I love to fight against dead space in landscapes. Usually open spaces just attract weeds or unwanted debris. So, why not plant something?
Below are a few examples. One is an empty box I filled up with Berberis thunbergii; and another where boxwoods filled up two open beds. Both places look much better with plants in them.
You should also fight any dead spaces in your gardens. Instead of fighting weeds that will inevitably move in, why not plant something that you will enjoy looking at? Give it a try.
Now that everything is flushed out in mid-May, it will soon be time to do some mid-season pruning. Especially if there are obstruction issues. Some people also realize they have less light reaching their homes with trees and shrubs nicely flushed out.
Use sharp shears and make sure your clean-ups match the pruning.
As always, Green First! Landscaping is here to help you. Just text 604-562-3736 anytime.
Yesterday I got to plant Amstel Begonias, supervised by the site gardener who has been tending to her landscape for the past twenty years. Let's see how she does it.
1. Use a trowel to dig a hole. My trowel totally fit the site: it sports a soft cork handle and thumb rest. It retails for $15.
2. Throw in some bone meal. Personally, I think this might be overkill for annual plants but why not? Bone meal is an organic fertilizer.
3. Water the hole. It takes time but it makes sense. Help the plant with some water in the hole.
4. Install the Begonia. It sounds simple but the low green foliage is supposed to face the walkway and street. See, you learn something new every day.
Adding annuals to your garden gives you instant colour, assuming you can handle the cost every season.
People generally don't like weeding so that's why you can hire Green First! Landscaping to help you. It's important not to let weeds flower and produce seeds.
The owner of the house below clearly left his Western bittercress mature too far as some would shoot out seeds when touched. And that's a problem.
It took me roughly 30 minutes to weed and cultivate the side of the house. And now the owner's wife doesn't have to be mad at him for not weeding. I was happy to do it.
When you want new lawn you can top-dress your lawn and overseed or you can spend a bit more money and install new sod. But there is a third option, if you can get by the nasty initial look.
Hydroseeding is super quick and you should have a new lawn in 10-14 days depending on weather and site conditions.
The spray includes: seed and wood fibres with fertilizer and glue. It looks a bit freaky but it's more effective than simple overseeding and much faster than new sod.
I admit I wasn't sold the first few times I saw hydroseeding done on large sites but it works. Last year we did a large boulevard section and the lawn turned out great.
So, remember, there is a third option when you want a new lawn. Consider hydroseeding.
Planting your favourite plants is awesome but always consider how much space you have for the plant's mature size. Take a look at the picture below of Fatsia japonica plants.
I like the plants because they flower in winter but look at the location between a garage and home access. Fatsia grow to 1-3m (9') so eventually this will be a headache requiring maintenance pruning.
Before planting, consider the mature size of your plants to make sure you have enough room for them in your garden.
I'm excited about the addition of two new pages on greenfirst.ca. Both pages were on my mind for a while but there wasn't much extra time for it. Until now. Self-isolation allows for page development.
The first new page lists common spring tasks we perform on the West Coast and the list won't change much; possibly the picture gallery will.
Also new is a page dedicated to frequently asked questions. Some questions repeat so much, it makes sense to list the answers on a dedicated page. I suspect this page, too, won't change much; it will just grow from the current eleven questions.
Feel free to submit your own questions!
Gardeners: do you execute weeding with a spade or other tool, or by hand? Can you nearly always verify the root has been removed? Why did you choose said method?
One simple rule: only hand pick big trophy weeds. Small weeds are handled with tools: a cultivator or a simple hand tool.
I find hand weeding super weedy beds tiring and exhausting for my fingers. Professionals use tools. Period. I don’t care who disagrees with this. I’ve tested it in the field.
Cultivate, lightly rake it over to separate the weeds from soil, then remove the weeds. It’s much faster than hand picking small weeds. Just remember not to remove too much soil.
I am suspicious of hand picking because I doubt people get the roots out and the weeds just come back. Cultivation at least uproots the weeds and it makes your beds look beautiful and fluffy. That’s what I do with private clients, why suffer with slow hand picking. I think it’s like punishment…..
Looks fine to me: a quickly cultivated tree well, weeds removed, and fluffy looking. Hand picking weeds is too slow unless they're huge 'trophies'.
Sometimes reaching for your hand snips to prune is way more relaxing than firing up noisy power shears. Just last week I had a request to bring an Euonymus shrub down into a mound. Sure! I grabbed my hand snips and did it in a flash.
You can read the details in this blog post, where I detail the advantages of hand pruning and share a few pro tips.
Vas Sladek, B.Sc., CLHT