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Thursday, July 9, 2015
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Gardening

The lack of rain is on everyone’s mind this summer and not surprisingly watering is on the top of my to-do list! With watering, timing and duration mean everything. It is better to water in the morning and water deeply and less frequently.

Aged Black Conditioning Mulch

Mulch is a great way to maintain moisture in a garden. Remember when mulching around trees go no deeper than 3 inches, less for shrubs and much less for perennials and grasses. Keep in mind that wood mulch draws nitrogen from the soil as it decomposes so especially with smaller shrubs or perennials remember to fertilize your plants with a little fertilizer containing nitrogen to account for the nitrogen draw.

A temporary mulch I have had great success using on my veggie garden is straw. Especially when I have vacation planned I find the water savings overrule the increase in weeds from dropped seeds. I apply the straw approximately 6 inches deep, lower around new seedlings. So check your local watering regulations, keep calm, keep cool and keep hydrating.

outdoor Shade Sails

One way to keep is cool is to create more shade. we've just started carrying a fantastic line of Shade Sails. Attractive, durable and easy to install. These colourful sails will add shade to any area of your patio, garden or landscape (as long as you have something to mount them to!).

Trees

Trees, yes they will need water as well. Be patient, bring a book or a lawn chair or you can purchase or pick up a Treegator watering bag from Arts Nursery or you can pick up from some municipalities. Depending on how well draining your soil is your trees will need approximately 10 gallons of water per inch of trunk diameter per week and this will take time.

Tree Gator Watering Bag

Towards the end of this month you can do a basic thinning of fruit trees or Japanese maples, or other smaller trees if needed. Make sure you do any pruning outside the branch bark ridge or collar. You can check the International Society of Arboriculture’s website for help. My rule of thumb is to not remove any branches thicker than your thumb at this time and no more than ¼ for the total canopy…sometimes that is just one cut!

Veggie and Flower Gardens

Water, weed and mulch is the order of the day. Plants are coming into bloom and finishing sooner than they would normally, deadhead, pinch back and try to encourage that second flush of blooms so our pollinators have something at the end of the summer!!

Remember when cultivating or scuffling the soil of your garden to watch for our native bees, we have over 500 native bees here and most of them live in solitary nesting holes in sandy south facing soil. If you see some little holes, perhaps leave that area alone, they are not territorial and most don’t sting, but the little guys need all the help they can get these days.

Water Bowls & Bird Baths

Keep your birdbaths and water bowls filled and yes, you can also fill a bowl with small stones and then add water to the edges of the stones to make a watering bowl for the bees and yes…gasp the wasps. Many of those are pollinators too…seriously and don’t roll your eyes at me. If you find yourself with gaps in the flower or veggie garden we have a great mix of replacements including a number of drought tolerant options!

Summer Hanging Basket Care

Hanging Baskets and Planters

When feeding your plants make sure you water first…then feed. If you don’t, it’s just like taking a huge sip of your Mojito without first stirring it. Your first sip is all rum…meh. If your basket has dried out or is very light or you asked your kids to water while they were texting and they didn’t hear you, take them down and place them in a tray of water and clip back the browned bits and let them sit until the pot feels heavy. Some of the potting mixes become hydrophobic once they dry out and need to be soaked to activate them again. You can even use a product like Soil Moist in your basket to store and release water as it is needed.

Floaters For Your Pond

Ponds

Don’t forget to top up the water as you will be losing a lot of it through evaporation. To help combat that, as well as algae, remember to pick up some floating oxygenators. If 75-80% of the surface is covered with lilies or oxygenators you will have clearer, cooler water.

LawnLift Grass Paint

Lawns

Your lawns are supposed to look golden brown at this time of year! Your local watering restrictions likely have you down to 1 watering per week, which in most cases will be enough to keep your lawn alive until Fall. Water in the morning and use the tuna can method to measure the 1 inch of water your lawn needs. Make sure your sprinklers are efficient and delivering water to the right place. Don't waste! If you decide to conserve water, but still like the green look, we have LawnLift, a non-toxic lawn paint!! It actually works quite well.

Shrubs

We have had a lot of folks through with infestations of aphids on the new growth of their tender shrubs. When you see them you can simply hose them off with a good stream of water from the hose. If they are a repeat problem you might like to use ladybugs…aphids are their favorite thing to eat…like me and chocolate cake !! We have bags of ladybugs ready to go.

Buy Lady Bugs

Be sure to release them in the evening and give them a bit of a misting of 1:1 solution of sugary pop and water. It temporarily grounds them and prevents them from migrating…which is the first thing they like to do when they get out of the bag. By the time their wings unstick…they have found a great source of food which you have so graciously provided and stick around!

That should do for now, pop by and say hi and go for a look see in one of our golf carts. We have a lovely mix of plants, including lots of new ones, and awesome garden designers! You might just get an idea or two!

Cheers

Laurelle


Thursday, July 17, 2014
Posted By: in Gardening

Let me interrupt your regularly scheduled summer holiday plans with a tiny little bit of work and a little bit of fun too! I am looking forward to catching some of the excitement and sports in the BC Summer Games this summer and also doing some summer entertaining and travelling around too. Part of my summer entertaining is going to involve my garden…not that it’s perfectly coiffed and lush, it is most certainly not.

Garden to Glass

I have a household of lunatic teens and galumphing dogs and one day I will have a spectacular garden, but not just right now.  I have no problem with that, it will come in time. In the garden, I have wisely planted raspberries, blueberries, blackberries as well as apples and plums, not to mention a number of edible flowers and herbs. After the spectacular seminar at last year’s Fall Festival called Garden’s To Glass I have been inspired to create a number of beverages featuring my harvest bounty.

The testing process is grueling but I am pleased with a number of the drinks such as Raspberry Mojito and a Spicy Basil and heirloom Tomato Caesar. I am still on the hunt for a blackberry and plum concoction as those begin to ripen in my garden…so much research…so little time ;)!

Here is your list for July 2014:

Watering Your Garden

Watering:

Monitor the watering and get it down to a science so you are not tethered to your garden. There are a number of awesomely useful AND pretty sprinklers now in a large number of flavours to make your watering chores easier! There are also a number of lovely watering wands so you don’t shoot the soil out of your pots every time you water. The right tool for the right job will make your life easier and by the looks of some of those sprinklers a lot more fun!

When you water in the summer, water deeply. A quick little spray or mist will do nothing more than tease the plant. Each plant or pot should get several seconds (at minimum) of full strength hose pressure per hot day (without pretending to be a human pressure washer and blowing the soil away!). When hand watering at the nursery we like to use a 6-10 second count per plant. A quick little test is to lift the plant (if its in a container) and evaluate the weight. Dry pots will abnormally light.

Move potted plants around at this time to more shade if needed, just because you placed them there in the spring doesn’t mean they have to stay there all summer and fall. Move and turn your pots as needed! If you are really desperate and can’t find a house sitter consider a final deep watering and then placing straw approximately 4-6 inches thick on garden beds or veggie areas.

Keep in mind you will get a few weeds from the hay but in my opinion it is better than losing prized plants if you have to go away and have no watering person. For pots or hanging baskets take down and group. Place on shallow trays filled with water or the handy old Mr. Turtle Pool (yes, I still have it)!

 

Summer lawn care

Lawns:

You know the drill, only a tuna can of water per week. Check your local days and times for watering. Don’t panic if your lawn goes dormant (beige) in the summer… it will bounce back come fall providing you don’t also have massive amounts of traffic on it like a soccer pitch. Nicely done Germany by the way! Do not mow during scorching hot times of the day. Leave the clippings on the lawn (if you’ve kept up with the mowing) and let your lawn grow a little longer at this time.

Pond Plants

Ponds:

Continue to monitor water levels and check for algae blooms. Remember you need 75 percent coverage with floating lily leaves, Water Hyacinth, Water Lettuce or other oxygenators like frog bit if you can keep your fish from eating it all.

Tree Pruning

Trees:

You will have another small window of opportunity to do some light summer pruning of things like Birch, Japanese and other Maples and especially, Fruit Trees at the end of this month. You would prune much less at this time, no more than a quarter of the green and generally no thicker than your thumb.

Pruning at this time slows down the growth of your tree so is especially good for rampantly growing weeping Japanese Maples (mine looks like cousin 'Itt' from Adams Family), Plums and Apples. I also do a light prune on my Wisteria and Grape at this time. Follow international society of Arboriculture Guidelines or come out and see us for our summer pruning workshop.

 

Blueberry Harvest

Harvest:

If you grow your own, you are probably busy harvesting right now. The more you harvest, the more your raspberries, blackberries and many other fruits will continue to produce. Consistent harvesting also prevents mould and attracting the wrong kind of critters. You can also monitor for pests, disease and poor branching structure. It is very important especially with apples, blueberries, cherries and currants, to remove any fallen fruit to interrupt the lifecycles of apple, currant, cherry and blueberry maggots. Prevention, cleanliness and monitoring are far more effective than any other method for avoiding pests.

Design:

Take lots of pictures and note any areas you want to tweak in your garden in preparation of the fall planting season. Outline best seating areas with an extension cord and some upside down spray paint. Pinterest and Houzz are a lot of fun if you are looking for decking or patio ideas.

 

Summer Planting

Planting

Just because we get asked this all the time, Summer IS a great time to plant a new plant, or even an entire garden. Plants are growing rampantly at this time and there is only one reason not to plant something. That reason is watering. If you are at home this year, or planning a 'staycation', plant away. If you are going away for an extended vacation, then either delay planting until you get back or make arrangements for someone to come in and water. Remember that technology exists to water without you. A $20 dollar soaker hose and digital timer or a drip irrigation system (which we now sell!) will make your garden much more enjoyable!

That should do for now, kick back and enjoy the vitamin D, find a good lake and tuck in to your summer reading list. If you have a good beverage recipe involving yellow plums and blackberries please send it. Off to do some more beverage research…cheers!


Thursday, July 18, 2013
Posted By: Rebecca van der Zalm in Gardening

What a lovely spell of weather we’ve been having!! I have a my touristy to-do list like the Richmond Night Market and the beach and the water slides and berry picking and I think I’d like to see Minter Gardens one last time before it closes.

lavender

I have my summer reading to do…though I have now found a love for audio tapes (which you can download from your friendly neighbourhood library) (Editors Note: we think she means mp3's, but we're not really sure :) ) which leaves me hands free though not as efficient as you’d think. If you’re on a particularly good bit and happen to be wearing your headphones while you’re working outside, you tend to stop what you’re doing and gaze off into the distance like some big gawping idiot. I am fairly certain my neighbours already think I’m a harmless crazy person so it’s not like I’m acting out of character or anything but you might want to get bigger visible headphones so they don’t think you’re off your meds.

Here is your July to-do list which you can squeeze in between all of that summer fun!

Lawns

LawnsCheck watering regulations and use them wisely. Remember for most soil types a tuna can a week should be sufficient and no, smarty pants not the Costco sized jumbo tuna cans. If you have a really sandy mix of soil which does not retain water, you might want a bit more.

Try not to mow in the blazing heat of the day to avoid scorching both you and your lawn. Raise the mower height slightly during dry periods to reduce stress and to create a deeper buffer to reduce evaporation from the soil. And yes, the increased length of the grass will take up less water that evaporation. Try to reduce traffic on it during really hot and dry spells…but if you have busy kids and dogs good luck with that.

At least you know where to come to get the lawn patch kits in the fall.

Garden Beds

Garden Beds

Keep weeding.  It will slow down any time now, honest.  If you haven’t already done so, add a bit of a mulch layer.  Well rotted manures or compost are fantastic.  If you are adding bark mulch remember to keep a small circle clear of it around smaller perennials, baby shrubs and smaller grasses.

Also remember to fertilize.  Composted wood mulches will draw nitrogen from the soil in order to continue to compost.  So you’ll need to compensate for this.  Deadhead flowers on perennials and larger flowered shrubs.  Watering less frequently and deeply is best.

Blueberry SpiderwebVeggie gardens and fruits

Harvest time for many things. Pick often. Don’t despair when you see some holes in your leaves and some bugs on your plants.

Nature isn’t perfect nor is it sanitary. I have two teenagers who won’t pick fresh blueberries from our bushes because they saw spider webs on them, sigh. Poor eyesight and a sense of humor might be the best gardening tools you have in your collection.

 

You can continue to sow some short season veggies such as lettuce and radish. Thin plums and apples to prevent snapping of branches. I’ve have a good set again this year and have had to thin a number of times. Towards the end of the month, you can do a light summer prune on fruit trees if you wish to slow down the growth. Remember to prune out branches no larger than pencil width and no more than ¼ of the plant. Summer pruning slows growth and winter pruning of fruit trees invigorates growth.

Hanging Basket CareHanging baskets and planters.

Keep deadheading and fertilizing. If your hanging baskets get a bit light you can take them down and put them in a tray of water or as in my case a Mr. Turtle kiddie pool. If you are going on vacation, take down the hanging baskets and put them on a tray somewhere out of the sun and group your planters together in the shade as well to reduce the need for watering. A bit of extra work but well worth it. Pay your neighbourhood watering person well and offer a bonus for healthy vigorous plants.

TreesTrees

Don’t forget your trees especially your street trees during the hot weather. Leaving the hose on at a trickle for about 20 min should help keep them looking lovely.

Do try to avoid weedwhacking the bark of the trees. There is also a great product we carry called the Tree Gator.

Imagine a bag full of water that you place around your tree that provides water for 2-3 days at a time. A circle of mulch at the base of a tree will also help preserve moisture and make for a healthier tree.

That’s probably enough for now. Have a fantastic month, get out there and enjoy and don’t forget your sunscreen!


Saturday, July 14, 2012
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Gardening

July has arrived and has brought summer along with it. I have been enjoying the sun and the warm toasty weather and yes I know it’s hot but don’t you dare complain after the spring we’ve had.

After the dog walk this morning I have dogs sprawled out over the floor. The collies have taken up station right in front of the portable air conditioner and I don’t think I could move them even if I placed out a trail of Porterhouse steaks wrapped in bacon. The waterdog was in the kiddie pool but has now returned sopping wet to sit on my feet. Feels nice actually.

Sunshine

Here is your list:

Lawn – check to see if water restrictions are in effect in your area.  It is better to water deeply and less frequently.  I use a clean empty tuna can and sprinkle until it’s full.  Most lawns need only a once a week watering.  Using a mulching mower and leaving the grass in place will reduce your need to water and fertilize by up to 70%.  If you have any areas to patch or overseed you can get a temporary permit to water as needed.

Garden beds – Continue to weed and trim.  You might need to stake more plants this year due to all of the soft growth created by the spring deluge.  Fertilize and topdress garden beds as needed. 

Perennials - I have added new perennials to my garden this week with great success.  Just have to remember to water.  Watch for powdery mildew and try some organic methods to fight it.  If I have a plant that is too badly affected I rip it out.  In gardening it is actually legal to bury your mistakes.  Keep a look out for aphids and spray off with a good sharp stream of water. 

Butterfly Bush and Butterfly

Pollinator watch – The Monarchs are here!  There are a few fave plants for nectar such as Joe Pye Weed (a tall, dramatic perennial), Butterfly Weed, butterfly bush, daisy, Zinnia, Marigold, Lantana and Verbena bonariensis and of course for the caterpillars…Milkweed.  There are tons of other butterflies, pollinating moths and native bees out there to watch at work now that it is finally sunny. 

Trees and Shrubs – As it gets warmer, don’t forget to water your street trees too.  A slow trickle of water for about a half hour for some of the mature street trees will do nicely.  Toward the end of July, you can summer prune your fruit trees or Japanese maples if you want to slow growth.  Remember you should be pruning off branches no bigger than your thumb and stick to the dead, diseased or damaged and crossing or rubbing branches.  You should remove no more than ¼ of the growth at this time.  If you have questions come in and talk to Karin, she is our Certified Arborist on site.

Annuals – continue feeding and deadheading.  You will see an explosion of flowers now that the heat is here.  If your hanging basket dries out, set it in a tray of water to help it absorb the water.  A light clipping and a foliar feed will often bring plants back from near dead.  For those that don’t return, don’t worry, we have replacements.

Water gardens – feed fish regularly.  Ensure you have 75% surface coverage to prevent hair algae from taking over.  Check pond levels for leaks now that its stopped raining.  If you have an overabundance of floating plants you can share with your neighbours  or mix into your compost. 

Water lily and Lettuce Seedlings

Veggie Gardens – Stake, weed, feed and harvest.  Strawberries are coming to an end and raspberries are just beginning.  Tayberries and honeyberries are also starting.  Plant successive lettuce and radish crops for constant harvest.  Thin any fruit trees that have over cropped.  Baby your tomatoes, they’ve had a cold start to their season and like my grandpa always said: “Money can’t buy real love, health or fresh tomatoes.”  I don’t have a greenhouse hint hint hubby if you are reading this, so I am waiting for my first fresh tomato with bated breath.  Actually it could take a while…I just have flowers on mine.

Happy gardening!!

Laurelle


Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Gardening

Honeysuckle VineI’ve just come back from walking the dogs this lovely evening in a tee shirt, shorts and sandals at about 10pm and have to say…it’s wonderful to have summer finally join us. (well maybe I spoke too soon!)

The honeysuckle is in full bloom, my Peony’s are just finishing and I think my beefsteak monster tomato plant has grown about a foot in the last 3 days!!!

I’ve also sampled the first few tayberries and sugar snap peas!
Enjoy!!


Here’s my to-do list for July.


  • Yes, you can still plant.  I’ve found a few spots in my garden that I think I need some texture and interest that I’ll fill with some grasses…they are usually coming into the garden centers at about this time so I’ll have a good selection.
  • Still keeping an eye out for pests and using the squish and remove method. 
  • You can think about trimming and deadheading if your perennial and shrub border is becoming a bit too full with all the spring rain that was supplied.  Cut back Bachelors Buttons to encourage a second flush of flowers.
  • Staking and tying your heavier flowers is a good idea at this time, like Dahlias, and Glads. 
  • Feed your plants – use a good fertilizer appropriate for your plants that also supplies the micronutrients your plant needs to thrive.
  • Towards the end of this month you can do a summer prune on your apple trees if necessary.  Remember, summer pruning slows down the growth of your tree, while winter pruning invigorates.  Remove only smaller branches and far less than the 1/3 we usually remove in the winter.
  • You can also shape up your vines at this time.
  •  Your veggie garden should be coming along.  I will definitely be staking that monster tomato plant I have before it takes over the front steps.  The others seem to be behaving themselves. 
  • You should be thinking about harvesting if you have currants, tayberries, goumi berry or goji berry, they’ll be ripening soon. The snap peas are yummy.
  • Think about Mojito’s on warm nights such at this one.  I have a pot of mint by the back door for those occasions that warrant a lovely Mojito or mint iced tea.
  • Fertilize in your veggie garden as well.
  • Don’t get discouraged if you have a lot of weeds, especially buttercups.  I think I have an almost pure culture of buttercups in my front west section of garden, just keep at them and don’t expect perfection this year.
  • You can still aerate your lawn and top dress if needed. 
  • Check your municipal website for watering restrictions, your lawns need far less water than you think!! This year, watering probably won't be an issue :)
  • Mulch garden beds if you haven’t already.  I know I sound like a lunatic after all the rain we’ve had, but the mulch will help to keep the moisture in during the hot summer (I’m an optimist).
  • Excellent time to go through that Honey-do list.  Garden projects are much more fun in the sun.
  • Do take time to smell the flowers and appreciate all of your hard work!

This Post Was Written By:

Laurelle Oldford-Downe


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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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