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Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Winter Gardens

Well this is turning out to be an interesting month and that’s even without mentioning politics! Fasten your seatbelts ladies and gentleman…November has arrived! It’s the month I take stock of the harvest and look back on the past year…not just in the garden either.

I make notes about what worked and what didn’t and start a wish list. If I leave it to the New Year I find I forget stuff. There are so many interesting things to do still, indoors and outdoors and after the 20 degree temperature we’ve had I think I better fish out my flip flops from the Summer bin just in case. It’s easy to get a bit overwhelmed this month. Take your time, be selective with it and what you choose to spend energy on, there is no shame in just going for a walk or staying in and doing some thinking for a spell.

Given these interesting times we live in, I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes to ponder and a timely one I think: “When given a choice between being right and being kind, always choose kind.” Dr. Wayne Dyer.

Right then, here is your list:

Lawns

You likely have only one last mowing…if that. Raise your mower height and leave it a bit high. Rake the leaves off the lawn, don’t let them sit or you will have bare patches. Avoid traffic on waterlogged areas. Take note of any soggy areas and if we do get a dry few days you might want to correct the drainage. November rains are the dress rehearsal for the winter. We often have extremes in temperature as well. I would leave seeding for the spring at this point…you are likely pushing your luck. Still a bit of time for adding the odd piece of turf but you are past the point where I would lay sod. Once you’ve finished that last mow, drain the gas and take in the blade to get sharpened to avoid the spring rush.

winter Pruning

Trees and Shrubs

Remove any dead, damaged or diseased branches at any time. You can tell if a branch is dead by carefully scraping a tiny section of bark. If it's green underneath and still flexible, it's still alive. If its dry, brown and brittle, that branch is probably done-for. 

I do my main pruning in February but you can so some tidying of shrubs if they are flopping over. Raking is a daily chore. Put the Apple, Pear, Plum and Rose leaves in the green bin, the rest you can add to your garden beds or use as mulch around your other trees.

Now is a great time to plant new trees and hardy shrubs or start planning a new garden bed. If you can get one or two anchor trees or shrubs in now you can begin the infill layer of smaller perennials and grasses in the spring…so hubby if you are reading this…clear that new garden bed!

Veggie Gardens

Finish harvesting, check drainage and remove any rotting veggies. If you have a winter crop started you can get the cover in place if one is needed otherwise just continue to monitor and cull as needed.

Winter Planters

Planters

You have had a taste of the rain to come, check the drainage and correct. Time to pull out any blown Mums or other fall flowers and start thinking of your winter planter design. I like to add lanterns or other hard features as place holders for the winter greens you will be adding mid month. If you are like me and haven’t pulled out your begonias you might want to think about doing that soon.

Truly, I am like the cautionary tale of front door planters. “Don’t be like that lady down the street who still has flowering begonias a week before Christmas.” The greens are in at the nursery. If you start a little at a time it’s not that big of a job. Lol, who am I kidding I am going to leave it till the night before I have people coming over for a Christmas party. Adrenalin makes for excellent designs.

Ponds

Continue cleaning out the leaves and removing any rotting vegetation.

Planting Bulbs

Planting Bulbs

Yes, you can still keep planting bulbs as long the bulbs themselves are still in good shape! (Which they are - there havent been any harsh frosts yet!). Bulbs like Tulips, Daffodils and others are on sale too - yay!!!!!! – Plant them for a great selection of spring and late winter colour. Remember to plant in groups or drifts!

Cut Back Cannas

Overwintering Bulbs

Dahlias, Cannas and other tubers – We are just going to enjoy the last of the blooms until Mother Nature gives us a knock down hard frost to melt off the top growth, we’ve had a few light frosts but I still have green. Once that happens, dig them up, let them dry out on newspaper or cardboard in the garage, brush them off and store in a paper bag with pine shavings or sawdust.

Flower Beds

If you can avoid cutting back or raking your garden and the pollinators with thank you. The only things you will likely want to cut back if you have them are Peonies. The only raking and removal you should do are roses. Everything else can be a great mulch.

Birdfeeder and Birdhouses

Bird Feeders

Keep them clean and filled. We do have local Hummingbirds that stay all winter! Bird Feeders – After the wind and rain assess the placement of your feeder to make sure the seed is still dry. Clean often. Great time also to look up some fun pinecone feeder projects!!

That should do for now, enjoy your blustery month, take some time to ponder and plan and take care of yourselves!!

Cheers, Laurelle


Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Posted By: Rebecca van der Zalm in Winter Gardens

November can be a tough month for gardens. In our case, we've just been pummelled by nearly 30 days of continuous rain, but extremely mild temperatures. Plants are still growing and not everything has gone dormant, but they are taking swimming lessons in order to survive! Normally, this is a month where not too many things are left flowering, so most garden colour comes from foliage, stems, berries and bark. That's what this collection of a few of my favourite November plants has to offer.

Skimmia japonica Rubella

Rubella Japanese Skimmia

Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’

Skimmias are workhorse evergreen shrubs ideal for part sun to part shade. Rubella offers red winter buds that open into white flowers in early Spring. It’s fragrant too! This male form is an excellent pollinator for female skimmia in order to produce red attractive berries on those plants. Rubella Skimmia can be used both in the garden or in containers when given a little winter protection. Hardy to zone 6

Wintergreen | Gaultheria procumbens

Wintergreen

Gaultheria procumbens

Wintergreen is a cool season favourite in the Pacific Northwest. It is a North American native with glossy deep green leaves that acquire red tints in the winter. Pink bell-shaped summer flowers blooming are followed by bright red, edible berries in fall and winter. Berries and foliage have a strong wintergreen scent. Grows to 6 inches tall and 8-12 inches wide. A great companion for Rhododendrons, Azaleas or in woodland or wildflower gardens. Best grown in part shade to part sun in right, acidic, moist, but well drained soil. Water regularly in summer. Hardy in zones 3-7

Camellia Yuletide

Yuletide Camellia

Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’

Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’ is an extremely popular red flowering camellia shrub that typically blooms in November or December in our climate. Large red flowers with a golden stamens make an elegant statement in the winter garden. Great as a foundation shrub or espalier. Glossy, dark green, evergreen foliage can also be used to create a handsome natural hedge. Provide some protection from rain, snow and ice to maximize the flower show. Yuletide Camellia is a moderate grower reaching 8-10ft in height and width. Best in part sun to part shade, but will tolerate full sun in cooler climates like ours.

Holly Scallywag

Scallywag Holly

Ilex x meservae ‘MonNieves’

Scallywag Holly is an exciting discovery. It’s a sport of Little Rascal Holly, but is more upright growing while still keeping a dense rounded form. Shiny dark green foliage takes on an attractive purple-burgundy tone in fall and winter. It’s a wonderful foundation shrub with improved disease resistance too! While it is a male form, and will not produce berries, plant it near female varieties for use as a pollinator. Evergreen. Hardy in USDA zones 5-9. Prefers to be grown in full sun with moderate water. Slow growing, but will ultimately reach 4ft tall and up to 3ft wide.

Red Beauty Holly

Red Beauty Holly

Our second Holly this time around, Red Beauty provides abundant bright red berries combined with dense dark green, evergreen foliage. It’s a a wonderful shrub to frame an entrance or driveway. Excellent when clipped or made into an informal hedge. Dense conical form requires little pruning to maintain. For best berry display, plant a male Holly variety nearby as a pollinator. Hollies are lovely when combined with Pieris, Kalmia and Rhododendrons.

Arctic Fire Red Twig Dogwood

Arctic Fire Red Twig Dogwood

Cornus stolonifera ‘Farrow' Arctic Fire Dogwood is a Proven Winners variety of red twig dogwood with dark red winter stems that are great for cutting. Green leaves provide seasonal interest too! It’s cousins are native to many parts of B.C. and it does particularly well in well drained to even boggy soil. A great selection for mass plantings, cutting gardens and is generally considered to be deer resistant. For best stems, prune a third of the branches to the ground in late winter or early spring. Grows 3-5ft tall and equally as wide.

Wilmas Goldcrest Cypress

Wilma Goldcrest Cypress

Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Wilma Goldcrest’

This fantastic bright golden-lime yellow cypress is always a winter favourite for gardens and pots. While it is not terribly hardy, what it lacks in longevity is made up for with good looks. It also delivers a nice lemony fragrance when brushed or bruised. For best results, plant it in a sheltered location and as long as we don’t get too cold you should have reasonable success with it. Prefers full sun. Hardy in zones 7-10

Carstens Winter Gold Mugo Pine

Carsten’s Wintergold Mugo Pine

Grown by Monrovia, ‘Carstens Winter Gold’ Mugo Pine, is one of the finest of the gold-hued dwarf pines. Short densely arranged needles are an attractive deep green in spring and summer, turning a rich gold tone as cold weather arrives. Colour is most intense in colder climates. It’s an outstanding specimen in smaller gardens, or plant in groupings to make a bold statement in larger landscapes. Great in combination with Japanese Maples, Holly and Switch Grass (Panicum).

Silberlock Korean Fir

Silberlocke Korean Fir

Abies koreana 'Silberlocke'

One of my personal favourites! Silberlocke Korean Fir, or Abies koreana 'Silberlocke' is a smallish conifer with shiny dark green needles that twist to show the silvery white underside. Stately brown conifers grow upwards amongst the foliage for added interest. Very unique looking specimen for the garden. Like most conifers, it prefers full sun and moist, but well drained soil. Fairly slow growing, but can ultimately reach 30ft tall and 20ft wide. Hardy to zones 5-6

Silberschmelze Winter Heather

Silberschmelze Winter Heather

Erica x darlyensis 'Silberschmelze'

Yup, another 'Silber', this time its one of the most popular white heathers. Erica x darleyensis 'Silberschmelze' is an attractive plant with dark green, almost conifer like foliage and creamy young growths in spring. White bell-shaped flowers are produced in abundance fromearly winter until late spring. Like most heathers, this one like full sun and moist, but well drained acidic soils. Most of our soils are naturally acidic, but if in doubt, mix in some peat moss into your soil or use an acidifying fertilizer like our Garden Pro Azalea / Rhododendron food. Silverschmelze Heather grows to 20 inches in height and up to 28 inches wide. Prune it lightly in spring after the flowers have finished to keep it looking neat and tidy. Hardy in zones 6-8.

As always, call ahead 604.882.1201 to confirm availability of these or any other plants as our selection is always changing.


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

Early November has blown in attempting to make up for an entire summer of no rain all at once…on bottle drive day!! I have come to the conclusion that no matter how much rain gear you have on the water WILL get in. Resistance is futile…you WILL become soggy!!

At one point while counting ‘spirits 1 litre and under’ glass bottles and lifting them into the appropriate bin (for those of you who have never done a bottle drive please take a moment and give thanks) I managed to dump an almost full bottle of wine inside the sleeve of my rain jacket and all down the front. Thankfully the corner of the Easy-Up tent collapsed under the heavy downpour a half hour later providing an unexpected chance to wash off the wine. Yay.

Indoor Winter Plants

Bring The Garden Indoors

It's a great time to bring the things we like from outdoors to the indoors. Enjoy beautiful blooms with Amaryllis, fragrance from Paperwhite Daffodil bulbs, colour from Poinsettias and style from Airplants. When you have finished procrastinating, here is your garden to do list for November!

Lawns

Likely most of you have gotten your last mow in and now it’s time to clean out and drain the gas out of your mower. We haven’t really had a hard frost but I am going to say you are probably out of time to apply grass seed. You can still lay turf though if you have areas to patch. Pay attention to any ponding or puddling and address those drainage issues immediately.

Trees and Shrubs

You can still plant trees and hardy shrubs as long as the ground is not frozen and waterlogged. Avoid digging in waterlogged soil as this will cause compaction of the soil layers. Remove any dead damaged or diseased branches now but leave any major pruning until January/February. Pick-up your Lime Sulphur / Dormant Oil Spray for use in the late Winter or early spring before your trees begin to leaf.

Garden Beds

Mulch with shredded leaves as needed. Complete any moving of perennials as needed if you are a bit of a garden shuffler like me. It's not too late to plant bulbs. Mark their location in a garden diary…or take a photo if needed to remind yourself where and what you’ve planted. My Dahlia’s are STILL up and if the frost doesn’t knock them back so I can dig them up and dry them out before storing in the next few days I will cut them back and leave them to dry on some cardboard in the garage with a fan.

Over Wintering Palm Trees

Over-Wintering Palm Trees

Wrap with non-LED older style Christmas lights…a trick told to me by a gentleman from the Palm Society. Christmas lights make great (and festive!) heaters for a smaller greenhouse or cold frame as well. Do what you can to protect the crown from snow and ice and try to shield the plant from the cold, drying winds of winter. The windmill palm is hardy to zone 7, meaning, that as long as we don't get too far below zero celsius, the plant should survive a Metro Vancouver winter.

Red Twig Dogwood and Curly Willow Branches

Pots and Planters

I am still waiting for a good blow down so I can collect some fir and pine branches to fill in my planters. Believe it or not I still have flowering begonias in my planters. As heartless as it sounds I now am forced to pull them out so I can add my winter colour. I’ll augment my live winter colour plants with the cut greens and will buy a bunch of curly willow or red twig dogwood for a bit of wow. For those outdoor pots that need protection, providing they are mostly out of sight, you can insulate with bagged leaves or carpet underlay or bubble wrap.

Irrigation Systems

If you haven’t already done so blow out your irrigation, pumps, overturn birdbaths if you are able. Continue to clean out leaves from ponds and cut back pond lilies.

Feed the birds

Feed The Birds

Continue to fill hummingbird feeders and clean in between fills! Yes we DO have varieties here that remain for the winter. Time also to crack out the bird feeders and to make sure you clean and maintain them. Time to start collecting your pinecones so you can have them ready to make peanut butter birdseed pinecones when it gets really cold to feed our feathered friends!

That should do for now. Don’t forget to take some time for yourself to snuggle in with a good book on a blustery day. Take your vitamin C and do some garden daydreaming! Next year is a fresh start!!


Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Gardening

Welcome back to the start of another garden season. We’ve had a little break, we’ve painted, power washed and built a few more bits and pieces around here and if you are like me you’re chomping at the bit…nah, I’m lying…I have a few more books I want to read. So if you are not like me and are impatient to get cracking on your garden I have an awesome list for you. One part planning, one part actual work and one part shopping. It’s an awesome to-do garden sandwich if you ask me!

The Planning Part

If you have a spot for a garden corkboard that you can pin up lists, drawings, it will make your planning process easier. I know a corkboard is old school but there is something about walking by it every day that reminds me and helps me to focus on what I need to get done.

If you haven’t done so already take stock of your garden. Take photos and note any bare areas that you would like to do over. Pay special attention to any drainage issues and as soon as it’s dry, you can start to address them.

Make a wish list both for plants and for hardware…like 2 new digging shovels for me and hard features…like a bench or a birdbath.

Make a list of plants to divide up, prune, or bring in for forcing.

Gardening Magazines

Now is a great time to peruse the garden magazines and catalogues.

Make a note of any shrubs or perennials you would like to move and flag them…I have to do this part because otherwise I’ll forget…there is nothing like a piece of orange flagging tape waving at you to remind you.

Make a job list.

The Shopping Part

If you love starting from seed now is a great time to peruse both some of the new and wonderful and the old faithful varieties. I’ve set up a bunch in the store and I’ve got my eye on some Renee’s seeds. This year we've also launched our online seed store

Online Seed Store

A great learning website and seedy event website is www.seeds.ca It will not only tell you about all of the seedy events but there is great information on pollinators too!

Now is a great time to check out some new garden tools. Peruse your job list and make sure you have the tools you need to get the job done right, quickly and with a minimum of wear and tear on you!

The Actual Work Part

Pruning Trees and Shrubs

Pruning

Now is a good time to prune. And by prune I mean removal of dead, damaged, diseased or crossing and rubbing branches to enhance the Natural shape of the tree. I do not mean drag out the rusty old hack saw and chop away at will. If you have pruned correctly you will not be able to see where you have pruned but rather notice the natural shape of the tree.

There are plenty of workshops out there (our early 2015 Spring workshop schedule will be posted in the next couple of days) as well as reading on proper pruning techniques. There is no excuse for ugly pruning jobs…so don’t make me come out there!!!

If you have questions our horticulturalists and arborists would be happy to provide advice.

Dormant Oil and Lime Sulphur Spray

Dormant Spraying

Dormant spraying. If you have a problem with pests or fungus you can spray with a lime sulphur dormant spray kit. Or if you have a pest problem such as scale, mites you can just apply the horticultural oil. The dormant oil will act as a smother coat on dormant insects. It is not selective and will also smother some overwintering pollinators if they are in the spray zone. Be mindful of when and where you spray and if it is really necessary. I know I am starting to sound like an old broken record but our native pollinators need all the help they can get!

Dividing Perennials

Now is a great time to begin dividing up hardy perennials as long as the ground is not frozen or really waterlogged. And if the ground isn’t frozen or waterlogged it’s also starting to be a good time to move hardy plants around.

Seed Starting

Seed Starting

Seed starting – you can get cracking indoors with some tomatoes, eggplant and peppers to name a few. Outdoors you may be able to start a few cool season crops like Kale. Otherwise wait another a week or two until most frosts have passed.

Organize & Clean

Organize and clean your garden workplace. Whether it’s a garden shed or part of the garage a clean and organized work area will make your gardening life better, simple as that. Clean, organize and shuffle the really big shed spiders away from your most frequently used tools...shudder. Also set up a sand bucket (a 5 gal bucket will do fine) to clean off digging shovels and other tools. It’s also good idea to set up a little dry off and clean up area for boots, soggy garden jackets and some small wooden dowlings to put muddy garden gloves to dry.

Get Ready to Fertilize & Lime

Check and organize fertilizers, lime, seeds etc. and make sure you are ready to go when the weather breaks!

That ought to do you for now. Don’t worry, I’ll think up more work for you next month!

Cheers - Laurelle


Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Posted By: Rebecca van der Zalm in Winter Gardens

As February begins, many people begin to experience a common malady called 'Gardenus addictus'. This somewhat uncommon condition afflicts more people than you would otherwise assume. Subtle symptoms begin to manifest as visits to gardening websites, hours spent pouring over seed catalogs and wandering aimlessly around empty garden beds. More extreme symptoms lead to days spent on Pinterest, visits to local garden centres in the pouring rain, seemingly random plunging of hands into cold, muddy soil, caressing weeds, and even performing tool maintenance on tools you cleaned last week. In order to provide some relief, we've taken the time to put together a small list of plants that will add interest to otherwise desolate gardens and landscapes. Enjoy!

6 winter shrubs for your garden

Rubinetta Japanese Skimmia

Skimmia japonica ‘Rubinetta’

This lovely evergreen shrub is a small to medium sized plant ideal for shade and part shade. Showy red winter flower buds open to small white flowers in early spring. Has a nice light fragrance. Male variety. Plant female skimmia nearby to produce striking red berries on those plants. Grows 2-3ft in height and spread.

Midwinter Fire Shrub Dogwood

Cornus sericea ‘Midwinter Fire’

Midwinter Fire is a striking shrub dogwood variety that produces clusters of white flowers in late spring and early summer followed by blue-black fruit. Darker green leaves turn yellow in winter before they fall. In winter the bare stems turn brilliant shades of orange, red and white. Best in full sun and moist , but well drained soils. Grows up to 8-10ft tall. Prune frequently to improve and manage shape. Extremely hardy to zone 2.

Double Play Winter Heather

Double Play is a lovely landscape plant that combines two varieties of winter heather in one pot. Blooms in winter through early spring in shades of lovely pink and striking white. Plant in groups for instant winter interest. Plant heathers in full sun and moist, but well drained acidic soils. Improve the acidity of your soil with peat, pine needles or with garden amendments.

Fragrant Sweetbox (Sarcococca)

Sarcoccoca ruscifolia

Sweetbox is another gorgeous, yet underused, evergreen shrub for shady locations. Upright growth habit and medium to dark green foliage is accented by masses of late winter blooming, delicate white, star-shaped flowers. Amazing fragrance will waft to fill the entire planting area. Red berries follow the blooms. An elegant addition to the garden border and can also be used as a hedge. Plant it somewhere you can enjoy the fragrance in winter. For example, near the front door, patio or along a frequently used walkway.

Witchhazel | Hamamelis varieties

Witchhazel

Hamamelis x intermedia

One of our favourite deciduous small trees or large shrubs is the Witchhazel. They bloom in late winter producing masses of crinkled, paperty, spidery looking flowers in shades of yellow, orange and red depending on the variety. Shown at the top of the article is a relatively new variety called ‘Angelly’. Other more common varieties are shown immediately above . Witchhazels carry rippled green leaves that also offer nice autumn colour before they fall. Grow in sun to part shade. Great vase shape and small size makes it ideal for even smaller homes and landscapes.

Winter Jasmine

Jasminum nudiflorum

This early blooming scrambling vine is a reliable and tough as nails plant ideal for adding vertical interest. Long, thin, arching green, cord-like stems with small leaves should be trained on trellises, arbors or fances. Bright yellow blooms in late winter. Grow in sun to part shade. Unlike other Jasmines it has no fragrance, but does add a lot of colour to otherwise drab winter gardens.

If you are interested in any of these wonderful plants, drop by and visit us at Art's Nursery or give us a call at 604.882.1201. As always, check ahead to confirm availability as our selection is always changing.


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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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