Here are just a few likely reasons for the wild obsession with Hydrangeas:
#1 – All about that bloom
It’s hard to find another plant, let alone another shrub, that gives homeowners a more beautiful flower. They’re substantial, durable, colorful, diverse, long-lasting and elegant. They transport the viewer to a magical place. Many Hydrangeas offer diverse colors and shades, including white, cream, green, pink, red, purple and blue.
Some Hydrangeas can be intentionally altered with soil additives that change the pH. For example, add aluminum sulfate to make soil more acidic and many varieties of Hydrangea macrophylla will change from pink or red to blue or purple (speaking of obsessions, blue Hydrangeas are all the rage right now!).
Most newly introduced Hydrangeas are quite easy to grow, with just a bit of care involved to keep them beautiful and performing well. Watering and pruning are probably the most common issues because Hydrangeas do have medium to high water requirements. The name even comes from Hydra, meaning water. If you plant Hydrangeas, know that you’ll need to provide regular, consistent water, especially for the first couple of years while they establish a good root system.
As far as pruning is concerned, recommendations will depend on things like species and variety. For example, Panicle Hydrangeas like our Candelabra®, Flare™ and Moonrock™ can be pruned in spring after frosts are over, resulting in fresh, healthy growth that produces flowers that bloom in July and last through fall. Some species, like Bigleaf Hydrangeas (Hyd. macrophylla) often bloom on old wood, so pruning must be done in late summer so that new flower buds can establish for blooming the next season. If you prune these in spring, you won’t get flowers that season. However, recent breeding has developed some amazing new Bigleaf Hydrangeas that bloom on new wood so you’ll always see flowers, even if you prune in spring.
#4 – Breeder breakthroughs
Plant breeders are hard at work developing and selecting truly outstanding new Hydrangeas.
Reblooming qualities (blooming on new wood, described above) are only one of the attributes professionals are selecting for when cultivating new varieties. Breakthroughs in color and stature are also starting to make their way into the market.
Stay tuned for some rockstar Hydrangeas to release in Bloomin’ Easy and other branded programs over the next few years.
#5 – Lasting appeal and function
From spring through fall, Hydrangeas strut their stuff. By planting only a few in your garden beds or patio containers, you could have blooms all season long, changing colors and offering fresh blooms mixed with older flowers for a really interesting show.
Finally, there’s the cut flower appeal of Hydrangeas. You can cut fresh flowers to make beautiful indoor vase displays or wait until the flowers are spent to create other forms of interesting fall and holiday decor.
One of our brand partners, wholesale grower and propagator, Van Belle Nursery, is primarily focused on new and improved flowering shrubs and they tell us that Hydrangeas lead their sales in the US and Canada by a long shot. Garden centers and landscapers in North America simply can’t get enough to satisfy the appetite for Hydrangeas.
For now, this obsession continues to burn white hot. And, with the new plant pipeline full of unique varieties to come, the craze should continue for the foreseeable future.
A few years ago, my In-laws bought some palm trees for their patio. They were gorgeous all summer! But, after a mild fall, we experienced one of the biggest winter snowstorms I can remember. And the palms I loved couldn’t weather the storm.
It was then that I learned (the hard way) the importance of protecting plants through winter.
Bloomin’ Easy® plants are not only selected for their unique beauty and easy care qualities, but are also chosen for cold hardiness, which means they can grow well and survive in colder climates like we have in Canada. Yet even still, plants can succumb to harsh weather conditions, especially when the temperatures go from mild to freezing very quickly.
For all plants you browse in the garden center, generally, as long as you follow the zone listed on the tag, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about them over winter. But no matter what plants you’re trying to grow outdoors, here are some tips to protect your special plants for the winter.
Five easy tips to get ready for winter and a head start on spring:
Doing one final weeding is the best way to get rid of overwintering unwanted seeds in your garden. Be sure to put these plants, especially the seed heads, in a covered garbage can, and not your compost.
Some shrubs, perennials and trees might need a little prune after they’ve gone dormant. Do this especially if you have heavy snow or high wind that could break branches. For your Bloomin’ Easy plants, we recommend signing up for our plant specific Care Reminders so you will know when and how to prune your plant. Sign up is free and easy at mybloomineasy.com.
We try to have plants that are as hardy as we can find them. But feel free to add a burlap covering to your shrub if you live in an extremely cold, or windy area. This is especially true if you have one of the shrubs in a container on your patio. Plants in containers are not insulated like they are in the ground, so covering your shrub with burlap will give your plant that little bit of extra help your plant might need to overwinter. Another way you can insulate your container is by covering the container with snow (if your area gets enough of it).
Continue to water until the ground freezes
Plants will certainly use less water in the fall than in summer, but it’s important to continue to water regularly as needed if you don’t get a lot of rain. When the ground freezes, ice will form around the roots protecting them from extreme ground temperatures, so continue to water until winter arrives for good.
Add a layer of mulch
When you mulch your garden it helps moderate the rapid changes in temperatures so your plant’s roots aren’t freezing then thawing then freezing again. Head to your local garden centre and pick some up, you will not regret it!
A 2-3 inch layer of mulch around the base of your plants will insulate and protect from winter’s extremes. It will also help cut down on weeding and watering needs – a nice easy bonus.
How did my in-laws deal with their palm trees in 2019? When they planted the palms in the containers they started with bubble wrap wrapped on the inside of the container. And, now that we have hit freezing weather here in Vancouver, they have wrapped the palms with burlap.
Winterizing is easy and we know you can do it! With carefully chosen plants and a bit of care, you really can create the beautiful, relaxing, low-maintenance outdoor space you deserve.
I’ll admit I was so terrified my plants would die from a lack of water that one of my plants got a touch of root rot. So I read about drowning plants with over-watering and started to over-correct by watering them less– and less to the point they were bone dry and dead. My poor plants.
It’s time we simplified—watering is actually quite easy. Here are some tips to get you back on track with worry-free watering
Tip 1: Know your soil
Your soil is unique, so knowing some basic information can really help ease your gardening journey. Knowing things like pH and drainage properties is important. You can talk to the pros at your local garden center to find out what’s common in your area, or send a soil sample for analysis with your local extension.
Basically, there are three types of soils, high-draining sand, slow-draining clay, and the middle-of-the-road, silt. Most people land somewhere on the spectrum between these soil makeups, and this will determine how your soil drains water. This is important because it will determine which plants will easily thrive, and how frequent you’ll have to water to account for the drainage.
For example, succulents like it dry, sandy soils that drain fast and don’t hold in water are best for them. Others, like Hydrangea and Ninebark use more water, so if your soil is sandy, you may want to choose lower water use species, or settle for watering more often.
Tip 2: Check your Soil – 2 inch rule!
Dig into the soil to about two inches deep and feel if the soil is dry or moist. If the soil is dry it’s time to water. If the soil is moist, don’t water yet, and check again later. You can also buy a soil moisture sensor to get even more accurate and test further down near the roots.
Tip 3: Add Mulch
Mulch is possibly the easiest and best thing you can do to keep your plants hydrated. Adding a 2-3 inch layer of natural landscape mulch will make you happy in 4 ways:
Efficient watering – Mulch helps retain moisture in the soil. Conserving water makes sense and saves you money.
Prevents weeds – Spend less time pulling weeds and more time relaxing.
Creates a clean look – Mulch makes your garden beds beautiful, creating a clean, consistent look that’s weed free.
Mulch breaks down over time, releasing nutrients to your plants. Replenish every 1-3 years
Tip 4: Water early in the day
The best time to water is in the morning before the sun is bright in the sky. By watering earlier in the morning you are giving your plant the time it needs to absorb the water and handle the heat of the day.
Tip 5: Use soaker hoses or drip irrigation
If you set up drip irrigation or soaker hoses rather than spraying from above, you will save water, time, and work! You can even connect an automated timer that will control the watering based on your settings, so you can nearly set it and forget it. Talk about easy!
Watering slowly at the base of the plant also allows it to soak deep into the soil where the roots are establishing, helping them use the water efficiently.
Watering Plants in Containers
Plants in pots on your patio or balcony will dry out much faster than plants in the ground. The same watering principles apply, so check the soil moisture often and don’t be surprised if your containers need daily watering schedules in the heat of summer.
But wait! Aren’t all gardens naturally eco-friendly?
Nope — sorry to burst your bubble. But never fear! Here are 6 ways you can make your garden eco-friendly so it’s 100% Earth Day approved.
#1 – Use organic mulch
Did you know that some mulch is made from recycled tire? This may seem like a great option for its longevity and lower maintenance, but it is certainly not eco-friendly. There are a number of reasons why you shouldn’t have rubber pieces piled around your plants and yard so we’ll just leave it at that.
We recommend an all-natural, organic mulch because as it breaks down, it releases nutrients into the soil that will feed your plants over time. Natural bark mulch is also safer for kids and pets if chewed on or swallowed.
Mulch is often dyed different colors, so make sure the packaging mentions that they’re from natural sources as well.
#2 – Line garden beds with natural materials
Rocks and stones make beautiful, natural looking outlines to your garden beds. Not only do they look great, but they don’t contain plastics or other unnatural materials found in the most common products for this purpose.
#3 – Choose pollinator-friendly plants
By choosing Bloomin’ Easy plants, you’re automatically helping support pollinators. If we had to recommend one, however, it would probably be Peach Lemoande® Rose because it blooms continuously from spring until frost, giving many pollinators what they need to survive and thrive.
Bees especially need our help to grow their populations that have been in decline since the 90’s. Without bees, we wouldn’t have most of the food we enjoy today so it’s critical that we plant pollinator friendly shrubs, trees, perennials, and annuals. Bee houses are more commonly sold today, too, which is a great way to provide them with shelter. If you’re interested in learning more, here are 7 Things You Can Do for Pollinators this season.
#4 – Use organic fertilizers
Chemical fertilizer may cost less to provide food to your garden, but it’s not an eco-friendly solution. The more you use synthetic chemicals, the more you kill off the natural nitrogen fixing bacteria our ecosystems need. Not only that, but chemical fertilizers may affect your plants health. For example, continued use can lower vitamin C in citrus fruit trees and could potentially grow fungus and disease because of the lack of trace elements in the soil.
We recommend using natural fertilizers found at your local garden center, or even composted from your own compost bin at home. These require specific consideration, but if you’re willing to put in the work, it can drastically reduce food waste and provide an economical way to feed your garden.
#5 – Harvest rainwater
Harvesting rainwater makes the most eco-friendly sense because it allows us to save what mother nature gives us to use later when dry seasons hit. This can save money as well as precious resources from community reservoirs.
Make sure to investigate whether harvesting rainwater is allowed where you live. Some HOA and Strata bylaws or city ordinances don’t permit the harvesting and storing of rainwater. If this is the case, perhaps you’ll feel led to fight for your eco-friendly rights 😉
#6 – Use natural pest management
Chemical sprays and pesticides are (sadly) often more available and affordable than the natural alternatives. Many people don’t know exactly how many natural remedies are available or what to do for each problem. We recommend talking with your local garden center experts because they can help diagnose and treat each issue and they know your area best.
Did you know that Ladybugs are good for our gardens and even eat aphids? A chemical spray would kill them and pretty much all other bugs in your garden that are critical to the eco-system. If you find yourself having a common aphid problem, buying some ladybugs at the garden center can be one simple solution that you can feel good about and that’s totally eco-friendly.
There are so many things you can do to make your garden eco-friendly. We’d love to hear from you! Share how you make your garden more green in the comments below.
How do you get gardening enthusiasts excited about something new in a new plant world?
With a black and red Weigela — in bloom — in March — in Toronto. That’s how.
“Electric Love™ is one of those rare finds where you immediately know it’s going to be a hit in the market,” says Bloomin’ Easy’s Brand Manager, DeVonne Friesen. “We see demand for it soaring because people recognize it as special and something truly unique — no matter their level of experience or knowledge of plants.”
What makes Electric Love™ Weigela novel is the true red bell flowers against dark foliage. Aside from the unique aesthetic, it’s compact and tidy, reaching around two feet tall and three to four feet wide, and cold hardy to USDA Zone 4 (-34°C/-30°F). Because of its smaller frame, Electric Love™ will work well in a variety of landscapes as well as in decorative containers on the balcony or patio.
Canada Blooms runs Friday, March 8 through March 17, 2019 at the Enercare Centre in downtown Toronto, Ontario. Over 200,000 visitors from Canada and around the globe are expected to pass through its garden gates.
Electric Love™ Weigela and other exclusive varieties from our collection will be available this spring at Canadian Tire, Sheridan Nurseries, and other independent garden centers in Canada and The United States. Visit bloomineasyplants.com/retailers to find a store near you.
Experienced gardeners rely on a few important tools to make life in the garden much easier.
All of these can be used both in and outside the growing season. Even when all the crops have withered and it’s time to prep for the season ahead.
Here are six of the most important garden tools a regular gardener would be grateful for in their arsenal.
A Sturdy Wheelbarrow
If you have manure or compost to move around the garden, or even wood to make another raised bed, a wheelbarrow is a necessity as it can save countless trips back and forth.
They’re also ideal when weeding or moving plants which can be composted. Why make ten trips when you can do it all in one?
A Digging Spade
When you have a significant amount of soil to move, or if you’re filling your raised bed, there’s nothing better than a spade.
Due to the strength of the spade head, these can be great for cutting through small roots or soil which is still slightly frozen from a spring frost.
These digging spades shouldn’t be confused with a shovel. They have a larger, curved face, and are better served as a means of moving large amounts of earth.
These come in two varieties and are intended for different purposes. A fork hoe can break up already dug soil quicker than a regular garden fork.
A heavy duty hoe is ideal when you are trying to break new soil that the digging spade can’t handle. These give a more extended reach so you can cover most of your growing bed while standing on the pathway.
As with a garden fork, the fork hoe can be used as a small garden rake if you need to gather weeds or dead leaves. Just be sure not to mix the two and put the weeds on your compost heap.
When on your knees planting seedlings or transplanting plants, trowels are the best tool for digging the small holes required.
Even in hanging baskets, they can move the potting soil to the side so the plant’s roots can be placed into the soil without damaging them.
These can also come with a hand-fork style which can be ideal for breaking up soil around a plant without risk of damaging roots.
Good quality trowels constructed from cast are best as cheaper ones can bend when small rocks under the ground are hit.
It might seem too expensive to buy a pressure washer, but the amount of time and work they can save is well worth it.
Homes which have shaded patio areas might be susceptible to growing moss or lichen. This looks unsightly and can become slippery and dangerous. A good pressure washer can remove these traces with hardly any effort.
A patio can look as good as new after half an hour. There are other uses for a pressure washer, and all the mud stuck to your tools or boots can be blasted off in a matter of seconds.
These may seem like a luxury, but find the right one, and you’ll wonder how you lived without one!
When you’re in the midst of soil preparation, garden forks do what a spade or a hoe can’t.
Soil which appears to be impossible to break up will quickly be lightened and turned over. Compost or manure can easily be mixed into your freshly dug earth and spread level.
If you have your own compost heap, these are invaluable and the only tool which is suited to turn your compost.
The tines of the fork break up the clumps and allow air inside. Your plants will thank you for the investment in a good quality garden fork.
Choosing Your Tools
These 6 tools are just the basics for serious gardeners and a great place for beginners to start!
If you have limited space and only have raised beds or a container garden you can leave out the digging spade and garden fork.
No matter what tools you opt for, better quality ones are essential as they take a lot of abuse while digging, moving and clearing.
Choose wisely, and on many occasions, it might be worth spending a few extra dollars to make sure your tools will last many seasons.