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Thursday, August 20, 2015
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Gardening

As we move into the lazy hazy days of August I can’t help thinking that I haven’t even scratched the surface of my own summer to-do list. Aaack... I not only have people and places that I haven’t had a chance to visit yet but I have painting, editing and sorting that I haven’t even put a small dent in.

So much for the lazy part, though I have had my eye on one of those hammock chairs…I tried one out and it is just perfect for reading…which is just one more thing I haven’t had a chance to do much of this summer. Actually when you think of it…those are not too terribly bad as far as problems go eh? Here is YOUR list… I’ve got my own.

Summer Lawns

Lawns

At stage 3 water restrictions there is not much to do. But there are a few more things that you want to try to avoid if you can, like heavy traffic, compacting, fertilizing and or spraying chemicals on your dormant lawn. If you really miss the green, you can buy a non-toxic green lawn spray paint. You can also use "gray-water". Think lightly used bathtub water or cleanish-water after the dishes. However, stay away from using heavily contaminated or soaped-up water in your lawn or plants.

Trees and Shrubs

You can still hand water trees and shrubs. Now is also a good time to do a little bit of thinning on fruit trees, Japanese Maples and Birch Trees if needed, as well as vines, of course. Remember to use proper pruning techniques and to remove branches no bigger than your thumb in thickness. Also follow the never more than 1/3 of the tree rule though I would adjust that to ¼ of the tree or shrub at this time for summer pruning.

Summer Pruning

Remember you do summer pruning to slow the growth of your tree or shrub while winter pruning invigorates growth. So if you have a young tree that you want to encourage growth, do not prune at this time. If you have an old fruit tree, vine or Japanese maple that you want to slow the growth of and thin them out a bit, then now is a pretty good time to do a light prune. Remember…the right tool for the right job…no hacksaws…don’t make me come over there…you know who you are.

Veggie Gardens

Veggie and Flower Gardens

You are still allowed to hand water at this time. With your veggies, you are in harvest mode and with flower gardens you are in deadhead mode. You can add mulch to keep the moisture in the ground. The brighter side is that weeding stays weeded for the most part!! There are some winter crops that you can begin planting right now such as kale, pac choi, carrots and other worthwhile goodies, provided you can keep up with the hand watering.

Summer Hanging Baskets

Hanging Baskets

During the really long hot stretches consider moving them to slightly shadier positions and preferably grouping them. Once a week you might also want to sit them in a tray of water. Clipping back, deadheading and fertilizing will keep them looking healthy. I have actually changed from having the high up hanging baskets to having a lower hanger where I look down on my lovely planters rather than having them hanging on either side of the garage! Continue to feed as required. When a hanging basket stops flowering, it usually means it ran out of food!

water bowls

Wildlife

Keep our feathered and 4 footed friends in mind at this time. I have a couple of water bowls as well as birdbaths out for the birds and one out front for the other evening critters like the raccoons and the skunk down the road that I top up each day and they do get used!! Pools and ponds are drying up and an increasing number of urban wild critters are getting flattened on the roads as they are forced to travel farther distances to get to water sources.

You might want to put out an extra hummingbird feeder or two as well as many of the flower nectar sources are having a very compressed season of bloom.

Hummingbird Feeders

Bears might be coming down out of the mountains earlier than usual and please do help to keep them alive by securing your garbage and compost bins…that might even mean bringing them in to the garage. You can try to cut down on the compost bin smell by sprinkling with a layer of pine shavings every now and again as I have them handy for the 2 chinchillas I inherited the bales are pretty cheap and you can get them from your local feed store. It’s not perfect but it does help a bit. I know some folks use shredded paper but that helps more with the smaller kitchen catchers.

Between this list and your OWN summer to-do list you should have enough on your plate. Remember to take time to smell the roses…literally and take a moment, even if it’s just one where you can be quiet and still and just breathe in the summer because it will not be here for long and you will need to keep a little bit of it in your heart for those long dark November days.

Alright I know… lighten up, but I just went to Costco where they already have puffy jackets, Christmas lights and more ... I was feeling a bit glum and now I am trying not to make eye contact with the Costco-sized jar of Nutella… uh oh.


Friday, June 12, 2015
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Gardening

Holy heatwave Batman! I am spending my mornings watering my newly grafted baby apple trees and then once I’m done…I go to work and then help water the nursery.

With such a huge amount of stuff to water it drives us to become crazed scientists…one of our very own fearless horticulturalists built a pretty awesome watering tower using zap straps, bulb crates and a plastic dollar store spinning sprinkler.

Watering Hanging Baskets

We have a lot of customers coming in to get mulch to keep in the moisture and keep down the weeds. Living mulches like grasses, perennials, groundcovers are also a fantastic way to keep the moisture in. A living mulch will conserve much much much more water than it draws. For example, the section of my orchard that had a cover crop of clover, yarrow and a few other wild flowers and grasses did far better and required much less watering (actually only twice last summer), than the section without any cover(casualties…in spite of extra watering).

We have our work cut out for us on the West Coast…we need water plants in the winter and drought tolerant plants in the summer! Here is your list for June 2015!

Lawns

Watering restrictions are in effect so check with your municipality. Use the tuna can method if you want to see how well your sprinkler is working. Place an empty tuna can on the lawn when you sprinkle. You need only about the depth of a tuna can (no not Costco sized mega cans) once per week. Watering is more effective if applied in the morning, not the heat of the day. If you have applied nematodes for European Chafer Beetle or have installed new lawns you can apply for an extra permit…you’ll need receipts to apply so don’t put them in your pocket and then wash your shorts…just sayin’.

Weeding the Garden Bed

Garden Beds

Mulch, mulch and mulch. Weeding just got easier. Use a scuffle hoe in the morning and scuffle up your garden beds. Your weeds will be roasted by mid-day. Dead head and pinch back as needed and don’t forget to water and fertilize. You always add a few plants as long as you keep the moisture on. A liquid transplant fertilizer is good too. At this time of year there will not be much root growth in trees and shrubs but there will be some, much more so in perennials and annuals.

I have heard a lot of folks say to sink your pot in the ground and then plant in fall. It is better to have your plant in the ground without the pot for watering if you are careful not to disturb the roots. A plastic pot will restrict absorption unless you are really diligent at aiming your water directly down on the plant in question.

Petunia Hanging Basket

Baskets and Planters

No its not too late! I think I am likely one of the slowest to do up my planters…I’ll get to it sometime this week…I hope! Keep fertilizing, watering and dead heading. If your hanging basket has dried out and the water is just running down the sides and out the bottom, take it down and set it in a tray of water until it absorbs the water and reactivates the soil to hold moisture.

Trees and Shrubs

Enjoy and appreciate the shade. If you do add new to your garden at this time, make sure you are watering it deeply 3-4 times per week if it is hot. I had a customer come in with a question about ants climbing up his apple tree. I told him that ants…among other things are farmers. One of the things they like to farm is aphids. They like to carry them up and place them on young leaves and then farm the sticky sap that aphids produce or poop out. Yup…poop farmers. Bugs are great aren’t they?! Anyway this will not kill your apple tree. You can let them get a couple of crops off their aphids and the aphids might knock off a couple of your leaves if you are feeling magnanimous, or you can just spray off the aphids with the hose and wreck their harvest…they’ll usually move on after a try or two.

Vegetable Garden Beds

Veggie Gardens

Keep them hydrated, weeded and fertilized. We still have lots of veggies if you have a spot or two opened up after harvesting. Oh…enjoy those sweet sweet strawberries if you have planted some and get to your local farm gate for u-pick if you haven’t. Fruit will be early this year so be ready.

Pond

Ponds, Water bowls and Water Features

Don’t forget to fill as needed, your water levels will drop a lot on hot and windy days. Maintain about 75 percent coverage with floaters to avoid hair algae.

Garden Accessory Must Haves…

Hammock and hammock chair. I just have to figure out where to put the hammock chair. We have one at the nursery behind the wheelhouse all set up. If you come to the nursery and you can’t find me…I might just be having my break in the hammock chair…perfect for reading my stack of summer books. That should keep you busy for now…take time to smell the flowers and check out some of our local farms, it’s a lot of fun…and tasty too !


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!


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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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