September Blog

Take the guess work out of bulbs!

Piet Oudolf is an influential Dutch garden designer, and leading figure of the “New Perennial” movement. His designs and plant compositions using bold drifts of herbaceous perennials and grasses which are chosen at least as much for their structure as for their flower colour.

The plant combinations are dynamic and playful. If his gardens look breathtaking at the height of summer, by autumn and winter they are often heart-rending, as the yellows, purples and reds fade touchingly to subtler shades of brown, tan, blond and eventually black. Join Barry on Sunday September 15th at 1:00pm, as he talks about how to create your very own Oudolf inspired landscape, and see the emotional beauty in these slowly decaying landscapes.

With fall right around the corner, now’s the time to talk about bulbs and how to have the most success when adding them to your garden. Join us Sunday September 29th at 1:00pm, for a workshop on planting bulbs for year round interest, with our very own Barry Vanderveer!

Planting a garden of bulbs can seem a bit daunting, especially to those only experienced with seeds and plants. Fear not, bulbs are your friends! Lets start with a few basic steps to ensure you get the most out of your bulbs.

PLANNING

When you’re planting a garden, it’s always good to do some planning ahead of time, to ensure every plant and bulb is in a happy place. A happy bulb produces the biggest and most beautiful flowers!

You can start planting your bulbs as soon as the ground is cold, but not yet frozen. Make sure you’re using a soil that drains well – bulbs don’t like wet feet!

Its also a good idea to add a 3 in1 soil mix. This will provide extra nourishment for your bulbs as they come to life in the spring.

The first sign of life after a long Canadian winter.

DESIGN

When designing bulbs into your garden masterpiece, it’s good to keep a few things in mind;

1. Always plant your bulbs in clusters – bulbs show better when mass planted or in clusters as opposed to in straight lines (like soldiers) or one by one. By planting them in a group, you will have fuller blooming results, and a better chance of survival from those pesky squirrels!

2. Group your bulbs by their height – taller blooms at the back and shorter blooms in the front. Imagine your garden is a grand stage or platform to show off every flower!

Another popular planting method is called ‘double -decker effect’ – this is when you put a layer of smaller bulbs right on top of a layer of larger bulbs creating a multi-bloom effect. (Think bright pink tulips above cobalt blue grape hyacinth!)

Groupings of bulbs is a great way to fill an empty or barren patch in your garden. A spring surprise of colour can add character and fullness to any perennial display!

3. It’s smart to plant early bloomers under shrubs and between perennials. This will help add a ‘skirt’ of colour as perennials and early season shrubs like sand cherry, weigela, and hydrangeas fill in. Minor bulbs (small) like crocus, snowdrops, and muscari are great to plant in unexpected places like nestled in amongst rocks or a random patch of lawn!

PLANTING

How you plant your bulbs will decide how successful your blooms will be after the thaw. Make sure you always plant your bulbs pointy end up, in a hole twice the height of the bulb. A temperature of around 15*C is ideal for planting,  but any time from mid September until the ground freezes is fine. No fertilizer is needed in the first year, but an organic fertilizer is recommended for the 2nd year. After you’ve planted your bulbs, make sure you water them deeply to keep them well hydrated.

TIPS & TRICKS

Squirrels can be the biggest bulb thief in your newly planted garden, proving to be very frustrating! We have a few tips and tricks to help keep these pests at bay.

After you’ve planted your bulbs, smooth the surface of the ground as best as possible – squirrels look for mounds and disturbed soil to decide where to start digging for tasty morsels. If you have a lot of squirrels, plant more daffodils and narcissus – these are not a favourite of most squirrels and will help deter them from digging up any other planted bulbs while also providing a beautiful pop of colour.

We carry a few products in house for a more aggressive approach to deterring pests – Animal BGone and Critter Ridder are two great products that we’ve had a lot of success with. Ask our staff to show you where we keep them and answer any questions about proper use. If you’re looking for a more organic alternative, Blood Meal is a great option. While a completely organic product, it also provides added nutrients to your soil. Squirrels and other garden pests, hate the smell of blood meal!

IT PAYS TO SHOP!

Right now, spend $50 or more and receive a coupon for a package of 8 free Tete a Tete Daffodils & Blue Muscari bulbs*!

*while supplies last

See you soon!

 

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