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.

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

Garden Tips for End of February


It has been an exceptionally cold and snowy winter, but Spring is coming and it’s time to start preparing the garden.

garden tips

Although things are somewhat warmer now, the ground can still be pretty cold and hard.  Here are a few late Winter / early Spring garden tips to help it warm up:


  • Warm the soil by covering your beds with black plastic.  This will help capture warmth from the sun transmitting it into the ground underneath.  An added bonus is that it will help suppress weed growth.
  • Prepare raised beds or furrows to encourage the soil to drain away the abundant water that has accumulated during the winter. Raising areas you wish to plant also allows the sun greater access and allows the raised area to warm quicker than the surrounding areas.
  • Consider creating a cloche to create a warmer micro-climate that will allow you to plant earlier and reap later.  If you’re not familiar with the term ‘cloche’, you’ve nonetheless probably seen them around.  They’re simply a low profile plastic tunnel  formed by making a frame raised above the bed high enough to allow your plants to grow, then covering this frame with clear plastic.
  • If your beds are near or under trees or shrubs, prune them to allow more sunlight to fall on the bed.

Here are a few of the seeds you can plant outdoors at this time of year:

  • Peas
  • Fava Beans
  • Garlic
  • Cool weather salad greens
  • Spinach
  • Leafy Asian Greens
  • Radishes
  • Onions

You can also plant perennials such as:

  • bare root fruit trees and bushes

  • Cane fruits
  • Rhubarb crowns
  • Asparagus crowns
  • Horse Radish roots

Now is also the time to prune your fruit trees and spray them with dormant oil.

If you haven’t yet started seeds indoors that can’t be planted outdoors just yet, it’s a great time to get them going.  There are quite a few vegetables you can start indoors now for later transplanting.  These would include:

  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Kholrabi
  • Kale
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes

It’s also time to clean up any winter debri and dead leaves.  Be sure to check that your shrubs and beds are still nicely covered with mulch.  If not, you’ll want to get that done as well.  Mulch helps protect roots in winter from the cold and in summer from excessive moisture loss.  It helps remediate your soil as well.  If tends to be clay like and retain too much water, it will help improve drainage.  If it is sandy and drains too quickly, mulch will help retain water.  It’s an amazing addition to your garden with multiple benefit.

Come in now to find out what seeds, seedlings and plants we have coming in so that you can plan for a spectacular Spring and Summer garden.  Novices welcome!  We have friendly professional horticulturalists who will be glad to help you with advice and practical know how!

Winter Hummingbirds & Spring Planting

Winter hummingbirds and Spring planting:


While it’s still a little time to go until Spring, it’s not too soon to begin planning a garden that will attract hummingbirds or to take steps to help keep them alive during the winter.

If you already have suitable flowering plants in your garden, no doubt you’ve watched in fascination as the hummingbirds dart and hover around them during the summer. If not, you might want to add some so that you can enjoy this wonderful sight.

Here are some interesting tidbits about the Hummingbirds we see in this part of the world:

Have you ever wondered what happens to these little feathered sprites in the winter, or been surprised to see them still around even though the flowers are all gone?

We have four main species in coastal B.C.  The Rufous, Anna’s, Calliope and Black-chinned.  Most hummingbirds migrate to spend the winters in the U.S. Gulf coast or Mexico. (Strangely, the males and females migrate separately.)

It’s an amazingly long flight for such teeny tiny creatures whose wing span is literally only a few inches.  But not all the species migrate.

But not all the species migrate, which explains why you’ll sometimes still see them in the winter.

The Anna’s tend to winter here in areas where it doesn’t get too cold. Anna’s will definitely appreciate hummingbird feeders being maintained over the winter when flowers are few and far between.  To stop the feeders freezing, you can wrap them in incandescent Christmas lights or bring them in overnight.

Because Anna’s begin to breed as early as January, it’s a great idea to try to keep them supplied with nectar over winter so that they’re strong and healthy come breeding season. 

They normally lay just 2 eggs which take about 2 weeks to hatch and another 2 weeks before the little ones are ready to fly.  Hummingbirds can live as long as 12 years if they survive the lack of food over winter and don’t fall prey to predators.

If you would like to see more of these lovely little birds year round, the best way to attract them is to plant the kinds of flowers they prefer.  Hummingbirds are nectivores, meaning that they drink the nectar of flowers for energy and they eat small insects and spiders for protein. Planting the types of flowers that attract them will not only bring you pleasure, but it will perform an important ecological service as hummingbirds are major pollinators and ensure early fruit production for other wildlife.


Here’s a list of the some of the flowers that attract Hummingbirds in coastal B.C.:

Spring flowering:

  • Sitka Columbine
  • Hairy Mazanita
  • Black Hawthorn
  • Bleeding Heart
  • Orange Honeysuckle
  • Black Twinberry
  • Red flowering currant
  • Thimbleberry
  • Salmonberry
  • Pacific Rhododendron

Summer flowering:

  • Giant Hyssop
  • Yellow Columbine
  • Common Red Paintbrush
  • Red Osier Dogwood
  • Scarlet Gilia
  • Spotted Jewelweed
  • Tiger Lily
  • Wild Bergamot
  • Penstemon
  • Snowberry
  • Evergreen Huckleberry
  • Bule Vervain

Fall flowering:

  • Harebell

Some non-native plants that attract Hummingbirds include:

  • Flowering tobacco
  • Fuchsia
  • Sage
  • Delphinium
  • Canna
  • FourO’Clock
  • Gladiolus
  • Hollyhock
  • Nasturtium
  • Petunia
  • Scarlet Runner
  • Chaste Tree
  • Winter Jasmine
  • Camellia


If you’d like to make your garden more hummingbird friendly, pop in and have a chat with us and we’ll be happy to advise you.




http://arcinst.org/arci-tracking studies?gclid=CNewzPjU7ckCFc2CfgoddggB5w