Flowers start as little buds on a plant. Then they grow larger and open up to reveal the flower. This process is called “blooming”.
When a plant only has a few open flowers, you can say that it’s “starting to bloom”.
After most of the flowers are fully opened, you can describe it as “in bloom”: I see that your tulips are in bloom now.
And when the flowers start to turn brown, dry up, and go away, you say that they’re “wilting”
Most of us plant annual flowers because they will bloom for months, giving us color all season. Plants we call annuals are really just perennials that are not hardy outside of tropical climates. So one gardener’s annual may be another gardener’s perennial—or houseplant. For most us in North America, flowering plants sold in nurseries are meant to be enjoyed for one season before they die. To keep them blooming as much as possible, choose the right plant, water and feed it well, and keep it groomed.
1. Choose Carefully and Plant ASAP
Plant breeders have done a great job of creating flowers that seem to bloom nonstop, many with no help from us. Most are quite lovely, but they tend to be on the short side. The reason may be that short plants are easier to ship and display. But some of us still grow sizable old-fashioned annuals, like love lies bleeding (Amaranthus caudatus) and tall flowering tobacco (Nicotiana sylvestries), as well as a good assortment of traditional annual flowers that need a little grooming to keep them looking their best.
When choosing annual flowers for maximum blooming, look for young, bushy plants with no flowers. These will acclimate better in the garden than plants that have become pot-bound or that are already going to seed. Always choose plants for your growing conditions. Don’t try to fudge it with limited sun or overcook flowers that need partial shade. New plants aren’t established enough to take that kind of stress.
Get the new plants in the ground or pots as soon as possible after purchasing them. Don’t let them outgrow their pots. Give them time to get adjusted to being in the ground while they are still young and growing. Water the plants immediately after planting, even if rain is predicted.
2. Water Well and Feed Often
Annuals don’t have deep root systems. Water them whenever the soil feels dry about 1 inch below the surface. Even drought-tolerant annuals will bloom better if they get regular watering. By high summer, that can mean watering some containers more than once a day.
Water is vital, but you don’t want your plants sitting in wet soil, which will cause the roots to rot. Plant them in well-draining soil. That means soil that holds the water long enough for the roots to soak it in while allowing the excess water to eventually drain off.
Annuals expend a lot of energy setting buds and blooming. Even in soil rich in organic matter, it helps to feed them every three to six weeks with a water-soluble fertilizer.
Heat can leave your annuals wilting every afternoon. Giving them a good, deep soaking in the morning will prepare them to handle the afternoon sun. Even then, there will be days when leaves will become crisp and dry. Don’t be afraid to cut these off and prune the plants back to healthy leaves. They will regrow quickly.
Mulching helps keep the shallow roots of annual flowers cool and moist. The major drawback to mulching is that it inhibits re-seeding, so try not to mulch until the volunteers from last season are up and growing.
3. Groom Regularly
Deadhead often. Remove faded flowers and don’t let seed pods form. This is most important with older varieties of plants that hold onto their old flowers, like geraniums, marigolds, pansies, petunias, salvia, snapdragons, sweet peas, and zinnias.
Many modern hybrids have been developed to be self-cleaning. Their faded flowers seem to disappear as new buds form and open. (Unfortunately, most are sterile, so they will never produce seed.) Ask at the garden center whether the variety you’ve chosen needs pinching to become fat and bushy and set lots of buds.
Even some older annuals, like the popular flowering tobacco (Nicotiana alata), impatiens, sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima), Wave™ petunias, and wax begonias, do not require deadheading to stay in bloom. It’s nice to include some annuals that need minimal maintenance, but if your flowers appear to be slowing down and there are a lot of faded flowers hanging on, it’s a good bet they will benefit from some grooming on your part. They’ll look better and grow busier if you keep them neat.
If you have plants that start to look ragged in midsummer, don’t be afraid to prune them back by several inches. For example, petunias can get long and leggy and will look better if they are cut back to 3 to 4 inches long, encouraging them to send out new growth. Coleus will grow straight up if not pinched regularly until it fills out.
If you are going away for a week or two in the summer, prune your annuals just before leaving and they’ll be back in bloom when you return.
Aplus Gardening Landscaping with a love to get it right because they are your colors … in West Vancouver and North Vancouver
Growing with a lifeline in the form of an urban garden. You can support your family by growing your own vegetables and spices. This not only helps to feed your family, it cAn become a source of income for yours as well so you can now sell the vegetables and seeds to earn a living.
Eating locally grown food reduces your ecological footprint, decreases waste from packaging, and eases concerns about food safety. Local food is also often fresher, more nutritious, and better tasting.
Urban agriculture refers to growing food within a town or city – and includes personal gardens, community gardens, and urban farms.
Council encourages urban agriculture, because it helps:
- Encourage increased social interaction
- Enhance the city’s food security and reduce our ecological footprint by encouraging more locally grown foods
- Support and encourage environmentally and socially sustainable activities
As part of the City’s ongoing effort to help residents get involved in food production, you are now allowed to keep hens in your back yard. Read the rules, and register your hens.
Urban beekeeping is an excellent way to improve pollination for plants in backyard, community, and public gardens, which leads to better vegetable production. Learn the rules for keeping bees in your yard.
To help developers plan common outdoor amenity spaces for their projects that include opportunities for growing food, staff have developed a set of urban agriculture design guidelines.
The City runs programs that allow residents to volunteer to tend to street gardens in traffic calming spaces, and provides guidelines for boulevard gardening
A-Plus-Gardening-Landscaping Recommends to watch for the Japanese beetle and the New dump rules to
- Identify regulated area
- Restrict plant, soil, and landscape waste movement
- Permits for moving restricted waste
Japanese beetle has a taste for landscape plants, ornamental plants, fruit and vegetable gardens, nurseries, orchards, and agricultural crops. As such, these beetles pose a genuine risk not only to parks and gardens, but to agricultural production as well.
A subterranean pest for much of its life cycle, Popillia japonica’s eggs are laid and hatched below the soil where the larva feeds on plant roots in its early stages in life. This introduces an additional layer of difficulty to manage the pest, as it is hard to reach them underground. In the adult stage, it emerges from the soil and starts feeding on the foliage of the plants, and then spreads its wings in search of additional food sources
Temporary transfer station for green waste in False Creek area
This means you cannot move:
- Rooted plants and soil outside the area, year round
- Above-ground plant parts outside the area between June 15 and October 15, the season adult beetles fly
If you do not follow these rules, you will be fined by the CFIA.
$25: 1/2 pickup load
$50: pickup load even with the top of the bed
$75: pickup load heaped over the top of the bed
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The green is growing and A-Plus is sounding toning.
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life ain’t easy as we Grow ..
– Back in the day, many of Vancouver’s homes had a veggie patch.
“When temperatures are consistently 10 C at night, you can put out everything — tomatoes, basil, peppers.”]
strawberries, tomatoes, herbs and lettuce are excellent choices for growing in containers.
Early March: Sow radishes, broad beans, mustard greens and peas.
Mid- to late-March: Sow cabbage, salad blends, peas, beets, parsnips, radishes, onions and spinach.
April: Sow spinach, green onions, carrots, cabbage, lettuce and Swiss chard.
May: Sow bush beans.
We always recommended buying warm-season vegetables such as tomatoes, squash, peppers as seedlings at local nurseries and planting them out in late May or early June
We recommend growing the following: zucchini (four plants), tomatoes (five plants, staked), peppers (six plants), cabbage, bush beans, lettuce, beets, carrots, spinach, radishes and marigolds (to discourage rabbits).
Yes, zucchini. The veggie that gives so much you’ll be handing them out to friends and family like hotcakes. People may start to hide at the sight of “gifts,” but you can always console yourself with the dozens of chocolate-zucchini cupcakes you’ll be able to make.
Tip: Pick zucchinis when they are small, as letting them develop into behemoths dilutes their bright taste.
Pretty much any type of bean (from bush to pole) will grow and produce like wildfire, so much so that you’ll be able to pick a couple of handfuls daily throughout the summer.
Pole beans will need some kind of support structure for the vine to climb and twine – make a sturdy teepee of long poles or sticks, or plant against a tall fence. If the bean vines reach the top of your structure you can always trail them back down again.
Tip: Plant the “bush” variety of beans if you plan to can or pickle your harvest, as the smaller more compact shape lends itself to jars.
There is something incredible about the taste of fresh lettuce from the garden, and a little lettuce seed goes a long way when creating a variety of different salads. You can practically just toss the seeds into your garden bed and heads of lettuce will appear in droves. Pick new growth as soon as it comes up, otherwise your little greens will bolt and become giant lettuce trees.
Tip: Lettuce likes a cooler climate so make sure to keep the soil moist during the growing season.
Just as prolific as beans, from snap to snow to the kind you shell before you eat, peas are a wonderful addition to any vegetable garden. They’re fun to watch grow (you can start them as early as the soil can be worked) and they produce pretty little flowers that attract bees. Peas also prefer a cooler climate and if it’s a particularly cool spring you can plant another set about three weeks after the first.
Tip: Be vigilant with your spray bottle of mild detergent as aphids can suck the life right out of your peas.
Growing onions is easy, and they’re definitely tastier than when you buy them from the grocery store. Bulb onions are readily available in a variety of flavours, from yellow to white to red.
Plant a row and in as little as two weeks you could be chopping some green onions into your salad; wait a little longer (until the tops start to fall over) and you will have fresh onions to add to your soups, stews and stir-fry.
Tip: Store your onions in a cool place covered with a mesh bag that allows air to circulate.
The best way to water most plants is by applying enough to moisten the plant’s entire root system, and then letting the soil dry out slightly before watering again.
The best time of day to water a garden is in the morning, since that gives the plants time to dry off before nightfall. Leaving water on plants overnight can lead to mold
Apply water slowly so it’s absorbed by the soil rather than running off — a soak er hose is ideal. Avoid daily light sprinklings, which encourage roots to grow near the soil surface where they’re vulnerable to drying out.
Rather than relying on a schedule, water plants when they need it. (Besides, how do you know when you’ve applied an inch of water with a soaker hose?
It’s usually best to apply water directly to the soil around plants rather than watering with a sprinkler. Less water is lost to evaporation, especially on hot, sunny days. Foliage stays dry, minimizing disease problems
drought-tolerant plants may need supplemental water only during extended dry spells. Note, however, that just because a plant is drought-tolerant doesn’t mean it doesn’t fare better with a regular supply of moisture.
This rain garden nestles into the landscape and demonstrates how storm water management features can be done in a pleasing fashion
Fixing Drainage Issues in Your Yard
what you can do at home to keep our waterways healthy and clean. Part of the water bring lazy and taking the easiest route
Why plant rain gardens?
The news has been saturated (pun intended) with water-related headlines lately: last year, Toledo’s water was contaminated with toxic algae. Locally in central Ohio, we’ve experienced elevated nitrate levels and localized flooding from heavy rainfall and runoff.
Though compacted and paved suburban or urban landscapes are limited in their ability to absorb rainfall, the creative gardeners among us can capture their rainwater in a rain garden. Treating your own home’s runoff is one way residents can protect our drinking water while decreasing harmful effects on waterways from flash flooding, erosion, and pollution.
Storing water temporarily in a rain garden allows it to draw down slowly, preventing the possibility that it will pick up pollutants and carry them to the nearest stream. Water is naturally filtered as well: gardens remove and degrade contaminants through microbial processes, plant uptake, exposure to sunlight, and absorption to soil particles. Properly designed rain gardens capture the first inch of rainfall, and drain within a day. Since most storms produce less than one inch of rainfall, capturing it reduces pollutants significantly.
How To Build A Rain Garden
There’s a new sort of garden in town. It’s easy to install, looks good year-round and has a positive impact on the environment. It’s a rain garden
A rain garden is a special type of garden, designed to collect stormwater runoff from a roof, driveway or other impervious surfaces. Rather than rushing off into a storm sewer or a local waterway, the rainwater collects in a shallow depression in your yard. This area is planted with native grasses and wildflowers that are specially selected for their ability to gradually absorb and filter stormwater.
Rain gardens can have a significant impact on the water quality in our communities. Studies have shown that as much as 70% of the pollution in streams, rivers and lakes has been carried there by stormwater. By taking responsibility for the rainwater that falls on your own roof and driveway, you’ll be helping to protect our rivers, streams and lakes from stormwater pollution. Adding a rain garden to your yard will also provide food and shelter for wildlife, and give you a whole new garden that’s hardy, low maintenance and naturally beautiful!
Siting the Garden
Your rain garden should be located at least 10 feet from the house. A natural site is a low spot in your yard that often collects water after a heavy rain. Ideally this area receives full sun, but at a minimum it should receive a half day of sunlight. There should be a natural slope (at least 1 percent grade) leading from the water collection area (your roof or driveway) down to the rain garden. Choosing a relatively level spot for the garden will keep digging to a minimum. or call …
A-Plus Gardening & Landscaping
Once you’ve identified the new garden’s location, remove the sod and dig a shallow depression approximately 6″ deep. Slope the sides gradually from the outside edge to the deepest area. Use the soil that you remove to build up a slightly raised area on the lowest side of the garden. This berm will help contain the stormwater and allow it to percolate slowly through the rain garden.
If your rain garden is no more than about 6″ deep, stormwater will usually be absorbed within a one- to seven-day period. Because mosquitoes require seven to 10 days to lay and hatch their eggs, this will help you avoid mosquito problems. If you want to create an area with standing water for fish and amphibians, you can make one part of your rain garden deeper, perhaps as much as 18 inches in the deepest spot. Depending on the type of soil you have (sand, clay, loam), you may need to line that area of the garden with plastic to help retain a small pool of water.
A typical residential rain garden is 100 to 300 square feet, but any size rain garden is fine. Most people just size the garden to suit their available space. You can calculate the ideal size for a rain garden, based on the surface area of your roof, soil type and the garden’s distance from your house. (For more detail, see the links at the end of this article.)
The downspout from your roof or sump pump outlet from your basement should be directed toward your rain garden depression. This can be accomplished by a natural slope, by digging a shallow swale, or by piping the runoff directly to the garden through a buried 4″ diameter plastic drain tile.
Time to plant! Native plants are the best choice for rain gardens.
They withstand difficult growing conditions and require little care. When choosing the plants, consider height, bloom time and color. Clumps of three to seven plants of the same variety will look better than a patchwork of singles. Be sure to mix native ornamental grasses and sedges in with your perennial wildflowers to ensure the garden has a strong root mass that will resist erosion and inhibit weed growth.
New plants should be watered every other day for the first two weeks or so. Once they are well established, your garden should thrive without additional watering. Fertilizers will not be necessary, and only minimal weeding will be needed after the first summer of growth.
Most rain gardeners wait until early spring to cut back the prior year’s growth. Leaving seed heads and spent foliage in place through the winter provides visual interest as well as cover and food for many kinds of wildlife. Once spring comes, burning off the dead material is the best way to knock back weeds and stimulate new growth. If burning is not an option, mow the dead plants or cut them back with a scythe or pruning shears.
Applied Ecological Services, Inc., has been installing rain gardens for more than 20 years. Their web site has lots of good information about rain gardens, and their Taylor Creek Restoration Nursery offers a wide variety of garden plants.
A-Plus Gardening & Landscaping