Salvia 101

Salvia 101

Salvia (or ‘sage’) is an attractive and fragrant addition to the summer garden. It is known to be quite resilient, being both deer & rabbit-resistant. If you are looking for a reliable hardy plant for your garden this June, check out everything there is to learn about Salvia in this weeks blog, Salvia 101.

About Salvia

Salvias belong to the family of Lamiaceae and are known for being colorful. The flowers are dense and have a tubular shape, while the stems & leaves are usually velvety. These plants can be found in various shades like purple, blue, red, pink & white.

Salvia, derived from the Latin word salvere meaning “to heal,” and has been used centuries ago by the Greek & Roman societies to improve memory and enhance cognitive functions.

Although “salvia” and “sage” are often used interchangeably, the former usually refers to ornamental plants, while the latter is for culinary herbs. Additionally, there are several varieties of garden sage that have attractive ornamental features.


Salvia plants are lucky, as they are usually left undamaged by deer and rabbits due to the pungent odor of their distinctive leaves. This scent works as a natural deterrent to other pests in the garden.


Salvia plants are highly tolerant of both heat and drought, making them ideal for the summer garden. They come in a wide variety of shapes & sizes, ranging from 18 inches to 5 feet tall! Growing them in containers is also possible and can be beneficial if you have limited space.


Before selecting salvias to add to your garden, it’s important to note that the hardiness of the species varies across different regions. Some are best kept as annuals while others can survive as perennials. There’s a large selection of both types available.

Varieties of Salvia

There are nearly a thousand species of salvias, of which some are perennial and tender. To make up for their lack of winter hardiness, they are often treated as annuals in regions where they cannot survive the cold weather.


For regions with warmer climates, certain Salvias are known to be perennial plants that persist from one season to the next. However, most of these varieties are usually grown as annuals that need replacing yearly. Popular Annuals include: Scarlet Sage or Texas Sage, Pineapple Sage and Bedding Sage.


This is an ideal group of plants for cold climates, ranging in height from 12-24 inches and producing blooms between late spring and early summer. The following salvias are usually grown as perennials; Azure Sage, Peruvian Sage, Autumn Sage and Hybrid Sage.

How to Plant Salvia

Salvia requires full sunlight and slightly acidic to neutral soil pH for proper growth. The blooming period typically ranges from spring to fall and flowers come in various colors like blue, pink, purple, red, white & yellow. This plant is hardy in the zone 5-10. To plant your own Salvia at home, follow these easy instructions:

1.) Dig the ground to a depth of 12 inches & remove any stones or roots. Then add in 3 inches of compost for extra nutrient content to make the soil more fertile.

2.) When growing plants in pots, it is advisable to add some grit or sharp sand to the compost in order for better water drainage. Plants planted in the garden soil don’t require additional feeding as they can gain nourishment from atmospheric conditions.

3.)After taking the plant out of its pot, put it in a hole that is three times the size of the plants container, so that the top of its root ball is even with the soil surface.

4.)Depending on the type of plant, space plants at a distance of 1 to 3 feet apart.

5.) After planting the desired species, be sure to pack the soil around it firmly yet gently. Afterwards, give the plant its first good soak of water.

How to Care for Salvia

Watering Salvia

For optimal hydration and weed prevention for your Salvia, add a 2-inch layer of mulch near the plant. If there are more than 7 consecutive days without an inch of rain in summer, water the plants accordingly. However, do not over-water them as Salvia does not enjoy excess irrigation during warm months.

Feeding Salvia

During bloom season, Salvia plants do not need any additional fertilizers to flourish. Removing dead flowers periodically will help in creating a continuous blooming effect.

Pruning Salvia

When the season comes to a close, it is beneficial to leave some flowers on the plants for reseeding and providing food for birds. Some plants may develop woody lower stems with age; prune these back if desired. The last step is to cut all of the stems down to an inch or two above soil line after the first killing frost.

Dividing Salvia

It’s recommended to divide your perennial salvia plants every few years, preferably in the early spring before new growth begins. To do so, simply take the plant out of the ground, split it into smaller clumps and replant them where desired.

Miniature Roses 101

Miniature Roses 101

Miniature roses may feature smaller blooms, yet the wide variety of colours they come in is quite impressive. These petite beauties are a great way to add personality and colour to your garden. Not only are they beautiful, but they can also withstand even harsher winter conditions better than some other roses. Garden roses are some of the most popular flowers you can plant in your garden.

About Miniature Roses

Miniature roses have been around since the 17th century and were mostly developed from China roses native to Asia. However, they still hold many of the same properties, and need to be planted in spring for optimal growth. There is an extensive range of miniature rose varieties that can reach between a foot to three feet in size. Just like other roses, these miniatures come in different colours, fragrances and are perennial plants. Popular varieties include Trailers, Climbers and Micr-mini.


Miniature roses, much like their larger counterparts, bloom from mid-spring through early fall. Some can even bloom year round when provided with the optimal living conditions – but not usually in Canada. Regular maintenance of your plants can help them to keep blooming for longer. Deadheading the faded blooms, before they form into hips, can be a great way to promote the plant’s growth and prevent it from going into dormancy, which is indicated by seed production.


Unfortunately, miniature roses are subject to the same problems as larger roses, including black spot, a fungal disease. Powdery mildew can also be an issue. To avoid both of these inflictions, improve the air circulation around your roses by planting each bush a few feet apart and watering the plant from the base of the roots instead of overhead.

Tip: It is essential to get rid of any diseased debris as soon as possible to avoid further infection. Be watchful for pests or insect damage such as Japanese beetles, thrips, mites or chafers; and take prompt action if there are signs of any kind of infection by using an insecticide.

Miniature Rose Care Instructions

These tiny blooms can be grown in containers, flower beds, or even as a border along a walkway. With their hardy, disease-resistant nature and easy maintenance requirements, miniature roses are perfect for beginners or experienced gardeners alike. Whether you’re looking to create an enchanting miniature rose garden or simply add some stunning color to your outdoor space, these petite blooms will surely get the job done. To grow miniature roses at home, follow the care instructions below and be sure to plant in zone 5-11.

Full Sun

Miniature rose plants require full sun to thrive, although they can tolerate some shade. However, if kept in shady surroundings for too long, their foliage and flowers may become sparse. If you want your bush to bloom at its fullest potential and ensure maximum disease resistance, make sure it gets at least six to eight hours of sun each day.


Roses thrive in nutrient-rich, well-drained and loamy soil. A great option for these blooms is to have them in patio containers. If you’re doing this, don’t use garden soil for your pot of roses since it won’t have the same effect. When it comes to container gardening, potting soil is the ideal choice as it is light and has all the nutrients needed for successful growth. Garden soil can be too dense and restrict water flow, potentially depriving the root system of air which can cause root rot. Potting soil drains well, so there are minimal chances of this happening.


As a thumb rule, roses need to be watered at least one inch in a week; either daily, alternate days or simply twice every week. While watering your plants, it is important to ensure they are watered deeply. This encourages the root system to expand and become stronger. Additionally, when you water them, aim the hose at the base of each plant rather than spraying the blooms directly. This helps preserve their delicate structure. The extent of water consumption for your rose bush varies depending on the type of soil and the climate conditions.

Tip: Miniature roses need more frequent watering than regular-sized roses when the temperature is scorching outside. This is because their root system is smaller, so they are more vulnerable to dehydration.


Miniature roses require heavy fertilization for them to bloom throughout the season. You can use any store-bought rose fertilizer or general all-purpose fertilizer, but make sure to follow the instructions written on the label accurately. For optimal plant health, it is important to nourish your roses when their first leaves sprout and after each bloom. It should be noted, however, that feeding should be stopped roughly six to eight weeks prior to the initial frost in order to prevent any fresh growth from being destroyed by the cold.

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How To Grow Snapdragons

How To Grow Snapdragons

Introduction: What Makes Snapdragons a Must-Have in Your Garden?

Snapdragons are perfect for any garden. Their beautiful and vibrant colours, long blooming season and easy-to-grow nature, make them a must-have. With the right growing tips and care, snapdragons can bring beauty and life to your garden all year round. In this article, we’re here to provide helpful information on successfully growing your snapdragons at home.

About Snapdragons

The snapdragon is a type of flower with four or five yellow, white, purple, and blue lobes. In addition to having a long stem that can grow up to three feet tall, the flower also has many tiny leaves along the stem.

Snapdragons were initially found in mountainous terrain stretching from Europe to North Africa, American and Canadian regions. Belonging to the Antirrhinum family, snapdragons were introduced to the Americas in the early 1800s.

Fun fact: Resembling the face of a dragon, squeezing the base on the flower can create the illusion of a dragon opening and closing its mouth as it’s pressed lightly.

Snapdragon Growing Conditions

To get the best results when planting snapdragons, it is important to understand the ideal soil conditions and when to sow the seeds. Knowing the optimal depth for planting will ensure that your snapdragon plants have all of the necessary nutrients and moisture they need to thrive. With some knowledge, you can have a vibrant display of snapdragons in no time.

When to Sow: Direct Outdoors, Late Spring Bloom

Sprouts: 7-14 days
Bloom:  Late spring-early summer
Location: Full-partial sun
Difficulty: Easy
Lifecycle: Perennial
Planting depth: 1″
Seed Spacing:  Surface
Plant spread: Approx. 8″

How to Plant Snapdragons

1.) For optimal results, starting your seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last spring frost is usually recommended.

2.) Space seeds at a distance of 1 inch and cover lightly.

3.) Keep the soil consistently moist and exposed to ample light until you transplant it outdoors.

4.) Once the seedlings have grown big enough, transfer them 2 inches apart into bigger containers or separate pots.

5.) For optimal growth, place your transplanted flowers in soil that is nutrient-rich and has good drainage, as well as being exposed to direct sunlight.

Tip: To keep flowers blooming longer, trim away any spent stalks after flowering. This encourages more blooms throughout the season.

Harvesting Snapdragons

1.) To successfully cut snapdragons, use garden shears and snip them at a 45-degree angle, just above the leaf node. The best time to do this is early in the day when the flowers from the lower one-fourth or one-third of the spike have blossomed.

2.) Then fill a clean vase with about half to two-thirds of cold water and add your favourite flower preservative.

3.)To keep your snapdragons fresh, start by taking each one out of the water and cutting 1 inch off the stem at a 45-degree angle while running warm water. Put them inside a vase immediately and set them in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight.

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Top 5 Tips For Planting Fall Bulbs

Top 5 Tips For Planting Fall Bulbs

When one season ends, another begins! And you know what the best thing to plant in the fall is? Fall bulbs! On the latest episode of Get Up and Grow, our President Gord Nickel teaches Hannah Lepine everything she needs to know to plant all her favourite spring flowers now, while the timing is just right. Check out our Top 5 Tips for Planting Bulbs below, and follow along for expert advice on growing your best bulbs.


Tip #1 – Space

When planting your fall bulbs, map out your garden for adequate space. Each type of bulb you grow requires a specific amount of space which can normally be found on the bulb’s packaging or description. Suppose you’re ever unsure how to space your bulbs. A general rule of thumb is to plant smaller bulbs closer together (approx. 4 inches) while planting larger bulbs further (approx. 5 inches).

Tip #2 – Naturalize

If you’re not particular on where your flowers grow, grow more of them! Naturalizing refers to “informal” or natural growth patterns. Look for bulbs that are  “great for naturalizing” and watch them multiply! These self propagating plants create sweeps of large flowers and are ideal for mass landscaping.





Tip #3 Colour Planning

There are a few tips for creating jaw-dropping displays to get an extra pop of colour in the garden. One of our favourite tips for planting bulbs is simply referring to a contrast colour chart. Adding contrasting displays will not only create a more vibrant burst of colour but will also add depth. When planting contrasting colour displays, try to layer your blooms with shorter rows in front of tall flowers for the best views!

Bonus tip: Try planting white flowers in shady areas to make it appear lighter.

Tip #4 Timing

It’s always the best time to plant fall bulbs in the fall, right? That is not always true. An essential aspect of planting fall bulbs is to plant them five to six weeks before the ground freezes, which can be different for every region. To make sure your bulbs are going to perform their best, make sure they establish their roots while the soil is still warm by monitoring the expected frost in your region and planting them before it’s too late.

Tip #5 Containers

Planting fall bulbs in a container is just as easy as it is to plant them in the ground. The great part about planting your fall bulbs in a container is that you can plant almost every type of fall bulb there is. Even better, you can layer your fall bulb arrangement in your container, giving you blossom after blossom! To start, choose a fall bulb assortment that will thrive in the environment you’re going to place them in. If you have plenty of sun, you’re in luck and you can choose just about any bulb you like. If your container will be placed in shade for most of the day, you’ll want to consider bulbs that can tolerate shade, like SnowdropsCrocusesScilliaDaffodilsor Fritillaria .

layered fall bulb container

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How To Treat Slugs

How To Treat Slugs

With only four types of slugs in Canada, it sure feels like there are more than enough to go around! For as long as we can remember slugs have always been one of the worst pests in the garden. Nibbling tiny little holes in just about everything invites unwanted diseases into our plants, killing all our hard work! Don’t worry, if slugs are causing you problems we’re here to help solve them. In this week’s blog, we turned to our Nursery Experts to see what we can do in the garden to treat slugs.

Signs of Slugs

Since slugs like to feed at night, you will likely not catch them in the act until it’s too late. Once you notice tiny bite-size nibbles turning into large unsightly holes, it’s time to act. These tiny holes are an ‘open invitation for disease and infestation. Immediately prune off the dead leaves or any foliage that has been affected, to prevent further damage.

Ask Our Experts

When we asked our expert Shawn what his treatment plan for slugs looked like, he sure had a lot to say. It seemed as if he’s tried everything there is and he was happy to share with us what works. Here are five different ways to help treat slugs, from our Nursery Expert, Shawn.

  1. “A handy trick to finding your slugs is to place a 1ft 2×6 piece of wood on the surface of the ground, directly under the affected plants. In the early morning, turn the wood over. Depending on where you live, you might find a handful of nocturnal critters. If you’ve collected some slugs, then how you dispose of them is up to you! Repeat this trick as many times as you need.”
  2. “Did you know, slugs won’t cross copper? Commercially available, copper tape or copper wire can be applied to containers or garden bed frames, to prevent slugs from getting into your crops.”
  3. “Garter snakes are a big predator of slugs, so if you happen to see some in your garden, let mother nature do its best work at getting rid of them naturally!”
  4. “Ducks love slugs, keeping ducks around your garden not only gets rid of slugs but also creates many, many other benefits for your plants!”
  5. “Above all, the best practice for keeping slugs away from your garden is to keep your yard and compost, neat and tidy. Denying slugs the natural habitat they need to live.”
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Hummingbirds 101

Hummingbirds 101

Zippy yet delicate, the Hummingbird is always a pleasure to see around the garden or at your window. Hummingbirds are beautifully coloured and quirky to watch – and they’re also fantastic pollinators! In this week’s blog, we’re here to share some exciting facts about our hummingbird friends, what makes them unique, and how you can attract them to your home garden.

Canadian Hummingbirds

Across South America and North America, the Hummingbird can be found in over 300 varieties! However, in Canada, there are five extraordinary varieties that not only call our country home but also our gardens! Check them out below.

Anna’s Hummingbird – Known for their territorial instincts, Anna’s Hummingbird was named after the Duchess of Rivoli, Anna De Belle Massena, for its Ruby coloured neck (males). This particular Hummingbird can reach up to 80 km per hour, one of the world’s fastest animals for its size! Anna’s Hummingbird calls the shoreline of the west coast home, from British Columbia to Mexico.

Calliope Hummingbird – Is the teeniest-tiniest bird that can be found in North America! Weighing just one-tenth of an ounce (about the weight of a penny!) and around three inches long. The Calliope Hummingbird holds the title of the world’s smallest migratory bird. Spending its winters in Mexico and travelling to British Columbia for breeding.

Black-chinned Hummingbird – Unlike most colourful male hummingbirds, black-chinned hummingbird males are noticeably less colourful and often mistaken for females. The distinction, male black-chinned hummingbirds, have a metallic, unique colour-changing violet throat. If you listen carefully, the black-chinned Hummingbird’s wings flapping sounds similar to that of a bee buzzing! These amazing hummingbirds call the interior of the united states west coast home, with minimal breeding grounds in some of Alberta.

Rufous Hummingbird – A uniquely coloured hummingbird with a copper-coloured appearance featuring glowing spikes of green. In this species of Hummingbird, even the females show slight coloration – just less vibrant. Well-known for being territorial, the Rufous Hummingbird is small but mighty and will do its best to scare other birds away from its favourite source of nectar. From Mexico to British Columbia, the Rufous Hummingbird has been known to reach parts of Alaska!

Ruby-throated Hummingbird – The most common Hummingbird found in Canada! With a mouse-like squeak, the Ruby-throat hummingbird can flap its wings more than 50 times in a second! Breeding from Newfoundland to Alberta, down to Florida and across to Kansas! The Ruby-throated Hummingbird knows how to make an appearance!

Attracting Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds are one of Mother Nature’s best pollinators! With their long-skinny beaks, they can access pollen in places that even the bees can’t reach. Introducing pollinators like hummingbirds to your garden is a great way to grow healthy and happy plants by nourishing a solid ecosystem. To reap the benefits these pollinators offer, there are ways to make your garden more attractive for our hummingbird friends.


You might have noticed that hummingbird feeders are primarily red. This is because red is their favourite colour! Hummingbirds see in the combination of ultraviolet colours, making reds, pinks and oranges highly visible. When planting flowers, aim for bright reds to get their attention.


Approaching a highly visible red saucer filled with sweet nectar has become second nature to our hummingbird friends. Before hanging your feeder, it’s essential to know that once these birds are familiar with it, they will come to rely on your feeder for their food source. The feeder will need to be replenished weekly to ensure your hummingbirds get the nutrients they need to survive. To hang your very own hummingbird feeder, try this!

Hummingbird Tray Feeder

1.) To feed your hummingbirds, mix 1 part sugar with 4 parts boiling water and mix until fully dissolved. It is important to use hot water so that any chemicals (such as bleach) are fully evaporated and will cause no harm to the hummingbirds.

2.) Allow your hummingbird nectar to cool down fully before pouring it into the bird feeder. This will prevent any plastic from melting and ensure that the Hummingbird does not get burned.

3.) Once your nectar is cold to the touch, pour it into your favourite hummingbird feeder and hang it somewhere highly visible!

Cleaning Your Feeder – Be sure to always wash your feeder each week! It’s essential to ensure mould does not build up in the feeder, as this can poison your hummingbirds! To prevent mould build-up, look for hummingbird feeders that are easy to clean. Once a week, soak your hummingbird feeder in hot water with mild soap. Use a bottle brush to clean hard-to-get areas, rinse with hot water, and set aside to dry.

Favourite Plants

Above all, our favourite method of attracting more hummingbirds is to plant their favourite plants! Since we’ve been in the gardening industry for over 40 years, we know our stuff when it comes to hummingbird favourites. Throughout that time, we’ve made a few notes that we’ve been asked to share yearly. To help you attract more hummingbirds, check out our list of Hummingbird Favourites here.

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