Van Belle - Spring 2019 Magazine

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Van Belle Flowers & Gifts 1-800-263-8008

Lemon Coral – Beautiful,Versatile & Easy Ž

Lemon Coral sedum lights up the garden all season with its spiky-yet-soft textured, glowing chartreuse, succulent foliage that just begs to be touched. It pairs effortlessly with all kinds of sun and part shade loving plants in containers and landscapes. Forget to water for a few days? No one will ever know. If only everything in life was so easy! Find this award winner at


Van Belle's Spring 2019 Classes


Millennials Use Plants to Turn Houses Into Homes


Fascinating Ferns


Trees & Shrubs for Small Spaces


"Growing" Good Garden Dogs


Your Perfect Lawn: Easy as 1-2-3


"Mix it up!" when it comes to your containers


Specimens & Focal Points - Oh My!


Strawberry and Avocado Chicken Salad

Photo - Proven Winners


Spring Into Fashion!

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. A selection of photos in this magazine provided by Proven WinnersÂŽ.

Everything you need to maintain

Photo - Proven Winners

your perfect garden. Comfort Bypass Loppers • Gear transmission • Total length 20 inches • 1.45" opening for twigs and fresh branches

Classic Pruner Loppers • 27 inches • 2 component handle • Soft component for better grips

Boxwood Hedge Clipper • 6.7 in blade • GEL handles for comfortable prolonged use.

Bypass Vario Pruner • 2 hand size setting for great comfort • 24 mm cutting diameter • Stainless steel bottom blade

Colourwave Thumb Control Nozzle • Thumb control 9 Pattern nozzle • Heavy duty construction • Easy to use thumb control

Colourwave Nozzle • 7 pattern spray nozzle

Professional Thumb Control Ergo Nozzle • Thumb Control 8 Pattern Metal Nozzle • Water flow is fully adjustable • 8 spray patterns

Premium Polymer Hose • • • •

5/8" x 50' All season flexibility Drinking water safe Lightweight and kink proof

y a M Long Weekend



2 for $25


Stunning mixed flowering and green hanging baskets are our specialty. Choose from thousands

Hundreds of Palm Trees to select from. You won’t find a better selection anywhere.

of beautiful combinations!


COURTICE LOCATION 1979 Highway 2, Bowmanville, L1C 6E3 905-623-4441 or 1-800-263-8008

For life’s special moments… Elegant and beautiful wedding designs. Your experience at Van Belle Flowers offers 55 years of professional wedding consultant’s advice and includes fresh samplings of the flowers, and colours you have dreamed of for your special day.

Call to book your individual consultation today!


COURTICE LOCATION 1979 Highway 2, Bowmanville, L1C 6E3 905-623-4441 or 1-800-263-8008

WHITBY LOCATION 100 Dundas St. W, Whitby, L1N 2L9 905-668-1650



ROUND AIR PLANT HOLDER DATE: Saturday, June 15 at 2:00 pm RSVP COST: $60.00 plus taxes This new class involves creating a modern, round wall hanging for air plants, which are so easy to maintain. Once complete, just hang your display and mist every few weeks to keep your Tillandsia plants happy and healthy.

BIRDCAGE SUCCULENT HANGER DATE: Saturday, June 1 at 2:00 pm RSVP COST: $125.00 plus taxes Using a variety of succulents, Hens & Chicks, and mosses, create this unique birdcage planter.

SUCCULENT TERRARIUM DATE: Friday, June 14 at 6:00 pm RSVP COST: $70.00 plus taxes Plant a beautiful glass container filled with fun and feisty succulent plants.


TRENDY TROPICAL PLANTER DATE: Friday, May 31 at 6:00 pm RSVP COST: $125.00 plus taxes You will design and create a 14” all foliage outdoor planter, with a variety of tropical, and annual plants.

TEA POT SUCCULENT PLANTER DATE: Friday, June 7 at 6:00 pm RSVP COST: $100.00 plus taxes A new planter class this year, this tea pot succulent planter is sure to be a popular one. Using a variety of mosses and succulents, create a display that is both unique and trendy.

HERB-ALICIOUS TIN PLANTER DATE: Saturday, May 25 at 2 pm RSVP COST: $60.00 plus taxes Create a fantastic cutting herb planter that you can trim, eat, and garnish with all summer long.

SWANKY SUCCULENT WREATH DATE: Saturday, June 8 at 2:00 pm RSVP COST: $85.00 plus taxes Sign up to make your own 14” wreath, designed with succulents, Hens and Chicks and a variety of mosses.

Class Sizes are limited so register early! For more information or to register please give us a call or go to

BLOOM AND GROW PERSONALIZED CLASSES Van Belle’s would be honoured to facilitate a “private class” 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. CANCELLATION POLICY 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.



COURTICE LOCATION 1979 Highway 2, Bowmanville, ON

905-623-4441 or 1-800-263-8008 Visit us on


SPRING 2019 • 7


Van Belle’s

Evolvus “Blue my Mind” Annual

Superbell (Calibrachoa) Annual

True blue flowers with fuzzy, silvery green foliage. Very heat tolerant, and does not require deadheading. It initially mounds, later spilling over the edge of container. Great annual that will last late into the fall season.

Excellent summer performing annual, as they bloom all summer with no deadheading. They do require bright sunlight and regular fertilization to keep them blooming right into fall.

Photo - Proven Winners

Photo - Proven Winners

Sweet Autumn Clematis Perennial

Stachys Hummelo Perennial 2019



Late blooming clematis that offers masses of fragrant, creamy white blossoms in late August and September. A prolific grower and bloomer, this plant does need regular pruning. Like other clematis, it prefers well-drained soil and “cool feet,” so keep soil at its base mulched or shaded by annuals or other plants.

Clump forming perennial that is trouble free and dependable. In early summer, upright spikes of bright purple flowers appear. These attract bees and butterflies, and deer resistant. Remove faded flowers will encourage more budding.

Bloomerang Lilac Standard

Wiggles and Squiggles Mini Hosta Perennial

This reblooming lilac is now available in a tree form. When in bloom, the magnificent fragrance fills the air, and is perfect for planting as a focal point. It should be lightly pruned and fertilized after blooming, not before! To encourage a strong root system, you might want to pick off the faded blooms to let the plant focus on establishing its root systems.

A unique looking Hosta that lives up to its fun name! Bright yellow leaves are very long and thin with incredibly wavy margins. Its low wide growth habit highlights the wiggly edges. This perennial prefers morning sun and afternoon shade.

Cotoneaster Apiculata Standard Tree

Sky Bound Cedar

This hardy pyramidal cedar is tough as nails and hardy to Zone 2. It can grow to 18 feet tall, with a spread of 5 feet, making this luxurious green foliage cedar perfect for hedging.



NEW & INTERESTING COURTICE LOCATION 1979 Highway 2, Bowmanville, L1C 6E3 905-623-4441 or 1-800-263-8008

A superb downward branching tree, whose leaf formation arrives in an interesting herringbone pattern. It has small pink flowers in spring, followed by bright red berries, which are enjoyed by birds in the winter. This is an excellent 4 season interest plant for your garden.





MILLENNIALS use plants to turn houses into

homes By Leah Ruehlicke


ecently, #byage30 was trending on social media. This tag was utilized by millennials to illustrate what age 30 actually looked like vs what we thought our lives would be by this age. My favourite one went something like this;

By age 30 you should have: $3 in savings $5,000 in credit card debt a favourite spoon one plant you feel incredibly attached to because your mom keeps asking for grandkids but you’re not ready, and you thought this plant would be a good place to start. 10

It was hilariously relatable. I did have credit card debt. I certainly had a favourite spoon (it was wooden, and the handle was quite literally the perfect size). And I had one plant I felt incredibly attached to for that same reason: it gave me a small taste of feeling like I did, in fact, have a purpose. It gave me something to care for. And it made me feel like maybe, maybe, I did kind of have my life together. I was keeping a plant alive, wasn’t I? Anyone who spends any time on Instagram can see that millennials and plants are a hot thing right now. Our living spaces are filled with plants. The trendy coffee shops catering to the plaid, hipster crowd have vines crawling across the walls and potted cacti on the shelves. We bring succulents to keep on our desks at our open-concept workplace. And whether or not there’s a scientific explanation as to why plants have made our millennial lives seemingly so much better, I can at least speak to my own experience as to why, #byage30, having a plant has seemed so essential.

It’s an easy (& affordable) way to make my apartment look nice Instead of investing time and energy into painting my living room (not to mention most landlords don’t let you do that anyway), a great way to add a splash of colour is simply hanging up a shelf and stacking it with plants. They’re pretty, they liven up the room, and they look great in photos. Which leads me to the next point:

Instagram Yes - I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a sucker for photos of plants. If I’m perusing Airbnb for my next destination, for example, and happen to come across a home showcasing a sunny, airy living room full of white containers spilling with plants, I’m in. Booked. If my friend posts a photo of her novel and coffee mug beside her bright green succulent, I immediately want her life. Plants are inviting. Plants look nice. And let’s be honest, all we really care about as millennials is make sure our lives look as nice as we want them to be.

Plants make me feel like a proper grown-up All kidding aside, plants give me a sense of being in control of my life - even if it doesn’t feel that way behind the scenes. I might owe [a lot] in taxes and might have skipped the gym again and might feel insanely behind at work, but if I’m successfully keeping a plant alive and allowing it to brighten up my home, then I must be doing something right. Plants make my home feel put together, which makes me feel like perhaps my life is too.

They’re therapeutic Especially during those dark winter days. Bringing the outdoors in is a total moodbooster, making me feel calmer and more connected to nature. It’s also the one thing in our lives that requires no technology. Spending the majority of our day in front of a screen (be it phone, computer or television), having something natural in your space is a nice way to feel disconnected. And so, despite my credit card debt and $3 in savings, I’m proud to say that #byage30 I not only have a favourite spoon, but have found so much genuine joy in something as simple as a houseplant. I suppose I’m doing something right after all.

SPRING 2019 • 11


FERNS By Sarah Pell


erns have become one of the most popular plants in the last few years. Their lacy fronds and wonderful textures work well in any setting. In addition to their beauty, lush green tropical ferns are also easy to grow. They have low light requirements while generally having moderate watering needs. Tropical ferns do very well in patio containers, hanging baskets, window boxes and virtually any other vessel you like that has drainage. Hanging baskets allow the fronds of Boston ferns to droop and cascade accenting their true beauty. The more vertically inclined Kimberly Queen fern thrives in larger containers set on a porch or patio. The Maidenhair fern has fine details and colour contrasts in the stem that make it a hit in mixed annual containers. Another option is to attach a Staghorn fern on an organic object like a piece of driftwood and hang it on the wall. It grows rapidly and makes a dramatic presentation. The possibilities are endless! Perennial ferns are equally as beautiful in the garden, adding wonderful texture to any shady spot. Deciduous ferns, such as Ostrich fern and Painted fern show their fronds a little earlier in the season and look their best through late spring. As summer hits, a deciduous fern will go dormant (like a trillium or bleeding heart) and rest in the soil until next spring. Once dormant, prune the broken fronds down to the crown and mulch well. Perennial evergreen ferns, such as Autumn fern, Christmas fern and the unique Crested Hart's Tongue fern wait a little bit longer to produce new growth, however, they will have a solid structure and texture year-round. No different than a rhododendron or yew, they need fertile soil for the best growth. Prune lightly to remove the fronds that are dead, dying or broken in the spring. By planting a combination of annual, evergreen and deciduous ferns, you ensure lush texture, and graceful fronds will fill your garden and outdoor living space all year long!


Staghorn Fern

Boston Fern

One of the most effective houseplants for removing air pollutants. These ferns enjoy morning sun and shade for the afternoon. Will benefit from being outdoors during the summer months.

Kimberly Queen Fern

Low maintenance and easy to grow, they are great for adding tropical texture and can grow to 3 feet (90 cm) tall.

Staghorn Fern

Unusual fern that requires no soil. To water, simply dunk the entire arrangement into a bucket of water, drain well and rehang!

Tropical Fern Care: • Ferns do best in indirect or filtered light. • Mist the air above the plant regularly to maintain the humidity ferns need to survive. • Maintain evenly moist soil, without sitting the plant in water.

Perennial Fern Care: • Mulch with organic matter to encourage consistent moisture. • Plant your fern with the crown flush with the surrounding soil. • If your fern is evergreen, thin old fronds in spring as new growth appears. • Cut back deciduous ferns in the summer. • Divide your fern every 2 to 3 years to share with friends or add to your garden. NOTE: Some ferns require additional or special care. Always refer to the fern care tag or ask your garden centre professionals for advice.

Maidenhair Fern

Does best in terrariums indoors or in the shade garden outdoors. Requires high humidity and constant damp soil.

Ostrich Fern

Perfect perennial for the shade garden, with fronds that resemble the fluffy tail of an ostrich.

Painted Fern

Ostrich Fern

Colourful ferns that brighten shady areas and are great companions for other shade perennials.

Christmas Fern

The name is derived from the evergreen fronds that are often still green at Christmas time. It can adapt to drier soil conditions when required.

Painted Fern


s our living space gets smaller on the inside, so do our gardens on the outside - some properties may be limited but planned right, a tiny house or tiny garden has all of the comforts of modern living minus the space. Your garden will look its best and flow most effectively when the basic building blocks of design (proportion, order, repetition, focus and unity) are used. Once all the building blocks are considered, choose plants based on texture, overall size, flowering time and other seasonal interests. Provide order in your garden to balance the shape and sizes of the plants, making everything cohesive. Repetition will provide order! Place your favorite groundcover and mid height plantings in familiar patterns to evoke a more pleasing composition. Masses of 3 or 5 are easier to maintain and make the space feel bigger and more unified.


SPACES By Jeff Bokma

Photo - Proven Winners


Create unity within your small space by having a structured and proportioned planting. First locate the largest specimen plant as a showcase to bring focus to the overall space. Compliment the focal point with a middle layer (when we design annual planters, we call these fillers). The middle layer of flowering or edible shrubs will help fill in the space through the seasons and bring a sense of colour and proportion to the area. Plant shorter plants or even groundcovers as a spiller to utilize and soften the edges and provide scale within the vertical space. When we think about proportion in the garden, make sure the overall size of the plant fits the size of the space. It does not make sense to plant a tree that will grow to 40 feet tall in a townhouse yard! Finally, having a colour scheme in your garden will compliment your home and create a relaxing sanctuary. Collectively, the colours and textures you select will bring your design together. For the best luck in creating a layered small space garden; check out our favorites (available at your local independent Garden Centre) to ensure great colour, shape and proportion in your garden year after year.

Big Bang Spirea Photo - Proven Winners

Big Bang Spirea: Move over Goldflame Spirea, this cultivar is here to stay! Part of the Double Play series by Proven Winners, this dwarf plant is colourful all season long. Bright new leaf growth gives way to reblooming pink flowers overtop yellow and red leaves. Requiring little to no maintenance, growing 2’ to 2 ½’ tall and wide, Big Bang also makes a great hedge or mass.

Sonic Bloom Weigela Photo - Proven Winners

Little Gem Spruce

Sonic Bloom Weigela: One of the newer series of Weigela, these dwarf plants produce red, pink or pearl trumpet shaped flowers in late spring, blooming off and on all summer! A great attractant for hummingbirds, these midsized shrubs grow 3’ tall and 3’ wide. Little Gem Spruce: A small, slow growing, flat topped evergreen, 2’ tall and 2’ wide. Available as a shrub or a small grafted tree on top of 3’ tall stem, it will provide a strong design element and great habitat for small birds all year long. This dwarf growing evergreen also works well as a focal point in a winter worthy planter too!

Compact Burning Bush

Ivory Silk Lilac Ivory Silk Lilac: A compact urban tolerant tree that is tried and true! Creamy white flowers in June fill the garden with the scent of lilacs. With no real pest or diseases, this easy maintenance tree grows 15 to 20’ tall and 10’ to 12’ wide. Bobo Hydrangea: One of the best sun loving Hydrangeas on the market! Blooming on new wood, Bobo grows to 3’ tall and 3’ wide and flowers from the top of the plant, right to the ground. The flowers change to a beautiful pink midsummer and dry on the plant, lasting through fall. DeGroot’s Spire Cedar: More reliably hardy than the typical Emerald Cedar, this narrow specimen can make a tight privacy hedge or when placed in a group of three, a strong focal point. Growing 10’ to 12’ tall and only shoulder width, this sun lover will also provide much needed bird habitat in the winter. Blueberry: Who doesn’t love farm to table when the farm is 20 feet from the table! Highbush varieties such as Blue Crop or Blue Ray grow 5’ tall and 5’ wide, while lowbush varieties like Chippewa grow 18” to 24” tall and wide. White flowers in spring, yummy berries in late spring/early summer and beautiful fall foliage rival a Burning Bush! One sun loving plant will provide berries but 2 or 3 plants produce bigger, sweeter berries to top your ice cream at dessert! Compact Burning Bush: A true dwarf, growing slower than its larger siblings. In full sun, this plant does not disappoint and will turn a brilliant red in the right soil. The fall colour is less intense in full shade, but this dwarf variety still grows 4’ to 5’ tall and 4’ to 5’ wide, with some beautiful winter twig appeal too!

SPRING 2019 • 15

“growing” GOOD

GARDEN DOGS by Mary Fran McQuade


ogwoods, even dog roses, are welcome in the garden, but what about real four-legged dogs? “Horrors!” you say. “Big, clumsy creatures that dig, scratch, pee and poop. Not on my Heuchera!” It doesn’t have to be that way. Yes, some dogs do rampage through the garden. So do some kids. (And let’s not even contemplate what cats do to fresh earth.) The similarity between dogs and kids isn’t superficial. Canadian canine expert Dr. Stanley Coren of the University of British Columbia says dogs are about equal in intelligence to a two-year-old child. Our four-legged friends do have some animal instincts, but we smart humans can make that work for us. Keep these four points in mind, and you’ve got the foundation for a great doghuman-garden relationship.

Dogs are pack animals. They like to know their place and have a leader to follow.

Dogs are creatures of habit. Once they get in a groove, they tend to stay in it.

Dogs are clean in their toilet habits. They don’t like to mess in their homes.

Dogs can learn – with time, patience and persistence on the part of their owners. 16

Leading and Learning Dogs are naturally social and accustomed to obeying the alpha or boss dog. So, unless you want an obnoxious toothy terror running around, you have to be the alpha in your little pack. Doggy minds are simple, so make it very clear what you expect and what isn’t allowed. One owner of a showplace garden uses the same “no chew” command in the garden that she uses in the house. And she’s never lost a plant to him, she says proudly. Of course, my friend spends lots of time with her dog, and he’s not left unsupervised in her storybook garden of roses, clematis and other perennials. That’s what most happy dog-loving gardeners say. They spend time with their animals, teach them to obey and the magical human-animal bond develops. Lane White, head trainer at Who’s Walking Who obedience school in Toronto, explains: “My dogs have a great deal of respect for me. I have a relationship with my dogs and that’s not something you can teach other people. You can teach the commands, but relationships are ongoing. A good dog owner is training his dog 100 per cent of the time in what’s appropriate, what’s expected. It comes from repetition, and you must be consistent every time.” Happily, dog training in recent years has become an enjoyable activity. Grim orders aren’t the style de jour. Instead, today’s owners use happy voices and food rewards to manipulate their dogs into doing the right thing. And once the beasties – bless their furry little hearts – discover what gets the goodies, they keep on doing it.

Habit Forming With the right treats and several short training sessions a day, your dog can learn to sit even at a distance from you. He’ll learn to back away from things, stop barking, stop digging and stay out of the Japanese painted ferns (or whatever you treasure). Unfortunately, habits work the other way, too. Let him make a misstep a few times without correction, and it becomes a habit that’s hard to break. Dogs like straight lines, for example, so if you have lovely curved paths, walk through them with him close beside you a few times. Help him remember by putting up visible barriers at first – low lattice fencing or even whitepainted rocks. If you have especially precious or valuable plants, protect them for a time with wire fencing or tomato cages.

their pets. Do it by taking the dog there every single time he needs to relieve himself, perhaps giving a command like “potty.” Praise for performance and keep the area clean and you’ll have a dog trained for life in a couple of months.

Troubles and Remedies YELLOW SPOTS Playfully called female dog spot disease, these lawn spots are made by males too. They are actually a sort of fertilizer burn from nitrogen in the urine. Folk remedies abound, but one tested solution is to flush the area with water within eight hours. You can use commercial patching formulas or feed your dog canned food (its higher water content dilutes the urine concentration). But your best bet is to train your dog to a potty area. DIGGING Digging is usually caused by canine boredom. Dogs are bright critters, and they need something to occupy them. The easiest solution is lots of exercise – outside the garden. “A tired dog is a happy dog” is an old trainer’s maxim. Teaching your dog tricks, indoors or out, will also focus his attention and tire him out. Use bits of food to lure him into a spin in front of you and he’ll soon learn the command “twirl.” If you have space, throwing a ball is easy on you and a good run for him. Likewise, you can always try distracting him with favourite toys. BARKING Dogs are territorial and will bark at passing people and other dogs if they can see them. It’s a frustrating situation for everyone. Avoid it by using solid fences that your dog can’t see through. Distracting him with another command (“sit”) and a reward also helps prevent the habit from taking hold. Dogs and their behaviour are endlessly fascinating, and behaviourists are learning new things every day. The payoff for all the effort is when you see a secure, contented dog grinning under a flowering apple tree – a picture you’ll carry in your heart forever.

If you spend time outdoors with your dog, he’ll come to think of the garden the way he thinks of your home indoors – that means less doggy doo scattered around. Many gardeners like to set aside a toilet area for SPRING 2019 • 17


PERFECT LAWN EASY AS 1-2-3 By John DeGroot


e place a significant amount of value on our lawns; a good lawn adds great curb appeal to our property providing a frame to our landscape. Growing good turf is not as difficult as it might seem.



Choose the right seed that is best suited to your yard. Your local garden centre can help with this. Most grass seed blends contain a mix of three ingredients: Kentucky Blue Grass, Ryegrass and Fescue. When shopping for grass seed, be sure to look for certified Canada #1 perennial grass blends.

Fertilize your lawn with a slow release, high nitrogen blend, which feeds your lawn over months rather than weeks. This means that a fertilizer application 3 times a year is sufficient; spring, summer and fall. Use an organic lawn fertilizer with pH balancer to reduce the impact of the uric acid from dog spots.

Over seeding bare and weak patches starts by raking up debris and scratching the surface with a stiff garden rake. Next, spread a thin layer of good soil over the area. Sow grass seed at a rate of one pound of seed over 250 square feet (1 kg over 50 sq. m). Lightly rake the seed into the new soil. Apply starter fertilizer and add water. When establishing new seed, water lightly and frequently, as often as once a day. In a few weeks, your lawn will be ready for the mower.

Water once a week and only once a week in times when rainfall is low. It is far better to water your grass for at least an hour rather than a quick sprinkling every day or two. Light frequent watering causes grass roots to become lazy and remain near the soil surface where there is ample moisture. Allowing turf to dry out forces roots to go deep in search of moisture.


Cut grass faithfully and frequently. Keep the lawn mower at its highest setting, with at least 2 inches (5cm) of height. Mowing

the lawn short causes soil to dry out quickly and invites weed seeds to sprout. If grass has become dry and you can hear the blades crunch when you walk on it, wait with mowing until growth resumes. Avoid the use of chemical pesticides in order to promote healthy microbial activity where beneficial insects, worms, and microorganisms will thrive. Leave the grass clippings on the lawn to decompose and become self-sustaining.

STEP 3 TROUBLESHOOTING A “weed”! The gardener's “four-letter” word! In most parts of Canada, traditional chemical herbicides have gone out the window, so now, more than ever, your best defense against weeds is a well-fed, well-maintained lawn. If you keep your

grass healthy, weeds will be kept at bay. Fertilize regularly, add water if necessary, and mow faithfully. Natural herbicides like corn gluten, will keep new weed seeds from sprouting. Use it for crabgrass and dandelions. Be careful not to use with new grass seeding. Consult your garden centre for timing recommendations. Iron, available in liquid form, will work well on broadleaved weeds. If you find you have brown or bare patches starting to appear, you may have grubs. Grubs are the larva stage of Japanese Beetles and will eat grass roots in spring and fall. Your best defense for grubs is an application of earth friendly nematodes which are tiny organisms that search for young grubs. Apply nematodes in early May to June or in mid-September to October when grass is damp and grubs are feeding. Following these simple steps will take your lawn to a whole new level and make you the envy of your neighbours. Lawns, easy as 1-2-3.

SPRING 2019 • 19

“Mix it up!� when it comes to your containers. By Paul Zammit


Photo - Proven Winners


ardening in containers offers many benefits. Doing so opens the possibility for any and all individuals to have their own personal garden, be it on a patio, balcony or roof top. They are potentially moveable, resulting in portable potscapes, allows for changes from day to day as well as some freedom and experimentation from season to season. A planter can be used to temporarily hide a bare spot and/or become a focal point to provide a much-needed splash of colour or architectural interest. To begin with, I feel it is important to first understand what defines a container for the purposes of this article. The most important criteria to remember, is that any vessel for consideration must be able to hold the growing media, support the plant roots and critically, that there must be some form of drainage holes, or the ability to make them. If the vessel you are considering does not have drainage holes, it is not a container but rather a pot cover. Avoid the myth of putting a layer of gravel on the bottom your pot to substitute for drainage. Just don’t do it! Either carefully drill holes in the bottom or use a pot within a pot technique. That is, plant up your plant combination in another pot (with drainage holes) and sit that on top of a layer of gravel in the chosen pot cover, the key is to keep the soil from maintaining constant contact with the water that collects underneath. Accumulated water can then be poured out by removing the inner pot. Personally, I look at containers as an opportunity to add additional character, charm and beauty to a garden space (both indoors or out). The options and possibilities are great so I encourage you to allow your imagination to run wild. Have fun with the hunt and selection of your containers. I believe, containers should be considered an investment. In the words of one of my garden mentors, Thomas Hobbs, “You have to love your container before you can begin to fill it”. These wise garden words continue to influence me today. I have come to believe containers can be decorative and attractive garden features even if left unplanted. For me, the plant materials I decide to pot up into my choice container, are often inspired by the beauty of the planter; its shape, history, character, colour, composition and size.

independent garden centre, know where the designated planter is going to be situated on your property and be aware of how much or how little sunlight it will receive. It is also important to be aware of wind exposure. Strong winds can determine how quickly a planter dries. Wind can also tear and damage the foliage of large leafed plants. I often remind the public, when it comes to selecting plant material, be honest, and think about the level of care and attention that they are capable and willing to do for their pots. For example, if you have a challenge keeping up with the watering of your planters in full sun, think about planting your pots with succulents which are a bit more forgiving and tolerant of drying out in between waterings. All containers need to be regularly monitored for water needs. As containers often require frequent watering, nutrients are easily leached from the root zone, hence, regular fertilizing is necessary. Always follow recommended rates. For me, a container combination, is much like a garden in miniature. A beautiful garden is made up of a mix of annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs, tropical plants and vines all arranged to offer a variety of heights, forms, textures, colours and possibly fragrance. So mix it up! Select a variety of plants that like similar light and moisture conditions to create your own personal eye-catching combination. When creating planter combinations, I tend to put a strong emphasis on foliage for texture, colour and even fragrance (herbs). When dealing with any level of shade, two of my immediate go to plants are Rex begonias for their vivid and bold coloured foliage and ferns to add a soft and delicate texture. In the past few years I have also been using more and more Rieger begonia’s (Begonia x hiemalis) both for their adaptability to a variety of sunlight levels and their constant show of blooms. In the world of tuberous begonias (Begonia x tuberhybrida), in addition to the stunning large and vivid blooms, I am also always on the hunt for selections with rich dark foliage. These are perfect for a pop of colour and or contrast to your planting combination. Happy container planting!

Once you have selected your planter, the fun and magic begins by choosing the plants. Before heading to your favorite Photos - Proven Winners

SPRING 2019 • 21


Specimens Focal Plants

Oh My! By Tanya Olsen

Standard Tricolour Willow


hen designing an interior room, we often use a focal point to build the design around and provide a sense of purpose within the space. When we design our landscapes, we use a Specimen Plant to provide that same sense of purpose. Quite simply, a specimen plant is an ornamental plant you feel deserves centre stage in the yard. Made to feel important because the plant is grown in a prominent location (ie. centred on the family room window or in the middle of your favorite planter), they grow on their own rather than in a mass. In planter terms, a specimen plant is a thriller. Landscape

Designers rely on specimens to provide an attractive flower, striking branching structure and unique leaves. In smaller spaces, a specimen plant should supply at least three seasons of interest, as overall plant choices may be limited.

V.I.P. (very important plants) that steal the show


To find a unique specimen plant, look no further than your local independent garden centre, where you have a great selection and a knowledge bank to help you if you need it. Some of our favorite specimens are ones you may be familiar with as a shrub, but not realize are available as small trees suitable as a focal point in the garden or weather resistant planter on a balcony.

Standard Tricolour Willow • Also called a Dappled, Japanese or Hakuro-Nishiki Willow • Fast growing soft pink to whitish leaves fading to green and white for the summer • Smooth red bark for winter interest, provides texture and movement in the landscape • Head grows 8’ tall and wide, on top of a 4’ to 5’ tall trunk, suitable for full sun • Prune annually in late winter but will also tolerate a lighter pruning in the beginning of June to bring the leaf colour back

Variegated Euonymus

Standard Dwarf Korean Lilac • Hardy, pest resistant and easy to maintain • Prolific fragrant purple blooms attract butterflies and hummingbirds in spring • Beautiful burgundy fall leaves • Great in a planter or garden, as a cut flower, deer and rodent resistant • Very hardy, this compact tree has a head 5’ tall and wide, on top of a 3’ tall trunk, suitable for full sun

Dwarf Korean Lilac

• Will tolerate pruning (but not necessary) immediately after flowering as Lilac set their flower buds a year in advance

Standard Juniper •

Options include Standard Gold Star Juniper, Standard Blue Star Juniper, Standard Blue Rug Juniper (a Weeping variety) and more!

• Short-statured evergreens are easy care and provide a unique colour year-round. • Perfect for either side of the steps, the rockery or the centre of a weather resistant planter • Deer and rodent resistant, providing good habitat for small birds • Grows 3’ to 4’ tall, including a head approximately 2’ tall and 2’ wide, suitable for full sun • No raking or pruning required

Standard Variegated Euonymus •

Depending on variety can have green and white leaves (Standard Emerald Gaiety Euonymus) or green and yellow leaves (Standard Canadale Euonymus)

• Small statured evergreen, easy to care for, unique berries in the fall • Grows up to 8’ tall including a head 4’ tall and wide, suitable for full sun to full shade • Can be pruned formally into boxes or balls (but is not necessary)

SPRING 2019 • 23

Strawberry and Avocado

Chicken Salad

with Crispy Fried Goat Cheese Recipe Author: Kevin from Closet Cooking,


n warm summer days I often appreciate a nice light meal, like a salad, for dinner. Strawberries are one of my favourite summer food and they are amazing in savoury dishes like salads, especially when combined with bacon and avocado as they are in this recipe. What really makes this salad a meal is the grilled chicken which is marinated in the same honey lemon Dijon dressing that is used on the salad. The star of this show has to be the crispy fried goat cheese, best enjoyed fresh from frying while the cheese is still warm.

INGREDIENTS For the honey lemon dijon poppy seed vinaigrette: 1/4 cup lemon juice 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 3 tablespoons honey 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard 3 teaspoons poppy seeds 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced salt and pepper to taste

For the fried goat cheese: 8 ounces goat cheese, either sliced into 1/4 inch thick discs or formed into small balls 1/4 cup flour 1 large egg, lightly beaten 1 cup panko breadcrumbs (or breadcrumbs)

For the salad: 4 strips bacon 1/2 pound chicken breasts 6 cups baby spinach 1 cup strawberries, sliced 1 avocado, sliced 1/4 cup red onion, sliced 1/4 cup almonds, sliced, slivered or chopped

DIRECTIONS For the honey lemon dijon poppy seed vinaigrette: • Mix everything well.

For the fried goat cheese: • Dredge the goat cheese slices/balls in the flour and coat in egg followed by breadcrumbs and fry in oil over medium heat until lightly golden brown before setting aside on paper towels to drain.

For the salad: • Cook the bacon and set aside on paper towels to drain before crumbling. • Marinate the chicken in half of the vinaigrette for 30 minutes to over night before grilling over medium-high heat until cooked and slightly charred, about 2-5 minutes per side, and setting aside to cool and slice. • Assemble the salad, toss with the dressing and enjoy! Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 20 minutes Serves 4 NUTRITION FACTS: Calories 612, Fat 43g (Saturated 14g, Trans 0), Cholesterol 91mg, Sodium 560mg, Carbs 37g (Fiber 7g, Sugars 12g), Protein 22g 24

9 Plants



ooking for natural ways to help keep mosquitoes away? Here are 9 common outdoor plants that mosquitoes avoid. Try placing these plants in pots near doorways and windows to lower the number of insects coming indoors, or place around your outdoor living spaces to help create a barrier. Though these plants may not be 100% effective, they are multi-purpose plants that work well in pots or the ground. Try a combination of a few in a planter to create interest in your yard!



Most of us find the fragrance from Lavender to be soothing, however mosquitoes find it quite offensive. In Alberta, Munstead Lavender is considered a tender perennial when planted in the ground. Other varieties are available to grow beautifully in pots. Create sachets of dried Lavender to freshen your home & linens or the flowers can be used in baking.





Catnip contains a natural chemical known as Nepetalactone which is effective at repelling insects, and for attracting cats. Keep this in mind when planting Catnip as your cat will be happy but so may the neighbour's cats.

Mint is a wonderful perennial herb that can grow invasively. It is suggested to grow in pots or a contained area. There are many different varieties including; Peppermint, Spearmint, Chocolate Mint, Mojito Mint, etc.





A member of the mint family with a uniquely citrus scent that wards off mosquitoes while attracting pollinators such as bees, to your yard. It is said that a crushed leaf will soothe an insect bite.



Basil is a favourite in the kitchen but also an effective bug deterrent. Keep a potted plant close by for cooking and to help keep the pests away at the same time! Basil likes hot weather (best when cool nights have passed) and well drained soil.




An aromatic culinary herb, the essential oils within the Rosemary plant repel mosquitoes as well as flies. Rosemary grows well in pots and is a nice addition to a herb garden.

Citronella Geraniums make a large statement. The flowers are small and delicate while the plant is very robust. We will often tell children that it is the “Scratch & Sniff” plant. Rubbing the leaves will activate the oils and create a strong lemony fragrance.



All Marigolds are known to repel and deter pests in a garden. The varieties Lemon Gem and Lulu may be more specific to mosquitoes. Beautiful and bright Marigolds grow well in pots or flower beds and are available in a range of colours and mature heights.

BUG OFF PLANTER for Backyard Living

COURTICE LOCATION 1979 Highway 2, Bowmanville, ON

905-623-4441 or 1-800-263-8008




Lemon Grass is a slow growing annual grass (best purchased as a started plant). Citronella oil used in many commercial mosquito repellent products is derived from the Lemon Grass plant.


A patio planter designed to repel mosquitoes from your outdoor living space, this combination of annuals and herbs is a must for Ontario summers! Great for home, cottage or as a gift.

SPRING 2019 • 25


2 Photo - Proven Winners


The Seven Dwarfs By Adrian Lee


i ho, hi ho! Plant breeders are hard at work again. Gardeners and horticulturalists have an insatiable thirst for “new”. More specifically we demand new and improved. We want more colours, brighter colours, bigger flowers, and frequently, we want smaller plants. Today’s homes are situated on smaller building lots which only accommodate smaller gardens. Today’s homeowners are frustrated with shrubs that outgrow their allotted space and require too much attention and pruning. Many of the newer shrubs on the market are sold on the premise that they are improved, dwarf versions of the old favourites. Following are seven of the new dwarfs available this year at Van Belle Gardens. 26 • VAN BELLE FLOWERS - 800-263-8008 - VANBELLEFLOWERS.COM


Weigela Florida “My Monet”

One of Van Belle’s favourite deciduous shrubs are the “My Monet” Weigela plant. We simply love it’s beautiful, stunning pink flowers that are nested between silvery, green leaves. It will bloom from April through to June with flowers from lighter shades of pink (in shady area) to a pinker variegation when planted in full sun. Place in an area that has moist well drained soil, leaving room for potential growth. It typically grows 18-24” wide, and 12-18” tall, which could take some time, as it is considered a slow growing shrub. This plant only requires a light prune, at any time, to maintain its shape. Since the “My Monet” Weigela attracts birds and butterflies, and is deer resistant, this is why it is must have shrub for any garden.


Physocarpus Opulifolius “Tiny Wine Ninebark”

Tiny Wine is extra bushy, with small, refined leaves. The dark bronze-maroon foliage is colourful all season, and contrasts beautifully with the white flowers in late spring. The flower show is exceptional, with dainty flowers blooming up and down the stem in a very showy display. This durable plant may be used in the landscape for season-long colour, and is also a great choice for patio containers. Its garden height is usually 36”-60”.


3 Photo - Proven Winners


Photo - Proven Winners


Spiraea Japonica “Double Play Candy Corn”

Yes, it’s new, it’s improved and it’s dwarf. Think about Goldflame Spirea or even Magic Carpet Spirea. This new cousin displays the same attractive colour combinations of red, orange and yellow. Candy Corn, however, is brighter, more intense and it is more compact. It grows to 18”24” and will make an excellent accent shrub in a small residential garden. This is another Proven Winner shrub.


Sweetspire Itea Virginica “Little Henry”

Little Henry is a useful native plant with lots of potential for the home landscape. It prefers moist soils and will tolerate wet conditions. It will grow in full sun to full shade, and requires little pruning or other maintenance. Little Henry has lightly scented, pure white flowers that shoot like fireworks in the early summer horizon. Its mounded, compact stature (24”-26” in height) makes it an improvement over older variety such as the old favorite 'Henry's Garnet'. It is also a delightful addition to the mixed border. Then when you're not expecting anything more, green summer foliage changes to a brilliant multitude of oranges and reds in the fall, making Little Henry a rewarding experience throughout all seasons.


Hydrangea Invincibelle “Limetta”

This is another “Annabelle”- type hydrangea. Unlike “Wee White” this beauty presents a lime-green flower atop strong stems. “Cute” is the word that is often used to describe this dwarf. It will give you a long season of colour when displayed in a close-inspection setting next to a patio. Maximum height is 36”.


Potentilla Fruticosa “Little Gem”



An outstanding dwarf selection that has low, shrubby mound of tiny olive-green leaves, bearing bright yellow flowers from spring through fall. This potentilla is especially nice when massed as a groundcover

Photo - Proven Winners

but also, useful as a small specimen shrub. Its pretty flowers attract butterflies yet still is deer and rabbit resistant. It is drought tolerant once established. Because it grows 12”-16” in height, it is a perfect dwarf shrub specimen.


Hydrangea Invincibelle “Wee White”

This new dwarf is a BIG deal. For years, the “Annabelle” Hydrangea has set the standard as a bulletproof, long flowering staple in the garden. Now “Wee White” gives us a strong, hardy and short alternative. It does not require deadheading and will reach a height of 12”-30”. It is from Proven Winners.

So, as you go off to work in the garden in 2019, be confident in these new introductions to get the job done for you. Breeders and growers alike, have done a great job in responding to a void in the landscape world. Proper scale in the plants you select is of utmost importance in the success of your garden. Smaller planting spaces abound. It’s a busy world and homeowners cannot afford the time, and often lack the knowledge to keep larger selections tamed. In the case of the seven dwarfs, new is improved.


905-623-4441 or 1-800-263-8008




at Van Belle Flowers MAY 6-11, 2019

Elegant & Exquisite Orchid Planter

Gorgeous Cut Flower Bouquets


A long lasting orchid planter will show mom you care all season long. Custom designed by Van Belle’s designers, these lush, tropical plants and orchids will be the perfect statement display. Price: From $110.00 to $180.00 (as shown $140.00)


Honour mom with a beautiful bouquet of gorgeous cut flowers overflowing with bright, fragrant blooms.

Price: From $45.00 to $95.00 (as shown $50.00)

Spring Fashions & Accessories Featuring beautiful floral, flowy fashion tops, that are perfect for casual events. Our fashion boutique features all sizes, from small to extra large. Fashion in Courtice location only.

Perfect Summer Outdoor Planter VBM-0145

Outstanding flower performance is a gift that keeps on giving. In a variety of sizes, shapes, and colours, this is a Van Belle Flowers specialty item.

Price: From $40.00 to $150.00 (as shown $135.00)



100 Dundas St. W, Whitby, L1N 2L9


Gift a VB Class VBCLASS

There is no better gift, than the gift of spending time together. Give mom a Van Belle Flower’s class (see pages 6 and 7 for spring classes) where she can relax and create a plant display, or maybe join her for a total bonding experience. Price: $75.00 (difference in cost of class will be given in a Van Belle Flowers gift card)

Pretty Pastel Bouquet TSP09-1A

Oh so soft and divinely delicate, this perfect pastel bouquet is pretty as can be. Delivered in a classic ginger jar, the graceful arrangement of alstroemeria, carnations and stock is a welcome surprise on any occasion.

My Heart Welcome Planter VBM-0130

Our most popular Mother’s Day Planter, this black metal heart shaped planter is overflowing with bright, pretty annuals. Accented with a spring ribbon, this is a most welcome gift.

Price: From $65.00 to $115.00 (as shown $115.00)

Price: From $90.00 to $150.00 (as shown $90.00)

'All you Need' Outdoor Hanging Basket VBM-0140

Send a bright outdoor hanging basket that is brimming with attractive annuals and trailing plants, accented with a watering can and fertilizer. Price: $65.00 to $100.00 (as shown $70.00)


1979 Highway 2, Bowmanville, L1C 6E3

905-623-4441 or 1-800-263-8008

For the Mom who has Everything!

Let her shop all year long with a Van Belle Flowers gift card. In any denomination, this will let her choose her own perfect gift.



Joys of Spring! Cleaning Brushes Provide a clean and safe food source for hummingbirds in your backyard by using Pinebush hummingbird feeder cleaning brushes. Easily clean inside ports and bottles using the 2 brushes included in the set.

- Built-in ant moat. - Base comes apart for easy cleaning. Capacity: 20 oz. / 591 ml 88164


feeding the birds with new ideas™

WELCOME SPRING! By Sherri Christodoulou


here is a freshness in the air… With the warm weather fast approaching, we are all looking into our closets and are eager to put away our coats, boots, hats, mitts, and cozy sweaters until next fall. It’s time to shed layers and lighten up. What better way than going straight to one layer. The dress… this season’s must have is the wrap dress. The bold prints and beautiful colours will inspire you. It is easy to wear, flatters all body types and is suitable for all occasions. But let’s not forget the maxi dress, sun dress, fit and flare dress, slip dress, bodycon dress, shirt dress, A-line dress, skater dress, kaftan dress, shift dress, and many more. With so many different styles to choose from, it will be easy finding your personal favorite and making a statement this year. Casual comfort remains important in fashion this spring. What could be more cool and comfortable than bamboo? Yes ladies, you can still wear your bamboo capri leggings available in bright bold colours or stick with the neutrals. Show off your own personal style and flair by pairing them with flowing tunics, billowy blouses or the crisp clean lines of linen or cotton shifts for an easy stylish look that will take you from work to play with ease. Don’t forget the matching tank tops!

This season’s must have is the wrap dress.

The pant silhouette for this spring has many options. Jeans of all lengths are still a staple. Wide leg pants as well as straight leg pants continue to be excellent choices and you see them in a variety of wonderful fabrics, prints, colours and lengths. Linen, bamboo, cotton and Tencel will keep you cool. For finishing touches don’t forget to accessorize. Handbags, jewellery, scarves and hats complete your outfit and show off your personal style. Try using different accessories each time you wear an outfit. By doing so, it will look like a new outfit each time you wear it. The same goes for your footwear. Shoes, sandals and booties can change the look of any outfit from casual to dressy. Don’t be afraid to mix and match to create your own unique style.

Courtesy of Fashion Village; this wrap dress features stretch fabric with adjustable domes in the waist for perfect fit and an effortless drape.

SPRING 2019 • 31



Before they reach your garden, our flowering shrubs undergo years of trials and testing for color, quantity of blooms, cold tolerance, foliage and ability to thrive with ease. Only a few prove they’re worthy of the #1 plant brand.

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