Pet Friendly Gardening

Pet Friendly Gardening

Warming weather means it’s time to spend more of our relaxing time outdoors. It also marks the time to head to your local garden centre to spruce up our yards and patios. If guests of your outdoor space include four-legged friends, it’s important to understand pet friendly practices so that everyone can enjoy the landscape.

Know toxic varieties before you buy

Many common plants found at any garden center are toxic to cats, dogs and horses. Here’s a great resource for learning which varieties are toxic to your pets. You will see Hydrangea on this list, but the toxic species is one specific type of Hydrangea called Hydrangea arborescens (commonly known as Lacecap Hydrangea). All of the plants in the Bloomin’ Easy collection are safe for pet friendly gardens.

Design with pets in mind

Dogs love space to run and play. Consider leaving open lawn area within your space to allow for running or playing fetch. If they can burn stored energy in a natural way, they may avoid expending it on your plants and gardens. They also enjoy shaded areas to rest after play or during the heat of summer. Shrubs and trees can provide the shelter they seek.

If you have outdoor cats, think about their desire to explore and scout other creatures when designing your landscaping. Places to hide and climb, or perhaps sunbathe will make them feel right at home. Varying your mixed beds with non-toxic shrubs, perennials, grasses and annuals will give them places to adventure, hunt and nap. Cats also love edible herbs like the obvious Catnip, Cat Thyme, Valerian and more.

It may help to install a door where both dogs and cats can come and go as they please. Every pet owner is different, but considering everyone’s needs will make for a more enjoyable space.

Less stress with durable varieties

Dogs will naturally mark their territory. It’s a good idea to hose the area after business is done to alleviate the toxicity on the grass and plants. Some varieties are actually resistant to urine such as Weigela, Spirea, Snowball Viburnum and Karl Foerster grass. In general though, choosing ornamental shrubs and hardy perennials, herbs, and grasses is smart for dog owners.

Resources

https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants

http://www.oregonlive.com/hg/index.ssf/2013/07/how_to_create_a_pet-friendly_g.html

https://www.evergreen.ca/blog/entry/five-tips-for-creating-your-own-pet-friendly-garden/

https://www.gardenista.com/posts/11-ways-to-make-your-garden-dog-friendly/

https://www.gardenista.com/posts/diy-how-to-make-natural-easter-egg-dyes/

https://yourdogadvisor.com/garden-safety/ 

 

Spring Care Tips

Spring Care Tips

 

Spring is here!

Well, in reality spring either started weeks ago, or will start weeks from now depending on where you live and this year’s weather patterns.

If freezing temperatures are likely gone for good where you live, it’s time to give your plants a little love and care. A good rule of thumb is to know the average last frost date for your area and hold off trimming and planting until after that date. However, it’s simply an average and recommendation. Some homeowners are happy to take the risk and others can’t bear the pain of losing early investment in their landscapes.

Here are a few easy steps to keep your Bloomin’ Easy plants healthy and growing into the beautiful outdoor accents they can be. Repeat each spring for years of value and enjoyment.

Step 1: Mulch

We recommend picking up natural landscape mulch from your local garden center. Adding mulch will make you happy in three ways:

  • Efficient watering: Mulch makes watering more efficient by retaining moisture in the soil. Conserving water makes everyone happy, especially your water bill!
  • Prevents weeds: Spend less time pulling weeds and more time relaxing.
  • Creates a clean look: Mulch makes your landscape beautiful, creating a clean, consistent look that’s weed free and even colored if you choose to buy naturally colored mulch.
  • Cover the soil with a 2 inch layer, leaving room around the base of the stems (mulch should never rest against the stems). The mulch breaks down over time, releasing nutrients to your plants. Reapply as needed.

Step 2: Fertilize

Plants need food just like we do. Feed your Bloomin’ Easy plants when they begin to sprout leaves in spring.

We recommend an organic, all-purpose choice such as Nature’s Source plant food. The easy hose attachment allows you to feed during watering and it’s safe for leaves, too.

Other options include slow-release granular fertilizers. These can be convenient but can contain inorganic compounds like plastic. Make sure to follow instructions for the fertilizer you choose.

Applying quality fertilizer this spring will help your plants look their best this season.

Step 3: Prune

Pruning is the removal of old stems or dead flowers to keep your plants fresh and healthy. It also keeps them in their natural form and to a size that’s right for your outdoor space.

Only plants that grow to a manageable size and offer lower maintenance are selected for our collection. However, nearly all plants will benefit from proper pruning. Pruning is easier than it sounds, and we’ll make it even easier by giving you specific tips for your plant type.

Hydrangea macrophylla

  • Tilt-A-Swirl™

In the first three years after planting, they only require “dead heading” (removal of old flower heads) after the threat of frost is over. Cut just above the next good bud on the stem. Make sure not to cut off the fresh looking green buds because those will become the flowers this season.

To rejuvenate after year three, cut out a third of the branches (the thickest ones) down to the ground using sharp pruners or loppers. Repeat each spring after for a fresh, healthy and natural looking shrub.

Hydrangea paniculata

  • Lavalamp™ Candelabra™
  • Lavalamp™ Flare™
  • Lavalamp™ Moonrock™

Each spring when the new leaves start to grow (and the threat of frost is gone) cut the entire shrub down to 12 inches above the ground. This species of Hydrangea blooms on new wood (this year’s growth) so you’ll get flowers from late summer to fall even with trimming in early spring.

To rejuvenate after year three, cut out a third of the branches (the thickest ones) down to the ground using sharp pruners or loppers. Repeat each spring after for a fresh, healthy and natural looking shrub.

Weigela

  • Date Night™ Crimson Kisses®
  • Date Night™ Maroon Swoon™
  • Date Night™ Strobe™
  • Date Night™ Tuxedo™

Each spring when the new leaves start to grow (and the threat of frost is gone), trim off the seed pods found at the ends and along of each branch. This will speed up flowering in spring, however it isn’t required to have blooms each season.

To rejuvenate after year three, cut out a third of the branches (the thickest ones) down to the ground using sharp pruners or loppers. Repeat each spring after for a fresh, healthy and natural looking shrub. You may also trim the Weigela down to the size you want a very compact shrub for the space you have selected.

Rose

  • Peach Lemonade™

Roses require unique pruning. First, cut out all old branches and keep four that are relatively straight, outward leaning and green. Prune these four to 7-12 inches tall, just above an outward facing bud. Prune in spring when the buds start to grow (avoid thorn pricks by wearing gloves).

Peach Lemonade is a self-cleaning rose, meaning that it will drop dead buds (deadhead) on its own. You can enjoy lots of blooms all season without any work at all. However, trimming spent flower heads will speed up the process.

The Rest of the Collection

  • Firefly™ Nightglow™ Diervilla
  • Bella Bellissima™ Potentilla
  • Bella Sol™ Potentilla
  • Poprocks™ Rainbow Fizz™ Spirea

Prune these down to 6-12 inches above the ground when the leaves start to grow (and the threat of frost is gone). Repeat each spring for beautiful flowers and foliage.

Check out our how-to videos to see our care tips in action.

We’re social! Share your #bloomineasy photos and videos on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

Relax, you’ve got this!
Team Bloomin’ Easy

Consider Improved Plant Varieties When Replacing Winter-Damaged Landscapes This Spring

Consider Improved Plant Varieties When Replacing Winter-Damaged Landscapes This Spring

Homeowners won’t know the full extent of damage to their gardens and landscapes until spring arrives, but can take some comfort knowing there are great replacement options at their local garden centers. New introductions are significantly improved compared to older varieties, in beauty, natural size, and adaptability to natural enemies like weather.

“This winter continues to be especially tough on landscaping for much of North America,” says Kevin Cramer, Marketing Manager for Bloomin’ Easy, a line of plants aimed at busy homeowners. “Heavy snow, ice and large temperature swings can damage our plants to the point where replacement is the only option. The bright side is that significantly improved plants have been developed recently, both in terms of aesthetic value and resilience. In addition, new varieties can offer higher chances of surviving a winter like we’re experiencing.”

A plant group receiving a lot of attention from plant breeders lately is Hydrangea paniculata, commonly known as Hardy Hydrangea. New releases from Bloomin’ Easy, like ‘Moonrock’ and ‘Flare’ offer improved characteristics such as sturdier stems that hold larger blooms, unique colours, longer flowering, and compact sizes for modern spaces and easy care. Hardy Hydrangeas are a great option because they thrive in a variety of climates, and deliver months of beauty and value. They’re the right choice for cold regions as they often survive -40°C/F.

“The gap between traditional varieties and new releases from leading breeding programs is revolutionary,” says Bloomin’ Easy Brand Manager, DeVonne Friesen. “It’s allowed homeowners to create the attractive outdoor space they desire without the knowledge and maintenance requirements of older varieties. The value these improved plants provide to both new and experienced gardeners is truly exciting.”

Visiting local garden centers, speaking with educated staff, researching brand websites, or reading plant tags are all ways to inform your decision when choosing the right plants. It’s easier than you may think to find a handful of choices that fit your specific outdoor space, personal preferences and, deliver years of value.

Happy growing,
Kevin

Lavalamp Hydrangeas Featured

Lavalamp Hydrangeas Featured

Casual gardeners and everyday homeowners are still learning that today’s Hydrangeas are improved, easy to grow and perfect for their modern outdoor spaces. Gardening expert and columnist, Colleen Zacharias features her picks on the hottest new Hydrangeas to hit the market, as well as growing advice for beginners. We’re proud that our new Lavalamp™ Series made her cut.

If you live in the Winnipeg area, look for Lavalamp™ Hydrangeas and our other new plants at Canadian Tire and Costco garden centre locations this spring. Quantities are limited as they are brand new plants. Don’t forget to share your photos!

Read the full article here.

Plant, Water, Relax.

Plant, Water, Relax.

Three words summarize the Bloomin’ Easy philosophy – plant, water, and relax.

Here’s why:

The Assumption

The majority of people today believe gardening is too difficult, time-consuming and beyond their expertise. Years ago, working hard to maintain a complex landscape and learning the ins and outs of plant culture was more common. Today, even the word gardening makes many people imagine something only grandparents cherish.

The Truth

Almost anyone can have a beautiful outdoor space that adds value and offers a relaxing retreat, regardless of previous experience. It really can be as easy as plant, water, relax. There are hundreds of improved plants that have reached the market in recent years, and many make truly magnificent choices for your outdoor space. Plant breeders work their entire lives to achieve only a few selections that are worthy of becoming a member of a brand’s precious collection.

The plants we select for Bloomin’ Easy are uniquely attractive, more resilient, flower longer and require less maintenance beyond watering. Usually the care we recommend is optional for best results, but not necessary for success.

The Message

Our message is this: Once you experience just how bloomin’ easy our plants are, you’ll see that you can have a beautiful outdoor space without giving up anything to have it. We’re here to tell you that you don’t have to.

With carefully chosen plant selections and easy to follow resources, you already have one foot in the door with Bloomin’ Easy. Gardening can be exactly what you want it to be. Or better yet, don’t call it gardening. We encourage you to try the plant, water, and relax experience this season.