Posted in gardens, gardens4u.ca, loreeebee.ca

Now is the Time to Plant Spring Bulbs

photo credit

This is a great time to plant bulbs, at least here in Ottawa, for a wonderful harbinger of spring. As long as the ground is not yet frozen, bulbs can be planted.

How to Deter Squirrels from Digging up Your Bulbs

I tend to wait until mid-November so the squirrels don’t raid my bulbs. As well as waiting until as late as possible to plant your bulbs, there are a few other ways to guarantee spring-blooming:

  • use bloodmeal: sprinkle a handful in the hole, over the bulbs. Be sure to wear gloves when using bloodmeal. Bonemeal is a fertilizer that will help them grow, but will not deter rodents.
  • cut squares of chicken wire and place a square in each hole. I plant my bulbs in groups of five, so a one foot square piece of wire is sufficient. It can be purchased in a role at most grocery, DIY stores.
  • banana peels over the bulbs in the hole also works. I have done this in the past with success, crisscrossing the strips of peel over the bulbs like spokes on a wheel.
  • plant alliums, members of the onion family, or daffodils as squirrels don’t like either of these.

I generally order my bulbs from Brecks, this year was no exception. Their prices are reasonable (especially if you buy in bulk as I do) and the variety of bulbs is amazing. I love looking through their catalogs picking and choosing colours, bloom time, height etc. These are the tulip and allium bulbs I chose this year:

How many weeks until spring?

Posted in garden project, gardens4u, loreeebee.ca, wedding

Gardens4U and Wedding Planning!

Recently I told you of a project Gardens4U has been working on all summer. To recap, a client asked me to spruce up the gardens at his parents farm for his daughter’s wedding.

After walking around the extensive property with the client last April I started work on multiple garden beds. Containers were planted as soon as the last frost date arrived in May, well in advance of the wedding date to give the annuals time to settle in.

My original commitment was one day a week, including through the scorching heat we experienced this summer. Of course, my visits to “the farm” increased in recent weeks as the wedding date drew closer.

Most of the time I remembered to take before and after pictures of the gardens and planters. I so wanted to snap a few last minute pictures the morning of the wedding, but did not want to intrude on the hustle and bustle going on. I will have to wait patiently for the photos I know my clients will share.

Garden Beds

The beds I worked on are referred to here according to their location on the property or their function during the wedding. Pictures are posted in chronological order.

House Bed, 3 Sections:

I cannot take credit for the gorgeous, flagstone sidewalk or lush lawn enhancing these beds at the front of the home. Due to the large expanse of lawn and the poor condition it was in, hydroseed (a sprayed on product) was used with awesome results. A beautiful lawn does wonders for increasing the beauty of gardens…

Ceremony Site:

There is no “before” picture for this bed as there wasn’t a garden there, just the edge of the yard overgrown with trees, scrub brush, and a few transplanted hostas.

Shady Sitting Area:

My client had a vision for this bed, I really just followed his instructions. And chose and planted the appropriate perennials for a shady spot. We then used some of the containers to add some colour to the area…

The Mint Bed That Became a Dahlia Bed:

For the resident chef, I moved the mint into a new herb garden. At least I attempted to move it. Mint can be very invasive, there are still shoots sprouting in that bed.

Sunny Beds:

These two beds were the bride’s Omi’s (grandma) flower gardens, with the one on the right home to her beautiful peonies. Unfortunately they were overgrown with no distinct shape and neglected since her passing several years ago.

Sunflower Bed:

This sunflower bed was supposed to be spectacular, at least that’s the vision I had. Tall, majestic, golden yellow sunflower blooms against the backdrop of the rustic family barn bordered by the bride’s Omi’s (grandma) long established daylilies. We tried to transplant many of the daylilies into some semblance of order, but thanks to their poor performance through the drought conditions this summer I had to cut them right back. They did revive, but not as fast as I hoped they would.

Rock Garden:

I don’t have much experience with rock gardens but I enjoyed choosing creeping plants and tiny succulents to tuck into the crevices. Unfortunately (for the wedding guests) not many of this type of plant are fall bloomers. Next spring and summer it will look gorgeous!

Rodent and Insect Damage

My major challenge during this project was the battle I had keeping the sunflowers intact in their designated bed against the barn wall.

I planted close to thirty sunflowers, most grown from seed on my back veranda, but the squirrels snapped off their growing stalks faster than I could plant them. I actually witnessed a squirrel hanging on the barn wall, mid pounce, as he/she aimed for the flower head of one of the tallest sunflowers.

So frustrating and disappointing!

The other challenge was keeping the dahlia blossoms from becoming a snack bar for earwigs or whatever other insect devoured them shortly after they appeared and before they could mature. I ended up bringing a pot of dahlia from my back deck to fill in the bare spots.

Containers: Thrillers, Fillers and Spillers

We used lots of planters around the property to add colour and drama. Some from the clients’ home that I had created earlier in the season, and some from my own home collection.

Silver Lace Vine

I had planned to drape strands of silver lace vine (from my garden) in the trees to look like the beautiful Spanish moss so prevalent in the south. The wedding planner, who is also a florist, intercepted me though as I carried trays of it down the driveway, and asked for the silver lace to adorn the dining table and archway at the ceremony site. How could I refuse?

Conclusions:

Well, the big day arrived and thankfully the sun was (albeit off and on) shining! We were all nervous as it had been raining, torrentially at times, for the previous two days.

The problem with creating these gardens in one season is that most plants take a while to mature in their new homes, unless you spend a fortune and choose fully mature plantings. Like most gardens I plan and create, these garden beds look great this season, but will look spectacular next summer and for years to come.

A few years ago I created bouquets and containers for my son’s wedding, then a few table arrangements for a friend’s son’s wedding. I have enjoyed these wedding projects so much that I am considering adding wedding (or other events) planning to my Gardens4u list of services! What do you think?