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Thursday, October 15, 2015
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Gardening

Happy Fall everyone!!! October is one of my favorite months in the garden. I love the soft rustling of the falling leaves and the crunching of them underfoot when I walk through our local park. I adore the warm toasted brown smell of leaves and ripened grasses and nutmeg.

Fall Colours and Leaves

And the colours always take my breath away..actually so does my not quite brisk jog (ok, its more of a shuffle really) through park but I digress. In spite of the drought this summer and the massive windstorm, the leaves that have managed to hang on are giving it a brilliant go of it!! So enough of the sensory descriptions...you'll have to get outside and find your own. Here's your list:

Lawns Need Mowing

Lawns

Miss that green colour? Happy now? Time to mow! Get your last few mows in before the weather gets colder and your grass slows its growth. You still have a little time to aerate, top-dress and over-seed if you haven't gotten to it yet. Lime can be applied if you need to adjust your PH. Try to avoid big clumps of leaves sitting on your lawn for more than a day or so. Add them to your compost or run over them with your mulching blade and use them as a top-dress.

Trees and Shrubs Fall Colour

Trees and Shrubs

Try to avoid major pruning at this time. Pests disease and fungi are very present in the air and you are opening up your trees and shrubs to major troubles. I KNOW your neighbour may be pruning at this time but that doesn't mean you need to follow suit. You can to a bit of clean up such as removing dead, damaged or diseased branches but leave the major pruning for January...when your trees and shrubs are dormant.

Fall however, is the BEST time to plant in the Pacific Northwest, especially if we continue to have such dry summers! Planting in the fall gives your trees and shrubs an extra season of root growth before they have to deal with a hot summer!

Surrey Tree Voucher Program

P.S. Surrey residents, don't forget about the Surrey Tree Voucher Program. Drop by city hall and get a $25 dollar voucher. Buy a tree at Art's with it and its worth $75 dollars. Limit 1 per household per year! The city is kind of paying you to plant a tree - it's a great deal!

http://www.surrey.ca/community/11144.aspx

Garden Beds

Garden Beds

Just a basic clean up just to keep yourself sane. You know the drill as you've heard me say it so many times so pass over this bit if I sound a bit preachy but for our new readers...keep your garden beds a bit messy.

We have over 500 different kinds of native bees and most of them overwinter in the soil or in the hollow stems of spent perennials or other nooks and crannies. No, I don't mean you should watch out for giant hives. Most of our Native Bees are solitary dwellers and don't sting. Interestingly enough these native pollinating bees take care of up to 70 percent of our backyard pollination. With the more common honeybees taking only 30 percent of the load. Because of habitat loss and over cultivation we are seeing losses of up to 90 percent of our native pollinating bees. Two species are actually on their way to becoming extinct. There are many great sites on the web if you want to learn what you can do to help http://www.beefriendly.cais a great resource!

Lasagna Gardening

If you are planning a new garden bed for next year, now is a great time to mark out and begin your lasagna garden if you want to take advantage of time and great composting material! You can check out our archive on lasagna gardening or use your friend Google. With a bit of planning and info you can save time, money and your back while creating a healthy soil structure for your new beds!

Winter Baskets & Planters

Hanging Baskets and Planters

Hang on to your baskets...don't empty just cut off the top growth and stay tuned!! It will be worth it, you'll see!! Check drainage, do a bit of soil augmentation and tweaking of your planters as needed. If you have mixed planters with evergreens and annuals you can tidy, remove the spent annuals and add some small bulbs in for a spring surprise under your fall pansies or other fillers. Add curly twigs, corn stalks and gourds and pumpkins as needed to bling them out for fall...have fun and use your imagination :)!!

Winter Veggie Gardens

Veggie Gardens

Continue harvesting and get cold frames and cloches in place before killing frosts. Keep an eye out for slugs and snails as well. If a greenhouse is in your future or you would like to window shop, www.bcgreenhouses.com has a pretty spectacular gallery. If you would like to build your own there are some pretty clever how to websites out there. And if all else fails you can always grow sprouts in a jar and we do carry a selection of those as well and a tiny little grow light and planting bed so now even in an apartment...in the dead of winter...you can grow a salad!

Bobbex Deer Repellant and Bulbs

Bulbs!!

Time to dream it, design it and plant it!! And for those of you who live in a squirrel rich area and lack a terrier...you can protect your bulbs by camouflaging their delicious scent (to squirrels) by planting the awfully stinky fritillaria bulbs among your tulips and crocus. Or you can try soaking or painting Plantskydd organic repellant or Bobbex on your bulbs. Use gloves...this stuff is very effective but it really, really stains!! New this year, you can shop for your bulbs online and we'll have them delivered to you!

Tools and Equipment

Once you've finished your final mow...which I am hoping is coming soon, though with this warm weather I might be mowing in November, you can empty the gas from your mower and check blades, lines etc. Towards the end of the month you can clean, inspect and oil handles and blades and sharpen or get sharpened as needed to keep everything in ship shape. A little bit of organization might be in order as well if you have garage hoarder-esque tendencies like me!!

That shoud be enough for now! Remember to get outside and enjoy it while you can, the November rains are just around the corner.


Thursday, October 9, 2014
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Gardening

Happy October to you!! Did you know that the leaves of trees change colour in the fall in reaction to the change in length of the day? Once a certain daytime vrs night time threshold value (specific to each type of tree and geographical area), is met, Chlorophyll, which gives the leaves their green colour is blocked from the leaf allowing the yellows and oranges to be unveiled.

Fall Colour Japanese Maples

Trees also have a temperature threshold which signals some to then produce anthocyanins, from the sugars trapped in the leaves, which give the red and purple colours. A warm fall like we are having here in the Lower Mainland with not quite enough difference in day and night time temps to hit most trees threshold for anthocyanin production ,are giving us a rather muted fall colour so far.

What I am hoping for is cooler night time temps while still maintaining the lovely fall daytime temps…not just for completely selfish reasons mind you, so we can get a brilliant fall show before a hard frost comes along with the knock down. Feel smarter? Me too. Now here is your to-do list.

Lawns

If you’re still thinking of seeding and major renovating I think you’re pushing your luck. You can still turf now as long as the ground isn’t frozen, but if you want it to sustain normal traffic you have to wait until it is rooted in. If our Novembers remain in character…you may be waiting awhile. Still time to get that last mow in and call your friends in Alberta while you are mowing. It will annoy them more if you have the sound of burgers sizzling on the BBQ as well. After you mow and finish your burgers winterize your mower and remove the gas.

Red Japanese Maples

Trees and Shrubs

Great time to plant new. Moving any existing trees and shrubs will have to wait until they are dormant. I don’t recommend pruning at this time unless it is to remove dead damaged or diseased branches.

Plants For Fall Garden Colour

Garden beds

A general tidy is ok, be mindful of being too tidy though. Most of you know the drill, but for any new readers, we have a huge number of overwintering pollinators in the hollow stems of perennials and ground. Tread lightly. Its a great time to add some fall and winter colour to both your garden beds and planters. A few of the plants looking great include bud-blooming heathers, ornamental cabbages and kales as well as winter pansies.

Garlic and Spring Blooming Bulbs

Bulbs

October is the absolute best time to plant spring flowering bulbs. The ground is little more moist and the selection is awesome. Get these little packages of flowering goodness in the ground now and you're spring garden will thank you!. It is also a wonderful time to plant garlic. Garlic planted now will be ready to harvest by next summer. This year we have some really neat varieties including Russian Red, Elephant and a couple of others.

Fall Planters

Planters

Group your evergreen and 4 season planters together where they will be protected and where you will get to view them. Refresh anything that needs refreshing and double check for drainage and cracks in the containers. For annual planters, cut down but leave the roots if you want to use them in a display as the roots will help you anchor greens and branches. If you are not going to use them in a display you can clean and empty them.

Yes, We Plant Custom Containers!

While we don't make a big deal of it, our talented garden designers can plant up customer containers for your patio or landscape. Just drop by and give us a sense of the style, colour and look you are after and we can make up something beautiful for you at a very good price. Usually it's only a few dollars more than the cost of materials. Call 604.882.1201 for more information.

Ponds

There is a lot of clean out at this time. Just keep at it. Fallen leaves and decaying plant material will release gasses into the water toxic to fish…especially when there is a layer of ice on the pond. Slow down your feeding and adjust the type of food as well for your fish as they begin to slow down with the cooler temperatures. Cut back decaying water plants. It's also time to blow out your irrigation too if you haven’t already.

Finally take a bit of time for yourself and check out some things in your community. There are often more than a few harvest festivals out there to enjoy. Don’t get too caught up in in your to-do list that you forget to stop and smell the fall air and the crunchy leaves. Also, its less than a month before eggnog lattes yay!!!


Sunday, October 20, 2013
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Gardening

Alright I’ve been getting the hairy eyeball from Rebecca so I’d better write this. Fall is apples and crispy leaves and fog and…and have you ever seen so many spidery works of art in your life?

Cobweb Hens & chicks

All this fog makes the spider webs look spectacular and kind of drives home that creepy fun fact that you are never more than 3 feet away from a spider at any time. Hands up if you just looked around you.

Here is the list…and don’t worry you are running a little behind on it…you are not alone!

Lawns

Your grass should be slowing down to the last few mows. If you had any drainage problems or compacted areas you can aerate and topdress with sand or a turfblend. You can lay new sod as well

Fall Garden Bed Care

Garden Beds

You can do a bit of trimming and tidying if you like and I know I sound like a broken record but please do leave some hollow stems from perennials and some leaf litter etc. for overwintering pollinators. Now is a great time to divide up and shuffle around perennials and even to collect seeds from the spent fall flowers like Echinacea and Rudbeckia. Give the bed a good weeding too but not when the ground is soggy or you’ll compact the soil. Avoid fertilizing or adding high nitrogen manures at this time…you don’t really want a lot of soft growth right before winter hits.

Dahlias, Cannas and other tropical tubers

I like to wait until the frost knocks down a bit of the top growth and then I lift and trim up the rest, hose them down (do this in the morning of a sunny day…ok even a partially sunny day, beggars can’t be choosers) wait until they are dry and then put them in a brown paper bag with peat. One of our experts at Arts, Del, actually wraps his Dahlia tubers in plastic wrap once they are clean and dry and has great success with this. I think there is a multi-part article in our archives on Dahlias.

No Tired Planters!

 

Pots and Planters.

Let them go already!!! You know who you are with your geraniums still on your front porch…don’t make me come over there. Time for fall and winter colour, go crazy, have fun. It doesn’t need to cost an arm and a let. Add fallen conifer branches…a pumpkin, a pansy or two, an old lantern and voila!

Liquidambar Fall Colour / Sweet Gum Tree

 

Trees and shrubs

Awesome time to plant and shuffle if you need to. If you haven’t done so already and live in Surrey, check out the tree voucher program if you need to buy a tree and help Surrey green up one yard at a time!

Ponds

Continue to remove debris…and when you wake up in the morning do it all over again. Ok, you can also add a mesh cover to collect the leaves before you have to skim them out, yay.

Bulk Bulbs

 

Bulbs Bulbs Bulbs!!

Planting time for bulbs!!! I am like a kid in a candy store…except you can’t eat them…and you have to wait months before you get to enjoy them but you can still keep the nice picture on the wrapper. Actually it is nothing like a candy store but it is exciting for me nonetheless. I’m going to feed my squirrels some stripey tulips this year.

That’s what they think but I am going to try soaking those stripey tulips in Plantskyyd or Bobbex and maybe just maybe I will get to enjoy my stripey tulips in the spring.


Monday, October 22, 2012
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Gardening

appleThus far a pretty darn good front half of October. I’m almost ready to call it even for the soupy June and July!

My apples are doing well and I’m steeling myself for a marathon applesauce making session shortly.

Not that I can’t make other things with all of the heritage varieties that are ripening on my little trees but the family loves sauce!

Where else can you turn a full day of peeling and chopping and canning into litre containers that the walking stomachs (13 year old twins) consume in a matter of days unless I hide some…which I do and no I’m not telling…they have eyes and ears everywhere!

Here is the list and even though you might be raring to go and move stuff in the garden before the real cold hits you might want to take your time and let the ground absorb some of this long awaited rain for a week or two at least!

Leaves and lawnsLawns – Rake the leaves off the grass or you will have dead patches where they’ve smothered out the lawn. You can add the leaves as mulch to the garden beds or keep as a brown layer for the compost or even use if you are creating a new garden bed using the lasagna gardening technique.

Get that last mow in when you can or if you’ve irrigated and your lawn is actively growing. If your lawn is green and not dormant you can still add a fall fertilizer.

You can also aerate, top dress and lime at this time of year if you’ve missed out in the spring or you are taking the war of attrition approach on your lawn as I am.

Trees and shrubs – You can add new ones to your garden any time the ground is not frozen solid. If you want to move existing ones in the garden I’d hold off until the ground absorbs some more moisture and they become dormant if they are deciduous shrubs. If they are evergreens I would still wait until the ground is more saturated.

As for pruning, that is best left until January/February, though you can remove dead, damaged or diseased branches at any time. You can do a bit of a clean up on your roses and hydrangeas and other flowering shrubs if they are flopping over.

Heuchera Frosted VioletGarden beds – You can add new hardy perennials but the same goes for moving perennials as for shrubs…wait until the ground has absorbed some rain before dividing and moving and yes, I know it’s getting late but Mother Nature has decided to throw us a curve ball by shifting the techniques using all of those leaves you’ve just raked to make some new garden beds.

I know you’ve heard me prattle on about it but don’t make your garden beds too tidy, our ground dwelling pollinators rely on those left over stems and perennials to make their winter homes.

Dahlias
If you haven’t already done so, pull the dahlias once they’ve been knocked back by a hard frost. Cut off all the greenery and inspect. Toss any that don’t meet muster and allow the rest of them to dry out in say a garage or a carport. Store in paper bags in peatmoss or in mesh bags. Ditto goes for Cannas.

Water Gardens – continue to clean out the pond from leaves and oxygenators, blow out hose lines etc. Thin out underwater lily leaves and remove other debris which form toxic gasses. Let your fish guide you for the feeding. If they are active and eating the food, continue. As it gets colder and they become more sluggish, taper off the food.

fritillaria bulbsBulbs bulbs bulbs. Time to plant your spring blooming bulbs! If you have a squirrel problem…the ones in my neighbourhood have very expensive tastes, you can try placing a Frittilaria bulb among your tastier bulbs such as crocus and tulips.

The Fritillaria bulbs smell a bit like skunk and will mask the scent of the other tasties. In my garden about 1 Fritillaria per 2 square feet seems to work dandy.

Not to worry, the flowers of the Fritillaria bulbs smell nothing like the bulbs!

Pots – Come on, you can do it…pull out those annuals!! Add winter colour like Wintergreen, Carex, baby Yews and winter pansies etc. Don’t forget to layer bulbs in for early spring or winter colour.

Plants for winter planters

That’s about all I can think of for now! Time to tuck in to a good book and snuggle in to my favorite dog furry cosy chair with a cuppa joe on this dreary but much needed rainy day!


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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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