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Located in Blackburn Hamlet Since 1911
2832 Innes Road,
Ottawa, ON

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General Gardening Tips

Planting Perennials in the Fall

Fall GardenFall is an excellent time to be planting perennials. This time of year is plant friendly in that we have moderate weather which is perfect for perennial plant growth. Plenty of fall rain and less punishing hot sun and humid weather allows your new plants to happily establish themselves for the winter. Also there is less transplant shock for your perennials.

Your local nurseries have plants that have been growing in pots all summer and are aching to get out and break free of their tight quarters, you can actually hear them thanking you as you transplant them if you listen closely. A handful of bone meal or an application of liquid fertilizer to promote root growth will have your plants singing in the fall rains.
Another advantage of fall planting is that you can look at your existing beds and make easy visual decisions as to where you would like to add plants and also it is easy to decide how much space you have. This is much more difficult to do in the spring when starring at mostly bare ground with plants just sprouting. Perennial plants are on sale at most nurseries at this time of year so why not take advantage of this and save some money? Remember how good it felt in the spring after a long winter and getting out into the garden to do some manual labour and to work with your returning plant friends to encourage them along to a glorious summer? Some of that feeling can be captured again in the fall on a sunny, cool day working in your garden, contemplating the summer past and preparing for next season. Don Budd


Preparing a Perennial flower bed

When preparing a new perennial flower bed keep in mind that it should be wider than a bed for annuals. Perennials grow in 3-6 feet diameters or more so your bed should be 4-8 feet wide to allow the depth needed and to create the visual panorama you are looking for. Rather than creating a rectangular or square bed add some curves to the edge. I do this by laying out a garden hose to help visualize the garden. If you are looking for shade this is the time to plant a tree in your garden.

First you dig up the grass that is there removing the top layer of roots. Next the soil must be turned over using a spade or rototiller.

Now add your topsoil to the bed. I suggest you order garden top soil from a local supplier who sells it by the yard. Wheelbarrow the soil to your bed and spread it to a depth of 8-12 inches. It is important that your flower bed be raised to allow for root growth and drainage. When ordering soil you are paying mostly for the trucking. If you order too much soil it can be piled in a back corner of your garden for future use or as is always the case a neighbour will gladly use the rest.

All of the above sounds like a lot of work but it is good for the soul. You now have a beautiful bed with lots of rich topsoil and a clean palette to decorate with plants. Digging a hole for your perennials will be a pleasure not a chore.
Preparing a flower bed means getting dirty and physical no mater the size of the garden, so while you are at it you may as well do it right.

One valuable lesson I learned through several expansions is make the garden as large as possible while you already down and dirty, you don’t want to be saying 3 years down the road that you wish you had made it bigger.


Taking the Confusion Out of Planning a Perennial Garden

Perennial GardenToo often people are discouraged when planning a perennial garden because there are so many varieties to choose from. Blooms vary in how long they bloom as well as at different times of the season, some require shade and others require sun to thrive. Confused yet?

  1. Rule number one: The greatest value of a perennial plant is its foliage, the bloom is often secondary. A perennial garden with 20 different plants and only one or two in bloom at a time can be spectacular if foliage is taken into consideration. There are now many new perennials with terrific coloured foliage. The longer blooming perennials are sometimes the least hardy.
  2. Rule number two: Buy plants that bloom in the spring, summer and fall --- don't worry about exact bloom times. If you've followed rule number one your garden will fall into place naturally.
  3. Rule number three: Don't worry so much about how tall a perennial is. Space the plants with short and medium in the front of your border. Don't be afraid to plant a slightly taller plant in front of a shorter one. This will create a wavy affect to your garden that is very pleasing and is much nicer that a garden that is tiered starting with the first row of plants short and working to the taller back row, plus, trying to achieve this can drive you nuts. Remember you are not lying on your stomach when you view the garden, you are standing looking down.
  4. Rule number four: Go to a reputable garden centre with experienced sales staff that are able to help you. They will gladly help you in choosing plants that will work within your space and light conditions. Look for healthy-looking plants with labels; otherwise, you're never really sure what you're getting. Growing perennials will become a lifelong passion with many rewards. As you gain experience you will want to try different varieties and various groupings in your garden. Soon you will have you very own dream garden   Don Budd