – perhaps every 3 to 7 days. Don’t let them get too cold. If they freeze they will die.  When the blooms fade, cut them off to encourage reblooming.  Keep them in a pot as they prefer this to being planted in the ground.

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

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.

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

 

 

Fall planting versus Spring Planting: Which Is Best?

Fall planting

It’s natural to feel like planting in the Spring. After the long winter, once the first crocus and daffodil pop their heads above the ground, we begin to itch to get out into the garden and create some colour.

Flavors of Fall Hands On Cooking Classes

We don’t always have the same reaction when Fall comes around. Instead of looking forward to Spring flowers and warmer days, we know that Winter is just around the corner. Crisp, cooler, often wetter days are all part and parcel of the season.

FALL PLANTINGBut, what many don’t realize is that Fall is perfect for planting.

In fact for many plants, Fall planting is actually more successful than Spring planting.

 

The reason is quite logical. Plants know that Winter is on its way and they know it’s time to dig down deep. Growth above the ground begins to slow and all their energy goes into developing longer, stronger root systems. When we plant in Spring, most of the plant’s energy goes into growth above the ground: foliage, flowers, fruit, branches and so on. Roots take a back seat during this busy season.

During the Fall, the cooler air temperatures make gardening easier on gardeners and make it easier for plants to survive the shock of being transplanted from their pots into the garden soil which is still warm. This allows roots to grow until the ground freezes. In spring, plants don’t grow until the soil warms up.

Fall tens to produce more good gardening days than spring.

During the Spring rain and unexpected cold snaps, or even snow fall can make working the soil impossible.
Plus, many Garden Centers have great deals during the Fall as they move as much product as possible before the Winter arrives when no one is gardening.

While Fall rain is generally plentiful, it’s still important to deeply water newly planted plants for the first few months until they are established – especially if it doesn’t rain at least an inch per week.

Another significant advantage during the Fall is that common garden pests and disease problems tend to be less prevalant. Plantings also don’t need fertilizer the way they do in Spring. Fertilizer helps produce new, tender growth that can be damaged by winter weather.

A few examples of plants that prefer Fall planting are: grasses, spring-blooming bulbs, cool-season vegetables, perennials, trees, and shrubs.
The window for fall planting ends about six weeks before your area will experience harsher weather such as frost, frozen rain, sleet or snow. Planting time usually ends in September or October.

For more information about what to plant during the Fall and where and how to plant, please feel free to visit with our talented horticulturalists.

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.