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Thursday, September 21, 2017
Posted By: Rebecca van der Zalm in Fall Gardening

While anytime is a good time to plant, Fall is particularly rewarding because of the immediate results. It’s a time when what you see is what you get. Leaves are changing colour, berries are beaming, summer flowers are still hanging around and an entirely new plant palette gets the spotlight.

Fall Planter Collage

Fall plantings have a couple of benefits.

Benefits of Fall Planting

First, it’s a great time to get Trees, Shrubs and Perennials planted so that they get an extra couple of months of rooting before they go dormant for the winter. Then in Spring, their roots are established and they are ready to give you a beautiful Spring show. If you wait to plant in Spring, you reduce the risk of winter damage, but your plant will sit there for a couple of weeks or months while it establishes its roots. Planting now gives you a head start.

Second, you get instant gratification because you are planting for right now, not the future. This is particularly true for container plantings, front door décor and your Thanksgiving and Halloween decorating.

Third, it gives you motivation to clean-up the summer stuff that just seems to accumulate in the yard, or on the deck, and gives everything an attractive seasonal refresh. We all need that clean-up kick start... don't we :)

Stuff Them In

In a lot of ways, Fall Planters are easier and more gratifying because we don’t have the guilt and the angst about a plants long term care and health. Simply stuff as many as you can into a planter to make it yell… LOOK AT ME – I’M BEAUTIFUL!

By the time the plants wonder what hit them and why they don't have any room to grow, it will be nearly November and you can redo your planters with attractive stems, berries and colourful winter greens for the Holiday season. For perennials and shrubs you choose, plant them in the garden now or wait until Spring. When the frosts hit, have no mercy and just toss out the seasonal annuals and colour.
Mono Planter Using Mostly Pansies

Mono-Plantings

There are a couple of ways to create Fall planters. The easy way is to mono-plant. Fill your planter with the same plant. Mass for effect. Pack them in tight. The grouping will create interest because of its mass and similar colour palette. Odd numbers work. Try planting 1, 3 or 5 of the same plant in a pot. This style particularly attractive with grasses, mums and perennials like Heuchera.

Thriller, Filler, Spiller

The other way is to follow the traditional thriller, filler, spiller model.

Thrillers

To start, put something big in the middle that is the attention grabbing, dominant thriller. Ideal fall plants include: grasses, conifers, upright sedums, and Japanese maples just to name a few. Mums make good thrillers, but expect to haul them out when they are finished blooming or get opened up by the weather. Scale of planting is important. Try to establish a ratio of 1/3 planter height and 2/3 plant height. In other words, the thriller should be taller than the planter. This is not a rule, it just tends to look good.
Great Plants for Fall Planters - Thrillers

Fillers

Next, add the fillers. These are small to medium sized plants that accent the thriller. Usually fillers are planted around the thriller in odd numbers, for example 3,5 or more depending on the size of your planter. Excellent fillers include Pansies, Violas, Dusty Miller, Ornamental Cabbage or Kale, Decorative Peppers, Heucheras, Berry Plants Like Wintergreen, Bud Blooming Heathers and even mid-sized grasses. Two grasses that are always extremely popular are Carex 'Evergold' and Black Mondo grass. A few other fall favourites include windflowers (Anemone) and Dark Leaved Euphorbias like 'Blackbird'. Virtually anything can work as long as it doesn’t take too much dominance from the Thriller.
Don't forget to add non-living things to your planters as well. Gourds and Pumpkins make excellent additions to nearly every fall container.
Great Plants for Fall Planters - Fillers

Spillers

The spillers are smaller, pendulous or trailing plants that cascade over the edges of your planter. Ivy is an easy answer, as are trailing sedums or a classic favourite, Golden Creeping Jenny, also known as Lysimachia. These look good when asymmetrically. For example, only on one side of the planter.
Great Plants for Fall Planters - Spillers

If you find the height of your planter lacking, add something tall. For example a tall grass, corn stalks, or curly twiggy branches. It's a look that just seems to fit the season.
Some of my favourite plants for fall planters include:
 

Thrillers Fillers Spillers
Japanese Maples Mid-Sized Grasses Ivy
Trailing Grasses
Yews / Boxwoods Pansies / Violas Creeping Jenny
Lemon Cypress Ornamental Cabbage / Kale Trailing Sedums
Tall Upright Grasses Ornamental Peppers  
Upright Sedums Bud Blooming Heathers  
Mums Heucheras  
Sunflowers
Blueberry Plants (Colourful Foliage & Stems)
Winter Green (Gaultheria)  
Twigs, Sticks & Stems Dusty Miller  
  Euphorbias
Pumpkins & Gourds
 

Bulb Bonus Points

For bonus points, drop some spring blooming bulbs in your planters so you have an extra season on interest in the early spring! Maybe some Winter Aconites, Crocus, Snowdrops or even a few early blooming Daffodils!

So what are you waiting for? The temperatures are cooler and the rains have returned. Now is the time to plant up your fall planters! If you’re strapped for time, give one of our folks a call and we can have something gorgeous planted up for you.

Cheers... Rebecca


Friday, November 13, 2015
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Container Gardening

Laurelle shows you how to create a bit of WOW with a winter planter or grouping that will add a bit of welcome sparkle and light to brighten up the dark days of winter!

Layering live evergreen plants with cut greens will give your planter depth, texture and colour. You can add a touch of whimsy and personality with bells, twinkle lights, lanterns or other hard features. The cut greens stay fresh with a minimum of effort because of the cold and moisture that we generally have plenty of on the West Coast.

If your planters are under cover, ensure the soil is moist but not wet. This usually means only watering once every couple of weeks. I generally am not worried about planting shade plants in a full sun exposure. Because the temps are much cooler, you don’t have to worry about our weaker winter sun baking those shade lovers like Wintergreen or Ferns. Be sure to plant tighter than you would with a summer planter as they will not be filling out in the winter. What you see now is what you will likely have at the end of the winter. I like to leave an inch or so of space around the lip of the planter to give me somewhere to add my cut greens for edging. If you have added some bulbs to your arrangement mark the area on the pot with a temporary sticker so you don’t forget where you put them when shuffling around your plants!

Some of my favorite plants for winter interest:

Plants for Winter Planters

Miniature Conifers

The list is extensive, even smaller conifers that can be replanted in the spring in the garden bed will do. Pines and Lemon Cypress are among my favorites. I also like to use Yew trees for that tall columnar focal point and wrap them in white twinkle lights.

Skimmia

Love the glossy leaves, red berries and fragrant flowers in the winter!!

Wintergreen

Red berries, glossy evergreen leaves and a fragrance when crushed…what’s not to love.

Evergreen Ferns

From the bold glossy leaved Hart’s Tongue Fern to the finer textured smaller Deer Fern, evergreen ferns are a staple in my winter displays.

Evergreen Grasses

The Carex family has both fine textured grasses such as Carex testacea ‘Prairie Fire’ and the wider leaved variegated Carex morrowi ‘Ice Dance’ and Carex oshimensis ‘Evergold’ are just a few the great grass choices.

Heuchera

There are a number of evergreen versions with the lush colour saturated leaves.

Ivy

This evergreen always gives me pause. Unleashed on your garden this can become a menace. Hanging gracefully in your winter planter it creates a traditional bit of colour and drape. I pull it out at the end of the winter and put it in my Surrey Green Bin.

Holly

We get in some lovely variegated types that give me a splash of colour and interest especially if they are berried up. If I can’t fine a nice little dwarf holly bush I use the cut greens.

Aucuba

This very large shade lover looks amazing with its large glossy green and gold leaves and red berries. If you have a more sheltered spot and can find a small version of these it might be worth putting in your planter. In spring, toss it into the backyard in full shade with plenty of elbow room and you will have fantastic cut greens to add to your planter forever more!

Bulbs!!

I love to add a package or two of Snowdrops, Crocus and even Mini-Daffodils for a late winter surprise. As my greens start to dry by February I’ll pull them and what should be coming up in those spots but my spring bulbs yay!!

Winter Greens

Cut Greens

I often wait for a big windstorm and then go for a dog walk with some pruners and nab some of the fallen greens and cones. When adding your cut greens better to cut long. If I am using a softer side branch…especially with Douglas Fir, I will cut not only the side piece but try to get a couple of inches of the main or stronger branch with it so I can jam that into the soil. Many of the cut greens have vastly different colour and texture depending on weather you use them right side up or upside down. Try to go with a theme and layer.

Greens for Winter Planters

Pines

I adore soft needled pines and usually add a few pieces hanging out of the planter as finishing touches. They really soften up an arrangement.

Noble Fir

Lovely as Christmas trees and great in cut arrangements to add a bit of formal texture and stiffness not to mention that lovely green blue hue.

Douglas Fir

I do like to use a lot of Douglas fir as my base. I like the deep green of the top side as well as the silvery look of the underside. The more cones the better as far as I’m concerned.

Cedar

Incredible aroma and soft texture. It’s great for a finishing touch.

Juniper

We get in some lovely branches full of Juniper berries for some real texture and interest. The ones I’ve used are a silvery blue green.

Red Twig Dogwood

I use this as my height and structure as well as colour. Generally they root by the end of the winter and you can start your own shrub which you can coppice (prune back close to the ground) each year around this time to get lots of fresh new red twigs.

Curly Willow

One of my favorites! The curly golden to orange red branches make a stunning thriller in my planters giving height, colour and a bit of whimsy. These will also root by the end of the winter and you can plant in the yard and also coppice it each year for cut twigs.

Whimsy

This bit is entirely up to you! If your planter or grouping is at the front door you can add a bit of colour either from the door itself or even the interior. You can bling up your planters with twinkle lights, bows, Christmas balls, bells or even lanterns in varying sizes and colours. You can Christmas up your planters for November and December; this is often the final resting place of Christmas ornaments that are ready to be retired in my household. After Christmas you can adjust your planters slightly to maintain the winter sparkle and glow for January and February.

The best place to display your winter planter is without a doubt the front entrance, failing that any place you will walk by or look at from the window is the next best thing. If hanging them, be sure to hang them low as the best viewing is looking down into them. Don’t be afraid to try groupings or to add different hard features with them, experiment and for Heaven’s sake don’t forget to have fun while you are mucking about!

Cheers - Laurelle!


Friday, October 16, 2015
Posted By: Rebecca van der Zalm in Container Gardening

By October, your colourful spring and summer patio planters or hanging baskets are probably looking a wee bit shabby, if not down-right dead. If that’s your situation, don’t worry, we have the solution for you – the Fall Container Make Over! In this blog post, we'll introduce you to the world of fall containers and how to design and plant them. We'll also identify some of the best plants to use.

Fall Containers are actually easier to plant and maintain than the Spring and Summer varieties. We know we are living on borrowed time because of impending frosts. That time limit influences our selection of plants and forces all plantings to be temporary.

Fall Containers and Planters

Short Term Focus

Fall containers don’t rely as heavily on blooming annuals and therefore won’t focus as much on fleeting flowers. Instead they utilize long lasting, colourful foliage, attractive berries and other design elements to help them look good as long as possible. Since we know that the time span is shorter, it allows to get past the “what’s best for the plant” mentality and move into the different mindset of “what’s going to look good right now”.

Fall containers and baskets fall into 2 categories, mono-plantings and the traditional thriller-filler-spiller model.

Mono Planters

Mono-Plantings

Mono-plantings typically use the same colour, or the same plant to fill the container. For instance, you could have an all-white planter, or fill the planter with one type of plant. Consider a planter that utilizes white heather, white cyclamen and ornamental cabbage and kale with white tones in a single planter. Alternately, you could fill a planter with just Heuchera, Pansies or Sedums.

Thrillers, Fillers and Spillers

Thrillers, Fillers & Spillers

For fall, the traditional thriller, filler and spiller planters are packed tight with plants to make them look good right away. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this style of planter, lets quickly define these terms:

Thrillers

Plants For Use as Thrillers

The tall centerpiece or focal point of the planter. The thriller can be either centre planted or positioned at the back of the planting because of its height and stature. The thriller is the element of the planter that grabs the most attention and captures the eye. While plants are great thrillers, you could also use inanimate objects like birch branches, contorted willow stems, lanterns or other types of fall garden accents.

Fillers

Plants For Use as Fillers

Filler – the fillers are the mid-sized plants that complement the thriller. They are typically ½ to 1/3 the height or the attention grabbing ability of the thriller. Most fall planters will use several fillers strategically positioned near or around the thriller. At this time of year, small pumpkins and gourds also make great fillers.

Spillers

Plants For Use as Spillers

The spillers are the plants that hang or droop off the sides of the planter. In the fall they are typically grasses, ivies, ground covers and similar plants that have some resistance to winter cold. They are usually smaller and several will be planted in a typical container.

10 Design Tips for Fall Planters

Fall planters are supposed to be temporary, you don’t need to worry as much about longevity or plant health. When a fall planter starts to look shabby, simply discard the spent elements or re-plant them in your garden. When creating your fall planters, here are 7 more design tips to think about:

Black Planter

1. Pick a Pot First

Planter choice is important and should be made first. Everything from the type, the colour, the size, and the width of planting area is important. Try to match the scale of the pot to the size of your plants. Make the colour complimentary to the type of plants you are going to choose. When choosing a pot, quality is critical - if you intend to keep the pot for more than one season. There is a reason there are “cheap” pots and “expensive” pots.

Pot Feet

2. Drainage Is Important

Given our typical fall and winter weather, good drainage is an essential component of fall planters. Fill the bottom one third of your planter with gravel, packing materials, broken pottery or anything else that creates air pockets and allows the water to drain. Separate this layer with landscape fabric to avoid contaminating or compacting it with soil. Lift the planter off your deck or patio with pot feet to ensure the drainage hole doesn't get plugged up.

Promix Potting Soil

3. Soil Choice Matters

Don’t use a garden soil in your planters. These soils tend to be heavy and will compact in a planter. As we already mentioned, drainage is critical. Plants need as much oxygen near their roots as water. If you insist on using a garden soil, at least amend it with perlite to create air pockets and improve porosity. Preferably, use a potting soil like ProMix or Miracle Gro. These products are already mixed with perlite and are specifically formulated to be lighter for planters, containers and baskets.

4. Simplicity Works

The KISS principle ... (Keep It Simple Stu@^@#) ... works. The best fall planters are simple. They only have a few types of plants and they avoid having "one of everything" in the container. If you like a plant, use it a couple of times in your planter as opposed to picking more types of plants. Enough said.

5. Odd Numbers Are Good

In design, odd numbers like 1, 3 and 5 always look good. For example, you may choose to plant 1 thriller, 3 fillers and 5 spillers in your planter. While this obviously depends upon the size of the planter, you get the general idea.

Plant Colour Palettes - Hot Colours and Cool Colours

6. Pick A Colour Palette and Stick To It

Spring and summer planters tend to use the hot colours. In other words, the yellows, the oranges and the reds. These are called stop colours because the eye naturally focusses and comes to rest on them. They grab attention and scream look at me! This is also the reason why fire trucks tend to be red and people in red cars tend to get more speeding tickets – they are simply more visible to the eye. Now you know!

The cool colours tend to be more dominant in the fall. These are the greens, pinks, purples and blues to name a few. They move away from the eye and perceived to be more peaceful, relaxing and calming. They work well with the neutral colours like white, black or grey.

Neutral colours (the grays, the whites and blacks) are the perfect compliments for both hot and cool colour palettes. Use them for affect and as contrasting elements in your planters. You can also choose to create mono plantings. All white and all black planters are in style (especially for Halloween)

If you choose a colour palette, stay in that palette. In other words, a cool colour planter should not have yellows oranges and reds as they will clash. It’s ok to mix a palette and neutrals, but don’t mix the two palettes. An easy way to tackle this is to pick a theme. For example, a Halloween planter may have lots of oranges and yellows complimented by black. Remember to include the pot colour in your design. A pink pot with a halloween colour theme would look ridiculous wouldn't it?

Lanterns

7. Lighten It Up

As the sun sets earlier and earlier in the fall, it is important to choose brighter colours and even accent lighting. Add a few solar or led lights to your planters for added effect! Lanterns or even faux-candles can also be used. This is a great look for winter. For obvious reasons, just be careful if you are mixing anything electrical with water, or anything burning near foliage!

Hand With Bulbs

8. Think About Spring

While we have already stated that fall planters are fleeting, there is no reason why they can’t be designed to give additional interest. For example, you could fill the planter with daffodils and tulips to come up after all the top growth has either died-off, has been cut back or re-planted after winter. Simply plant the bulbs and then add your other materials on top. The bulbs will come through the top growth when the time is right.

10. Relax and Have Fun!

As we have already said, fall planters are temporary works of art. There are no right or wrong answers or bad designs, as long as you like it! Experiment, try new plants and have fun with it!

For More Information:

For more information and a great read, check out this e-book created by our own Shelley Levis.

One Planter - Four Seasons e-Book

If you want to spruce up your planters this fall. Drop by and pick out some great materials at Art’s. We’d be happy to help you make a few design choices or recommend the best plants. Or, if you prefer, we can even plant them up for you. Each fall planter is unique and is based on your design choices and budget. Get yours growing today!


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

Let's be honest. At this time of year your garden can look a little drab, dreary and down-right ugly. The holidays give us an opportunity to spruce things up a little. No pun intended. Here are 5 great outdoor decorating ideas for the holidays to bring a little festive cheer to your home.

Christmas Hanging Baskets

Holiday Hanging Baskets

Honest, they look amazing! Don’t empty your old planters just clip off the dead top bits. Make sure the soil is damp and then stick in greens, twigs, holly and even some glitter. At our house that is often where old ornaments go for their last hurrah. They look awesome in the winter hanging baskets! I like to hang these low, below eye level so that folks can look down into them.

Winter Planters

Winter Planters

We’ll be enjoying these longer than our summer planters! I mix in smaller evergreens like Lemon Cypress, low creepers like Wintergreen, some evergreen Hart’s Tongue Ferns and tuck a couple packages of bulbs into my planters too. I do leave gaps because I like to fill mine with evergreen boughs and bows and some old outdoor lanterns for a bit of sparkle and glow.

As we get closer to spring I remove some of the spent evergreen boughs to allow for the bulbs to come up and then tuck in a couple of pansies or Primulas. My winter pots are constantly evolving. I can add a little more red as we get close to Valentine’s day and…well…you get the picture. For the summer I move them into the background or even on to the back deck where they’ll get a bit more shade.

Door Swags and Garland

Swags and Garlands

Awesome and simple. Ok mostly simple…wear gloves so you don’t stab yourself with the wire and branches of the garland and then swear in front of your neighbours kids. With the garlands you can place around the door frame or to one side. Make sure you they will not get caught in the door as you open and close it.

Keep your swags and garlands misted if we have clear and cold weather and they are real. If they are everlasting, you get to skip this step! If we get our usual winter weather, Mother Nature can take care of the misting. Come in and visit us at the nursery and you can sip hot chocolate and look at the different ways we have used the garlands if you need some ideas!

Christmas Wreaths

Wreaths

From greens to pinecones to bells and berries. Too many to choose from. What is interesting is that folks will also put them in unexpected places like a shed that you walk by or see out the window. I’ve even spotted a mini wreath overtop of a dog door. Hot this year are Boxwood wreaths, in both round and square. You can even get a diamond shaped one ... (inside joke :) )

Holiday Illumination and Lanterns

Lanterns

Illumination of all kinds is a given. Choose simple, beautiful or even sparkly. Classic lanterns look way better than cheesy big-box Christmas lights. Group them together indoors or out. Mix sizes and colours. Fill not only with candles or led candles but pinecones or glittery Christmas balls.

Have a fantastic, cozy and safe Christmas! Come in and take a gander at our Christmas Market…the hot chocolate is on and we even have mini marshmallows!! You can wander around and pick up some great Christmas ideas from our fabulous designers! We're open until Dec 24th to serve you. We've also got more tips for decorating your indoor space for the holidays.


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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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