Popular Q&A

Peaches, maybe apricot, plum & nectarine.

Brown on the edge, all around the edge of the leaf and works it’s way in the leaf and then crumbles.

Remedy-Dormant oil spray(oil & lime sulphur) mixed together in water and sprayed on the problem, usually do in March, depending on tree the end of April is the absolute latest, before any leaves or buds show.

Harmful bugs live in closed buds. If this problem is detected after buds open use Fruit + for that season for minimal help. Lilac blight has the same symptoms. You an try sulphur but may have better result with copper sulphur. One rememdy someone uses is to soak onion skins in water for several weeks, strain & spray..it has worked for this individual..always water or spray early in the day- Also a well fed plant wil beless susceptable to attacks..don’t forget to LIME the Lilacs.

This is especially a problem in wet summers. Use a good fertilizer or Tree & Shrub with a high middle number. This middle number is phosphorus. Use dry fertilizer but not ‘garden fertilizer’ and use lime for Lilacs.

Prune out ‘old’ wood to open up the shrub and spray with fungicide. Benomyl is the best. Pruning takes place in early spring. Remove spent blooms immediately after blooming.

Browning on cedars is quite common. Below are listed a few helpful suggestions.

Browning on cedars could be mites(usually found towards the front of the limb). It looks thin & is usually found on new growth. If mites are a problem a miticide should be applied spring and fall.

If browning is on the inside of limb and on older growth, browning could be because of thick growth.

All cedars should be limed spring and fall, fertilize in the spring no matter what the age, also water late in fall.

Cedars are usually planted near the foundation and that concrete wall can suck the moisture out of the cedars.

Roses can be plagued by black spot & powdery mildew. Not as much of a problem with the newer roses, which many of them have this problem breed out of them.

There is  a Rose Care Kit on the market called DEFENDER which is an insecticide and fungicide. Also sulphur is a good fungicide.

Preventative measures that can help is to water early in the am & never water over the leaves. Plant roses, if possible, in an area with good air movement.

Yes! The Barberry, is back in Canada after a lengthy exile they have been introduced again bigger and better. Barberry is a deciduous shrub which like to be planted in full sun or part shade with well drained.

They make a very colorful addition to any landscape. To name a few:

Cherry Bomb-Compact, excellent low hedge, foliage deep crimson, 50cm x 50cm, slow grower
Golden Nugget- exciting dwarf from, non-burning golden foliage with orange cast most all season, 30cm tall x 50cm wide, slow grower

Royal Burgundy- Improved dwarf purple-leaf barberry with superior foliage color, rich velvety, burgundy purple foliage is spectacular. 50-60cm tall x 60-70cm wide. Very showy

Rose Glow- graceful branches makes this a wonderful hedge, barrier plant or single shrub accent. Deep rose-red over mottled white & green foliage in spring. Bright red berries in fall and winter 150cm tall x 125cm wide, Slow grower

Unlike the old perennial peony, the tree peony grows 4-6 tall and is treated more like a shrub, as it keeps it’s central leader.

It must be planted deep, unlike common peonies which like shallow planting, or the tree peony will freeze out in the winter.
It comes in many colors including purple, bi-color & yellow.

This is one of the best & most popular broadleaf evergreens available.

They need:
-part sun or dappled shade
-acidic soil( lime will kill)
-moderate winds, or leaves will burn
-3″ of mulch to protect roots
-a good Rhodo food early spring and after flowering
-burlap the first few winters to help them establish good roots
-pinching out the 3rd set of leaves on new growth will keep the plant more tidy

Plants that grow year after year.
Die back to the ground in the fall and grow back from the root in the spring.
Some perennials bloom from spring to fall, Coreopsis, Salvia, Geraniums, Gaura to a name a few.
Once planted they only need a small amount of work such as cutting back the old growth in spring & dividing every 3-4 years. Also in the spring it is good to work in some compost & or Bonemeal. I personally like to mulch the garden in the fall with well rotted real manure. Don’t forget spring weeding, unless they are planted real close together.
Many shapes, sizes, textures & colors. Something new or old for everyone.
From 2 to 6″ high, for sun, shade, part shade, wet, dry, containers, under trees almost everywhere you would like to make a garden.

Don’t forget, before you do any planting make sure you prepare the soil well in advance, one year if possible.

It is always a good practice to have the soil tested but if you don’t it is quite likely ,if you are in Nova Scotia, your soil is ‘sour’ and in need of limestone & the powdered or pelleted is the most fast acting. Also work as much compost into your soil as possible. Your perennials will hopefully be there a longtime and need feed to put on a great show.

To provide year around interest the use of Evergreen & Broadleaf Evergreens is becoming more & more popular.

Evergreen trees & shrubs are usually ones with needles or conifers such as spruce, pines, junipers, cedars, yews false cypress.

Broadleaf evergreens are trees & shrubs that have leaves that stay on the plant all winter and most of them flower. Some more familiar ones are Rhododendrons, Holly(Ilex), Mountain Laurel(Kalmia), Lily of the valley bush(Pieris Japonica), Boxwood(Buxus), Barberry(Berberis), Euonymus and many more.

This last group is getting more popular as gardeners are asking more & more from their plants. This group has foliage & usually flowers spring and summer & also foliage throughout the winter, which often turns a different color for the winter creating a new display. Conifers also change to a winter color.

When you get these groups ready for winter the first two or three years they are planted they will establish more easily if they have winter protection from the wind. Wrap with burlap.

Lovely perennial border plants, good for sun, part sun, & wet well-drained soil
Colors from near white, through pink to burgundy, yellow & orange, bi-colors & tri-colors.
Grows in large clumps that can easily be divided for more plants to start new gardens or to share with family & friends
Daylily growers covet their finds in new & unusual varieties & every year seek out yet another newly released variety.
New varieties are being introduced by everyday gardeners as they are very easy to cross breed.
Easy to grow & once established multiple blooms are enjoyed from these lovely beauties. Their bloom only last one day(hence the name) but is quickly followed by a replacement the next day.
Don’t miss the excitement of a daylily bed enjoying the highly fragrant scent ruffled blooms from many of these varieties with blooms from sizes 1-7″.

These shrubs are considered Rhododendrons by botanists but gardeners consider them as a separate group.

They are like “Rhodo’s” in every way but are deciduous with a few exceptions. They can take more sun but basic Rhodo requirements apply. They have magnificent flowers like their “cousins” and are very valuable landscape plants.

This is information for man-made ponds.

There are four different types of water plants for a proper pond balance:

Water Lilies
should be planted in a large pot in heavy soil & not commercial potting soil. Lilies should be set in pond to a depth of 3-4′ and they should be fertilized with a proper aquatic plant tab.
If you have older bulbs they can be divided every 2-3 years, depending in variety as they grow quite rapidly, and need to be fertilized every season. For winter cut back & set in bottom of pond or bring in house in a cool place for winter.

Some are planted in a boggy situation or up to 12 & 18″ of water. Most marginals are happy in 3-4’of water.

Floating Plants
Such as Water Hyacinths & Water Lettuce. These plants are not hardy in Canada. They do best in full sun. As do all plants and the floaters are happy with a special fertilzer for floating plants, such as Flora Boost.

Hornwort which can be planted on the bottom or just thrown in loose but it is tidier planted. Elodia which must be planted in a container on the bottom. It grows high and is very ferny. It is real hardy as well.

All water plants are usually fertilized when you buy them but if they are to perform well for you, you should fertilize them once a month with proper Aquatic fertilizer. NEVER use ordinary plant fertilizer.

Annuals are plants that grow, bloom and die in one season
Many are self-seeding, which means they drop their seed and come back another year. This is one reason not to do fall cleaning because you through out the seed heads, unless of course it is a plant you do not want to return. Useful for color all season, which many perennials only bloom 3 weeks and you are left with no color, to fill in a border with all season color.
A valuable landscape plant but has to be planted each year.
Impatience, Petunias, Verbena, Marigolds, Zinnias, Geraniums, Salvia, Begonias to mention just a few varieties

Many times we pay little or no attention to our garden soil. We spend good dollars on plant material but neglect to feed our soil. It has been said that it is better to put a $0.10 plant in a $0.25 hole then a $0.25 plant in a $0.10 hole.

In Nova Scotia our soil is basically clay(hard when dry & muck when wet)sandy and sour(needing lime, I prefer powdered or pelleted, faster acting) The remedy for both clay soil and sandy soil is the same.

Build up the soil with compost or any organic matter that will rot. I love to go to the beach and get Sea Manure. It washes up on the beach and so far, is free for the taking. Gypsum is a good additive to loosen clay-like particles in the soil. The deeper you can work up or rotar-til the soil the better.

Do not take a chance on last years preparation to be good for this year. Once you basically get your soil to the workable stage you are comfortable with, and it will take years, yearly maintenance will be sufficient. Another reason to keep your garden soil in good condition as earth worms are very beneficial to the soil an aeration of the soil and worms will not live in poor soil.

Shrubs will survive for many years, given the right growing conditions. The majority will grow in many types of garden soil, but generally prefer a fertile, well-drained but moisture-retentive loam. You can plant most shrubs in spring or fall. Container grown plant material can be planted anytime but the best is spring or fall.

Dig the hole 2-3 times the width of the root & deep enough for the roots to be buried to their original depth of soil. If the root ball is encased in roots, take a sharp knife & make 3 slashes from top to bottom to break this circular growing habit. Use bonemeal in bottom of hole & a small amount of organic matter, if you feel you must use compost of some sort but it is not necessary. The bonemeal will help develop your root system & that is what is really necessary the first season.

Water the hole really well. Put in the shrub and refill hole with the soil you removed. It is a good idea to work up this soil with peat moss. Use your foot to stomp soil in the hole around stem to work out any air. Water well again & if necessary stake your shrub with 3 ties. Never use rope or anything that will cause chaffing to the bark. Keep your newly planted shrub water once a week until freeze up. You can apply a thick mulch around the base of this shrub to keep tidy and help conserve moisture. Do not apply fertilizer the first year and next year when you do fertilize use the recommended kind for shrubs.

There are new Kiwi on the market that are very hardy in our area (zone 5). They are smaller than the varieties found in your supermarket but sweeter. Mature vines can yield up to 25lbs of fruit per vine.

It is important to have the site well-drained. At the same time, your soil should be rich in organic material so that it holds moisture for proper growth. Kiwis need steady supply of moisture for best growth. When first planted make sure that your Kiwi receives regular watering. Without enough water young kiwis will die. Kiwis are heavy feeders so add as much compost and rotted manure to your soil as you can. Be sure never to use granular(like garden fertilizer) or green manure as this will definitely burn and kill the plants.

Avoid feeding after the first of August as they will produce soft growth which will not harden off for winter & will winterkill.

Pollination is important for fruit production. You will need at least one males for every nine females. Be sure your male & female are from the same species. Plant males as close to females, upwind if possible.

Young plants do not need to be pruned but as the plant matures you may wish to thin out the vines. This will limit the number of flower buds and your fruit will be larger than if left un-pruned.

Providing for Moisture: Good drainage is important since the fine root system needs adequate aeration. Water covering the soil for more than 3-4 days during the growing season is harmful and dangerous to the roots. It is equally important that the roots do not dry out and this is best assured with soil high in organic matter. Set your plants where they will get the most sun.


Preparing the soil: The degree of success is closely related to the level of organic matter in the soil. The higher the better. In soils low in organic matter, 2 shovels full of MOIST peat moss , worked well into the base of the soil at planting time will be very beneficial. This organic matter is vital not only for its moisture holding capacity but because it assists in making the essential nutrients available to the plants.

Planting: Highbush Blueberry roots are extremely fine and dry out very quickly when exposed. Plants should be set 2 inches below the level at which they were previously planted. This can be determined by looking at the base of the stock. Plants should be set minimum of 4′ apart and actually we found that 5-6′ would be better especially if you want to mow around the plants.

Fertilizer can be 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 at the rate of one ounce per plant the first year and two ounces the second year etc.. It was always suggested to use an Urea fertilizer for blueberries. For the first two years keep off all blossoms to build up the health and strength of your plants. Be patient, you’ll be glad you waited.

Cultivating: The Highbush Blueberry roots are shallow, so cultivation should be shallow and only enough to control weeds. WE also spray around our plants with Gromoxine, it is very safe to spray around numerous plants( as far as hurting the plants are concerned) and only kills the weeds but of course hand weeding is the best.

Mulching: Mulching for the home gardener with material such as OLD sawdust and wood chips is valuable. For the first year, apply mulch after you have fertilized. Add 3-4″ of mulch yearly as it will decompose adding valuable nutrients to the soil. Happy Harvesting, mature bushes should produce 10-15 pints a year.

Many people view ferns as fussy and difficult to grow. WRONG. If you can grow Astilbe, Dicentra & Hosta chances are that ferns will be happy in your garden. As a general rule ferns prefer shade and moist humsy soil. But as with all plants nothing is carved in stone. Most species can handle part sun very well, some even like full sun but they must have constant moisture. As you increase one part of the equation you must add more of the other.

Try a few. They are indispensable to the shady garden and to me there is nothing quite as soothing and relaxing as a shady garden. The lacy fronds act as a lovely foil against the more imposing shapes of Hosta, Astilbe and so many other textures that love the shade. Spring bulbs work well in this area as well. When the bulbs are finished blooming and you have that unsightly leaf left the fronds will break through and hide them from sight.

This group of plants is becoming more & more popular as shade or woodland plants.

They are lovely foliage plants and make good winter interest.
Good companion plants for Hostas, Atilbes, plus many other moisture & shade loving plants.

There is a great selection of ferns such as, Adiantum, Athryium, Athyrium nip.’Metallicum’ (jap. painted), Dryopteris plus others.

Tips on planting, growing and general care.

Clematis, sometimes thought of as The Queen of the Vines, has a reputation for being difficult to grow. This however, is not the case, they are just particular about a few certain requirements-
1. Need the right location
2. Regular watering
3. Correct pruning
If these conditions are met you will have beautiful vines and flowers for years to come.

Clematis need well-drained and slightly rich soil with a pH of 7(alkaline ). Clematis need their feet cool in summer & warm in winter and the top or head must get at least 4 hours of sun a day, To keep clematis feet cool in summer, plant a ground cover or low growing perennial, with the same requirements, over it. Some people prefer to plant it where small shrubs shade it’s roots. Come winter mulch well over the top will do the same thing.

Clematis can be planted in spring as soon as soil can be worked. Dig a hole twice the width of the rot ball. Cover the bottom of the hole with well rotted manure and a handful on bonemeal and be sure to cover the bonemeal with good top soil so the roots do not come in contact with the bonemeal. Gently remove the vine from the pot making sure the roots are moist & place in the hole & include the stake that came with it. The stem of the clematis should be at least 12 cm below ground, them fill with topsoil. Attach vine to support initially & after several feet of growth it should climb & attach by itself.

Water Clematis during it’s growing time & especially during dry weather. This must be done deeply & regularly.

Drying leaves at the base indicate lack of water. Clematis do not like wet feet so they must be sited on well-drained soil. Fertilize in spring with bonemeal.

Clematis take at least three(3) years to get established & reach maturity.

Pruning is not as difficult as most people think, just follow the following guide. There are three pruning groups-
1. No pruning required, removed deadwood, if necessary
2. These Clematis bloom on old & new wood. Prune out deadwood in early spring & a bit to tidy old wood immediately after flowering to get ready for second blooming in late summer.
3. Cut to the ground. These only bloom on new wood. Cut in winter or before new growth starts.

The pruning group should be on tag when you buy clematis or check out our catalogue under Vines & the grouping is there for many of the varieties.

Clematis Wilt- a fungal disease, must be controlled quickly. At first signs of wilt, any wilted leaves that does not respond to watering, must be cut away and burned. Spray plant with a fungicide and usually it will grow out from the root.

When the time of the year arrives, and that is anytime you have the time to dream and plan, haven’t you ever imagined a beautiful pool in your yard. Imagine yourself laying back lounging by your pool as the water splashes down the rocks and swirls at the base of a lovely cascading waterfall. The air is warm the birds are singing the bees are buzzing, the palm trees are swaying, well maybe here in Nova Scotia there wouldn’t be too many palms trees swaying, but you get the picture. Cool and relaxing and a nice get-a-way from the normal routine.

Always choose a water feature that is appropriate for the size and style of the garden and take great care when positioning your garden. A pond is best sited in full sun, away from overhanging trees and should not be constructed in an exposed site or wet spot or frost pocket. I personally like a water garden in a shady area because they look cool but there is problems with plants blooming & dirt from trees.

What is water gardening?
It is basically a hole in the ground. It doesn’t have to be a scary thing, a bit of imagination will take you a long way.

Water Testing
A water testing kit is essential to test your pH. 7 is neutral. For your filter to worl properly, plants and fish to thrive it is important to have a proper balance.

Don’t forget, help is as close as we are!
There are two types of liners, preformed fiberglass, where you are limited in size and depth, but it may be a bit simple to install or rubber liner which you can buy any size and install & shape to your own requirements. You shouldn’t buy any less than 45 mil rubber liner that is fish friendly. Sometimes people use other products but they can quickly do a fast number on your fish.
Before any excavation, look at your property from all angles. You want to be able to enjoy the view from more than one spot, for instance if you enjoy your deck, patio or kitchen make sure you can see what you create.
Keep your design simple and the curves soft and natural. It is best to do your layout with a garden hose.
Be careful not to locate your garden where you will have any runoff from heavy rains, if you must then you will have to put in drains.
Don’t put your garden in a low spot where surface water can flood it. Excavate the soil gradually away from the water.
Decide the size and then out cost but don’t let cost totally make your decision. May people find their first garden too small and too shallow and then it’s back to the drawing board. Try to think of future needs and desires.
Measure hole and liner accurately and don’t skimp. When you fill in that hole with water, the water is very heavy and quickly pulls the liner into the hole.
Plan on adding shelves in your garden, plan to make your garden 3-4′ deep. Your fish will require it(a deep hole, that is) and your waterlilies do best in 3-4′ depth.
It is strongly suggest that you use a purpose underpad, especially for warranty sake and also it won’t decompose. Some people use old carpet but it is not recommended at all.
To measure for your liner,
let us use a sample size pond of 12′ x 10′ by 3′ deep
The formula is:
-length + twice the depth + 2′ for the edge= 12+3+3+2=20′ length
-width+ twice the depth + 2′ for the edge=10+3+3+2=18′ width
The size liner you would need for a finished pond 10′ x 12′ x 3′ deep would be 18’x 20′. Don’t skimp on liner for the edge because the weight of the water will pull it under.
Pond Gallons using the same sample size of 10 x 12 x 3′
Take length x width x depth x 7.5(a formula to use)=2700 gallon
Sizing Pumps
To maintain a health pond you must circulate the water once every 2 hours. For a 2700 gallon pond you would need a basic pump of 1400gph.

Everything affects the efficiency of the pond. Fish , sun and a pond too shallow put a great burden on the pond so you need to take these factors into consideration. Your filter should be at least the same size as the gallons of water in your pond.

If I were sizing a filter for a pond this size I would recommend probably a 3500-4000 Bio-Force pressurized filter with a UVC light..
These pressurized filters allow the water to return under pressure and the oversizing allows your filter to work easier.

It is never a good plan to under size your pump and filter. You most likely won’t be pleased with results. If you plan on having fish it is nice to be able to see them through clear water.

Vines are one of the biggest selling plant material-Clematis, Ivy, Honeysuckle, Porcelain Berry, Hydrangea, Wisteria, Kiwi, Hops, Roses, Virginia Creeper, Boston Ivy to name a few are grown for windbreaks, color, beauty or to obscure an ugly view.
-Require little space(usually) as they grow up and over
-Easy to grow
-Lovely to look at and enjoy.

The introduction of variegated leaves on plant material has been received by gardeners with great enthusiasm.

This provides more interest other than flowers, especially with a broadleaf evergreen with variegated foliage.

Variegated foliage in a shady area causes the shaded area to light-up and creates a cool and inviting atmosphere.

Green/white, Green/yellow. Green/pink/white, are only a few variations.

From Hostas-Holly-Butterfly Bush(Buddlea) hundreds of varieties of annuals, perennials trees & shrubs are available in variegated material

The use of trees & shrubs in the landscape is for ornamental and practical purposes.

Practical uses: ground erosion, shade, obscure unsightly view, attract and feed wildlife.

Ornamental: beauty, color, winter interest, flowers.

Important things to remember when choosing for landscape:
1. choose the right tree or shrub for the site, too wet, too dry, sun, shade, blooming time, overhead obstruction
distance from dwellings.
2. hardiness
3. four seasons of interest
4. ease of care

Carefully picking your trees or shrubs can guarantee blooming from March to October. Also many have winter interest such as peeling bark or colored bark and limbs, berries, & seed heads for the birds.
Some have a leaf color in the fall that is better than the actual flowers. Trees & shrubs are very easy to care for in that not much pruning is needed & maybe some mature trees& shrubs need fertilizer in the spring, but that is all.

There are trees & shrubs for all places-shade, sun, part sun, wet, dry, short & tall and most information will be provided where you purchase them Look up information on planting trees and shrubs.

Trees can thrive for decades, some even for centuries, if they are grown in the right soil and climate and have adequate shelter, levels of light and rainfall. Plant away from pipes drains, cables & usually walls and buildings, although some Tender trees are best grown against a sunny wall. On slopes plant trees halfway down where it is warmer & less windy. In coastal zones, select trees that tolerate salt winds and spray. Mid spring and mid fall is the best times to plant because it is cooler and not so much stress to the plant.

Dig the hole 2-4 times as wide as the root ball & 1 times as deep, If your soil is not fertile it is a good idea to work peat moss into the soil you remove from the top several inches providing organic matter by doing this, working organic matter into the base of the hole, but go easy on this organic matter, do not try to force it, & bonemeal and cover this with a layer of soil. Water the hole very well, filling it & letting it drain & watering the hole again. If the tree is balled remove this fabric. Plant the tree and firm soil in around the roots well to push out the air.

Stake tree 3 ways cover with a heavy layer of mulch and water well again. Water well every week, especially in dry times, DO NOT LET THIS TREE DRY OUT, but don’t drowned it either. Do not try to force your tree with fertilizer especially the first year as the main purpose for this tree is to put out roots and get established in it’s new location.

Keep this tree watered right up until freeze-up. Do not ignore your trees for several years as they can dry up & die in years to come especially if there is a drought.

Any bulb planted in the spring usually is not hardy so it must be dug up in the fall after 1st frost such as glads, dahlias, Cannas, callas, etc.

The same planting rule applies as for fall bulbs 3-4 times the height of the bulb.

This will give you lots of color July, August and September, depending on the type of bulb you plant.

Great cut flowers.

There are many new pre-packages soils on the market, soils for all purposes.
Black Earth- composted organic materials
Seaweed Compost- composted seaweed and parts
Top Soil- composted organic material and some sand
Potting Soil- peat moss, vermiculite, perlite, and soil(some brands)
Shrimp Compost- Composted shrimp shells, peat moss and manure
Tree & Shrub-compost, manure, ground bark, lime. All you need to plant your trees & shrubs, especially for spring
3 in 1 Soil-black earth, compost, and peat moss
Soiless Mix-peat moss and vermiculite
Hanging Basket & Container Mix-water holding crystals, peat moss, vermiculite and perlite
Perennial Mix-peat moss ground bark and slow release fertilizer.

Not all name brands are the same quality. Be sure to choose wisely,  be sure to use the right soil for the job

Most people buy roses for the shapes of the flowers, or color or scent. However, there are so many different kinds and not all are hardy

So consider the following when buying-
-zone or hardiness
-sun, at least 6 hours

When planting roses, prepare your soil properly the previous fall, if possible. Compost or well rotted manure worked into about 18″ or 40cm, will provide a good growing soil for your roses.

Plant your roses in the spring with a handful of bonemeal, don’t let the root system touch either the manure or the bonemeal. Pruning newly planted roses is not necessary but cutting back about 1/3rd of the growth to encourage new heavier growth is recommended.

Rose like a pH of 6.5 so if your soil is too acidic use lime. Each spring put bonemeal, kelp or any good rose or fish fertilizer around your roses. NEVER use harsh fertilizer that can get too close to the root or trunk, like garden fertilizers.

Just as green buds start to show prune back any dead tips and whole branches if no growth appears. This will keep your Bushes growing strongly.

However, Hybrid Tea roses need to be cut back in late fall to 30cm & mounded up with soil 8″ to protect them from freezing.

Blackspot & powdery mildew is sometimes a problem with roses.  Defender or sulphur is a good alternative to harsh chemicals.  Also water early in the day so he foliage can dry off..Never water over the leaves…good air movement is recommended as well.
Deadheading old flowers will force the bush to produce more blooms &will keep your bush tidy..In September stop deadheading so that the bush will form rose hips. This tells the plant to start going dormant for winter.

All plants whether trees shrubs evergreen or even annuals & perennials can be made more productive by pruning.

Example – when buying petunias, if you remove all buds & this means to pinch them off & pinch all growing ends back to the closest set of leaves, where you first had one branch of flowers now you will have double the amount. Pinching or pruning causes the plants to stop growing straight up & put out side shoots. Sometimes you will notice hanging baskets of Fuchsia that are very spindly & other baskets that are very full of growth & flowers, it is because someone took the time early in the season & pinched that basket of flowers several times to cause fullness.

Rule of thumb for pruning flowering shrubs, if the shrub flowers early spring, prune(cut off ends) immediately after flowering, Forsythia is a prime example. If a shrub blooms mid summer or early fall prune only very early spring. This group blooms on new wood.

NEVER prune or fertilize after the end of July. Both these practices will cause new growth that will not harden off before frost comes and the new growth can freeze off.

Cutting back deadwood is OK in spring but be careful, previous years growth holds your new flowers for spring.

Old flower heads should have been cut back immediately after flowering on early spring & early summer flowering shrubs. This is a good practice with annuals & perennials as many times perennials will come back into flower if they aren’t allowed to go to seed and annuals like petunias & especially pansies will stop flowering if allowed to go to seed.

Genus of 70 species of annuals, biennials, and perennials occuring in a wide range of habitats, from lowlands to high mountains. Most are from Central and Southern Europe and temperate Asia, a few from South Africa, Australia, West North America, and subartic regions.

The usually unbranched, wiry, sometimes hairy stems, which exude latex if damaged, produce a few alternate, mostly radical leaves, which may be simple and toothed, or pinnate to 3-pinnate, pinnatifid, or pinnatisect, bristly or smooth, and gray-green or light to dark green.

Grow in deep, fertile, well-drained soil in full sun dependent on species.

Ornamental grasses add another dimension of interest to the garden.

Strong vertical lines, whether the plant is a dwarf rock garden dweller or one of the more imposing varieties that reach up ten or more feet when in bloom, act as foils for their more shrubby or lacy neighbors.

Try planting a mixed bed of different types of grasses-sure to elicit comments. Excellent used as mass plantings or of a single variety.

They create a beautiful focal point when used in a herbaceous border. The possibilities are endless. Some are grown for their foliage, many for their flower inflorescences and seed heads. Most prefer full sun but some can tolerate shade.

Don’t miss the experience of grasses to accent your gardens not only all season but especially for fall interest when other plant material is almost finished for the season.

Woodland gardens are also a popular area as so many people have lots of shade or part shade which is perfect for native plants, like Lady Slipper, Bunchberry, Trilliums, Bloodroot, Ferns, Iris, Violas just to name a few.

It is against the law to dig these plants from the wild but although some varieties may be hard to find they should be purchased from your local nursery where these plants have been grown in cultivation.

Most of these plants are under planted among large shrubs & trees not unlike their natural habitat.

  • Grown mainly for cooking and herbal remedies
  • Make lovely landscape plants due to their lovely scented foliage and most will flower.
  • There is an ever increasing demand for a larger supply of herbs
  • Cilantro, Basil, Anise, Sage, Thyme, Parsley, Oregano, Mints, Rosemary just to name a very few

More people are investing in fruit trees-apple, plums. Peaches, cherry, pears.

Easy to grow, they require

  • Full sun
  • Good well-drained soil
  • Some need a pollinator, of opposite variety, such as MacIntosh apple will not pollinate another MacIntosh apple tree.

Most trees are semi-dwarf which means ease in picking and does not require too much space.

Small fruit bushes are also gaining in popularity- currents, strawberries, gooseberries, rhubarb, asparagus & so on.

Everyone enjoys the fruits of their harvest and the lovely scented flowers in spring are a bonus.

There are lots of spring & early summer flowering plants & shrubs but now there are more & more mid, late summer & fall flowering plants. This way you can have bloom from March to late October.

Perennials – Anemone, Filipendula, Eupatorium, Monarda, Pervoskia, Phlox, Sedum, Acanthus, Aster, Buddlea, Echinacea, Gaura, Gentian, Grasses, Ligularia, Physostegia, Tricyrtis, Veronica, Hemerocallis, Helenium, many more.

Shrubs- Catalpa, Stewartia, Buddlea, Witch Hazel, Calluna, Clethra, Hibiscus, Hydrangea, Roses, plus many more.

Vines & Climbers- Campsis, Clematis, Honeysuckle, Silverlace Vine, Schizophragma Vine, plus many more.

Planting for fall color extends the gardening season.

Bulbs planted in the fall that need the cold to provide unequalled spring symphony of color.

These bulbs need only to be planted once & will provide color for years to come.

These bulbs must be bought in the fall and planted before freeze up.
Daffodils should be planted in September but all others including tulips hyacinths crocus, etc should be planted no earlier than mid October-mid November, at the latest.

When planting the rule of thumb is plant bulbs 3-4 times the depth of the bulb height.

Plant in well-drained moderately fertile soil.

Use bonemeal in the bottom of the hole, cover with a bit of soil. Enjoy your spring color display. Remember to let the foliage die back naturally after blooming is past.

It is difficult to believe such that such captivating blooms would prefer to reveal themselves in the harsher regions of the world, but that is precisely the case with the daffodil.

A native of Europe and the Mediterranean, the daffodil mystified early civilizations by breathing vibrant life into the gray and barren landscape of spring – a reassuring sign that the natural world was about to be reborn. It is not surprising then, that this messenger of hope became the floral emblem of March, the month when spring begins.

Today, these springtime blooms continue to fill us with an uplifting sense of optimism. And while daffodils may also represent unrequited love, respect and chivalry, wherever they appear, the space around them always seems brighter. Those who listen carefully will undoubtedly hear the daffodil’s strongest sentiments – “the sun is always shining when I am with you.”

Special thanks to the Royal Canadian Mint for the image of their 2003 50 cent coin, and the write-up on the daffodil above.

Vermicomposting, what is it? It is simply compost with worms. The best kind of earthworm to use is the red worm or red wiggler. They live in a bin with a moistened bedding material. These worms are incredible garbage eaters.

They eat and expel their own weight every day (bedding and garbage). Even a small bin of redworms will yield pounds of rich sweet smelling vermicompost. Finished product can be harvested in a little as two months. They are very prolific in their breeding and before long you will have red wigglers to give to friends.

Food is buried in the bedding to avoid odour or unwanted fruit flies. They like most any kind of refuse but not meats, fats, oils, salt & vinegar. Feed them once or twice a week, not every day. Keep the bin a room temperature in a convenient place. When the original bedding is no longer recognizable you can harvest it.

Why use worm castings
Earthworm castings have been called natures perfect plant food These odorless, coffee grounds-like particles are capable of feeding plants throughtout their lifetime and will not burn even the most delicate plants. Earthworm castings hold 2-3 times their weight in water thus adding moisture retention properties to the soil. Their physical structure also aids soil aeration by providing important water drainage channels. Castings add humus, enzymes, and beneficial bacteria to soil.

Use of Worm Castings
-Top dress lawns with castings instead of using commercial chemicals
-Top dress potted plants, container gardens, hanging baskets, & window boxes
-Use alone as a potting soil
-Mix with existing garden soil to increase fertility and organic matter in soil
-Top dress around trees, shrubs, and fruit trees.

The following is a suggested list of plants for the shade:


August-September (this often depends on the season, if extremely dry, plants will bloom early)

Phlox paniculata

  • Grapevines are a wonderful climbing vine
  • Grapevines must be trained over a sturdy trellis, pergola, fence or great to espalier.
  • Makes a great cover for unsightly areas
  • Leaves are used in cooking
  • The fruit is good eating or making wine
  • Grapevines need full sun with alkaline humus rich soil

The following are plants that will grow underneath walnut trees

Rose of Sharon
Monarda(Bee Balm)
Phlox, summer flowering

Iris ensata, siberica, versicolor


Deer Resistant Perennials
Hungry deer will eat any foliage & although the deer in our area(Nova Scotia) are well fed,
this is a list of “deer resistant” plants, not “deer proof” plants –
Many have used the home remedies like human hair & Irish Spring soap
(both need to be replaced often)
Blood meal resembles dead animals to the deer but you may want to go the next step
with the use of more more effective chemical remedies.
Some of these contain a mixture of garlic oil, potassium sorbate, laurel sulphate,
& whole eggs…some products are ammonia based.
Coyote urine(yes! is very effective…
go to www.legupenterprises.com for more info on this product…
I personally used a product called Skoot, which lasted all season
but now the deer seem to have gotten use to it..
Bobbex, a magnesium supplement, is very very popular & is now on my list!
It is good to alternate products to keep a resistance from building up!

Acanthus – Bear’s BreechesDigitalis – FoxgloveLupinus – Lupine
Achillea -YarrowEchinacea – ConeflowerLychnis – Maltese Cross
Aconitum – MonkshoodEchinops – Globe ThistleLysmachia – Loosestrife
Agastache – Anise-hyssopEpimedium – BarrenwortMentha – Mint
Ajuga – BugleweedErigeron – FleabaneMertensia – Virginia Blue Bells
Alchemilla – Lady’s MantleEryngium – Sea HollyOptunia – Hardy Cactus
Allium – OnionEupatorium – Joe Pye WeedOreganum – Oregano
Amsonia – Euphorbia – Cushion SpurgeMonarda – Bee Balm
Anchusa – AlkanetFernsNepeta – Catnip
Anemone – WindflowerFilipendula – MeadowsweetPapaver – Oriental Poppy
Anthemis – Golden MargueriteFoeniculum – FenelPaeonia – Garden Peony & Tree
Aquilegia – ColumbineGailardia – Blanket FlowerPervoskia – Russian Sage
Artemesia – WormwoodGalium -Sweet WoodruffPersicaria – Ladysthumb
Asarum – GingerGeranium – CranesbillPodophyllum – May Apple
Asclepias – Butterfly WeedGlaucium – Horned PoppyPolemonium – Jacob’s Ladder
Aster – Hardy AsterGrassesPolygonatum – var. Solomon’s Seal
Astilbe – False SpireaHelenium – SneezeweedPotentila – Cinquefoil
Baptisia – Blue IndigoHeliopsis – False SunflowerPulmonaria – Lungwort
Bergenia – PigsqueakHelleborus – Lenten RosePulsitilla – Pasque Flower
Bletilla – Hardy OrchidHemerocallis – DaylilyRheum – Ornamental Rhubarb
Boltonia – Aster familyHeuchera – Coral BellsRudbeckia – Black- Eyed Susan
Brunnera – Heartleaf AlkanetHibiscus – Rose MallowSalvia – Meadow Sage
Buddleai – Butterfly BushHosta – only very blue or yellowSedum – Stonecrop
Calamintha – CalamintInula – aster familySempervivum – Hen’s & Chickens
Campanula – BellflowerIris ensata – Japanese IrisSolidago – Goldenrod
Carex – SedgeIris germanica – German IrisStachys – Lambs Ear
Caryopteris – Blue SpireaIris pallida – Variegated Sweet IrisStokesia – Stoke’s Aster
Centaurea – Persian CornflowerIris pseudacorum – Yellow FlagSymphytum – Comfrey
Centranthus – Jupiters BeardIris pumila – Dwarf Bearded IrisTanacetum – Pyrethrum
Ceratostigma – LeadwortIris siberica – Siberian IrisTeucrium – Germander
Chelone – Turtle’s HeadKnautia – KnautiaThalictrum – Meadow Rue
Cimicifuga – Fairy CandlesKniphofia – Red Hot PokerTiarella – Foamflower
ClematisLavendula – LavenderTrillium – Wood Lily
Clematis herac.- Bush ClematisLeucanthemum – ChrysanthemumVerbascum – Mullein
Convallaria – Lily of the ValleyLiatris – Blazing StarVeronica – Speedwell
Coreopsis – TickseedLilium – LilyVinva – Periwinkle
Corydalis-Ligularia – RagwortViola – Tufted Violet
Delosperma – Ice PlantLimonium – StaticeYucca – Adam’s Needle
Delphinium – LarkspurLinum – Flax
Dianthus – Border CarnationLiriope – Border Grass
Dicentra – Bleeding HeartLobelia – Cardinal Flower
Dictamus – Gas PlantLonicera – Honeysuckle
Deer Resistant Annuals
AmaranthNierembergia (cupflower)
Castor BeanSalvia
Cleome ( spider flower)Snapdragons
Chinese Forget-me notSunflower
Dusty MillerSweet Alyssum
GazaniaWax Begonia
Globe Amaranth (gomphrena)Zinnia