Avoid Allergy Triggers In Your Garden:

Allergy Triggers In Your Garden

Avoid Allergy Triggers In Your Garden:

Allergy Triggers In Your GardenSpring and Summer are wonderful times to get out into the garden and enjoy getting close to nature – unless, of course, you have allergies.

If you’re unfortunate enough to suffer from allergies triggered by pollen and plants, then you’ll want to eradicate the culprits and replace them with plants that will allow you to enjoy your garden without the runny nose, streaming eyes and itchy throat.

First we’ll tell you about some of the common allergy triggers and then we’ll give you a list of plants that will be easier to live with.  It might mean you have to dig up some of your favourites, but, you’ll find that there are equally beautiful alternatives that will allow you to enjoy the outdoors without those nasty side effects.

Common allergy triggers:

Allergy Triggers In Your GardenSunflower: who doesn’t love these giant, sunny blooms? Unfortunately they’re also prone to setting off nasty allergic reactions.

Chamomile: yes, this calming herb is a hay fever trigger.  If you’re especially sensitive, it can also react with your skin and you’ll find drinking Chamomile anything but calming.

Daisies: many of us love those cheerful, down-to-earth blooms, but the pollen, the leaves and even the flowers are often very effective allergy triggers.

Jasmine: this beautifully perfumed vine is also a big allergy trigger – and as we often have this plant indoors or in containers near the house, it’s probably best to avoid it.

Juniper:  one of our B.C. landscape staples, Juniper can cause hay fever and skin rashes.

Allergy Triggers In Your GardenWisteria: it’s such a pity that this showy vine is a quick way to suffer a severe bout of hay fever and even skin rashes.

If you’re feeling a bit disheartened because we’ve pinpointed one or more of your favourite plants, we have good news.  There are alternatives that are just as pretty and rewarding to grow.

Here are some of the easiest alternatives to grow in our climate:

Allergy Triggers In Your GardenEnglish lavender (Lavandula angustifolia). There are any number of lavenders, and you no doubt know, these plants are the ultimate multi-taskers.  The gorgeous purple flowers in Summer can be used for tea, soap, baking, cooking and many other uses.  Lavender is a compact shrub with silvery green leaves – indicating that it’s also a great addition to the xeriscape garden.  It’s not just humans that love lavender, so do pollinators!  It’s hardy, loves everything from full sun to part shade and doesn’t need much water. Simply trim back when flowering is over.

Allergy Triggers In Your GardenRosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). Rosemary shares many characteristics with Lavender, but has a few more variations including upright, bushy, weeping or creeping varieties. It grows between 1 and 8’ high but will spread as far as allowed. It also attracts your favourite pollinators and is a wonderful addition to your culinary efforts.

Rosemary doesn’t require much maintenance. It doesn’t like too much water and will grow in relatively poor soil. Cut back tips to shape it. Hardiness depends on the specific variety so check with your garden center as to which variety is best for your location.

Allergy Triggers In Your GardenMint (Mentha spp.). If you’re looking for a plant to fill up bare spaces, then mint is it!  It spreads aggressively.  And that’s fine because you can use mint in cooking, baking and in teas!  It’s hardy, easy to grow and doesn’t require much maintenance at all.  Mint grows to about 2’ tall but will spread as far as you allow it to. It likes everything from full sun to part shade.

Allergy Triggers In Your GardenWoolly thyme (Thymus pseudolanuginosus) is an excellent ground cover that grows quickly and in almost any kind of environment. It has small leafed green foliage and small pink flowers throughout summer and grows about 2 – 3” high and about 3’ wide. Woolly thyme likes full sun and requires very little water once established so it’s perfect for xeriscaping. Can be used as a lawn replacement, a wall adornment or anywhere you need some low maintenance cover. All that’s necessary is to trim it back periodically. It attracts butterflies, bees and other pollinators.  It’s hardy to -28.9 C, so it can survive even a cold winter like our last one.

Allergy Triggers In Your Garden hummingbirdsFall phlox (Phlox paniculata) produces fragrant white, pink, rose, red or lavender coloured flowers the whole summer. It’s perennial and very hardy, requiring very little maintenance.  All that’s necessary is to dead head and pinch back tips to encourage the plants to become more bushy instead of lanky.

 

Allergy Triggers In Your GardenClematis: a hardy, long flowering vine that rivals Wisteria for showiness. They like full sun to part shade – keep the roots shady and the rest of the plant in sun for best results.  They like well drained soil but do need regular watering and fertilizing.  They’ll also need some support to climb on. Depending on the variety, these vines can grow quite large – from 10’ to 20’.  Clematis offer a variety of flower colours including white, pink, purple and blue.

Allergy Triggers In Your GardenSweetpeas (Lathyrus spp.) come in varieties including annual and perennial, vines, bushes, and varieties that flower at different times.  They might not be quite as showy as Wisteria, but still offer lots of pretty flowers and fragrance to the garden without the allergy triggers.  They can be a little more picky about their environment, so before planting, check with your local garden center to ensure that your choice of location will yield good results. They require a little maintenance needing regular watering and dead heading.

Allergy Triggers In Your GardenGoldenrod (Solidago spp.) keeps the colour going with swathes of yellow flowers from late summer through the fall. Depending on the variety, they can grow as high as 8’ and will spread by seed.  If you don’t want them to spread, dead head before the seeds appear. If they do spread or become too dense, they can be divided in the Spring. Like many of the plants we’ve mentioned, these happy flowers are almost maintenance free and are especially attractive to pollinators.  They like anything from full sun to part shade and can do well in less than ideal soil conditions.

Allergy Triggers In Your GardenDaylilies (Hemerocallis hybrids)? are easy to grow, low maintenance, hardy perennials that love full sun. They do need regular water as soon as the temperatures warm in spring and right through to the beginning of winter. Daylilies grow 2.5 – 4’ tall and spread 2 to 3’. There are several varieties with different blooming times, and some even re-bloom.  You can choose evergreen, semievergreen and deciduous and can be divided if they become too dense.

How to Attract Hummingbirds and Other Pollinators Into Your Garden

attract hummingbirds

Not only is it good for agriculture to encourage and support pollinators, it’s also a lot of fun watching as they flutter and dart from flower to flower.

 

Here’s a quick video that gives you an overview of how you can attract these little critters into your garden:

 

Here are 5 old fashioned favourites that Hummingbirds love. 

These are all suitable for Zone 8 and provide you with lots of colour.  Many are also perennials so you won’t have to replant them every year.  Less work and more fun!

Get inspired then come in and chat with our horticulturalist to see how to combine these with other plants to extend flowering displays and to continue attracting pollinators as long as possible.

Lupines:

attract hummingbirdsLupines are colourful and come in a variety of shades.  They grow to around 3′ tall and spread to about the same amount. They’re perfect for the backs of borders or as a backdrop in a flowerbed.  Even when the blooms are gone, their foliage is beautiful. They’re easy going and you can plant them in full sun or part shade, just make sure the soil is moist and well drained.

Phlox:

attract hummingbirdsIt’s the perfect summer flower bearing pink, white, lavender or red flowers throughout summer.  The sweet fragrance is a magnet for hummingbirds and other pollinators. They grow to about 4′ tall and spread out about 3′.

Bee Balm:

attract hummingbirdsThe name says it all!  Another easy going perennial that grows about 3′ tall and 2′ wide and acts as a pollinator magnet! Flowers can be red, white, pink or violet. Plant in full sun or part shade in well drained soil.

Hollyhocks:

attract hummingbirdsThese lovely perennials grow really huge!  They can get up to 8′ tall and 3′ wide.  Their blooms are gorgeous and can be single or double.  They come in a variety of colours.  Because they can get quite lanky, it’s best to plant these behind other, shorter flowering plants. Plant in full sun in well drained soil.

Coral Bells Heuchera:

attract hummingbirdsWe love Heuchera.  They’re the perfect, neglect proof perennials.  They grow up to 3′ tall and 2′ wide and when they’re not flowering, they have lovely foliage. Plant them in part shade in well drained soil.

Recipe Alert: Brambles Spring Roll

brambles spring roll

Recipe Alert: Brambles “Spring” Roll

brambles spring rollbrambles spring rollbrambles spring roll

INGREDIENTS:

Ginger Garlic Dipping Sauce

1 Cup     Soya Sauce
¼ Cup  White Granulated Sugar
1 tbsp.   Chili Flake
1 tbsp.   Sesame Oil
1/3 Cup Rice Wine Vinegar
2 tbsp.   Minced Garlic
½ Cup  Packed Brown Sugar
.5 oz      Whole Ginger Peeled
.5 oz      Thinly Sliced Green Onion
2 tbsp.  Mirin
——————————————————–
4 0z Vermicelli rice noodles
1 Green Apple, sliced into matchsticks
1 Mango peeled and, sliced into thin strips
½ lime juice
1 avocado pitted and sliced
½ cup loosely packed basil
½ cup loosely packed mint
8 rice papers
Sea Salt
¼ cup Microgreens (optional )
½ cup Pickled Red Cabbage ( optional)
10 small colourful edible pansies

DIRECTIONS:
In a small bowl, mix together soya sauce, white sugar, chili flake, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, garlic, brown sugar, ginger, mirin and green onion until incorporated. Let sit in the fridge till ready to use!

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Prepare the vermicelli rice noodles according to the instructions
on the package. Drain and set aside

toss the Green apple with lime and pinch of salt. Have all filling ingredients prepped and in front of you before you start rolling- noodles, mango, green apple, basil, mint, microgreens, pickled cabbage, pansies

Assemble the spring rolls:Fill a shallow glass baking dish or pie plate with 1 inch 2.5 cm warm water.
Submerge one rice paper wrapper in warm water for 15 seconds and then lay the softened wrapper
on a clean kitchen towel.Place a portion of each filing ingredient on the rice paper. Fold the bottome of
the wrapper over the filling and gently tuck the filling under the wrapper. Fold the sides over the filling.
Continue rolling and tucking the rice paper to form the spring roll. Repeat with the remaining rice papers.

Serve with Ginger Garlic Dipping Sauce.

 

 

How to attract butterflies to your garden:

attract butterflies gardening tips

Butterflies, like birds, are attracted to colourful plants that produce the food they eat at various stages of their lives.

attract butterfliesTo attract butterflies into your garden, you need to support these little critters at every stage of their life cycle. It’s a very worthy goal. Not only will you have the pleasure of watching them flutter around your garden, you’ll also be providing a valuable service. Creating a habitat for butterflies means encouraging some of the most effective pollinators.

At the recent 2017 Philadelphia Flower Show, the ‘Butterflies Live’ exhibition made guests aware that butterfly populations have decreased by 90% over the past few years. Because butterflies are important pollinators, like bees, this can seriously impact the production of fruit and vegetables.

What plants will attract butterflies?

The answer will vary depending on the stage of the butterfly lifecycle. As butterflies hatch from eggs, you will need plants on which the tiny caterpillars can feed. The trouble is that they have voracious appetites and can strip plants of their leaves!

During this stage, the caterpillar will undergo several skin moults. Eventually the final stage before becoming a butterfly is the chrysalis stage, when the caterpillar becomes a pupa hidden under the protective walls of an outer shell or chrysalis.

While hiding away, the caterpillar is undergoing a metamorphasis where they develop their wings and their body structure changes to the body of a butterfly. Once the butterfly is fully formed, it then breaks out of the chrysalis and the wings slowly unfurl and dry out until it is ready to take flight.

attract butterfliesOnce the butterfly begins to fly it goes in search of food. Only this time, it’s not leaves it needs. Butterflies feed on nectar of flowers, which is how they pick up the pollen and transport it to other plants which become pollinated.

The best way to attract butterflies is to use a combination of colour and nectar producing plants. As flowers produce nectar and flowers are usually colorful, this means planting lots of flowering plants.

Here’s a list of some of the plants which attract butterflies like magnets:

– asters
– sedum
– black eyed Susans
– azaleas
– butterfly bush
– bee balm
– impatiens
– marigolds
– verbena
– most fruit bearing flowers
– golden rod
– roses
– cone flower
– phlox
– viburnum

plus many more. Come in and chat with our horticulturalists who can advise you as to what will work best in your garden.

fall color mumsLike many little creatures, butterflies prefer warm, but not too hot, weather. They don’t like being rained on and need to take shelter to avoid their wings becoming waterlogged.

In your garden, create spaces by grouping plants, including shrubs, so that there is shelter when it rains or gets too hot and there is a place for the butterflies to rest overnight under leaves. Provide a nice flat rock that can warm up in the sun, allowing butterflies to sit resting with wings outstretched when the sun shines in early spring.

You can even create a pretty butterfly house in your garden where they can spend the winter in hibernation. Yes, butterflies hibernate! They do so at all stages of the life cycle, although they will more than likely choose a hibernation spot somewhere amongst the shrubs, in a log pile, or in any number of sheltered spots in your garden. Still, the butterfly house is a nice accessory in the landscape and if it is surrounded and sheltered by the plants they love, they may surprise you by adopting it!

Organic Pest Control Tips

eco friendly gardening tips

As the weather warms and things begin to grow, so does the pest problem. Many people don’t like using pesticides to control these infestations, so here are a few organic pest control tips from a survey done by Mother Earth News Organic Gardening.

Slugs:

organic pest control slugsOne of the most effective organic remedies to control slugs,  beetles, cut worms and other  bugs is to have a few ducks, chickens or geese waddling around the garden.  They love fat juicy slugs and enjoy nothing better than keeping your garden bug free.  Plus, they provide organic fertilizer while on the job and lay eggs which you can eat.

If you don’t fancy keeping geese or ducks, some other slug remedies include:

  • sprinkling crushed egg shells around the plants you want to protect
  • creating beer traps – apparently slugs love beer!
  • hand picking

Cutworms:

organic pest control cutwormAnother effective remedy for cutworms in seedlings is to use rigid collars made from cardboard tissue rolls or disposable drinking cups.  Planting out your seedlings later when they are bigger and stronger is also helpful.  Some people have found that by turning over the soil a few times prior to planting allows birds to pick off the various worms and bugs which are unearthed.

Aphids:

organic pest control aphidsMany plants such as roses attract aphids. Rather than immediately pruning infected areas and washing with insecticidal soap, try companion planting some herbs and flowers that attract predators that feast on aphids.

Sweet alyssum and other flowers such as calendula, borage, zinnias, cosmos and nasturtiums which all  attract hoverflies and ladybugs which feed on aphids.

Organic Give and Take:

In general, many organic gardeners are willing to put up with some ‘bad’ bugs for the sake of the ‘good’ bugs in the garden.  Some suggest planting more vegetables than you need in order to reap enough.  If you have excess it can always be donated.

Birds are a great form of pest control, so attracting bug eating birds into your garden by companion planting what attracts them as well as providing nesting areas and feeders appropriate to the specific birds you want to attract.

Soil Quality:

It’s a good thing to remember that the better the soil quality, the less problems you will have with pest infestations.  Regular mulching and organic fertilizing is recommended.  Regular crop rotation will also help discourage some pests.

Most common effective remedy for the majority of pests:

Handpicking.  While it’s tedious and tiring, this method is still one of the most earth friendly and effective of all methods.

The Power of Perennials.

When planning your garden, plan for the future.

It’s not just about this season, or even the next.  Many of us don’t have a lot of time to spend in the garden.  Full time employment, full time parenthood, home maintenance and ongoing chores mean we’re full time busy.  However, gardening is good for us and if you have a garden, it’s worthwhile making it a pleasure rather than just another chore.

Here are some ideas as to how you can put in the time, thought and energy once and reap the rewards for years to come:

Xeriscaping:

Plan your garden so that it doesn’t need a lot of watering and endless care.  Xeriscaping makes the most of plants that grow naturally in your environment, meaning that they’ll survive and thrive on a minimum of attention.  It’s not only eco-friendly, it’s human friendly too!  See more about xeriscaping here.

Permaculture:

Permaculture is becoming a popular way for ordinary people with ordinary gardens to try their hand at urban farming.  If you fancy the idea of growing your own food and having a more sustainable lifestyle, then this is a practical option.  Choosing a variety of fruits and vegetables that are perennial rather than annual will help make permaculture an easy choice for those who like to plant once and reap twice, or three times or much more over subsequent years.

Choose Perennials rather than Annuals:

lavender is a drought tolerant plantAnnuals can be very pretty and brighten up the landscape immensely.  But plants that grow all year long, or die off in Winter only to re-emerge in Spring are a lot more productive. If you want to create an ongoing crop year after year, consider planting things such as:

Berries: raspberry, blueberry and some strawberry varieties will produce crops of fruit for years.

Rhubarb will keep on growing allowing you to harvest stalks almost forever!

perennial rhubarbFruit trees will also be a source of ongoing crops for years.  Apples, pears, cherries and plums are popular in this area.

Vegetables:  there are a few vegetables that will produce ongoing harvests.  Examples are perennial onions, asparagus, artichokes and chives.

Perennial Chives

Many herbs are perennial.  Examples are lavender, rosemary, thyme, peppermint, mint, majoram, curry plant, oregano and sage.  Many of these are quite drought tolerant  as well.  Learn how to spot a drought tolerant plant here.

For advice on how to create your own waterwise and productive garden, please feel free to visit with our professional horticulturalists in the nursery.

 

New In Store for Spring:

Michel Design Works INto the Woods

Along with all the beautiful Spring flowers arriving in the nursery, we have some equally beautiful and fragrant items arriving in the store.

 

Anticipate Spring  with these lovely soaps, lotions and candles.  You don’t have to wait for warmer weather, you can enjoy them right now.

We’ve just received new shipments from Mistral:

mistral for springmistral for springAs well as new shipment from Michel Design Works:

michel design works for spring… and it’s not just soaps, lotions and candles!  You’ll find an array of exclusive home decor elements and ideas in store as well.  Add some European panache to your home and lifestyle… whether you dream of an English country garden or a French gite in Provence, you’ll find inspiration here!

It’s Time to Start Thinking ‘Spring’!

Spring primulas

It’s time to start thinking ‘Spring’ and we have just the right plants to brighten up your garden

 

Check out these cheerful Primulas:

Spring primulasand how about these potted Daffodils?

spring potted daffodils
not to mention these gorgeous Hellebores

spring helleboresThings are beginning to warm up and it’s time to get your garden prepared for this wonderful season. Click here for a few tips to help you get started.

We have what you need to create your dream landscape. Whether you prefer to plant from our potted items or start with a seed, you’ll find everything from flowers, to shrubs, to herbs, annuals and perennials as well as a good range of West Coast and GMO free seeds.

non gmo seedsCome in and spend some time in the nursery and the store.  We’ll help you with advice, products and plants… everything you need to get off to a successful Spring garden!

spring is almost here

Brambles Bistro Recipe: Carrot Patch Carrot Cake

carrot-cake

Brambles Bistro Recipe: Carrot Patch Carrot Cake

carrot-cake

Ingredients:
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1tsp salt
3 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 eggs
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1 tsp vanilla

Method:
Sift together sugar,flour,soda,salt and cinnamon.  Stir in oil.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add carrots, nuts and vanilla, mixing thoroughly. Pour into a floured and greased 13 x 9 x2-inch cake pan.   Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Do not overtake.  Cool in pan.  Spread with cream cheese icing.

Cream Cheese Icing
1/2 cup melted butter
1  8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 1-pound bag confectioners sugar

Combine butter, cream cheese and vanilla, mixing well.  Gradually add confectioners sugar, beating until smooth.  Spread on cooled cake.   Enjoy

Proper Growth of Trees – How to Plant and Maintain Trees in a Nursery Bed

planting trees

Do you love the cool breeze that trees offer?

Also, don’t forget that spot where you like to sit and read or think in its soothing shade. That purified air that you feel and breathe as you walk along a tree-lined path. If you do enjoy the existence of trees and their many benefits, you will need to learn how to plant and maintain trees from their young age in the nursery bed.

planting trees

A walking path, full of grown trees.

Planting and maintaining trees is not as simple as it looks. There are steps to consider to ensure you do it in the best way possible.

planting treesTo save nature, always plant a tree.

Steps on Planting a Tree

1. Select and mark the planting location
You should choose a spot that is preferably 20 feet from any building premises or even other trees to make sure the tree has enough space for proper growth of the roots as well as the canopy. Don’t forget to mark the spot you have chosen either by placing a stake into the ground or spraying with paint.

2. Check the measurements of the root ball
Why do I need to measure the root ball? It’s to expose the root flare. Also, the height of the root ball determines the depth of the hole to plant the tree. To expose the root flare, you need to remove the burlap and the soil around the root ball.

3. Dig the hole
make sure the hole is big enough to accommodate the root ball. Preferably it should be at least twice the size of the root ball. You can use a shovel, which you can purchase at any garden store to dig the hole.

4. Place the tree in the hole
It’s time for you to plant the tree. Gently put the tree in the hole. You need to make sure the hole is not too shallow or too deep. Place it in such a way that the roots are not exposed and ensure the crown is above the ground. You can also position the tree in the direction you want it to face. At this stage, remove the burlap and any wire basket around the root ball.

5. Refill the hole
It’s advisable to use the same quantity of soil you dug out from the hole. You can decide to mix the soil with compost or using superphosphate (not preferred since most commercial fertilizers can over-boost the growing tree and make it thrive improperly) to provide the necessary nutrients for the tree’s growth. Make sure the root flare is not exposed. You can mix the soil using a shovel and leave enough space for the roots to grow. Also, water just a little

6. Staking
To assist the tree to grow upright, you can use stakes but only for the first year. It helps in the establishment of roots as it protects the tree from coming into direct contact with animals or humans.

planting treesA beautiful canopy formed by trees, a great view indeed.

Maintaining the Trees

1. Watering
After planting the tree, it’s time for you to do the watering. You can choose to water regularly for at least two years or use drip irrigation. Preferably you can do watering every day up to the sixth week, to ensure that the best establishment of the roots is achieved.

2. Mulching
You can use wood chips, leaf litter, or pine bark as mulch. It helps the tree by keeping a proper moisture in as well as getting rid of any growing weeds. It also protects the tree from lawnmowers and trampling. Use organic mulch since while decomposing they add nutrients to the soil. Do you want to plant grass? You can also check on how to keep birds from eating grass seeds by using the grown trees leaves as mulch.

3. Pruning
It helps remove any dead, broken and diseased branches from the tree. Prune gently to avoid any damage to the healthy parts. You can use a gardening shear or a knife to do the work. If the tree is okay, then there is no need of pruning.

planting treesTrees are the primary source of all fruits.

Final Thoughts
Now you can grow that seedling at the backyard of your home with the simple steps we just discussed. Also, grow grass in your backyard to make it a perfect place for nights out. Still, you ought to learn about how to use best lawn sprinklers to water the lawn. You should plant trees since they are more beneficial to you in many ways.

planting treesHi there! I’m Lucy – founder of GardenAmbition.com and I’m a self-confessed garden fanatic. Gardening has always been a passion of mine and will always be my favorite pastime. Now that I am married and have one adorable son, I have the time to write and share my personal experiences with other garden enthusiasts like me.