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What Is A Weed?

What is a weed? Broadly speaking a weed is any plant growing where it is not wanted. Usually this means a plant that is invasive, or harbours pests or diseases that are harmful to desirable plants. Weeds are not a total curse as some attract beneficial insects (milkweed attracts monarch butterflies), some add organic matter to the soil and those with deep roots break up compacted soil while others are harvested for food (dandelion for salad greens). Weeds prefer poor nutrient-deficient soil usually. Stinging nettle is an exception and grows in nutrient rich soil. Germination

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Fall Lawn Care

harmony gardens landscaping ottawa fall lawn care

Fall Lawn Care – September In September we recommend that lawns be core aerated, an application of TurfMaize and a final application of nematodes for grubs and/or cinch bugs. Core aeration improves the oxygen flow around the root zone of the grass, stimulates microbial activity, improves soil structure, improves water flow, brings nutrients to the surface and decreases compaction. Aeration is best done when the ground is moist with fall rains. Core aeration removes “plugs” of soil approx. 3 inches (7.5cms.) in length and deposits onto the lawn which will breakdown in about a week’s

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Late Summer and Fall Gardening Checklist

fall gardening checklist

Late Summer and Fall Gardening Checklist Fall is a great time to plant trees and shrubs, cut back perennials, remove annuals and get your lawn healthy for next spring. Remember to keep watering…trees and shrubs that are deprived of water now will be easily stressed in the winter. August: -dead-head perennials -prune honeysuckle vines and climbing hydrangeas -divide and transplant perennials -planting of perennials, ornamental grasses, hedges, shrubs and trees -prune evergreens and hedges; shape shrubs -mulching of flowerbeds -install sod September: -collect seeds and herbs for drying -add composted manure to garden beds -check

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DIY: How to Divide your Perennials

DIY divide perennials

How to Divide your Perennials Water your perennials one week and then one day before dividing if possible. Divide and transplant on a cool, cloudy, calm day if at all possible. Cut straight down around root ball with transplant spade, aiming to include as many roots as you can. Gently loosen root ball but keep it intact leaving as much soil on as possible to lessen transplant shock. Inspect the plant for obvious places to divide remembering that each new plant needs a balance of top growth and roots. Gently spread leaves, start in centre

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Dividing and Transplanting

dividing and transplanting

Dividing and Transplanting Dividing, transplanting and reducing the size of overgrown perennial clumps are essential tasks that rejuvenate the perennial garden resulting in healthier, better-looking plants and more perennials. You can expect clumps of perennials to need thinning or dividing and transplanting every three to five years. Some transplanted perennials can take awhile to get re-established and to bloom again. Perennial clumps that have taken on a doughnut shape need to be divided and transplanted. This growth pattern where most of the vigorous shoots are on the outer perimeter with little growth in the clump’s

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Interlock Cleaning and Maintenance

Ottawa interlock pavers maintenance weeding

Interlock Cleaning and Maintenance Interlocking, patio stones, flagstone, stepping stones or any hard surface will eventually get weeds and require cleaning out prior to regular maintenance. Cleaning out of weeds from hard surfaces can be done by: 1) Hand weeding to remove weeds, sand and debris using an L-shaped interlock weeding tool. Ensure to remove all soil, roots and debris prior to re-sanding. Very time consuming method. 2) Thermal weeding should be done by a professional so as to not burn and mark pavers. Weeds are burned out by using a propane torch weeder. 3)

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Dead-Heading Techniques

dead-heading techniques harmony gardens ottawa

Perennials bloom for a few weeks each season but gardeners have learned to extend blooming periods by dead-heading. Dead-heading is the removal of spent, mature flowers that are turning brown or losing their petals. If left to nature most of these spent flowers will develop seeds. When they ripen the plant starts to decline in preparation for dormancy and next season’s growth. Deadheading interrupts this natural cycle encouraging plants to continue to produce new buds, prolonging the blooming period thus more flowers in your garden. Dead-heading prolongs blooming, promotes a second flush of flowers, discourages

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Chinch Bugs

Chinch Bugs Three species of chinch bug commonly invade turf grass in North America. Only hairy chinch bug (blissus leucopterus hirtus) occurs in Canada and is found from Ontario eastward. The chinch bug is a true bug, meaning it is a member of the order Hemiptera. Bugs are characterized by half wings, piercing-sucking mouth parts and a three stage life cycle (eggs-nymphs-adults). Life Cycle: Adult chinch bugs overwinter in protected places in and around turf grass. When temperatures reach 7 degrees C in spring they come out of hibernation and mate. Egg-laying begins 2 weeks

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Xeriscaping, not Zeroscaping

Xeriscaping, not Zeroscaping After dry years and low water table the word xeriscape became a buzzword. Many wrongly assume it means growing cacti and covering soil with gravel. Xeriscape means lush dry garden of which plants classified as xerophytic are planted. These plants require less water or have better methods of obtaining water thru long taproots or retaining water thru waxy leaves that retard transpiration. Xeriscaping is a way of planting in areas where water is scarce. In Ottawa it means planting low maintenance water-wise perennials and shrubs. There are several reasons to consider xeriscaping

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Efficient Watering

efficient watering

Efficient Watering Water is a precious resource which needs to be used wisely to be effective and efficient. Some tips for using irrigation water more efficiently are: 1) Install rain sensors on your sprinkler systems. There is no need for your irrigation system to run when it is raining or going to rain. 2) Adjust irrigation timers according to seasonal needs. Irrigation should not be running mid afternoon or during the night. Timers can be set based on seasonal time. 3) Detect and repair all leaks in the irrigation systems. 4) Water trees and shrubs,

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ATTRACTING BUTTERFLIES

ATTRACTING BUTTERFLIES To attract the greatest number of butterflies and have them as residents in your yard you will need to have plants that serve the needs of all life stages of the butterfly. They need a place to lay eggs, food plants for the larva (caterpillar), a place to form a chrysalis and nectar sources for the adults. Most adult butterflies live 10 to 20 days but some live no longer than 3 to 4 days. The overwintering monarchs may live 6 months. Over 700 species of butterflies are found in North America. Butterfly

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WHY GROW NATIVE PLANTS?

WHY GROW NATIVE PLANTS? A native plant is one that naturally occurs on a site and has not been introduced from another distant place. Native plants provide the best diversity of habitat elements for wildlife. Wildlife in your area have evolved to use native plants as food, cover, places to raise their young and sometimes even for water. Native plants will thrive in their natural site because they are best suited to the conditions of that site. Plants native to the soils and climate of your specific area provide the best overall food sources for

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The Organic Way to Fertilize your Garden

organic way to fertilize your garden

Is there any Organic Way to Fertilize your Garden? Building a healthy soil is the basis of healthy plants whether they are flowers, vegetables or herbs. All plants need nutrients and they get their nutrients from the soil they are planted in. Nutrients in the soil thus need to be replenished. This replenishment is called fertilizing. Organic fertilizers for your garden Manures: provides nitrogen content, trace elements and organic matter to build a healthy soil ecosystem. Fresh animal manure can burn plants and so should always be composted. Composted manures are weed seed free also.

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Attracting Wildlife to your Garden

It is nearing the end of winter—what are your plans for your garden this spring? This spring why don’t you figure your wild neighbours into your outdoor plans and create a wildlife garden? Eight tips to make your gardens more wildlife-friendly: 1) Plant lots of colourful and scented flowers to attract butterflies and hummingbirds 2) Ensure to include areas of shrubbery and low bushes to make homes for birds and small animals. Some varieties will provide berries attracting songbirds like cardinals and finches. 3) Install a pond or water feature to attract animals and birds

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Mulching

mulching

Mulching is applying a ground cover to planted areas as part of ongoing maintenance and conservation management. Mulch is a gardener’s best friend. There is no other gardening task that provides as much payback as mulching. Objectives of Mulching are: 1) Insulate soil from extreme temperature (hot and cold) changes thus maintaining uniform soil temperatures 2) To protect the soil from structural damage that results from winter freezing 3) Conserving soil moisture by reducing losses thru evaporation 4) Keeps soil moist therefore making nutrients more available to plants 5) Reduces soil compaction 6) Prevents crusting

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