Showing posts from 2016

Garden Trends 2017

Health, happiness and wellness play an ever larger role in our home and gardening lives in 2017.

Are you on trend? Have you created a home haven for relaxing, clean eating, entertaining, and happy living?
1. Lawn Alternatives
After several years of drought with tough local watering restrictions, we're finally getting real about lawns and finding better looking, exciting alternatives.

Saying goodbye to yesterday's high maintenance, boring, manicured lawns and welcoming natural, more organic looking ground covers.

With so many to spectacular choices, is a wonder we ever grew lawns to begin with! From meadow lawns to prairie grass lawns, drought tolerant shrub and flower beds to ornamental grasses, or my favourite option, a blend of mosses and other low growing, flowering, groundcover plants.

Not quite ready to give up on the look of a traditional green lawn? Check out the new eco grasses or clover blends, which are both low maintenance and require little wat…

Hot, Hot, Hot!

Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but inside is quite delightful ... as I prep for the holidays.

I have been jarring up this crazy smokin' hot pepper blend for gifting and selling. The blend this year is made from just the really super hot peppers, the hottest peppers in the world, not mixed with anything else!  

Ghost peppers and 7 Pot White

Trinidad Scorpion Peppers
A variety of colours in the Ghost Peppers.  Yellow, Caramel, Red, and Orange. 
I grow all my pepper plants from scratch, starting the seeds in early February and growing them on all summer, to harvest, sauce, pickle and dehydrate in fall.

These beautiful, almost waxy looking peppers are called 7 Pot Whites.  Though they are super pretty and look kind of harmless,
they are extremely hot at about 1 million Scoville Units! 

We had an amazing pepper year at the greenhouse this year, with all peppers, from sweet, to hot, to broiling, all thriving really, really well. An abundance of peppers of all kinds.
I pick and eat veggie…

Greenhouse &Garden Ramblings in December

Birdseed wreath
Yikes! The whole country seems to be having a snow storm or in the midst of a deep freeze this December. Our typically mild and rainy island winter is looking like it may even stay white till Christmas! Eek!.. and Ugh!

So, what's a gardener to do in wintry times such as this?

Poseidon rose
In the yard... 

Cut back roses this month to prevent breakage. Just take down some of the longer canes, but leave the actual pruning for shape and size till March.

Brush the heavy wet snow off of your tree form roses (standards) so that they do not snap from the weight.

Fruit trees can be pruned anytime between now and end February, while they are dormant.

Spray roses and fruit trees with a dormant oil/lime sulphur mix to kill off over-wintering pests and fungal diseases. This will cut back on the amount of black spot, rust, and powdery mildew you get on your roses, scab on fruit trees, plus kill scale, mites, aphids, leaf hoppers and white fly. Several applications during the dorm…

Lemons in Winter

Meyer Lemon in the greenhouse
You can totally grow lemon, orange and lime trees outdoors here on the wet, west coast. However, you may be wondering how to over-winter them and protect them from hard frosts?

Contrary to popular belief, the answer is not to bring them indoors for the winter months, unless you have a cool sunroom or 'conservatory'. Citrus do not thrive (and may not survive) indoors, as our homes tend to be much too hot, much too dry, and not really bright enough.

In the greenhouse or sunroom... 

I pop my citrus trees into a heated greenhouse for the winter months. As heating a greenhouse is super expensive, I keep the temps down low, at +5°C from November through till March. The citrus trees love the cool, humid greenhouse, and will flower and fruit all winter long.

Kumquats growing in the winter greenhouse
However, if you have no heated greenhouse...

All citrus fruit trees have pretty much the same care requirements, whether lemon, lime, grapefruit, or orange. Th…

Birdseed Wreaths - For The Birds Updated

Three wreath recipes
As we slowly start edging towards the holidays and outdoor decor, my thoughts immediately turn to the birds ... and making dozens and dozens of birdseed wreaths.

I love the look of them against my tree, while birds of all sorts, from Nuthatches to Sapsuckers, happily and busily visit them all season long. 
Several years back, I conducted a small trial using three different recipes, to see which one the birds preferred (they actually loved them all). To check out those recipes, please see HERE!

Since then, I have stuck to making the two suet versions, as I just cannot bring myself to believe that corn syrup and flour are the way to roll in my organic garden and landscape ; )

The one and only problem with these lovely wreaths, however, is that sometimes, after much love and attention from the birds, they crack in two at the weak point.

The birds like to start pecking up at the top, by the ribbon, and then work their way down. As the side gets narrow and weakens, i…

November Garden Ramblings

The month of November blew in something fierce this year, all blustery, rainy and cold. My motivation to go outside and muck about quickly crumpled into nothingness ... though my garden helper had no problem with the weather.    

Garden helper Ruby Tuesday! 
Luckily, I can putter away in the greenhouse while I wait for nicer, warmer yard work weather.

What to do in the greenhouse this month? 

Turn on the heating. If you have an automatic system, turn your heat on low for the winter months, just a wee bit above freezing. I keep mine at 5° to 7°C all winter, and then in March I will up it to 10°C for all my lovely heirloom tomato seedlings.

Clean up! If you have not yet scrubbed down your greenhouse, do it now. Disinfect to kill any over-wintering bugs and wash down walls and roof to let in as much of our weak winter sun as possible.

Insulate. Bubble wrap or add a layer of poly to retain heat better. Each layer adds 2 degrees of warmth.

Do some planting. Pot up bulbs for a wonderful display …

Over-Wintering Annuals

Sad to see the end of summer and therefore the end of  your favourite geraniums? Or lantana? Fuchsia, too? Why not keep them over till next year?

Pelargoniums (aka Geraniums) and Lantana are both super easy to over-winter
I adore pelargoniums (aka geraniums) and scented geraniums, too, so always keep a few of my favourites to over-winter in the greenhouse. Lantana is also becoming a new fave to keep from year to year, will be working on getting a collection of varieties.  
Many plants that we think of as annuals are actually pretty hardy, and also super easy to keep over. Try bringing in your prettiest coleus, lantanas, geraniums and fuchsias. 
There are several different methods you can choose from to over-winter yours ... I use them all ; )
1. Re-pot, clean up, and leave as they are.  2. Cut back hard now and let flush out over the winter months.  3. Take cuttings and throw away the 'mother' plants. 
Over-wintering plants in a winter greenhouse  

Regardless of which method you…