How To: Winter Birding

How To: Winter Birding

Winter can be a challenging time for birds, especially since they are exposed to extreme temperatures and lack of food. It is important to understand the basics of bird care in the winter in order to ensure that your feathered friends stay safe and healthy. In this article, we will discuss the basics of bird care in the winter, including bird feeding, cold weather tips, and safety precautions. With these tips in mind, you can make sure that your birds stay happy and healthy throughout the winter months!

Feeding and Sheltering Birds During the Coldest Time of Year

As the coldest time of year approaches, it is important to consider how we can best care for our feathered friends. Winter bird food and proper shelter are essential for birds during the winter months. By providing them with adequate food and shelter, we can ensure that they stay healthy and safe during the coldest time of year.

There are a variety of winter bird foods available on the market, so it is important to choose one that contains high-quality ingredients that birds need to survive the cold weather such as our most popular suet, C&S High Energy Suet. Additionally, providing birds with a sheltered area will help them stay warm and safe from predators. With some simple steps, we can help our feathered friends get through even the coldest winter days. For best practices, try placing your birdfeeder close to your bird’s home.

Maintaining Your Bird Feeder and Water Source Throughout the Winter

Maintaining your bird feeder and water source throughout the winter is essential for keeping your feathered friends happy and healthy. With these tips, you’ll be able to provide a safe and comfortable environment for your feathered friends all year round!

Tip 1 – Clean your bird feeder at least once a week and change it out with a fresh bag of seed or suet each time. You can either clean your feeder outside or indoors in the kitchen sink, filling the sink with soapy water and using a clean sponge or rag to scrub away any buildup. Try not to use harsh chemicals as they can damage the birds’ respiratory systems! A natural solution of warm water and baking soda can also be used to clean a feeder.

Tip 2 – Clean the Base of Your Bird Feeder Regularly. The base is where your birds are getting their feet wet when they walk into your bird feeder, so keeping it as clean as possible will help prevent debris from building up and causing unpleasant odors.

Tip 3 – Change Out Your Bird Food. Like you, birds have preferences for different types of seeds ( sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, etc). When you aren’t able to use your bird feeder regularly, change out the type of seed you are using and make sure it’s fresh.

Providing a Suitable Environment For Wild Birds During Winters

With the onset of winter, wild birds need extra care and attention to survive the cold. It is important to provide them with a suitable environment in order to ensure their safety and well-being. This can be done by creating a safe habitat for them and helping them find shelter during the cold season.

By providing a suitable environment for wild birds during winters, we can help ensure that they have enough food and water sources, as well as protection from predators. We can also make sure that they have access to places where they can find shelter from the harsh weather conditions. By doing so, we will be helping these creatures survive in their natural habitats even during the harshest of times.

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How To Grow Succulents

How To Grow Succulents

The colder it gets outside, the more time we get to take care of our indoor plants! – Is one way for us gardeners to look at it. If you are already counting down the days until spring, it’s time to try something new to keep you busy this winter. In this week’s blog, we’re here to teach you everything there is to learn about growing your own succulents. Plus, follow along as our President Gord Nickel shows us exactly how he does it himself.

What are Succulents?

plants that enjoy sunny, warm climates with very little moisture. Increasingly popular, you might notice them in various intriguing shapes and colours with leaves that swell with stored water. Succulents are native to desert areas such as North and South Africa but can also be found in some rainforested and mountainous regions.

Popular Succulents

Aloe Vera

Burro’s Tail


Pincushion Cactus

Living Stone

Zebra Cactus

How To Grow Succulents

To grow your succulents, you can choose from two popular methods. Below we’ve detailed everything you need to succeed, including a quick and easy video with our President, Gord Nickel.


If you or someone you know has a succulent, look for tiny droplets of leaves that might have shed from the plant and collect these leaves to propagate your succulent. Or, just cut a few leaves off the host plant, and place them in well-draining soil (just lightly on top of the soil) somewhere sunny to dry out completely while it establishes shoots. Once roots have been established, you’re ready to gently press them into the soil further and water sparingly.


If no leaves have dropped, you can carefully remove “pups” or “hens” from the mother plant for use. If using the small pups or hens, you can directly plant these into well-draining soil (cactus or succulent soil is best). Place them in direct sunlight and wait a day until providing them with water sparingly.

TIP: Pups and hens are another way to say ‘plant babies! Look for mini-succulents surrounding the host plant for re-planting.

Create your own Succulent Display

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How To Attract Butterflies

How To Attract Butterflies

Whether their delicate presence provides you with symbolic reflection, calm enjoyment or healthy pollinated blooms, butterflies are one of the most beautiful critters to enter our gardens. Lucky for us, these floating beauties can be swayed to visit more often if the conditions are right. In this week’s blog, we’re going to share with you a few tips and tricks to getting more butterflies in your garden.

About Butterflies

[Canadian Tiger Swallowtail]
With over 300 species of butterflies in Canada, the majority of butterflies can be found fluttering between British Columbia and Quebec. As the most recognized butterfly, the Monarch Butterfly can be found on almost every continent around the world.
Unable to withstand Canada’s harsh winters, the Monarch butterfly flies over 4,000 kilometres to Mexico each year, where it spends six months soaking up the sun in the Oyamel Fir Forest of Central Mexico. As Spring starts to unfold in Canada, butterflies like the Monarch start to appear in early April.
Note: Though, with 2 to 6 weeks lifespans, not all butterflies make it to migration. Only the last generation of Monarchs in a single year makes it to the migration phase with an average lifespan of 8 to 9 months long.

Butterfly Habitats

[Mourning Cloak]
Grasslands, deserts, forests, alpines and wetlands are all ideal environments for butterflies to thrive. Since butterflies can be found across many ecosystems, it’s essential to know a few ways butterflies choose their potential homes. Try some of the proven tips and tricks below to meet all the requirements needed to keep your butterflies happy and coming back each and every year.

Butterfly Food

[Milbert’s Tortoiseshell]

During the day, butterflies need rich sources of nectar to provide them with the energy they need to survive. The best nectar for them often comes from colourful and fragrant flower blooms. If attracting more butterflies to your garden is on your agenda, you’ll want to take note of these proven butterfly favourites.

Zinnias Black-eyed Susan
Salvia Coneflower
Sunflower Blazing Star
Milkweed Yarrow
Cosmos Scarlet Morning Glory
Climbing Aster Coreopsis
Allium Purple Sensation Yellow Crocuses
Bright White Daffodils Asclepsias Incarnata
Knapweed Puschkinia

Butterfly homes

After a busy day of pollinating and eating nectar from our gardens, butterflies need a safe place to rest at night. To prevent them from being carried away from the wind, they like to nuzzle themselves between blades of grass, rocks, under leaves or tightly between branches on trees. As gardeners, the best thing we can do to provide a safe shelter for butterflies is to introduce a manmade butterfly home! Place your butterfly home near your popular butterfly flowers to make sure it’s visible, and add some sticks and dry leaves to help entice them.


[Dakota Skipper]

Since butterflies have straw-like tongues called ‘proboscis,’ they are restricted to a liquid-only diet. Some ways they can stay hydrated is through the nectar they get from flowers and fruit juices. As a fun activity, try setting out a bottle cap filled with honey water or fruit juice for them to drink from or place one near a butterfly to attract it to you. Or, place some fruit in the sun and see how long it takes for them to find it!

Sun Basking

[Clouded Sulphur]

Butterflies can’t fly when they’re cold. To keep them moving, they often stop to bask in the sun. To help your butterflies stay warm, add a few flat rocks in sunny areas to give them a safe place to soak up the sun!


[Summer Azure]

Unfortunately, our poor butterfly friends have many predators, including birds, snakes, rats, wasps, ants, lizards and more. To save them from potential predators, try to be mindful when placing your resources. For example, don’t place your bird feeder and butterfly home in the same place.
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How To Deter Deer

How To Deter Deer

Have you ever felt the heartbreak of sowing your seeds indoors, transplanting them outdoors, and finally, when they’re just about ready to harvest, they’ve already been harvested! By you know who!? Those cute little deer that have been trotting around the neighbourhood! Who can blame them? Your hard work showed and was genuinely inviting. Don’t worry. We’re here to help your hard work in the garden stand proud. In this article, we’ll help you deter deer from your plants in a few easy steps.

Deer Favourites

The first thing to understand is what attracted the deer to your garden in the first place? It wasn’t the cucumbers, was it? No, they’re too prickly! They were more likely attracted to one of the following plants. It’s essential to take note of all the plants you have that we know deer love so we can do everything possible to protect them.

Flowering: Edible: Trees & Foliage:
Knock Out Roses Beets Apple Trees
Daylily Cabbage Arborvitae
Pansies Apples Cherry Trees
Azaleas Beans Hostas
Chicory Broccoli Yew
Impatiens Leafy Greens Chervil
Red Clover Sweet Corn Fennel
Cosmos Sweet Potatoes Fir
Sunflowers Plums Orchard Grass
Gerbera Strawberries Chestnut Trees


Deer Deterrents

Now that we know what brought the deer to your garden, it’s time to do everything we can to protect the plants we love! Here are a few ways to disguise the deer favourites in your garden, keeping the deer busy elsewhere. 

Natural Remedies

If chemicals aren’t an option for you and your garden, a few natural ways have been said to work for deterring deer. Give one of the following natural remedies a shot if you’re looking for a natural-only DIY approach to saving your plants from snacking deer.

  1. Chilli powder – Sprinkle chilli powder on your plants to not only disguise their scent but disguise their taste as well!
  2. Irish Spring Soap – If you don’t mind, the esthetic, hanging bars of Irish Spring have been proven to work at disguising deer favourites with their pungent aroma.
  3. Fabric Softener Sheets – Like soap, they hide the smell of some deer favourites in your yard. 
  4. Hair/Fur – Scattered or tied in mesh bags. It is said that the scent of a predator will keep deer at a safe distance!
  5. Companion Planting – When planting, research what plants grow best together! Some great companion plants are used to disguise one another from predators like deer, beetles and more. 

Deer Repellent 

Not all deer repellents are chemical based. Deer Repellent has come a long way to ensure that the safety of ourselves, the deer and our plants are the top priority. If shopping for deer repellent, we recommend using Bobbex Deer Repellent. Bobbex offers an all-natural approach that is environmentally safe. It can be used on most sensitive plantings, trees, shrubs, seedlings and more. This repellent won’t wash off for weeks during the growing season and can last even longer during dormancy. 

Deer Dislikes!

Our favourite way to ensure that the deer won’t be coming over for breakfast, lunch or dinner, is to grow plants they don’t like! Surprisingly enough, deer can be picky eaters and if they don’t smell anything good growing at your place, they’ll move right along! Knowing this, we’ve been growing deer-resistant plants for years and we’re here to share a few of our favourites with you to ensure all your hard work goes noticed and not nibbled!

Deer Resistant Bulbs

Botanical Name Common Name
Allium Ornamental Onion
Chionodoxa Glory-of-the-snow
Colchicum Autumn crocus
Eranthus hyemalis Winter Aconite
Galanthus Snowdrops
Leucojum Summer  Snowflake
Muscari Grape Hyacinth
Narcissus Daffodil
Zantedeschia aethipica Hardy Calla Lily

Deer Resistant Annuals

Botanical Name Common Name
Ageratum Floss Flower
Antirrhinum majus Snapdragon
Argyranthemum Marguerites
Begonia Tuberous Begonia
Calendula officinalis English Marigold
Centaurea cineraria

(Centaurea gymnocarpa)

Dusty Miller
Centaurea cyanus Bachelor’s buttons, Cornflower
Cleome hassleriana Spider Flower
Consolida ambigua Larkspur
Coreopsis Tickseed
Dianthus Pinks, Carnations
Diascia Twinspur
Erigeron Fleabane
Erysimum Wallflower
Euryops Yellow Bush Daisy
Gaillardia Blanket Flower
Helichrysum Strawflowers
Helichrysum italicum,

H. angustifolium

Curry Plant (not the cooking spice)
lberis Candytuft
Lamium False Salvia, Deadnettle
Lantana Latan Palm
Matthiola Stock
Monarda Bergamots
Myosotis Forget-me-not
Nicotiana Flowering Tobacco
Oenothera Evening Primrose
Papaver Poppy
Pelargonium Geranium
Salvia Sage
Senecio cineraria Dusty Miller
Sisyrinchium Blue-eyed Grass
Tagetes French Marigolds

Deer Resistant Perennials

Botanical Name Common Name
Acanthus mollis Bear’s Breeches
Achillea Yarrow
Aconitum Monkshood
Agapanthus African Lily
Agastache Anise Hyssop
Alchemilla Lady’s Mantle
Anaphalis Pearly Everlasting
Anemone x hybrida Windflower
Aquilegia Columbine
Arabis Rock Cress
Armeria Thrift
Artemesia Lactiflora Wormwood
Asarum caudatum Wild Ginger
Aurinia saxatilis Alyssum Saxatile
Ballota Cuban Oregano
Belamcanda chinensis Leopard Lily
Brunnera macrophylla Brunnera
Campanula Bellfower
Centaurea macrocephala Globe Cornflower, Basket Flower
Cerastium tomentosum Snow-in-Summer
Cheiranthus Wallflower
Chrysanthemum Hardy Chrysanthemum
Convallaria majalis Lily-of-the-Valley
Delphinium Larkspur
Dicentra Bleeding Heart
Dierama Angel’s Fishing Rod
Digitalis Foxglove
Dracocephalum Dragon’s Head
Echinacea Coneflower
Echinops Globe Thistle
Epimedium Barrenwort
Eriophyllum lanatum Native Woolly Sunflower
Eryngium amethystinum Sea Holly
Erysimum Wallflower
Eschscholzia California  Poppy
Euphorbia Wood Spurge
Galium odoratum Sweet Woodruff
Gaillardia Blanket Flower
Gentiana Gentian
Geranium x cantabrigiense Cranesbill
Geranium macrorrhizum Big Root Geranium
Gunnera manicata Giant Rhubarb, Chilian  Rhurbarb
Gypsophilia paniculata Baby’s Breath
Helleborus Hellebore
Hesperis matronalis Dame’s Rocket
lberis Candytuft
Iris, esp. bearded types Bearded Iris
Iris pseudacorus Yellow Flag Iris
Kniphofia Red-hot Poker, Torch


Lamium False Salvia,


Lavendula Lavender
Leucanthemum superbum Shasta Daisy
Liatris spicata Blazing Star, Gay Feather
Linaria Toadflax
Liriope Lilyturf
Lithodora diffusa
Lobelia cardinalis Cardinal Flower
Lupinus Lupine
Lychnis Campions
Monarda Bergamots
Myosotis Forget-me-not
Nepeta Catmint, Catnip
Nicotiana Flowering Tobacco
Oenothera Evening Primrose
Origanum Oregano, Marjoram, Sweet Marjoram
Oxalis Sorrel
Pachysandra Japanese Spurge
Phlomis Jerusalem Sage
Paeonia Peony
Papaver Poppy
Perovskia Russian Sage
Phlox subulata Creeping Phlox, Moss Phlox
Polemonium Jacob’s Ladder
Polygonatum Solomon’s Seal
Pulmonaria Lungwort
Rheum acuminatum Ornamental Rhubarb
Romneya coulteri California Tree Poppy
Rudbeckia fulgida Black-eyed Susan
Ruta graveolens Jackman’s Rue
Salvia Sage
Sempervivum Hen and Chicks
Sisyrinchium Blue-eyed Grass
Solidago Goldenrod
Stachys byzantina Lamb’s Ears
Stylophorum diphyllum Celandine Poppy
Thalictrun Meadow Rue
Tiarella Foam Flower
Tibouchina Princess Flower
Tradescantias Spiderwort
Verba scum Mullein
Veronica Speedwell
Vinca major Periwinkle
Viola ordorata Sweet Violet
Zantedeschia aethiopica Calla Lily
Zauchchneria California Fuchia

For our full list of deer-resistant plants, click here! Need more inspiration for growing deer-resistant plants? Check out the latest episode of Get Up and Grow, What You Need To Know About Deer Resistant Plants below!

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Raised Garden Beds

Raised Garden Beds

Whether you live in an apartment building or a house, there are several reasons why raised garden beds are a fantastic option for gardeners. With Spring still in full bloom, it’s a great time to get started on a raised garden bed of your own. In this article, we’re here to share how a raised garden bed could be a game changer for your home garden!

10 Reasons to Use a Raised Garden Bed

  1. Keep your garden safe from kids & pets playing.
  2. Prevent burrowing pests from entering by using a base.
  3. Provide plants with oxygen and good draining.
  4. A great way to moderate soil needs and types of soil.
  5. Easy access for those with disabilities, aches and pains – less bending.
  6. Longer planting season with warmer soil temperatures.
  7. Neat and tidy gardening, with easy structure support for trellises, netting and strings.
  8. Helps concentrate all your hard-earned compost to where you need it!
  9. Allows for gardening in small spaces without yards.
  10. Easy planning! Raised garden beds are a great way to map out the exact area you have to work with.

Types of Raised Garden Beds

Raised Ground Beds: Using an in-ground garden bed is a great way to prevent weeds from creeping into your garden while also getting all the nutrients mother nature has to offer. In-ground planters built directly into the soil will also allow deeper rooting for plants that need it. Have underground pests? Be sure to apply netting to the bottom of the planter to keep them out. To raise your in-ground garden bed, look for beds that offer extensions like the Veggie Garden Planter above by CR Plastics, with unlimited expansion capabilities for ease.

Containerized Raised Beds – Raised containers come in various sizes and shapes to accommodate many unique growing conditions and spaces. Frequently used on balconies and apartments, they create small garden spaces where gardens aren’t often found. With limited space, herb gardeners are commonly cultivated in raised containers and provide endless supplies of fresh basilparsleymintcilantro and more!

Supported Raised Garden Beds – Do you have an uneven ground for planting? Support your raised garden bed with a built-in bottom and/or by adding legs to support your bed, also known as a raised garden table. This will give you the even lift you need to create an equal distribution for your plants to absorb water and allow you to work in the garden with mobile ease. When choosing your supported raised garden bed, it’s essential to keep in mind the height at which you feel most comfortable working at. If you prefer a chair, opt for a raised bed with legs. If you want to kneel at a comfortable height, take measurements for how tall that would be while in a comfortable kneeling position.

Plant Based Beds

To determine the best raised garden bed for your home, start by knowing what it is you would like to plant. Each plant requires a unique combination of sunlight, water, soil drainage and depth for its roots. For example, if you have decided that you would like to grow tomatoes, you will need a bed with the following requirements.


SUN Full-sun, preferably in a south-facing location.
WATER Keep evenly moist; tomatoes don’t like too much water.
SOIL  Well-draining, slightly acidic, rich in nutrients.
DEPTH  12″ or deeper for best root development.

Once you have carefully mapped out all the requirements to choose your perfect garden bed for your favourite plants, incorporate more plants! The best way to add more plants would be to research similar growing condition plants or companion plants. For tomatoes, we recommend planting herbs; Basil or Parsley, Flowers; Marigolds or Nasturtiums, Vegetables; Asparagus or Garlic.

Tip: Keep in mind how much water your plants may require and how often. Is your raised garden bed in a convenient location to access the water they need?

Tools & Supplies

Now that you’ve chosen your plants and raised garden bed, you’re almost ready! If your plants don’t get nutrients directly from the earth, you will need to prepare nutrient-rich soil for them to grow strong and healthy. We recommend mixing an adequate amount of Sea Soil and/or compost with your soil, plus adequate plant food and to finishing with mulch for good water retention.

To determine the proper nutrients for your plants, you will need to research their individual nutrient needs when grown in a container. Using tomatoes as an example, try Nurseryland Tomato Food 5-10-5.

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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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