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SPRING 2015

HERBS & EDIBLE

FLOWERS

BRIAN’S NEW

Plant Picks for 2015

Beer Hops


Perfect as a novelty gift for the amateur green thumb or as an unconventional new plant for the experienced gardener, Ketchup ‘N Fries is an amazing plant. Created simply by grafting a tomato vine onto a potato root stock, it is not genetically modified. Ketchup 'N Fries is a unique, fun and space saving plant. A workhorse, it produces an aboveground harvest of hundreds of super sweet cherry tomatoes. PLUS! Expect an underground harvest of heavy yields of multi-use, delicious white potatoes. That's right! From one plant you can harvest tomatoes AND potatoes.

Available late Spring. While supplies last.


14

Feel The heat

24

with Chef Michael Smith

Contents 22

12

9

Edibles & Ornamentals

12

Design a Beautiful Succulent Wreath

14

Grilling Vegetables with Chef Michael Smith

18

Hydrangeas Demystified

20

2015 Spring Fashion Trends

22

Easy Care for Gorgeous Dahlias

24

Ornamental Grasses

30

5 Spring Cleansing Tips

This publication may not be reproduced, all or in part, without written consent from the publisher and Minter Country Garden. 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 trade mark for use by its members, of which the Garden Centre Group Co-Op is an alliance member. Photo credit to Proven WinnersŽ for a selection of photos provided to this magazine. 4 • MINTER COUNTRY GARDEN - 604-792-6612 - MINTERGARDENS.COM


Owners F ROM T H E

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e are always excited to welcome the spring season and this year, with our inaugural Home & Garden Showplace magazine, even more so! Spring heralds new beginnings, and we are delighted to bring you many new and worthy additions to your landscape. Not only can these plants enhance the value of your home and provide much needed carbon exchange, but they also can add sensory pleasures. The soothing fragrance of lavender, the tantalizing taste of freshly harvested herbs, fruits and vegetables, the dazzling array of colourful blossoms and the relaxing sound of a gentle breeze rustling tree leaves can all be enjoyed in the comfort of your own yard! Our team can help you plan just such a wonderful space - one that works for your lifestyle. Whether you wish to plant a charming English garden or want to raise your own delicious, healthy edibles, let us help you choose the right plant for that special place in your garden. We will help you create a haven of tranquility and a place to grow. This year, 2015, has been designated ‘the year of colour combinations’. We know you will be dazzled and your senses delighted by our designer planters and baskets, as well as many other artful creations.

Food gardening is another of our passions, and we specialize in having the best selection of herbs to flavour your culinary endeavours. And not to be missed, we will have the most coveted heirloom tomatoes – the ‘Marriage Series’ – as well as all the new food plant introductions that have much higher levels of antioxidants and other health-enhancing properties. Our selection of hard-to-find seeds is one of the best, and we have very knowledgeable ‘coaches’ to help you succeed. Although ‘gardens’ are the essence of who we are, we continually search for new ways to enrich your experience year round whenever you visit our destination store. Ladies fashions - all uniquely designed - is one of our fastest growing, most successful departments, as is footwear. We carry a full range of amazing Croc products that are wonderful worn both in the garden and everywhere else! Watch for our exciting spring and summer additions to these departments. Also, if you’ve never enjoyed a ‘dream chair’, come in and see why we sold out so quickly last year. Talk about comfort! Come, discover and enjoy so many new things to enrich your garden, your home and your life. We look forward to welcoming you and to helping you achieve your gardening dreams.

The Minter Family

SPRING 2015 • 5


6 • MINTER COUNTRY GARDEN - 604-792-6612 - MINTERGARDENS.COM


Secrets SUCCESS TO LAWN

M

ost lawns suffer from poor subsoil, and the solution is aeration (a hand aerator is fine), both in spring and fall when the ground is soft. Next apply a ¼” layer of washed, coarse sand to keep those holes percolating. In wet regions, an application of Dolopril lime (1 - 11.35 kg bag per 2000 sq. ft.) in fall or early spring will keep the soil’s pH level up. Slow-release high nitrogen fertilizer, applied in spring, summer and fall, will maintain the lawn’s rich green colour and will keep the grass full with little space for weeds. The best weed control is over-seeding in spring or fall with the new stoloniferous grass called ‘Natural Knit’ at 5 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft. If moss is an issue, for the best results, use a moss control product when temperatures are above 12°C, and you have 48 hours of dry weather. In our region, mow your lawn lower year round, and mow in a different direction every time.

FREE &

COFFEE

COOKIE

IN THE CAFE Redeem this coupon in the Callicarpa Café for a FREE small brewed coffee and cookie. *Expires May 31, 2015. No cash value.

SPRING 2015 • 7


RAISED BEDS

are also great to use because of their longevity. Bricks or interlocking blocks are another option. They allow you to create interesting, smooth-flowing curves that can be easily integrated into your landscape, making a vegetable garden attractive as well as functional. As the soil expands in volume with the addition of organic material, simply add another layer of wood or bricks/blocks.

Today, landscape ties are the most viable and cost effective for building raised beds. Cedar 2x8 or 2x10 planks

To fill your raised beds, use a quality blended soil with the addition of lots of peat, manures, compost and some sand. I usually top each bed off with a bag or two of ProMix or Sunshine Natural and Organic Blend. Because water leaches out nutrients faster in raised beds than in conventional garden plots, after the heavy rains of winter, it’s a good idea to add some micronutrients to the beds in spring and to work in good old-fashioned quality compost or manure to build up your soil. Again, I would top it off with about 2-3” of ProMix to provide a quality blend for starting seeds and nurturing young transplants.

R

aised beds are ideal for growing all manner of plants, especially vegetables. By raising the soil level 8-10” (20-25cm), your garden beds will have much better drainage during wet spells, warmer soils to give your plants a real boost in early spring and more friable soils with less compaction. As well, if you have trouble bending down and working at ground level, you can build raised beds or boxes up to a level of 18-24” (45-60cm), making it enjoyable to sit and plant or harvest.

8 • MINTER COUNTRY GARDEN - 604-792-6612 - MINTERGARDENS.COM


MIX IT UP Combine Edibles and Ornamentals to Create an Eye Catching Container Arrangement. Written By Paul Zammit

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here is something very special about enjoying fresh herbs and sun-ripened vegetables picked directly from one’s own garden. Not only is it an emotionally satisfying experience, personally I believe that nothing tastes better than freshly picked, sun-warmed produce! As the popularity of growing your own food continues to gain momentum, it seems the available ground space and size of home gardens is shrinking. As a result, would-be urban food farmers must become creative and look to any available outdoor space as an option. Fortunately, even in the absence of traditional, in-ground garden beds, one can successfully grow a vast and delicious range of edibles in containers by following some simple guidelines.

When selecting which edible plants to grow in your container(s), carefully read all tags and/or seed packages. Choose plants that are dwarf, compact, bush type and suitable for for pot culture. For crops such as bush beans that mature quickly, consider a succession of plantings every two weeks. This will result in a steady supply of fresh harvest. Check your beans, cucumbers and squash daily and harvest regularly to prolong production. Pinch out (prune) the quick growing tips of herbs such as basil to encourage new, more compact growth from the base of the plant.

When choosing appropriate containers, let your imagination run wild. They come in all shapes, sizes and colours and can be made of a wide range of materials. Personally, I am drawn to terra cotta, wood, stone, iron and moss lined baskets. Regardless of the material, the presence of drainage holes in a container is an absolute must! Be mindful of the wind when gardening on raised patios and/ or balconies. It can be a powerful force. To keep planters from toppling over and plants from drying out, carefully consider the size of the container. Select large pots (3 gallon size or larger) that when filled, will have good bottom weight and will provide ample space for a strong root system to develop. Your choice of container mix is equally as important. Choose a potting soil that is recommended for vegetables and herbs. Avoid heavy and dense potting soil and never use straight top soil or triple mix in your containers. The potting mix should be porous and relatively lightweight. For vegetables that tend to be heavy feeders, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and eggplant, I will often combine 1/3 well composted manure with the container mix before planting. SPRING 2015 • 9


The majority of vegetables and herbs require six or more hours of sunshine to thrive. If you do not have such conditions, please do not despair. Consider growing selected edibles such as chard, kale, leaf lettuce, beets, parsley, thyme and basil, as these will tolerate a degree of shade, especially during the hottest part of the day. Once planted, consistent watering is key to promoting and maintaining strong, healthy and productive plants. Check your containers daily. In my own garden, I tend to group containers that require similar watering needs together, allowing me to focus and deliver exactly what is needed to those plants in an efficient manner. It is also beneficial to keep a large, full watering can beside each group of planters. They are especially important for those last minute or emergency waterings, especially during hot and dry periods in the growing season and are usually emptied and refilled every few days. Edibles in containers also need to be fed regularly. I prefer to fertilize with a water soluble, organic plant food. Always follow the recommended rate. I also highly recommend growing and adding some edible flowering plants such as nasturtiums, pansies, violas, dianthus and calendula to your container arrangement. Doing so will provide a splash of colour to your planter and your salad too. In order to ensure a regular supply of fresh blossoms, remove any spent or fading flowers before they go to seed. There is evidence to suggest that combining edibles with other flowering plants can actually increase the overall harvest of vegetables. The flowering plants attract pollinators which in turn visit both groups of plants, increasing the fruit set of the vegetables. An important tip to remember when selecting flowering plants to attract and support pollinators, is to choose plants with single blossoms, as these tend to offer more pollen and nectar for pollinators to feed on. As a result, everyone wins. I like to take my growing of edibles in containers one step further by combining vegetables, herbs and ornamentals all together in the same planter. “Mix it up!� is my motto. Many edibles have colourful and fragrant flowers and or foliage that can be used to add great visual impact to a mixed container 10


planting. For example, herbs such as basil, thyme and rosemary, added to a mixed planter add a delightful and often unexpected fragrance to the air when brushed. Golden sage is another favourite to combine in containers. The foliage has many positive attributes. Both fragrant and colourful, once established, sage tends to be somewhat drought tolerant and can also withstand a number of light fall frosts. As an individual specimen, or in combination, golden sage is a must on my spring shopping list to the local nursery. It also combines beautifully with yet another herb I consider a staple in mixed planters, curly leaf parsley. It has so much going for it! In addition to being an essential addition to many recipes, parsley is an excellent source of antioxidants and vitamin C. Visually it provides a wonderful textural contrast of rich, dark green, ruffled foliage. This is the perfect foundation, as other colours just pop against it. In a pinch, I have used the fresh leaves when creating small floral arrangements. Established parsley plants are also cold tolerant and will continue to have a presence long after the first frost. If that were not enough, it is important to remember that parsley is an important food source for the larval stage of the swallowtail butterfly. With so many plusses, how could you not want to incorporate parsley, and other assorted edibles and herbs into your mixed planters? Paul Zammit is the Director of Horticulture at the Toronto Botanical Garden. He is an enthusiastic and engaging plantsman and lecturer who travels across Canada, the US and Europe where he is always keen to share his passion for horticulture and gardening.

SPRING 2015 • 11


DESIGN A BEAUTIFUL

Succulent Wreath Written by Martha Vandepol

A

live succulent wreath will make a beautiful welcome to your fence, outdoor wall or door. Lasting all summer long, this low maintenance wreath will continue to grow and change, only enhancing its beauty. You will be surprised at how simple and easy it is to create this stunning masterpiece.

Items you will need: • Wire frame – circle, square or heart • Plastic sheet • Sphagnum, Reindeer, Spanish, sheet or other assorted loose moss • Succulent cuttings and plants • Floral thread or 24-gauge paddle wire • Ferning pins • Scissors and stapler 12


Step 1:

Select your wire frame, line with plastic and staple the plastic securely.

Step 2:

After soaking your sphagnum moss in water, wring it out and place on top of the plastic-lined wire form. Make sure that you mound the moss slightly higher than the wreath frame, as it compresses slightly when you add the succulent plants and cuttings. Using floral thread or wire, wrap the frame and moss to make sure that the moss is secure.

is overhanging from your work bench. You can also secure the succulent in place with ferning pins. (Tip: You can also use bobby pins, paper clips or wire, and bend them into a “U” shape.) Do not worry if you see the thread or wire, as you can cover them up later with smaller plants, cuttings or moss.

Step 5:

Step 3:

Prepare your succulent plants by removing them from the container, and gently shake off all excess soil, so that only the roots are left on the stem. Arrange the larger succulents to create focal points for the best visual impact wreath. The smaller plants and cuttings will be used later to fill in any gaps or spaces.

Step 4:

Gently tie the floral thread around the core stem of the succulent plant. Make a hole in the moss, and carefully push the roots of the plant into the moss. Then tie the plant into place – one thread through the inside of the wreath, the other thread around the outside of the wreath, knotting at the back of the wreath frame. It is easier to do this procedure if the frame

Add the smaller succulents and cuttings to fill in the spaces. You can do this by either tying or pinning them into place. Periodically, lift the wreath and gently turn over to ensure that none of the plants will fall out.

Step 6:

Finish your design by tucking in additional moss to cover any string or wire that may be showing. The addition of looped curly willow, artificial berry or raffia is a personal aspect that can also be incorporated to reflect your own unique design.

Step 7:

Water periodically to keep the moss moist. It may take a few weeks to root, so be careful when handling your wreath. Now that your creation is complete, you can hang it on an exterior house or garden wall, or use as an umbrella ring on your patio table or around a lantern. Your beautiful succulent wreath will be a creation to be enjoyed the whole summer long.

Caring for your Succulent Wreath

How to prepare a Succulent Cutting 1. Cut with a sharp knife or scissor below a stem joint or where a leaf joins the stem. 2. Remove any excess leaves from the stem. 3. Cut a day or two prior to use to allow the cut end to dry, which will allow the stem to seal, reducing the risk of fungus.

• When the sphagnum moss is dry, soak the entire wreath in warm water for a few minutes. Allow excess water to drain. Watch your succulent plants closely, - if the leaves start to shrivel they will need more water. • Place your wreath in an area where you get ample light, but not direct, hot sunlight. Most succulents need at least six hours of indirect sunlight per day. Bring inside if the temperature drops below 13 degrees at night as succulents do not like the cold. • Your wreath shouldn’t require too much trimming throughout one season. However, you can trim a bit to keep it more compact.

SPRING 2015 • 13


Q: Charcoal versus gas, it’s been a hotly debated topic for years in the meat world, but what about when it comes to grilling vegetables? Is there a better option? Chef Michael Smith: For vegetables, it doesn’t really matter. What really matters – what the big secret is, is the heat. Lots and lots of heat. Now, if you have a wood-burning grill, that’s really your best option. I’d recommend hardwoods – fruitwoods if you can get them. This will provide you with nice, smooth, aged, woody flavours. Fruitwoods are particularly aromatic – cherry trees, peach trees, apple trees – these are all great options and provide great flavours when used on slightly harder vegetables like potatoes and sweet potatoes. Q: What about indoor grilling options? Do you have any good apartment-friendly recommendation for grill-craving condo dwellers? Chef Michael Smith: Well, I have lots of friends in Toronto who have snuck barbecues into their buildings and out onto their balconies... but if you can’t manage to do that, then I’d recommend investing in a really good fan. Indoor grilling is all about smoking hot heat. Inside or out, that’s what grilling is all about: intense heat. To get that heat indoors, you’re going to be turning either your gas or electric up really high and that’s going to result in smoke. As long as you can handle that with a really good fan or vent, you’re in business.

FEEL THE

HEAT: Grilling Vegetables with Chef Michael Smith By Chantielle McFarlane

Fire up the grill – barbecuing season is upon us! From burgers to steaks, chicken to kabobs, there’s nothing like a backyard cookout to kick off the summer. And while carnivores have long laid claim to grills across the nation, vegetables of all shapes and sizes are also starting to feel the heat. To further investigate this flavourful new trend, I consulted with one of Canada’s bestknown foodies, Prince Edward Island’s culinary ambassador Chef Michael Smith, to help prep for a season of garden grilling.

Q: Is it safe to say that any vegetable can be prepared on the grill? Chef Michael Smith: Not any vegetable. It comes down to the strength of the vegetable and how hard it is. Root vegetables are just too hard; greens are on the other end of the spectrum and they’re just too soft. But in the middle, in the sweet spot, there are lots and lots of vegetables that are medium-tender – squashes, zucchinis, eggplants, and asparagus, for example – that are perfect for grilling. 14

Q: When it comes to prepping veggies for the grill – indoor, outdoor, gas, charcoal or wood – what’s the best way to marinade? Chef Michael Smith: One quick tip there: basically any vinaigrette salad dressing is a marinade. That being said, typically vegetables don’t have the cellular structure that benefits from a long-term marinade. So don’t worry about letting them soak in the dressing too long. Of course, there are also dry rub marinades. A light touch is necessary here, as dry rubs tend to be a bit more flavourful, full of chili powders and spices that can quickly overrun your vegetables. So really, if you’re looking for the best marinade, a little salt and pepper is fine. A bit of moisture from some grape seed oil (this is the cooking oil that’s most resistant to burning) and some salt and pepper – that’s how I do 90% of my grilling. Q: Are there any herbs that we should keep in mind? Chef Michael Smith: You’re in a tenuous zone if you’re using herbs (dry or fresh) on a grill because they burn. Very, very strong herbs can work on the grill – such as rosemary, sage and a bit of thyme – because they hold their flavour and can handle the hot heat. But if you start moving down the scale towards lighter herbs – basil and oregano, for example – you’ll find you’re not getting any flavour because you’re charring the vegetative matter. So if you’re thinking about ways to work herbs into your meal, perhaps a better way to introduce them is to add them to foods after they’ve been grilled. I much prefer to add my herbs as part of the dressing or sauce, whatever it is


that I’m serving with the food, if I’m looking to really make the most of those flavours.

Q: Now what about dessert? Can you recommend any good fruits for grilling? Chef Michael Smith: One of the things that I really like to grill is pineapple. It’s firm, it takes grill marks well and it really holds the smokiness. I tend not to make dessert out of it though; instead, I’ll turn it into a salad. A grilled pineapple, red onion and fresh basil leaf salad is one of my all-time favorite summer salads. For dessert though, things like grilled peaches or apricots – softer fruits, again it’s about the texture. A grilled apple? Ehhhh, it’s nothing special. But a peach is just the right texture. Bananas work very well too. Simply cut the banana in half and tuck chocolate inside for a warm, gooey, chocolatey mess inside the banana skin – don’t take the banana out of the skin, you’ll want that protective layer on the grill.

Q: Your latest cookbook, Family Meals, is all about making cooking fun for the whole family. Do you have any parting advice for fun family grilling experiences? Chef Michael Smith: Just go for it. Of course you’re going to want to make sure your children are safe; when Camille was just learning how to walk and wandering around on the deck, I actually fenced off my barbequing area. I used lobster traps and child gates to keep her away. You’ve got to be careful around a hot grill. But I don’t think that means you have to keep them away from your grill. You have to teach them about it and invite them into the grilling process. When they’re six or seven, help them flip burgers on the grill, and teach them why you never press that patty with a spatula. Sure, it sizzles and you get lots of smoke, but you’ve also pressed hard-earned juice and flavour out of your dinner. It’s lessons like that which can only be learned if your kids are standing there helping you.

GRILLED PINEAPPLE ONION SALAD This is my all-time favourite summer salad. It’s amazing how much savoury flavour your grill can add to a simple pineapple and some red onion. Next time you fire up the works try this salad and you’ll have a new favourite for your repertoire too! YIELD: SERVES 4 INGREDIENTS 1 whole pineapple, skinned (uncored), cut into thick rings 2 red onions, sliced into a few very thick rings A few generous splashes olive oil A sprinkle or two sea salt and freshly ground pepper 1 lemon, zest and juice Few handfuls fresh whole basil leaves

PROCEDURE Preheat your barbecue or grill. Evenly brush or drizzle the pineapple and onion rings with olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Try to keep the onion rings intact as you do. Grill the pineapple until golden grill marks appear and the fruit softens, about 5 minutes per side. Meanwhile, grill the onion until soft and lightly charred. Quarter the grilled pineapple slices into wedges and roughly chop the onion rings. Toss everything with the lemon zest and juice and as many whole basil leaves as you can get your hands on. Variation This salad is very good tossed with a grilled chicken breast or two. Try tossing in some shredded coconut or sliced green onions as well.

ABOUT CHEF MICHAEL SMITH

Food Network Host, Nutritional Activist, Food Media Producer Chef Michael Smith, one of Canada’s best-known chefs is a passionate advocate for simple, sustainable home cooking and an inspiration for families creating their own healthy food lifestyle. He’s the host of Chef Michael’s Kitchen, Chef Abroad and Chef at Home seen on Food Network Canada, Global and in more than 100 other countries. He’s a judge on Chopped Canada and traveled the world for his innovative new web series Lentil Hunter. Michael is Prince Edward Island’s food ambassador and Canada’s best selling cookbook author, teacher, professional chef and home cook. He led the team of Sodexo chefs that cooked for the world’s Olympians in the Whistler Athletes Village in 2010. His eighth cookbook, Family Meals, hit the bestseller list last summer. His food media production company is breaking new ground online and his Twitter feed is Canada’s top choice for foodie fun. Although Michael is a true chef at large his favourite role is Dad, home on Prince Edward Island with his wife Chastity and his children: Gabe, Ariella and Camille! Michael is an avid map collector, long-time windsurfer and novice kite sailor. SPRING 2015 • 15


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SPRING 2015 • 17


Hydrangeas

Demystified Written by Shannon Downey Lets Dance® Rhythmic Blue

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rap yourself in nostalgia and warm sunshine, and imagine the quintessential summer garden. Chances are the frilly, colourful blooms of hydrangeas freckle the landscape: pink, blue, or white; tall or short. There’s no denying that hydrangeas have earned their place as a summer classic. As beloved as they are, however, hydrangeas can be equally confusing. They are the most searched for plant on the Internet, with questions ranging from simple how-to’s to panicstricken, “Where are all the blooms?” It doesn’t have to be so complicated. By arming yourself with a bit of knowledge and know-how, you can confidently walk into the garden center, select the right hydrangea for your garden, and enjoy the beautiful summer blooms for years to come.

KNOW WHAT TO GROW

When gardeners think “hydrangeas,” they are often imagining the classic pink or blue mopheads of bigleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla). These hydrangeas thrive in mild, coastal areas and are notorious for struggling in climates with harsh winter and spring seasons. Closely related are mountain hydrangeas (Hydrangea serrata). Mountain hydrangeas have similar pink or blue flowers, but are native to the mountainous regions of Asia and Japan, giving the plant better bud and stem hardiness than bigleaf hydrangeas. Both bigleaf and mountain hydrangeas develop flower buds during the previous season. This “old wood” must survive fall, winter, and spring in order to produce blooms during summer showtime. Ill-timed pruning, cold weather, and late season frosts are often the reasons why gardeners do not see flowers. New reblooming varieties like the Let’s Dance® bigleaf hydrangeas and Tuff Stuff™ mountain hydrangeas also develop

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buds on fresh, new wood, making them more reliable choices for those wanting the classic hydrangea look. North America’s native smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens) is an adaptable and fast growing choice no matter where you live. They can withstand temperatures as low as –40°C (USDA Zone 3) and set flowers on new wood, blooming consistently every year, even in cold climates. Traditionally, the flowers are white, like the popular ‘Annabelle’ and Incrediball® hydrangea varieties. Invincibelle® Spirit hydrangea is the first pink, broadening the colour spectrum. As the name suggests, hardy hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata) are another tough, easy-to-grow plant that thrives throughout North America. They, too, flower on new wood and can withstand -40°C temperatures, but also full sun, heat, and drought better than bigleaf hydrangeas. Hardy hydrangeas are known for their elongated panicle blooms, which open white or green in the case of ‘Limelight’ hydrangea. In the fall, the flowers transform to palettes of rich pink and red, extending the period of garden interest. Native oakleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea quercifolia) also undergo fall transformation. Beautiful white summer flowers age gracefully while the oak-shaped foliage ignites to wine red. Like bigleaf and mountain hydrangeas, oakleaf hydrangeas are not as tolerant of cold weather (USDA Zone 5’s -29°C) and flower on old wood. They will do best in a protected setting.

PUT DOWN THE PRUNERS

Cross pruning off your list of garden chores. Hydrangeas don’t need it, and an ill-timed snip of bigleaf, oakleaf, or mountain hydrangeas could cost you next year’s blooms. Site these hydrangeas appropriately so an annual trim isn’t needed to maintain a manageable size. There are several options of


compact plants to choose from, so you can enjoy hydrangeas in small spaces, without lifting a finger. Even hardy hydrangea favorites like ‘Limelight’ and Quick Fire® hydrangeas come in petit versions: Little Lime® and Little Quick Fire® respectively. Smaller, no-prune hydrangeas are also great choices for container gardens.

KEYS TO SUCCESS No matter which species of hydrangea you choose, they all have similar needs. • Moist, but well-drained soil.

Little Lime®

• Plenty of water, especially when first planted. Hydrangeas have shallow root systems, so they will dry out quickly. Applying a thick layer of mulch will help. • At least four hours of sun each day. While many think of hydrangeas as shade plants, they will look and flower their best with some sun each day, ideally in the morning. While they are often shrouded with a veil of mystery, hydrangeas are actually a low-maintenance option. With a little care, choosing the right kind of hydrangea is an easy first step toward building your dream summer garden.

Invincibelle® Spirit

Let’s Dance® Diva!

Tuff Stuff™

Incrediball®

Little Quick Fire®

Gatsby Galtm SPRING 2015 • 19


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SPRING 2015 • 21


EASY CARE for

Gorgeous Dahlias

• Plant dahlia tubers in spring after all danger of frost has passed, or start in containers indoors. Dahlias aren’t too picky. They enjoy average soils and full sun locations. • Plant tubers 4 inches deep in a shallow hole. Set a stake at the back of the tuber clump at planting time. Sprinkle in a little bone meal and cover with soil. Water in well, but don’t overwater. Keep the soil moist, but not too wet. • The hardest part is waiting for fresh green shoots to appear, and when they do, protect the young plants from slugs. A clear plastic bottle cut in half, can help provide an overnight shelter. • Pinch out the growing tip when the plant is 4 inches tall. This allows the plant to put out side branches. • When the main stem needs support, use soft fabric, like an old pair of nylons, for stake ties.

AFTER SEASON CARE: • Dahlias bloom continuously until the first hard frost turns the leaves black. At that time, cut down the plant stalks to 6 inches above the soil. • Gently dig up the tubers and remove excess soil from the clumps. Dry out the clumps completely for 3-5 days in a room with consistent temperatures of 5-10°C. 22

• Buds appear in threes. Keep the main bud and remove the tiny side buds. This allows bigger flowers to form. • Water regularly, 1-2 times each week, and especially on hot summer days. Dahlias need only a light application of fertilizer (5-10-10). Never spray fertilizer directly on the foliage. • Dahlias bloom and bloom. Cut flowers for bouquets and you’ll get even more blooms! • Cut dahlias in the morning. Choose blooms that are fully open. Place fresh cut stems in a bucket of slightly warm water. • Dahlias make for gorgeous cut flower bouquets. And if by chance, you have too many flowers, a bouquet makes a wonderful gift for a friend or neighbour!

• Store clumps in a dry place that never freezes. Place dry clumps in burlap, layers of paper, ventilated crates or cardboard boxes. A layer of vermiculite can add protection in cold winter climates. • When spring returns and all danger of frost has passed, plant out the tuber clumps for another summer overflowing with beautiful blooms and cut flower bouquets.


SPRING 2015 • 23


Ornamental Grasses Written by Brian Minter

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rnamental grasses offer so much potential and can make a significant difference in our summer gardens and patio containers if we use them in more creative ways. It’s important to discover the newer varieties and to rethink our use of the best old favourites.

Purple Fountain Grass

Without a doubt, purple fountain grass, Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’ (zone 9), is the world’s ‘leading lady’ of grasses. Looking like soft bunny tails, its beige seed heads bobble in summer breezes and contrast nicely with its rich burgundy foliage. A head-turner, ‘Rubrum’ accents almost any colour combination, especially hot pinks, limes and whites. Growing about 30” (76cm) in height, it is great for large containers. Proven Winners’ ‘Red Riding Hood’ is a little more compact at 18” (45cm) and better suited to smaller gardens and containers. Both are ‘must haves’ in any summer garden. Perhaps one of the most colourful fountain grasses is Pennisetum ‘Fireworks’. Its pleasant cream and green variegated foliage is infused with a vibrant pink that just makes it stand out. As the plant matures, the pink intensifies and its pinkish plumes colour match the foliage for a truly glorious effect. It grows about 24-30” (60-76cm), performs best in hot weather and is a welcome addition to any summer container.

Pennisetum ‘Sky Rocket’

Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’

Pennisetum ‘Red Riding Hood’

24

If you need big, then burgundy Pennisetum purpureum ‘Vertigo’ (zone 9) is your grass. Growing to 6’ (1.8m), this tall, fast-growing, versatile grass is quite at home by itself or in combination with big-leafed summer beauties, like colocasias and alocasias, for a ‘shock and awe’ display. Talk about a photo opportunity! Rounding out the bronze and pink grasses is a striking cream and green variegated pennisetum called P. ‘Sky Rocket’. Once it gets growing, it has great vigour, and when used as a centrepiece for darker foliaged sweet potato vines and deeply coloured heucheras, it adds a very sophisticated look. It’s hard to imagine a summer garden without these easy to grow, drought tolerant and colourful pennisetums that blend with so many plants. I love their movement in breezy locations, and they just add so much interest to any garden or container.


Perhaps the greatest addition in recent years to our selection of grasses is the richest blue fescue you can imagine, called appropriately ‘Beyond Blue’. Its intense blue colouration lasts throughout the year and puts all other blue fescues to shame. It’s hardy to zone 4, making it ideal for winter displays as well, and it’s fairly compact, growing about 12” x 12” (30 x 30cm). For me, it’s created a whole new appreciation of fescue grasses, not only because of its stunning colour but also because of its heat and drought tolerance and its adaptability to almost any garden or container situation. Due to their year-round versatility, the evergreen varieties of Carex oshimensis are superstars. The old workhorse, Carex ‘Evergold’ (zone 5), growing 12” x 12”, has been my absolute favourite for use in shade or part sun. In any container, its gentle spill-over effect adds a classy touch. In the landscape, its flowing nature and variegated cream and green foliage softens and complements the look of other plants. Carex ‘Ice Dance’ is mostly green with a tiny white stripe, and it adds a more sophisticated touch. If it’s attention you need, then your new best friend is C. Evercolor® ‘Everillo’ (zone 5). It has the hottest lime colour that accents just about everything it’s near. It’s happiest in a part sun or shade location, but we’ve tried it in full sun, and once acclimatized, it rocks! Growing about 18” x 18” (45 x 45cm), it has great vigour, and when used with anything burgundy or bronze, its magic comes alive.

Festuca ‘Beyond Blue’

Although it has been around for a while now, the award-winning architectural grass, Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ (zone 4), is the ideal columnar grass to provide vertical lift in narrow beds and planters. It’s a ‘must have’, especially if your garden needs a little discipline. To me these are the most interesting and colourful grass additions to our spring and summer gardens. They love summer heat and tolerate drought, and they beautifully accent all the other foliage and flowers that we use to bring our patios and gardens alive. The beauty of the Carex oshimensis varieties is that they keep that colour going well into fall and winter!

Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’

Acorus ‘Ogon’

Carex ‘Evergold’

Carex Oshimensis ‘Everillo’

Carex ‘Ice Dance’

SPRING 2015 • 25


Herbs & Edible Flowers

W

e grow herbs not only to harvest for culinary purposes but also for their attractive foliage, flowers and fragrance in our landscapes. The flavour and fragrance of herbs comes from the oil in their leaves. Some will survive winter, others must be brought inside and then there are the ones you have to say goodbye to each fall. Herbs are classified as annuals (anise, basil, dill, summer savoury, cilantro, marjoram) biennials (fennel, parsley), tender perennials (bay laurel, rosemary, Vietnamese coriander) and perennials (chives, French tarragon, mint, oregano, sage, thyme). Herbs need a well-drained soil and at least 5 to 6 hours of sunshine per day. They grow better if they are

harvested frequently, and they can be preserved by freezing or drying. Many are natural candidates for growing in containers. A combination of chives and parsley can be harvested all summer and through winter in mild regions. A colourful potpourri basket can be created with purple-leaf basil and golden marjoram and for fragrance, add silver rosemary and variegated mints and thymes. All though not all flowers are edible, the ones that are certainly look fabulous as a garnish or in a salad. Often used in highend restaurants to create drama, home gardeners can dress up their dinner plates by adding the visual appeal offered by pesticide-free flowers. Here are some of the more common edible flowers: violas, anise hyssop (pink flowers that taste like root beer), scarlet runner beans (red flowers with a nice bean taste), nasturtiums (peppery taste), English lavender (lemony), carnations (clover-like taste), scented-leaf geraniums (peppermint), chives (slight onion flavour), roses (can be quite tasty) and squash and zucchini flowers (usually served stuffed).

26 • MINTER COUNTRY GARDEN - 604-792-6612 - MINTERGARDENS.COM


SPRING 2015 • 27


Hoppiness is

Brewing

We have over 12 different varieties of hops in stock right now. It is so easy to grow and care for these attractive, productive vines (technically, ‘bines’). As second year plants, they will be ready for harvest this year! Stay tuned for our Beer Gardening seminar to learn more about harvesting, drying and processing hops, as well as the ultimate selection of bittering, aroma, flavouring and dual purpose hops for usage in beer brewing.

Hops: The New ‘Hottie’ Vine!

• ‘Brewer’s Gold’ Complex bittering hop. Fruity spicy aroma. Adds European element to beers. • ‘Cascade’ A fragrant flowery aroma-type cultivar. Moderate bitterness. Very popular for West Coast ales. • ‘Centennial’ Aroma-type cultivar. Bitterness is quite clean and can have floral notes. • ‘Chinook’ A bittering variety with a wonderful herbal, almost smoky character. Excellent for pale ales. • ‘Fuggle’ Aroma-type hop. Superb in English-style ales. • ‘Galena’ Great general purpose bittering-type cultivar. One of the most mellow, well-balanced varieties. • ‘Kent Golding’ A premium hop with unique spicy aroma and refined flavour. Excellent in English-style ales. • ‘Magnum’ A bittering / aroma type cultivar bred in Germany. • ‘Mt. Hood’ An aromatic variety with refined spicy aroma and clean bittering. Good choice for lagers. • ‘Newport’ Bittering hop. Mild aroma. Fairly pungent resiny flavour. • ‘Northern Brewer’ Bittering type for steam-style beers and ales. Strong fragrance. Rich rough-hewn flavour. • ‘Nugget’ A great bittering-type cultivar with a heavy herbal aroma. • ‘Sterling’ Herbal, spicy aroma-type cultivar with floral and citrus hints. Typically used in pilsners and lagers. • ‘Willamette’ Fragrant, spicy woody aroma-type hop. Excellent for ales and lagers. • ‘Zeus’ Bittering type for American-style ales and stouts. Earthy, spicy with some citrus overtones.

28 • MINTER COUNTRY GARDEN - 604-792-6612 - MINTERGARDENS.COM


I

Plant Some

PRIVACY

n today’s stressful and more crowded living spaces, the need to create more privacy has become an important element of garden design. Without the blocking effect of dense hedging, vines and climbers can shelter back gardens and patios and make even the plainest privacy screen more attractive. Walls and unsightly chain-link fences can virtually disappear, and old rundown buildings can be transformed by the creative use of these plants. In addition to screening, vines and climbers can provide shade, perfume and even tasty fruit! For centuries Europeans have been using grape vines to cover patios and enjoying the fruits each fall. Vines and climbers use several different climbing methods. Some, like climbing hydrangeas, are self-clinging, using aerial roots or adhesive tendril tips to climb up walls and fences on their own without special supports. Others that climb by means of twining stems or curling tendrils, like akebia, clematis and passionflower, need a framework on which to climb. All vines and climbers require some initial support until they are established. Most folks plant vines, like clematis and honeysuckle, for their lovely flowers, but attractive, carefree foliage, such as the delightful male actinidia (kiwi) vine should also be considered. Its leaves come out green in early spring, then develop white edges that turn a dappled pink all summer long.

For fast growing vines, try Boston ivy or the dainty, yet very classy, small-leafed akebia, a semi-evergreen vine that produces fragrant purple flowers and small, sausageshaped fruit. If you want really fast, the silver lace vine (Polygonum aubertii) can stretch up to twelve feet per season. It has lacy white blossoms and requires little care. Wisteria also grows quickly once established, and Kiwi Vine now comes in a wide range of colours. If you have a really shady spot, then a climbing hydrangea or variegated Algerian ivy are among the best. Another new trend is taking ground covers, like Cotoneaster salicifolius and ‘Gaiety’ euonymus, and growing them on a trellis for attractive year round screens. They are particularly effective on decks and patios. Vines and climbers are easy to grow and are effective in adding visual, often colourful, interest and in creating secluded spots in any garden.

SPRING 2015 • 29


5

Spring Cleansing Tips TO HAVE YOU FEELING YOUR

A

BEST

by Mandy King, CNP, BCom

fter an indulgent winter, spring is the time of year our bodies can crave a bit of a reset. Rather than going to the extreme of an expensive juice cleanse that might result in binging on candy and chips afterwards, there are some simple habits you can incorporate into your daily routine to help cleanse and naturally detoxify your body.

3. Exercise Exercise is excellent for stimulating the lymphatic system, a main detoxification system in the body. The lymph relies on movement of the body to keep it flowing properly, and one of the best ways to do this is through exercise. The more you move, the better.

1. Drink lemon water One of the first steps of cleansing is to ensure your digestion is working optimally. A common condition among North Americans is low stomach acid (often shown via heartburn, acid reflux, and irregular digestion). A simple way to stimulate the digestive juices is through lemon water. Before breakfast, squeeze half of one lemon into room temperature water. Not only does this get the digestive juices flowing, but it’s also great for morning energy to avoid dehydration.

4. Eat more leafy greens Adding more leafy greens to your diet is a simple way to gently help your body cleanse. The green colour of leafy greens comes from the chlorophyll content of the plant and has been shown to bind with toxic metals to prevent absorption in the body. A great goal is to incorporate a different leafy green at each meal. For breakfast, try the ‘Spring Cleansing Green Smoothie’ below, with spinach in it; for lunch, try a kale salad, and for dinner, try steamed swiss chard with garlic and onions. All of a sudden, you’ve easily incorporated a leafy green at each meal.

2. Remove ‘problematic’ foods Each person is different, but the most common offenders to people’s health tends to be cow’s dairy, gluten & sugar. Breakfast can be the hardest time, as gluten-filled foods are a staple in the morning. The easiest way to kick off your morning gluten & dairy free is with a high protein smoothie - recipe below. For lunches and dinners, focus on having two to three vegetable side dishes on your plate and all of a sudden there’s no room for the problematic foods.

Spring Cleansing GREEN Smoothie SERVES 2 • 2 Cups coconut water • 1 Small fennel bulb • 1/2 cucumber • 1 Heaping handful of fresh mint leaves • 2 Handfuls spinach • 1/2 avocado • 2 Tbsp chia seeds • 1 Scoop Vega One vanilla protein powder

5. Cruciferous Veggies Not only are cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage high in fiber, but they contain a compound called indole-3-carbinol, known to be a major cancer fighting substance. Cruciferous vegetables are shown to speed up the detoxification process of harmful chemicals, along with blocking the body from producing harmful amounts of hormones. Mandy King Bio: Mandy King, CNP, BCom, is a Holistic Nutritionist, Speaker and Founder of HEAL, a health and wellness company with the ambition to make the world a healthier place, one delicious meal at a time. HEAL offers interactive corporate wellness programs along with personalized one-on-one nutrition and online programs. Mandy is the co-author of the “21 Day Smoothie Guide”, author of the popular blog www.HealthyEatingAndLiving.ca, and loves to spread the nutrition word at her speaking engagements. FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/healthyeatingandliving.ca TWITTER: @mandyking_HEAL WEBSITE: healthyeatingandliving.ca

30 • MINTER COUNTRY GARDEN - 604-792-6612 - MINTERGARDENS.COM


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