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  • Creative gardening in clay soil

    We received this incredible submission from one of our members. Thank you Tim!! This transformation is absolutely stunning!! "Very few plants survive in this garden because the soil is root-bound clay, extremely dry, with the texture of concrete. The roots are from large cedars on the other side of the fence, and the lovely Ivory Silk Lilac tree above. The clay is typical of the west side of Waterloo, where you almost need a pick-axe to penetrate it. The solution has been to sink pots in to the soil, and plant directly onto the pots, hiding the pots in the mulch. I started with only few pots, because I didn't want to disturb too many of the roots at one time, and I wasn't sure if my experiment with the pots would be successful. With regular watering and fertilizing, the potted plants have done well, much better than if they were planted directly in the soil. The holes are 'double-potted', so that one pot keeps the hole from caving in, and then I can easily then plant the flower in the second pot and drop it into the first one. I line the insides of both pots with landscaping fabric in an attempt to keep the tree roots from finding the tasty potting soil in the pot. It is a tribute to the strength of the tree roots that in only one summer they are able to wedge their way through the minuscule gap between the pots and wrap themselves around the inner pot. Separating the two pots the next spring can be challenge as the roots have bound the two pots together. Over the years, I have expanded to sink fifteen pots in the shaded area. In an rare and brief moment of brilliance, I photographed all the empty pots at one time last spring, as I have been known to have either to few or too many plants for the pots. Too few is easily solved by buying more, but too many requires digging another hole and finding two more matching pots. I have been putting annuals in the pots, although recently I've been transferring some of the perennials that were struggling into their own pots, like the ligularia dentata and the lime huchera. They both appear to be happier in the pots. I've left the brunnera in the soil at the base of the tree as it seems to be very happy there. It is a mystery to me how it prospers there, but I'm not one to ruin a good thing. I also tried a Japanese painted fern in a good-sized pot, but alas, it survived only two summers. It was in a particularly dry and sloped area of the shade garden, so I suspect I was a bit too optimistic that it would endure. I expect I will need to re-pot the perennials every few years as the tree roots find their inevitable way into those pots. I leave the pots in over the winter, to keep the hole open and the roots out. I tried 'triple-potting' in some of the locations, thinking I could have the beauty of spring daffodils and tulips without the post-bloom messiness of their leaves drying out. I planted the bulbs in a third pot in the fall, dropped it into the base pot, and then pulled it out in spring as soon as the flowers were done, and just in time to replace it with a pot of annuals. I relocated the bulb pots to a more remote area of the garden to dry out. In the fall, i repeated the cycle, pulling out the annual pot and dropping the spring bulb pot back in to over-winter. It worked for two seasons, but by the third year, the bulbs produced small plants with very few blooms. I suspect the issue was not the potting, but more that the location was too shady and cool for the spring bulbs. If anyone can suggest some spring bulbs that do well in shade, i'd be willing to try the triple-pot experiment one more time. In the 'after' photo there are coleus along the back of the fence, ligularia, huchera and purple browalia, a gorgeous red caladium, variegated sunpatiens, a mona lavender plectranthus and lime potato vine in the distance, in front of the goats beard in its own planter box. The solomon's seal is planted in the soil, and just starting it's second season, so we'll see in a few years if it might need to be given a potted home of its own." Thank you for sharing your gardening adventures with us, Tim! How incredible is this transformation? Do you have a gardening adventure to share with the community? Email us your story and photos today!

  • Litter Clean-up Scavenger Hunt for Earth Day

    Understanding how our choices affect the environment, it's best to see living (or not so living) proof! We're familiar with some of the ways in which we can live more sustainably, like repair instead of replace, reuse instead of single-use plastic and water conservation. Litter is a great way to fully appreciate the non-biodegradable options and can easily be seen on any given day in any public park or along a road, especially a highway. The impact of litter is harmful to wildlife, who often mistake it for food, get entangled in it, or suffocate on it. Plastic pollutes our waterways and oceans, especially micro-plastics that can accumulate in the water and harm marine ecosystems. In the process, harmful chemicals leach into the environment and increases the risk of disease to humans. Thankfully, we are gardeners. We understand the importance of creating biodiverse ecosystems in our gardens, plant native trees, shrubs and flowers, and utilize rain barrels for watering our garden. We plant drought-tolerant lawn alternatives instead of non-native grass lawns and we do what we can to help nature flourish, while providing us with endless amounts of satisfaction by seeing our hard work pay off. For Earth Day, why not organize a litter clean-up scavenger hunt for families? If you live in Waterloo, the city will provide you with all the necessary tools and resources to help with your adventure. Click here if you live in Kitchener for their program. Here's how to create a fun and engaging litter scavenger hunt: Choose a location: Pick a park, beach, or other outdoor area that is known to have litter. Make a list: Create a list of items that the kids need to find during the scavenger hunt. Some examples include: plastic bottles, aluminum cans, cigarette butts, candy wrappers, paper bags, plastic bags, straws, plastic utensils, glass bottles, food containers. Print out the list: Print out the list of items for each child participating in the scavenger hunt. Explain the rules: Explain the rules of the scavenger hunt to the kids. Let them know what they can and cannot touch or take from the environment. Be sure to emphasize the importance of respecting nature and leaving the area cleaner than they found it. Start the hunt: Set the kids loose to start their scavenger hunt. Encourage them to work together and help each other find the items on the list. Dispose of the litter: Once the scavenger hunt is over, collect all the litter that the kids found and dispose of it properly. This is a great opportunity to teach kids about the importance of recycling and reducing waste. Reward the winners: Once the scavenger hunt is over, review the items found by each child. The child who found the most items on the list can be declared the winner, and they can receive a small prize or recognition for their accomplishment. Overall, a litter scavenger hunt is a fun and educational activity that encourages kids to be responsible and caring about the environment. It's a great way to get them excited about reducing litter and keeping outdoor spaces clean and healthy. PRO TIP: For smaller children, have an adult supervise the hunt. Keeping our children safe from unwanted items and garbage that could be dangerous is our number one priority!

  • Easy seeds for kids to grow

    Kids of all ages can start growing their own plants with these easy seeds! Be sure to purchase locally and read the instructions on the back of the package for the best results. With a reduction in single-use plastic in mind, here are some alternatives to start your seedlings in: Biodegradable pots: Biodegradable pots are made from natural materials such as peat, coconut coir, or paper. These pots can be planted directly into the ground, and they will break down over time, reducing waste. Seed starting trays: Seed starting trays are often made from materials such as paper or compostable plastic. They can be used to start multiple plants in one container, and they can be composted after use. Upcycled containers: Many household items can be repurposed as seed pots, such as egg cartons, yogurt cups, or cardboard tubes. These items can be decorated and personalized to make a fun and eco-friendly growing container. Clay pots: Clay pots are a traditional and natural alternative to plastic pots. They are long-lasting, can be reused many times, and can be composted at the end of their life. Glass jars: Glass jars can be used as growing containers for small plants such as herbs or succulents. They can be decorated with paint or twine to make them look more attractive. Overall, there are many alternatives to plastic growing seed pots that are better for the environment. These alternatives provide a great opportunity to reduce waste and make gardening more sustainable. Biodegradable pots are made from natural materials such as peat, coconut coir, or paper. These pots can be planted directly into the ground, and they will break down over time, reducing waste. There are many easy plants that kids can grow from seed. Here are a few ideas: Sunflowers: Sunflowers are easy to grow from seed and are fun for kids to watch as they grow taller and taller. They also have large seeds that are easy for kids to handle. Radishes: Radishes are a fast-growing vegetable that are easy to grow from seed. They can be harvested in as little as 4 weeks, which is great for kids who want to see quick results. Beans: Beans are easy to grow from seed and can be planted in a variety of ways, such as in pots or in the ground. They also come in many different colours and shapes, which can be fun for kids to explore. Nasturtiums: Nasturtiums are a colourful and edible flower that are easy to grow from seed. They also attract beneficial insects to the garden, which can help keep pests under control. Marigolds: Marigolds are a hardy and colourful flower that are easy to grow from seed. They are also great for attracting pollinators to the garden. Peas: Peas are easy to grow from seed and can be planted in the spring or fall. They also have a sweet and delicious flavor that kids will love. Carrots: Carrots are a nutritious and easy-to-grow vegetable that can be planted from seed. They also come in many different colours and shapes, which can be fun for kids to explore. Overall, there are many easy plants that kids can grow from seed. These plants provide a great opportunity for kids to learn about the natural world and develop important life skills. PRO TIP: Always supervise small children when working with seeds and soil. We don't want any peas ending up in noses!

  • Gardening, not just for kids!

    Not sure what to do with your children in the summer holidays? We've got you covered! Here are ten ways that children can learn about nature, while enjoying fresh air and time away from screens. Summer might seem long, but before we know it, they'll be back in the classroom. So soak up all the sun (with hats, sunscreen and reusable water bottles of course) and reconnect through nature. Plant a seed: Kids can learn how plants grow by planting seeds and watching them sprout. They can also learn about the different types of plants and what conditions they need to grow. Watering plants: Kids can help water the plants and learn about the importance of water for plant growth. Harvesting: Kids can help harvest fruits and vegetables when they are ready. They can learn about the different parts of the plant that we eat and the nutritional value of different foods. Identifying insects: Kids can observe insects in the garden and learn about the different types of bugs that live in the garden. They can also learn about which insects are beneficial for the garden and which ones are harmful. Creating a scarecrow: Kids can make a scarecrow to scare away birds and other animals that might eat the plants. Building a birdhouse: Kids can build a birdhouse and learn about the different types of birds that live in their area. Painting rocks: Kids can paint rocks to decorate the garden and make it more colourful. Making compost: Kids can help make compost by collecting food scraps and other organic materials. They can learn about the importance of compost for soil health and plant growth. Drawing or journaling: Kids can draw or journal about their experiences in the garden, documenting the plants they have grown, the insects they have seen, and the things they have learned. Overall, there are many fun and educational activities that kids can do in the garden. Gardening provides an opportunity for kids to learn about the natural world and develop important life skills: Encourages healthy eating habits: When kids grow their own fruits and vegetables, they are more likely to try new foods and eat a wider variety of healthy foods. They'll also appreciate the effort it takes just to grow a tiny bit of food! Promotes physical activity: Gardening is a physical activity that gets kids outdoors and moving. It can help improve their strength, coordination, and balance. Teaches responsibility: Gardening requires kids to take care of plants and be responsible for their well-being. This can help them develop a sense of responsibility and accountability. Builds environmental awareness: Gardening teaches kids about the natural world and how plants grow. It can help them develop a sense of environmental awareness and how our actions have a real impact on the environment. Fosters creativity: Gardening allows kids to express their creativity by choosing plants and designing their garden. Provides hands-on learning opportunities: Gardening provides a hands-on learning experience that can help kids understand concepts such as biology, ecology, and nutrition. Builds confidence and self-esteem: Gardening can be a rewarding experience that helps kids develop a sense of accomplishment and boosts their self-esteem.

  • How to grow tomatoes in Ontario

    Looking forward to a summer salad with tomatoes grown from your own garden? Luckily, it's doable in Ontario! Did you know that Europeans were initially wary of eating tomatoes when they were first introduced to them in the 16th century? The tomato is native to South America, and when it was brought to Europe, it was initially viewed with suspicion because it was believed to be poisonous. This belief may have been due in part to the fact that the tomato is a member of the nightshade family, which includes other poisonous plants such as belladonna and mandrake. In addition to fears of toxicity, the tomato's popularity was also hindered by its association with poverty. In many parts of Europe, the tomato was initially grown as an ornamental plant, and it was not until the 18th century that it became more widely accepted as a food item. In Italy, for example, the tomato was initially used in dishes eaten by the lower classes, and it was not until the late 19th century that it became a staple of Italian cuisine. Today, the tomato is a widely used and popular ingredient in European cooking. Tomatoes can be grown successfully in Ontario, but they require proper care and attention to produce a good harvest. Here are some tips for growing tomato plants in Ontario: Choose the right variety: Select tomato varieties that are suitable for Ontario's climate and growing season. Look for varieties that are known to do well in cooler temperatures and have a shorter growing season. Start indoors: Start your tomato seeds indoors in late winter or early spring, and transplant them outdoors after the last frost date. This will give your plants a head start and increase your chances of a successful harvest. Choose a sunny location: Tomatoes need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day to produce fruit. Choose a location in your garden that receives full sun and has well-draining soil. Provide support: Tomato plants need support as they grow. Use stakes, cages, or trellises to keep your plants upright and off the ground. Water regularly: Water your tomato plants regularly, and make sure the soil stays consistently moist. Avoid overhead watering, which can lead to fungal diseases. Fertilize: Tomatoes need regular fertilization to produce healthy fruit. Use a balanced fertilizer and follow the package instructions for application rates. Monitor for pests and diseases: Tomatoes are susceptible to pests and diseases, so monitor your plants regularly for signs of problems. Early detection and treatment can prevent damage to your crop. Remember, growing tomatoes takes patience and practice. Don't be discouraged if your first crop isn't perfect. With some experience, you'll be able to grow healthy tomato plants and enjoy a bountiful harvest. When you've harvested your gorgeous tomatoes, try out this salad: Ingredients: 4-5 ripe tomatoes, sliced 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar Salt and pepper, to taste Instructions: Slice the tomatoes and arrange them on a serving platter. Thinly slice the red onion and scatter it over the tomatoes. Sprinkle the chopped basil leaves over the top. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator for up to 1 hour before serving. Variations: Add crumbled feta cheese or fresh mozzarella for a creamy addition to the salad. Use different types of tomatoes, such as cherry tomatoes or heirloom tomatoes, for a more diverse flavour and appearance. Add sliced cucumber or avocado for additional texture and flavour. Use different herbs, such as parsley or cilantro, in place of the basil for a different flavour profile.

  • Gardening for beginners

    With sustainability in mind, more people are learning how to garden, grow their own food and understand the positive impact that gardeners can have in their environment. Whether you're starting out with one pot and plant, or want to create a vegetable garden for four seasons, here are some tips to help you out. Choose a suitable location: Choose a location that receives adequate sunlight and has well-draining soil. Consider the size of the garden and the type of plants you want to grow. Decide what to grow: Consider your climate, the amount of space you have, and your gardening goals when deciding what to grow. Start with a few easy-to-grow plants to build your confidence. Prepare the soil: Soil preparation is critical for successful gardening. Remove any weeds, rocks, or debris from the planting area, and amend the soil with compost or other organic matter. Plant your seeds or seedlings: Follow the instructions on the seed packets or plant labels for the correct planting depth and spacing. Water the plants thoroughly after planting. Water and fertilize: Water your plants regularly, and fertilize them with a balanced fertilizer to promote healthy growth. Maintain your garden: Keep your garden tidy by removing weeds and deadheading spent flowers. Monitor for pests and diseases and take appropriate action if necessary. Enjoy your harvest: Harvest your crops when they are ready, and enjoy the fruits of your labor! Some common gardening mistakes that can easily be avoided: Overwatering: Overwatering can cause roots to rot, and it can attract pests and diseases. Water your plants only when the soil is dry to the touch. Underwatering: Underwatering can cause plants to wilt and die. Make sure to water your plants regularly, especially during hot and dry weather. Planting too close together: Planting your plants too close together can lead to overcrowding and competition for resources. Follow the spacing recommendations on the plant tags. Not providing enough sunlight: Most plants require at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day. Make sure to plant your garden in a location that receives adequate sunlight. Not preparing the soil: Soil preparation is critical for successful gardening. Make sure to remove any weeds, rocks, or debris from the planting area, and amend the soil with compost or other organic matter. Not mulching: Mulching helps to retain moisture in the soil, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature. Apply a layer of mulch around your plants to keep them healthy. Not pruning: Pruning helps to promote healthy growth and prevent disease. Make sure to prune your plants regularly to remove dead or damaged branches and to shape the plant. Not controlling pests and diseases: Pests and diseases can quickly spread and damage your plants. Monitor your garden regularly for signs of pests and diseases, and take appropriate action if necessary. Always try and find alternatives to pesticides when dealing with pests and diseases. Remember, gardening is a learning process, and you will learn a lot from trial and error. Don't be afraid to make mistakes and experiment with different plants and techniques. Want to learn more? Why not become a member and join our free monthly events where experts teach beginners and advanced gardeners alike!

  • How to attract birds to your garden

    Don't you just love the sounds of birds chirping in the morning while sitting on your balcony, deck or patio with a cup of coffee? Watching them can quickly become a hobby and wanting to identify them by look, sound and behaviour is an adventure! We often think that creating habitat for wildlife requires vast acreage, however, we can implement some of these tips within a very small space. Before you know it, you'll have a garden singing with happy birds! Tips for attracting birds to your garden: Choose native plants: Native plants provide birds with the food and shelter they need to survive. Some great options for Ontario gardens include black-eyed susans, milkweed, coneflower, and asters. Provide a water source: Birds need water for drinking and bathing. Consider adding a birdbath or a small pond to your garden. Add bird feeders: A bird feeder can attract a variety of birds to your garden. Be sure to choose a feeder that is appropriate for the birds in your area. Create birdhouses: Building or purchasing a birdhouse can provide birds with a safe place to nest and raise their young. Make sure the birdhouse is the right size for the birds you want to attract. Use bird-friendly gardening practices: Avoid using pesticides and herbicides, which can be harmful to birds. Instead, use natural methods to control pests and weeds. Provide different levels of vegetation: Birds like to move between different levels of vegetation, such as tall trees and low bushes. Plant a variety of vegetation at different heights to create a diverse habitat. If you are fortunate enough to have space for a tree in order to attract birds, consider these native Ontario varieties: White Pine (Pinus strobus): White pines provide excellent nesting and roosting sites for birds such as bald eagles, ospreys, and great horned owls. They also produce seeds that are an important food source for many bird species. Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana): Eastern red cedars provide shelter and nesting sites for a variety of birds, including the cedar waxwing, eastern bluebird, and American robin. The tree's berries are also a favorite food source for many bird species. Black Cherry (Prunus serotina): Black cherry trees provide food for birds such as the cedar waxwing and the American robin, as well as nesting sites for birds like the eastern bluebird and the woodpecker. American Beech (Fagus grandifolia): American beech trees provide excellent nesting sites for birds such as the black-capped chickadee and the blue jay. The tree's nuts are also an important food source for many bird species. Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis): Eastern hemlocks provide shelter for birds such as the northern saw-whet owl and the black-capped chickadee. The tree's seeds are also a food source for many bird species. Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum): Sugar maple trees provide a nesting habitat for birds such as the Baltimore oriole and the scarlet tanager. The tree's seeds and sap are also important food sources for many bird species. For a full list of native bird species, click here.

  • Gardening for the body, mind and soul

    Gardening is something that everyone can enjoy, from beginner to expert, young to old and everything in between. Did you know that gardening is not only good exercise, but can also improve your mood? We've compiled a few thoughts on how gardening is good for the body, mind and soul. Gardening for the Body Gardening is a great form of exercise that can benefit both physical and mental health. Here are some ways gardening can be used as a form of exercise: Cardiovascular exercise: Gardening involves a lot of physical activity, such as digging, weeding, and raking, which can help improve cardiovascular health. These activities can get your heart rate up and provide a moderate-intensity workout. Strength training: Gardening also involves a lot of lifting, carrying, and bending, which can help build muscle strength and improve flexibility. Activities such as shovelling, hoeing, and pruning can work different muscle groups and provide a full-body workout. Low-impact exercise: Gardening can be a great form of low-impact exercise for those who may have joint pain or mobility issues. Activities such as planting and watering can provide gentle movement that can help improve flexibility and range of motion. Outdoor exercise: Gardening allows you to spend time outdoors, which can provide additional health benefits such as increased vitamin D exposure and improved mood. Gardening for the Mind Reducing stress and anxiety: Gardening provides a calming and meditative environment that can help reduce stress and anxiety. Spending time outdoors and connecting with nature can help improve mood and lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. Boosting mood and self-esteem: Gardening can provide a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, which can help improve mood and self-esteem. Watching plants grow and bloom can also provide a sense of joy and happiness. Promoting mindfulness: Gardening requires focus and attention to detail, which can help promote mindfulness and being present in the moment. This can be especially helpful for those struggling with anxiety or depression. Providing a sense of purpose: Gardening can provide a sense of purpose and meaning, which can be especially important for those struggling with mental health issues. Taking care of plants and seeing them thrive can provide a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. Encouraging physical activity: Gardening is a form of physical activity that can help improve overall health and well-being. It can also help improve sleep quality, which is important for mental health. Overall, gardening is a great way to promote mental health and well-being. Whether you have a small balcony garden or a large backyard, spending time in nature and caring for plants can help improve mood, reduce stress and anxiety, and promote a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Gardening for the soul Gardening can be a wonderful activity for the soul, providing a sense of peace, fulfillment, and connection to nature. Here are some ways gardening can be beneficial for the soul: Creating beauty: Gardening allows you to create a beautiful space that can bring joy and happiness to your life. Whether you have a small container garden or a large backyard, you can use gardening to create a space that reflects your personal style and brings a sense of beauty to your surroundings. Connecting with nature: Gardening allows you to connect with the natural world and experience the beauty and wonder of the outdoors. Spending time in nature can be calming and rejuvenating, providing a sense of peace and tranquility. Practicing mindfulness: Gardening requires focus and attention to detail, which can help promote mindfulness and being present in the moment. This can be especially helpful for those struggling with stress, anxiety, or depression. Providing a sense of purpose: Gardening can provide a sense of purpose and meaning, which can be especially important for those struggling with mental health issues. Taking care of plants and watching them grow can provide a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. Nurturing life: Gardening allows you to nurture and care for living things, which can be a deeply fulfilling experience. Watching plants grow and thrive can be a source of joy and inspiration, and can help foster a sense of empathy and compassion. Overall, gardening can be a wonderful activity for the soul, providing a sense of beauty, connection, and purpose. Whether you have a green thumb or are just starting out, gardening can be a rewarding experience that enriches your life in countless ways.

  • How to create a community vegetable garden

    Creating a community vegetable garden can be a great way to bring people together and provide fresh, healthy food for your community. Here are some steps to get started: Find a location: Look for a space that is easily accessible and receives at least six hours of sunlight each day. Consider partnering with local organizations such as schools, churches, or community centres to find a suitable location. Gather a group: Talk to your neighbours, friends, and local organizations to find people who are interested in helping with the garden. Recruit volunteers to help with planning, planting, and maintaining the garden. Plan the garden: Determine the size and layout of the garden, and decide what types of vegetables you want to grow. Consider using raised beds or containers to make the garden more accessible and easier to maintain. Secure funding and resources: Seek out funding sources such as grants, donations, or sponsorships from local businesses. You will also need tools, seeds, soil, and other supplies to get started. Build the garden: Prepare the soil and build the garden beds or containers. Consider incorporating features such as compost bins or rain barrels to make the garden more sustainable. Plant and maintain the garden: Work with your volunteers to plant the vegetables and maintain the garden throughout the growing season. This will include tasks such as watering, weeding, and harvesting. Share the harvest: Once the vegetables are ready, share them with the community through a farmers' market, a community food bank, or by distributing them to local families in need. Creating a community vegetable garden can be a rewarding experience that brings people together and provides fresh, healthy food for your community. With planning, hard work, and a little help from your neighbours, you can create a thriving garden that benefits everyone involved.

  • How to create a biodiverse garden, big or small

    Gardens don't have to be huge to create a biodiverse ecosystem. When we think of ecosystems, it's easy to get stuck on huge landscapes with acreage. Every little bit helps, even if it's just a few pots on a balcony. Small Garden Biodiversity Even small gardens can support biodiversity and provide habitat for a variety of species. Here are some tips for creating biodiversity in tiny gardens: Choose the right plants: Select plants that are appropriate for the size of your garden and can provide habitat for local wildlife. Consider using native plants that are adapted to the local climate and soil conditions, and choose a variety of plants that bloom at different times of the year to provide a constant source of food for pollinators and other wildlife. Use compact varieties of plants that won't grow too large for your space. Use vertical space: If you have limited horizontal space, use vertical space to create a garden that is full of life. You can add climbing plants, trellises, and hanging baskets to create a vertical garden that supports a variety of plant and animal life. Create habitat features: Incorporate features such as bird feeders, birdhouses, and insect hotels to provide additional habitat for wildlife. These features can be placed in small spaces and add interest to your garden. Provide water: Create a water source such as a small birdbath or fountain to attract wildlife. Make sure to keep the water clean and provide a source of fresh water throughout the year. Minimize pesticide use: Pesticides can harm wildlife, so try to use natural methods for pest control in your garden. This can include companion planting, natural predators, and other organic methods. Use containers: If you have limited garden space, consider using containers to grow plants. This allows you to create a garden in a small space and provides habitat for a variety of wildlife. Large Garden Biodiversity Creating biodiversity in our gardens is important for supporting healthy ecosystems and providing habitat for a variety of species. Here are some tips for creating biodiversity in your garden: Plant native species: Native plants are adapted to the local climate and soil conditions, and can provide important habitat for local wildlife. Choose a variety of plants that bloom at different times of the year to provide a constant source of food for pollinators and other wildlife. Use a variety of plant types: Include a mix of trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals in your garden to provide a range of habitats for different types of wildlife. This can include plants with different heights, textures, and bloom times. Create habitat features: Incorporate features such as birdhouses, bat boxes, and insect hotels to provide additional habitat for wildlife. These features can also be decorative and add interest to your garden. Provide water: Create a water source such as a birdbath or small pond to attract wildlife. Make sure to keep the water clean and provide a source of fresh water throughout the year. Minimize pesticide use: Pesticides can harm wildlife, so try to use natural methods for pest control in your garden. This can include companion planting, natural predators, and other organic methods. Provide nesting sites: Include plants and features that provide shelter and nesting sites for wildlife. This can include trees and shrubs with dense foliage, nesting boxes for birds, and logs and rocks for small mammals and reptiles. By creating biodiversity in our gardens, we can support healthy ecosystems and provide important habitat for a variety of species. With a little planning and effort, you can create a beautiful and vibrant garden that is both attractive and environmentally friendly.

  • Unique ways to conserve water

    Firstly, why is it important to conserve water? Conserving water is important for several reasons, including: Environmental sustainability: Water is a finite resource, and conserving it is crucial for maintaining healthy ecosystems and preserving biodiversity. Water is also a vital resource for many species, and conservation efforts can help protect their habitats and ensure their survival. Economic benefits: Conserving water can help reduce the demand for costly infrastructure projects, such as new dams and reservoirs. It can also help lower water bills for households and businesses, as well as reduce the costs of treating and delivering water. Energy savings: The process of treating and delivering water requires a significant amount of energy. By conserving water, we can reduce the energy needed to pump, treat, and distribute water, which can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save energy. Water scarcity: Many regions around the world are facing water scarcity, and conservation efforts can help reduce the demand for water and extend the available supply. In addition, conserving water can help prevent water shortages during periods of drought or other emergencies. Overall, conserving water is essential for ensuring a sustainable future for our planet and its inhabitants. It is an individual and collective responsibility to use water wisely and efficiently, and to reduce our impact on the environment. How can we as gardeners help with water conservation? Rainwater harvesting: Collect rainwater from rooftops, gutters, and other surfaces and store it in a rain barrel or underground cistern for later use in watering plants and gardens. Greywater reuse: Use water from sinks, showers, and washing machines to flush toilets or water outdoor plants. Rather than throwing water from a reusable water bottle in the sink, water your indoor plants! Xeriscaping: Use native plants and other drought-resistant landscaping techniques to minimize water usage in landscaping. Mulching: Apply a layer of mulch to garden beds and around trees to help retain moisture in the soil. Drip irrigation: Use a drip irrigation system to deliver water directly to plant roots, reducing water waste due to evaporation and runoff. Water-efficient appliances: Install water-efficient appliances like low-flow showerheads, toilets, and washing machines to reduce water usage in the home. Plant selection: Choose plants that are adapted to your climate and require less water. Soil improvement: Add organic matter to your soil to improve its water-holding capacity and reduce the need for watering. Water-free cleaning: Use dry cleaning techniques like sweeping or vacuuming instead of washing surfaces with water. Fixing leaks: Fix leaks in faucets and pipes to prevent water waste. Drought Tolerant Plants for Southwestern Ontario Although we always recommend native plant species, these plants do really well in drought conditions in Southwestern Ontario: Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) Coneflower (Echinacea) Daylily (Hemerocallis) Lavender (Lavandula) Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) Sedum (Sedum spp.) Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) Zinnia (Zinnia elegans) It's important to note that even drought-tolerant plants require adequate water during the first year or two of growth, as they establish their root systems. Once established, these plants can typically withstand dry conditions better than other plants. Additionally, it's important to choose plants that are appropriate for the specific growing conditions in your area, such as soil type, sunlight exposure, and climate.

  • Do you give your plants nicknames?

    Naming your houseplants can be a fun and creative way to personalize your green friends. Here are some ideas: Choose a name based on the plant's characteristics, such as "Spike" for a spiky cactus or "Fernando" for a fern. Name your plant after a favourite character from a book or movie, such as "Harry" for a plant with lightning-shaped leaves, or "Groot" for a plant that resembles the character from Guardians of the Galaxy. Name your plant after a friend or family member, such as "Aunt Rose" for a rose bush or "George" for a plant that reminds you of your grandfather. Use a name that reflects the plant's origin or species, such as "Panda" for a bamboo plant or "Olive" for an olive tree. Choose a name that is punny or humorous, such as "Fernando Pessoa" for a fern or "Holly Golightly" for a holly plant. Looking for some clever names? Here are a few of our favourites: Leafy McLeaferson Sir Sprouts-a-Lot Audrey II (from Little Shop of Horrors) Phil the Philodendron Marley and Me (for a pair of plants) Spike Lee (for a spiky plant) Vera the Aloe Vera Buzz the Spider Plant Pippi Long-Stemming (for a tall plant) Oscar the Grouch (for a plant that likes to live in the dirt) Twiggy Stardust Captain Chlorophyll The Foliage Four Sassy Succulent Frondly McBride Bonsai Buddy The Potted Posse The Ficus Foursome Cacti Claus Fern Gully Keanu Leaves

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