gardenchatter

Garden adventures and advice…


Leave a comment

Go Native!

 

If you don’t already, consider growing native plants in your garden. Plants are considered native if they originated and are growing naturally in a given area; they have adapted to the soils, the regional climate and wildlife – and will continue to survive climate changes like floods, drought, blizzards and frost. The list of benefits, and plants is long – and worth it in the end. Here’s a few reasons why we should all be going native…

Reduced Maintenance:
While there is no such thing as a no-maintenance garden, native plants offer a very low-maintenance alternative. Because they are resistant to pests, disease and drought, they don’t required the same level of attention that many other tender plants need to survive. Well established natives have deep roots that support them through dry times, they rarely require fertilizer and they help deter weeds and invasive species from moving in and taking over the garden. 
 
Soil and Water Conservation:
The deep root system of native plants increases the soils’ ability to store water and keeps that soil where it belongs. Natives also help reduce water runoff; their dense growth and large, lush foliage allow rainwater to drip into the soil rather than pooling around the plant or draining away. Native plants require far less watering than their non-native neighbours need, and they are strong, long-lived plants that rarely need replacing, providing overall good value for your gardening dollars. 
          
Wildlife:
Native plants provide wildlife with the habitat they need to survive. If you grow them, they will come. And stay. Native plants naturally produce the seeds, berries, nuts and nectar that the local wildlife enjoys. Natives provide a protective cover for wildlife – provide seeds, nuts and berries for mammals – insects, seeds and fruit for birds – nectar for hummingbirds, bees and butterflies and host plants for butterfly caterpillars. Plant a swamp or common milkweed; it’s the only larval plant that the monarch caterpillar lays it’s eggs on – bring monarchs back into your garden!
   
A Garden Full of Beautiful Plants:        
There are native plants available for every garden location – sun, shade, water, rock gardens and woodlands. Wildflowers in bloom combined with native grasses and ferns provide a stunning visual in any setting. Many native plants provide impressive, showy flowers, colourful berries, unique nuts and seeds and stunning fall foliage 
  
Create a Wetland:        
Add water features (or a pond) to your yard to encourage frogs, toads, dragon and damselflies to move in, and to provide a water source for birds and butterflies. These wetland creatures will thank you by working to keep the mosquito population down during the summer season. Use a variety of native plants in the pond, add large rocks and old logs to provide spots to soak up the sun and create mini-wetlands near a smaller water features by planting bog or pond plants in buried plastic containers to keep the roots wet. It won’t take long before your wetland neighbourhood starts to fill up.
     
Adding even a few natives into your current landscape each year will help to encourage a healthy and sustainable ecosystem you can enjoy for years to come. Grow a native plant – and save a life!


Leave a comment

Amaryllis

This time of year, amaryllis (Hippeastrum spp.) kits just seems to pop up everywhere, so I decided to finally give it a try.

Amaryllis is easy to grow, low maintenance and provides spectacular blooms during the cold, and sometimes dull, days of winter. So until I can get back outside and play, amaryllis bulbs will be my winter garden project.

Now available in a wide range of colors, the amaryllis originated in South Africa where it continues to grow wild in some areas. Back in the 1800s amaryllis bulbs were quite rare and very costly, but over time hybridizers have created a whole new flock of interesting and inexpensive amaryllis bulbs.

All you need to do is plant the bulb in a good, clean potting soil, leaving the top third of the bulb exposed. I like this one below. When purchased, it comes complete, ready to plant in a plastic lined burlap “pot” with a bag of both potting soil, and sphagnum moss to add a decorative touch and act like a mulch – a nice gift for those that enjoy gardening.

The second picture shows the bulb slightly sticking up through the centre of the moss.

IMG_2187IMG_2189

Now all I have to do is water it now and again without overdoing it and in a few weeks I’ll have a stunning floral display. I chose Red Lion – not one of the more unique colors, but I love the vibrant, fire-engine red of the flower. In a few weeks, it should look like the one pictured below – I’ll post it’s progress as it grows.

Unknown

Keep the amaryllis in a bright spot while growing, but avoid direct sunlight when blooming. Don’t place them in a south facing window; the heat may scorch the plants.

Here’s a few interesting amaryllis flowers:

Samba                                                       Lemon Lime                                    Misty

123

Amputo                                                   Monte Carlo                                        Orange

                                                                                                                                     Sovereign

457


Leave a comment

Stratford Garden Festival

Had a fabulous day at the Stratford Garden Festival. It sure was nice to see “spring”. With the winter we’ve had, and the 2 feet of snow still staring back from the yard, we are not quite sure when spring will truly arrive in this area.

There was a great mix of garden and patio ideas, vendors and speakers – something for everyone. And it’s very nice that from year to year there are a few favourites and plenty of new exhibits and people to see. 

The greenhouse will be very happy with all the seeds it will be receiving once the weather improves – however I think another raised bed or two is in order to accommodate the amount that I purchased!

A new trend for some gardeners is Fairy Gardening – you’ll see one picture below. It’s all about making a magical, welcome space for garden fairies to visit (or maybe hobbits!) – it’s basically a miniature garden with miniature features and fixtures, even furniture for the little ones to rest on. This was the first year a fairy garden display was at Stratford. (To learn more, search the internet  – there’s a ton of information).

Image

Image

 

Image

 

Image

 

http://www.stratfordgardenfestival.com