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Friday, December 12, 2014
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Christmas

If you are busy with shopping, visiting and other events this season but still want to pull off a bit of sparkle and panache with your Christmas décor here are 5 easy indoor WOW elements to have fun with.

Christmas Terrariums and Miniature Gardening

Think Small - Miniature Gardens

Miniature gardens and terrariums are hot, hot, hot! They are also fascinating to look at and incredibly easy to make. You can create a miniature world out of succulents, ferns and moss and teeny tiny twigs, airplants and driftwood or you can even take a page out of our fearless leader Rebecca’s Pinterest design book and make a simple, stylish and seriously awesome bulb terrarium with paperwhites, gravel, moss and a mason jar!

Natural Décor for Christmas

Natural Is In

Natural is in this year! Decorate your mantel with evergreen boughs, pinecones, bark and berries or add some wooden ornaments and pinecones to your tree. Who would have ever thought that barnwood and burlap would be a design trend? You can even fill a decorative wooden bowl with pinecones. Now this is a design idea that is just my cup of herbal tea and will go brilliantly with my woolly socks and sandals. Seriously though, bringing a bit of nature inside is an elegantly simple and cozy decorating idea.

Mixed Metals

Mixed Metals - Silver and Gold

If the natural look isn’t for you mixed metals can glitz up your loft, dining table, mantel or anywhere you want to create some eye candy! The hot trend in sparkle this year is mixing silver, gold and bronze…together!!! I KNOW right?!!!

Christmas Birds

Birds

Everything from natural looking nests to full on beaded glittery doves do woolen red Cardinals. Birds and birdhouses are also hot this year. One of our most popular trees at the Christmas fair was the tall birdhouse tree. I am going to add some natural looking felted birds to my twigs, greens and pinecones for a 1-2 punch of style! KABAM!!

Pinterest Florals

Pinterest Florals

Pinterest has created a resurgence in design and is an incredible source of inspiration. Many of the design ideas you'll see help bring a little bit of sunshine (aka flowers) into your house. This is a timeless tradition. Paperwhites, Amaryllis, Christmas Cactus in bloom all remind us Spring is just around the corner. With Paperwhites and Hyacinth there is also a heavenly fragrance. They are also fun, economical and….dare I say…educational! Succulents are incredibly hot right now too. Did you know you could use succulents and airplants as christmas tree ornaments?

Painted Poinsettias

Painted Poinsettias

Everybody loves using the classic red, white or pink poinsettias in their festive decorating endeavors. However, if you are looking for something a little different, how about blue, purple or sparkling ones? A little bit of floral paint, some glitter and a whole lot of love and you have the makings of something extraordinary.

Need more help decorating your home for the holidays? Drop by Art's Nursery and our design specialists would be happy to make suggestions and provide advice. We're open everyday until Dec 24.


Thursday, November 13, 2014
Posted By: Rebecca van der Zalm in Bulbs

Amaryllis, or Hippeastrum are flowering bulbs from the subtropics of Central and Southern America. In their native climates, they are spring flowering perennials, but in our northern latitudes, they are an extremely popular winter flowering indoor plant. Once planted, they will often burst into bloom in 5-7 weeks. Therefore, if you plant them now in early November, you can get them to show their colours just in time for Christmas!

Amaryllis Flower Collage

Amaryllis foliage is green and strap-like. Once the bulb is planted, flower stalks begin to grow and bloom to produce large flowers in shades of white, pink, red, green and various combinations thereof. There are also varieties with striped and multi-colours. Larger bulbs produce more flowers so choose your bulbs carefully! There is a reason the big-box stores sell cheap Amaryllis, they are small bulbs.

How To Grow AmaryllisAmaryllis Bulb

To grow Amaryllis, place the bottom part of the bulb and the roots into luke-warm water for a few hours to help it rehydrate. Plant the bulb in an indoor pot 4-6 weeks prior to the desired bloom time. Press the soil down firmly around the bulb, but avoid damaging the roots. When planting, keep at least 1/3 of the bulb above the soil level. If you can see the neck of the bulb above the soil, you know you are in good shape! Once planted, leave them alone as they mildly resent root disturbance. The best location for an Amaryllis is bright and warm, and completely frost free. Water sparingly until the stem appears. When actively growing, they are heavy feeders and drinkers so increase the amount of water and fertilizer as needed. Although it is a bulb, a light application of a flowering plant fertilizer will improve flower production. Choose any fertilizer with a high middle number.

Amaryllis Care

After flowering, cut off the spent blooms and when the stem begins to sag, cut off the foliage to the top of the bulb. Continue to water and feed in order to allow the leaves to fully develop. This allows the plant to store more nutrients in the bulb during the warm season. When the leaves begin to yellow, the plant is entering its dormant state. At this point, cut off the leaves and remove the bulb from the soil. Clean the bulb and store in a cool, frost-free dry location. Do not water or feed during this stage. Store the bulb for 6-8 weeks. At this point, you can replant and enjoy your Amaryllis next year!

2014 Amaryllis Varieties

This year we are featuring nearly a dozen different varieties of Amaryllis in-store and online. A few have already sold out, but here are 9 of the ones still available (as of November 13, 2014)

Amaryllis Varieties 2014

Drop by Arts Nursery in person to get yours, or shop for Amaryllis online and we'll have it delivered to you! Quantities of Amaryllis, especially the newer varieties are usually limited so order yours early! They are usually in-stock from late October through December.


Sunday, February 9, 2014
Posted By: Rebecca van der Zalm in Seeds

Nothing excites a gardener more than starting their own seedlings, especially at the end of winter when the itch to get out into the garden is at its peak. It’s a time when we can fantasize about how wonderful our gardens can be. There are many reasons why starting seedlings yourself is a huge benefit.

starting seeds
Buy Seeds Online at shop.artsnursery.com

For me, the greatest advantage is to save money. Most of the time, an entire seed packet costs as much as a single six cell tray of vegetables or annuals. As far as vegetables go, I save money in the grocery store by growing varieties that are the most expensive to buy like cherry tomatoes and basil. Another advantage is to get ahead of the harvesting season. Nothing is worse than having unripe fruit or vegetables rot on the vine because of frost. Buying seeds also gives us the opportunity to select new and unique varieties that are not grown by local growers. I find it exciting to grow and share something no one has ever seen before.

Starting seedlings yourself doesn’t have to be complicated. I have been successful with a very rudimentary setup. As long as you take care of the basics you are on your way to success. This is mainly concerning water, airflow and lighting. Even though home grown seedlings take some trial and error, I have some tips and tricks that will help you get ahead of the game.

jiffy seed pots

Choosing a Container

Choosing the proper container for your seeds is important. It is better to use a smaller container for small seeds like lettuce. I like to use peat pellets because they are easy to transplant into a larger container to further mature before going out into the garden.

For large seeds like peas and beans, a deep, large container is better. In this case, there is no reason to transplant before going out into the garden. Large seeds have big roots and will push themselves out of a shallow container. Clay pots don’t work out well because they dry out far too quickly. It is nice to reuse containers to save a few dollars but proper sanitation is important.

Just wash with dish soap and let sit in water with 10% of bleach for about 15 minutes. Let dry completely before adding soil. Labeling containers is an art form that is often overlooked. Not only is it important to give a name to your seedlings but the date planted and the expected germinated date as well.

seedlings

Germination

The germinating stage is critical for success. I like to plant two or three seeds per container with the intention of choosing the largest, healthiest one of the bunch. Pat down the soil gently because seeds need good soil contact to germinate whether they are surface planted or buried. Pay attention to the depth your seeds need to be planted. In general they need to be covered three times their width. Note that some seeds also need light or a certain temperature to germinate.

There are fancy heating pads to ensure enough warmth for germinating but I find the top of my fridge works well. Large seeds like peas and beans should be soaked in warm water until you see them crack before planting. Place plastic wrap on top of your containers until you seen green. The germination process needs constant moisture so don’t let them dry out. Keep a spray bottle on hand just in case. Anything stronger than a mist will move the seeds. Make sure to poke holes in the plastic wrap to avoid accidental rotting.

Prevent Damping Off

‘Damping off’ is a fungal disease and is the biggest problem that seedlings face. Suddenly, your seemingly healthy seedling will wilt for no reason. It happens because of poor air circulation and overcrowding. I like to use a small fan to aid in airflow. The wind should flow across the top of the seedlings, not directly on them. When your seedlings are about an inch tall it is time to thin to only one to avoid overcrowding. Make sure soil is moist before ripping out sensitive roots.

Always use new seed starting mix. Soil out of the garden is a sure way to bring disease to your seedlings. If you would like to make your own seed starting mix, it is simply half peat moss and half vermiculite or perlite. Another good tip is to sprinkle a little milled sphagnum moss or chicken grit when seeding to prevent moisture building up on stems. At first sign of damping off, remove affected seedlings. An organic method of treating damping off is a spray bottle of either chamomile tea or weak garlic tea.

grow light kit

Proper Lighting

Lighting is another big challenge to the novice propagator. Not enough light will produce leggy, weak plants. If you are lucky enough to have a big south facing window, it could be enough light. Your seedlings will need about light most of the day. Two 40 watt florescent tubes are enough light to keep seedlings short enough without burning them. The lights need to be only about two inches above the top of the seedlings. Set your banister up right at the beginning. Hang it on chains or ropes so raising it while seedlings grow will be a lot easier. Make sure to turn trays or pots a quarter turn everyday to ensure even lighting. Another tip to produce strong plants is to use a piece of cardboard to gently brush over seedlings once a day.

Transplanting

When your seedlings have their second set of leaves, it is time to transplant some into larger containers to mature. This is also the time to introduce a little fertilizer. Make sure whichever liquid fertilizer you choose, slowly incorporate it into watering; first time a quarter strength, then half strength or nitrogen burn can be a problem. I use an organic fertilizer at least on vegetable crops because it is comforting to know exactly what I’m putting into my body. This is also the time to start letting your seedlings dry out just a little between watering. This generates stronger, more vigorous roots.

seedlings

Hardening Off

The last step to growing indoor seedlings is to prepare them to be transplanted into your garden. If you take them directly from your warm home to the cool outdoors in spring there is a chance of shock and death. The process of slowly acclimating your seedlings to the outdoors is called ‘hardening off’. Some plants like leeks and cabbage can be placed out a little earlier but generally most plants like to go out at least two weeks after any sign of frost and no later than May long weekend.

It is best done over at least a three day period. I like to first put them in my garage or a sheltered area to avoid too much sun or cold winds for two or three hours. Then a shaded area outside for three or four hours and then in the full elements for five or six. If possible, try to bring down the temperature indoors slowly as well. It helps to have a thermometer with your seedlings from start to finish. If you are still worried about the chance of frost after planting outside, use a cloche or covering at night and take it off in the day time.

Starting seedlings indoors takes a fair bit of nursing but once you get the hang of it, the rewards are abundant. I love to share and trade my seedlings with family, friends and neighbors. There are some types of plants that prefer direct planting into the garden like radishes and carrots but for everything else have fun watching the miracle of a seemingly lifeless seed turn into life right in your own home.


Thursday, November 8, 2012
Posted By: Rebecca van der Zalm in Indoor Plants

Tillandsia - Air PlantsTillandsia is the largest genus in the Bromeliad family of plants. Commonly known as Air Plants, they are found from jungle to rain forest to arid desert environments and from sea level to high mountain regions.

Most Tillandsia species use their root systems to attach themselves to trees or rocks and absorb moisture and nutrients through their leaves. This classifies them as epiphytes.

As a result, where you plant them is limited only by your imagination. These hardy plants are adaptable and tolerant of a wide range of environmental conditions and require minimal care.

Caring For Your Tillandsia

If you Tillandsia are going to be at your home or office, care must be taken to provide enough light and correct moisture to maintain a healthy plant. Bright light or filtered sun is ideal. If these light conditions are not possible, use a broad-spectrum flourescent light. Indoor Tillandsia should stay healthy with a watering schedule of 1 to 2 times a week.

Air Plants do exceptionally well in outdoor environments. A backyard tree, screened patio or pool area will be the most likely areas to find the bright filtered light conditions that Tillandsias love. Plants grown in humid outdoor environments should be watered once a week.

In dryer climates, more frequent watering may be necessary. If your plants leaves start to curl or roll, it could be an indication of dehydration. This can be corrected by submerging your plant in water for 15 minutes. Thereafter, resume your normal weekly watering schedule.

Fertilizing Your TillandsiaTillandsia - Air Plant Roots

Fertilize Air Plants about once a month. Tillandsias have the ability to capture and hold nutrients with their foliage, and they have a tendency to be sensitive to over-fertilization.

Use a good quality liquid or water soluble fertilizer with a formulation low in copper. High amounts of copper are toxic to Bromeliads. Fertilizing is not absolutely necessary for survival, but will increase growth and vigor of your plants.

Temperature

Tillandsias are very tolerant of a wide range of temperatures, most species can withstand near freezing temperatures. Although preferring temperatures around 70 F, with increased water, air circulation and shade, they can do quite well into the 90's F.

Bloom

Tillandsia blooms are as diverse and beautiful as any in the plant world. they can last from a few days to as long as a year in some of the slower growing plants.

Tillandsia Availability

Tillandsia are generally available at Arts Nursery in our Floral Department. If you are making a special trip, please call ahead to confirm availability. Tel 604.882.1201


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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!

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