perennials

Podcast: Fall Pest Control - Jim Hole's Top 5 Tips

Are you wondering about controlling pests and insects in your yard but couldn't make it out to one of Jim's FREE talks? Well, you're in luck! Jim Hole has recorded a pest-control podcast 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 pests and insects in the fall: where they go, how to keep them from taking over your garden, and when and how to apply your dormant spray kit (click here for details).

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.

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Podcast: Fall Bulbs - Jim Hole's Top 5 Tips

Are you wondering about planting fall bulbs but couldn't make it out to one of Jim's FREE talks? Well, you're in luck! Jim Hole has recorded a fall bulb podcast 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 fall bulbs: from the right way to plant them, to the right time, and some secrets on what makes them bloom.

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.

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.

Planting Garlic and Irises in the Fall

Not everyone thinks of September as the time to plant things (most people are too busy harvesting their vegetable gardens), but for spring flowering bulbs, September and October are THE time to get things into the ground.

Irises are one of the fall bulbs that benefit from being planted first thing in September and we have some great new varieties available. Here are a few of our favourites on our shelves right now.

"Blue Suede Shoes" is a rich, gorgeously coloured, blue bearded iris. Blue flowers are hard to come by whether they are annuals or perennials, so to have a bulb that will come back in blue year-after-year is a pure delight.

As a bonus, this is a particularly fragrant iris and will rebloom as well. What more can you ask for? These blue suede shoes will leave you dancing with joy.

Another reblooming bearded iris, "Ancient Echoes" has some beautiful fiery colours. These flowers will add some striking contrast to your garden and will visually pop-out from quite a distance. Great for front yards if your goal is to get the neighborhood's attention!

Finally, a bit more of an elegant bearded iris, this "Bountiful Harvest" variety will also rebloom, making it ideal for cutflowers. Great for a more graceful style, consider this one if you like to have a classically beautiful garden.

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Fall is also a great time to plant garlic.

"Duganski" is a new variety for us this year, and it is fiery! Featuring purple stripes, it has a mellow aftertaste and is a great variety to plant if you like to cook with garlic a lot.

"German Hardneck" is another variety with a milder taste. If you like roasted garlic fresh out of the oven, this is THE garlic variety to use and plant as it roasts beautifully.

Finally, we also have "Elephant Garlic." While this is technically a member of the leek family, you'd never know it as it looks just like a very large garlic bulb and can be used in the same way. It is especially good raw because of its mild garlic taste... so if you're looking to make a pesto, tapenade, bruschetta, or salad, this is definitely a good variety to consider.

Dinner Plate Dahlias

 

As the name suggests, dinner plate dahlias are plants that produce giant, dinner plate-sized flowers.

And while the size of their flowers is impressive in itself, even more impressive is the myriad of colours, textures, and varieties of dinner plate dahlias there are to choose from. With their huge variety, and huge flowers, they are—in my opinion—the most spectacular of all the garden plants that we can grow here.

 

Here Comes Doll-ee-uh

Dahlias originated in the tropical climes of Central and South America, are the national flower of Mexico, and were named after Swedish botanist Anders Dahl a couple of centuries ago.

But if Anders was around today, he might be a little upset because few people correctly pronounce the name of the plant that bears his name. Dahlias should be pronounced “doll - ee - uhs” but most people call them “day - lee - uhs.

I confess that I also pronounce it incorrectly, but I grew up saying day and I just can’t seem to kick the habit.

 

My 3 Favourites

Picking out the best varieties is tough because there are so many great ones but here are few of my favourites:

  1.  “Kelvin Floodlight” is aptly named because it produces bold, bright-yellow flowers that I find very uplifting because of their warm colour. When the sunlight hits Kelvin Floodlight it does indeed look like it is emitting a beam of light.
  2.  “Sir Alfred Ramsey” is two-toned and, for some strange reason, reminds me of a popsicle. Bright-white petals crown the top of the flower with dark pink tones adorning the bottom of the cluster. Where Kelvin Floodlight evokes feelings of warmth, Sir Alfred Ramsey looks icy and cool.
  3.  “Avignon” is one more of my favourites. It has white petals and appears to have been splashed with purple paint from an artist’s paintbrush. It’s the haute couture dahlia amongst the group and the one I find most intriguing.

 

Let These Dinner Plates Cool Off

The toughest part about growing dinner plate dahlias is slowing them down. They tend to shoot-up very rapidly in warm temperatures, sowhile it is important to warm the roots for rapid and vigorous rootingit is wise to cool them down a bit once they emerge from the soil. Bright light and temperatures in the 16-18°C range are ideal once the dahlias begin to poke through the soil.

All dinner plate dahlias like a rich, well-drained soil, and because they are such large, floriferous plants they need quite a bit of food to keep them healthy and robust. I give my dahlias a shot of Nature’s Source Fertilizer every week, and they respond beautifully with vigorous growth and beautiful flowers.

Keep in mind that dinner plate dahlias, like all dahlias, are not frost tolerant and the tubers must be pulled out of the garden in fall and stored indoor in a cool, dark spot. A cold but not freezing garage is ideal.

Warning: Dahlias May be Addictive

Dinner plate dahlias are perfect showstoppers and make any gardener feel like an expert. But be forewarned. Growing spectacular, gigantic dinner plate dahlias can be addictive and, once you’ve grown them, it may kill your desire to purchase any plants described as dwarf, miniature or petite.  

 

 

Growing Bulbs in Alberta and Picking the Right Bulbs for Your Garden

There is a myth that growing bulbs in Alberta is difficult.  

Well, I am Dutch, and I love bulbs, and I have successfully grown almost every type of bulb that I can lay my hands on, right here in Albertasometimes even growing tulips between my strawberries!

So growing bulbs in Alberta is definitely do-able and at Hole's, I get to choose from an amazing collection. My brother-in-law is the owner of one of the largest tulip growing businesses in the world and—while visiting Alberta from the Netherlands last year—he was so excited to find many of the world's rarest and most unique bulbs right here at Hole's Greenhouse.

But how to pick the right bulbs for your garden?

Well, I always have some early flowering crocuses planted near my front entrance, where I will see them every time I leave the house. As soon as the snow melts, the crocuses peep out of the ground with their delicate flowers, announcing the arrival of spring.

An added bonus is that crocusses will naturalize. That means that you only plant them once and they will come back every year with more.

Making it Pop

I find that bulbs have the biggest visual impact if you plant them in groups and in combination with another kind of bulb or with a perennial that flowers at the same time.

Power Combos

One of my favourite combinations for early colour is to plant the bright yellow dwarf narcissus along with the true blue star flowers of the Scillas. Both bulbs will naturalize and this combination works even in a shady garden.

Planted in between your hostas, they will put on a show before your hostas emerge and, later, the large leaves of the hostas will cover up the bulbs as the scillas and narcissus go dormant for the summer.

Timing is Key

Another trick is to find combinations of plants that flower at the same time. Sometimes that is just a matter of trial-and-error or sometimes it is just good luck.

One year I found a great combination, when I planted early purple tulips between my "Fire Cracker" moss phlox  (a ground cover smothered in vibrant fuchsia-pink flowers) and in between my Blue Fescue grass with its fine blue leaves.

Check the Package 

I always look on the package of the bulbs if they are early, mid, or late spring flowering. I find the early and mid-spring flowering bulbs especially interesting, because they flower at a time when not much else does.

Experiment!

This fall I'm going to try a combination of soft yellow "Peach Melba" tulips with a pink trim and flashes of green. In between the tulips, I'm then going to place some with light blue Puschkinias with clusters of star-like light blue flowers. It looks like a marvellous combination to me.  I am not sure if the timing will be right, but it is exciting to try.

I will let you know how it worked out in spring. The beautiful thing about bulbs is that, even if a combination doesn't work out, they're easy to move around.

 

BONUS: Book a landscaping design consultation with Maria Beers this fall and we will give you a FREE $25 gift certificate for our Glasshouse Bistro.