August 16th, 2018

Buds and Blooms: The sun is shining and the buds are blooming

By Medicine Hat News on May 12, 2018.

People are streaming into the greenhouses rejoicing that spring is finally here. The garden centre is bursting at the seams with its bounty of beauty.

Mother’s Day is Sunday and now is the time to honour Mother Nature, our own mothers, and being a mom. We need to raise awareness with our children to care for the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees. The young ones can learn about planting a garden patch with flowers they like and veggies they can eat. Beans and peas have big seeds for little hands to plant. Get the kids interested in giving life to the plants with the garden hose in-hand. Let them dig to discover worms in the soil. When the bird bath needs to be filled let the kids do it, and they will enjoy watching the robins have a bath.

It is also time to rejuvenate your lawn. Aerating and dethatching are important to your lawn’s health. Lawns need air, water, and nutrients, and this process helps. It only needs to be done once every year or two. This process helps the fertilizer get closer to the roots and you can also spread a healthy layer of compost over your entire lawn at this time. When watering your grass it is wise to water early in the morning and water deeply when the grass is thirsty. Doing it once a week deeply is better for the roots than watering a little every day or two. Deep watering encourages a strong, deep root system for all plants, shrubs and trees.

Many homeowners are seeking trees to plant that give privacy to their oasis. There are many to choose from besides the fast growing Aspens, which do not exceed six feet (2m) in width, but grow 33-feet (10m) tall. Here are some suggestions of narrow trees: Dakota Pinnacle Birch; Parkland Pillar Birch; Standing Ovation Serviceberry; the Emerald Spire and Purple Spire ornamental crabapples; and the Pyramidal Mt. Ash and Columnar Mountain Ash. I think too many people are planting Aspens for their quick growth results but are not taking the time to investigate other more appealing trees that will also provide that privacy wall for your secret garden.

For those with a large yard or acreage, the stately fast growing Brandon Elm is the best shade tree for the prairies. The Lindens are also awesome shade trees, but not recommended for dry exposed sites. Maples, especially the Crimson King and Crimson Sentry have appeal because of their purple-red foliage all year. The bright red-orange fall colours of the Korean and Amur maples add brilliant colour in autumn. These last two Maples will perform well in small yards.

More small trees are the beautiful ornamental flowering crabapples, the Navigator Pear, native Princess Kay and Muckle Plums, and the Spur Schubert cherry.

The Japanese lilac is a small and hardy tree with large, creamy-white blooms. Birds will appreciate the fruit of a Showy Mountain Ash. The small Hawthorn varieties have an abundance of spring flowers. The exotic and very hardy Ohio buckeye provides great fall colour.

The tree lot is definitely full of fragrance and the bees are humming, pollinating the blossoms of all the fruit trees. Smelling the lilacs is a spring thrill. There are so many varieties of shrubs to choose from you will have to visit because I have no space on this page to introduce you to them all. Like I said, with the profusion of colourful bedding plants, the roses blooming for Mother’s Day, the tree lot bursting at its seams, we are definitely ready for spring.

Bev Crawford is the Perennial House Manager at The Windmill Garden Centre and John’s Butterfly House.

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