Get Ahead, with Dead-heading!

Its the middle of summer and your garden is looking F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S!  But hey, don’t take all that gorgeousness for granted.  A little spa treatment here and there is required to keep those bloomers, well, blooming.  One of the easiest ways to do this is to “dead-head” any flowers that are spent.  The Yard Therapist thinks “manicure” sounds so much kinder,…….however, the fact remains that dead flowers just gotta go to keep your plant reblooming and healthy.

When a flower dies, (so sad) and remains on the plant energy is diverted from producing flowers to producing seeds instead.  Anyone growing roses, nasturtiums, iris, peonies  cannot fail but notice the seeds forming if not snipped.  On roses this is called the “hip” ….but that’s another story……   For all continuously blooming plants  that means the resources to produce profuse blossoms is being used in reproduction, in this case, seed formation.

Common zone 2-3 plants that benefit from dead-heading are roses, nasturtiums, osteopermums, coreopsis, and petunias which look especially ratty if not cleaned up regularly.  While you are manicuring, how bout a lil pedicure and get rid of any yellowing, dead, or dried leaves as well.  This encourages air circulation around the plant and inhibits disease or mold formation.

So, my gardening friends, get out your snips and get to it, your flowers will reward you for your attention.

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The Good, The Bad, The Unusual and things that just gotta make ya smile………

ain't she SWEET!Today The Yard Therapist took a drive out to Aspen Crossing in Mossleigh, AB as a little happy therapy of her own. Aside from enjoying a large portion of french fries loaded with ketchup (thats AGRICULTURAL therapy my friends), in the cool railway car restruant I couldn’t help but be amazed at this most unusual repurposing of a rusty vehicle………..I hope you enjoy it as much as I do…………

BeDazzle your Container Garden

Now that its mid summer some of you are noticing a rapid decline in the vigour, growth and blooming of your hanging pots and deck containers.  To answer my good friend Jen’s question as to why her potted pansies not only suffered but actually died here are the top two offenders:  pot size and lack of nutrients.  Most of the pre-planted pots you buy have long outgrown the pot and there is insufficient soil to hold enough water (and nutrients) to keep the plant healthy.  You may find that you are watering every day which leaches out what remaining nutrients there are in the pot.  When these plants are in the greenhouse, they are fertilized regularly which keeps the growth vigorous and the plant healthy. When we take our plants home, many forget or don’t realize that this plant is relying on you solely for its nutrients and if you don’t give them, there is no earth or Mother Nature to help them get it for themselves.  When re-potting (if necessary) use a moisture control mix that will retain water.  There are several out there to choose from.  Most fertilizers will recommend a weekly schedule but I find every two weeks works just fine.  What type of fertilizer you choose will depend on the plant (you might want one that stimulates blooming), but I find that a basic 20-20-20 keeps all systems green and growing.  Think of this as your daily multivitamin and nutrient supplement, you do better with yours and your plant will do better with its booster as well.  Is it possible to keep a container beautiful all summer?…………The answer is with a lil TLC, a resounding YES!  Here’s an inventive way to be-dazzle a garbage can……………..

The Weekly Weeder Tip

Wanda is introducing a new feature, The Weekly Weeder tip of the week.  This week’s tip comes from my good friend Shawn in Halifax who has “planted” a solar light in the center of his containers on his deck.  What an innovative way to light up your deck at night and showcase your beautiful container gardens at the same time.  Eco-friendly and safe.  Thanks Shawn!  (I once face planted into one of Shawn’s planters in the middle of the night so I am not surprised that he adopted  this to protect his plants…….but thats another story……………

How to Air-Condition Your Yard- REALLY!

Ever caught yourself gravitating towards the shade of a green leafy tree on a hot day like the ones we have had this past week? If you could choose the shade from say, a building or a tree, which one would you choose? Most of you would select the tree, but do you know why?

The truth is that all shade is not created equal! Trees actually cool the air by releasing water through their leaves much the way we sweat in a process called transpiration. As the leaves release the moisture it cools the air surrounding the tree. That coupled with blocking the sun physically with branches and leaves makes a big shady tree the happening spot to picnic or daydream through the dog days of summer. Fortunately for us when trees “sweat” it is a sweet, not smelly thing………..So when you are planning your garden make sure to include some shade trees to air-condition your yard. They have lots of other benefits as well, but that’s another story………

Cultural Requirements

Sounds like Social Sciences 101 and in a way it is.  What we are talking about is the relationship of plants, to soil, and sunlight and temperature.  When you buy a plant, tree or shrub they should come with a little tag which says sun, partial sun, partial shade, full shade and depending on the grower you will sometime find some information about soil preferences,  (well drained, drought tolerate, moist).  These are the cultural requirements of the plant and they are your key to choosing it’s optimum placement.  If you put a shade loving plant in a full sun location it may survive, but it is more likely to fry much like we sunburn. OUCH.  If you have a sun loving plant (often things that flower) and put it in partial shade, it just might have enough sunlight to live, but not enough to produce a bloom.  So read the tags or check on the internet and give a plant a happy home……..