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Friday, June 17, 2016
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Gardening

We are starting to get into the swing of things by June. Mowing, planting, fertilizing, trimming, deadheading and staking oh my! I hope you are not so immersed in the gardening shoulds that you are forgetting to stop and smell the flowers…literally!! Weather wise we have had a little bit of everything so far but we are fierce gardeners and are ready for anything…k maybe not anything but a lot.

It’s a jungle out there so remember to stick together (gardening clubs are good), be safe (wear a hat and sunscreen and for the love of Pete take your time when pruning if you want to keep all of your fingers),share (plants and knowledge…ok maybe not tools but the first two are enough) and above all HAVE FUN OUT THERE!! Here’s your list.

Lawn Watering Restrictions

Lawn

Stage 1 Water regulations are on but Mother Nature has been helpfully taking care of much of the watering in the lower mainland. Once we get into the hot part of summer though you can mow high, use a mulching blade. If you have to water do so in the early morning. Our lawns need only about 1 ½ “ of water per week. That is about 2 -30 min watering sessions for most sprinkler heads. You can also consider going ‘au naturel´ and allowing your lawn to go dormant (that’s just a nicer way of saying brown). If it’s not a heavy traffic area, it will begin to grow again once we get some cooler evenings and a bit of rain by September.

Thin Fruit Trees

Trees and Shrubs

Mulch your trees and shrubs with composted mulch or even a green mulch aka a groundcover! Groundcover plants can help keep moisture in the soil. Remember if you have fruit trees that have a heavy crop to start thinning the fruit. Don’t be greedy, or you are going to have broken branches and bent over trees! You can remove dead, diseased or damaged branches at any time. Consider getting a tree gator if it gets hot this summer or you plan on going away for any length of time.

Butterfly on Flower

Garden Beds

Dead head, mulch, fertilize and stake as needed. Don’t worry about being too perfect with your trimming. Remember to 'bee' observant in the garden. Many pollinators use the hollowed stems of perennials as nesting and a huge percentage of them are ground nesters. If you see tiny holes in the ground especially in sunny areas you would be doing a kindness by not weeding, mulching or cultivating in that area. Another funky thing you can do in the garden is put in a butterfly mud wallow, sunning rock and pollinator watering pebble tray. I know I am a bit of a plant and bug geek, but this stuff is cool!! Some great butterfly info sites are:

If you want to check out some cool information on other pollinators both Simon Fraser University and the David Suzuki foundation have great info:

If you would like to add some plants, we have some great butterfly, humming bird and bee favorites still at the nursery! Watch for plant damage. Expect collateral damage in the garden and weigh your options before you spray. More often a good sharp stream from the hose will do the trick and you can pass on the chemicals especially in the case of aphids and spittle bugs. Balance.

Hanging Baskets On Display

Planters and Hanging Baskets

We have some lovelies available. It is hanging basket city in the courtyard!! Think about hanging them low in groupings using our various wall hooks and shepherds hooks. Hanging your planters lower means you can enjoy them sooner instead of looking at the bottom of the pot. Also easier to water, deadhead and fertilize…just sayin’.

If you are like me and STILL haven’t done your front planters yet - don’t fret! There are lots of choices and they are bigger and when you put them into the planter it looks like you’ve been fawning over them for months. Procrastination is sometimes awesome!! Stumped for ideas? Come and visit our creation station and we can help you!!

When it comes to keeping them looking good, remember that the growers fertilizer lightly everytime they water a basket. The plants get used to that amount of food. If they run out of food, they stop blooming... therefore, feed lightly everytime you water!

Bell Peppers on Plant

Veggie Gardens and Fruit

Keep on weeding, planting and yes…thinning. I know you don’t like to thin but you HAVE to think some of those baby carrots out to give the others room. You know who you are…THIN. YOUR. VEGGIES. We have lots of great tomatoes and fiery peppers…think salsa!! As the heat starts to hit you can think about mulching some of your beds with straw.

You will get weeds but if water is an issue especially if you have an allotment plot somewhere, a straw layer will keep the moisture in the soil. I can’t believe I already have raspberries so it looks like our harvest season will be compressed again. Check fruit often and don’t be surprised if it is about 3 weeks early…plan accordingly!!

That should do for now! Get outside and enjoy the fresh air…and fresh food too!! We are lucky enough to have some of the freshest and most amazing markets and eateries!! Try something new or check out some of our farmers markets!! Think also about the critters around us and not just the cute ones either. As smart gardeners we can make a difference!!

Cheers ... Laurelle


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!!!


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!


Saturday, November 16, 2013
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Gardening

I was beginning to wonder why friends in California were so smug about their weather, they didn’t have it that good did they? Our summer was stellar and continued right through September.

I think our October was amazing…look at all the glorious fall colour and shirt sleeves by afternoon, fog notwithstanding. Ah yes, two weeks into November and I am drooling over vacation pictures of Florida, California and Hawaii like a swimsuit model looking at desserts.

Palm Trees in California

 

 

And if your day isn’t hard enough…here is your list.

Garden beds

The good news that I have is if you do weed at this time…it will likely stay weeded for a nice long time. Too bad you’ll be too busy inside hibernating to notice. Try not to work the soil if it is waterlogged. You can still move around some of your hardy perennials and shrubs. I have to shuffle around my garden at this time too. You can rake and add mulch to give it a clean look once the last of the leaves have fallen. You can also trim up and tidy a bit as well. Seed heads and grasses look great with a bit of frost so if your grasses and perennials are looking reasonably interesting leave them be.

Trees

If the leaves of your trees are free from disease, you can run over them with a mulching mower if we get a dry day and add to your garden beds. You can add them to compost or bag them to act as insulation for any tender pots. Try to avoid using rose, apple, pear, and plum leaves to mulch to avoid spreading disease or fungus.

Autumn Leaves

Hardy new trees can be planted at this time and smaller ones can be moved if necessary. I prefer to do pruning in January as there are fewer fungus disease organisms present. Raking is a great upper body and core workout. Play some music, stretch and think of the eggnog latte you will go and buy right after you’re done.

Shrubs

New hardy shrubs can be planted or older ones moved if necessary. You can think out some rose branches as needed but leave your main pruning for later winter.

Planters

Add some greens, colour and finesse them a bit. Pack your winter planters, they won’t grow much if at all over the winter so you have to make them full right away. This needn’t be at a huge expense, especially if you add some conifer branches.

Winter Planters

 

The wet cool weather will keep cut branches looking very good for a long time. Cluster and protect your planters as well, you can use bagged leaves, carpet underlay covered with some artistic placement of burlap for any slightly tender plantings.

Ponds

Continue to remove debris as needed. Winterize plants and equipment.

Plant Bulbs In Clumps

Bulbs

Plant in groupings. Make sure you mark area to avoid chopping your bulbs when you start to weed and shuffle plants in spring.

Lawns – rake leaves to avoid dead patches in your lawn. You can still lay turf at this time as long as the ground is not frozen or waterlogged but toward the end of the month it is probably best to leave until some warmer weather.

Tools and lawn mowers

Clean and winterize. Remove old gas from lawnmower clean up and if you want to get a real jump on the game you can take your blades in to get sharpened or do it yourself if you have a sharpening stone. I have a bucket of sand that I clean all of my shovels in…its handy. Clean and oil tools and leather pouches, pruning belts etc.

As scary as it is, give your sheds a once over to make sure critters haven’t moved in to escape the weather. Avoid using the blower or sweeping up clouds of dust if critter deposits are present, you don’t want to breathe that dust in!!

Blue Flowered Scilla

Inspiration

sign up for seed catalogues and start drawing out future patio and garden beds. A great plan makes for a great garden!!

Well, that should keep your busy and warm for a while anyway!! 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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