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Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Winter Gardens

Well this is turning out to be an interesting month and that’s even without mentioning politics! Fasten your seatbelts ladies and gentleman…November has arrived! It’s the month I take stock of the harvest and look back on the past year…not just in the garden either.

I make notes about what worked and what didn’t and start a wish list. If I leave it to the New Year I find I forget stuff. There are so many interesting things to do still, indoors and outdoors and after the 20 degree temperature we’ve had I think I better fish out my flip flops from the Summer bin just in case. It’s easy to get a bit overwhelmed this month. Take your time, be selective with it and what you choose to spend energy on, there is no shame in just going for a walk or staying in and doing some thinking for a spell.

Given these interesting times we live in, I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes to ponder and a timely one I think: “When given a choice between being right and being kind, always choose kind.” Dr. Wayne Dyer.

Right then, here is your list:

Lawns

You likely have only one last mowing…if that. Raise your mower height and leave it a bit high. Rake the leaves off the lawn, don’t let them sit or you will have bare patches. Avoid traffic on waterlogged areas. Take note of any soggy areas and if we do get a dry few days you might want to correct the drainage. November rains are the dress rehearsal for the winter. We often have extremes in temperature as well. I would leave seeding for the spring at this point…you are likely pushing your luck. Still a bit of time for adding the odd piece of turf but you are past the point where I would lay sod. Once you’ve finished that last mow, drain the gas and take in the blade to get sharpened to avoid the spring rush.

winter Pruning

Trees and Shrubs

Remove any dead, damaged or diseased branches at any time. You can tell if a branch is dead by carefully scraping a tiny section of bark. If it's green underneath and still flexible, it's still alive. If its dry, brown and brittle, that branch is probably done-for. 

I do my main pruning in February but you can so some tidying of shrubs if they are flopping over. Raking is a daily chore. Put the Apple, Pear, Plum and Rose leaves in the green bin, the rest you can add to your garden beds or use as mulch around your other trees.

Now is a great time to plant new trees and hardy shrubs or start planning a new garden bed. If you can get one or two anchor trees or shrubs in now you can begin the infill layer of smaller perennials and grasses in the spring…so hubby if you are reading this…clear that new garden bed!

Veggie Gardens

Finish harvesting, check drainage and remove any rotting veggies. If you have a winter crop started you can get the cover in place if one is needed otherwise just continue to monitor and cull as needed.

Winter Planters

Planters

You have had a taste of the rain to come, check the drainage and correct. Time to pull out any blown Mums or other fall flowers and start thinking of your winter planter design. I like to add lanterns or other hard features as place holders for the winter greens you will be adding mid month. If you are like me and haven’t pulled out your begonias you might want to think about doing that soon.

Truly, I am like the cautionary tale of front door planters. “Don’t be like that lady down the street who still has flowering begonias a week before Christmas.” The greens are in at the nursery. If you start a little at a time it’s not that big of a job. Lol, who am I kidding I am going to leave it till the night before I have people coming over for a Christmas party. Adrenalin makes for excellent designs.

Ponds

Continue cleaning out the leaves and removing any rotting vegetation.

Planting Bulbs

Planting Bulbs

Yes, you can still keep planting bulbs as long the bulbs themselves are still in good shape! (Which they are - there havent been any harsh frosts yet!). Bulbs like Tulips, Daffodils and others are on sale too - yay!!!!!! – Plant them for a great selection of spring and late winter colour. Remember to plant in groups or drifts!

Cut Back Cannas

Overwintering Bulbs

Dahlias, Cannas and other tubers – We are just going to enjoy the last of the blooms until Mother Nature gives us a knock down hard frost to melt off the top growth, we’ve had a few light frosts but I still have green. Once that happens, dig them up, let them dry out on newspaper or cardboard in the garage, brush them off and store in a paper bag with pine shavings or sawdust.

Flower Beds

If you can avoid cutting back or raking your garden and the pollinators with thank you. The only things you will likely want to cut back if you have them are Peonies. The only raking and removal you should do are roses. Everything else can be a great mulch.

Birdfeeder and Birdhouses

Bird Feeders

Keep them clean and filled. We do have local Hummingbirds that stay all winter! Bird Feeders – After the wind and rain assess the placement of your feeder to make sure the seed is still dry. Clean often. Great time also to look up some fun pinecone feeder projects!!

That should do for now, enjoy your blustery month, take some time to ponder and plan and take care of yourselves!!

Cheers, Laurelle


Friday, May 6, 2016
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Gardening

Hello Everyone!

We’ve been very busy here at Art’s and I hope you come by and see our new look!! We have changed things around a bit to make it easier for you to shop and be inspired! Mother nature has certainly given us some interesting weather to work with this spring but we are West Coast Gardeners…we can adapt our strategies! Ladies and gentlemen, here is your list:

Lawn Care

Lawns

Mow, Fertilize with a good slow release lawn food and over seed any worn areas. We have some handy dandelion pullers and some really therapeutic long handled weed torches for those problem areas. Remember, ideal growing conditions for lawn is a nice deep non-compacted, well-draining soil between 6-8 inches, 6 or more hours of sun and a neutral ph. A healthy lawn is able to outcompete just about any weed.

If you are having lawn issues, figure out which of the growing conditions are not being met and fix it. If you cannot fix the issue ie, only 1 or two hours of sun then perhaps turf grass is not for you. There are a number of options and we can help!! You can come in and talk to Dave our own Lawn Whisperer or any of our horticulturists.

Trees and Shrubs

Protect your trees with a cleared tree circle 2-3 feet, mulched with composted mulch or even a living groundcover mulch to prevent weed whacker damage. On new plantings and shrubs with soft growth such as roses watch for aphids at this time and spray them off with the hose. With the temperature fluctuations this spring powdery mildew is an issue on many plants, watch for it and remove affected leaves early or cut back affected branches on fast growing vines such as honeysuckle.

Tree Gators

There are also organic as well as non- organic control methods available. Now is also a great time to plant and mulch your garden beds. Treegators are a good investment if you are planting larger trees in your yard. They are quick to fill up and will slowly trickle water down into the plant roots. Now is also a good time to feed your plants, we have a good selection of organic fertilizers as well as fertilizers specific to your planting needs.

Hanging Baskets

Planter Pots and Hanging Baskets

Yes, I would say you could get cracking on these. Do be mindful of the evening temps though and if you’ve planted tender annuals be prepared to throw some Remay or newspaper over them if the evening temperature takes a dip. Our hanging baskets have just arrived and we do have a very good selection of basket stuffers.

We have a number of planter classes coming up if you need some inspiration, we also have our new Creation Station for you to come out and visit to help you get some Plantspiration! Consider straying from the norm and mix up your planters with Dwarf Conifers, Perennials, Herbs and a dab of Annuals. You can even incorporate a hard feature such as a decorative shovel, water bowl or concrete ornament to bling out your pots! Don’t forget to feed your plants every third time you water to get maximum impact!!

Veggie Starts

Veggie Gardens

We have some handy dandy growing charts so you can make sense of what you can plant now by seed and what you can plant out as starts. Even with the warm weather I am keeping my tomatoes and peppers in for a little bit. The daytime temps are good but the night time temps are still a little cool for the heat lovers like tomatoes, peppers and watermelon.

We have tons of seeds and veggie starts. We have a great selection of the colourful tomato cages which I like to use the tomato cages for tomatoes and peppers (I can cover with a clear plastic bag for an instant greenhouse), snap peas…I put the cages wide side down and bend in the legs as well as for some of my floppy perennials such as peonys!

Water Hycainths and Pond Plants

Water Gardens

Make sure everything is in working order, clean up any remaining debris. Feed your water lilies and add some marginals such as Marsh Marigold or some cool Equisetum. Add floating oxygenators such as Water Hyacinth and Frogbit. You want to achieve about 75% surface coverage to prevent algae blooms. Feed your fish as they become active once they run out of mosquito larvae to snap up!

That should be enough for now, don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers and even get out and go for a walk in your neighbourhood to see what’s in bloom!! A lot of plants are blooming early so don’t miss them!!

Happy Gardening! Laurelle


Friday, June 12, 2015
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Gardening

Holy heatwave Batman! I am spending my mornings watering my newly grafted baby apple trees and then once I’m done…I go to work and then help water the nursery.

With such a huge amount of stuff to water it drives us to become crazed scientists…one of our very own fearless horticulturalists built a pretty awesome watering tower using zap straps, bulb crates and a plastic dollar store spinning sprinkler.

Watering Hanging Baskets

We have a lot of customers coming in to get mulch to keep in the moisture and keep down the weeds. Living mulches like grasses, perennials, groundcovers are also a fantastic way to keep the moisture in. A living mulch will conserve much much much more water than it draws. For example, the section of my orchard that had a cover crop of clover, yarrow and a few other wild flowers and grasses did far better and required much less watering (actually only twice last summer), than the section without any cover(casualties…in spite of extra watering).

We have our work cut out for us on the West Coast…we need water plants in the winter and drought tolerant plants in the summer! Here is your list for June 2015!

Lawns

Watering restrictions are in effect so check with your municipality. Use the tuna can method if you want to see how well your sprinkler is working. Place an empty tuna can on the lawn when you sprinkle. You need only about the depth of a tuna can (no not Costco sized mega cans) once per week. Watering is more effective if applied in the morning, not the heat of the day. If you have applied nematodes for European Chafer Beetle or have installed new lawns you can apply for an extra permit…you’ll need receipts to apply so don’t put them in your pocket and then wash your shorts…just sayin’.

Weeding the Garden Bed

Garden Beds

Mulch, mulch and mulch. Weeding just got easier. Use a scuffle hoe in the morning and scuffle up your garden beds. Your weeds will be roasted by mid-day. Dead head and pinch back as needed and don’t forget to water and fertilize. You always add a few plants as long as you keep the moisture on. A liquid transplant fertilizer is good too. At this time of year there will not be much root growth in trees and shrubs but there will be some, much more so in perennials and annuals.

I have heard a lot of folks say to sink your pot in the ground and then plant in fall. It is better to have your plant in the ground without the pot for watering if you are careful not to disturb the roots. A plastic pot will restrict absorption unless you are really diligent at aiming your water directly down on the plant in question.

Petunia Hanging Basket

Baskets and Planters

No its not too late! I think I am likely one of the slowest to do up my planters…I’ll get to it sometime this week…I hope! Keep fertilizing, watering and dead heading. If your hanging basket has dried out and the water is just running down the sides and out the bottom, take it down and set it in a tray of water until it absorbs the water and reactivates the soil to hold moisture.

Trees and Shrubs

Enjoy and appreciate the shade. If you do add new to your garden at this time, make sure you are watering it deeply 3-4 times per week if it is hot. I had a customer come in with a question about ants climbing up his apple tree. I told him that ants…among other things are farmers. One of the things they like to farm is aphids. They like to carry them up and place them on young leaves and then farm the sticky sap that aphids produce or poop out. Yup…poop farmers. Bugs are great aren’t they?! Anyway this will not kill your apple tree. You can let them get a couple of crops off their aphids and the aphids might knock off a couple of your leaves if you are feeling magnanimous, or you can just spray off the aphids with the hose and wreck their harvest…they’ll usually move on after a try or two.

Vegetable Garden Beds

Veggie Gardens

Keep them hydrated, weeded and fertilized. We still have lots of veggies if you have a spot or two opened up after harvesting. Oh…enjoy those sweet sweet strawberries if you have planted some and get to your local farm gate for u-pick if you haven’t. Fruit will be early this year so be ready.

Pond

Ponds, Water bowls and Water Features

Don’t forget to fill as needed, your water levels will drop a lot on hot and windy days. Maintain about 75 percent coverage with floaters to avoid hair algae.

Garden Accessory Must Haves…

Hammock and hammock chair. I just have to figure out where to put the hammock chair. We have one at the nursery behind the wheelhouse all set up. If you come to the nursery and you can’t find me…I might just be having my break in the hammock chair…perfect for reading my stack of summer books. That should keep you busy for now…take time to smell the flowers and check out some of our local farms, it’s a lot of fun…and tasty too !


Monday, March 16, 2015
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Gardening

Happy almost Spring everyone!! The weather is warm, we’ve had sunshine and lots of it. A little bit of rain and then sunshine again. Maybe I’m just a cautious person but this weather has me looking over my shoulder waiting for Mother Nature’s sucker punch! I am prepared for a lot. I am seeding early but I have a roll of Remay in case of frost. I have my summer clothes bins ready but I’ve kept out my winter wear. This season my motto is ‘Roll with it’. Here is your ‘Honey Do’ list:

Lawn Care

Lawns

You can aerate if your soil is not soggy. You can top dress and lime as well. If the mild weather continues you could even think about fertilizing, moss killing and even seeding by next month.

Moss removal is a question we get all the time at the nursery. Here are 5 simple ways to deal with moss.

  • Make the area less shady
  • Improve the drainage or topdress with soil/said
  • Apply lime
  • Rake away or manually remove dead moss
  • If all else fails, apply a moss killer product

It is likely time to mow as well, be sure to call a friend or relative that lives back east and have them ‘Guess the sound’….no….not a snowblower….keep guessing though.

If you don’t have a friend or relative back east you are welcome to call one of mine, expect some spirited conversation…there might be expletives if there is another snowfall.

dolopril lime

Shrub Pruning

Trees and Shrubs

There is still a bit of time to prune but stick with small cuts and then wait to see if the sap is running. A lot of things are breaking dormancy early so try to go easy and stick with the 3 D’s…dead, damaged or diseased or hold off for summer pruning if you have fruit trees. For those of you that know me…improper pruning gives me a headache.

Check out www.treesaregood.com for more in depth advice on proper pruning. You can also call a certified Arborist. We have many awesome ones. After proper pruning has occurred, a tree or shrub should not actually look pruned or stubby but should look more open. There are some exceptions of course…some roses, apples, spirea or twig dogwood if you are coppicing them and a few others. If you mess up…I will find you. You will not like my mad-face. If you are enjoying heather, give it a trim once it is finished blooming.

Garden Beds

Weed and clean up the garden beds. Now is a great time to divide up perennials if you have an abundance. Share with your neighbours or start a plant swap. Be mindful of emerging pollinators and beneficial insects when you clean up your garden. Now is a good time to top dress your garden beds with mulch, manure or compost. If this weather is any indication…this summer might be a dry one so a good deep root system and a protective layer of much might just be an important asset.

Spring Planter

Planters

Freshen up your planters. If emptied of last years annuals, remove the old soil (or the top 8 -12 inches) and add some fresh. If you have perennials in your planters, tidy them up, top dress with compost and take a look at the drainage. If you have evergreens you can trim, root prune if you are trying to decrease size and make sure they are not outgrowing their pot.

Veggie Starting

Veggie Gardens

Some veggies can be direct sown at this time such as Arugula, Kale, Garlic, Peas and Spinach and some can still be started indoors like Broccoli, Cabbage, Lettuce and Tomatoes. If you are not sure where to start, we’ve got some seeding workshops coming up at the nursery. Come and join us for fun and some great tips!

Get ready for one heck of a spring and summer. Something tells me this is going to be an interesting year! Have an adventure and don’t be afraid to try something new!


Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Gardening

Welcome back to the start of another garden season. We’ve had a little break, we’ve painted, power washed and built a few more bits and pieces around here and if you are like me you’re chomping at the bit…nah, I’m lying…I have a few more books I want to read. So if you are not like me and are impatient to get cracking on your garden I have an awesome list for you. One part planning, one part actual work and one part shopping. It’s an awesome to-do garden sandwich if you ask me!

The Planning Part

If you have a spot for a garden corkboard that you can pin up lists, drawings, it will make your planning process easier. I know a corkboard is old school but there is something about walking by it every day that reminds me and helps me to focus on what I need to get done.

If you haven’t done so already take stock of your garden. Take photos and note any bare areas that you would like to do over. Pay special attention to any drainage issues and as soon as it’s dry, you can start to address them.

Make a wish list both for plants and for hardware…like 2 new digging shovels for me and hard features…like a bench or a birdbath.

Make a list of plants to divide up, prune, or bring in for forcing.

Gardening Magazines

Now is a great time to peruse the garden magazines and catalogues.

Make a note of any shrubs or perennials you would like to move and flag them…I have to do this part because otherwise I’ll forget…there is nothing like a piece of orange flagging tape waving at you to remind you.

Make a job list.

The Shopping Part

If you love starting from seed now is a great time to peruse both some of the new and wonderful and the old faithful varieties. I’ve set up a bunch in the store and I’ve got my eye on some Renee’s seeds. This year we've also launched our online seed store

Online Seed Store

A great learning website and seedy event website is www.seeds.ca It will not only tell you about all of the seedy events but there is great information on pollinators too!

Now is a great time to check out some new garden tools. Peruse your job list and make sure you have the tools you need to get the job done right, quickly and with a minimum of wear and tear on you!

The Actual Work Part

Pruning Trees and Shrubs

Pruning

Now is a good time to prune. And by prune I mean removal of dead, damaged, diseased or crossing and rubbing branches to enhance the Natural shape of the tree. I do not mean drag out the rusty old hack saw and chop away at will. If you have pruned correctly you will not be able to see where you have pruned but rather notice the natural shape of the tree.

There are plenty of workshops out there (our early 2015 Spring workshop schedule will be posted in the next couple of days) as well as reading on proper pruning techniques. There is no excuse for ugly pruning jobs…so don’t make me come out there!!!

If you have questions our horticulturalists and arborists would be happy to provide advice.

Dormant Oil and Lime Sulphur Spray

Dormant Spraying

Dormant spraying. If you have a problem with pests or fungus you can spray with a lime sulphur dormant spray kit. Or if you have a pest problem such as scale, mites you can just apply the horticultural oil. The dormant oil will act as a smother coat on dormant insects. It is not selective and will also smother some overwintering pollinators if they are in the spray zone. Be mindful of when and where you spray and if it is really necessary. I know I am starting to sound like an old broken record but our native pollinators need all the help they can get!

Dividing Perennials

Now is a great time to begin dividing up hardy perennials as long as the ground is not frozen or really waterlogged. And if the ground isn’t frozen or waterlogged it’s also starting to be a good time to move hardy plants around.

Seed Starting

Seed Starting

Seed starting – you can get cracking indoors with some tomatoes, eggplant and peppers to name a few. Outdoors you may be able to start a few cool season crops like Kale. Otherwise wait another a week or two until most frosts have passed.

Organize & Clean

Organize and clean your garden workplace. Whether it’s a garden shed or part of the garage a clean and organized work area will make your gardening life better, simple as that. Clean, organize and shuffle the really big shed spiders away from your most frequently used tools...shudder. Also set up a sand bucket (a 5 gal bucket will do fine) to clean off digging shovels and other tools. It’s also good idea to set up a little dry off and clean up area for boots, soggy garden jackets and some small wooden dowlings to put muddy garden gloves to dry.

Get Ready to Fertilize & Lime

Check and organize fertilizers, lime, seeds etc. and make sure you are ready to go when the weather breaks!

That ought to do you for now. Don’t worry, I’ll think up more work for you next month!

Cheers - Laurelle


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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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