Posts Tagged ‘gardening’

Spring Gardening After a Hard Winter

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

Pruning small trees and shrubs in February, during the dormant period, is a safe time to make cuts. Avoid pruning shrubs that are about to flower, as you will lose the buds. Use your handsaw and secateurs to improve access, shape, or remove branches broken by snow loads. Cut back any of last year’s perennials that were left for winter interest such as coneflowers or ornamental grasses. Cut to within an inch of the crown of the plant.

Damage and Debris Removal
In winter or early spring remove fallen leaves, branches, breakage from snow, and dead portions of Chafer grub damaged lawns. Rake up debris from the lawn and garden beds and dispose of as much possible in the green bin. Note that homeowners can call 311 and request the largest green bin available or order a second bin. Piles of debris left on the lawn will kill the emerging spring grass beneath it and becomes a nesting site for slugs and insect pests.

Add Composted Mulch
With spring on its way, a layer of composted mulch installed on the planting bed will help to suppress weeds, retain moisture, and moderate soil temperature. If your soil is light brown or yellowish in colour, this is a telltale sign that you need to use bark mulch as a top-dressing to add vital nutrients to your garden.

2017 is the year of ‘Soundscaping.’ Plant trees or shrubs that have dense lower branches in order to buffer your garden space from urban noise. Leaves, trunks and branches serve to disperse sound waves. It’s no surprise that trees are once again in the spotlight for their health benefits.

Jessica Salvador is a Certified Landscape Horticulturist. She is Co-Owner of Higher Ground Gardens with Christian Kessner, a Certified Landscape Technician

Easy Spring Gardening Techniques

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

GardenQuick Cut Backs

Give the garden a spruce-up by removing dead branches from shrubs and cutting back ornamental grasses and perennials that were left over winter. The garden will have an instant tidy look. Ornamental grasses prefer to be cut back in spring. The only grasses to leave alone are Carex, or evergreen sedges.

Garden Fertilizer
We never use fertilizer in the garden beds! After years of testing and amazing results, using shredded, composted bark mulch on garden beds is all you need. This wonderful bi-product of the local forestry industry decomposes into rich compost.

Dig Out Weeds … With A Kitchen Knife
The straight blade of an old kitchen knife digs straight down around tap roots. Cut a small square into the ground around a dandelion root to loosen soil and pop the entire root out easily. This works lawn areas as well.

Hack the Winter Blues Away
If you love to prune, cut and saw your way through the garden, spring is a joyous time. Keep shrubs healthy and maximize flowering by hacking down to a simple framework. Buddleja (butterfly bush), Cotinus (smoke bush), Cornus (dogwood), Spiraea (Bridal wreath), and Salix (willow) benefit most.

2014 is the year to end Nature Deficiency Disorder. Get out there, get dirty and get the kids and grandkids involved. Make mistakes and watch the garden recover. Grow some food and keep the neighbourhood gorgeous.

Jessica Salvador is a Certified Landscape Horticulturist.
She runs Higher Ground Gardens with her husband Christian, a Certified Landscape Technician

Higher Ground Gardens



Discover the Rewards of Spring Gardening

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

Early spring gardening saves you time in the summer and keeps plants and lawns healthy, growing and gorgeous.

Mulching magic
Applying a layer of mulch to garden beds in early spring is gardening efficiency at its best. Not only does mulch help conserve moisture during the drought months in summer, it breaks down gradually and adds nutrients to the soil and suppresses weed growth. It’s a true triple threat in the garden. Start by picking out all the weeds in the garden beds then layer the gardens with a three to four inch deep layer of decomposed bark mulch.

Lawn Care Tricks
There are two main tasks that will ensure a healthy lawn come mid-spring: removing the thatch layer of dead grass blades from the lawn and letting air get to the roots of your turf by removing plugs of soil using an aeration tool. Once the rain subsides somewhat in mid-spring you can then add lime – to reduce the acidity of the soil caused by heavy rainfall – and a spring fertilizer.

Dig and Divide
Love that solitary hosta you have growing in a corner? Spring is the perfect time to dig it out, cut the root mass into two or three segments, and plant them back exactly where you want them. Many perennials benefit from being divided every 3 years, or when they look like they’ve outgrown the space they’re in. Dividing and moving plants during their dormancy – through winter until new growth appears – will give you the best results.

by Jessica Salvador
Jessica has spent over ten years in the landscaping industry. She graduated from the horticulture program at Capilano University as a Certified Landscape Horticulturist. Higher Ground Gardens, a family-run residential gardening business for homeowners on Vancouver’s West Side, was founded in 2008 with her husband, a certified landscape technician.