What to Expect, When you are Expecting………Spring!

I am expecting again. It is mid-March and I am expecting… Spring! I am so done with blowing snow, heart-pounding drives across the icy city streets, and even the pleasant cocooning indoors with a bottle of wine, home-made soup, and games nights with family and friends. I want to be OUTSIDE, smelling freshly cut grass, feeling the soft caress of a warm breeze, and the lazy sounds of bees burrowing into the riotous blossoms in my garden. I can smell BBQ, and see the smoke rising from the grill as I invariably burn something…….. A slightly burnt BBQ steak would be like manna from Heaven right about now. I have learned that spring never gently creeps upon us on the prairies. Sometimes, it never drops by at all, and we dive headlong into summer overnight. That being the case, what does a gardener do when the doldrums strike, and spring feels like it will never arrive?
Plan. Dream. Start seeds indoors. Go to Garden Shows. Visit Garden Centers.

Last week I went to Sunnyside Garden Centre in NW Calgary, to check out the trends for 2014. I was not disappointed! I recommend you start to build your basic themes and colour palettes now, because it is the BIG box of Crayola’s this year. With so many colours, hues, textures, and themes to choose from, time will be needed to determine which way you want to go. From natural woods to shiny Kool-Aid, it is all there. Romantic, check. Modern, check. Classic, check. Whimsical, likewise, check. I have lots of pictures to share with you! Two of the most exciting trends are the lighted planters and the fire pit tables.

lighted planter
lighted planter
Fire table
Fire table

When it comes to planters, anything goes……hundreds of colours and sizes available.??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
Check out these whimsical additions to your garden:Neat things.......Butterfly TableBirdbathPretty Glass Garden Globes
Fun and funky storage:Personalise your storagePersonal Favorite!

If you are a local, plan on attending the Calgary Horticultural Society’s annual Garden Show, held at Spruce Meadows, April 12-13. With over 50 exhibitors, free activities, and the Blue Flame Kitchen demonstrating what to make out of all those lovely, organic vegetables you are going to harvest this fall, this is a can’t miss event. To learn more about the Garden Show or purchase tickets online, visit http://www.calhort.org. Better yet, become a member and enjoy discounts and expert advice regarding all things horticultural. It is amazing what you can grow in the Chinook zone when you know how!

Start your seeds indoors. While at Sunnyside, I checked out all the seed starting products. You can’t fail, whatever level your expertise, as they have everything to ensure success. Take a look:Heat accelerator matsnew beginningsFour Easy StepsOld School


A Day In the Countryside

Today The Yard Therapist went rambling around the countryside in search of a P.nepalensis ‘Miss Willmott’.  After checking at a few garden centres I found myself just outside the  Calgary southern city limits at Countryside Landscaping and Garden Center in well, the countryside.  From the moment I parked in the lot I knew I was in for something special.  Now this garden center doesn’t just sell plants, it shows you how a lush and gorgeous garden is created and what aImage joy for the senses it can be. From the entrance to the perennial shop it is a one beautiful example after another of what YOUR garden can be like with proper thought and care.  Charming courtyards and a luxe outdoor kitchen, of which they would happily design for you, along shade dappled paths remind you of why you garden or why you would want to in the first place.

Kim has a special talent for terrariums and they have a full stock of essential items in-store.  She let the cat out of the bag that they will be running workshops on this popular revival of a Victorian indoor plant display coming soon.  You can learn more about Countryside at www.csgcl.com/.  I recommend you drive out and take a look around.  And by the way, they had my ‘Miss Willmott’!  I had given up hope!ImageImageImageImage

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……………..