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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!


Monday, March 16, 2015
Posted By: Rebecca van der Zalm in Gardening

Introducing our new video feature - What's In Bloom for March 2015! This short video series will be produced periodically and will showcase great plants available in each season.


Monday, March 10, 2014
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Gardening

That was an interesting end to February!! It’s been a while since I’ve gone tobogganing and gotten snow down my jacket!! It was a bit awesome and I'm happy to see the soil again.

My snowdrops have already come and gone and the crocus are just poking up from the soil. I am excited to redesign my front garden and organize my back yard. I’ve gone through a lot of rough copies.

snowdrops

It will be an adventure…on a budget pilfered from my fancy coffee allowance. I apologize in advance for any caffeine deficit grumpiness. So before the snow is completely melted away I raise my last mug of fancy coffee and say…Ladies and Gentleman…start your engines!!! The 2014 gardening season is nigh and here is your list:

muddy grass

Lawns

Play it by ear, tromping on soggy turf will compact it. Once your ground is a bit drier, you can lime, aerate and top- dress with topsoil, or coarse sand. Towards the end of the month, beginning of April, you can think about fertilizing with a good slow release fertilizer like Arts 17-17-17 + Iron.

You can play that by ear too. Waiting to give it a light fertilizing until after you have to give it that first trim, is a good rule of thumb used by many lawn care experts.

Looking outside my window right now it’s hard to believe that mowing is right around the corner.

Here are some lawn cutting tips to get you on the right path:

  • Use a sharp mower blade (you can sharpen it or take it in to be sharpened)
  • never reduce the height of your lawn by more than 1/3 at any one time
  • a slightly taller mowing height will allow for more deeply rooted grass
  • leave the clippings, grass clippings do not cause thatch and leaving them when you cut will reduce your need for watering and fertilizing by up to 80%.

If you want to learn more tips and tricks, we’ll have a lawns 101 class taught by our grass whisperer Dave on March 30th. Call 604.882.1201 to register.

Garden Beds

Same rule for avoiding soggy soil applies, no matter how excited you are about digging in your garden. Once the soil dries out you can do some weeding, perennial dividing or move some stuff around.

You can do a lot of planning and daydreaming while it’s raining outside, like I am. Take note of emerging bulbs. You can do some topdressing and a light fertilizing by the end of the month or early April. Compost is golden.

new plants at arts - camellia pink a boo

New Plants

It’s a great time to check out the new plants at Art's Nursery! It is a good idea to treat it like grocery shopping and make a bit of a list because sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming. Make sure you think about the areas you want to add plants to and when you will most likely be looking at them.

Seeding

It is a great time to start seeds indoors to get a jump on the season. If you are new to this, we just had our seed starting 101 classes on Saturday the 8th with Kayla our seed guru! If there is more interest, we can always offer this seminar again. Let us know. Check out our other upcoming seminars too!

summer bulbs - dahlias | cannas | gladiolus | lily

Summer Bulbs

Inspect any stored bulbs and discard any rotten ones. Now is a good time to organize and plan your plantings. Art's has a great selection at this time. While it's ok to plant some now, wait for the warmer weather for bulbs like Dahlias. 

Trees and Shrubs

It’s a great time to cut some branches for indoor forcing from Forsythia, Flowering Plum or Cherry. And a great time to enjoy the blooms on Skimmia, Hellebores, Cornus mas, Viburnum bodnantense and the last bit of the Witch hazel bloom, to name a few.

early blooming shrubs

You can move smaller shrubs when the ground is not soggy and  prune trees and shrubs if necessary. Never prune off any more than 1/3 of your tree or shrub at one time and if you are not sure there are a number of pruning classes available to teach you how. You can also start a number of plants from cuttings at this time…like grapes which I will be doing shortly!

Check your local library for books on propagating or Google.

I’ll be starting to graft my heritage apple trees in the next week or so…better go collect some good book tapes because I have a bit of grafting to do!!


Monday, March 18, 2013
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Gardening

Muscari - Grape Hyacinth

Lawns

Time to lime if you haven’t already.  When the ground is dry-ish, you can also aerate and topdress.  If you have moss in your lawn and you are unhappy with it.  You may think about applying moss killer when we have a forecast of at least 2 dry days about 50 degrees Fahrenheit or 10 degrees Celsius.

Garden Beds

Kramers Red HeatherA general clean-up and topdress is in order.  Compost and well rotted manures can be applied at this time.  Be mindful of the specific requirements of your plants.  Acid loving plants like ferns, heather, camellias, rhododendron, and blueberries appreciate an acidic compost.

Peat is in limited supply and the removal of it from the ground has less than friendly effects on the environment.  Living on the West Coast…we have a surplus of things like pine and fir needles and coffee grounds and if we add those to a compost, we create one perfect for our acid loving plants.  In the case of pine and fir needles from downed branches courtesy of the March winds.  You can drag the branches to the garden beds in need and then drag away the sticks once the needles have dried and fallen off.  We also carry peat substitutes like coconut coir and Beats-Peat.

Aged manures can be applied to non acid loving plants like roses, veggie gardens, raspberry beds, rhubarb etc.

Pruning

You can thin shrubs at this time, remember the one third rule.  Don’t remove any more than one third of your plant at any one time.  This is also true of mowing the lawn by the way.  For larger trees consider hiring a certified arborist or taking a pruning course.  I looked at some of the pruning being done even on commercial landscapes and have been horrified.

pruningYou should not see the pruning cuts but rather see an improved more open habit to your shrub or tree.  Hubby brought out the pruners this past weekend.  I usually hide them but I must have slipped.  There are a few plants that are hardy enough for his pruning.  When I told him there was probably little he could do to kill the Elderberry bush growing by my compost, he took me quite literally.  At least I have a huge number of cuttings now to start young plants.  The Elderberry will soldier on and be quite fine.

Remember to trim those spring flowering plants after they’ve flowered…nothing sadder than seeing the neighbour up the street carefully trim his forcythia in to a box, removing all of the glorious yellow flowers except the 2 or 3 that cling to the plant.  Trim your heather after its bloomed too.

 

Dividing Perennials

Now is a great time to pot up perennials and to dig up extra plants to give to neighbours like raspberries etc.  Cuttings for many plants can be taken at this time as well.

Seeding

SeedlingsThis is the really exciting part right here.

A ton of summer veggies and flowers can be started right now both inside and out.  Sweet peas can be started outside where they are to grow.

 I am starting my Tomatoes as well.

There is a lovely selection of new seeds and summer bulbs at the nursery.

 

Tools

Take stock of your tool selection and sharpen and oil anything that needs it.  Broken tools and holey wheelbarrows can be fixed, and flat tires filled.  Anything not salvageable can become garden art or be recycled.

Planting of Trees and Shrubs

When the ground is not too waterlogged, now is a good time to plant out trees and shrubs and may hardy perennials.  Hold off a bit for those annuals unless you have a nice cold frame.

Surrey residents: don't forget about the cities fantastic Tree Voucher Program. It's like getting a discount for planting trees in your yard!

That is about it right now.  Remember to get out there and enjoy some of that fresh March air that is blowing through…just don’t be standing under weak branch attachments while you are enjoying it!


Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Gardening
viburnum pink dawn

Geez talk about March blowing in like a lion! In one day we’ve had sunshine, gale force winds, rain, sleet, snow and then some sun again. I’m looking forward to March going out like a Lamb! I’ll believe that when I see it. Here is the list:

Gardens
Time to wake up your gardens. Clean up, topdress with compost or well rotted manure. Divide up and move around any perennials that are overgrowing their space. Great time to pot up divisions for sharing. Be mindful of bulbs and overwintering native bees and other pollinating insects. Don’t be too quick to pull out that dandelion…it is a favorite food of bees.

Ensure you have a good range of early blooming bee food such as heather, crocus etc. As the weather improves towards the end of the month and into the beginning of April, you can finalize your clean up by pruning down any dead grasses, twiggy bits etc. This gives any overwintering insects a chance to emerge.

bypass pruners

Shrubs
When the ground is not too waterlogged, March is a great time to move shrubs around or to add new plantings. You can topdress or mulch your shrub borders as well as fertilize your Rhododendrons, blueberrys, conifers etc. by mid month if the weather is promising.

You can prune if you haven’t done so already. It’s a good time to finish up the pruning on your roses. Remember, never remove more than one third of the plant and yes, sometimes that means only one cut Mr. Scissorhands! Check with us for info on proper pruning techniques.

Trees
Finish up the pruning if needed. The same one third rule applies. Prune hedges. If you have a fair amount of pruning needed it would be worthwhile to call a certified arborist. Give us a ring at the nursery and we can direct you to some fantastic folks who know what they are doing! Great time to plant as well.

triple 17 fertilizer

Lawns
Aerate, Topdress and Lime as long as the ground isn’t soggy. If the weather warms up (I’m an optimist) you could even think about a spring fertilizer like Arts Triple 17 with Iron.. If March doesn’t go out like a lamb then you can wait for April for that part.

The aerating and topdressing and liming will keep you busy enough. If it stops snowing and hailing long enough for the grass to grow, start up your mower and then call your relatives back east or on the praries to let them know what you are doing. This never gets old, there has to be some perks to the sky high housing rates and this is one of them.

Veggie Gardens
Many of you right now have little dome houses filled with seedlings in your living room windows, others in the kitchen windows. You are starting to look like a grow op and your neighborhood officer is parked in front of your house.

tomato seeds

This is good. Because right about now you have realized that you have planted too many. Did you really need 30 tomato plants? Start handing out little seedlings to all of your friends, the nice officer, the mail lady and explain that it is a heirloom tomatoe/pepper/etc.

If you haven’t started your seeds yet, you still can get in on the action. Don’t over plant. You can set out your fall sown sweet peas as well as direct seed some hardy veggies such as brussel sprouts, lettuce and even potatoes by mid-end of the month if the ground is not soggy. Here on the wet coast its not so much the cold that prevents us from early planting, but the wet!!

House plantsRepot if needed and start to increase watering and then feeding by the end of the month.

Ponds
Clean up and watch the fish. Feed once they become active. Check pump and fittings.

Propagating
Depending on the plant, this is a good time to take cuttings, layer, graft and divide.

Tools
Brush off the cobwebs and get started. Check sprinklers, hose ends and other tools for damage. The new tools are hitting the shelves as we speak if you just can’t get another year out of that shovel.

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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