All water gardens have algae but too much algae can cause the water to become cloudy and turn green. Water naturally contains many elements, mineral salts, and nitrates. When sunlight hits the water, the temperature increases and evaporation takes place. The mineral salts, nitrates etc. are left behind and the water is 100% pure. This is compounded every time more water is added. Algae feed on the salts and nitrates and proliferate when concentrations are increased.
Annuals provide great colour, form, and texture to any garden. Unlike Perennials which blooms for a limited amount of time, Annuals will flower continuously (with the proper care) until the frost hits. There are so many annuals to choose from; whether you plant a few or a lot, you will never be bored.
Garden Plants That Attract Birds
Birds feed on seed, berries, fruit, nuts, and insects. Some of these things can be provided by plant material in your own garden. Look for the bird symbol beside plants in our Garden Guide to quickly identify special ornamental plants that provide these materials. Plants that attract birds range in size.
Originally, the term Bonsai simply meant ‘a plant grown in a container’. Today, Bonsai means ‘miniaturized plant, shrub, or tree in a planter’. This miniaturization process is achieved by planting in a smaller than normal container and by judicious pruning to make the plant resemble its larger counterpart in nature. The art of Bonsai was developed long ago in the Far East where it was considered an expression of the harmony between heaven and earth, man and nature.
Cattleya Orchids are native to the Americas, particularly to the tropical regions, where they thrive in high humidity and abundant light. The colour range is vast and exotic. Blooms can be 13-18 cm (5- 7”) across in white, yellow, orange, purple, pink, lavender, blue, green, and red. Some are even multicoloured. The flower has three narrow sepals, two broader side petals, and a large, tubular lip at the bottom. Cattleyas bloom in spring, fall, or winter depending on the variety.
Clematis is one of the most popular flowering vines. They bloom in almost every colour; flowers can be single, double, or semi-double, ranging from small to large. Their shape can be tubular, star-like, flat open discs, or nodding bells. Depending on the cultivar, flowering can take place in spring and again in late summer, all summer long, or in late summer through fall.
The relationship between plants and insects is known as “companion planting”. Long before the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, it was known that certain plants grow and/or taste better when planted next to each other. One type of plant may help another by providing shelter From wind, sun, or frost. Plants may help each other by improving the soil with minerals and nutrients.
Homeowners can do their part by recycling most yard and kitchen waste. “Composting” is a simple process in which this material can be turned into a nutrient-rich soil conditioner often referred to as black gold. The addition of compost to any garden soil encourages plants to develop a deeper, more fibrous system that makes it more vigorous, productive, and drought resistant. Compost also conditions the soil so it’s able to retain the moisture and nutrients as well as allowing more air into the soil system. Healthy roots depend on air, water, and readily available nutrients.
Trees are an important part of landscaping. They add beauty and a sense of structure to any garden, street, commercial property, or public space. Environmentally, they are essential to our survival. Trees moderate climate by cooling in summer (deflecting sun and heat) and warming in winter (deflecting wind), thereby reducing energy costs. They improve air quality by removing dust and other particulates from the air. The leaves absorb harmful carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and sulphur dioxide and give off huge amounts of life-giving oxygen. Trees also absorb sound and provide shelter to birds and other wildlife. Their size provides privacy wherever it’s required.
Keep in mind that all plants require water, light, and nutrients to grow. There are however, some plants that need little water or can go for extended periods without watering (once established). These are what we call “drought- tolerant.” plants. There is a relatively new concept in landscape design called “Xeriscaping”. This is choosing plants that will survive on only the natural water that is available to them. These plants should be grouped together in a dry sunny area of your garden.
Fall is the perfect time for planting, while the ground is still warm and the soil is still moist. It is also an ideal opportunity to prepare your lawn and plants for the coming cold winter months, ensuring your garden is healthy and full of life next spring.
If you're not sure where to start, take a look at our fall gardening tips for how to maintain a healthy lawn, what to plant for spring colour and how to keep your garden exploding with fall colour until early winter.
All plants require light, air, water, and nutrients to grow. As they mature, plants often use up the naturally occurring nutrients in the soil around the root zone. These nutrients need to be regularly replaced in order for the plants to continue to grow and remain strong. The plant food that gardeners provide is called fertilizer.
Like sequencing flowering shrubs and perennials that bloom from spring through fall, fragrant plants can also be chosen to delight our sense of smell over the same period. As our windows are usually open in May and early June, before the air conditioning goes on, place the earlier fragrant specimens near the house so you can fully appreciate them both inside and out.
Soil that doesn’t drain properly can lead to major frustration along with struggling or dying plants. Re-grading the entire area is one option. Drainage can be improved by installing weeping tile, dumping quantities of sand and gravel, or building raised beds. These methods are not inexpensive in terms of materials or labour but a more practical solution would involve working with the condition and not against it. Many plants will tolerate dampness and thrive beautifully; just choose wisely.
As the name implies, ground covers can be used anywhere that bare soil needs to be covered. Most often they replace areas of lawn where grass simply won’t grow. They can be used on slopes where erosion is a problem, they can replace grass grown on a slope when mowing is difficult and hazardous, or they can be used with small gardens, compacted soil and shade for city dwellers. Beyond these very practical reasons, ground covers are being used more and more because of their colour and offer much more interesting texture than grass alone.
In order for Rhododendrons to develop successfully in colder climates they need:
- Porous or acidic soil.
- To be planted in an area that receives morning sun with shade in mid to late afternoon (shade tolerant, not shade loving).
- Protection from winter wind (do not plant in open areas unless well protected with burlap screening).
The decision to grow your own fruit is an easy one because it’s delicious and economical but there are other considerations to take into account.
- Ensure you have enough space to grow your fruit trees. For most fruit you have to plant two trees to cross pollinate. This means that to grow pears you need two different kinds of pear trees. An apple tree will not pollinate a pear.
- All fruit needs at least 6 hours of direct sun per day and well-drained soil amended with peat moss, manure, or compost.
- Fruit trees require an ongoing spray program to control insects and disease if you wish to produce a healthy crop of fruit that is edible.
When you add annuals to your garden in May, it’s generally because you want continuous colour in certain areas right through the summer and into the fall. Chances are you love to place brimming pots at the front door, on the deck or balcony, on steps, around a swimming pool, even in your garden beds. Hanging baskets add a very important splash of colour well above ground. They can decorate an empty garage, house wall, fence or lattice privacy screen, porch or a covered entrance. All a hanging basket requires is a hanging device from which it can be suspended. Wall brackets are available in many attractive styles. They can be found in either wrought iron or wood that is left natural or stained.
For those with limited space who want to have an attractive garden year-round on a deck or balcony, plant only the hardiest small trees and shrubs in containers. The trick is to use the right plants, the right size and type of planter, the appropriate soil, regular watering and proper placement of plants.
Adding plants to your home will beautify any interior and increase the amount of oxygen in a room. Some plants are known to actually purify the air according to studies done by NASA. The Peace Lily, Sanseveria, Chinese Evergreen, Heartleaf Philodendron, Spider Plant, Golden Pothos, English Ivy, Gerbera Daisy, and Dracaena Marginata are examples of plants that fight indoor air pollution.
Every garden is different because it reflects the personality and taste of the garden designer. You can study books, read magazines, take classes, and be able to differentiate between formal and informal styles, cottage gardening and herbaceous borders, Japanese and contemporary styles, etc.
Your final result will be a compilation of everything you like and every fond memory you have of long ago gardens. The following design principles and elements are intended to help you put it all together a cohesive, beautiful, and satisfying landscape design.
Whether starting a garden from scratch or renovating one you need to ask some important questions.
- How you intend to use the space.
- What your budget will allow. For older gardens you need a critical, objective eye to determine what can be kept and what should be eliminated altogether. Sometimes standing on the other side of the street will give you the best perspective for evaluating the front as others might see it. Ask yourself the following questions to help in the decision-making process.
Many questions are being raised concerning the widespread use of pesticides (insecticides for insect control, fungicides for disease, and herbicides for weeds). What is the risk to the environment, to birds and animals, to beneficial insects, and to humans, particularly children? To replace traditional means of pest control, a new attitude is gaining acceptance and being put into practice. This is called Integrated Pest Management or IPM.
Members of the genus paphiopedilum are found in southern Asia, in habitats ranging from hot jungles to cool mountain peaks. They are semi-terrestrial, growing in rich humus and other material on the forest floor as well as on cliffs in pockets of humus and occasionally in trees. Much like the Phalaenopsis, these are considered the easiest Orchids to grow in the average home. Lady Slipper Orchids grow 10-30 cm (4-12”) high and bloom most abundantly in fall through spring. The truly unique flower occurs on a single, upright stem and is characterized by a prominent pouch (the“slipper”) flanked by two horizontal petals and crowned by a broad dorsal sepal that is often attractively striped or speckled. Although the size of the flower varies with the variety, many are 7-10 cm (3-4”) across. Each bloom lasts approximately 4-6 weeks, even as long as 3 months. Leaves are 15-20 cm (6-8”) long, strap like, leathery, and solid green or mottled.
Potted Christmas Trees are a nice alternative to artificial or cut Christmas trees. Bring your potted live evergreen in your home for the Christmas holidays. Once the holidays are over, plant outdoors for years of enjoyment. There are a few key things to keep in mind if you would like to make your potted Christmas tree a permanent part of your garden.
Believe it or not, bees are an important part of gardening. All plant eating animals including humans depend on bees as pollinators. Many of our food crops depend on bees and their ability to increase yields of fruit and vegetables in our fields and in our gardens.
Gardens, over farm fields, can be an important source of nectar to bees as many of our gardens contain a wide variety of plants.
One of the delights of our Conservation areas, Provincial and National Parks are the plants in their natural habitats. These native plants have evolved to survive in the natural areas of these particular regions. Many of these plants will adapt to conditions found in suburban or rural gardens. When you think of White Pine, Sugar Maple, Red Oak, Paper Birch, or Hemlock you have a distinct image of Eastern Canada. We can use these native plants and wildflowers in our residential gardens but we must do so carefully.
Oncidium Orchids are naturally found in the warm temperate regions of the Americas from Florida to Argentina. The varieties most often sold here produce long arching sprays of numerous, exquisite yellow flowers variously speckled with brown, burgundy edged with yellow (often referred to as “wildcats”), creamy-white and light burgundy, and purple and white. Blooms are much smaller, more delicate looking than on a Phalaenopsis but similarly they appear to be hovering. Oncidium’s nickname is “dancing lady” or “dancing doll”. All orchids can be divided into 2 major groups depending on where they naturally grow. These are epiphytes that cling with fleshy roots to some kind of support like a tree or rock. These exposed roots are frequently misted with dew or rain. But they dry out quickly because they’re exposed to the air. Terrestrial Orchids grow directly in soil on the forest floor and prefer evenly moist, but not soggy, conditions. Oncidiums are epiphytic.
Orchids are the largest family of flowering plants known. The prime attraction for growing orchids is the diverse and exotic bloom that is produced. The notion that all orchids are temperamental and difficult to grow is a myth. Some may not be particularly easy however most orchids can be grown anywhere provided that their basic requirements are being met.
Phalaenopsis is considered one of the easiest Orchids to grow. There are native to the tropics of Asia, Africa, and Australia. The name Phalaenopsis derives from the Greek word phalaina meaning ‘moth’ and ‘opsis’ that means like. Since the flat flowers appear along a graceful, arching stem, they look just like hovering moths or delicate butterflies, hence the nickname “moth” Orchids.
This form of gardening originates from England and conjures an image of rocks combined with plants often on a slope. The slope itself can be naturally occurring or constructed, just as the stones can be natural outcroppings or brought in. Generally, the effect is one of plant material cascading down an incline of some degree with rocks holding the embankment in place and setting off the individual character of each plant. The alternative to this “natural” look, when a change in elevation is the case, is constructing retaining walls and/or terraces that look more formal by comparison.
A water garden enables the gardener an opportunity to grow a range of plants that can only be cultivated in this liquid format. These water plants are not only beautiful but they also have the important function of minimizing the build-up of algae. Without water plants, the water will quickly turn green and cloudy.