How to: Attract Pollinators

How to: Attract Pollinators

By introducing more pollinators to your garden, you can expect higher yields, bigger blooms and more plants! These busy-bee workers aren’t just bees. Pollinators come in a wide variety of insects and mammals. Some fantastic pollinators you can find in Canada are bats, birds, moths, butterflies, flies, wasps, beetles and more. To get you started on attracting more pollinators to your home garden, we’ve created a list of tips to help make these critters feel right at home at your home! 

1.) Just Add Water

Like us, our pollinator friends need water to survive! To help keep their wings clean and their thirst quenched, maintain a constant supply of fresh water out for them to rely on. A safe way to do so is by keeping a shallow water dish out with sticks and rocks for perching. 

Pro-tip: Try using a refillable dog bowl for a constant fresh water supply.

2.) Less Chemicals, More Nature

While it may seem like an excellent way to get rid of pesky insects, chemical-based products aren’t pollinator friendly. Don’t worry! Chemicals aren’t necessary to get rid of garden pests. In fact, many pollinators like birds, praying mantis, wasps and bats prey on these insects! Making your garden more protein rich for them. 

Pro-tip: When in doubt, look for certified organic products!

3.) Single or Double?

The bigger the bloom, the better? Not when it comes to helping our pollinator friends out. With bigger flowers comes more petals to navigate through to get to what really matters -the pollen! To make your garden more appealing for pollinators, introduce single petal blooms for quick and easy pollen access!

4.) Favourite Colours

When we humans look at a garden, we see every colour of the rainbow! Interestingly enough, our bee friends don’t. They see the world through ultraviolet rays, making them unable to see reds! Plant yellows, blues, and purples for high visibility to attract more bees.

Pro-tip: To attract butterflies, plant whites, pinks, purples, reds, yellows and oranges. For hummingbirds, plant plenty of reds!

5.) Group setting

Don’t be shy! Plant more of them when you’ve decided on your favourite pollinator-friendly plants. Planting groups of the same plants together will lure in pollinators like an all-you-can-eat buffet! 

Pro-tip: Try naturalizing with plants like Crocus and Snowdrops for mass landscaping.

6.) Hang-out Spots

Like your favourite lazy boy recliner, each pollinator has a favourite hang-out spot. Hummingbirds prefer to hide from the sunshine in shady areas under trees and near bushes. While butterflies and bees prefer energizing in the sunshine. To keep your pollinator guests happy, try placings rocks in the sun for bees and butterflies to catch some rays. While keeping some hummingbird favourites out of the sun so that they can keep their cool.

Pro-tip: For night protection, use a butterfly habit box for butterflies and a mason bee home for mason bees to keep protected from harsh weather.

7.) Bloom time!

The best way to attract pollinators and keep them coming back for more is to have more! Once your blooms are gone, your pollinators will be too. To ensure they stick around, be sure to offer continuous blooms by planning your blooms times. Here is a cheat sheet to keep on hand when you’re planning!

Early Spring Blooms AlliumChionodoxaGalanthusCrocusHyacinthMuscariNarcissus
Sprint to Early Summer Blooms GeraniumIrisPeonyFoxgloveColumbinePoppyBleeding Heart
Early to Mid-Summer Blooms Common YarrowHostaLupineLarkspurCoreopsisAsclepiasDelphinium
Mid-summer to Fall Blooms GaillardiaDaisyAnemoneLavenderPhloxMalvaAsterMonardaLobelia

 

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May Gardening Tips

May Gardening Tips

You know what they say, April showers bring May flowers! We hope the saying goes for those with snow showers too! Though it might not seem like the weather is warming up, all we can do is chip away at what we can so that we can soak up as much sun as possible when the time comes—looking to get more out of your May garden? We thought so! We’ve created a helpful list of May garden to-do’s to keep you busy.

Lawn & Pond

Start feeding fish as the temperature rises above 5-8 degrees and only feed them what they can eat in 5 minutes.
May is an ideal month to sow new lawns.
Use seed and sod starters to get your lawn off right.
Start fertilizing waterlilies and lotus.

Clean up & Compost

Lightly shear spring-flowering heather when finished blooming.
Watch for weeding as temperatures increase weeds will spread quickly.
Turn over compost or use it if it’s ready. Start over!
Mulch! Use plenty of mulch to retain moisture all summer long and prevent weeds. Tip: keep grass clippings, bark, pine needles, straw & more for mulching!

Plants

  Lightly shear spring-flowering heather when finished blooming.
Begin taking routine pest watch strolls; problems treated early are easier to control.
Deadhead roses and lilies as they fade and fertilize with Uka Blend.
After flowering, deadhead spring flowering bulbs like tulipsdaffodils, and hyacinths to preserve their energy for next year. Watch for fall bulbs pre-orders opening soon for 2022!
Deadhead pansies and primrose after flowering.
Plant summer flowering bulbs such as dahliabegoniascalla liliescanna liliesgladiolus and lilies in frost-free areas like containers, beds and borders.
Harvest cool-season vegetables; kalecabbageparsnip, and spinach.
Plant warm-season vegetables/fruit; onionscucumberstomatoes, cucumber, raspberriesstrawberriesblueberriescurrants & more!
Cultivate your vegetable garden regularly to keep the soil loose and allow oxygen to penetrate around the roots.
Make sure the weather has warmed up and stays warm before planting celosiaimpatientszinnias, fuchsias & or heliotrope.
A good fertilizing program will go a long way to avoiding black spots and powdery mildew on roses.

Miscellaneous & More!

Hanging baskets are ready! Choose your favourite blooms and be sure to pick up fertilizer to feed them every 10 days for a summer filled with blooms!
Watch for weeding as temperatures increase weeds will spread quickly.
Turn over compost or use it if it’s ready. Start over!
Mulch! Use plenty of mulch to retain moisture all summer long and prevent weeds. Tip: keep grass clippings, bark, pine needles, straw & more for mulching!
Looking for more to do? Check out this episode of Get Up and Grow with our president, Gord Nickel to learn How To Remove and Prevent Moss From Your Lawn below!

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Birthday Month Flower Garden

Birthday Month Flower Garden

Looking for a unique gift idea that has meaning on Mother’s Day? Birth Month Gardens are the newest trend for 2022! Whether you’re helping Mom in the garden or gifting her seasonal blooms that deliver fond memories, the Mom in your life will be sure to know you care with a gift that shows meaning. Whether your birth month flowers are in season or not, birth month gardens are a gift that keeps giving through out the year!

How To: Birth Month Flower Garden

To gift your Mom with a birth month garden, choose either seeds, starters, bulbs or fresh-cut flowers that match you and your siblings or family and friend’s birth months. Below are the flowers that represent each month for you to present to a Mother this year with meaning. Taking a pen and paper, write down your own unique combination of birth flowers to create your own unique birth month flower garden.

 January

Carnation: A symbol of strength, love, devotion and protection. The carnation is one of the world’s most popular flowers. Each colour carnation has its own symbolic representation with the pink carnation being the official flower of Mother’s Day!
Snowdrops: As the first sign of spring, the snowdrop represents new beginnings and consolation. The snowdrop is gifted to those with good intentions and a pure heart.

February

Violet: Everlasting love, faithfulness and spiritual wisdom. Celebrated in many religions, the violet is often a gift with many spiritual meanings.
Iris: A symbol of admiration, faith, trust and valour. With over 280 species of Iris, these classic beauties have been adored in folklore tales for centuries.

March

Daffodil: Representing spring for its rebirth and new beginnings. With over 13,000 different varieties of daffodils, the daffodil is a present gifted to those to refresh their day!
Jonquil: Tied to Greek mythology, the Jonquil flower is often mistaken for a daffodil. When gifted to someone it is a symbol of forgiveness with hopes of returned affection.

April

Daisy: Gifted to those who have become new mothers. The daisy is a symbol of purity with old Celtic tales of rebirth.
Sweet Peas: Well wishes, blissful pleasure, friendship and goodbyes are the symbol of Sweet Peas. They are known for their beautifully sweet fragrance, similar to grapes.

May

Hawthorne: For centuries brides have used Hawthorne to place in their hair for ceremonies like weddings. They represent hope, faith and happy endings.
Lily of the Valley With many symbolic meanings, the Lily of The Valley symbolizes Happiness above all. It is said to bring joy to those gifted in bunches on May 1st.

June

Rose: Each rose with its own meaning, the red rose symbolizes romance and beauty. Received by those who wish to celebrate love and passion.
Honeysuckle: As a symbol of pure happiness, the Honeysuckle also signifies the loss of tenderness in love. Though its name has been given to represent the nectar extracted from it’s fragrant blooms.

July

Water Lily: Representing wellness and peace, the white Water Lily specifically symbolizes spirituality. Mentioned across many religions for centuries.
Larkspur: Celebrates positivity and open-hearted attachment to someone. Larkspur comes in shades of pink, white, yellow and red, each with its very own meaning when gifted.

August

Poppy: All colours of poppies display their own meaning. A unique orange Poppy symbolizes health and regeneration. The red Poppy is symbolized remembrance and death.
Gladiolus: The symbol of infatuation. Gladiolus are found in many colours and shapes with over 200 variations. When gifted they are a present of strong character and faithfulness.

September

Morning Glory: With every colour of Morning Glory, bring new meaning. For purple morning glory, the symbol of trust and respect is given to its recipient.

Aster: Placed on the altars in Greek Mythology. The Aster was named by the Greeks after the stars. A long-standing symbol for wisdom, faith and love.

October

Marigold: Also known as the Herb of The Sun. Marigold symbolize the power of the sun with strength and the light which is present within someone.

 

Cosmos: With their organized petals, the cosmos represent all that is orderly and living in harmony. Assigned “Cosmos” by the ancient Greeks.

November

 

Chrysanthemum: With thousands of varieties, the white Chrysanthemum is a symbol of longevity in love. Chrysanthemums have also been traditionally used in teas as medicine.

 

Peony: Given as a gift of well wishes and goodwill. The peony is a true symbol of beauty and romance. With its large unfolding petals in a variety of shapes and colours, the Peony is said to bring a wealthy amount of happiness.

December

Narcissus: A symbol of hope and joy since medieval times. The Narcissus got its name from a Greek mythology tale of an attractive man. The Narcissus has 13 subcategories, each with it’s own unique symbolism.

Holly: With deep religious ties, Holly represents fertility and eternal life. Given as a gift of family happiness. Great for the holiday season!

The great thing about planting a birth month garden is the variety of blooms and seasonal reminders of the ones you love. To make gifting your birth month garden extra special for mom, try writing or printing out the symbolism and history of each flower above to give with your flower gift. Not sure what months your Mom would like to grow? Give the gift of choice by sending Mom one of our E-Gift Cards. The perfect last-minute gift for any gardener!

Need more inspiration? Maybe you can impress Mom with a year with a few gardening tips and tricks by learning a thing or two from Get Up and Grow with our president, Gord Nickel. Learn How To Prune and Plant Clematis below in just minutes.

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Top 5 Unique Fruit for Hanging Baskets

Top 5 Unique Fruit for Hanging Baskets

With a new hanging basket season approaching, it’s time to plan bigger and better baskets than ever before! With unlimited combinations of flowers, vegetables, and herbs, we thought introducing a few new and exciting ideas to your hanging baskets this year would be great. Fruit baskets! Not the kind you gift, the kind you grow! You could say they’re as easy as low-hanging fruit. Below we’ve created a unique list of fruits that love hanging baskets for you to try this season!

1. Cucumbers

Sliced in salads or fresh off the vine, cucumbers are fresh for summer picking and love to grow in hanging baskets. They’re filled with vitamin K, B, C, Copper, Potassium, Magnesium and much more! With gravities help, cucumbers can grow long and straight from the basket, creating the most ideal cucumber shape. When grown in the garden, cucumbers are susceptible to Amphids, Cucumber Beetles, Flea Beetles and more. Growing your cucumbers in a hanging basket provides them with better protection from these common garden pests! Oh, and don’t forget how much easier it will be to harvest pickles from the porch!

Cucumber Mini White are deliciously sweet and mild, Cucumber Mini White is the best choice for hanging baskets as the small 3-5″ fruits cascade beautifully, creating an easy to pick & esthetically pleasing harvest. In just 58-75 days, you’ll be jarring porch-pickles in no time!

2. Strawberries

The queen of summer fruit is as versatile as the desserts she creates! With endless strawberry jams, pies, tarts, bars, smoothies, and cakes, strawberries generate a blast of flavour for many summer dishes! Don’t have a yard to plant strawberries? That is no problem at all. When grown in hanging baskets, strawberries perform amazingly! It is a great way to keep your strawberries out of reach from birds, but it’s also a quick and convenient way to reach for one of two as needed!

Natural White Strawberry tastes like pineapple! These unique white strawberries are the perfect patio conversation starter. Plant your Natural White Strawberries in full sun from April to May and you can expect pineapple tasting strawberries in just 4-6 weeks.

3. Cucamelon

Is it a cucumber, or is it a melon? Also known as Mexican Sour Cucumber, Mouse Melon or Melothria Scabra, the Cucamelon is a miniature relative to cucumbers! With a taste similar to a cucumber, the Cucamelon is sweeter with a hint of citrus lime. Often enjoyed fresh or pickled, Cucamelon is also great for your skin, with loads of vitamin K, C, E and fibre. When grown in a hanging basket, the Cucamelon enjoys climbing up walls and gazebos! An excellent plant for creating privacy and fuller green space on patios. Though they perform at their best when placed in full sun, Cucamelon can also tolerate partial sun.

Cucamelon grow in as little as 67 days, and will be ready to harvest once they are just over an inch long and firm to the touch. Place your hanging Cucamelon in full sun in a 5-7 gallon size basket, providing one inch of water weekly.

4. Tomatillo

The tomatillo is a small green or purple fruit with a paper-like peel. If eaten raw, the tomatillo offers a tart and citrusy flavour, which softens to a sweeter taste when cooked. They’re high in vitamin C, A, K, fibre, potassium, niacin and much more. As a popular ingredient in salsa verde, Tomatillos are also enjoyed on their own, either raw, sauteed, roasted or boiled. They make a powerfully healthy fruit to have quick access to when grown in a basket as long as they can get at least 6 hours of sun a day.

Tomatillo Purple are sweeter than green Tomatillos! Place your Tomatillo Purple in full sun with regular watering and good draining. Harvest your Tomatillo Purple in 75-100 days once the fruit turns purple and is firm to the touch.

5. Cape Gooseberries

Tangy, tart, sweet and tropical tasting, the Cape Gooseberry is also known as a Peruvian Groundcherry originating from South America. Full of fibre and low in calories, the Gooseberry is high in vitamin C, making them great for your skin. After harvesting them in June and July, they’re perfect for making plenty of unique jams, purees, crumbles, tarts, drinks, salads and sauces! As an easy grower, the Gooseberry makes a beautiful display when grown in a hanging basket.

Organic Gooseberry Gold Berry perform at their best when placed in full sun with good draining. Maintain moist soil for a heavy yield in June until July. To test when your Gooseberries are ready, give them a gentle sqeeze! Once they are soft, they’ll be ready for the picking!

Need more inspiration for unique fruit? Check out this episode of Get Up and Grow “Planting an Albino Strawberry Hanging Basket” below for tips and tricks from our president Gord Nickel.
 
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Companion Planting 101

Companion Planting 101

Most gardeners would agree that one of the best methods of growing happy and healthy plants is the prevention of unwanted pests and diseases. A fantastic way to prevent disease and unwanted pests is to grow plants that complement each other. Planting compatible plants together prevents problems, but it can also introduce many excellent benefits to help your plants thrive. If you’re new to companion planting, you’ll want to grab a pen and paper to take down a few of these great suggestions for pairing up your plants.

What is Companion Planting?

backyard companion Garden

Companion planting is the process of planning and implementing a garden that will create a beneficial natural ecosystem to help our plants grow. We can introduce beneficial pollinators while deterring unwanted pests like Aphids, Flea Beetles, Hornworm, Whitefly and more. Companion planting can is a great way to add more nutrients to the soil. It can ensure your plants rooting systems aren’t fighting for nutrients. It can also provide shade for smaller plants that need it and more. Companion planting can even create new and enhanced flavours for vegetables and herbs!

Pests & Pollinators

Garden Aphids on Basil

When planning your garden, it’s a good idea to consider the kinds of pests attracted to the plants you’ve chosen. By carefully reading the package or googling the plant, you might discover that certain plants are susceptible to certain pests and diseases. To avoid introducing these pests and diseases to your other plants, it’s best to plant them further away or pair them with a plant that can help disguise, distract or introduce prey to these insects. Planting garlic chives near your carrots can disguise their smell from susceptible pests like Rootfly and beetles. Or, depending on the plant, introducing fennel in a planter to your garden can attract Hornflies that eat Aphids. The combinations are endless, so be sure to do your research before pairing your plants together.

Soil & Nutrients

Companion Planting Soil

Every plant has its own rooting system, which allows them to absorb nutrients. When planting your garden, it is essential to know what your plants’ root system looks like to ensure that your plants aren’t fighting for nutrients. For example, although carrots and radishes are both root vegetables, carrots develop their roots much later than radishes. Planting these two together will provide one another with enough space and similar growing conditions that they both need. Alternatively, planting similar root structures like carrots and potatoes together will create problematic growing conditions leaving both plants unsatisfied.

Growth 

Root Vegetables and Garlic

Generally speaking, when spacing your plants, it’s essential to know how much room each plant requires to prevent overcrowding. Alternatively, pairing certain plants together is a great way to benefit your plant’s growth habits. When paired together, corn provides a natural trellis for beans. While beans provide fixed nitrogen levels in the soil for corn. You can use your plants to create a natural trellis, but you can also use them for protection against harsh UV rays for plants like lettuce. There are endless combinations to consider when planting for growth, so do your research before planting! 

Flavour

Pairing Basil with tomatoes for flavour

Looking to create some unique flavours in the garden this year? An excellent way to build flavour is by following a few tried and true companion combinations for added flavours! A common practice is to pair herbs with their compatible vegetable friends. When planted with basil, peppers absorb some of the basils’ strong flavour through the soil, creating a unique pepper/basil taste! Or, plant chives with tomatoes and carrots for a boost of flavour while repelling Aphids and Beetles.

Plant companions

Companion Garden Examples For Better Space

Companion planting has been around since the beginning of time. It can take many years to perfect your perfect combinations with unlimited possibilities. Lucky for us, many successful suggestions have been shared over time to help us make the right choice from the start. Below are some of the best tried and true companion combinations to help you create your best garden yet.

 Plant
 Companion
 Why
Place potted mint near plants that are often attacked by smell-driven insects to disguise their smell.
Fruit treesBeetsDillKaleSpinachPotatoesEggplantsTomatoes,

PeppersCabbageCauliflowerBroccoliGeraniumMarigoldsnasturtium

Effective fungicide deters pests including rabbits/deer.
Lavender ChamomileBroccoliBrusselsBasilLemon BalmSquashSage,

RosemaryOreganoOnionsTomatoesLettuce

Attracts pollinators, while repelling unwanted pests like beetles.
Wormwood CarrotsOnionsLeeksSageRosemary Used as a tea to spray on non-edible plants, or potted beside plants to repel insects like Carrot Fleas.
Calendula TomatoesAsparagusPeasCarrotsLeafy GreensCucumbers  

Acts as a lure for Aphids and Slugs. Calendula also repels Whitefly while attracting benefits like Lacewigs, Hoverflies and Ladybug.

Sage CarrotsTomatoesParsleyStrawberriesRosemaryBeans,

ThymeNasturtiumsOreganoBroccoliBrussels

Enhances flavours deters pests like slugs, and increases nitrogen in the soil.
Borage TomatoesCabbageStrawberriesSquash Improves strawberry flavour while deterring tomato Hornworm and cabbage worms. Used to attract pollinators to squash, melons and cucumber.
Thyme  

BroccoliBrusselsStrawberries,  Asparagus

Used as a tea and extracted onto cabbage plants to deter Whitefly. Thyme can also deter blackflies from roses.
Cucumber  AsparagusBeansBroccoliBrusselsCeleryCornDill,

KohlrabiLettuceOnionPeasRadishTomatoesSunflowers

Sunflowers and Corn are both used by cucumber as trellises. Nasturtiums improve cucumbers’ flavour while Dill distracts pesky pests.
Carrots BroccoliBrusselsChivesLeeksLettuceOnionsPeas,

PeppersPole BeansRadishRosemarySageTomatoes

Benefits depend on the combination of plant pairings. Added taste and soil fertility is among the top best pairings. Be careful on placement as root plants can compete for nutrients.

 

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