VAN BELLE FLOWERS GARDEN HOME & FASHION
Van Belle Flowers & Gifts 1-800-263-8008 vanbelleflowers.com
MICROSCOPIC DEFENDERS OF YOUR YARD AND GARDEN
ematodes are naturally occurring organisms in our environment. For pest control, we rely on one group of beneficial (or entomopathogenic) nematodes, meaning they attack the things that are causing damage in our yards. There are currently three strains available on the market in Canada: Heterohabditis bacteriphora (HB), Steinernema carpocapsae (SC) and Steinernema feltiae (SF). Each strain works at a different depth in the soil to target different pests. Most people will have heard of nematodes being used against lawn grubs, especially after the pesticide ban came into effect in 2011. They are
especially desirable because they are 100% natural and safe for people and pets. Nematodes, when applied correctly, are a very effective tool against a variety of garden and lawn pests such as iris borer, cutworm, rust worm, onion maggot, June beetle and Japanese beetle, to name a few. A few quick tips about how to apply nematodes can make a world of difference in your results: • First and foremost, find a reputable supplier. Not all nematodes are created equal and proper storage makes a huge difference. After all, they are a living organism.
• Ensure the target pest is in its larval stage. Consult your local garden centre for advice on timing: their knowledgeable staff can be worth their weight in gold. • Only apply nematodes at dusk or in the rain, as they are susceptible to dehydration from UV light. • Thoroughly water the treatment area before and after application. • When using natural solutions in your yard and garden, you support a sustainable environment. Just remember that nature doesn’t work in a day. Allow time for the nematodes to cycle. You should see tangible results in 21 to 30 days.
$24.99 Van Belle Gardens 905-623-4441
$12.99 Available at
Van Belle Gardens 905-623-4441
Van Belle Gardens 905-623-4441
MYCORRHIZA: The Exciting New Organic Option for Soil Health
Celebrate Canada’s 150th with Bountiful Blooms
Sweet Summer Vibes
Fragrant Delight... Rediscovering the Joy of Lilacs
Small Bites Pack a Big Punch
Snip It, Clip It & Trim It - Pruning Landscape Plants
It’s Easy Being Green
This publication may not be reproduced, all or in part, without written consent from the publisher and Van Belle Flowers. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of all content in the publication, however, the publisher will not be held accountable for omissions or errors. Note that products may vary between retailers and regions, and supplies may be limited. Pricing is subject to change and is not valid with any other offer. Home & Garden Showplace is a registered trademark for use by its members, of which the Garden Centre Group Co-Op is an alliance member. A selection of photos in this magazine provided by Proven Winners®. 4 • VAN BELLE FLOWERS - 800-263-8008 - VANBELLEFLOWERS.COM
flowers for all occasions
Anniversary Get Well Baby Prom
Thinking of You Just Because
SPRING 2017 â€¢ 5
Experience Spring Classes at Van Belle‘s
Fabulous Floral Arranging Class Saturday, April 29 at 11:00 am Cost: $50.00 plus applicable taxes Learn fundamental decorating tips on making a fabulous flower arrangement, and then create your own FANTASTIC floral display to take home. Using products from our BULK FLOWER PROGRAM, designing table arrangements will become a cinch for your wedding bridal showers and celebrations.
Welcome Planter Class Friday, May 26 at 6:30 pm Cost: $75.00 plus applicable taxes Welcome friends and family to your home or backyard retreat with a planter basket overflowing with flowering and cascading annuals. These beauties will flower all summer long, giving you a bright container garden that you created with your own hands, in a Welcome Planter that you can use for all 4 seasons. (plants will vary from picture shown)
6 • VAN BELLE FLOWERS - 800-263-8008 - VANBELLEFLOWERS.COM
Herb-alicious Basket Class & Herb Day Saturday, May 27 at 11:00 am Class, 12:00 pm Cooking Demo, 1:00 pm Class Cost: $60.00 plus applicable taxes Learn about the wonderful world of herbs and how to cook with them in a delicious way. You will create a basketful of herbs that will inspire your meals throughout the season. You will also want to take advantage of all that Herb Day has to offer – great deals on locally grown plants, recipes, and herb infused waters and so much more.
Birdcage Succulent Hanger Class Friday, June 2 at 6:30 pm Cost: $125.00 plus applicable taxes Join the trend of succulent gardening by designing your very own Hanging Birdcage planter. A variety of succulents and Hens & Chicks and an array of mosses will be provided for you to choose from. Sign up soon as this class will fill up quickly. This succulent weekend is a great time to pick up these trendy plants at a fantastic price.
Swanky Succulent Wreath Class Saturday, June 3 at 11:00 am Cost: $70.00 plus applicable taxes Sign up to make your own 14” Succulent wreath, designed with Hens & Chicks, a variety of succulents and mosses. All materials are included in this class. This succulent weekend is a great time to pick up these trendy plants at a fantastic price.
Succulent Terrarium Planter Class Saturday, June 3 at 1:00 pm Cost: $70.00 plus applicable taxes Another succulent planting option is our Terrarium Planter Class, where you will plant a beautiful glass container with a variety of these popular plants, mosses and stones. This planter will enhance any indoor or outdoor living space.
Bloom and Grow Personalized Classes Van Belle’s would be honoured to facilitate a “private event” for groups of 15 or more for any of our classes, or we can customize one specifically for you. From bachelorette to birthday parties, or just for a fun evening, Van Belle’s staff would be thrilled to accommodate any party at our location in Courtice.
Cancell at io n Po lic y : All classes are payable in full upon registration. If cancelled 48 hours prior to class, a Van Belle’s gift card will be issued for the amount. If cancelled within 48 hours of the class, the amount will not be reimbursed but a “class kit” will be available for you for pick up. Van Belle Flowers has the right to cancel a class with 7 days prior notice.
Kokedema Hanging Plants Class Friday, June 9 at 6:30 pm Cost: $60.00 plus applicable taxes Design 2 of these Japanese Moss Balls with hardy green plants that you can hang outside on a garden gate, wall, arbor or tree. Our staff will instruct you on how to construct and care for these funky new trendy plants.
Trendy Tropical Planter Class Saturday, June 10 at 11:00 am Cost: $115.00 plus applicable taxes Create your own outdoor oasis with planters, overflowing with lush, colourful tropical plants. Your planter package includes everything you need, including a Majesty Palm, to make a gorgeous 14” planter insert. (Ceramic container shown is not included)
SPRING 2017 • 7
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH
VAN BELLE FLOWERS PRESENT THE
Rose of the Month Club V
an Belle Flowers is proud to partner with world renowned rose grower, Rosaprima, to introduce the Rose of the Month Club. Rosaprima is the largest, single-estate grower and distributor of luxury roses in the world. Its exclusive collection of over 150 varieties are requested globally by the most demanding and creative clientele. Rosaprima’s passion lies in the understanding that its iconic roses play a special role in celebrating life’s most extraordinary moments. Each month, Van Belle will be featuring a hand-selected rose from the Rosaprima Collection that will be available for purchase. Along with these gorgeous blooms, you will also receive a detailed description card with full information about the featured variety. Van Belle can deliver these roses to you once a month - to your home or office - or you can pick up them up at either of Van Belle’s locations in Courtice or Whitby.
Tiffany by Rosaprima is a timeless statement rose with connotations of elegance and class. Each rose is perfect and exemplary, and its soft, pastel peach hues evoke the happiest thoughts of spring. She is the art of true love!
Give us a call today to sign-up for the club, or you canplace your orders online at www.vanbelleflowers.com. First Lady
Crème de la Crème
Pricing Information Product # VBROSE-CLUB
Per Dozen, with Gift Wrapping
Glass Vase Arrangement
www.rosaprima.com 305-644-8459 or 1-866-97-PRIMA
MYCORRHIZA The Exciting New Organic Option for Soil Health We all know it is important to add organic matter to our soils when we plant. Amendments like peat moss, compost, and manure improve the structure of soil. They make it easier for roots to grow, improve drainage, and increase the soil’s capacity to hold not just rain water, but water from irrigation too. All good stuff indeed and you shouldn’t leave the garden centre without them. Wait, there’s more! Exciting new breakthroughs in healthy soil technology are showing us that plants also need a living community of helpers in the soil. Beneficial fungi, beneficial bacteria, and a workforce of soil creatures so small that you can only see them with a microscope are all required for a plant to live a long and healthy life. One of the essential soil helpers plants naturally need to grow is a specialized fungus that colonizes roots and goes out into soil looking for water and nutrients for plants. This fungus is called mycorrhiza. A Pine seedling with and
without mycorrhiza. New products containing multiple species of mycorrhiza have recently been approved for use in Canada. Look for the latest products with these new formulations. Once your plants have mycorrhizal partners, they will keep them for life.
How to turn your yard into a safe and healthy organic oasis: Organic farmers grow plants sustainably; they nurture millions of tiny microbes in the soil to support the natural growth of their crops. Organically certified foods must be grown without any synthetics or chemicals. We can learn from the organic farmer by paying attention to soil health when we plant trees, shrubs, evergreens and perennials. We can now convert our own yards into organic oases, too by putting life back into the soils where we live. By giving the plants in our yard the natural soil partnerships they need to grow and thrive without the use of chemicals or synthetic fertilizers.
STEP 1: Use organic soil amendments, such as peat moss, compost or manure, to improve soil on planting day.
STEP 2: For best long-term results, treat the roots and
soil around your new plants with a mycorrhizal product that contains multiple species – read the label to see.
STEP 3: Only use organic fertilizers and garden products going forward.
Your organic landscape makeover is complete! SPRING 2017 • 9
NATUREâ€™S POWERFUL POLLINATORS
ver wondered why you get little or misshapen fruit from your trees or spring berries? Quite often the cause is poor pollination. Mason bees can be the solution; they are extraordinary pollinators, 100 times more effective than honeybees. Mason bees have a range of about 100 meters, so they benefit you and your close neighbours. Mason bees are friendly and very educational for kids. Children can stand close to the nest and watch the bees in action. Getting started is easy. In the spring, purchase a mason bee home and bee cocoons and set it up in your yard. Pollination does not cost, it pays. Reward yourself with a bountiful harvest.
Celebrate Canada’s P
with Bountiful Blooms th 150
roven Winners is proud to support your local garden centre in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Confederation festivities in 2017. Your window boxes, patio pots and gardens will be overflowing with patriotic red and white flowers after you visit your local retailer this spring to stock up. You’ll have the option of taking home baskets preplanted with patriotic recipes like those you see here, or you can get creative and plant your own.
Pair plants with similar moisture needs together to avoid drowning out one or starving the other for moisture. If you choose all plants with low moisture needs, you’ll make fewer trips out with the watering can or hose.
SHAPE—You’ve probably heard the saying “thriller, filler,
spiller” when it comes to container gardening recipes. That means you’ll choose one taller plant to showcase in the center of your container, then a fuller mid-sized one for the middle and a trailing plant to spill over the edges. If you are filling a large container, you’ll need more than one plant of each type to fill it up.
Feed Your Flowers!
Love Song recipe for full sun features Superbena® Royale Red Verbena, Superbena® Royale Whitecap Verbena and Diamond Frost® Euphorbia.
Just like people, plants need food to grow too. It takes a lot of energy for plants to produce all those beautiful blossoms, and that energy will come from the plant food you give them throughout the growing season. Pick up some water soluble plant food when you purchase your flowers in spring. Then, every third time you water, feed your plants according to the package instructions. This will ensure they have plenty of energy to keep on blooming all season long.
Choosing Flowers for Container Garden Recipes When choosing flowers to plant up your own patriotic combinations this spring, there are a few cultural considerations you’ll need to keep in mind when you are deciding which plants to pair together.
SUNLIGHT—When choosing plants to
grow together in a container, check the labels to make sure the sunlight requirements are the same for all plants. Grow sun lovers with other sun lovers rather than those that prefer shade to avoid scorching, and ensure all the plants will thrive equally in the container.
MOISTURE—The label usually describes how much
Red, Red Wine recipe for full sun features Supertunia® Black Cherry™ Petunia and Diamond Frost® Euphorbia.
moisture a plant needs to grow: low, average or consistent. SPRING 2017 • 11
SWEET SUMMER VIBES by Will Heeman
ith the days growing longer, our thoughts turn to warmer weather, playing in the garden, and—what else—strawberries! With a few simple tips, you can learn how to grow nature’s candy right in your own yard, and reap the sweet harvest all season long. Decide whether you’re after one large harvest early in the season or several smaller harvests throughout the summer. If you opt for a June bearing variety, plan to have roots planted before mid-May, or before June if using potted plants. Space plants in a row, 12” apart. In the first year, clip off the fruit blossoms to encourage more growth for bumper harvests in future years. Remember to mulch your plants with straw before the winter sets in to keep them cozy for the next season.
For everbearing plants, you’ll find optimal success with raised beds covered in plastic or mulched. Remove the first blossoms from new plants for stronger growth with more fruit for the rest of the season. Everbearers produce heavily in the season and aren’t bred for a Canadian winter so consider replacing plants annually. Adequate watering and feeding with nitrogen and potassium fertilizer is essential for all strawberry varieties to ensure delicious, juicy berries throughout the growing season. Whether you decide to grow your own or get your berries from a local farmer, try these tantalizing, summerlicious recipes that put strawberries on centre stage.
STRAWBERRY MOJITO This delectable sipper is sure to keep you cool while you enjoy a hot summer day on the patio or host a BBQ soiree. Growing mojito mint is a natural choice but there are many unique varieties of mint available in your local garden centre for a twist on this classic drink. 8 strawberries, hulled and quartered 2 cups (500 mL) Sprite, 7-Up or sparkling water 1 cup (250 mL) white rum (optional) 1/4 cup (50 mL) fresh lime juice 16-18 fresh mint leaves Ice cubes 1. Mix lime juice, strawberries and mint together in serving pitcher. 2. Crush ingredients together with muddler. 3. Stir in the rum (optional) and Sprite, 7-Up or sparkling water. 4. Pour mix into glasses with ice cubes and serve. 12
TIP! Try it with strawberry, grapefruit or ginger mint!
NUTELLA INFUSED STRAWBERRY ROLL You heard that right—Nutella. Infused. Strawberry. Roll. Need we say more? Run, don’t walk, to your kitchen and thank us later. 6 egg whites (approximately 250 mL) 2 cups (500 mL) chopped strawberries (or raspberries) 1/2 cup (125 mL) heavy cream 1/4 cup (50 mL) sugar 1/4 cup (50 mL) shredded coconut 1/4 cup (50 mL) chopped pecans Try maple syrup, 1/4 cup (50 mL) Nutella agave or stevia 1 tsp (4 mL) sugar for natural sugar 1/2 tsp (2 mL) vanilla 1/2 tsp (2 mL) cornstarch substitutes. 1/2 tsp (2 mL) white vinegar
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. 2. Grease a baking sheet and line it with parchment paper. 3. Mix the vinegar, cornstarch and vanilla in a small bowl and set aside. 4. In a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form and gradually add the ¼ cup of sugar. Continue beating to stiff peaks. Slowly whisk the vinegar mixture into the meringue.
5. Spread the meringue evenly onto a 9 × 13” (23 × 30.5 cm) pan. Sprinkle the coconut and pecans over the meringue. Bake 10 to 12 minutes. Cool completely. 6. In a separate bowl, whisk the heavy cream and 1 tsp sugar to stiff peaks. 7. Use a knife to release the edges and remove the meringue from the baking sheet. Turn the meringue over onto a parchment lined surface, nut side down. Spread the Nutella (gently preheat in
microwave so it is spreadable) over the meringue and then spread the whipped cream over the Nutella layer. 8. Sprinkle with chopped berries, leaving a little room at one of the short ends to help seal the roll. Starting with the short end with more fruit, roll the meringue into a log, keeping the roll as tight as possible. 9. To serve, cut into slices with serrated knife.
STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE A Canadian Tradition 1.5 L / 1.5 quarts fresh strawberries 1/2 cup (125 mL) white sugar 2 1/4 cups (530 mL) all-purpose flour 4 tsp (20 mL) baking powder 2 tbsp (60 mL) white sugar 1/4 tsp (1.25 mL) salt 1/3 cup (80 mL) shortening 1 egg 2/3 (160 mL) cup milk 2 cups (500 mL) whipped heavy cream 1. Slice the strawberries and toss them with 1/2 cup of white sugar. Set aside. 2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Grease and flour one 8 inch round cake pan.
tablespoons white sugar and the salt. With a pastry blender cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and add the beaten egg and milk. Stir until just combined. 4. Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool partially in pan on wire rack. 5. Slice partially cooled cake in half, making two layers. Place half of the strawberries on one layer and top with the other layer. Top with remaining strawberries and cover with the whipped cream.
3. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, 2 SPRING 2017 • 13
Fragrant Delight... Rediscovering the Joy of Lilacs by Brian Minter
he unique perfume of lilacs has kept them at the forefront of our favourite garden plants. Their hardiness and ability to grow well in diverse climates have made them an icon in Canadian gardens. The reality of today’s smaller gardens has limited the use of traditional larger varieties and has created a demand for smaller more versatile plants. And ‘wow’, has the nursery industry responded in spades!
BLOOMERANG PINK PERFUME
BLOOMERANG DARK PURPLE
SCENT AND SENSIBILITY 14
The first Canadian-grown Proven Winners ‘Bloomerang’ Lilacs were introduced in 2010, the same year as the Vancouver Olympics, and did they ever rock the lilac world! Hardy to zone 3, these very compact new lilacs produce deep lavender single blooms that fill gardens with their intense perfume in spring and even more amazingly, they repeat that performance
again late summer into fall. If that wasn’t enough, they are very disease resistant and grow well in containers. In the early years of introduction, they were an overnight success story with demand far outstripping supply. As gardeners recognized the importance of this lilac breakthrough, a darker variety called ‘Bloomerang Dark Purple’ was introduced which grows a little more vigorously to about 2 metres (6 ft.) tall with all the same attributes. It too, was an overnight success story. The newest addition to this incredible series is ‘Bloomerang Pink Perfume’. Its highly fragrant, single blooms are lavenderpink and its compact stature, 1-1.5 metres (4-5 ft.) tall means it can be grown in both small and large gardens. This lilac blends in well with other flowering shrubs or can be planted in groups of 3 or 5 for greater impact.
SCENT AND SENSIBILITY
Another exciting new introduction is called ‘Scent and Sensibility’ which is also a repeat-bloomer but lacking the same vigour as the ‘Bloomerang’ series. Its highly perfumed, bright pink flowers are stunning. It grows only 0.5-1 metres (2-3 ft.) tall and spreads 1-1.5 metres (4-5 ft.) making it a perfect flowering shrub for small gardens. Even though the repeatflowering nature of these new introductions has made them incredibly popular, there are some older garden jewels that just can’t be overlooked. Syringa ‘Palibin’, commonly known as ‘Dwarf Korean’ lilac, is one of the classic early-blooming single varieties, with delightful PALIBIN purple-red buds opening to highly fragrant lavender flowers that bloom for weeks. Growing only 1-1.5 metres (3-5 ft.) tall and wide, this lilac has won many international awards and is perfect for gardens needing a spring punch. Another classic, ‘Miss Kim’ lilac, grows 1-1.5 metre (3-5 ft.) tall and flowers later, extending the colour and performance in May
and June gardens. Its lavender flowers are beautiful and highly perfumed. It’s another keeper! Without a doubt, the favourite traditional French hybrid lilacs are MISS KIM the double and single-flowered, intensely perfumed varieties. The hands-down favourite is ‘Charles Joly’, a deep reddish-dark purple double. It embodies all the desired qualities of blossom size, perfume and fullness. There are many great double whites, but the pink buds of ‘Beauty of Moscow’ (Krasavitsa Moskvy) open to the most amazing double white flowers and are reputed to be among the best. BEAUTY OF MOSCOW There are hundreds of varieties of French lilacs and when in bloom, they are truly remarkable. The single varieties are often just as showy in bloom as the doubles. The undisputed champion of single deep purple varieties is ‘Ludwig Spaeth’ with its extra long blooming period in late May. Another eye-popper, CHARLES JOLY ‘Sensation’ has two-toned wine red blooms with white picotee edges. There is no true deep yellow lilac, but for those who love this colour, ‘Primrose’ is a single soft creamy yellow that is quite classy.
There is a growing demand for smaller trees for privacy screens as well as a bit of shade in hot summers and that’s where a Japanese tree lilac comes into play. Hardy to zone 2 and growing about 6 metres (20 ft.) tall, the ‘Ivory Silk’ lilac has beautiful creamy white flowers in late June going into July. They bloom readily on new growth, even as a young tree, and produce flowers that have a light musky perfume. One of the last variety of lilacs to bloom, it is a real treat. It is hard to imagine a garden without lilacs and with such incredible diversity, they can fit any garden size and yes, even adapt well on balconies and patios. IVORY SILK SPRING 2017 • 15
Fashion Headlines by Kim Burns
elcome spring! It’s that wonderful time of the year when the snow finally has melted, trees begin to blossom, and we can pack away our heavy coats and sweaters to embrace a new fashion season. Spring 2017 brings a fresh wave of new styles, including bolder prints, ruffles, slip dresses, midi length hems and athleisure to name a few. Spring is the perfect time to experiment with your style. Fashion’s obsession with athleticinspired clothing (athleisure) is a staple for spring, meaning that leggings and sweatpants will still be considered acceptable to wear outside and not just at the gym. Who doesn’t love being comfortable and right on trend? With athleticinspired pieces popping up everywhere, it seems the comfort of this ongoing trend is way too good to pass up! Florals is a trend that comes around every spring. They might not be new but are nevertheless, versatile. Wear them to the office, on the weekend or for a special occasion. Spring’s florals are bright, splashy and tropical. Florals are all about having fun with fashion and embracing the joy and romance of the season. Perhaps this is why the floral trend is one that just won’t go away. Go for fully in-bloom creations and get ready to feel and look pretty.
This season, there has been a shift to ‘easy elegance.’ A graduated hemline will be your ticket to style! Midi length, ruffles and side slits appear on spring dresses and skirts. Whether your hem is shorter at the front and longer at the back, or longer to one side, just make sure it’s asymmetrical. Who doesn’t love stripes? Get ready to see these classic prints in all sizes and colours on everything from sweaters to knit dresses, sheer fabrics and oversize shirts. Don’t be afraid of an oversized stripe. The thing to note this season is the direction your stripes are moving – use them to your advantage to flatter your form. You didn’t think the cold shoulder was going anywhere did you? Stay flirty and classy and dare to go bare this spring – on your shoulders at least! Off-the-shoulder tops and dresses are a must-have! Fashionforward blouses in structured poplin are staples to pair with everything. Some can even be found with smocking or a ruffle layer. Achieve a different silhouette by layering a tank under the OTS shirt. Midriff tops, peasant and poet blouses and statement sleeves are also must-haves for 2017. Over the past year, no outerwear trend has caught on quite as rapidly as the bomber jacket. This is fashion’s favourite new jacket and takes on a new twist in bold colours and patterns. It’s the perfect layer for a feminine dress or skirt; try an oversized version for the ‘boyfriend vibe.’ Other notable trends are slogan tops with empowering messages and bodysuits. Make sure to have fun layering your jewelry with delicate chain necklaces and chokers.
Available in a variety of colours. - Courtesy of Papa Fashion
Courtesy of Orange Fashion Village
SPRING 2017 • 19
SMALL BITES PACK A
Big Punch By Sylvia Van Hage
ith more people than ever living in small spaces, mini vegetable container gardening is an ideal practice. Get creative by using window and railing boxes, pots, or hanging baskets. You may surprise yourself with the amount of vegetables you can harvest!
practical life skill and be encouraged to eat and try new types of produce, but they will learn how fresh food truly tastes. Container gardening is low maintenance. Ensure you fertilize with an organic fertilizer, water regularly and that your garden receives approximately 6 hours of sunlight a day.
There are many reasons why container gardening with mini vegetables is not only fun but rewarding. Growing organic produce such as kale, lettuce or tomatoes is healthier than most store bought options and can save on your grocery bill. Involve your kids or grandkids, educating them on where their food actually comes from. Not only will they learn a very
Vegetables that are suitable for container gardening are the ones that are cultivated for small spaces -- particularly dwarf or determinate (bush) varieties. Visit your local garden centre and try some of these fun and exciting varieties. Most can be purchased in transplants as well as seeds.
CUCAMELON This fruit is a cucumber, the size of a grape, that looks like a miniature watermelon and tastes like a tangy cucumber. The cucamelon is also called the Mexican Sour Gherkin or Sandiita, which means little watermelon in Spanish.
Some of my favourites are:
PATIO SNACKER CUCUMBER Patio Snacker Cucumber produces prolific yields of small, fleshy, crisp ‘snack box’ sized cucumbers which have great flavour and can be eaten straight from the plant with no need for peeling. It will need a trellis or netting against a wall to vine up. Frequent harvest will encourage production.
THAI DRAGON PEPPER A small, pointed hot red pepper, growing 3-4” long, it matures from medium green to dark red. The Thai Dragon pepper plant grows about 1-2’ high and can produce up to 200 chilies in a single season. Try moving it inside as an attractive ornamental after the gardening season is done.
SWEET N’ NEAT CHERRY TOMATO
A compact, upright plant that is ideal for a pot or patio container and produces an average of 60-80 tasty cherry tomato sized fruits. This bush variety is very easy to grow, needing no supports.
This gourmet European selection produces uniform golf ball sized carrots with a nice orange colour and excellent carrot flavour. This cute, petite carrot is ideal for container gardening.
Also known as a candy cane or bullseye beet, its flavour is similar to a purple beet but sweeter. Prepared like other beets its unique pink and white inner rings make it a stand out vegetable. The greens are also edible.
ROMANESCO CAULIFLOWER/ BROCCOLI
With its chartreuse colour, fractal shape and light nutty flavor, this vegetable is sure to be a conversation topic at your dinner table. It can be substituted for cauliflower in many recipes, and allows you to use a vegetable that is certainly weird and wonderful.
Salad greens like lettuce, arugula, herbs, or any of your favourites thrive in shallow bowls. Create your own seed blend, purchase a pre-mixed package of seeds or even MINI LETTUCE a ready made lettuce bowl BOWL MIX to give you salads that you have grown yourself. When you are ready to harvest, trim the leaves about 2.5 - 3 cm above the base. You can cut the leaves about 3 – 4 times in the growing season, so plant up a number of different combinations to use and enjoy throughout the growing season.
SPRING 2017 • 21
Oasis by Martha Vandepol
ransform your favourite outdoor space into a spectacular tropical oasis with the use of an array of flowering and foliage plants. Many of these leafy, textured and colourful plants require minimal care, can withstand the summer humidity and are a delight to look at all season long. It seems fitting we place such emphasis on botanical home decor, leafy plants and natural settings this year, since the Pantone colour of the year is called “greenery.” Even with this colour palette, not all foliage plants are green: many feature colourful leaves, ranging from sunset reds, oranges and yellows to pretty pinks, creams and striking whites. Planting tropical plants together in a large weather resistant container provides an abundant focal display for your outdoor living space. A good potting soil enhanced with slow release fertilizer will ensure your container gardens thrive all summer long. When creating a tropical garden, do not be afraid to pack plants together for an instant, extravagant effect. Set your foundation by starting your outdoor container garden with a tall Majesty Palm, which adds height towards the back and sets the foundation for something magnificent. This tall dark and handsome plant will provide visual strength to your arrangement. Add a touch of colour beside the Palm with a vibrant, striking red Cordyline plant or a dark red Dracaena, creating depth and interest as it pokes out the sides of the planter. You can create harmony by placing the same plants on the other side of the palm. Another option is to plant a Petra Croton, which has a striking display of orange, yellow and rust tones along its broad leaves. Flower power should thrive in the centre of your planter. Insert a hardy, exotic Hibiscus with frilly, vibrant flowers that come in a vast spectrum of colours. This beauty requires minimal care throughout the summer – just a daily deadhead as each flower usually lasts for only a day or two. Or you can enhance your planter with a drought tolerant Mandevilla plant, whose trumpet shaped flowers provide an endless supply of colour to be enjoyed by hummingbirds and humans alike. Finish the outer edges with cool white and green Spider Plants or any variety of Ivy. To create an instant effect, you can purchase these trailing plants in a larger size pot (6”-10”) and divide them into smaller plants. Tuck these trailing plants along the container’s outer rim where they will cascade in all their glory. To keep them vibrant, make sure to water your planter when the soil is dry to the touch.
If you do not have the time or do not want to get your hands dirty, you can still create your tropical retreat by grouping together your favourite plants in individual containers. These could include a dark green, drought and sun tolerant Kimberly Fern or Sansevieria plant. If a flowering plant is more your style, choose a striking Bromeliad where the flower sits majestically above the curled green foliage. Group single plants in larger pots at different heights in corners, beside your favourite wicker chair or even hanging on your porch. Tuck in a lantern and candle amongst your plants for nighttime ambiance or match the floral and leaf colour with coordinated pillows, napkins and throws.
More adventurous gardeners should not be restricted to leafy foliage plants. Cool succulents are the latest trend, whether nested in a vintage wooden crate, housed in a glass terrarium or hanging in a modern round vessel. Air Plants â€œTillandsiaâ€? can be another enhancement for your garden retreat. These low-maintenance plants grow without any soil, their roots acting as anchors, securing themselves to driftwood, shells, rocks and almost anything you can imagine. Air Plants absorb moisture and nutrients from the air, and are perfect for a screened porch or enclosure where they can receive the filtered sunlight that they crave.
To create visual barriers from neighbours and to extend your garden upward, hanging planters are the perfect choice for areas with limited space. Depending on sunlight requirements, options include an old fashioned Boston Fern, Wandering Jew plant, or English Ivy. A thriving, full hanging garden can be enjoyed well into autumn. Once your outdoor retreat is complete, these container gardens and tropical plants require minimal care, allowing you the extra time to curl up with a great book in your favourite chair or gather with friends and enjoy the bountiful, colourful oasis you have created.
Kimberly Fern SPRING 2017 â€˘ 23
SNIP IT, CLIP IT& TRIM IT
Pruning Landscape Plants By John DeGroot
ike the auto mechanic, nurse, lawyer or interior designer, I can’t go to a function without friends asking me gardening questions. Most are about lawn care. Pruning comes in at a close second. The questions about pruning are usually one of the following: when should I prune and how far back can I prune? The answer to the first is easy. My father taught me that the best time to prune is whenever the pruner is sharp. And while my Dad was mostly correct, I would elaborate by suggesting that anything that flowers should be pruned soon after the flowers drop. Evergreens can be pruned anytime. If you want to mega prune by removing more than half the plant, I recommend doing so early in spring soon after the plant wakes up. As for how ambitious you can get with the pruner, it is safe to say that you can err on the aggressive side. Most plants enjoy a thorough pruning and because the roots aren’t pruned to match the stems, the plant will respond with a vengeance. Evergreens such as Boxwood, Yews, Junipers and Cedars have a strong ability to withstand a drastic pruning. 24
It is usually safe to prune off half its green growth. But if you remove all of an evergreen’s active needles, you will remove the plant’s purpose for life. Large growing evergreens such as Spruce, Fir or Pine need to be treated more gingerly. These conifers will sprout new growth from the ends as well as from within. Don’t remove more than about 50% of the green growth of these conifers unless you are prepared for them to look unsightly for a year or two. And yes, it’s okay to prune off the central leader. Conifers know well enough how to make for themselves a new leader. Spring flowering shrubs such as Lilac, Snowball and Forsythia are tough as nails and will withstand almost any degree of pruning. The same holds true for Burning Bush, Spirea and Weigela. Cut these back as far as you like and whenever you like. They will regrow on the remaining stems but may also send up new limbs from the roots called suckers, which should be cut off. Spring blooming shrubs don’t mind when they are pruned, but do keep in mind that if you prune these in fall or early winter, you will forfeit their blooms for the following spring.
over the winter and the plant practically begs you to cut it down. It takes nerve to chop it so close to the ground but when the job is done, the Clematis will thank you by quickly responding with new growth.
Summer flowering shrubs such as Rose of Sharon and Butterfly Bush are best pruned in fall or early spring. My trick for growing nice Butterfly Bush is to prune the shrub down to 15 cm and allow the shrub to grow. In early May prune again by cutting the green stems down to the size of a large basketball. Allow the plant to grow and prune again in early June. Repeat again in early July. The result will be a tidy compact bush with hundreds of flowers in August. By April, Roses are almost budding, and it is the perfect time for pruning. Use a pair of secateurs and cut canes down to 15 - 20 cm, and make a clean cut just above an outward facing eye or bud. My Clematis by the back door got what it deserved a few weeks ago on a sunny day in February. I removed all the brown stems and chopped it down to just a few inches. Pruning Clematis is easy. Last year’s stems turn quite ugly
Pruning Hydrangeas is tricky because each variety has its own pruning recommendations. Gardeners who prune their Hydrangeas too aggressively in late fall or early spring might expect mediocre bloom performance. For today’s popular Hydrangeas in the Mophead or Lacecap group pruning should be done in late August to ensure good bloom performance for the following summer. Go ahead and remove about a third of the old stems to encourage the younger stems to flourish. For the old fashioned white Hydrangeas such as Annabelle and PG, prune anytime except in late spring or summer. If you are unsure of your Hydrangea type, leave the pruner in the shed for a year and it will surely bloom the following year.
“My father often said that pruning in the wrong way or at the wrong time is better than not pruning at all.”
SPRING 2017 • 25
MOTHERS ARE THE
Colours of your Life MOTHER’S DAY WEEK:
MAY 8 – 13
PERFECT SUMMER OUTDOOR PLANTER VBM-0117 Outstanding performance, this flowering and foliage outdoor planter will enhance a backyard patio, deck or porch. A gift that keeps on giving. Price Ranges: $55.00 – 150.00 ($85.00 Shown)
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FOR THE MOM WHO HAS EVERYTHING Let her shop all year long with a Van Belle Flowers & Garden Centre Gift card. In any denomination, this will let her choose her own perfect gift.
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NATURE & FRESH INDOOR ORCHID PLANTER VBM-0317 Elegant and sophisticated planters are the perfect fit for your mom or for any occasion. These lush, tropical displays are super easy to care for. Price Ranges: $70.00 – 175.00 ($125.00 Shown)
MOTHERS SHINE BRIGHT LIKE
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SPRING 2017 • 27
28 â€¢ VAN BELLE FLOWERS - 800-263-8008 - VANBELLEFLOWERS.COM
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SPRING 2017 • 29
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It’s EASY C Being Green DECORATIVE WALL HANGINGS are perfect for patio spaces, and will add drama to an otherwise lost space.
elebrating the Pantone colour of the year, Greenery, these gifts and plants inspire us to revive and restore, allowing us to harmonize with nature and the renewal of spring. Green is nature’s neutral and we think of flowing, flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors. As the grass gets greener, and the bulbs start poking through the soil, we feel a sense of excitement to create our own backyard and garden retreats. Adding decorative elements to your outdoor living space will create a cozy, calming environment to enjoy all season long. Bring peace of mind to your outdoor gatherings with a beautiful and reusable WASP TRAP.
LIMELIGHT GREEN HYDRANGEA lives up to its name as a showstopping, elongated midsummer flower.
GREEN POTATO VINE Don’t forget to add this classic “spiller” plant to container gardens and hanging baskets. They are so easy to grow and will look fantastic all summer long. ITEMS SHOWN IN ARTICLE:
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