Friday, May 16, 2014

Help your annuals SHINE!

Thanks to their instant beauty and low cost, many gardeners will choose a variety of annuals for a beautiful burst of colour in their yards!  To help them look perfect and last all season long we recommend you practice a few basics:

1) Proper cleaning of your flowers

After a flower has bloomed to its full potential it should be removed.  This will force the plant to produce another flower. Pinch the dead flower back to the main stem ensuring the removal of the seed pod. If a plant grows leggy
or out of proportion to the rest of the basket, do not hesitate to trim it back into shape.   If this is done regularly your basket
should flower until October or the first frost.  

2) Water properly

Your basket will need watering every day during the warm summer months, but in early spring it is important to first test the weight of the basket before watering.  Place your hand under the container and check the weight by lifting slightly; you will be able to tell whether your basket needs water or not.  If it does, water until it flows freely from the drain holes on the bottom.  On hot summer days a basket in full sun may need two waterings.  Try to water in the morning as evening waterings can put a basket to bed with wet foliage which can promote mildew.  Note:  more plants are killed by over watering than under watering so always check the weight of your basket.

3) Apply slow release plant food

Watering pulls the nutrients out of the soil so it is important to replace them with a fertilizer.  Mix fertilizer (15-30-15) according to directions and feed to your basket AFTER a good watering.  The roots are open for drinking and will absorb the fertilizer much better.  We recommend fertilizing 1-3 times/week.

Here is a little bit more information on the basics of fertilizing (from Terra Link/GardenPRO).  I'm sure you have all wondered what those three little numbers mean on a fertilizer, well check it out:
"Plants require 16 essential nutrients in varying quantities in order to produce their own food through photosynthesis. The three nutrients required in the greatest quantity (called primary or macro nutrients) are Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K). Every fertilizer label will show the analysis as N-P-K. An analysis such as 18-6-12 contains by weight 18% Nitrogen, 6%Phosphorus (present as Phosphate) and 12% Potassium (present as Potash). 

N- Nitrogen: Provides plants with the ability to produce more chlorophyll, allowing them to grow quicker. Responsible for overall plant size and dark green color. 

P- Phosphorus: Aids in root development and increases flower and fruit production and bloom size. Useful during plant establishment and for encouragement of flowers. 

K- Potassium: Guards the plant against diseases and aids in drought protection and cold tolerance. Also aids in root development and photosynthesis. Useful at the beginning of summer and winter to protect from temperature extremes and to ‘harden-off’. 

Secondary nutrients required in lesser quantities are Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg) and Sulphur (S). Calcium: Aids in formation and division of cells, encourages soil microbes, increases fruit set, prevents blossom end rot in tomatoes. Magnesium: A key element of chlorophyll production. Makes phosphorus more available to plants. Sulphur: Aids in development of amino acids, enzymes and vitamins. Increases seed production. Micronutrients needed in very small quantities include Boron (B), Copper (Cu), Iron (Fe), Manganese ( Mn), Molybdenum (Mo) and Zinc (Z). Also known as trace elements, micronutrients are often quickly leached out of sandy soils or in areas of high rainfall. Although needed in miniscule quantities, they are an integral part of plant health and development. Rounding out the list of 16 essential nutrients are Chlorine, Carbon, Oxygen and Hydrogen."

A couple noteable things to look forward to at West Coast Gardens.  We have our very first FAMILY DAY coming up on May 31st.  This is a FREE event.  Check out the poster below and mark it in your calendar!

We have a ton of FABULOUS sales in store right now, so stop on by to get your annuals, perennials, and patio decor!  We are excited to see you in store!  

We are getting in another shipment of 4' perennials and grasses this week, and we have a great Mix & Match sale option for our 4" Perennials, Grasses:  3 for $10, regular $4.00 each.

If you haven't done so yet check out our custom planting program.  Its a great program where you can bring in your own EMPTY pots, or buy pots in store, we will plant them up exactly how you want it.  We have a group of amazing designers that do a fabulous job making beautiful container gardens perfectly suitable for your yard.

Before we let you go for the long weekend here is a gardening tip:

What looks frothy and elegant in the shade garden, and will fill in the spaces between shrubs?  Astilbes!  This is an underused hardy perennial that adds texture and colour from spring to fall.  The leaves uncurl at first in a beautiful bronze shade, turning dark green, then there appears spires of white, pink or red in late spring.  For fairly shady areas, choose white, pink or salmon varieties to stand out against the dimness, and if there is an area with a little more sun, choose a red variety such as 'Fanal'.  Astilbes require a moist soil (i.e. not at the base of cedar hedges!) and can be divided every 3 - 4 years.  We highly recommend them.

We will see you soon:)

West Coast Gardens