This is the time of year when some of your annuals that looked absolutely spectacular in June have begun to look a little zombi-ish, like they've lost their colour and zest for life. Never fear though, a little freshening up is easy to do and you will be rewarded with happier, rejuvenated plants. There are a few things you can be doing right now to keep things looking terrific until the frost.
Fertilize Fertilize Fertilize Especially important for plants in hanging baskets and containers, fertilizer is essential to keep your plants blooming. They use a lot of their energy to bloom and quickly deplete what they have in their containers. You should be fertilizing with a general 20-20-20 weekly. Always remember to thoroughly water your plants first to avoid burning the roots with fertilizer though, never fertilize dry plants. We offer an unlimited refill fertilizer program for you! For only $2.00, you can purchase a jug of pre-mixed 20-20-20 and refill it for free all you need until Thanksgiving!
Time for a Trim This is one of the key things I have learned over the years: Be ruthless with pruning and trimming your annuals, especially petunias, fuchsias, verbena and other trailing plants, and you will have fuller, healthier plants. The trim keeps longer branches from flattening down your containers and it sends the plant the message to start producing more branches and more blooms to continue its survival. You will sacrifice a few flowers now, but you will have many more of them in the long run.
DIGITALIS - BE STILL MY HEART
Digitalis, or Foxglove, is a beloved traditional beauty of the perennial garden beds. Their towering spikes of flowers stand elegantly tall in the back borders, showing off in colours of pink, peach, white and purples. These pretty biennials are favourites of bees and butterflies. they thrive in part shade, and will do very well with early day sun. They are relatively easy, but many people are scared off by the fact that they are biennials. This means that the plants should grow in their first year without blooming, but bloom in their second year, then they must be allowed to drop their seeds, and after they have gone to seed, the parent plant will die. The next year, you should have seedlings again from the parent plant, and the process begins again. It's a great idea to purchase a foxglove in bloom along with one that is a seedling of this year that will not bloom. That way, you should have a parent and a seedling growing in your garden next year.
Digitalis is a very important plant for more than just it's pretty blooms. Some varieties of this genus is extracted to be used medicinally to produce medication to treat congestive heart failure.
Horlings Garden Centre has an excellent selection of Digitalis in stock, and it's even ON SALE as part of our Horlings Helps Hospice fundraiser. For the week before Canada Day, you can save 20% on all foxgloves and Horlings will donate 10% of all proceeds to Hospice Peterborough.
Horlings Garden and Design Centre is pleased to announce that beginning Monday June 26 and running until Monday July 3, all hanging baskets and a special selection of annuals and perennials will be on sale for 20% off, and 10% of all proceeds will go directly to Hospice Peterborough. When you’re at Horlings this CANADA 150 week, check out the Horlings Helps Hospice display!
“Whether you are living with a life threatening illness, caring for someone or grieving, Hospice Peterborough can help guide you through all the challenges, changes and difficult decisions you and your family are facing. Your hopes, your priorities, your comfort and your quality of life define our care.” – hospicepeterborough.org
In the fight against lawn grubs, nematodes are little creatures you definitely will be glad to have on your side. They attack white grub larvae in a revolting method the likes of which alien invasion movies are made for! Once applied to your lawn, these microscopic assailants go out actively seeking white grub larvae. Like creepy alien invaders, they enter the body of the larvae through any natural opening (EW.) and release a bacteria that kills the grub larvae, and turns it into food for new nematodes, which are rapidly multiplying in their host (EW. EW. EW.). Then, the whole gang of nematodes goes out again in search of another host. It's the stuff of nightmares, right? But this is the kind of activity that you can actually feel good about in the battle to keep your lawns and gardens looking good! Getting rid of the grubs means no more unsightly brown patches, no more digging by predators like skunks, raccoons and moles. They're easy to apply and relatively inexpensive - only $29.99 for a package that will cover approximately 3000 square feet, and they are natural and non-chemical, so no need to worry about wildlife or pets or children. These microscopic armies should be applied every spring and fall to keep the larvae under control.
DIVIDE AND CONQUER
There are so many good reasons for this time of year to be our favourite. Of course, the beauty of the fall colours can't be beaten, and it's so nice to have cool evenings to snuggle up in, but also, this is a wonderful time to get outside and build some new gardens. Horlings has the best sales on perennials, trees and shrubs in the fall, and you can pick up some of your favourites at impressive discounts. Building a new bed is the most cost effective at the end of the season. We can offer you advice, and show you some of our best deals in the nursery. After the relentless heat of this past summer, it feels pretty great to be able to get out into the gardens and do some of the work in more comfortable weather conditions. Ask our friendly and knowledgeable staff about what they recommend for next year, we're happy to help and we can give you some insight into the behaviour of the plants that you might not be able to recognize from what they're doing in their little pots. For example: many of you will be familiar with the little display of groundcover perennials that we have in the yard. The plants that were planted into the display are looking five or six time bigger than the ones who spent their summer confined to little pots.
MORE SPRING BULBS HAVE ARRIVED!
More Bulbs have arrived! We have a gorgeous selection for your spring gardens and all the supplies you might need. Gardening is all about optimism, little miracles of nature and looking ahead to what the future will bring, and bulbs are a perfect reminder that our hard work will reward us later. It's amazing that these little knots and bumps can become such beautiful, colourful show-offs. Some of them are already blooming, like snowdrops, when the snow and ice hasn't even cleared out of the garden yet!
If deer and critters are an issue, check out the alliums, which come in many colours and sizes, but they all look like displays of fireworks going off in the gardens! Narcissus is another beautiful one that isn't eaten by animals, but it grows in a perfect clump and makes a beautiful cut flower, some have sweet fragrances. We have some more tips on how to win the battle of the bulbs in our blog below titled "Garden Boot Camp."
Bulbs are inexpensive, so they can be mass planted in your garden beds for an impressive display in the spring before the rest of your perennials are really waking up and performing for you. When you're purchasing bulbs, they should tell you if they are early, mid, or late spring blooming, and it's a good idea to plan to have them blooming a various times so you have an ongoing display of colour in the spring. Plant early blooming bulbs in front of later perennials like hibiscus and hostas to fill in the spaces before the perennials emerge. Some bulbs, like pretty little muscari can be planted in your lawns to paint a pretty purple picture in the yard before the grass needs cutting.
GARDEN BOOT CAMP
Gardeners are often considered to be a peacefull group of enthusiasts. Or are they? Those of us out there in the trenches and tree holes know differently though. Can I get a "Booyeah" troops? We are waging daily wars against unseen enemies and battling invasions and attacks by animals and insects and trying to protect our beloved gardens as best we can. Every day at the garden centre we encounter other gardeners who are fighting the good fight. The phrase "darn chipmunks" is scornfully muttered at least hourly by battle-weary gardeners... Below, I'll share some of the tactics and strategies we have learned over the years that have been effective in warding off pests who sneak into the garden and steal our bulbs, chew on roots, prune our shrubs, and worse.
The Optimism of Gardeners in August
Gardeners have always been an optimistic, faithful group of people. This season is surely putting some of even the best optimists to the test! But there are always advantages to the challenges we encounter from season to season. We're learning pretty quickly which plants offer the most drought tolerance, for one thing (Lavender, sedums, lilies, and echinacea are among the best). This is the time of year that things start to go on sale, and after the heat and drought we've been experiencing in our region this summer, there are some pretty excellent opportunities to stock up your gardens for next year. Here are a few insider tips on what to look while you're sale shopping:
Keeping Up With The Heat
In spite of the brief storm we had last weekend, things are getting super dry around our area. This is a challenge for watering and general care for annuals, perennials and newly planted shrubs and trees. I think it's very important to know the best practices for watering, because too often, people don't realize they are doing more harm than good. I've listed a few things here to think about when you are out there trying to keep your plants happy in this weather.
1. Water Deeply, Less Often. Watering your perennials a little bit every day is a really, really bad idea. Often, even if you have been standing with your hose lovingly watering your perennial beds for what feels like a long time, it's not long enough. I would suggest using a soaker hose and setting it down in the garden, and then go away. Have a nice cool drink on the deck. Enjoy a couple chapters of a good book. Then come back to your garden. If you use your fingers to dig around in the soil and it's saturated all the way down, then you're ready to move your hose elswhere. I think many people would be suprised to find how little the moisture has actually soaked down into the soil. If you don't get the water down to where the plant's roots will get it, then they will beging to send roots to the surface of your soil to reach the water. If your plants don't have nice, deep roots, then there will be other problems to cope with also, like insects, weakness, inability to hold in windy weather... I usually recommend that our customers water the new plants more than what they think is necessary, and then go even further. I'm talking about buckets of water for each tree. Multiple buckets. Until the tree or shrub is established (four to six weeks or so), keep it really happy.
2. If it ain't broke... When your gardens are established, they should be able to cope with most periods of dry weather. Unless we are experiencing a long drought, try not to water very often. This encourages the root systems to reach down deep into the soil's water reserves. But if you feel better watering, please refer to #1.
3. Find Drought Tolerant Plants. Sometimes watering is not an easy option right? When we are experiencing periods of drought we don't always want to use our well water or to pay for our water bills when our gardens are draining our wells or our wallets. There are lots of beautiful, very drought tolerant plants - annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees - that will reduce your stress and labour and water bills for you. Ask one of our staff members to help you find a new favorite, or show you their favorites. We have some beautiful alternatives, like: lavender, a huge variety of sedums, daylilies, iris, gaillardia, peonies and more. Annuals like Lantana, Geraniums and begonias are awesome at surviving neglect and drought.
So come to see us, tell us about what is happening in your gardens, bring pictures, bring ideas! We love to help our customers find the perfect plant, solve a problem, or create something new!
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This is still a good time to get your annuals to perk up any dark places in your gardens for all-season colour! We have lots left to choose from but the supplies are diminishing quickly.
If you are thinking of annuals for your containers in hot, dry places, we recommend lantana, geraniums, begonias for your easy/low maintenance annuals to provide a pretty show of colours all summer. These plants do not like to be overwatered, so they are perfect for cottage gardens, or for containers that you don't want to fuss over. Most of them smell great also, and will be attractive to bees and butterflies.