Growing Tips ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||

Planting Instructions

Helpful hints on how to successfully plant your newly purchased nursery stock

Preparation

Your new plants should be installed as soon as possible. If there is some delay in planting, then it is important to guard against moisture loss. Store plants in a shady, wind protected area, and keep root area evenly moist. Handle plants gently and use the container or root ball to move the plant. Never hold onto the plant itself. Be sure to place your plants in their preferred growing environment for best results.

Balled and Burlap

Many trees, shrubs and evergreens have the root ball wrapped in burlap and secured with string or rope. Large sizes have the ball contained in a wire basket. These must be planted just the way they are, burlap, rope and wire basket too. Fill around the ball with a good soil mix to three-quarters and water thoroughly.

THEN – untie all string or rope from the trunk or stems. Fold back burlap and ropes and tuck down out of sight. If there is a wire basket, fold back the loops and push down, leaving the wire basket on. Add more good soil mix to fill the hole. Water again using a root-stimulating transplant fertilizer.

Size of Planting Hole

It is vital to dig your planting hole at least 5″ larger than the root ball on all sides to allow for soil enrichments before planting. When planting large heavy balls, the soil at the bottom of the hole should be left solid to prevent the tree from settling lower (see illustration). The finished level of the tree should be the same as it was grown, or up to 3″ (8 cm) higher.

Fibre Pots

We cannot over stress the importance of leaving the pot ON! These pots are made of paper and will rot away in the soil, and are readily penetrated by healthy plant roots. Break off the pot rim down to the soil level. Make three cuts halfway up from the bottom. DO NOT remove the bottom of the pot. Fill in around the pot with a good soil mix. Water thoroughly with a root stimulating transplant fertilizer.

Plastic Pots

Water thoroughly before removing the container. If a light tapping on sides and bottom does not release the soil, make two cuts the length of the pot on opposite sides and gently pull away the halves. Use your fingers or a knife to gently loosen and spread exposed roots that appear crowded. To free the very matted or circling roots, make several vertical cuts 1/2 to 1 inch deep through the root mass.

Perennials and Annuals

These are usually grown in beds where 3″ to 6″ sphagnum peat moss is spread over the surface and worked into the soil to a depth of 3″ to 12″. A good general purpose flowering fertilizer can be added at this time. Thorough bed preparation is important for healthy perennials since they will be growing in that same location for many years to come. If a specimen is being planted or being added to an existing bed, then prepare the planting hole as you would for a tree or shrub.

Special Care for Special Plants

Roses may be in fibre or plastic pots. Most roses are grafted on to different root stock. For reasons of hardiness, the grafted area (which will be the swollen area where the stems originate) must be planted 2 inches below the soil. For Rhododendrons, Azaleas and other Broadleafed Evergreens increase the amount of sphagnum peat moss used by half. Peaches, nectarines and cherries demand excellent fast drainage. DO NOT plant in wet areas. DO NOT overwater.

When the planting is completed…

Watering

Plants grown in plastic pots tend to dry out more quickly; therefore, more frequent watering may be necessary to avoid plant wilt. It takes several weeks for roots to extend beyond the original soil ball, so be sure to check this area as it often dries out faster than surrounding garden soil. Deep watering encourages a deep root system and your plant will become more drought tolerant.

Mulching

Apart from their good appearance and the retarding of weed growth, mulches help to retain moisture. Mulch also keeps roots cool in summer and insulated in winter. Maintenance is easier and your plants will thrive.

3 Easy Steps to Success

1. Plant the tree or shrub no deeper than it grew at the nursery.
2. It is necessary to plant trees and evergreens in a soil that offers good drainage. Therefore, if you are planting in an area with heavy clay soil, you must make certain modifications before planting.
3. It is vital to dig your planting hole at least 5″ larger than the root ball on all sides to allow for soil enrichments before planting.

Tip: The high phosophorous “Transplanter” type fertilizer is the only appropriate fertilizer to be used in the first season.
Tip: You can help to prevent permanent damage or discoloration caused by dessication (drying out) of evergreens by watering thoroughly in the fall, before freeze-up.
Tip: Divert downspouts and sprinklers away from planting area.
Tip: Water only when the soil feels dry to the touch, 2″ to 3″ down into the root area. Continue this form of watering until the plant is well established and growing.
Tip: A good soil mix is 50 per cent soil, 25 per cent peat moss, 25 per cent manure.

Article courtesy of www.landscapeontario.com

Pruning Shrubs and Evergreens

Pruning is an essential part of gardening. Correctly pruned trees, shrubs and evergreens will be superior in appearance, vigour and in flowering to neglected plants.

Pruning Tools:

Hand Held Pruning Shears: Use for cutting stems up to 13 mm in diameter. Scissor types (illustrated) cut closer than anvil types, which can crush bark if they are not very sharp.
Hedge Shears: Use for trimming formal hedges when a neat wall of foliage is the goal.
Lopping Shears: Their long handles provide extra leverage, making lopping shears capable of cutting through stems up to 38 mm in diameter.
Tools Required:
• Hand Pruners (secateurs) for stems up to 13 mm in diameter.
• Lopping Shears for stems and branches up to 2 cm.
• Hedge Shears or Electric Hedge Trimmers for shaping hedges and pyramidal evergreens.
• Pruning Saw for larger branches. Cuts over 2 cm should be protected with wound paint or paste.

Pruning Evergreens

Pyramidal Cedars and Junipers may be lightly pruned in early spring to remove any winter-killed tips. By mid-June, it should be apparent that shearing is needed again as the warmer weather produces a rush of growth.

Clip them with hedge shears just like a hedge. No upright evergreen should ever be allowed to outgrow its place in the garden. Spreading evergreens can be similarly sheared or thinned by removing individual branches. Make the cut under an overhanging branch and the pruning will be unseen.

Pruning Conifers

Spruce and Fir produce buds along the branch. New growth should be removed by about half in the third week of June. This provokes dormant buds to break, creates denser foliage and new buds will be set at the cut.

The “leader” of such trees can become disproportionally long and should be cut at this time. Do not cut below the lowest bud or the leader will die back.

Pines do not have buds along the stem, only on the tips. As these buds enlarge in the spring, they are likened to “candles.” Half of this growth should be removed each year, before the end of June.

Pruning Flowering Vines and Shrubs

These spring flowering shrubs should be pruned immediately after flowering: Caragana, Deutzia, Forsythia, Flowering Almond, Lilac, Purpleleaf Sandcherry, Rhododendron.

In the case of Lilac and Rhododendron, even if pruning for size is not required, at least remove the spent flowers and prevent the plant from setting seed. This will make them more floriferous next year.

Summer flowering shrubs should be pruned in early spring before growth begins, then pruned again to remove spent flowers. These include Roses, pink Spireas, Potentilla, Butterfly Bush, Blue Mist Shrub and Hydrangea.

Bittersweet Vine and shrubs with attractive fruit or berries, some roses, cranberries, etc., offer no best time for pruning. If pruning is required, then do so after flowering, or make use of the decorative berries indoors by cutting the fruited branches — Holly berries at Christmas, for example. Spindly Mahonia with bare lower stems should be cut right down in spring.

Most flowering vines — Clematis, Honeysuckle, Silverlace Vine, etc. — are extremely vigorous and should be pruned in early spring. Some Clematis, Nelly Moser and Duchess of Edinburgh are examples that flower on old wood, then flower again on new growth. If the vine is overgrown, you may have to forgo early blossom in some years.

Article courtesy of www.landscapeontario.com

Winter Protection for Delicate Plants

Whether a plant is new to your garden and in need of some additional attention to ensure that it makes it through its first winter or you are pushing the zone limits and growing a variety that is only marginally hardy in your area, winter protection is something that you should be thinking about in the next few weeks. Wrapping, mulching and mounding are the three most common techniques for protecting plants.

Wrapping

The first thing to consider when planning on wrapping a plant for the winter is what the plant needs to be protected from. In most cases we are trying to protect needles, flower buds or evergreen leaves from drying winds. Road and sidewalk salt that blows or splashes onto plants will accelerate drying and otherwise hardy plants which can be damaged may need to have a barrier between them and the source of the spray. Another common reason for wrapping plants is to support branches which may be damaged or broken from snow and ice load over the course of the winter.

To protect plants from wind and sun you can either wrap the entire plant or you can erect a temporary fence on the exposed sides of the plant. Fencing can be particular effective if part of the plant is protected by structures or other plants or if there is a particular direction that the wind generally blows from.

To wrap an entire plant I still recommend installing stakes, since wrapping directly on the plant’s foliage can result in mould problems if we have a warm winter. For upright plants you can install tall bamboo stakes, at least 3 and more if required, and tie them together at the top to form a rough teepee structure. After the ground freezes in the late fall go back and wrap the structure in burlap starting at the bottom and spiralling up to the top. To hold the burlap in place while you are working with it you can quickly catch it with clothes pegs or any other type of clip. I then tie some twine around the top of the stakes and burlap and spiral back down to the bottom, tying the twine off at one of the stakes.

If you are wrapping evergreens to support their branches in case of heavy snow or ice load you can simply tie a piece of twine or cord to the base of the trunk and spiral your way up the plant, gently drawing the branches closer to the trunk as you go. You don’t need to draw them in tight to the centre of the plant, just to bring them in far enough to reduce the area available for snow loading and to support them if snow does begin to collect. You can either tie off the twine at the top or you can spiral back down the plant and tie it at the base again. This is also particularly effective for globe cedars which can split open under snow load.

Mulching

Mulching is an effective way to protect the roots of plants that are either only marginally hardy in your area or have been planted or transplanted after the start of September and are vulnerable to frost heave. Frost heave is caused by repeated freezing and thawing pushing the crown of a plant out of the ground and can potentially kill even hardy plants. A loose layer of a shredded bark mulch is quite effective for winter protection. Lay it down at least 4″ and as much as 6″ deep, ideally after the ground has frozen. If aesthetics are less of a concern straw is also a good insulator if piled up about 8″ deep, but avoid hay because hay is full of seeds which will be more than happy to germinate in your garden come spring.

Mounding

Mounding plants up for the winter is a technique that many of us are familiar with for protecting tender roses which can be used for a range of delicate plants. The purpose is to protect the bottom 8-12″ of the rose canes so that if the winter proves to be colder than the canes can tolerate there will still be healthy stems and buds for the plant to grow back from. You can cut the roses back to a couple of feet tall before doing this to make it easier to get to the crown to add the soil, but I generally just pile a bucket or so of soil or finished compost over the centre of the plant and leave the canes. If the winter proves to be moderate then I simply remove any damaged or weak wood in the spring and have a larger shrub, and often more blooms, than I would have had if I had cut the entire plant back. This technique is also effective for Big Leaf Hydrangeas, Rose of Sharon and Butterfly Bushes.

Plants to consider protecting:

Wrapping
• Evergreens planted in the past year
• Broad leaved evergreens including: Rhododendrons, Broad Leaved Hollies, Boxwood
• Any plants right next to heavily salted roads or sidewalks
• Evergreens exposed to particularly strong winds
Mulching
• Anything planted since the start of September
• Perennials which are only marginally hardy
• Japanese Maples
Mounding
• Any woody plants that die back to near the ground each winter including:
• Tender Roses
• Butterfly Bushes
• Big Leaf Hydrangeas (Blue and Pink varieties)

Article courtesy of www.landscapeontario.com

How to Maintain a Healthy Lawn in Seven Simple Steps

Proper lawn care techniques, done at the right time, can make your lawn greener than it’s ever been!

Step 1: Aerating and Thatch Control

• Aerate in the spring and fall before top dressing or fertilizing.
• Aerators can be rented or lawn care companies can provide the service.
• This alleviates compacted soil and allows water to penetrate deeper, producing deeper roots.
• It creates space in soil for penetration of air, water and nutrients.
• It physically breaks up thatch.
• A healthy lawn has 1 cm (1/2 inch) of thatch – more than 2.5 cm is too much.
• Unhealthy amounts of thatch prevent water and nutrients from reaching roots.
• Thatch can harbour insects and diseases.
• Use a de-thatching machine or hire a lawn care company.

Step 2 : Improving Soil Quality

• Grass grows best in a moist, fertile soil that is not waterlogged.
• Sandy soil and heavy clay both need humus to improve the texture.
• A deep dense root system is most important to support top growth in grass.
• A minimum of 4″ (10 cm) of soil is needed.
• More soil = deeper roots.
• Soil samples can be sent for analysis. The results will include levels of phosphorus, potassium, pH and lime.
• pH levels are the measurement of acid and alkaline level. The best level is between 6.0 and 7.0.
• Top dress lawn with good quality top soil (1/4 to 1/2 inch), consisting of loam, peat moss and compost will improve soil conditions.
• Can be combined with overseeding.

Step 3: Overseed

• Top- dressing and overseeding are ideal opportunities to introduce drought resistant grass mixes.
• Best time is early fall, but can be done in spring if there is winter damage.
• Red Fescue tolerates shade and drought conditions, requires low-fertility, rows well in the sun, has very fine leaves and spreads by runners.
• Perennial Rye is drought tolerant, prefers full sun, but tolerates shade.
• Many Perennial Rye grasses contain levels of endophytic fungus.
• Hairy chinch bugs, bluegrass billbugs and sod webworms don’t like the taste.
• Retains its green colour very well during mid-summer heat stress.

Step 4: Mowing

• Mow high: 6 to 8 cm (approx 3″).
• Keep mower blades sharp.
• Mow frequently – cut no more than 1/3 of shoot length.
• Leave clippings on the lawn to provide a natural source of nitrogen.

Step 5: Fertilizing

• This is very important to grass health.
• It provides nutrients to outgrow weeds.
• Use a slow release type and follow instructions.
• Use a spreader for even application.
• Consider using organic fertilizers.
• Apply a 4-1-2 ratio (N-P-K) e.g. 20-5-10 is 20% nitrogen 5% phosphorus 10% potassium (and 65% filler).
• Nitrogen needs to be applied each year.
• Phosphorus and potassium are stable in soil.
• Late fall fertilization is best to increase fall and spring root growth and also results in an early spring green up.
• Promotes a thicker lawn.
• Timing is critical – turf stopped growing but still green.
• Follow-up with late May, early June fertilization (consider corn gluten meal and deal with crabgrass at the same time).

Step 6: Spot Check for Weeds and Insects

• Integrated pest management is as good as conventional pest management.
• Pull any broadleaf weeds by hand.
• Annual weeds – prevent flowering – mowing and/or hand pulling.
• Grass weeds – pre-emergent (prevents germination) – try corn gluten meal “Turf Maize”.
• Perennial rye grass mix – will minimize chinch bugs, bluegrass billbugs, sod webworms.
• Nematode spray for grubs.

Step 7: Irrigating

• Let a healthy lawn go dormant during extended dry periods. It can survive 4 to 6 weeks without adequate water.
• Water only if an extreme drought or lawn under stress or renovation to begin with.
If your lawn is dormant:
o Check regularly for insect pests
o Keep traffic off
o Stop mowing
o Do not fertilize
If you do water:
o Water deeply: 2.5 cm (one inch).
o Water infrequently: Less than once a week.
o Water before 10:00 a.m. to avoid evaporation and for best health.
o Follow any regional watering restrictions.

Month by Month Guide

April Aerate if needed
Top-dress and overseed if needed
Pull dandelions and other weeds
Apply corn gluten meal
Pre-emergent for crab grass
Fertilizer
Wait 30 days if overseeding
May Pull dandelions and other weeds
Monitor grubs
June Pull dandelions and other weeds
Monitor grubs
July Monitor grubs
Monitor chinch bugs
August Apply nematodes if necessary for grubs
Late – overseed with drought resistant grass
Perennial rye grass
Red fescue
September Early – overseed
Monitor weeds and pull
October Buy fertilizer
November Apply late season fertilizer

Article courtesy of www.landscapeontario.com

Water Smarts: Tips for Using Irrigation Water More Efficiently

Watering:

• Install rain sensors on sprinkler systems.
• Adjust irrigation timers according to seasonal needs.
• Detect and repair all leaks in irrigation systems.
• Water trees and shrubs, which have deep root systems, longer and less frequently than shallow-rooted plants which require smaller amounts of water more often.
• Set sprinklers to water the lawn or garden only — not the street or sidewalk.
• Water the lawn or garden during the coolest part of the day (early morning is best). Do not water on windy days.
• Use properly treated wastewater for irrigation where available.
• Have system serviced regularly.

Maintaining:

• Use mulch around shrubs and garden plants to reduce evaporation from the soil surface and cut down on weed growth.
• Remove thatch and aerate turf to encourage movement of water to the root zone.
• Raise your lawn mower cutting height — longer grass blades help shade each other, cutting down on evaporation. They also inhibit weed growth.

Ornamental water features:

• Do not install or use ornamental water features unless they recycle the water.

Article courtesy of www.landscapeontario.com

Pests on Trees and Shrubs

Trees and Shrubs have a large variety of problems ranging from minute insects to large animals. Maintenance is required to keep ahead of these problems. You must learn to pick out signs of trouble and act upon them quickly. Try to avoid the stresses of drought or root damage to help reduce insect infestations. Plants that are well nourished, fertilized and watered regularly are more capable of withstanding disease and insect attacks.

ANIMAL PESTS

These pests are usually not as severe as insect damage. Deer like to browse on deciduous trees and cedars. Dogs may urinate on shrubs causing burning leaves, or they may dig up shrubs. Mice and rabbits will chew the bark off trees in the winter, girdling them so the sap can’t rise properly in the spring. Some cures are to put up fencing, put down repellents and use traps to capture and release. Plastic and reinforced Kraft paper tree wraps are easy to use.

INSECT PESTS

Aphid
Aphids are fat, fleshy-bodied green or yellow insects. They cause severe distortion and stunting and are a plant disease vector. They also drop sticky sap called honeydew onto anything below.

Gypsy Moth

Gypsy moth larvae are up to 2-1/2″ long, hairy caterpillars with two rows of red and blue spots down their bock. They are a very serious pest to shade trees, preferring oak, but will move onto others when no oak remains. They can defoliate entire forests. As larvae hatch, they may cover the entire outside of any object when they are not feeding. It may take a tree several years to recover from a single layer of defoliation. Several successive years of attack means that the tree will die. Evergreens will die after one defoliation if they are attacked. Insecticides should be applied in the spring or early summer before the larvae are one-inch long. It is wise to get professional help as the entire tree should be covered with insecticide. Homeowners should destroy any yellow egg masses attached to structures in the winter.

Leafminer

Leafminers are insect larvae that feed on the inside of a leaf between the upper and lower surfaces. They can be the larvae of many types of insects. These include flies, sawflies, moths and beetles. Symptoms include blisters or tunnels which turn yellow or brown as the leaf tissue dies.

Mealy Bug

Mealy bugs look like fluffy pieces of cotton 1/8″ to 1/4″ long. They are usually found on undersides of leaves or more often congregate around the base of the leaves or on stems. Some symptoms are stunting of growth, yellowing, leaf distortion and a sticky sap left on leaves or bark.

Scale

There are many types of scale, most of which have hard or soft shells on them. One type has a cottony cover similar to mealy bug. Usually, they are found on woody stems but may also be found on the under-sides of leaves.

Skeletonizer

Leafbeetle larvae feed on leaves, leaving a mosaic lacy-like pattern of holes with only the veins remaining. The larvae are blackish in colour and the adults are 1/4″ yellow beetles with black spots. There may also be clusters of yellow eggs on the underside of leaves. There can be up to four generations per growing season and repeated infestations will kill young trees.

Slugs and Snails

These creatures are similar to each other except that one has a shell and the other does not. Shiny slime trails and holes in leaves are clues to their presence. They require moisture to survive; therefore they are usually a problem in wet areas. Snails and Slugs become dormant when the weather conditions are dry. Their eggs are laid in damp soil under rocks, logs, leaves, etc. Dense ground covers are ideal breeding spots. Slug bait will control them. Wet down areas where you wish to attract them and encircle areas to be treated with bait.

Tent Caterpillars

Tent caterpillars or caterpillars in general are the larvae of butterflies and moths. They have three sets of actual legs and many pairs of false legs. Mouth parts are used for chewing leaves. These larvae go through many stages, and may start out as small as a leaf miner or skeletonizer until it is large enough to devour entire leaves. Natural control is by birds or environmental conditions. A physical control for tent caterpillars is to cut their nests out of the trees and burn them.

Weevils

This insect has a legless larvae that sits just below the surface of the soil and chews on the roots. The leaves could look stunted, yellow or droop. The leaf margins may droop and curl. The leaf margins and the bark may be chewed on as well. They are 1/4″ to 1/2″ long. Check the roots for larvae, and check the leaves at night for the adult. It has an elephant-like snout, rows of depressions on its back and is 3/8″ long.

Organic controls will also work, search online for recommendations, but Safer’s Soap, drenches with tea or nicotine are examples of organic cures. For caterpillars consider BT as a safe alternative. With proper care, your garden will thrive beautifully and the rewards will be many as your healthy plants show their true colours.

Article courtesy of www.landscapeontario.com

Container Gardening

Containers allow you to bring the garden to the deck, patio, steps, driveway or the front entranceway. By using hanging containers, colour can be added to sheds, garages — any place you can mount a bracket!

Getting started:

The first step is to select an appropriate container. A drain hole is a must and after that just about anything goes. Containers come in plastic, wood, fiberglass, iron, cement, stone and more. Extra work is needed to keep smaller containers watered as plants grow, while larger containers allow you to use a more diverse selection of plants, and are easier to keep moist.

Always use a light growing medium (soilless mix). This allows water to flow easily and provides the roots with sufficient air. Most commercially available mixes are a blend of peat moss, vermiculite and perlite. We like ‘fluffy’ lightweight soils. Some brands incorporate fertilizer into the mix, while others add a polymer, which expands and retains moisture. Do not use garden soils that are too heavy and may contain weed seeds. If using a large container, fill the bottom third to half with a less expensive ingredient such as pine mulch. Most annuals will survive quite well in 30 cm (12”) of soil.

Know the light conditions of the spot where you intend to place the container. Most annuals will not do well in heavy, all-day shade, while shade loving annuals don’t like sun at the peak of the day, but do very well with some morning or late afternoon sun. Also remember that very sunny locations will need more watering than shade areas.

In May, newly planted containers may require watering every two to four days, As the plants establish, increasing in size and filling the containers with heavier roots, watering needs will increase. Water thoroughly each time you water. It may be necessary to water daily, particularly in the summer and especially those containers that are 30 cm (12”) or smaller.

Plants in containers should be fertilized regularly to keep them looking their best. A balanced fertilizer such as 20-20-20 works well. Fertilizing every two weeks is a good rule of thumb, but in hot weather you may need to feed more often as water use increases. Keep in mind that over-fertilizing will cause lush growth but less blooms, Slow release fertilizers may be applied to the soil’s surface. These products release small amounts of nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K) with each watering, thus reducing the amount of soluble fertilizer required. Slow release products do not contain the micronutrients that plants require, however, so your fertilizing program should always include the use of solubles.

Plants in containers will require the dead-heading (a garden buzz word for removing old flowers once they look ratty) of old blooms, depending on the plants used. Some are self-cleaning. Plants may also need trimming.

The real fun of container gardening, besides enjoying their beauty, is selecting the plants. You need not limit yourself to annuals, although their long-lasting colour and the many new varieties now available make them a natural choice. Herbs, perennials and even vegetables, can be planted in containers. The sky is the limit, so experiment and have fun!
The Dos and Don’ts:
• Do use specialized soils such as growing mixes or specialty planter mixes.
• Do not use garden soils as they tend to compact and air does not reach the roots. These soils either hold too much or too little water.
• Do fertilize regularly, as most planter mixes contain no nutrients.
• Do water containers as required, as the light mixes do not retain water and dry out quickly.
• Do line the pot with Styrofoam if you intend to keep pots planted with evergreens, trees or shrubs over the winter.

Article courtesy of www.landscapeontario.com

Planning Your Garden Improvements

Landscaped Home

Thinking about updating your landscaping to up your curb appeal, or just looking for something new?

It’s a great idea to continue to improve and maintain your lawn and gardens. It increases your ability to sell quickly and perhaps even the value of your home, it improves the look of your neighbourhood, and it can even create a greater sense of pride in your home. Nowadays it’s so easy to find inspiration from Pinterest, lifestyle blogs, home and garden magazines and television shows, and even through a Google search. The only problem is that unless your source is local, there can easily be a discrepancy between what they are able to achieve and your ability to copy that look exactly. This isn’t the case with a lot of home renos, but the fact of the matter is that we are bound by our climate and what specifically can grow well here. Depending on where you live, a type of plant may either thrive or struggle due to the growing conditions.

We are here to help!

  1. Figure out your ZONE.
    You first need to find out which plant hardiness zone you live in. This will help you figure out if certain plants will do well in your area. “Hardiness” refers to the ability of a certain plant to withstand the cold of winter in the open air. And as we know all too well, it can get cold here. To figure out the zone you live in, visit our Plant Hardiness Zone map (maps for Canada only available).
  2. Determine your planting environment.
    In addition to your hardiness zone, you have to take careful note of the specific area of your property you are wanting to plant in. This is going to be comprised of the distinct characteristics of your soil type, sun exposure, other plants in the area, etc. Here are some questions to consider:

    • Is the area sunny or shady?
    • What type of soil is there? Is it sandy or clay?
    • How permeable is the soil?
    • What other plants are near your planting area? (Some plants do not grow well next to other specific plants!)

    These questions will help you determine what will grow best in your garden area. Every area is unique, and you will be happiest with your final results if you choose plants that will thrive with your elements.

  3. Find your inspiration.
    This is where you get to be creative. Start searching for what you like and don’t like. Pin websites, rip pages out of magazines, snap pictures of other homes on your Sunday drive, etc. If you are really organized you can create a Pinterest board or file to collect your ideas. Or just keep a tally in the back of your mind of your likes and dislikes.
  4. Plant search.
    From there, I recommend you try our PLANT SEARCH feature. This can help you out in a couple of ways. First, if you have the names of the plants you are interested in, you can type it into the search bar and quickly find out all sorts of information about the plant, including if it is available in your zone, and the environmental characteristics is will grow best in (like sun exposure, soil type, etc.)! If you don’t know the name of the plant (perhaps it is something you saw in a neighbours yard!), you can fill in as much information as you know about it, and it will make suggestions based on the characteristics you listed. Pretty great, right? You can then make a list to print off and bring to your local garden centre. Here’s another things I’ll mention: if the plant is in our plant search feature, we likely will have it in stock here at Paterno Nurseries!
  5. Ask the experts.
    If you are just looking for a new rose bush or you need to replace a few cedars, you probably don’t need a lot of advice or direction (although we are always here to help!). However, if you are wanting to totally revamp your current landscaping gardens or if your thumb isn’t particularly green, I would recommend you come on in and utilize the knowledge and experience of our staff. They can help you make a decision on what plants grow well together, what will look great in your space, and how to put it all together. Also, give us a call before you come and ask about our free landscape planning. Yes, that’s right, FREE!
  6. More is not more.
    If you decide to go it alone, without help from a professional, may I just make one suggestion: more is not more. The goal is not to fit as many plants into your space as possible. And instant gratification will often leave you with problems in the future. Here’s what I mean: to achieve the look you want with trees and shrubs it will often take a few years. They need to be spaced appropriately so that they will grow into a lush looking garden. Far too often homeowners get antsy and plant bushes too close together, and in a few years time their gardens look overgrown and the plants don’t thrive.
  7. Substitute if necessary.
    Sometimes the exact plant you have on your inspiration board isn’t available in the climate you live in. Or perhaps it is, but it wouldn’t do well in the location you have imagined it to be in. The good news is that there are often other varieties of plants available that can get you the same look you are trying to achieve, even if the exact plant won’t work in your landscape situation. As you make your plans, just be aware that this could be the case, and be open to the possibility when plant shopping. Who knows – you may end up with something better that you had imagined!

Happy planting!