Black gold. That is what gardeners call the dark, rich stuff that comes out of the compost bin once it has done its job. Partners who share a garden (and compost bin) have been known to do battle over who lays claim to this rich earth. Composting has been going on for eons in some

How to Kill a Plant

The quickest way to kill a plant…let me count the ways. You spend a few hours, happily wandering around the garden centre, oohing and ahhing over all the pretty plants, jumping back and forth between choosing a broadleaved evergreen Escallonia or a deciduous Spiraea.  Finally, your choice made, you nestle your newly purchased treasure in

Rhodos and Azalea Care

This sun and warm weather are certainly bringing out the flowers and I’ve noticed a few rhododendrons and azaleas cracking some colour around town.  If you haven’t done so already this is the time to fertilize with a rhodo specific plant food such as GardenPro Rhodo & Azalea.  Just before flowering and just after is

My Love Hate Relationship with Ornamental Grasses

Every late summer, fall and winter I love ornamental grasses in the garden.  They stand tall (or short depending on the type), they bring life and movement, waving in the breeze, and they glisten and sparkle in the sun or frost.   Every spring I hate ornamental grasses in the garden, at least the warm season

Dormant Oil

January.  The month of wishful thinking for those of us in the garden centre industry.  Christmas is over and now we just want to get on with spring.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature might still have some winter in store for us and that means we can only dream of warmer seasons. Wait a minute, we live

Fabulous Fall Planters

As the roads empty of RVs, replaced by big orange busses filled with children I find myself turning away from the colours of summer.  The planters filled with bright annuals that need constant watering are no longer welcome on my patio.  Removing spent blooms to encourage more isn’t something I’m fastidious about this late in

Fish Observatory

If you’ve stopped by Cultivate this summer you may have noticed that the fish in our pond had an upgrade on their accommodations.   They now have a glass observatory that they can swim up into and have a good look around at their digs…and at you, too! Quite a few customers have taken pictures and

Watering Woes

“How often should I be watering my garden/plant/tree/container?”  The answer to this is “I don’t know.”  Now that probably isn’t the answer you want to hear and really I’d rather sound smart and knowledgeable and whip off a great reply but to be honest there are so many variables in these situations that there really

Succulent Succulent Planters

Strawberry pots, those multi-pocketed clay or ceramic containers, don’t have to be used just for planting strawberries.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever planted strawberries in mine!  Instead, over the years, mine has been home mostly to herbs or succulents. Since strawberry pots have shallow cups around the sides of the container they tend

Square Foot Gardening

Food gardens have always been popular but they seem to be even more so lately with concerns over pesticides and chemicals used in commercially produced crops.   There is no better way to control what lands on your family’s dinner plate than to grow it yourself.  Not much room for the traditional veggie garden?  Try square

Fruit Tree Pruning in Spring

It seems that fruit tree pruning can be a little intimidating for some and I admit, when facing a big apple tree that has been let go over the years, the job can be a tad daunting.  Just remember that pruning is basically done for health and esthetics.  Not your health, although no one said

Spring Pruning

I know, you’re just itching to get out in the garden and DO something!  You poke about under the mulch to see if what bulbs are coming up, you inspect the rose bushes to see if there is any life showing and you are just dying to do something, anything that might bring on spring

The Lowly Spud

My life wouldn’t be the same without the humble spud.  I love potatoes.  Roasted, baked, mashed or ‘new’ potatoes done in foil on the bar-be-que with a little butter, fresh herbs, garlic clove, a dash of red wine and a few shallots are to die for. Potatoes are low in fat (it’s what we add to them

Spring Lawn Care

It is not necessarily greener on the other side but if it is then it usually means that your neighbour is looking after their lawn and you’re not.  While I’m not all about the golf green lawn, trimmed to within an inch of its life, every blade in perfect position I must admit I do

Raspberries, How to Prune and When

“What do I do with my raspberry plants right now?” This is a question we hear at the garden centre a lot so obviously there’s some mystery as to when to cut back raspberry canes, if one should at all, and how to go about it. Raspberries grow from perennial roots that produce stems called

Pruning Hydrangeas

“When and how do I prune hydrangeas?” is one of the questions frequently asked at  Cultivate.  Hydrangeas seem to be one of those mysterious plants where no one is really sure how to go about tackling them.  It’s a shame all plants can’t be treated the same because then the answer would be simple but

Dahlias, Easy to Grow

Dahlias are one of my favourite flowers to cut for a vase in the house.  Partially because there are so many blooms on one plant that you hardly miss them when you cut a few and partially because they last so long in the house.  The other reason is that they are delightful.  Each flower is

Why We Should Lime

Here on the wet West Coast we get rain.  I’m sure you know that already but how does a lot of rain make our gardens different from those in Kamloops,Vernon or in other parts of the country?  Besides helping the plants and grass grow lush and green, lots of rain has a tendency to make

Rose Pruning in Spring

  In March it can be almost shirtsleeve weather one minute then you turn around and there are a few drops of rain which turns into hail which then settles into snowflakes.  Do you break out the patio furniture or the snow shovel? With the weather so unpredictable it’s hard to know when to do what in