Podcast: The Perfect Lawn - Jim Hole's Top 5 Tips

Are you wondering about growing the perfect lawn but couldn't make it out to one of Jim's FREE talks? Well, you're in luck! Jim Hole has recorded a podcast all about taking care of your lawn, on the Hole's Radio Network, available here.

In this episode of the Hole's Radio Network, Jim Hole chats with Brad Walker—the reluctant gardener—about the top 5 things everybody needs to know about growing the perfect lawn. He covers all the topics: top-dressing, dethatching, weeding, watering, fertilizing, and more!

Play it below or download it by clicking here and—when you're done checking it out—please let us know what you think (by replying in the comments below). Also, let us know if you'd like to see more podcasts or video tutorials in the future.

5 Reasons To Love Succulents

1. They come in so many different colours

We carry a huge selection of exotic succulents... grow your collection! Succulents need friends too.

 
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2. They'll support you on your special day


The Floral Studio at Hole's can create beautiful succulent bouquets & boutonnieres (like this little guy pictured) for your special day. Visit them online here

 

3. They know the best spots to hang out (literally)


We carry a variety of beautiful, geometric terrariums that are planted and ready to hang out. Or pick up a terrarium & succulents for a DIY project or as a gift!

 

4. They'll outlive the rest of your bouquet

Try a bouquet with long lasting Echeveria succulent blooms can be plucked from the arrangement and, with patience, rooted in soil to be kept as a houseplant. Buy yours here!

 

 

5. They help share your favourite photos!

Go vertical! We carry a huge selection of colourful magnetic pots for succulents & other houseplants.

"Don't Get Too Close" Jim Hole's Best Advice On Wasps

Wasps. I can’t think of any other insects that causes more anger, fear, and loathing than these guys. When August rolls around, they are at their picnic-ruining peak, and most people are prepared to do anything—just about anything—to get rid of them.
 
But the main problem with that vendetta-like position is that it leads some people down a dangerous path in an attempt to eradicate wasps from their yards. Recently, a Canadian man accidentally set fire to his home by dousing a wasp’s nest (that was attached to his house) with gasoline and igniting it. Fortunately, his house suffered only minor damages.

Now, if you do find a wasp’s next around you home, and you want to get rid of it, Knockdown Hornet and Wasp Blaster with the Knockdown Spray Extender is a good way to go. Knockdown contains two very quick acting wasp killers and the spray extender always you to treat the nest from a safe distance.
 
Still, even with these two products, the best times to spray is not during the day. Very early morning or evening, when the air is cooler, there is little wind, and the wasps are in their nest is the best time to spray. And don’t forget to read the label.
 
Calling an exterminator is still an option for those who don’t want to come anywhere near a wasp’s nest. But if you are so inclined—and a bit vengeful—Knockdown coupled with the Knockdown Spray Extender works very well!

- Jim

 

Podcast: The Best Ways to Water Your Garden, Containers, Lawn, & Trees - Jim Hole's Top 5 Tips

Are you wondering about the best watering advice for your garden, lawn, trees, or containers but couldn't make it out to one of Jim's FREE talks? Well, you're in luck! Jim Hole has recorded a podcast all about watering your plants on the Hole's Radio Network, available here.

In this episode of the Hole's Radio Network, Jim Hole chats with Brad Walker—the reluctant gardener—about the top 5 things everybody needs to know about watering their plants.

Play it below or download it by clicking here and—when you're done checking it out—please let us know what you think (by replying in the comments below). Also, let us know if you'd like to see more podcasts or video tutorials in the future.

Hole's 6 Favourite Mid-Summer Yields

Jealous of your neighbour snacking away in his yard? Did you miss the planting season? Are you looking for a fruit producing perennial to spice up your landscape? Whatever your needs, we've got you covered. Here are our favourite varieties for a mid-summer harvest! Pick one up at Hole's today and avoid missing out on garden-fresh fruits & vegetables ever again.

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1. Wyoming Black Raspberry

This hardy variety produces tasty, dark-black raspberries in mid-summer. Good for snacking, baking, & preserving. This plant is also non-suckering - ideal for a smaller garden! Pick yours up today!

 

2. Lee #8 Saskatoon

This is a variety to choose for consistent fruiting, good yields, & good eating. It comes as a cross from Thiessen and Northline. Saskatoons are known for being very hardy on the prairies! We've got lots of these in stock!

 

3. Cool Breeze Cucumber

Deliciously crunchy and seedless, Hole's Hybrid Cool Breeze Cucumber is perfect for snacking and thrives in this climate. Find these exclusive seeds here, at Hole's Greenhouses.

 

4. Indigo Cherry Tomato

Can you believe the colour!? The unique purple skin contains high levels of anthocyanins which are disease-fighting compounds that help fight cancer, reduce inflammation, and slow the aging process!

Sure to turn heads, these tasty little tomatoes boast a semi-sweet flavour and a firm, crunchy consistency. Perfect for healthy snacking and salads!

 

5. Mama Mia Giallo Pepper

This slender, golden pepper grows on compact plants. This makes it great for patio container growing but great in the garden as well. Sweet and very early maturing, you can't go wrong with this delicious pepper in the kitchen! 

 

6. Nanking Cherry

The Nanking cherry grows on medium-sized shrubs that are a flattering addition to any yard. The fruit is small, but very sweet and juicy! Great for fresh eating, baking, preserves, & wine-making! This is a the perfect perennial to pick up from us for your yard!

Curb Appeal Contest: Before & After

Thank you to all of our contest applicants! With so many amazing yard transformations, choosing a winner was no easy feat!

1st Place Winner: Laurie Keindel!

"Global News has broadcasted from our yard and we have been Winterscape finalists twice. We need help badly, as people enjoy passing our home for a smile. We have a rep to keep up with!" - Laurie Keindel

"Participating in this contest was an adventure and a pleasure! Our home is on a hill, so decision #1 was to prop the baskets high enough so that they could be seen from the curb. Then, all of our perennials that were previously in our yard were transplanted to the local community garden in Devon for others to enjoy. The garden was designed for birds to enjoy so that our indoor cats could watch them. I think the change is from night to day!" - Laurie

Great work Laurie!
We're happy to see you had some help too!


2nd Place Winner: Wendy Lickacz!

"Living on my urban west-end crescent for almost 30 years leaves an impression in keeping the natural look and feel of urban country living alive. Times have changed, and while I maintain my country, woodland, and native plants and shrubs, I envision enhancing my entrance and address signage to harmonize with the modern neighbourhood." - Wendy

"Receiving your flowers was the catalyst for me to create newfound beauty that has enhanced my curb’s appeal. I designed and built this floral creation using nature’s elements along with the dedication and pleasure of time. The display has been a showstopper delighting neighbours and passersbyers who have initiated conversations with one another to express their appreciation, joy, and delight. Thank you for the opportunity to be a ‘busy bee’ steward of your glorious flowers!" - Wendy


3rd Place Winner: Tammy Lawrence!

"I was 7 when my father bought the house new in 1972—back when there was nothing but farmland beyond the Duggan neighbourhood. When my father passed away 9 years ago he left his home to me! I intend to never leave and have been working hard to beautify the gardens. The statues were birthday presents from dad. With a lot of love, hard work and concrete from a neighbours driveway it's starting to come together! I need help to finish! Winning would be a dream come true!" - Tammy

"My garden looks so lovely now, thanks to Holes!! Thank you VERY much for adding beauty to my home! 🏡 I look forward to returning for products to help beautify the huge waterfall and pond I am also working on in my backyard." - Tammy


Thank you again to all who participated!

If you missed our Curb Appeal Contest, don't worry! You can still transform your home's curb appeal in a flash with our Buy 1, Get 1 FREE Bedding Plant Sale!

Visit Hole's today and let our experts provides tips & tricks for a quick yard or garden transformation!

"My Early August Checklist" by Jim Hole

It’s hard to believe that August has arrived, but since we are at the mid-point of the growing season, I thought that I would compile a list of a half-dozen “to do’s” for early August to keep your garden firing on all cylinders.
 
1. Fertilize the lawn with Nitro Boost fertilizer. Lawns benefit from regular applications throughout the growing season. A rule of thumb is to apply nitrogen containing fertilizer every 3-4 weeks to keep the turf thick and dense. Not only does a dense lawn look great but it really helps to keep weeds out. Nitro Boost contains “stabilized nitrogen” that releases the fertilizer slowly for more even lawn growth.

2. If you do have dandelions in your lawn spray Weedex or, if you prefer, Weed-B-Gon which contains chelated iron. Chelated iron in Weed-B-Gon is tough on dandelions, but won’t hurt your lawn grass.

3. In August, as cucumbers and tomatoes really kick into fruit production, they require a bit more potassium and calcium (last number on the fertilizer label) for healthy fruit. The Talk of Tomato contains both potassium and calcium, and can be used on tomatoes and cucumbers.

4. Keep an eye out for cabbage worms! This is the time of year that cabbage worms can destroy crops like: broccoli, cauliflower, kale and, of course, cabbage. The good news is that there is a great, naturally occurring, bacteria that will kill the worms and not harm beneficial insects. It’s called BTK and should be sprayed now. It can be applied right up until the day that you harvest.
 
5. Slugs love warmth, moisture, and lush August plants. Slug and Snail Bait contains sodium and iron and it can be scattered on the soil in the garden (not directly on edible plants) and works great for keeping slimy slugs off of your plants.

6. Don’t forget to use Natria weekly on plants like cucumbers, zucchini and roses to keep powdery mildew from invading leaves. Natria is a bacteria (think probiotic) that must be applied BEFORE the mildew shows up. The time to use it is when the plants are looking mildew free!

Your Pre-Flight Safety Checklist – For Weight Loss?

You’re watching the gate attendant run through her pre-flight boarding protocol.  She’s calling the names of passengers that are not here.  She’s dealing with passenger requests.  And she’s trying desperately to remain calm.
 
You gaze out the window where you can see your plane.  The luggage cart has arrived and guys are hoisting the luggage into the bottom of the plane.  Trucks seem to know exactly where to go; exactly where to be at every moment of the day.
 
You look into the cockpit of the plane and can see 2 pilots.  They’re both lifting their arms in the air to check on switches. Then you see their heads move left and right as they check gauges. Everyone is going through a pre-flight checklist of some sort.  Without this safety net things could be missed or forgotten.

You might be wondering what this has to do with weight loss.
Well, the truth is… weight loss is hard for most people.
Believe me, I know. I hear the struggles every single day from new clients that are joining up, friends, and even family members.  I also know the struggle a bit myself.
 
I think that weight loss would be a lot easier if we had a pre-weight loss checklist.
 
I think it’d look something like this:

  • Do you have the desire to cultivate healthy habits that last a lifetime?
  • Are you willing to look into your past experience and see what unhealthy patterns you’ve picked up along the way?
  • Do you have a system in place to help you through this journey?
  • Do you have your measurements?  This is more than just what the scale says.
  • What is your fail plan?  More than likely part of your unhealthy patterns is a loss of motivation or desire after a week or two.  What is your plan when you reach this section of your journey?

I could add in other things, but I think you get the idea.  
 
Businesses require a business plan before a bank will lend money to them.  Pilots must go through a pre-flight checklist before taking off.  Athletes prepare daily (both physically and mentally) for their event.
 
To reach your goals, whatever they are, you must have a plan.  Leaving things up to chance is an almost sure fire way to ensure failure.
 
What is your plan? 
 
Dare to share your plan with me I am happy to give constructive feedback and help you take action on that plan. 

- Robin

Garden Alert: Poplar & Aspen Borers

One pest that is causing a lot of grief for those who have poplar trees on their properties is an insect called the Poplar Borer.

It is a native beetle that evolved feeding primarily on native aspens, but has developed a taste for Swedish Columnar aspens that are typically planted in rows along fences for privacy screening. Poplar Borers are rather large, gray beetles with faint, yellow stripes on its body and antennae that are as long as its body.

The problem with these borers is that they not only feed on the green “phloem” that sits just below the bark and moves sugars up and down the tree, but the larva (worms) also tunnel into the wood and leave a labyrinth of trails that weaken the tree, leaving portions of the trunk prone to snapping-off on windy days.

Aspen Borers prefer aspens that have trunks about 10 cm wide or larger and they typically seek trees that are stressed. The adults prefer to lay eggs on the south to southwest side of trees that have lots of exposed bark (extra trunk heat is better for larva growth and development).

The lifecycle of Aspen Borers can take several years to complete in our region, but once they invade trees they are very difficult to control. Given the great benefits of having Swedish Columnar aspens, and the expense of removing these trees, the battle to keep the borers at bay is critical.

Here are some of my observations and a bit of a game plan for Poplar Borer:

  • Aspens growing in landscape fabric with rock around the base are the worst affected, typically
  • Drought stressed aspens growing in poor soil are also preferred by the borers
  • Aspens with branches removed on the south/southwest side of tree are attacked more often

Symptoms of borer attack:

  • Small holes in trunk with brown sap stains on bark
  • Small piles of ‘wood shavings’ at trunk base from borer tunneling

What can be done?

  • Inspect your poplars several times during the growing season and look for any signs of damage
  • Pest control products like ‘Garden Protector’ can be used as a trunk and foliage spray prior to the borers penetrating the wood
  • If the borers enter the wood, control is difficult. A number of gardeners have been quite successful applying Knock Down aerosol insecticidal spray directly into the entry holes on the tree trunks.

Aspen Borers are destructive pests so if you have Swedish Columnar aspens always be vigilant! Being proactive with controlling the beetles is the best strategy!

- Jim

"What can I do about mushrooms in my lawn?" By Jim Hole

It’s funny how many of us find mushrooms such a wonderful addition to our pizzas or omelets, but are horrified when they emerge from our lawns. The first thing to remember about mushrooms that pop up on lawns is that the vast majority of species are beneficial organisms, with only one species being a bit of a pest.

Let’s start with the pest. The Fairy Ring mushroom (Marasmius oreades) is the one species that most lawn aficionados hate. Usually, this fungus first noticed as a ring of mushrooms with dead or dehydrated grass occupying the middle of the ring. The reason the grass dies is due to the high density of waxy mushroom ‘roots’ (properly called hyphae) that shed water away from grass roots and compete for space.

There are no registered chemical controls for Fairy Ring fungi, but the “poke and soak” method can be used to, at least, reduce the severity of the fairy ring.

“Poke and soak” involves using a root feeder (hollow metal stake with reservoir on the top), hooking a garden hose to it, and then stabbing it into the ring and turning on the water. Water that penetrates into the ring not only helps to hydrate the grass roots but it always encourages the growth of microorganisms that compete with the Fairy Ring fungi. Adding some horticultural soap to the reservoir will make the water “wetter,” and allow better water penetration around the hyphal strands.

The “poke and soak” method is not perfect, but it helps.

Non Fairy Ring mushrooms that emerge after thunderstorms are just the fruiting bodies of fungi that are consuming organic matter in the soil, including bark, compost, dead roots, and more. They are not plant diseases, but instead, are saprophyte which means they are fungi that eat non-living organic matter. Saprophytes are, actually, beneficial for soils in lawns and gardens. Rather than trying to kill these mushrooms, I say, grow to love them…if you can!

Now if you are thinking that you would like to add some of these lawn mushrooms to your pizza, don’t do it unless you can - with absolute certainty - correctly identify which ones are edible and which ones might be poisonous.

There is a great aphorism that I love about mushrooms. It goes like this: "There are old mushroom pickers and there are bold mushroom pickers, but there are no old, bold mushroom pickers!”

- Jim Hole

Quick & Easy Garden Tricks!

Not everyone has a lot of time to spend in the garden, but that's okay! The good news is that with a few easy tricks, you can still have great looking gardens in a matter of minutes. Here are a few easy to do examples that took less than 10 minutes to make each, and look fantastic!

Rather than planting individual flowers into your garden, a quick way to fill your garden with flowers is to use hanging baskets instead.

Simply dig a small hole, remove the flowers from the hanging basket pot, and place into the hole, filling in the soil around it. That's it!

Repeat as many times as you'd like. It looks great and takes only minutes! 

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BEFORE

AFTER

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For these pots, we simply filled them with potting soil, added two planters to, and one hanging basket each, to make instant flower pots that look as though they've been growing in the pot for months!

Stop by Hole's today!

Canadian Shield Rose

Back in stock! Boasting silky, red blooms, the Canadian Shield Rose makes its debut this year, arriving just in time for Canada’s 150 Celebration. Planted in full sun, this shrub will flower for you all summer long.

Bred in Ontario, this rose is a true Canadian creation. And, as part of Canada’s Explorer Rose Series, the Canadian Shield Rose is amazingly hardy—even at temperatures as low as -35°C.

Find the Canadian Shield Rose, plus many other Canadian Explorer Roses, at Hole’s.

Podcast: Container Gardening - Jim Hole's Top 5 Tips

Are you wondering about growing in containers but couldn't make it out to one of Jim's free talks this spring? Well, you're in luck! Jim Hole has recorded a container gardening podcast on the Hole's Radio Network, available here.

In episode 2 of the Hole's Radio Network, Jim Hole chats with Brad Walker—the reluctant gardener—about the top 5 things everybody needs to know about growing in containers.

Play it below or download it by clicking here and, when you're done checking it out, please let us know what you think (by replying in the comments below). Also, let us know if you'd like to see more podcasts or video tutorials in the future.

Buy 1, Get 1 Bedding Plant Sale!

Right now at Hole’s Greenhouses, all bedding plants are buy 1, get 1 FREE!

We have over 100 varieties of petunias in our greenhouse, as well as favourites like thunbergia, mandevilla, & sweet potato vines.

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Plus, this sale includes our edible and flower hanging baskets. Featuring Canadian colours in our flower baskets, these beautiful arrangements are the fastest way to spice up your yard, patio, or balcony!

"Why are the leaves on my tomato plant curling?" By Jim Hole

The passion that gardeners have for their tomatoes never ceases to amaze me.
 
This week we had over 450 people respond to our Hole’s Happenings Reader’s Choice questionnaire, and the most requested question by far was: “Why are my tomato leaves curling up?”
 
Well, the good news is that tomato leaf curl is not a serious problem…usually.
 
These are the 3 main reasons why tomato leaves curl:
 
First, some tomato varieties naturally have a bit of a twisting or curling growth habit. Typically, once the leaves expand, they tend to flatten and develop a more ‘planar’ growth habit.

Secondly – and most commonly – tomato leaves will often cup upwards due to an imbalance between roots and above ground growth. The cupping is referred to as physiological leaf roll, which is just a fancy term for the fact that the tomato roots cannot supply enough water to all of the leaves, stems and fruit. When tomato leaves sense a deficit of water, they respond by cupping upward to reduce exposure to sunlight which therefore reduces moisture loss.

Anytime the roots are not functioning well due to, say, restricted root space like a small pot, or if the roots are damaged, the leaves often roll. Vigorous hanging basket tomatoes are notorious for leaf roll because the ratio of leaves to roots is often large and the roots simply can’t keep up.

The good news with leaf roll is that it doesn’t cause extensive harm to the plant. And if you do your best to provide a good growing environment for your tomato plants, leaf roll can be kept to a minimum. But, keep in mind that rolled leaves won’t unfurl.

The third major cause of leaf roll is much more serious. It results from the misapplication of certain types of herbicides. The rolling of leaves from herbicide damage is different from physiological leaf roll. Herbicide damage is most prominent in the new growing points resulting in severe cupping, distortion and clumping of flowers and shoots. The source of herbicide contamination is often from misapplication of lawn herbicides or contaminated potting and garden soil mixtures. If you have herbicide damage like this the only solution is to get rid of the affected plants and soil and start over.

Every year, I receive dozens of tomato plants displaying herbicide damage. Often the herbicide damage wasn’t caused through misapplication by the owner of the tomatoes. The problem is, all too often, potting mixtures that have been blended with herbicide contaminated manure.

This is why starting with good quality potting soil is essential. Every bag of Jim Hole's Potting Soil and Sea Soil has been tested for quality-assurance.

And remember to feed your tomato plants too!

If you have a hanging basket tomato don’t forget to feed it! Of all the plants in our greenhouses, hanging basket tomatoes are the heaviest feeders. If you want to keep the feeding simple, add some Plant Prod 16-16-16 Controlled Release Fertilizer to each basket. If you prefer the liquid fertilizers weekly or even daily applications of Talk of Tomato 3-3-4 are a good choice. Find all your tomato plant needs at Hole's.

- Jim Hole

The Birds, The Bees, & The Butterflies

Pollination is the transfer of pollen from the stamen (male part of the flower) to the pistil (female part of the flower), which results in the formation of a seed.

Hybrids are created when the pollen from one kind of plant is used to pollinate and entirely different variety, resulting in a new plant altogether.

Did you know?

  • Ladybugs eat harmful pests such as aphids, mites and scale.
  • Mason bees pollinate up to 1500 blossoms per day!
  • Butterflies help gardens grow by pollinating native plants and are a sign of a healthy garden.

Here are some easy steps you can take to make your yard more pollinator-friendly:

1. Plant flowers & plants that attract pollinators!

As you may have guessed, planting plants and flowers that support pollination is a great place to start. If you’re already planting something, why not make them pollinators! Try Echinacea, Sunflowers, or Black-Eyed Susans from Hole's.

2. Plan your yard so you always have something in bloom

Do your research before planting and find out when different plants bloom. Always having at least one plant in bloom is a great way to attract pollinators AND it makes your yard look great too!

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3. Plant native plants

Native plants help native species pollinate. Many plant and animal species have adapted to environmental changes together, making them a great team. Let’s help them remain a great team! Consider a Lady’s Slipper in Alberta. When bees and other insects enter the pouch of the Lady Slipper, they can only exit through the back of the flower. This forces the insect to pass through pollen, which then spreads to the next plant the insect visits. Lady Slippers are perennials, blooming in May and June. Get yours at Hole’s!

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4. Pick up a Wildlife Habitat!

Your yard is already home to insects galore, so why not give bees a proper place to rest their wings? Wildlife Habitats, also called nests or houses, are a great way to attract pollinators to your family’s flower or vegetable garden.

Special Bee Hotels are places for solitary bees to make their nests. These bees live alone, not in hives. They do not make honey. Solitary bees are much less likely to sting than honeybees because they aren’t defending a hive.

Hole's carries specialty wildlife homes for ladybugs, butterflies, bees, & more!