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Spring clean up

With the nice weather arriving daily, it's impossible to stay inside!  It's always beneficial to clean up our yards and gardens before planting a new crop of flowers.  I will list a few tips we recommend doing to maximize your summer blooming.  

Perennials will start appearing daily now.  We have had a good amount of rain and now with some nice, warm sunshine our perennials have started to emerge from the ground.  Most grasses, bushes and trees can be just left to bloom.  It's important not to trim off the first bud and bloom on those.  Fall is a good time to cut back.  Bushes and trees are good to cut and shape after the first initial bloom.  

Early spring is a good time to split or move some of your perennials such as hostas.  The roots will establish quickly in their new location.  

Prepare your gardens by raking any old leaves or dead flowers from the previous year.  We always recommend mixing in some fresh soil for added nutrients.  Compost and manures can be mixed in very early, but depending on the type you are using it may be a bit powerful for some sensitive annuals.  Most perennials can withstand it and also benefit, but sometimes we find something such as an impatien or begonia might be stunted by a strong fertilizer or manure, so in your annual gardens it's a great idea to mix that in in the fall and let it sit over the winter OR get it in very early spring and mix it well.  

Pots and planters should be refreshed as well.  Same rule goes for fertilizers and manures.  It is really only necessary to replace the top 6-8" of old soil.  Mix it up really well and you are ready for planting.

I know we are all anxious to get our flowers and veggies planted, but it's still very early!  A frost will damage or kill a flower in just one night, so if you just can't wait until the end of May, please keep an eye on the weather.  If there is a chance of frost be sure to bring baskets inside or cover them with a frost protecting sheet or plastic.  Flowers with watery stems or delicate things like potato vine will be lost even if covered, so we urge you to be patient.  

We recommend getting baskets and planters around the Mother's Day weekend, not only are they a wonderful gift, but it's easy enough to bring inside.   Enjoy being outside now and remember we can always help you with what to plant!  

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Spring has arrived

The first day of spring arrived.  We've had an up and down winter this year, so to me it wasn't so bad.  I feel like we didn't have so many of the bitter cold, windy days which made things much more tolerable.  I do enjoy the different seasons, but I'm always glad to see the first signs of spring!  Here at our Kitchener location we started our spring planting the first couple weeks of January.  Pansies are the first crop of the year.  We grow a wide range of different size pots, bowls baskets and containers.  Walking into a greenhouse full of pansies on a cold, gloomy day brings a sense of calm and happiness to our bodies.  The smell of the fresh soil and water reminds us about the things in life we can sometimes take for granted.  It's always nice to take time to "stop and smell the roses."

Now that the snow has melted and the weather is slowly warming up, pansies can be put outside.  They love the cool weather and can even take a slight frost.  I always tell people to get their plants early and just keep an eye on the nighttime temperatures.  The frost will not kill the plants, but it will damage the open blooms.  So if possible, bring them in for the night or cover them with a plastic or cloth to keep the frost off the blooms.  

Pansies are also great to have because they are relatively low maintenance.  Besides loving the cooler weather, they can be planted or placed in almost any location and do well with moderate watering.  It's a good idea to pinch off the spent blooms to encourage more to come.  I always find it rather grounding to deadhead pansy pots.  

Another plus is that if you leave the pansies in planted in the ground, they may reseed themselves and bloom again next year.  You will find that as the weather gets warmer the blooms tend to stretch, you can always cut them right back and wait for them to bloom again.  You can enjoy them all over again going in to the fall!  We are now open for the season and are looking forward to another wonderful year.  

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Christmas Gratitude

As Christmas gets closer and our fundraisers wind down, I just want to take a  moment and thank all of our customers that chose to run a poinsettia fundraiser.  People are often in the mood for giving, and selling poinsettias for your cause is a wonderful way to raise money this season.

In case you aren't aware, we offer poinsettias at a wholesale cost to anyone who wishes to raise money.  Sometimes it's a field trip, computers, books, sporting equipment or just some extra money to help someone in need. We have heard some very kind words this year and we appreciate all of your support!  We are continuously learning and growing.  Our growers do their very best to keep up with the newest, greatest variety each year and often we find the perfect colour that sticks around year after year.  We handle numerous varieties each Christmas to ensure you will always have a fresh poinsettia no matter when you receive your plant.  There is such a wide variety of colours, that each week you will see a new shade of red, pink or white.  We love hearing your compliments and don't hesitate to let us know which is your favourite.  Feedback helps us grow!   Now that many of you have received your poinsettia, it's time to keep them looking great until Christmas.  I personally think the most important thing is water.  They like to be kept just moist to the touch.  They don't like wet feet as this can cause root rot very quickly.  I often check my pot to make sure it's not sitting in a pool of water.  While they can withstand being slightly dried out, it's important to be consistent with watering.  Letting them dry out completely causes stress and this can lead to leaf curl and drop.  Often just a few cups (depending on the size of pot)  is enough a couple times per week.  Another important tip to remember (as I see the snow falling outside)  is that poinsettias can not withstand being in the cold.  Make sure if you are delivering a plant that it's not left outside or in an unheated vehicle for any length of time.  They freeze quickly!   

Please remember we are always here to offer advice, we love to hear your comments and we do our very best to provide you with a beautiful plant that will last all season long- and beyond!  Thank you for another wonderful season.  Merry Christmas and Seasons Greetings!

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Poinsettia Care Tips

One of the most frequently asked questions we get is "how do I care for my poinsettia."  It's a great question!

Personally my home decorating isn't complete until I have the perfect poinsettia on my table.  I love choosing the shape and colour each year- even though I see a huge greenhouse full of them, the beauty never fades. 

We grow many different varieties of poinsettias.  Did you know there are hundreds of varieties of red?  We carefully chose best ones for our customers.  We aim to have an early variety for early to mid November sales and later varieties for December sales.  Buying an early variety such as "Christmas eve"  doesn't mean it won't last until Christmas, it just means it's ready when you are!  Choose a poinsettia with a height, shape and colour to your liking. The bloom is actually the cyathia- which isn't the coloured bract, it's the yellow part in the centre of the plant.  These should be visible when buying your poinsettia.  They do eventually fall out, and your flower will still have a long life, but buying with the cyathia still intact means you are buying a very fresh pot!  We will help you chose the perfect potcover for your plant and wrap it in a protective sleeve.  This will help with weather and breakage.  Poinsettias are actually a tropical plant native to Mexico- so they don't like the cold!  Be careful not to place them in an unheated vehicle or take them for a long walk.  They can freeze VERY quickly!  Once you get home it's time to cut the sleeve off and choose the perfect spot.  The preferred home temperature is 65-72 degrees .  Keep plants away from a cold draft or warm vent.  Bright, indirect sunlight will help keep the bracts from fading in colour.  Now for watering!  Poinsettias like to be kept moist to the touch.  The top of the soil can dry out moderately, but be careful not to let it dry too much!  This will cause leaf curl and dropping.  Water with a watering can or cup and make sure the plant is never sitting in water. This can quickly cause root rot which can also lead to leaf dropping.  Be consistent with watering and you will have a very long life with your plant. 

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Poinsettias- the long journey begins

One of our largest crops throughout the year is the poinsettia crop.  Poinsettias originate from the Mexico and Guatemala regions.  We receive our cuttings in July and transplant them into the pots- which they will remain until fully grown.  This year we will grow 4 sizes.  We categorize them into pot sizes, but the actual plant will be much larger.     We start all of our poinsettias in our Ariss location.  The pots travel down the conveyor, fill with soil, the cutting is planted and transported to a water tunnel that mists them.  Next step is to transport them to the greenhouse where they will spend the next 2 months growing.  The first 2 weeks are critical for growth.  They like to be misted every few hours.  They will ensure the leaves (bracts) stay moist and the roots remain cool in the hot summer temperatures.  We have upgraded our greenhouses with "booms" that travel overhead of the plants releasing a light mist.  As the plants grow larger, they need to be given space to expand wider.  This will ensure they do not get tall and leggy and form a beautiful, full shape that is appealing to customers.  We pinch every single one of our cuttings to help produce more breaks and branches.  This is done by hand to ensure it's done properly.  We have well over 100,000 cuttings!  It's a big job!   Poinsettias are greatly controlled by temperature, they require no less than 60 degree nights and no more than 72 degree days.  This can be tricky during the long summer days, so a shade cloth is pulled overhead in the greenhouses,  side walls and roofs are controlled by computer.  Also, furnaces are turned on overnight to maintain the temperature required.  Our growers Paul and Mike have done their studying on this!  While it is said to be one of the "toughest" crops to grow, poinsettias are actually easy to grow- but it's the constant decision making that can take its toll!  We can also control growth by chemicals (not harmful to humans or animals)  these help to regulate size and keep pests away.   Next, the fall weather is perfect to help bring the bracts into colour.  Poinsettias do best with natural light and uninterrupted darkness.  We start to see some colour by mid October!  Next up I can give you some tips to help keep your poinsettias strong, vibrant and beautiful in your home until Christmas and beyond!


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October 13 2016

Welcome to our website!  Thank you for reading our blogs:)  I hope you will enjoy reading about what we're up to here!   We have just finished another fall season.  This one was particularily interesting.  Due to the above seasonal temperatures all summer long, our mum field had about a 2 week delay.  Normally mums set their buds in early July- BUT this year every day over 28-30 degrees celcius set them back slightly.  While we do grow early, mid and late varieties, we like to see some colour early August,  but Mother Nature had a different agenda.  I feel that even though people may not have been in a "Fall" mood- being so hot and humid can also be very hard on annuals.  So yes, we did feel the heat affected some business this year.  Unfortunately there is nothing we can do to encourage blooming!  Our mums are all grown on a beautiful 10 acre field.  This way we are able to keep the size consistant, the plants strong and give our customers the longest lasting plants possible!  Sunshine and rain are the best growing tools.  Stay tuned for some fall tips for your garden! 



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Sheila Holm
April 24, 2017
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