flower

Unusual Bulbs Spice Up the Garden

Unusual Bulbs Spice Up the Garden

By Marlene Willis

Gladioli, dahlias, lilies, begonias, elephant ears, cannas and calla lilies are among the most popular spring bulbs. Most gardeners are familiar with these beautiful species and routinely plant them each spring for a beautiful show of summer colour.

But there are many other exotic summer-flowering plants, available in their dormant state as bulbs just waiting for plant enthusiasts to apply their magic touch. With the provision of suitable temperatures and adequate moisture, plants native to countries such as South Africa, India, Mexico and the Mediterranean can burst forth into bloom in the temperate garden.

Creative Container

One of our greenhouse staff, Jenyse Green, used the African lily (Agapanthus) as a feature in this container. Atop the lily’s tall (60-75 cm) stalks were clusters of deep blue, star-shaped flowers. Blue lobelia, vinca ivy and Mexican heather spilled over the edge of the pot, creating an impressive display. Even when the lily finished blooming, the seed head remained interesting and attractive. A similar effect can be achieved by planting Brodiaea instead of Agapanthus, although Brodiaea is somewhat shorter. Agapanthus is native to South Africa and enjoys full sun and well-drained, moist, organic soil.

The Pineapple Lily

The pineapple lily (Eucomis) is another interesting spring bulb, native to South Africa. This is an apt name for this bulb, as a cylindrical stalk of starry blooms is capped with a tuft of green leafy bracts that resemble a pineapple. There are two varieties available: Eucomis bicolor has pale green flowers with lilac edges, while Eucomis comosa has pale pink flowers tinged with green.

The pineapple lily is an excellent replacement for the traditionally used dracaena spike as a focal plant. The flower stalk is attractive, long-lasting and an attention-seeker. This bulb can be grown in the garden or in containers.

Poppy Anemones

If rich, vibrant colours are needed to punch up the landscape, try incorporating some poppy anemones (Anemone coronaria). There are single and double varieties in a wide range of bold colours, most with a contrasting black centre.

These anemones originate around the Mediterranean Sea in southern Europe. They like a warm, sheltered, sunny location and light, sandy soil, and you should hydrate the corms before planting by soaking them in water overnight. Use in borders or containers. The blooms make excellent cutflowers that last about a week.

A Neglected Palette

The selection of underused but gorgeous spring bulbs is vast. Members of Hole’s staff have enjoyed growing many unusual bulbs in their own gardens, including Mexican Shell Flower (Tigridia), Peacock Gladiolus (Acidanthera), Peruvian Daffodil (Hymenocallis), Summer Hyacinth (Galtonia) and Crocosmia, to name just a few. Bring the exotic colours and textures of faraway places home by planting some of these unusual choices this spring!

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.

DSC_0622 copy.jpg

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!

Hole's Guide To Mother's Day Gifts

Looking for that perfect Mother's Day gift? Look no further! Hole's has all the products you need to show Mom you care & to help her get into the garden!

Hanging Baskets

Pick up one of our famous hanging baskets for Mom and brighten up your yard, balcony or patio. Online ordering and scheduled delivery available!

Click here to order.


DSC_0217.jpg

Floral Arrangements

The Floral Studio at Hole's has been hard at work creating an abundance of beautiful bouquets specifically for Mother's Day. Available in a variety of sizes, choose from our Canada 150 theme or Garden theme.

Click here to order.


Hummingbird Feeders

Pick up a hummingbird feeder for Mom and receive a FREE bag of nectar concentrate hummingbird food. A great way to decorate your yard and enjoy the wildlife all at once. With a variety of designs and colours to choose from, you can't go wrong with this gift!


Vicki Sawyer Gift Boxed Mugs

With beautiful graphics, and chip resistant porcelain, get creative with how you use them!


Brier Gardening Products

Hole's carries a wide range of Brier's beautiful kneelers, kneepads, boots and hand tools, offering attractive and practical products to get gardening tasks done in style.

 


LAFCO Candles & Diffusers

LAFCO products use natural essential oil based fragrances and blown art glass vessels, complimenting any space and creating the perfect ambiance.

Click here to order a LAFCO Candle.


LOVEBLOOM Blooming Tea

A masterpiece of hand-crafted blooming tea. Enjoy a gathering of fresh springtime tea in a heart-shaped tea. Let the heart sink within your teapot and attend the spectacle love has prepared for you.


DSC_0317.JPG

Canada 150 Gloves

Celebrate Mom and Canada's 150th Birthday with these Hole's exclusive gardening gloves. Available in a variety of sizes, these red and white gloves are the best way to show your Canadian pride this spring. 

Click here to order a pair for Mom!


x11_598147.jpg

Kitras Art Glass

Give the gift of inspiration with these unique glass ornaments. Like trees in a forest, no two are alike. Each ornament has a special hang tag story with a sentiment for each theme. All ornaments come ready to give in a gift box.


DSC_0292 copy.jpg

Home Decor

Add character to your home with any of our home decor pieces. Put a smile on Mom's face with one of these cheerful welcome signs.


maxresdefault.jpg

Everygreen Gazing Balls

Gazing balls make a unique sculptural accent for patios and gardens. They date back to 13th century Italy, and are historically thought to bring good luck. They're one of our most popular garden décor items.


DRAMM Watering Cans

Picking up a plant for Mom? Complete the gift with a DRAMM watering can! Available in a variety of sizes and colours, she'll be sure to appreciate the thoughtful gift.

Click here to order a colourful 2L DRAMM watering can for Mom.


IMG_4976 copy.jpg

Faux Succulent Arrangements

Realistic and modern, these beautiful arrangements have been designed to add tranquility and bohemian flare to any space. Featuring high quality artificial succulents they are ideal for your home or office.

The Geranium Grower, By Jim Hole

A number of years ago, I talked to a fellow who was a passionate geranium grower. He kept geranium "mother plants" in his solarium during winter. In February, he would snip-off close to a hundred cuttings and grow them into well-rooted transplants for his garden.

I could tell that he had a lot of experience with geraniums and that he knew what he was doing because he always had good success with his crop—well, almost always. The day that he talked to me he was exasperated because all of his cuttings were dying and he couldn’t figure why.

When I asked him if used the same growing protocol every year, he said yes—except for one thing. The one difference was that his son-in-law had given him some bags of “professional potting soil” that he had used to root the cuttings. In the past, he had blended his own mixture, but thought that the professional mixture should be just as good.

When I asked this fellow to provide me with a sample of his mixture for testing, the reasons why his cuttings were dying were very clear. The “professional potting soil” had an extremely low pH and an extremely high level of salt. The geraniums simply couldn’t survive in this toxic blend.

Once he got rid of the bad soil mixture, he was able to salvage quite a few cuttings although he had no where near his usual number of good cuttings.

The take home lesson with soils is this: with some experience, you can judge the physical quality of a mixture by looking at it, but you can’t judge the chemical quality visually. Only a soil test will reveal whether or not a soil’s chemistry is up to snuff.

In my "Soil: It's Not Dirt!" Workshop, I reveal all that you need to know about the physical and chemical properties of soils. Once you understand the basics you will know what to look for in a great quality soil.

- Jim Hole

A Lasagna Garden for the Lazy Gardener

Last weekend I made a Lasagna Bed in my garden. No, this is not something to sleep in or eat, but you can certainly grow food in it!

A Lasagna Bed is actually the way for lazy gardeners to make a new garden bed. The best thing about it is that you don't even have to dig up the lawn!

lasagna_garden_bed.jpg

The basic idea of a lasagna bed is to put down layers of carbon-rich materials (e.g. dried leaves, straw, cardboard, newspaper), alternated with layers of nitrogen-rich materials ( e.g. grass clippings, green material from your perennial beds and your vegetable garden, uncooked vegetable peels, coffee grinds, manure).

Combined with moisture, this carbon-nitrogen mix will feed the micro-organisms and fungi that decompose material and turn it into a nutrient-rich, growing medium.

The other bonus is that it allows you to make good use of the leaves that are all over your lawn right now and you'll also be able to use up all the green clippings you have from cutting down your perennials and mowing your lawn at the end of the year.

Here is the "recipe" I used for my lasagna bed this year:

  1. Wherever you'd like to start your garden bed, start with a thin layer of material high in nitrogen, to activate the decomposers (e.g. the fungi and micro-organisms). I used steer manure as my starter.  Then add water.
  2. Add a layer of overlapping cardboard or newspaper, to act as a carbon layer and as a weed/grass barrier, until the composting process is well on its way. Add water again!
  3. Add another thin layer of nitrogen rich material. I used clippings from my perennial beds and the green shells of the beans that I had grown this summer. Water!
  4. Add leaves. Water!
  5. More nitrogen, again. Here, I added the contents of my pots and planters. This is actually a mix of carbon (potting soil) and nitrogen (plants). Water!
  6. I still had more leaves to get rid of, so I did another layer. Plus more water!
  7. Finally, I finished things off with a layer of half-composted material from the compost pile I made last year.
  8. You can start the bed right on the lawn, but you should end up with a pile that is at least 1.5 to 2 feet high. As the material decomposes only a few inches will be left.

Now let the snow, winter, and the decomposers do their work.

In the spring, you can dig small trenches into your lasagna bed. By adding just a little bit of light potting soil for your transplants or seeds, you'll be able to plant your fruits, vegetables, and flowers right into these trenches and into your bed.

In such a rich growing medium, they'll grow amazingly!

 

Maria is a landscape designer trained and educated in the Netherlands. She owned a landscape design business for 10 years before moving to Edmonton in 2005 and joining the Hole's team. Book a landscaping design consultation with Maria Beers this fall and we will give you a FREE $25 gift certificate for our Glasshouse Bistro.