Tag Archives: Gardens

Canada Blooms 2019 Plant of The Year

Electric Love Weigela from VanBelle

Canada Blooms is pleased to announce its 2019 Plant of the Year – Electric Love™ Weigela from the Bloomin’ Easy® Date Night™ series from Van Belle Nursery.

The new Date Night™ Electric Love™ Weigela’s shockingly vibrant red bell-shaped flowers cover dark foliage for a unique look and rich contrast (it’s the first red-flowered, dark leaved weigela on the market). It’s a product of the world’s leading Weigela breeding program and an excellent performer in the landscape. Electric Love is compact and showy, you can easily plant it along a walkway, in mixed garden beds or as the star of a decorative patio pot. And because it’s easy to grow, you don’t need to know a thing about gardening to succeed season after season!

“Electric Love offers deep red flowers that cover very dark foliage, which is quite different than what you’ll find in garden centers today,” says Brand Manager, DeVonne Friesen. Electric Love will look great on the shelf and amazing in the landscape.”

Bloomin’ Easy® brings improved, easy-to-grow plants to the time-strapped homeowner. This line offers three simple steps to success: plant, water, and relax. It is easy for garden enthusiasts who are busy but who appreciate the value of a beautifully landscaped yard. The Electric Love Weigela and all Bloomin’ Easy® plants are resilient, colourful and low maintenance, perfect for both the novice and expert alike.

Hardiness: Zone 4, can handle temperatures down to -34 Celsius or -30 Fahrenheit
Likes: Full to part sun, or 4-6 hours of sun per day
Mature Size: 1-2′ tall and 2-3′ wide, low and mounding

For more information please contact Kevin Cramer at Van Belle
Kevin@vanbelle.com or call 1-888-826-2355

Read the Van Bell Nursery Press Release

Watch the video:

Gardener’s To-Do List for the Middle of August

Garden Tips from Mark and Ben Cullen

We are on the continental divide of the gardening season. On your right is the last four months that you invested and the flowers and fruit that your garden has produced to date. On your left is another four months (or so, depending on where you live). This is when apples ripen and tomatoes are harvested. To many of us, the best is yet to come.

Here is what you need to know:

  1. Divide German iris in August. This is the best time of year for it. Cut the leaves on an acute angle to prevent water from sitting on the cut portion of the leaf.  This helps reduce the chance of disease.  Spread the divisions around the sunny parts of your yard or give them away.
  2. Sow grass seed and lay sod. From Mid-August until early October – this is the best time of year to do this. Seed the thin spots in your lawn. Spread 3cm of lawn soil over the area, then the grass seed, rake smooth, step on the works to firm it in place and water well. Use the new “4 in 1” CIL Iron Plus with quality grass seed, iron and pelletized compost.  This amazing product can be applied to your lawn using a lawn spreader.
  3. If you are receiving some rain and night temperatures are cooling down, this is a great time to apply CIL Iron Plus lawn fertilizer, if you have not done it in 8 to 10 weeks.
  4. Remove the spent blossoms of July flowering perennials and roses, daylilies, delphiniums, early flowering hostas, veronica and the like. Many of these plants produce another set of blossoms when you cut it down this time of year.
  5. If you are in the habit of fertilizing your winter hardy shrubs and roses monthly, then right now is the last application that you will make for this year. Feeding later in the summer/early fall can promote growth that will not have time to harden off before winter.
  6. Hang out a hummingbird feeder: they are returning from the far north, will stop and forage in your garden for a few weeks as they accumulate fat under their wings for the long flight south this fall.
  7. Stake your dahlias. Without support, tall blooms can be damaged by wind and heavy rain.
  8. Harvest as your garden matures. With fruit bearing plants, the more you harvest, the more it will produce.

    Sign up for Mark & Ben’s free monthly newsletter or visit Markcullen.com

Book Nook: Garden Gratitude Journal

Gardener's Gratitude Journal

When you have a hit or miss in your garden where are you going to celebrate it? In the Three Year Garden Gratitude Journal: Part Diary, Part Personal Growing Guide by Donna Balzer and Chelsie Anderson (2018). This is an entertaining read from two expert gardeners. Author Niki Jabbour says “It’s a beautiful, practical and inspiring book.”

Outdoor Lifestyle Expert Carson Arthur says: “Love the concept! Journaling and gardening are both trends that Millennials are incorporating into their lives. What a wonderful way to link them together.”

Start writing anytime — this journal is designed for three years but undated so the best time to start writing is right now. Create you garden memoir by keeping records and daily nature notes all in one place. Jot down a line a day to record your highlights, your hits and your misses.

Every gardener and nature lover benefits from paying attention. This journal lets you track the impact of your garden choices over three years.

Gardener's Gratitude Journal

Gardener’s Gratitude Journal

Buy the journal online at: https://donnabalzer.com/garden-journal/ and get the fantastic bonus sheet of 63 stickers to record that bonus harvest or flower you love.

More Info: https://donnabalzer.com

 

Canada Blooms Is Searching for a Horticulture Director

Landscape Ontario

Call for Interest:
Canada Blooms is searching for a Horticulture Director

The Horticulture Director is responsible for the for the development of a plant material plan, as well as with the coordinating and assisting with the planning and installation of Feature Gardens. The Horticulture Director will also be responsible for sourcing and negotiating with vendors and plant suppliers and will to create a world-class flower and garden show.

The candidate must have a post-secondary school diploma in Horticulture or closely related field from a recognized college or university AND five years’ experience in professional horticulture. As well as an excellent working knowledge of botanical horticulture and the broad range of plants typically found at Canada Blooms. The candidate will have a good practical knowledge of proper horticultural practices, landscape construction, and a good overall command of the tools and equipment necessary to perform these tasks. The candidate must have a demonstrated ability to organize, prioritize, and multi-task in a fast-paced, challenging environment, as well as demonstrated leadership, organizational ability, and experience in coordinating and supervising staff.

View the full detailed job description click here or see below

Please send your cover letter, resume and salary expectations to info@canadablooms.com, with Horticulture Director in the subject line, by August 10, 2018.

 

Canada Blooms Horticulture Director

Term: This is a full-time position.

Nature of Position:  Horticulture, Design and Administration

  • Responsible for the follow-up, solicitation and involvement of Garden Builders at Canada Blooms
  • Responsible for the development of a plant material plan, including ordering, maintaining (if needed), placement and installation, coordinate and assist with the planning and installation of Feature Gardens, assist with move-in and move-out of the Feature Garden floor and other
    areas
  • Coordinate and assist with the planning and installation of Feature Gardens
  • Assist with move-in, and move-out of the Feature Gardens and other
    areas
  • Source and negotiate with vendors for the selection and forcing of plant material
  • Completing other tasks related to Feature Gardens, will be required from time to time.

Examples include:

    • Update Feature Garden Manual and all requisite ‘forms’
    • track return of all forms to ensure that everyone is meeting criteria set by show, facility and provincial legislation
    • organize/schedule volunteers to assist with unloading trucks and plant placement throughout Festival Post CB update all final plant orders and send invoices, provide a financial accounting to the GM of all costs associated with the plant materials offered at the show (includes brokers, shipping, forcing facility rental and plant materials)
  • Works in partnership with the Design Committee to design and create a world-class flower and garden show, Canada Blooms, which meets and exceeds the expectations of show visitors, as well as the creative execution of the event and the entire visitor experience.
  • Special attention will be paid to all common areas of Canada Blooms, including general décor, lighting, aisles, restaurants, show signage and sign standards.
  • Assist in the development of floor plans, stage, traffic-flow considerations, entrance/exit consideration, and maximizing the space for the presentation of the feature gardens.
  • Work with Sponsorship Director to provide deliverables in sponsorship contracts
  • Solicit the Horticulture and Landscape Industry for paid sponsorships and in kind donations
  • Ensure all invoices are properly accounted for
  • Attend Canada Blooms Board meeting when required
  • Provide post show written reports highlighting a summary of the current show and recommendations for future shows

Qualifications:

  • Post-secondary school diploma in Horticulture or closely related field from a recognized college or university AND five years’ experience in professional horticulture
  • An excellent working knowledge of botanical horticulture and the broad range of plants typically found at Canada Blooms
  • Good practical knowledge of proper horticultural practices, pest and disease identification and mitigation, and landscape construction, with a good overall command of the tools and equipment necessary to perform these tasks.
  • Demonstrated ability to organize, prioritize, and multi-task in a fast-paced, challenging environment.
  • Demonstrated leadership, organizational ability, and experience in coordinating, supervising, motivating and directing staff.
  • Demonstrated ability to use computers and the Microsoft Office suite of programs in providing basic planning lists, reports, and correspondence to the Canada Blooms Management Team.
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication and customer service skills required.
  • Must be able to perform physically demanding work on an ongoing basis including walking and standing, often on hard surfaces, bending, pushing, pulling, carrying, and lifting up to 20 kg.
  • Working knowledge of the Occupational Health and Safety act and other applicable safety legislation, rules, policies and procedures, including the Ontario Pesticides Act.
  • Basic knowledge of curatorial procedures and plant records is a plus.
  • Valid class “G” Ontario Driver’s License with an excellent driving record.

Accountability:
Directly accountable to the General Manager and works in partnership with committees and staff.

Hours of Work:
Time commitment for this position varies throughout the year with increased commitment beginning in September to April. It is expected this person will be on site each day of Canada Blooms, including set-up, at the Enercare Centre.

Compensation:
The remuneration for the Horticultural Director is a full-time salary in an appropriate pay band.

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

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.

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

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

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.

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April: The Festival In Review

Canada Blooms 2015 - Near North

I always seem to get asked the question, “now that the festival is over, what do you do for the rest of the year?” So if you are interested in taking the journey with me, I will take you through what we do each month up until the next festival.

It should be noted that we are always working on two events simultaneously, the current (the upcoming) and the next festival (the year after that) in terms of strategy, marketing, sponsorship, theme, décor and ambience, and much more. This means that although as we get closer to the current festival there is a noticeable increase in time pressure, we are busy throughout the whole year.

So let’s start with April.

April is the month of reflection. Throughout this month there are many meetings where we dissect the festival and see what worked, what didn’t, and where we want to go in the future. There is a staff assessment, a board assessment, and an assessment from each of the many committees that are run and “staffed” all by volunteers who have generously donated their time, talent and expertise to put on a world class event.

The consensus this year:

The Move to Hall G:
95% of visitors and media loved the move to Hall G, although it was not without its challenges. What those looking in sometimes don’t realize is with a move to a different location, whether it is from a venue or just a hall within that venue, a whole new event is created. All those things that you discovered and put into place in the past – stages and rooms, move-in times/docks, booth locations, etc. – are now out the window, and you are essentially starting from scratch.

Luckily we were still in the same facility and using most of the same suppliers which created less snags, but as any event managing/planning team will tell you there are always hiccups.

It is interesting how things you never anticipated can sometimes pop up. For instance, although “Canada Blooms” the festival changed halls the Garden Marketplace did not (it has been in the same location for four years) and yet some people had difficulty finding it. We are currently looking at different strategies to solve this dilemma in the future.

One of the great things about Hall G, which many are not aware of, is Canada Blooms is no longer taking place above the underground parking. What does that mean? Well, garden builder/designers can now build their gardens using materials and styles they couldn’t use before because of weight restrictions. This will allow for more interesting designs, and the lower ceilings really do make the gardens and floral displays stand out.

Final Assessment: the move was seen as very positive and welcome change.

The Lighting:
This created some concern from a small minority who we believe didn’t see the full picture when it came to the ambience lighting. Canada Blooms spent a great deal of time planning the lighting for the festival this year. We knew that we were going to be changing the whole look and feel of Canada Blooms, so we made sure to consult a number of lighting professionals. We also fully anticipated there would be some people who might not appreciate the effect, and as it turned out the lighting was something that was either loved or hated . . . nothing in between.

If you caught the Facebook feedback that you would think the festival was dim and grim, but if you followed Twitter it was a wonderful experience. The overall consensus from the visitors at the event and the feedback on social media was that the majority (over 75%) were happy and found the theatrical lighting really set the gardens off.

So now I will let you in on a few secrets about the lighting….

First of all, the lighting grids in the older building were somewhat of a puzzle and a challenge to manipulate. Meaning if you turn off a light in the front left grid you also might turn one of in the back right and somewhere in the middle.

Secondly, the effect of coming from a 100% lit hall (where the National Home Show was on display) to a 50% illuminated hall, forced visitors into an abrupt visual adjustment which made the whole hall appear even darker. But once you let your eyes adjust, the effect in the gardens was quite dramatic.

Another unanticipated consequence of the lighting, discovered onsite, were the lighting boxes. They ended up right next to support pillars and for safety reasons; they had to be covered with a hard wall which resulted in unintended visual barriers much smaller aisles.

Final Assessment: The lighting for the most part was positive and we have learned a few things that will make the dramatic lighting better for 2016.

The Temperature:
Whoa Nellie, it was cool in there this year.

We have always had to maintain lower temperatures in the hall displaying gardens and floral features in order to keep the flowers from popping too soon. When we moved from a 5- to a 10-day event, we became aware that there would have to be a replacement the plant/floral material part way through in order to maintain the quality of the event. Since 2012, we have designated Monday/Tuesday as the change over night (note: although the festival starts on Friday many of our plants come in the Saturday prior to the festival start in order to be placed in the gardens and planters during the build).

One of the unexpected things that caused lower temperatures this year was due to new fire regulations at the facility, this required additional access doors be left open which in turn let frigid air into the hall from outside. As well, the somewhat variable heating that comes from an older building (think lighting grid above) meant some plants received more heat and some received less, resulting in us simultaneously trying to keep plants from drying out (and appearing past their prime) and trying to get them to bloom. Needless to say, some of bulbs did not actually bloom until the last few days of the festival which led to a somewhat lack of colour and fragrant odor.

Final Assessment: we now have a better understanding of the temperature issues in Hall G and that is a priority for next year.

The Smell?
I found the issue of smell a little strange because we had been in the building for a number of days setting up prior to the festival and had no issues. But during the festival we had a few people mention that they could smell the cattle from the building (Hall G is used as the animal building during the Royal Winter Fair). So both Festival and Building management did a complete walk through of the hall again like detectives hot on the trail of the elusive “odor” menace. And we think we found the culprit or culprits – the odor was not a distant manure smell, but was in fact the earth from the gardens mingled with a new mulch that was used this year. This gave the gardens a more earthy smell, and that coupled with the lower ceilings as well as delayed in bulbs flowering may have caused people to believe they were smelling something they actually weren’t.

One last thing to note is that we created an impressive allee of tropicals that lined the roadway carpet leading to Canada Blooms, but the tropicals that we actually used were lush plants rather than blooming flowers and as a result of this changeup there was not that fresh fragrance of Spring that we had all hoped for.

Final Assessment: we are aware and it is being re-evaluated for our twentieth anniversary.

So we have hashed and rehashed the good, the bad, and the not so bad, and we are now hard at work on the plans for making our twentieth anniversary a very special festival.

Also in April: the administrative side of things, invoicing, paying invoices, getting all the details out of the way so that we can move on to 2016. We also start meeting with our partners to gain their insights on how the festival worked for them, so we can create an even better festival next year.

Next, May…..