2016 Gardening Trends

As the winter is getting near it’s ugly end (oh, it wasn’t THAT bad), a sampling of some thoughts on what’s going to be popular in 2016.

Here’s a summary of an article from Khara Dizmon, writing in Garden Design magazine.

Colouring structures

A trend coming out of Europe is property owners painting / staining their structures with very bold colours, such as dark greens or blues. A fence or house that is painted, for example, a charcoal grey, can enhance the effect of a garden and its colours. It allows the bright plant colours to be the star. See more on this, here.).

Indoor houseplants and veggies

Not only does the trend of growing plants indoors help with the aesthetics in the home, they can also be transported outside at the appropriate time, giving you instant beauty on your deck or patio. And you don’t need to design with one plant, one pot mentality. People are re-thinking this by designing with container gardening techniques (“thriller, spiller, filler”).

Some vegetables look great in the window container as well as on the table. Cherry tomatoes are an example, and basil can make wonderful foliage in mixed containers. You can learn more about this, here.

From Sonia Day, Gardening columnist for the Toronto Star:

Sonia talks with Paul Zammit, head of horticulture at the Toronto Botanical Garden, who says the desire of low maintenance is still very much in vogue.  “I see more and more vendors offering ready-potted plants in decorative containers, because everyone is so busy”, he says.

Zammit thinks edible plants are going to be very popular, not only for their obvious benefit, but because using, for example, home grown mint in a mojito cocktail enables us to be “more social, sharing those drinks and our expertise about food plants with friends.”

A good bet: African Blue Basil (Ocimum kilimandscharicum), “Dark opal. The flowers and foliage look beautiful. You can eat both. And this herb is a magnet for pollinators and great as a cut flower.” See Sonia’s full post here.

And finally, from Proven Winners, a top plant supplier

Proven Winners are announcing 43 new annuals, broken into 3 categories:

Benefits of a Spring Cleanup – Lawn Maintenance

Thank you, Old Man Winter, for that last hurrah.  Can we please get on with outdoor living, hmmm?

Let’s talk about the many benefits of a spring clean up for your lawn. Hate to mention it right away, but if you didn’t do a fall cleanup, you do have a lot more work in front of you. (so, note to self, do a fall cleanup!) You will have leaves, and twigs, and sticks. All this has been mushed down by snow into your grass, so it needs to be addressed first thing.

And I don’t mean to belabour the point, but doing this is way easier in the fall when the leaves are freshly fallen rather than the wet, stuck-together leaves in the spring.

A good process to follow is raking, de-thatching, aeration, overseeding, and fertilization.

Raking

If the leaves have been there all winter, they are likely wet wet and heavy. You can compost some of them, but bag the rest if you have a lot. Trees drop a lot of stuff over winter (especially in an ice storm), so get these out of the way. If you have a lot of this stuff, bundling is the easiest way to dispose.

De-thatching (if needed)

Thatch is the layer of organic and dead stuff that builds up in-between the healthy green layer of your lawn and the soil. Getting rid of most of this material helps the healthy part of the lawn as it opens up the soil to sunlight, air and water. A small amount of thatch is beneficial, helping the lawn with fluctuations in water and temperature.

It is best to dethatch right away (before the first mow of grass). Most professional maintenance companies will take care of this for you, as they will have a dethatcher.

aerationAeration / Overseeding

Core aeration lessens the natural compaction that occurs in the soil under your lawn. The little ‘plugs’ of soil that are extracted allow moisture and nutrients to get into the soil.

Overseeding is simply the process of spreading new grass seed on your lawn, allowing new blades of grass to grow. Since a blade of grass only lives for a baout 6 weeks, it must produce new tillers continually, or the grass thins out. Overseeding helps this. In fact, it may be the one step that will help your lawn over anything else.

Fertilization

fertilizer_bag_explanationFertilizing is a must. Once every 6-8 weeks during the growing season. Use a broadcast spreader, as spreading by hand is very uneven. If you use an organic fertilizer like we do, you will not have to worry about burning your lawn if you apply too much. And those numbers on the bag> They are the percentage, in order, of NPK – nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. Another way to think of them is “up, down, all around”. Nitrogen is good for upward growth, phosphorous for root development, and potassium for overall health. In the image top the left, 21% nitrogen, 3% phosphorous, 20% potassium. A high nitrogen level is good in the spring.

2016 Winter Update

You’re not the only one that enjoyed the milder-than-usual winter. Insect and bugs that infest your plants and shrubs are probably just as happy. A winter with extended cold periods kills off many of these pests, but we may see a greater presence of such this year due to an increased survival rate.

Typically, cold weather in December, January and February helps to naturally control the pest population. Therefore, we believe that there’s a high possibility of insect infestation.

Also, we received a lot less snow then average. Toronto normally gets about 122 cm snowfall per winter. Snow is a good insulator keeping the ground a bit warmer, protecting roots in the ground. Fortunately, as mentioned previously, it has been mild, so the damage to plants (from little snow and very cold temperatures) will be lessened.

Stay tuned!

P.S. Call Wildrose for a free consultation and update on the potential issues your plants and shrubs may have. (416.221.7173)

 

 

Spring Maintenance Checklist

Garden Maintenance Corner – By Yasmin Zane

maint2014I’m writing about Spring on a day in late March. It’s still cold, but I can truly feel the energizing that spring brings. I’m reflecting on the colourful expressions and different themes that our gardens represent to us and the early season preparation of our gardens that sets the palette for the coming season.

April is the time when Wildrose Gardening sharpens its secateurs for our spring cleanups. This is the time to remove the burlap from trees and shrubs, cut back spent perennials and pull up old annuals.  Also, it is a good time to take stock of your yard and see if it’s time to thin out crowded beds and do some transplanting to fill in bare spots.  Spring is the best time to prune woody plants, including trees, to remove damaged, diseased and dead branches. This rejuvenates old shrubs and promotes flowering as well as improves their shape and ensures there are no safety hazards. Pruning also stimulates growth. Pruning back a branch causes dormant buds on the remaining part of the branch to spring into action.  Pruning is one our specialties. If in doubt about what or when to prune, give us a call to arrange an inspection.

plant pestsThis is the time of year we need to think about protecting our trees and shrubs from diseases and insects.  No one really likes having to spray their plants for insects and diseases but if there is one and only one spray to apply in a year, it’s a dormant spray. Dormant spraying is the process of spraying your trees and shrubs while they are in their dormant or “resting period” during the winter. A plant “breaks” its dormancy when the buds swell up and the leaves start to emerge. Dormant spraying should occur before the buds “break”. Dormant spray is typically comprised of two ingredients that can be applied together or separately. One is Horticultural Oil and the other is Lime Sulfur. Horticultural Oil is used to prevent insects. Essentially, the oil smothers overwintering insects and/or their eggs. Lime Sulfur is a natural fungicide that kills dormant fungus spores on the plant. All things considered, the Dormant oil spray is the biggest bang for your buck as it tries to get rid of garden problems before they start. It also has the added advantage of being relatively nontoxic.

Here are some areas to give thought to on your property:

Lawn and Turf Care:
  • Lawn Maintenance, Grass Cutting
  • Lawn Treatments, Top Dressing
  • Lawn Core Aeration
  • Turf Replacement and Removal
Maintenance of Flower Beds and Hedges
  • Hedge Trimming
  • Weeding Planted Areas, Weed Prevention
  • Pest and Disease Control
  • Pruning and Planting
Miscellaneous Garden Areas
  • Pressure Washing of Paths, Patios & Driveways
  • Rubbish removal
  • Leaf Clean Up
  • Sprinkler Maintenance & Irrigation Systems

From HGTV, “Tackle Early Spring Gardening Chores

Spring-Flowering Bulbs

It’s not unusual for the foliage of early spring-blooming bulbs to turn brown, especially at the tips, when temperatures drop suddenly. Although the foliage may not look all that great, the bulbs themselves will be just fine and will flower pretty much on schedule.

Touch Up Mulch

This is the ideal time of year to inspect your mulch, particularly its depth. Chances are organic mulches, especially those made from shredded or chipped wood, have decomposed somewhat or have been washed away by heavy rains. Ideally, you want at least a 2-inch layer, and 3 to 4 inches is OK, especially for southern gardeners.

Trees

Look for damaged limbs.  These need to be cut off properly and safely.  A large limb that is damaged is a serious safety hazard.

Other Tasks to Complete

  • Clean gutters to prevent flooding
  • Cut back ornamental grasses to about 6 inches tall.
  • Cut back perennials almost to ground level.
  • Remove dead wood and suckers from trees and shrubs, both evergreen and deciduous.
  • Plant trees and shrubs.
  • Move dormant plants.
  • Dig and divide emerging perennials.
  • Scrub clay pots.
  • Clean tools.
  • Remove leaves from the bottom of ponds or other water features.