Turf's Up

Every season, it seems, brings its own special challenges for the gardener.  Weather, insects, general run-of-the-mill pestilence, bad seed, bad plants, bad backs; these and more are crosses that we happily bear in order to create something beautiful and grow something tasty for ourselves and our families and friends. If you have a lawn chances […]

Although they are commonplace in our gardens now it was only three decades ago that ornamental grasses first started to appear on garden centre shelves.  One of the very first varieties was Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum,’ also known as Purple Fountain Grass.  I distinctly remember receiving the first pots of these from a nursery in California […]

Spring cleaning in the garden is always a revelation and this past week was full of them.  I cleaned out four more beds, filling up my truck bed yet again with another load of material for the community compost.  Where does all of this stuff come from? Among the many things I discovered was that […]

Legions of gardeners receive their first of many pleasant garden surprises at this time of the year when they happen upon a clump of Galanthus nivalis, or Snowdrops, when they’re out doing a bit of preliminary cleanup.  You brush away a bit of snow-encrusted leaves and there they are, huddled together against the cold like […]

Snow has certainly been a dominant topic of conversation so far this month of January.  It is beautiful to look at while you’re sipping your coffee but what effect is the snow having in the garden?  Snow is, first, an excellent insulator for plants.  Although it didn’t get as cold as first forecast temperatures were […]

It’s hard to imagine, but in the next few weeks over 2 million poinsettia plants in British Columbia will be selected from greenhouses, sleeved, boxed and shipped to destinations all over Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest. The poinsettia’s association with Christmas, which dates back to the Spanish conquest of the Americas, will see them […]

When the pond and waterfall were constructed in front of our garden centre there was much discussion about which plants we were going to install.  There was, however, no question that we were going to plant a weeping form of Acer palmatum, the Japanese maple.  And there was no discussion over which one it was […]

It hasn’t begun just yet but with the cold morning temperatures we’ve had this week the foliage on deciduous trees and shrubs will begin to turn.  It will peak sometime in October and then the show will be over as the ground is littered with leaves.  Meanwhile, the ornamental grasses, the other star player in […]

It’s much easier to have a colourful and visually interesting garden in say, June, than right now in the heat of August.  We’re in a transition phase; the late spring and early summer colour explosion has passed and given the hot temperatures we’ve received for the past month it’s amazing that anything looks good out […]

At the risk of making a broad generalization, most of us cut our lawns too short and too often, particularly during the summer months.  Short lawns often fall prey to weeds and diseases.  In fact, the United States Department of Agriculture purposely cuts its test lawn plots short to encourage diseases for their experiments. Why […]