Canada Blooms

Canada Blooms is an awesome annual show that will get you in the mood for gardening!  Wildrose staff attend yearly to get new ideas for our clients. It takes place alongside the National Home Show, March 10-19 at the Enercare Centre.

Some of the world’s top designers, architects and garden builders create fabulous projects there. You will be truly inspired.

The Toronto Flower Show at Canada Blooms brings the finest amateur floral designers together for horticultural and design competitions and display. Led by the Garden Club of Toronto, the Toronto Flower Show is a signature of the festival and can’t be missed. The Floral Designs presented by Floral Artists showcase the best of the best in professional florists from Ontario.

And… Canada Blooms offers education opportunities led by leading gardening experts.

Hope to see you there!

canadablooms.com

Early Spring Lawn Care

This article is derived from an article on lawncare.org, a website dedicated to, well, lawn care.

Another spring and another chance to get the fabulous looking lawn we desire. Sometimes it seems as the more we try, the less we are happy with the result. This is likely not because we do the wrong things, but because we did the right things at the wrong time.

We need to keep in mind that lawn maintenance is not a one time effort, it is a spring/summer/fall effort.  This article is about the work to do in the spring. Spring in our neck of the woods means to start when the snow season is over where you live. (I.e., when there won’t likely be any more snow.)

Raking

If you raked in the fall, the raking in the spring will be easier. It’s intended to refresh the lawn from the winter compaction, control any thatch buildup, and help identify any problem areas of the lawn such as heavy traffic areas. Compaction from heavy traffic will cause roots not to take hold very well. Consider an aeration of the lawn if you have a lot of compaction.

Overseed, Not Overfeed

If you intend to overseed your lawn to repair bare spots, you should do so with a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer.

You will have better results if you have fertilized and overseeded in the fall, as there will be less competition between weeds and grass.

About five weeks after overseeding, add a quick-release nitrogen fertilizer to really help the new grass get going.

Keep in mind that when you fertilize, you are also fertilizing weeds, so heavier fertilizing in the fall is better.

Weeds

Your best bet for getting rid of the weeds in the lawn itself is fall aeration, fall seeding and spring overseeding.  While there are products that claim to only kill the weeds, it’s a somewhat exaggerated claims and many people dislike the idea of overuse of chemicals.

Pulling weeds can be effective, but you do need to pull the entire root. This can be laborious, and often needs to be done several times over the growing season. Weeds grow quickly and one day of weeding simply won’t be enough to keep them at bay.

We would be happy of course to provide a free estimate on maintaining your lawn and overall property.

See the full article, here.

Get Excited About Spring!

Freshome is a very popular architecture and design blog. In a recent article, the author has some suggestions to think about before the season hits.

Take inventory of your garden furniture

This is a great idea, as sometimes you may overlook items you already have or think about something in a totally new way. Think about anything that needs to be repaired, as now will be cheaper and faster.

Build a fire pit or other structure

If you are considering this, and you are considering a contractor (like us!) to do so, better to contact them sooner than later. Early spring is a crazy busy time for contractors. Conclude the deal and the start date now, rather than later.

Create more shade

With the ever-increasing damage from overexposure to sun, there are more options than a simple umbrella. Shade sails are very popular now and can be installed for a very custom fit in your outdoor spaces.

Lighting

You enjoy your outdoors after work and at night. Light it up! We love installing lighting, but your can do a lot yourself if that’s your preference. String lights are popular. LED lighting has literally transformed the whole experience – cheaper to run, cool to the touch, different colour spectrums (warm to cool).

Hang outdoor curtains

Love this idea! Practical, inexpensive, flexible, and easy to take down.

Create some zen

Ohmmmmmmmm… LOL. You need to unwind at the end of the day. A water feature is very relaxing, wind chimes sound soft and beautiful. (However, if you feed birds, chimes may scare them off.)  If privacy is paramount and a fence isn’t in the budget, try privacy walls of natural plant material.

 

We’re happy to help and provide a free estimate on your requirements.  You can read the full article from Freshome, here.

2017 Gardening Trends

From Garden Design magazine, this article queried several landscape designers on their thoughts on current trends in gardening and landscaping. Some key takeaways include:

  • using indoor colour blocking techniques in outdoor spaces (and why not, your outdoor space is often an extension of the indoor space)
  • using more locally sourced plants and materials, as the ever-increasing awareness of our impact on the environment causes us to make better choices
  • the traditional lawn is still a staple of the urban property, but other options such as faux grass, and low maintenance / low height plant materials are being installed more often, particularly in smaller spaces
  • defined active spaces, such as a bocce ball court, fireplace seating, or a kids play area create areas where people don’t have to weed or maintain the area
  • micro irrigation is easy to install and uses very little water

Read the full article here.

Christmas Tree Lighting Recommendations

(NOTE: The following information is from christmaslightsetc.com.)

Recommended Number of Lights for Indoor and Outdoor Trees

How Many Lights for Indoor Christmas Trees?

Rule of Thumb: Christmas trees

  • For medium lighting, plan 100 mini lights per vertical foot of the tree
  • For heavy lighting, plan 200 mini lights per vertical foot
calculate lights needed for indoor trees

How Many Lights for Outdoor Trees?

There is no exact calculation to determine how many lights are required to light outdoor trees. Slender and deciduous trees will require the least amount of lights for desired affect. Evergreen trees including Spruce, Pines and Firs that retain most of their foliage in the winter may require up to 25% more lights than the recommended count shown.

Note: C9 bulbs are much larger than C7 bulbs and may overwhelm trees under 12′ tall.

calculating lights needed for outdoor trees

Factors in Bulb Spacing and String Length

String length is a consideration when calculating how many lights are needed. 100 light count strings can come with various spacing between bulbs, resulting in string lengths that can differ by 15′ or more.

Outdoor Trees

  • Evergreen trees are thick, needing additional string length to ensure complete coverage. 6″ bulb spacing is ideal. Consider using C7 and C9 bulbs.
  • Deciduous trees shed leaves, requiring fewer lights if simply draping and more if wrapping trunks and branches. 8″ spacing is ideal.
  • Trunks and branches require higher light counts. Learn more through our dedicated resource page for Wrapping Outdoor Trees with Lights. For heavier lighting, 4-5 light strings should cover trunks and main branches. Many trunks can be wrapped with 1-2.
  • Bushes and hedges – light counts remain standard, however many people choose to use net lights for quick and even coverage. When using light strings, choose random light patterns as opposed to uniform for best effect.

Popular Lights for Trees

The type of light string chosen makes a difference in light count. The most popular bulb sizes for trees are mini lights, 5mm wide angle LED bulbs, and C7 bulbs.

  • Mini lights: the most popular bulb in Christmas tree lights for indoor and outdoor use
    • Standard grade – 210 watts can be connected, (typically 600 bulbs)
    • Premium grade – 210 watts can be connected (typically 600 bulbs), includes lamp lock to ensure bulb stays secure in the socket
    • Commercial grade – 420 watts can be connected (typically 1,000 bulbs)
  • 5mm LED lights: the preferred LED bulb size for indoor Christmas trees. The concave lens design of a wide angle LED bulb produces a much brighter halo of light than that found in an incandescent mini light. The result of this difference in design is less bulbs required per foot when using 5mm LED mini lights.
    • Over 3,000 5mm LED bulbs can be connected together – approximately 48 sets of lights.
  • C7 bulbs: a popular bulb size among Christmas enthusiasts for to its retro appearance and timeless design. Because they are larger in size and light output, far less C7 bulbs are required for tree lighting than mini lights. C7 bulbs and strings can be purchased individually for complete design customization and are also available in convenient all in one prelamped light sets with the bulb and light string already paired for quick installation!
  • C9 bulbs: intended for large and overly dense or tall outdoor trees. The largest of the recommended types of lights for trees, C9 bulbs are often reserved for outdoor trees 15′ and above as they produce a high impact light display that may be overwhelming when used on smaller tree varieties. C9 bulbs and strings can be purchased individually for complete design customization and are also available in convenient all in one prelamped light sets with the bulb and light string already paired for quick installation!

Light Calculations for Power

Every Christmas lighting project requires light calculations for power. Lights will burn brighter and last longer when the proper calculations are used to determine how many lights can be plugged together. The UL standard for how many lights can be connected has recently changed, allowing for up to 210 watts to be plugged together on a standard 22 gauge wire, and 410 watts on a commercial grade 20 gauge wire. C7 bulbs vary greatly depending in wire gauge used, which can be as thick as 18 gauge, allowing for up to 100 C7 bulbs to be connected.

Additional Tips

  • To best determine how many Christmas lights you need, we recommend lighting counts based on:
    • Indoor Christmas trees
    • Lights for outdoor Christmas trees
    • Bushes and hedges
    • Wrapping trunks and branches
    • Hanging Christmas lights on rooflines and down walkways
    • Wattage Needs
  • Before the decorating begins, plug up each string to test it. It is a lot easier to correct any issues before the lights are on the tree.
  • Christmas trees: When stringing lights, start from the top of the tree and work your way to the bottom. The female end of the plug can be connected to the tree topper.
  • Christmas trees: Run the light strings along the inside of the tree branches to give the tree more depth.
  • Outdoor trees: Start at the base of the tree, work your way up the trunk and branches, and back down.
  • Personal preference is the ultimate deciding factor, so while these are recommended counts, you should be safe increasing or decreasing the bulb

Getting Ready For — Egads! Already? — The Festive Holidays

Decorating Trends For 2016

For sheer ideas, here’s a link to decorating tables, ceilings, stairs, trees, and the outdoors
http://www.topteny.com/top-10-best-christmas-decoration-trends-for-2016/

From RealSimple magazine, 30 simple holiday ideas
http://www.realsimple.com/holidays-entertaining/holidays/our-most-festive-holiday-decor-ideas/wreath-of-citrus-fruit

Lighting Trends

The big thing in the last couple of seasons have been the LED / laser light projector units. These sold out last year, so consider getting these earlier rather than later if you are thinking of installing. (They are easy to install – point and plug in.) They range in price from approximately $25 – $200+. Some are designed to be flexible for year round usage.

Lighting Information: Hydro Draw / Usage

You need to look on the box to see the amp draw rating of the set.
They all vary; 100 light minis, C6, C9, etc.
We typically run 2 extension cords from a standard outdoor receptacle, each with a 3-way splitter.
The splitter allows for multiple light packs in one strand.
The receptacle is likely on either a 15amp or 20amp breaker.
Bottom line: if you are using LED’s (highly recommended), and if the circuit is dedicated, it’s unlikely overload will be a problem.

xmastree-1We’re Here To Help!

Wildrose Gardening does offer a wide variety of decorating services for residential and commercial properties, indoors and out.  Setup and lighting on trees, roofs, windows, walkways, gardens, and more.  See some of our urn examples, here.

Preparing For Old Man Winter

As Fall continues, it’s time to give thought to prepping your property for winter. Here’s some tips and ideas to help you.

Leaf Cleanup

Tip – look at the weather forecast. If rain is imminent, try to get to this task beforehand. Raking and bagging dry leaves is far easier than doing so with wet ones. Also, push down on the material and compact it while you’re bagging, you will save on bags and driveway space.

Leaves are terrific compost for your garden, you should consider mulching in some for the winter. They’ll be gone in the spring, improving your soil.

Annuals Removal (including spent annuals in urns)

If you’re removing from the garden and you’ve got lots of leaves, you may as well tackle both at the same time.

Cutting Down Perennials

There are many perennials and ornamental grasses that provide winter interest as well as a food source for birds. Generally the ones to NOT cut down are uprights, such as Cone flower, Sedum, and many ornamental grasses.

Lawn fertilization

An absolute must! Doing this now will produce top results in the spring. Use an organic product to limit burning.

Lawn Aeration

Along with over-seeding and a top dresser, a great thing to do yearly.

Burlapping and Hilling: Protecting Plants and Bushes

You should be hilling your roses with soil. You should burlap plant material like Rhodos / Yews / boxwoods. We use a product called WiltPruf, an anti-desiccant (anti-drying) available from quality nurseries to protect material from the cold. Don’t forget to tie up material like upright Junipers and Emerald Cedars to prevent damage caused by snow load.

Wildrose Gardening would be happy to provide some or all of these services if you prefer not to tackle them yourself.

September Update – Lawn Care

If Tom Jones wrote a song in southern Ontario this summer, he might have called it “The Brown, Brown Grass Of Home”.

Grass is one of the most hardy and resilient plant material there is. In periods of less rain, it looks dead, but really has just gone dormant; for the most part, anyway. So we finally get some rain, and your lawn is coming back. But maybe not the entire thing. What to do now for the dead patches?

Note: To determine if areas of your lawn are dormant or dead, take a look at the soil level. Lawns that have gone dormant will have brown leaves, while the crown at the base of the leaves will still be green, and the roots will have a healthy off-white color. If is lawn is completely dead, the entire plant—leaves, crowns, and roots—will be brown and brittle.

Deep, infrequent watering to the depth of the root system is the ideal situation, but you already knew that!

AFTER THE DROUGHT

Once the drought ends, most types of grass slowly recover on their own. You can help speed along the process with these four simple steps.

Water thoroughly. Soak your lawn to restore the soil’s moisture and to initiate new root growth. More so on slopes. Try to water in the early morning.

Fertilize. After about two weeks of watering, use a broadcast spreader to apply a balanced fertilizer with proportions as close as possible to 4-1-2 for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. (High-nitrogen fertilizers could hurt the lawn if extremely hot, dry weather returns.)

Address dead spots. Clear out any dead, matted turf and other debris. Loosen the soil. (At least scratch the surface, or better yet, dig and loosen the top 2 or 3 inches.) Scatter grass seed over the loosened soil. Fertilize. Water!!

chinchbugIf your lawn is still not greening up, there may be a more serious issues such as grub or Chinch Bug (that guy in the pic) infestation.  Grubs will eat the roots of the grass and are found below in the soil. Chinch bug ( a very tiny beetle) attacks the crown and are found at the surface. Both can be a very serious pests and will need to be controlled before any topdressing and seeding is completed

TIPS

  • Mow lawns higher for the summer. A range of 2.5 to 3 inches would be suggested for most turf stands where Kentucky bluegrass is the primary species. As always, mowing should be on a frequent basis so that no more than one-third of the leaf blade is removed in any one cutting.  Taller turf allows more shading of the soil, conserving what moisture is in the soil.
  • Even if you start watering at the first signs of trouble, such as leaf wilt or tip browning, chances are that damage has already begun occurring to plant root systems. That’s why it’s best to water before plants “tell” you they need help.

Related Material

From Sheridan’s Nurseries, a couple of helpful videos on Fall Lawns and Overseeding
https://youtu.be/-YozZxHgugs – (Fall Lawns)
https://youtu.be/IP8FUrOwrbc – (Overseeding)

From the CHMC website, an article on regular grass versus low-maintenance lawn material
https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/grho/grho_005.cfm

Fall Cleanups – Tips & Tricks

They’re coming, and I don’t mean door-to-door salespeople. Those fabulous looking, colourful, shade-providing, bird-protecting leaves are about to do their annual thing; fall to the ground.

Of course, a fall cleanup is not just about leaves. You should do a variety of chores including

  • Cutting back of perennials (prune off dead foliage)
  • blow leaves and debris from landscaping
  • Mow lawn, apply fall/winter fertilizer
  • Aerate the lawn
  • Bush / Shrub Trimming
  • Tree Trimming

Preparation for winter in the fall is better for your lawn. You never know when the snow is going to come, so it really is a good idea to think about this sooner than later. Rotting leaves are not great for your lawn over winter, and your lawn is then ready to be its best come spring.

An application of winter fertilizer will sit and wait for the warm weather in spring, ready to activate at that time.

Trimming plants and shrubs that are going into hibernation will be less stressful on them.

Call us, we’re here to help!

Fall Container Gardens:  Show Them Off!

seasonal-fall-urn1Autumn is filled with fantastic colours, and your urns and containers should be, too! Choosing the right plant material such as frost-resistant conifer will allow these to be shown off up to the holidays. (Where, natch, we will provide new seasonal ideas!)

Almost anything can be used as a container as long as it has drainage, and they accent almost anything. Your front entrance, beside the garage door, on steps. Of course, hanging them up adds to the variety of spots to place them.

A soil-free medium (peat moss, vermiculite and perlite seems to be popular with the manufacturers) is recommended. This allows water to drain properly. Certainly, regular garden soil is too heavy, and can contain weeds. You will want to fertilize. Consider installing some styrofoam if you’re thinking to have them last the winter.

You can see some examples of containers we’re done here, and of course we would be happy to help you with any or all of this.

Read more in these articles:

Sheridan Nurseries writes about what to and how to plant in containers in this informative article on container planting.

Canadian Gardening offers up some secrets to successful container gardening in this article.