For The Love Of Gardening

Garden Design 101 - Part II

Garden design is a creative process that allows you to make your landscape your own. There are some key elements in design that will help you create the garden of your dreams.

Garden Deisgn 101 Texture is important in garden design because it helps you create physical and visual movement. Texture relates to the shape, size, coarseness or smoothness and weight of the foliage. Texture is used to provide interest and contrast in the land-scape. Foliage, flowers, bark, branching habit, size / shape of leaves create texture.

Plants are described as being coarse, medium or fine textured. Coarse texture stands out more, while fine textures are less dominant and bring together designs.

Coarse Texture (high contrast) - large, thick leaves, irregular margins, deep venation, bold colours, variegated colors, irregular forms, thick stems / branches, branches with spines or thorns. Plants are described as having a looser form.

Medium Texture - most plants fall into this category. They have average sizes leaves and stems, smooth edges, typically rounded or mounding habit. Medium textured plants help unify coarse and fine textures.

Fine Texture - small delicate foliage, thin stems, narrow leaves, small flowers, long stems, narrow trunks. These plants have airy, light, vining growth habits.

Texture affects the perception of distance and scale. Coarser textures makes areas seem smaller, finer textures make areas seem larger.

A well designed garden will incorporate a variety of different textures to provide interest and contrast.


Enjoy forcing spring flowering branches indoors

Certain spring flowering shrubs or trees can provide a visual of spring indoors. Plant material, such as forsythia, lilac, Nanking cherry, double flowering plum, flowering almond, spirea, birches, willows and a few others, can accentuate the longer days and sunshine radiating through our windows.

Forcing Spring BranchesForcing plays games with the branches, breaking dormancy and hopefully, if conditions are right, provides you with a bit of spring inside.

The first step is to select young branches that have large plump flower buds located on them. You will want to prune out a few 12" branches being careful not to damage the buds or the form of the shrub/tree. Do this on a warm day if possible.

To assist in a speedier process of breaking dormancy and to keep well hydrated, the branches should be immersed in a bathtub overnight. Once they have been well watered, make a slit on the stem about 1" deep. Do this while holding the branch underwater. This will help in preventing an air bubble blocking the absorption of the water into the branch.

Arrange in a vase or container with warm water. The water should be changed every 2-3 days and keep out of direct sunlight. The branches should flower anywhere between 1 week and 8 weeks. Keep the display in bright but not direct light. Once colour shows on the bud, additional energy may be given in the form of cut flower food and move the branches to a cooler night time temperature for longer lasting blooms.


The Urban Garden

Urban GardeningSpace constraints are the biggest issue plaguing urban gardeners. The good news is you don’t need a lot of space to grow your own edible crops. You can grow a wide assortment of edibles in pots so you may enjoy the fruits of your labour even when you only have a small balcony for your garden!

Crops suited for pots - beans, blueberries, cabbage, carrots, cucumber, herbs, kale, lettuce, peppers, potatoes, radish, rhubarb, spinach, strawberries, Swiss chard, tomatoes, zucchini. Note - peppers and tomato seeds should be started indoors in March.


Planting crops in pots:

  1. Choose a container - plastic, ceramic, clay, wooden, metal - make sure container has drainage holes. It is always beneficial to put a layer of gravel in the bottom of the pots so soil doesn’t wash out the drainage holes.
  2. Fill pot with a mixture of 2 parts potting soil and 1 part compost and moisten soil.
    1. If you are looking for peat moss alternatives we carry an amazing product that is made from coconut coir and seasoil - ready to go, just fill your pots!
  3. Plant your edibles and gently water soil.
  4. Fertilize and water regularly.
  5. Take your pots in at night if frost is in the air.