Tag Archives: Canada Blooms

Canada Blooms is accepting applications for Balcony Gardens

CB Balcony Gardens 2018

Canada Blooms is now accepting applications from Interior Designers, Landscape Designers and Architects to create Balcony Gardens for 2018.

If you have ever considered creating a garden at Canada Blooms and specialize in small space design, then now is the time to let us know. The festival is creating balcony display units that will challenge the designers to create something spectacular, memorable and inspirational  in a real life, limited space, setting (10 ft long x 6 ft deep x 8 ft high), while also keeping in mind this year’s theme “Let’s Go To The Movies”.

  • Canada Blooms will provide:
    10′ x 6′ x 8′ display unit prebuilt with raw plywood,  open
    front and back, and to be finished by designer on floor, sides (inside and out) and ceiling.
  • $650 subsidy
  • 1 duplex electrical outlet

There is limited space available to showcase your talent, creativity, craftsmanship and professionalism at Canada Blooms – March 9-18, 2018. If you are interested in submitting and application please contact Canada Blooms Horticultural Director David Turnbull at davidturnbull@canadablooms.com or 416-447-8655 x 7730 for more details.  Application deadline November 30th.

Balcony Garden With Dimensions

Canada Blooms Plants Of The Year

Canada Blooms/Proven Winners Plants of the Year

Canada Blooms and Proven Winners are proud to announce the Canada Blooms Plants of the Year for 2018. This year we will be showcase three amazing plants — an annual, a perennial and a shrub, and purple is the colour to look for in the spring.

These three plants selected were chosen from hundreds that were tested in the University of Guelph Trial Gardens program for hardiness suitable for growing in Ontario’s climate.

The Annual – Petunia ‘Supertunia® Bordeaux™’ has vigorous  slightly mounded growth habits that function as both fillers and spillers in containers. They are also excellent landscape plants, best suited to be placed near the front of beds. The Bordeaux has medium to large sized flowers, attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.

The Perennial – Heuchera ‘Primo Black Pearl’ has stunning black foliage with ruffled edges, rosy purple undersides, and white flowers that bloom in mid-summer. This salt-tolerant heuchera grows well in both shade and sun. It is also deer resistant and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.

The Shrub – Weigela ‘Spilled Wine‘ shares the fabulous deep purple foliage and bright pink flowers of the classic Wine & Roses® weigela but with a shorter growth habit. This beautiful plant grows wider than tall, making it the perfect choice for edging beds or walkways and for incorporating under windows in your landscape design. Like all weigela, it is deer resistant and very easy to care for.

“We’re thrilled that Canada Blooms has graciously agreed to feature our three 2018 National Plants of the Year at their spring festival,” said Marshall Dirks, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Proven Winners. “In just our second year of building this effort, we’ve been pleased that growers and retailers have embraced the National Plant of the Year program, making it easier for gardeners to experience these wonderful varieties. In fact, Supertunia® Bordeaux™, our 2018 Annual of the Year™, was developed by a Canadian, Ken Lander of Sunrise Greenhouses in Pugwash, Nova Scotia.”

ProvenWinners1

Staging the Toronto Flower Show at Canada Blooms

Toronto Flower Show Set Up

Staging the Toronto Flower Show at Canada Blooms….Otherwise known as an Exercise in Madness

When do we begin planning for the next show? We start before the current show is even set up! By June of the prior year, we are in full swing – drawing up construction plans and nagging others for information so we can develop a floor plan.

Schedule writers from Horticulture and Design, Youth, Special Exhibits, Lighting consultants, and plant suppliers are but a few of the people with whom we interact, always staying in touch with Terry Caddo, General Manager of Canada Blooms, and diligently monitoring the budget throughout the whole process.

Once we receive the flower show schedule, we get together over the summer months to review the schedule for the upcoming show and to assess the sets that we have in inventory and how they can be best utilized. We collaborate on the layout of the show – changing the plan from the previous year – to enhance the displays of course, but also to entice the general public to walk through and marvel at the creativity and colours.

Firstly, we revisit the budget figures. With those in mind, and from a review of current inventory of sets, we commence designing new and replacing old sets and finding odd things like chandeliers or the Hula Hoops used in 2015 (which took a summer of many of us scouring stores). We are forever on the lookout for ideas and drive all over looking for props for use. This can take quite some time when we are looking for a specific type of item – and ones that will fit within our budget!

We work all summer to meet the deadline of September in order to have everything planned to allow the contractor/builder time to construct, paint, repair, or replace sets. The inventory is stored in a large warehouse at Landscape Ontario in Milton. In October, existing sets are pulled out to be inspected, repaired and painted with new colours. All the new construction begins.

In early March, everything that has been designated for us is transported to site. As always, there are a few glitches, but the team pulls together. We are usually on site for at least 5-6 days ahead of time before the wonderful designs, created by the members of the Garden Club of Toronto, International designers from around the world and local Horticultural Societies, are put in place. Keeping warm during this period is a challenge and sleep for us is a luxury!

However, when the Canada Blooms Festival is ready to open, we are delighted that we have this wonderful opportunity to be able to help pull the Toronto Flower Show together. In spite of the challenges, the end result is very rewarding.

Celia Roberts and Lil Taggart, Co-chairs, Staging for the TFS

Fall Weather is Perfect for Planting

Fall Garden Picture

Fall is a fabulous time to tackle landscaping tasks in your yard. In fact, some seasoned gardeners believe fall rivals spring when it comes to the number of gardening opportunities. Don’t put away that garden spade just yet — you’ve got some planting to do! Here is a list of tips to help you get the job done:

Plant more plants
Fall is a great time for planting because the soil temperature is perfect for root establishment. Perennials, vines, shrubs and trees can all be planted up to six weeks before the ground completely freezes. Be sure to keep new plantings watered until the ground is frozen. Fall is the time to plant spring-flowering bulbs such as tulips, daffodils and summer-blooming lilies. Tip: To avoid your treasures from being dug up by squirrels, cover the newly planted area with chicken wire, then cover with shredded leaves or mulch to cover any scent. It’s also a great time to visit your local garden centre to check out new arrivals especially for the fall planting season.

Decide and divide
When perennials begin to bloom less, clumps become too large or start dying out in the centre. If you want to increase the number of clumps or move them to another location, it’s time to decide and divide. Dig up the entire clump and use a sharp spade or heavy knife to cut it into smaller sections, just as you would cut up a pie. Replant the sections and water them well.

There are two prime times to divide perennials: Spring-flowering perennials are divided in the fall; summer-flowering and fall-flowering perennials are divided in spring. Some plants can be divided anytime. This splits up the task into two seasons and makes the job easier. Fall is the perfect time to expand the flowering times in your collection as most garden centres stock a wonderful selection of fall flowering plants.

To cut or not to cut?
Avoid shearing hedges and pruning deciduous trees in the fall. Pruning stimulates new growth which is best left for spring and summer, however any unruly shoots can be safely snipped. Cut back perennials that self-seed or have no winter interest, leaving six to eight inches of stubble to trap the snow and insulate the crown over winter. Perennials such as sedums and ornamental grasses are outstanding features in the winter garden and can be cut back in spring.

Leave the leaves
If you have a mulching mower, mulch fallen leaves right into your lawn, rather than raking. If you have too many leaves, run the mower over the leaves first, then rake them up and apply as organic matter to your garden or simply add to your compost bin. Shredded leaves break down into humus faster than non-shredded leaves. Humus helps to retain soil moisture and nutrients that plants then utilize.

Healthy harvest
Canning sun-ripened tomatoes and drying fresh herbs (such as parsley and oregano), can add wonderful aromas to your home and add home-made goodness to meals. Fresh herb aromas and a freshly baked fall apple pie just prior to an open house have been known to sell a home!

Water-wise
Be sure to keep within the guidelines of municipal water restrictions, yet keep your garden watered in the fall right until freeze-up as plants are still growing.

Urning for containers
Add some fall flair to your summer containers by switching up plants with flowering kale, ornamental cabbages or colourful, fall mums.

Seeding and sodding
September is the best time for turf establishment as the air temperatures are cooler and there are fewer germinating weed seeds. Applying a fall lawn fertilizer ensures the hardiness of grass before the harsh winter.

Bring the outside in
Before the first hard frost, dig up any tender bulbs and tubers, such as dahlias and cannas, and store them in a cool dark place for replanting next spring. Bring in any tropical plants from their patio location. Be sure to hose them down with insecticidal soap and water to ensure no travelling pests hitch a ride indoors for a cozy winter retreat.

Help from the pros
The fall gardening season truly is a busy time! If you simply don’t have the time or the energy to prepare your property for the coming seasons, why not hire a professional to do the work for you? For more tips and advice, or to connect with one of over 2,000 members of Landscape Ontario, visit: LandscapeOntario.com

From Denis Flangan, Landscape Ontario

About Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association
Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association is one of the most vibrant associations of its kind, comprised of over 2,000 members, ten sector groups and nine local chapters. Its trade mission is to promote the horticulture industry in Ontario, and its public mission is to promote the joys and benefits of green spaces.

Floral Design From Fluerishes by JuJu

Deisgn by JuJu

Spring time is always an exciting time of year, full of possibilities and potential: What flowers to plant in the garden? In what arrangement? And what colours? And, what theme should one choose? The latter is particularly fun, in keeping with the Canada Blooms 2018 theme of “Let’s Go To The Movies”!

So, for this festival, Floral Designer Justine De Bouvier, of Fleurishes by JuJu, thought to shake things up a bit and give Hollywood, and the visitors of the Canada Blooms Show, something to remember! Being a floral artist, Justine naturally selected Salvador Dalí’s, “Un Chien Andalou”, as her guiding design theme for this show! When there are no limits to the imagination, there will be no limits to the possibilities of floral design!

In designing her unexpected and stunning floral arrangements, Justine adheres to the following skeleton of principles, irrespective of whether it is for the garden or a container arrangement:

• Ensure the colours follow a harmonious colour scheme, such as, designing with a complementary colour scheme – that is, colours located directly opposite each other on the colour spectrum, as blue and yellow are

• Provide visual interest by varying the texture of the botanicals selected for the garden or container arrangement – contrasting textures create visual interest

• Play with space by varying the height of the flowers used in the garden or container arrangements – to move and carry the eye around the design

• Incorporate or use unexpected design elements or vessels

• Step back and look at the garden or container arrangement as a whole and, add or subtract anything that affects the overall harmonious flow of the arrangement.

Beyond these basic principles, anything is possible! Drop in to one of Justine’s demos at the show to learn how to apply these principles and elevate your botanical designs to a whole new level. Alternately, stop by our booth (number H349) to see, firsthand, our principles of botanical design. Hope to see you there!

~ Photo: A Floral Arrangement inspired by Dalí Atomicus, by Justine De Bouvier, of Fleurishes by JuJu

Rock Your Landscape with Maynooth Granite

Maynooth Granite Products

Increasingly homeowners are turning to river rock as part of their decorative landscaping. River rock has a number of practical uses, and once properly installed it requires the least amount of maintenance of any ground cover and is a permanent landscape solution.

Along the side of your home, draining your downspouts, bordering trees and gardens, or preventing erosion on sloped areas of your garden are a few of the more common uses. River rock resists runoff and the natural gaps between the rock provides a reservoir to allow precipitation to pool and return to the water table. It works as a heat shield during the day keeping the moisture in the soil for neighbouring plants and its many minerals provide nutrients to the soil.

River rock looks best when set among plants and mulches and a grouping of various sized colourful boulders can provide a natural year round focal point in your garden. Homeowners with small yards are replacing lawns with river rock and creating attractive gardens with no watering or cutting.

Here are a few tips if you are considering decorative rock:
• A flat area is ideal for any sized river rock from pea gravel to large rocks but larger 3-4″ rocks are best for sloped areas as they resist runoff.
• Remove dirt or soil 2-3″ below the border in the area where you wish to apply rock to allow room for the rock you will be adding and to ensure rocks don’t spill over the border.
• Always use landscape fabric. Really. You will definitely get weeds if you don’t. Also the topsoil will mix with the rock in time, they won’t look as nice and won’t drain as well.
• Granite river rock is recommended for ponds, water features and shoreline retention to promote healthy water by providing a surface for aerobic bacteria to form.
• Bury 20% of boulders in the ground making them seem as if they rolled in ages ago.
• Wind, rain and snow eventually removes the granite fines from the rocks to fully reveal the colours, texture, patterns and shine.

Canada Blooms is proud to announce the addition of Maynooth Granite as an official sponsor of the 2018 festival. In 2017, Maynooth Granite’s unique Algonquin granite river rock was prominently displayed in Genoscapes’ Secret Path Garden as well as other gardens with compelling results.

Maynooth Granite River Rock is sold at Sheridan Nurseries, select Home Hardware stores, Beaver Valley Stone and at 75 independent dealers across Ontario. The rock is screened and washed and available in sizes from pea gravel to giant boulders.

For more information visit: www.maynoothgranite.com.

Maynooth Granite Screening PlantMaynooth Granite Screening Plant

Maynooth Granite at Canada Blooms 2017

Daffodils: Harbingers of Spring

Tahiti Daffodil - The Gardener Magazine

By William Hrycan
Reprinted in part from the upcoming Fall 2017 edition of “The Gardener for Canadian Climates” magazine.

To me, daffodils are the sunniest, most upbeat spring flowering bulbs. Their nodding heads, with the trumpet-shaped cup surrounded by a ring of petals, seem particularly full of personality.

Daffodils are hardy, spring-blooming bulbs in the same family as amaryllis. Originally from the mountain meadows of southern Europe, they have been found in gardens all over Europe for centuries. Early North American pioneers brought daffodil bulbs with them to the New World to remind them of the gardens they left behind in Europe.

How to grow daffodils:
Plant daffodil bulbs as soon as you start seeing them in stores. This may be the end of August or early September in cooler areas, but much later in warmer areas. Daffodils need at least six weeks to root before the ground starts getting too cold. If you’ve missed this window, plant anyway (sometimes those half-price bags of bulbs at the grocery store in late October are just too hard to pass up). Your bulbs will do better in the ground than they will in storage for the winter. Just don’t hold out much hope for bulbs planted less than a few weeks before the frost starts staying in the ground.

Once planted, water-in well and don’t allow the bulbs to dry out—the bulbs prefer to be grown in moist locations. When buying daffodils, look for bulbs that are large, plump, firm and free of any signs of mold or rot.

Find a nice sunny spot, ideally one that collects lots of winter snow. I like to plant them near shrubs or behind other perennials. The daffodils will pop out of the ground early and bloom before other plants get in the way, but the foliage of nearby plants will help hide the daffodil leaves as they go dormant by mid summer.

Before planting, dig holes deep and incorporate lots of rich organic matter into soil. Plant the bulbs twice as deep as they are wide, approximately 10–15 cm (4–6 in.) to the bottom of the hole, with the pointed ends up. Space bulbs 10–15 cm (4–6 in.) apart, and plant in large groups to maximize their impact.

Daffodils don’t usually need splitting or dividing, but if you find the clumps are getting too crowded or you want to spread them around, dig up whole clumps as the foliage starts to turn yellow, carefully separate large bulbs from each other, and shake the soil off. Large bulbs connected at the base can be pulled apart and replanted, but leave smaller daughter bulbs attached to the larger mother bulb; they will separate on their own when they’re large enough.

Daffodils like moist, well drained soil. If you’re gardening in light, sandy soils, water well in the autumn as the bulbs are preparing for winter, and water during spring growth, blooming and for six weeks following blooming to keep the bulbs happy as they store energy. If you’re gardening in heavy clay, moisture may be less of a problem, but keeping soils well drained can be challenging. In either case, add plenty of organic matter to the soil to improve moisture conditions. When daffodils do not thrive, the most likely reason is soil moisture conditions. Waterlogged soil will cause bulbs to rot quickly, while dry soils will cause bulbs to whither and dry out. Both conditions are fatal, particularly to newly planted bulbs.

William Hrycan is horticultural editor for “The Gardener for Canadian Climates” magazine. A landscape architect, photographer, devoted dad and self-confessed gardening addict who gardens wherever and whenever he can. The Gardener magazine has published since 1995 and is regarded as the definitive horticultural magazine for in-depth information for our challenging Canadian growing zones.

 Gardener Magazine logo

 

Tropical Plant Care From Jill Jensen Botanicals

Tropical Plant from Jill Jensen Botanicals

From magazines to blogs, and Instagram posts in between, it’s hard not to notice how popular Fiddle Leaf Fig plants (Ficus lyrata) have become. But what happens when you’re in love with the design aesthetic of a plant but not sure how to care for it? Read below for some tips from everyone’s favourite plant expert here at Jill Jensen Botanicals, Randy.

Ficus lyrata are surprisingly easy to care for. Like most plants they enjoy a schedule, and benefit best from sticking to one. They do best in bright but filtered light (think a West or South facing window) and need to stay moist.

But what does “stay moist” actually mean? Well, throw away your measuring cups because these plants enjoy being watered well, meaning there is no sure way to water it each week. A good rule of thumb is to use your finger and place it down in the soil a few inches. Does the soil stick to your finger and leave you a bit dirty? Or, are you able to easily pull it out with little residue? If your answer is the first then you’re likely okay to wait a few more days before watering. However,if your answer is the second one, then perhaps its time to fill up a jug and give your plant baby some H20. Keep in mind it’s important that your plants have great drainage, and are not sitting in water.

What about consistent leaf drop? Are your leaves now soft and big brown patches appearing? Chances are this is due to over watering therefore your fiddle leaf figs needs a little less water and a little more time to dry out between waterings. Drooping leaves? Under watering may be the culprit here but careful not to suddenly give your plants a lot of water to make up for it — too much is just as bad as too little.

 

All plants may also go through a brief period of stress as they leave the beautiful (warm!) greenhouses they were once habituating to go into a home where the AC is on high, or the window has a draft in the winter. If it’s been a few weeks and your fiddle leaf fig doesn’t appear to be getting any happier then it may be time to re-evaluate its’ care schedule and placement. A great tip is to give your plants some fertilizer during the summer when they’re in their active growing stage. Look for a balanced houseplant fertilizer, such as a 20-20-20, and use every 4-6 weeks. Having the bottom leaves drop off during this time is completely normal as your plant is making room for new growth.

We’re consistently asked about transplanting plants but tropical plants, including those beautiful fiddle leaf figs, like to be a little pot bound. The best practice is to only plant into a new pot that is 1″-2″ larger than the current one. Alternatively, don’t be afraid to just place your ‘grower pot’ potted plant into a decorative pot instead. This way you can easily keep an eye on water levels and there is less stress to the plant as well. If you do need to transplant, stay away from your everyday gardening soil and purchase tropical plant soil from your local greenhouse instead. Spending a little extra money on soil could save you a lot of money on aspirin for the headaches you may have later on.

We invite you to follow us on Instagram @jilljensenbotanicals for pictures from the greenhouse!

www.jilljensenbotanicals.ca

Jill Jensen Team

2018 Canada Blooms Theme: “Let’s Go To The Movies”

Let's Go To The Movies Banner

The theme for 2018 is “Let’s Go To The Movies” celebrating the grandeur of the Silver Screen. From days of old to the newest blockbuster hit, Canada Blooms is excited to kick off the Spring gardening season by showcasing our theme — “Let’s Go To The Movies”.

We invite our landscape architects, design/build experts and floral artists to let their imagination run wild and show us their unique and innovative interpretations of this year’s theme.

Will they choose the classics, contemporary or film noir movies? And, how will they be incorporated into the feature gardens, floral arrangements and stage presentations?

Come join Canada Blooms, at the Enercare Centre in Toronto, March 9-18, 2018 to find out … “Let’s Go To The Movies“.

Tulip Bulb Care (Removing From Flower Beds)

Bulbs

On November 7, 2016, 42 energetic students from grades 9 to 12 from St. Joan of Arc Catholic Secondary School came to the Canada Blooms/Landscape Ontario site at Milton to plant 6,650 spring bulbs generously donated by Van Hoff and Blokker, Tradewinds, Mark Cullen and Landscape Ontario members.

Now the beautiful tulips have bloomed and peaked, and we were wondering what to do with them (at least with the ones the squirrel left alone), so we reached out to Carolyn de Vries from Tradewinds International for some advice.

Here is what she suggested:

If you wish to remove the tulips from the flower beds for other plantings, yet you still wish to keep the bulbs, then you should:

1. Deadhead by cutting back stem to above first leaf
2. Lift the bulb, stem and leaves
3. Store in a dark place adding peat to ensure bulbs are kept dry
4. Planting time in the fall, clean up bulbs by removing dried foliage
5. Plant
6. Enjoy them in the spring

Tradewinds International

The Trendy Garden in 2017

Vegetables - Italy Magazine Photo

Over the summer the hard working talented Landscape Ontario members will be adding style to your neighbourhoods.

Certain colours come in vogue, and then fade back in with the crowd. Tastes in décor change as you grow older. Materials gain favour, and then become commonplace as the latest and greatest emerges the following season.

And while there are a faithful standbys — and in the world of gardening and landscaping, there are quite a few style elements that have proven to have significant staying power — these trends are not a bad thing. A little variety in your personal oasis is a good thing lest the look and feel of your garden becomes stale.

Part of the joy of gardening is seeing what others are doing: How are they using certain plants? What colours are prominent this year? Do I need to incorporate some non-plant elements like a statue or bench? Is fragrance important?

Then take those ideas that appeal to you, and work them into your own design. Allow yourself to be influenced and inspired

In getting ready for the 2017 planting season, there are several trends taking root this year that should be top of mind for your garden.

Water is vital to the health of your garden, but water features — ponds, fountains, waterfalls, pools — are incredibly popular right now. Almost all of the gardens that were in the showcase at Canada Blooms 2017 were built around some sort of water feature.

If you are planning an overhaul, or just starting a garden from scratch, work in a small pond. Not only does it add to the tranquility of your space, but it also attracts vital wildlife like butterflies, honeybees and birds. If your garden is well established, set a slow gurgling fountain amid the flowers.

Of course, Canada 150 is everywhere this year as our nation ramps up to celebrate its sesquicentennial and gardening is no exception.

Red and white flowers are all the rage, but in particular demand is the Canadian ShieldTM Rose. Named the Canada Blooms Plant of the Year, it is a Canadian-made rose — developed at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre in the fertile Niagara Peninsula — crafted to thrive in Canada’s wildly diverse weather conditions. It is versatile landscape and garden rose with a one-metre spread, full red flowers and glossy green foliage. It is a repeat bloomer, ensuring it will stay in colour all season long.

The Canadian ShieldTM Rose is being marketed as a gardener’s dream, and it truly is. It has a visual appeal that will highlight any landscape project.

The Canada of today is much different than the largely agrarian society that became a Dominion in 1867. But as we become more urban, many green thumbs are heeding the call back to the land to grow their own food.

Vegetable and fruit gardens are allowing urbanites to bypass the produce aisle at the grocery store. Tomatoes are always a popular backyard garden item, but don’t overlook things like cucumbers, radishes, peppers, lettuce, kale, chard, carrots, peas … you can feed your family all summer from the bounty in your backyard.

We are also seeing increasing awareness about the ecological and societal importance of trees. Besides purifying the air and producing the oxygen we need to survive, they are beautiful elements in our neighbourhoods that provide vital shade where we can escape the blazing summer sun. Small- to medium-sized trees — those that will grow to about 20-feet high — are in demand at garden shops this spring, many of them producing beautiful blooms in the spring.

With the overall growing interest in gardening in general, we are seeing the backyard garden become more of an extension of the home. People want to spend more of their time outdoors, enjoying the fruits of the labour and the beautiful weather while they can. As part of the effort to extend the use of outside space, we are seeing garden sheds being repurposed as three-season living spaces. Furniture, lighting, perhaps a television and a mini-fridge, and where once you hung your spade is now an escape hatch steps from home.

The season is now upon us. Have a look around, get some inspiration, steal an idea or two and get planting. It is well worth the effort.

Denis Flangan, Landscape Ontario

 

Follow Landscape Ontario on Twitter @Green_for_Life and Like it on Facebook. For more information, please visit landscapeontario.com.

Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association, one of the most vibrant associations of its kind, is comprised of over 2,000 member companies, ten sector groups and nine local chapters. Its trade mission is to promote the horticulture industry in Ontario, and its public mission, Green for Life, promotes the joys and benefits of plants and green spaces. Visit http://www.landscapeontario.com for more information.

Photo from Italy Magazine

Miniature Marvels: Singing the Praises of the Lowly Groundcover

MelanieRekolaMiniature Marvels

Story and Photos by Melanie Rekola for Our Home Magazine

Considering groundcovers are often in the forefront of garden beds everywhere, it seems little praise is given to these tough, tiny plants.

Groundcovers can add a whole new dimension of colour to your garden through their foliage, texture and abundant bloom. Many, with their trailing nature can soften hard stonework when tucked in crevices, or be encouraged to spill down the front of retained beds giving an “aged” feel. Groundcovers can also help retain slopes and discourage weed growth. Some are so strong that they can act as a lawn or path substitution. Read on to discover more.

MELANIE’S PLANT PICKS:

Stonecrop (sedum) – There are so many lovely trailing varieties of the sedum family that I cannot pick just one! The fleshy, succulent leaves of this little plant often look like a flower. It comes in a variety of foliage and blooms colours, plus it’s drought tolerant and happy in lean soil. Bees and hummingbirds love them and the presence of pollinators is an important indicator of a healthy garden. Stonecrop favours sun but will tolerate partial shade. My favourites are:
Angelina (Sedum rupestre) – This spiky evergreen variety offers bright golden foliage and turns orange in fall, with yellow flowers in early summer.
Dragon’s Blood (Sedum spurium) – The well-loved stonecrop is a semi-evergreen specimen with rich reddish foliage and bright pink blooms in late summer.
Bronze Carpet (Sedum spurium) – This showy stonecrop sports brilliant bronze red semi-evergreen foliage with flattering pink flowers.
Miniature Stonecrop (Sedum requieni) – This miniature stonecrop is a tiny leafed evergreen sedum and is the only one that tolerates foot traffic. It forms a dense mat with tiny white flowers and is extremely hardy.

Creeping Phlox (Plox subulata) – Dense and low growing, this soft-looking plant is a prolific bloomer! It’s covered in small purple, pink, white or variegated flowers in spring, with short, stiff evergreen foliage. This low-maintenance perennial prefers sun/part sun and is accepting of lean soils.

Golden Scotch Moss (Sagina subulata) – Very dense and low growing, this mounding evergreen perennial, with tiny star-like white flowers in spring, boasts attractive chartreuse foliage. It tolerates foot traffic easily but its shallow root system requires steady watering to thrive. It prefers part shade.

Hens and Chicks (Sempervivum) – I like all varieties of this drought tolerant succulent. Their rosettes display dazzling progressive colour changes throughout the season. They favour full sun to bring out their rich colour. Sempervivums will bloom after the second or third year. An odd looking flower stalk will shoot up from the centre of the main rosette with a cluster of flowers. After the flower dies, gently twist off the stalk. The main rosette has put on new offsets that will fill in.

Cranesbill (Geranium Bloody) – Of the many variations of the Cranesbill family, my absolute favourite variety is Bloody, which, to me, is one of the best Cranesbill introductions ever. It bears handsome dark green foliage with happy, upright clusters of bright violet-purple, cup-shaped flowers. Bloom period begins in early summer and continues on throughout the garden season. It likes sun to part shade.

Creeping Jenny/Moneywort (Lysimachia nummularia or Golden Creeping Jenny) – Creeping Jenny is accused of being an aggressive perennial, however the Goldilocks variety is restrained in habit. It is ideal to combat soil erosion or on rock walls and tolerates lean soil. Preferring full sun to part shade, its yellow-green foliage makes a bright statement when paired with common greens typically found in the garden. The name “wort” suggests medicinal use; it was used by early English herbalists to heal superficial wounds of both man and serpents. It was also used for ulcers, scurvy, hemorrhages and ailments of the lungs.

Dianthus (Dianthus) – Dianthus range in colour from pink, to red, to white flowers with notched petals and finely textured leaves. Sweet Williams (Dianthus barbatus) are large and are biennial or short-lived perennials covered with bicolour flowe4rs in late spring. Pinks are low-growing, low-care dianthus suitable for rock gardens with happy open-faced flowers and attractive grey-green foliage. Dianthus prefers full sun and won’t stand wet soils.

Creeping Thyme Elfin or Minus (Thymus praecox Elfin or Minus) – This tiny gem has gorgeous miniature flowers and compact leaves. This is another “walk upon” plant and when trod on will let go its thymey scent – plus it’s edible! It favours full sun and tolerates lean soil.

A host of mature, entangled groundcovers an rival the beauty of a tapestry. But be careful to consider the aggressive habit of many and choose the right plant for the right environment. Groundcovers are not only at home n the applications mentioned – consider planting a “mini” garden in a planter or two. Children love this pint-sized forest idea, or dare I say living wall. Perhaps it’s just the thing to take a ho-hum exterior wall to a front-and-centre showpiece!

View original story and pictures at: http://canadablooms.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/MinitureMarvels1.pdf

Rain gardens: Slow water is good water

Rain Garden Video Library

From Mark Cullen’s April Newsletter

Water is flowing though our landscapes faster than ever – paved surfaces prevent it from seeping into the earth, so water has no choice but to flower ever faster into our streams.
The results are flooding, erosion and pollution.

Good news: Every homeowner can make a difference! Rain gardens capture rainwater and allow it to filter down where it is needed, preventing serious problems.
Beyond that huge benefit, rain gardens are beautiful, and can even solve drainage headaches on your property.

Get inspired with a new, seven-part video library hosted by Mark Cullen:
How to build a rain garden 

Canada Blooms is now accepting applications for feature gardens

Vaughan 2017

Canada Blooms is now accepting applications from Landscape Designers and Architects to build at Canada Blooms.
If you have ever considered building a garden feature at Canada Blooms, now is the time to let us know. Canada Blooms is looking for Landscape Designers, Builders and Architects who can create spectacular, memorable and inspirational gardens. Build a garden at Canada Blooms and create an impression that will last a lifetime.  The theme will be announced soon.

There is limited space available to showcase your talent, creativity, craftsmanship and professionalism at Canada Blooms – March 9-18, 2018. If you are interested in submitting an application visit our website or contact Director of Horticulture, David Turnbull for more details.  Notice of intent to build should be received by April 7, with renderings submitted May 26th, 2017.

Note: submissions are judged by an independent committee and successful applicants will be notified by July 2, 2017.

Photo by David Ohashi, Garden by Vaughan Landscaping

Weeding Out The Garden Myths

Melanie Rekola Design

Story and Photos by Melanie Rekola, from Our Home Fall 2016

 

As a landscape designer and certified horticulturalist, I come across a lot of misconceptions when it comes to gardening.

Myth 1: Cedar trees attract mosquitoes
Reality: In nature, cedar grows in moist soil, which mosquitoes adore. It’s not actually the cedar that attracts them though mosquitoes are attracted to shaded environments of any type.

Myth 2: Garden lines have to be curvaceous
Reality: Some spaces don’t have the room to accommodate the serpentine lines loved by many. Sometimes straight lines just work better and can be equally striking.

Myth 3: Existing garden soil needs cultivation
Reality: Cultivation of the earth around existing perennials and shrubs breaks their vital hair roots, thus injuring the plant.

Myth 4: Gardens are a lot of work
Reality: Start gardens with a thick layer of good quality soil with additional bonemeal supplement. Spread a good layer of mulch yearly to retard weeds and keep moisture in. Do this and a garden will need little weeding and may never need fertilization or supplemental watering after establishment. How’s that for low maintenance.

Myth 5: Vegetable gardens are an eyesore
Reality: Veggie garden placement counts, Raised planter boxes add definition and look great flanking a path. Edibles such as leaf lettuce have lovely foliage and many food plants sport pretty blossoms. Am I the only one that finds beauty here? (article has picture of raised bed – see link below)

Myth 6: Containers are only for annuals
Reality: Many trees and shrubs can live in posts for years. They need less care and watering plus offer the bigger bang for your buck than a typical annual display. For example, a $20 Curly Willow shrub can survive for years in a large pot, has amazing form and makes a bold statement. Compare that with what you have to spend on annual displays over a three-year span.

Myth 7: Trees stop growing
Reality: Trees don’t reach a certain height then suddenly stop growing. Some trees do have shorter or slimmer habits that suit smaller spaces. Remember, if trees were planted for the height they reach in 50-100 years, few of us would plant them.

Myth 8: Bees sting unprovoked
Reality: Flowering plant materials are fine poolside choices. Just because you have more skin showing does not make your chances of being stung any greater, though flailing around wildly will increase the likelihood! Stay calm and learn to enjoy and respect bees.

Myth 9: Overwatering isn’t harmful
Reality: All new plantings require water to establish, yet overwatering quickly drowns plants. Stick your finger in the soil. If you feel moisture, don’t water. Plant roots require gaseous exchange for survival and need to dry out a bit between watering to accommodate this.

Myth 10: Vines are bad for intact brickwork and woodwork
Reality: Current studies show vines such as ivy act as a thermal blanket, warming up walls by 15 per cent in cold weather and offer a cooling effect in hot weather by 36 per cent. Plus they look gorgeous! But take care to keep vines out of windows and soffits.

Myth 11: Landscape designers are landscape architects or garden designers
Reality:
Landscape designers approach design as a whole, including pool, patios and outdoor living spaces, trees and gardens, lighting and even outdoor furniture and accessories. Think of us as exterior designers.

View original story and pictures at: http://canadablooms.com/pdfs/2017/Garden_Myths-OurHomeFall2016.pdf

Blooms Flower of the Year 2017: Canadian Shield Rose

Canadian Shield Rose from Vineland

Canada Blooms is excited to announce that it has chosen for  its flower of the year the new Canadian Shield™ rose. The Canadian Shield™ rose has been selected from the Vineland Research &  Innovation (Vineland) rose breeding program. This new variety of rose, branded  and marketed by Vineland will make its debut in gardens next summer in time for  Canada’s 150th birthday celebration. It’s the first rose in a  curated collection to be released in the coming years and known as Vineland’s  49th Parallel Collection.

The Canadian Shield™ is a versatile garden and landscape  rose with a more than one-metre spread, plenty of full, red flowers and glossy  green foliage. It’s a repeat bloomer that stays stunning throughout the entire garden  season. Just as its name suggests, the Canadian Shield™ rose is a hardy flower that’s resistant  to black spot and winter hardy from coast to coast.

Come see the Canadian Shield™ rose  on display at Canada Blooms in  March, and discover why you should have it in your garden for Canada  Day 2017.

Vineland Logo

Vineland Research & Innovation

Media Releases

 

The Theme for 2017 is “Oh! Canada”

LandscapeOntarioFlag2012

The theme for 2017 is “Oh! Canada” in honour of Canada’s sesquicentennial. Oh! Canada — Canada, a strong and proud Oh! Canada Badgecountry will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of Confederation and Canada Blooms is excited to kick off the Spring gardening celebrations showcasing our theme — “Oh! Canada”.
We are inviting our landscape architects, design/build experts and floral artists to dazzle us with their unique interpretations of “Oh! Canada”.
Our curiosity has been piqued. Will they shine a spotlight on the beautiful change of seasons, which makes us a popular tourist destination; our democracy or cultural diversity; our many landmarks or celebrities; or perhaps something as Canadian as hockey (even if lacrosse is the official sport)?
Oh! Canada, there is so much to be proud of, and so much to celebrate. So, mark your calendars now and join our celebration — March 10-19, 2017 at the Enercare Centre.

Help Honey Nut Cheerios in its Mission to Plant 35 Million Wildflowers

Honey Nut Cheerios

Help Honey Nut Cheerios in its Mission to Plant 35 Million Wildflowers
Planting season is finally upon us, and Honey Nut Cheerios wants you make the most of it.
Earlier this year, Honey Nut Cheerios launched Bring Back the Bees, a campaign that aims to educate and engage Canadians on the issue of unstable bee populations and inspire them to join Honey Nut Cheerios in its mission to plant 35 million wildflowers to help bees thrive across the country.
In support of this mission, Honey Nut Cheerios has given away 115 million free wildflower seeds to Canadians across the country and is encouraging people to plant them. Wildflowers are an essential part of the natural habitat bees require to thrive and planting wildflowers is a way every member of
the family can work together to help bring back the bees.
Wildflower seeds are easy to plant and make the perfect addition to any garden, whether it’s nestled into a planter or expanding over an entire backyard. Supporting a healthy bee population not only helps our buzzing friends, but it helps us too. One in every three bites of food we eat is made possible by bees and other pollinators who spread the pollen that crops need to grow including apples, almonds, coffee, and of course, honey.
For more information, including planting tips, visit BringBackTheBees.ca.

Fulfilling the Dream of Farming

Harrowsmith

Just because you don’t have deep
pockets doesn’t mean you can’t get into agriculture. It’s a venture filled with both obstacles and opportunities.

By  Harrowsmith Magazine’s Maurice Crossfield

Harrowsmith Article by Maurice CrossfieldIt’s a challenge that has scared off many an aspiring farmer: How can a person embark on a career in food production without solid financial backing? Well, it turns out that some innovative souls are finding alternatives.

Across the country, small-scale operators are finding new ways to access land, equipment and markets, making the dream of working the land come alive. But beware: it typically involves a lot of hard work, know-how and some solid business savvy.

In one instance in southern Quebec, a group of five McGill University graduates banded together and leased five hectares (12 acres) in Les Cèdres, a municipality 60 km (37 miles) west of Montreal. Sharing their various skills, the group offers organic food, including garlic, and sells seed to other organic growers. Today, the Tourne-Sol Co-operative Farm (tournesol means “sunflower”) is one example among many that where there’s a will, there’s a way.

“All provinces have financing programs of some sort—Quebec probably more so than others—and there’s also Farm Credit Canada at the federal level,” says Hugh Maynard, former head of the Quebec Farmer’s Association, who now works as an agricultural communications consultant. “But [aspiring farmers] still require a realistic business plan, so anyone musing about farming should go out and get some experience and figure out what they want to do and put a plan together. Saying you’d ‘like to farm’ doesn’t get [you] too far anymore.”

In fact, armed with the all-important business plan, including projections, proof that they have some ability to repay their loans and some sort of collateral, many aspiring young farmers have contacted the FCC about financing their dream.

“Our Young Farmer Loans are one of our most popular products,” says Toby Frisk, director of the Lindsay district of the FCC in southern Ontario. “Since 2012, we’ve had to reallocate funds several times and have provided $2.4 billion to young farmers.

” But while the prospect of borrowing up to $500,000 through the Young Farmer Loan program might not be for everyone, Frisk says it’s not necessarily a reason to count out a future in agriculture.

“The world needs to eat, and by 2050 the world will need to produce 60 percent more food,” Frisk says. “Canadian agriculture is considered one of the safest food supplies in the world. It’s a real growth industry—there are opportunities in almost every sector.”

“The local-food movement (not just organic) is gaining momentum, and that does present opportunities for young people without a farm to get into the game,” says Maynard. “Agriculture in Canada is heading in two directions: large-volume commodity producers who maximize their margins by lowering costs because they have little control over price, and niche producers who target specialty products and markets and maximize margins by selling smaller volumes at higher prices or directly to consumers to capture a larger share of the food dollar.”

Maynard says niche marketing can be effective, but you have to do your homework. The demand must be there—at a price that is acceptable to both buyer and seller. ”

My neighbour produces organic popcorn,” explains Maynard. “They’re not successful just because they are producing organic popcorn, but because they’ve done their research, developed a business model, produced a quality and dependable supply of the product and learned how to market their own product.”

But armed with a well-thought-out action plan, there are alternatives. revealed that an increasing amount of empty farmland in the Brome-Missisquoi region of Quebec’s Eastern Townships. Some types of farming had been abandoned, while other farms had been bought by wealthy urbanites with little interest in commercial agriculture. In 2012, the Banque de terres agricoles, a land bank, was created, putting owners of unused land in contact with aspiring farmers seeking to grow anything from hay to garlic.

The service allows landowners and growers to set rental or lease rates, mentorship and possibly even partnerships between the producer and the landowner. A partnership between the county government (known in Quebec as the MRC), the province’s agriculture ministry and the Fédération de la relève agricole du Québec (which helps young people get into farming), the land bank project has proven so successful that it has been expanded to many other parts of the province.

Meanwhile, in the Gatineau region, Sean Butler and his wife, Geneviève LeGal-Leblanc, established Ferme et Forêt in a slightly different way: they asked friends and family to invest in the operation by buying a form of bonds that offered a small rate of return on the investment. They call it community-financed agriculture (CFA), a variation of the more familiar community-supported agriculture (CSA), in which folks pay upfront in the spring and receive weekly baskets of veggies as they come into season.

Urban communities are also getting into the act, in the form of co-operatives that support local food producers. In Hamilton, Ontario, the Mustard Seed co-operative cites local sourcing as its top priority.

“We have been working with more than 200 local producers, including farmers and producers of prepared, processed or manufactured foods (ice cream, milk, cheese, cereals, cleaning supplies—whatever can be local is local). We expect this number to grow,” says Mustard Seed co-founder Emma Cubitt. Those producers are supported by the co-op’s 2,100 members, as well as members of the general public who shop there.

Mustard Seed’s business model is paying off. “We have just passed $2 million in annual sales, which is pretty extraordinary for a two-year-old business organized by the community for the community,” says Cubitt.

She notes that some people are attempting to get into food production by trying to expand a hobby into a business. That can be anything from selling produce from a backyard garden to manufacturing a finished product, such as hot sauce or ice cream. The successful ones are driven by passion for what they do.

“We see young farmers wanting to grow as a personal response to environmental issues (GMOs, organic production and so on) or to have an agricultural living/working lifestyle,” she says.

Maynard cautions, however, that if it’s a vision of a bucolic lifestyle you’re after, you may be better off keeping your day job. Farming hours are long, and at times the work can be very hard. Plus, as any farmer will tell you, farming requires the use of many skill sets: as an operator, you’ll have to have a firm grasp of what you’re growing, as well as finances, marketing, building maintenance and any number of other tasks.

“If you go the niche-market route, do your homework first—remember, producing lavender for jam flavourings and potpourris is a limited market, and just because two or three are doing well doesn’t mean there’s enough room for four,” he explains. “And get some business skills, because you’ll need those as much as you’ll need the farming ones.”

Maynard also suggests that aspiring farmers not limit themselves to the organics market.

“Despite all the hype about going organic, it’s still a very small slice of the food pie,” explains Maynard. “Ted Zettel, an organic pioneer in the ’80s, once said that organic will never really be successful until it competes on the same basis as conventional foodstuffs. He wasn’t popular for that remark, but I think he was right—there are only so many people who will pay the premium for a more limited range of product. That being said, as conventional food prices rise, it will be interesting to see whether organics is considered more affordable. Also, there is evidence that as many people leave organic production as get into—it’s not easy and [it] requires superior production and management skills, so there is some indication that the number of certified-organic producers may have limits.”

But it certainly has its place, particularly for someone looking to get into making a living, or at least a sideline income, from food production. Cubitt cites one Mustard Seed supplier who practises small-plot intensive (SPIN) gardening. He has worked out deals to have 11 backyard plots in the Hamilton area. Paying rent to the property owners, he has managed to support his family of five while incurring no business-related debt, proving that sometimes by thinking outside the box, you can find somethiHarrowsmith Magazineng that works for you.

Subscribe to Harrowsmith’s Almanac and Harrowsmith’s Gardening Digest, and you’ll receive digital versions of these two issues FREE!
As an ADDED BONUS, THEY’LL INCLUDE 2 NEW DIGITAL MAGAZINES to your subscription for FREE! Harrowsmith’s My Kind of Town and Harrowsmith’s Homes.

What is a Rain Garden?

How A Rain Garden Works

What is a rain garden?
According to the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority, each year in your yard there will be run off from rain and stormwater that will come from your roof, driveway and other hard surfaces. As the water moves toward the street (and sewer system) it can pick up a number of other substances (waste, salt, oils, etc) that can be harmful to water quality and aquatic habitat.
A rain garden is a much better use of the stormwater. A rain garden is a planted or stonecovered bed designed to receive stormwater and allow it to be slowly absorbed into the soil.
Rain gardens provide a good habitat for butterflies, birds and other wildlife and it requires little upkeep because it will contain native plants.
Parklane Landscapes has a great Rain Garden Calculator on their website that will help you determine the size of the rain garden you should create for your property.
For more information on creating a Rain Garden visit the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority website.

Picture from LSRCA website.

Show your loved ones how special they are this Valentine’s Day

sunflowers

Canada Blooms offers a new spin on an old favourite
Valentine’s Day is nearly here, and with it comes the pressure of giving your special someone the perfect gift that tells them what they mean to you.

While Valentine’s Day is one of the most romantic days of the year, it can also be the most stressful; but don’t worry – finding the perfect gift that says “I love you” can be as simple as selecting the right flower.

“Flowers have been part of the Valentine’s Day tradition for as long as anyone can remember,” says Terry Caddo, General Manager of Canada Blooms. “While everyone knows that long-stemmed red roses mean love, there are so many other varieties of flowers that will show your loved ones how much you care. They will appreciate the unique Valentine’s gift.”

With that in mind, Canada Blooms has created a list of Valentine’s flowers and what each flower says about you and your relationship.

Red Tulips:When most people think of tulips they think of spring, but red tulips are considered a declaration of love. Gift your sweetheart with a bouquet of red tulips to show your love this year.

Daffodils: Daffodils symbolize new beginnings. This is the perfect flower to give at the start of a new relationship or friendship.

Orchids: These rare blossoms symbolize love, beauty, strength and luxury. Gifting someone an exotic orchid lets them know that you are a bold person who likes to take chances.

Sunflowers: These flowers represent warmth, happiness and loyalty. While most people associate sunflowers with summertime, they are available all year round and are the perfect gift for that special person who lights up your day.

Gerbera Daisies: Symbolizing beauty, innocence and cheerfulness, gerbera daisies are a great gift for anyone, including mom. They also have beautiful large flowering heads and ability to last longer than other cut flowers.
Visitors to Canada Blooms can purchase the ‘Garvinea Sweet’ series of gerberas that was named Canada Blooms plant of the year.

“Valentine’s Day is a special day to show your loved ones how much they mean to you,” says Caddo. “By thinking outside the box and breaking from the ordinary, gifting them with flowers that have a special meaning will ensure they know that they are worth the extra effort.”

Canada Blooms will be held from March 11 to 20, 2016, at the Enercare Centre at Exhibition Place in Toronto. For more information or for tickets, please visit canadablooms.com. Follow Canada Blooms on Twitter @CanadaBlooms and Like it on Facebook.

#canadablooms #valentines #valentinesday #springflowers

Life Is A Celebration Worthy of Flowers

Toronto Flower Show International Exhibits

TORONTO, Ont. —Flowers are used to celebrate every occasion. Whether it is a birthday, wedding, or a special holiday, flowers show loved ones we care, and help celebrate life’s important milestones. During Canada Bloom’s 20th anniversary, the festival will showcase that ‘Life is a Celebration,’ and flowers are there every step of the way to help celebrate.

“Presented by The Garden Club of Toronto, the Flower Show will present another year of competitions amongst amateur floral designers and garden club members at Canada Blooms. The competitors enter  classes competing in horticulture, special exhibits, floral design and photography. International competitors from around the world have been invited to participate for the first 5 days. Artists in the garden will provide a new focus on floral painting. Arrangements  will be on display throughout the duration of the show providing guests with a colourful, bright and exciting look at how flowers can be used in a variety of ways.

“The arrangements produced by our florists during the show always go above and beyond our expectations,” says Terry Caddo, General Manager of Canada Blooms. “They really help give Canada Blooms a necessary surge of colour that helps drive away the winter blues.”

Also adding a pop of colour to Canada Blooms will be Bayview Flowers Floral Alley where six professional floral artists will showcase their take on the different ‘Seasons of Life.’  These floral artists include:

-Students from the Canadian Institute of Floral Design
-Opening Night Flowers
-Alma Florists
-LadyBug Florist
-Fresh Floral Creations
-Jennifer Harvey Designs

“Continuing with this year’s theme of ‘It’s a Party,’ floral artists will create designs focusing on the different ‘Seasons of Life,’” says Caddo. “Every season of life is a celebration, and that is what we are asking our professional designers to focus on.”

Awards for the Flower Show will be handed out on March 20, 2016, at 3:00 p.m. on the Canada Blooms main stage.

Canada Blooms will be held from March 11th to 20th, 2016, at the Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place in Toronto. The schedule for the show is available at canadablooms.com for anyone wishing to enter, as well as being found on the Garden Club of Toronto website.

For more information or for tickets, please visit canadablooms.com. Follow Canada Blooms on Twitter @CanadaBlooms and Like it on Facebook.

About Canada Blooms

Canada Blooms is an annual world-class festival that connects people to the joys and benefits of nature through experiences with gardens and flowers by promoting, educating, inspiring and celebrating all aspects of horticulture. Co-locating with the National Home show to create North America’s Largest Home and Garden event, Canada Blooms is a not-for-profit organization that gives back to the community throughout the year by funding community garden projects around Ontario, Canada Blooms is also dedicated to providing the community with horticulture expertise, education and resources on an ongoing basis.

Now in its 20th year, Canada Blooms was founded by Landscape Ontario and The Garden Club of Toronto. Each year it is supported by a committed group of partners, sponsors and volunteers.

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We can now take Gerberas outdoors all season!

Garvinea Sweet Glow - Florist Holland

Canada Blooms is pleased to announce that it has chosen the ‘Garvinea Sweet’ series of gerberas as its 2016 plant of the year.
Gerberas, the longtime favourite houseplant and cut-flower for Canadians, are now available in the outdoors friendly ‘Garvinea Sweet’ series from Florist Holland, especially suited for outdoor use in both containers and the gardens.
Intensive plant breeding , interspecific hybridization and tissue culture propagation have combined to make the ‘Garvinea Sweets’ a reliable garden performer in the spring, summer and fall with increased disease tolerance, cold tolerance and an excellent rebloom habit.
Proven locally at the University of Guelph trial garden program during the 2014 and 2015 growing seasons, ‘Garvinea Sweets’ were grown in containers at 2 different sites as well as in 3 different ground bed sites under a wide range of watering and fertilizer regimes. As long as the soil was well- drained these plants thrived and bloomed continuously from planting time until winter arrived. As a fringe benefit, the flower stem length on the Garvinea is long enough to allow use as a cut flower in the home.
You can get a head start on buying these beautiful ‘Garvinea Sweets’ at Canada Blooms in March 2016. The following ‘Garvinea Sweet’ selections will be available for purchase at Canada Blooms: Sweet Glow(orange), Sweet Heart (pink), Sweet Honey (golden yellow), Sweet Smile (yellow), and Sweet Surprise (pink-violet).

Picture courtesy of Florist Holland: Garvinea Sweet Glow

KEEPING EVERGREEN DECORATIONS EVER GREEN!

Evergreen Wreath

November has come to an end and with that, the festive season is upon us. Many of us now to turn our thoughts to decorating our houses and even our businesses for the joyous season ahead. A very traditional and beautiful method of doing so is to adorn both the exterior and interior of our dwellings with freshly cut branches and boughs of evergreens. This practice originated in pre-Christian times as a way for the Pagans to mark the Winter Solstice and the increase in day light after the passing of the celebration. Winter, being bleak, dark and cold, often signified death. While almost everything in nature was seemingly dormant during this period, the evergreen plants stood out in stark contrast. As such, Pagans would cut evergreen trees and decorate them. Boughs of holly, laurel and other plants were also utilized in similar fashion. The observation that these plants remained green during the winter, was explained by them being in a sense, magical and symbolic of the return of life and rebirth in spring.

Today, that tradition continues in many cultures and there is a diversity of evergreens and non-evergreens from all over the world to choose and decorate with. Hailing from the northern hemisphere, we find red-stem dogwood and paper birch. While not evergreen, the brilliant red of the dogwood and the white of the birch illuminate any arrangement. The southern United States contributes with the beautiful broad evergreen leaves of southern magnolia, dark green and glossy on their upper surface with a most unique rust coloured and pubescent underside. Circumboreal in nature, the firs, particularly balsam, lend the traditional smell of a Christmas tree. Keeping in step with aromatic firs, are the gracefully arching and soft incense cedar boughs. The southern hemisphere gives us a couple of types of eucalyptus with varied shapes and the silvery cast they are known for. Of course, not to be forgotten and one of the first to be used, there is holly with the branches of female plants covered in bright red berries. This is just a small sample and one must visit their local garden centre or florist for many more. Why not also look towards one’s own garden for a few more boughs?

If the point of keeping these evergreens is to symbolize renewed life while beautifying our homes, then we must make it a priority to keep them green! Here are a few pointers that should help in keeping them looking better, longer.

Firstly, while not possible under all circumstances, try to keep the evergreens out of direct sunlight. Winter sun can be bright and combined with cold winter winds, will dry out the plant material and turn boughs into drab, brittle messes.

Use the ‘Stay Fresh’ type preservatives that are recommended for Christmas trees or the preservatives that come with fresh cut flowers. If you are keeping the greens in a container without water, prune the bottom of each stem or bough and then do a twenty-four hour treatment in a water/preservative mix prior to assembling your arrangement.

Mist your greens as often as possible. At the least, once a day misting with water from a spray bottle to the point that small water droplets form on the foliage. The sunnier and windier, the more frequently this should be done.

Use an anti-desiccant spray such as ‘Wilt-Pruf’. Here at Humber Nurseries LTD, we have had great success using this product on all our greens once they are unpacked and on display. The naturally derived coating minimizes further water loss. Such a spray may not be recommended on any plants with a glaucous or silver-blue colour, if that colour is to be maintained.

If lights are used in any arrangement, use LEDs over incandescent bulbs. Not only will you save energy, but incandescent bulbs put out more heat that will dry the plant material. Of course, when not being viewed, turn any lights off.

Lastly, use a floral foam to arrange the material in. Prior to assembly, soak the foam in water. Our chief decorator, Natalina, prefers wet sand above all, as it keeps the boughs and branches looking fresh and provides good weight to the urn or container, should your area experience high winds.

Most importantly, have fun and all the best over the holidays and for the year ahead!

Shawn Patille
Senior Horticulturist
Humber Nurseries Ltd.

Piega Benches at Canada Blooms

Katrina

When at Canada Blooms check out the Piega Benches that will be in the Parklane Speakers Area located in Hall B, near the presentation room.

Piega Collection (benches)
The Piega (fold) collection is a family of furniture made in solid walnut and ebonized with a steel wool and vinegar solution to give each piece a natural dark appearance. This colouring compliments the figure of the wood and the shaping of the form. The stools and benches are designed with inward tapered legs to imply delicate qualities that act nicely with the playful application of seating. Corners of a selection of legs are sliced off to adhere to the source of inspiration: folding, creases, and qualities of paper and pliable materials. The polyester wrapped elastic cord for the seating is done in a variety of colours and provides comfortable support. Each piece is finished with danish oil for indoor application and a water resistant finish for outdoor use.

About the designer

Katrina Ennamorato is a graduate of the Furniture program at Sheridan College where she has received a variety of awards for her work and dedication within the program. She has also been awarded with a Designlines Magazine LoveTag for her work which was exhibited during Toronto Design Week in 2013. Prior to Sheridan, Katrina earned a BFA with honours at Ryerson University in New Media which gives her a unique perspective on handmade goods and on the craft of furniture. Currently Katrina is a resident artist at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga, Ontario.

Taking Care of Your Poinsettia

Picture of Poinsettia

In Canada, poinsettia are the most popular of all Christmas houseplants. Millions of poinsettia are purchased each year during the Christmas season by people who enjoy the colour and warmth they provide to the home. Proper selection will help to ensure a long lasting plant that you will enjoy throughout the Christmas and winter months.

With proper care, your poinsettia will last through the holiday season and right into late winter.

Pay close attention to the following tips:

  • Place in a room where there is bright natural light but not where the sun will shine directly on the plant.
  • Keep the plant away from locations where it will receive hot or cold draughts.
  • Place the plant high enough to be out of reach of unmonitored children and pets.
  • Set the plant in a water-proof container to protect your furniture.
  • Water the plant thoroughly when the soil surface is dry to the touch. Discard any excess water which remains in the saucer after 10 minutes.
  • The bright colour of the bracts will remain longer if temperatures do not exceed 22°C.

Reflowering your poinsettia
If you cannot bear to throw your poinsettia out when it is finished providing colour, you may want to try your hand at reflowering your poinsettia next year.

  • December            Full bloom. Water as needed.
  • April                       Colour fades. Keep near sunny window and fertilize when new
    growth appears. Cut back stems to about 20 cm.
  • June 1                   Repot if necessary. Fertilize with a balanced formula 20-20-20.
    Continue to water when dry to touch. Move outside if temperatures
    do not fall below 10°C. Place in light shade.
  • Late August       Take inside. Cut stems back, leaving three or four leaves per shoot.
    Sunny window. Water and fertilize as needed.
  • Sept 20 -Dec 1  Keep in light only from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Put in dark (NO
    LIGHTS) 5 p.m. to 8 a.m.

Remember the key to success: Follow the strict light/dark instructions carefully.

– By Landscape Ontario: landscapeontario.com/home-care-tips-for-your-poinsettia

Picture from www.pasco.com