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Saturday, September 13, 2014
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Fall Gardening

I’ve noticed the almost ghostly rising of the fog on the golf course while driving by at night and the other day…gasp, I had to put on a sweater in the evening. Fall is just right around the corner though I am holding out for a few more luxuriously warm September days. September is usually pretty busy with harvesting if you grow ‘em and perusing farmer’s markets if you don’t. Fasten your seatbelts folks here is the list:

Fall Gardens

Lawns

You can aerate and apply a fall fertilizer to your lawn. Don’t apply fall fertilizer if you lawn is dormant (beige), that will not help, water however, will. Now is also a good time to apply beneficial nematodes if you have a problem with grubs or weevils. You can also turf, renovate, over seed and of course mow, the good news about all that work is that we CAN do it, unlike the folks in Southern Alberta because they have SNOW – for real. This is a great time for your lawn, this is the time of year when your lawn really takes root! It is a somewhat smaller window of opportunity than spring to do all that lawn work, so get cracking.

Trees With Fall Colour

Trees and shrubs

In the Pacific Northwest, fall is another great window for planting! The air is cooler, the ground is still warm and Mother Nature usually helps a bit with the watering. It's a great time to add plants with fall colour. Some of our favourites include Japanese Maples, Acers (Maples), SweetGums, Katsuras and Persian Ironwoods. A few shrubs with nice fall colour include blueberries, fothergilla, burning bush and oakleaf hydrangeas.

You can do a small bit of pruning and deadheading of trees and shrubs removing the dead, damaged and diseased branches but leave the main pruning till the winter when your trees and shrubs are dormant, ditto for moving trees and shrubs.

Fall Bouquets

Garden beds

Weed, deadhead, clip back and generally tidy…but not too much. I know I sound like a broken record but native pollinators next in the hollowed out stems of perennials, on sandy type soils and on South facing slopes. It is a great time to add new plants to the garden but wait a bit towards the end of the month for perennial divisions. Don’t forget to bring some colour in to the house; Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) and cuttings from my Oriental Fountain Grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides) are my go-to early fall bouquets.

Fall Baskets

Planters and hanging baskets

Check drainage in your perennial and evergreen planters. Continue to water and fertilize your annuals and hanging baskets. You‘ll get a few more weeks out of them yet! We have a very cool fall hanging basket class coming your way if you are interested. Once your summer hanging baskets have had the biscuit, don’t toss them, just cut off the greens and stick them in the back yard till you are ready to fill them full of evergreen boughs for Christmas. The root mass acts as a kind of oasis and is great to keep the branches in place!

If you have some gaps in your all season planters, you can fill with pansies, kale (you can eat it when you are tired of looking at it) and other fall and winter colour. I do like to wait until it gets a bit cooler so my Mum’s don’t blow (a horticulture term meaning bloom out in one short period…not teenager slang) and my Pansies don’t stretch out and flop over.

Ponds

It's a busy time for you coming up with the leaf drop! Good idea to put a bit of a net if you have a smaller pond to catch the leaves. Towards the end of the month you can maybe scoop out the annual floaters like water hyacinth. Do some general tidying each week to save you a big weekend job come October.

Harvest Vegetables

Veggie gardens

Harvest, harvest and harvest…weed a little too. There are a few things you can still get in the ground for a fall/winter crop like some lettuces. You can plant Garlic towards the end of the month now too!!!

Plant Flower Bulbs

Bulbs!!!!!

Be on the lookout for some new combinations. I usually pick some up as soon as they come out now and plant mid-October. What can I say, I like to keep my neighbourhood squirrels well fed. THIS year I will remember to soak them in the bitter taste deterrent Bobbex and see if that slows them down. My neighbourhood squirrels do have good taste in bulbs though! Check out the new varieties of bulbs for 2014

Corona Tools

Tools

Now is a great time to inspect and fix the fixable and toss or repurpose the tools that are not (hint…they make great stakes or gate attachments). It's also a great time to invest in new tools as pruning season is just around the corner ( when most things go dormant).

That ought to keep you busy for now. There are a ton of farm gate veggie sales and farmer’s markets to take advantage of right now. There are also some wonderful Fall Fairs coming up…ours on Sept.21 and 22 is one of them. Hope to see you there!


Saturday, October 26, 2013
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Fall Gardening

Halloween is just around the corner and if you are feeling in the mood to design up a ghostly garden or a petrifying planter here are some of my favorites…bwhahaha.

happy halloween sign

whipcord cedar

Whipcord Cedar

Thuja plicata ‘Whipchord’

Just look at this thing, if this little guy doesn’t remind you of Cousin Itt from the Addam’s Family and cry out for a pair of glasses and a beret then I am a monkey’s uncle…or aunt. When it is a young plant it looks vaguely spidery...well not even vaguely. Let’s just say when it was covered in dew the other day and misted in the fog I gave it a wide berth just to be safe. It is a hardy little guy growing well in Zones 5-7 in moist well drained loamy soil in sun to part shade. It is a slow growing little waterfall of a plant eventually reaching 5 feet by 5 feet. In the winter it takes on a coppery green tone.

twisty baby robinia

Twisty Baby Robinia

Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Lace Lady’

Delicate and artsy in the spring and summer with its soft green leaflets but by Halloween…its naked and twisty stems bring to mind Macbeth’s witches for some reason. The branches are great for cutting and sticking in your planters for Halloween to dangle spiders and other creepys from and then do double duty when you spray them with glitter to create some eye catching Christmas and winter interest. This contorted small tree or large shrub, depending on how you want to look at it, is hardy from Zones 4 to 9. It prefers average well drained soil in sun or part shade. It grows 15 feet tall and wide, though you can keep it a bit smaller if you regularly use the branches for arrangements.

cobweb hens n chicks

 

Cobweb Hens and Chicks

Sempervivum arachnoidum ‘Cebenese’

Think of the savings…you won’t even need to buy that spiderweb stuff and get all tangled up in it so it looks like damp clumps of snow hanging from your Japanese maple (sorry flashback of Halloween decorating from last year). I love these little cobwebby guys, just look at them!! Hardy from Zones 4-6, this clumping evergreen grows only 3 to 6 inches tall. A full sun position in well draining soil will set this little guy off nicely and it will thrive even with indifferent watering. Great for pots and xeriscaping.

Rhodo makinoi

Rhododendron makinoi

The last place you would think I’d find a spooky plant is the Rhododendron house right? Wrong! The long (sometimes up to 7 inches!!) slender recurved leaves with brown indumentum (that’s fuzz for newbies) on the underside and white fuzzy new leaves just screams out witches fingers to me…though possibly I’d just eaten too much candy corn at that point. Granted the cheerful soft pink trusses of flower bells, slightly spotted with red (could be blood) might ruin the spooky effect in spring and make this plant…gasp…look charming, we won’t worry about that right now. This evergreen rhododendron from the Yakushimanum family is hardy in Zones 5b to 8 and thrives in a moist, loamy, well drained slightly acidic soil in part to dappled shade and can even tolerate full sun. Notice I said tolerate, kind of like a teenager tolerates Big Band music. It is a slow grower to 4-6 feet high and wide. This lovely….er spooky shrub has also won an Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural society so there.

Corokia cotoneaster

Corokia cotoneaster

If I had a nickel for every time a customer asked me –“Hey, is that plant dead?” - I’d be a very rich lady. This kind of got me thinking about…Zombies!!! This plant wins the zombie plant award with its silvery and gunmetal grey zigzagging branches and its tiny grey green leaves (total zombie colours I might add) it looks somehow not really alive, almost artificial. One of its other names is Wire Netting plant and in the winter it sure does look like that. It is a borderline hardy plant at zone 8-10 and it seems like our wet knocks it out rather that our cold weather. If you have a spot against your house or can keep in in a pot and bring it in to a greenhouse, cold frame or a garage with a window it should do just fine. It needs well drained soil and full to part sun. Now it does get clusters of butter yellow tiny flowers in the spring and they are fragrant and…well…dainty and cheerful…but like the Rhodo makinoi, we won’t worry about that right now. A little dry ice and Walking Dead theme music and you have yourself a zombie plant.

Black Mondo Grass

Black Mondo Grass

And then there is the Bleakly Black Ophiopogon planescapus ‘Nigrescens’ or Black Mondo Grass. Yes, purple black grass and its ALIVE bwahaha!!! It actually looks cool against orange and white pumpkins in a pot. This creeping ever-black perennial produces small purple flowers in spring and purple black berries (zombie eyeballs) in fall. Makes great ‘Pumpkin Hair’ if you decide to plant up your pumpkins after carving…special note, pumpkins start to decay once your carve them so carving them up closer to Halloween is best…unless you want them all mushy which is extra scary. This wicked perennial is hardy in Zones 5 to 10 and can take full to part sun in a moist well drained humic soil. If you want this plant to really show, under-plant with a light leaved ground cover.

Have a great Halloween and don’t eat too much candy corn…you never know what creepy plant you’ll run into!


Saturday, September 28, 2013
Posted By: Rebecca van der Zalm in Fall Gardening

When everyone thinks of fall colours, all eyes turn towards the japanese maples. However, there are many other lesser known plants that can also provide striking fall foliage colours.

Ruby Slippers Oakleaf HydrangeaRuby Slippers Oak Leaf Hydrangea

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Ruby Slippers'

A profusion of exceptionally large flower clusters are showcased against a dark green deeply-lobed oak-like leaf. Blossoms open white in summer and quickly age to deep pink. Foliage turns a brilliant mahogany in fall. compact form is well suited for small landscapes. Ideally used in mass plantings, hedges and mixed borders. An introduction from the US National Arboreteum. Best grown in part sun in moist, but well drained soils. Hardy in USDA zones 5-9. Fast growing to 3.5ft high and 4-5ft wide.

Henrys Garnet Sweetspire

Henry's Garnet Sweetspire

Itea virginica 'Henry's Garnet'

Brilliant red-purple fall foliage colour lasts into winter to make this deciduous shrub a standout in the landscape. Fragrant, white bottlebrush-like flowers in early summer add to the year round interest of this award winning plant. Hardy in USDA zones 5-9. Henry's Garnet is a moderate grower to 5-6ft tall and wide. Best when planted in full to part sun in moist, but well drained soils.

Mukdenia Crimson Fans

Red-Leafed Mukdenia

Mukdenia rossi 'Crimson Fans'

We've talked about this one before, but it's always a favourite perennial amongst designers. Fanned, maple-like leaves emerge bright green in spring, age to bronze-green and by summer mautre to green with bright red streaks. In early spring, white, bell-shaped flowers dance above the foliage. A lush and colourful groundcover or accent in borders. Deciduous perennial. Best when planted in part sun or part shade. forms a spreading clump to 12 inches tall. Hardy in USDA zones 4-9.

Tiger Eyes Sumac

Tiger Eyes Sumac

Rhus typhina 'Bailtiger'

Fuzzy stems, bright yellow to lemon-lime foliage and intense fall colour make this spreading shrub or shrubby tree a winner in the landscape. This shrub just screams 'look at me'. New foliage is chartreuse and turns yellow, orange and scarlet in the fall. Flowers are yellowish green and followed, on female plants, dark red, hairy fruit. Tiger Eyes does spread by suckers and will expand over time. Best in full sun and moist, but well drained soils. Will reach 6ft in height and spread.

Burgundy Bunny Fountain Grass

Burgundy Bunny Fountain Grass

Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Burgundy Bunny'

While everybody loves that other, not-so-hardy fountain grass, this smaller cousin is worth looking at. Burgundy Bunny is a dense, deciduous ornamental grass that forms clumps of narrow green foliage with strong red highlights. Dwarf habit. In the fall, the plant takes on a over-all striking red colour. Small cream-coloured, bottle-brush flowers appear in summer. Ideal in borders, mass plantings and containers. Performs best in moist soil. Prefers full sun. Grows to 18 inches in height and spread. Hardy to Zone 5.

All of these plants are generally available at Art's Nursery. As always, please call 604.882.1201 to confirm availability if you are making a special trip out to see us. Our selection is always changing! If you have any questions about these plants or any others to deliver great fall colour, drop by or give us a ring!


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Fall Colour Supporting Cast

Lesser known plants with great fall colour

Posted By: Lyle Courtice A.H. in Fall Gardening

The rains have finally come and we walk briskly under the lead players of fall colour; Acer, Fraxinus, Liquidambar. While we scurry about all bundled up trying to keep dry, we could stop for just a moment and take a look below the great conflagration at the less know but no less spectacular plants that vie for a spot in fall's grand cavalcade of colour.

Cotinus Golden Spirit

Golden Smoke Bush

Cotinus coggygria 'Golden Spirit'

Discovered in the Netherlands this unique selection has rounded leaves of lime green to brilliant gold.

A wonderful golden accent that prefers a sunny location and unlike many golden forms the foliage will not scorch unless it gets very hot and dry.

Airy smoke-like clusters of fawn coloured flowers in summer and finally in fall the bright golden leaves take on an infusion of coral, orange and red. A real winner all round. Height: 2.5-3m Spread: 2m Zone: 4

Oak leaf Hydrangea Fall Colour

Oakleaf Hydrangea

Hydrangea quercifolia

Bold, deeply lobed leaves of dark green leather give a strong presence in the garden. In fall they turn a rich burgundy-red to mahogany. Large cones of white flowers that often fade to pink grace the midsummer season.

As plants age the older reddish-brown stems exfoliate their cinnamon bark for an added winter interest. Several selections are available in the trade, each with their own charm: 'Alice', 'Pee Wee', 'Snow Queen', 'Snowflake' and 'Little Honey' a stunning compact growing yellow foliage cultivar (see article Gold Fever for more info.). Height: 1-4m Spread: 1-4m Zone: 6

Leucothoe

Fetterbush

Leucothoe spp.

Adaptable broadleaf evergreen shrubs for part shade to shade. The long narrow leaves are glossy and dark green in colour and mix well with other shade tolerant shrubs, perennials and ferns. The arching stems give plants a relaxed, flowing appearance and the pendulous clusters of small white flowers in early spring are a pleasant bonus.

Being evergreen these plants do not drop their leaves but instead take on purple, burgundy, plum and red tones through the colder months. Best if grown in soil with even moisture. Some good selections to look for are: L. axillaris, L. fontanesiana 'Nana', 'Rainbow' and L. 'Scarletta' Height: 60-125cm Spread: 60-175cm Zone: 5

Blueberry Fall Colour

Blueberry

Vaccinium spp.

Most think of the humble blueberry as something one grows in the "veggie" patch along with raspberries, gooseberries and the like, or we see them as vast acres of plantings managed by a mass of workers. However the humble little blueberry can be grown for more than just fruit.

Blueberries are highly adaptable to our West coast climate and are very easy to grow in most soil types under full sun exposure. Plants themselves have crisp, green to deep green foliage which makes a great back foil for other plants. Clusters of white bell-like flowers appear in early spring followed in summer by the well-known delicious berry which comes in varying shades of blue with a unique selection 'Pink Lemonade' being bright pink.

However in fall this unassuming shrub can utterly delight as it's green leaves give way to shades of orange, yellow, burgundy and scarlet. Give them a try as part of a mixed border, foundation planting or container specimen. Height: 45-175cm Spread: 60-200cm Zone: 2-6

Viburnum DoubleFile

Doublefile Viburnum

Viburnum plicatum

Great "Old Fashioned" deciduous shrub with a multistemmed habit and broad horizontal branches giving an overall layered effect. Numerous clusters of flat topped white flowers (or rarely pink) in spring followed by red fruit that matures to black (attractive to birds).

The fresh dark green foliage is handsome on it's own but in fall it really gives a punch of colour, turning a rich reddish purple. Plants grow well in most soil types but prefer a moist, well drained soil in full sun to partial shade. Some good varieties to look for are: 'Mariesii', 'Pink Beauty', 'Popcorn', 'Shasta' and 'Summer Snowflake' Height: 1.5-3m Spread: 1.5-3m Zone: 5

Other great plants for fall colour are:

  • Amelanchier
  • Azalea (deciduous forms)
  • Berberis
  • Callicarpa
  • Clethra
  • Corylopsis
  • Disanthus
  • Enkianthus
  • Fothergilla
  • Nandina domestica
  • Rhus typhina
  • Spirea japonica

These and many other plants with great fall colour are usually available at Art's Nursery. As always, please call (604.882.1201)ahead to confirm availability, as our selection is always changing.


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Art's Nursery is a 10+ acre retail and wholesale garden centre located in Surrey, a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. We've been in business at this same location since 1973 and we're proud to serve you today!

We carry an incredible selection of plants, shrubs, trees, annuals, perennials, vines, groundcovers, roses and much more. Soils, bulk materials, pottery and a variety of garden accents are also available.

Our plant selection is so large that you can actually drive a golf cart while you shop!

We pride ourselves on providing high quality plant, expert advice and an exceptional gardening experience.

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