Posts Tagged ‘spring’

Garden Colour: Matchy Matchy Makes Curb Appeal

yellow magnolia

A “doubled colour” effect when the house colour matches garden material, like this yellow magnolia.

Does the garden shrub match the drapes, er, shutters? Or even a door? Let’s hope yes! Garden elements, like colours of flowers, shrubs or trees doubly compliment your front yard curb appeal when you provide a matching paint colour. It’s a effect that guarantees a pleasing colour harmony on your front step.

There are many effective examples of harmonious paint and plant pairings. Consider orange daylilies, or a Japanese Maple with orange bark against an orange door. While these opportune colour pairings may only last part of the season, they are worth keeping in mind when selecting either house paint or plants. This yellow magnolia comes into bloom with a sunny cheerfulness in early spring and warms the whole corner. The yellow flowers wouldn’t have the same satisfying effect against red brick.


Plant Profile: Egyptian Walking Onions

egyptian onion

The Baroque twisty-ness of the Walking Onion.

Do these onions really walk like an Egyptian? Read on. This unique, heirloom perennial onion plant (Allium proliferum) serves both an ornamental and edible garden function. Once you have Egyptian walking onions in your garden, you’ll never again have a “we’re out of onions” moment. Your onion supply will be there, faithfully waiting. Yes, the onion bulbs, or bulblets, that grow on the top of its stalk are small, like teeny shallots. Still, they make a great addition to any recipe when you need onions and are out of the big round ones.

Continue »

Late Spring Blues & Purples

salvia and alliums

Salvia and alliums go together perfectly.

Early to mid-June is awash in perennials with cool colours, the blues of irises, and purples of alliums and ornamental sages (Salvia). These are all super easy care perennials, and good choices for the beginning gardener with a sunny spot. Irises and sage can be planted any time, but allium grow from bulbs planted in the fall. (Make a note to buy some this fall. They are underused and really should be in every garden.) They make a dramatic statement in the garden after the tulips and pansies fade.

Continue »

Plant Profile: Aurinia “Basket of Gold”

aurinia in flower

Scented Aurinia flowers spilling over completely hide a lackluster concrete edge.

Aurinia, an early-blooming, sun-loving, bright yellow flowering perennial is a winner in early spring. If you have a sunny spot, with rocks or a concrete wall, it’s a perfect fit. It’s at its best when it has something it can spill over. The mass of intense, tiny yellow clusters of flowers softens any sharp edges and creates a glowing, frothy effect. The added bonus is that the flowers are quite heavenly scented. My garden isn’t sunny enough for aurinia, but I’m glad my neighbours grow them in their front gardens, as I love to dip my nose into them when I walk by.

Continue »

Spring! Not Quite Sprung

Snowdrops are still blooming in many gardens. Usually they'd be finished by now.

Snowdrops are still blooming in many gardens. Usually they’d be finished by now.

April really has been the cruelest month this year. Our winter simply would not leave, like the dreadful last guest at a party. We’re about a month later than usual in the garden season: Early crocuses are a no-show, and the maple tree’s frothy green flowers—that welcome swath of green in April that’s spring’s true marker—haven’t yet made an appearance. But we can still dive in and get ready to garden. Here are things you can do to kick off your gardening season.

  • Start taking house plants outdoors. Philodendrons, pothos, dracena, sanseveria, succulents, etc. Make sure you place them in a shady spot for first few weeks. North side of a house is good. Direct sun outdoors will burn leaves if you make a sudden change from indoor gloom to intense outdoor rays.
  • Monitor night-time temperatures, and be ready to cover any house plants you’ve placed outdoors if weather goes below zero, (use a blanket or a duvet, topped with an old shower curtain) or  bring back inside overnight. Keeping plants in trays helps with this, until you can safely leave out with no chance of frost.
  • Take herbs outdoors, like rosemary you’ve overwintered, again, in the shade.
  • Loosen leaf mulch on garden beds, or remove entirely to let sun warm soil. You can add mulch back later on in season when things heat up again.
  • Turn on your outdoor tap and attach your garden hose.
  • Fertilize your houseplants, or geraniums you’ve overwintered. Use a half strength solution of organic liquid fertilizer, like kelp.