Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Stop Bulb Envy

Photograph by Paul Gellatly

The season is winding down very quickly, the garden is getting ready for the long cold winter. The autumn colours are fading to twigs and fallen leaves.  If you're anything like me, at this time of year, you're ready for a break from the garden, at the same time excited about your garden next year.

Photograph by Paul Gellatly
Photo by Paul Gellatly
Its not too late to start thinking about Spring.  Nothing is better than bulbs poking through the snow in the spring, and ushering in a new season.  Now is the time you need to plan for that.   This is the perfect time!

Photo by Paul Gellatly
Photograph by Paul Gellatly
I always wait until the end of November to put in my bulbs.  The squirrels have pretty much finished their gathering for the winter, and less of your bulbs will go missing.  Nothing is more frustrating than watching squirrels dig up your spring bulbs.  There are a few things you can do, other than waiting until late November.  Squirrels don't like Narcissus, or Allium bulbs.  If you mix some of these in with your other bulbs, there is less chance of them getting taken by the daytime bandits.  Another way is to place chicken wire over where you have planted. The Squirrels can't dig through the chicken wire, and get to your bulbs.

If you're anything like me, you will want to add new bulbs next year as well.  One problem I have had is that come the fall, I don't remember exactly where I have bulbs, as they are dormant... I end up digging up bulbs, or worse yet, digging into bulbs.  One trick to remedy this, is to plant muscari (grape hyacinth) with your bulbs.  Grape hyacinths send up foliage in the fall... that way you will know where your other bulbs are planted.

Photo by Paul Gellatly
Photo by Paul Gellatly
One trick that I learned this year, from a friend Uli Havermann; is to place a piece of flagstone over where you have planted the bulbs.  The squirrels can't dig under a piece of flagstone, but you have to remember to remove it first thing in the spring to allow the bulbs to grow.

Photograph by Paul Gellatly
When planting bulbs there are a lot of things to consider.  Consider bloom time, colour combinations, are they being used to naturalize or are they a focal point in your spring garden. Although bulbs look beautiful when they are in bloom, you also need to consider the time it takes for the foliage to die back into the bulb and how that will affect your late spring garden.

Many people dig their bulbs up after they have bloomed and let them die back in a shed or garage.  I prefer to leave my bulbs in the ground, so I have them planted where other plants grow up around them and hide the foliage as it dies back.  A lot of my smaller bulbs are planted around my hemerocallis (daylilies) once the spring bulbs fade, the daylily foliage is already growing up and filling in.  When using bulbs to naturalize an area, you would want to leave the bulbs in the ground.

Photo by Paul Gellatly
Bulbs begin blooming in early, mid, and late spring, make sure to check the packages to find out when your new bulbs will be blooming, and be mindful to plant bulbs to extend your spring garden bloom.

Photo by Paul Gellatly
A Rule of Thumb for planting:  If the bulb is larger (Tulip, Daffodil, Hyacinth), the hole should be about 6-8" deep from the bottom of the bulb; if the bulb is small (Snowdrop, Crocus, Scilla, Grape Hyacinth, Dwarf Iris), dig the hole about 4-5" deep.

Make sure you don't end up looking at your neighbour's gardens with Spring Bulb Envy...  Plant some bulbs now and watch your garden come to life in the spring.  
Photograph by Paul Gellatly

Friday, February 28, 2014

Adirondack Stone Works

My Garden Stone... Photograph by Paul Gellatly
Anyone who knows me... knows I rarely like garden decor... I feel as though, for the most part, plants and flowers speak for themselves without accessorizing the garden... There are of course exceptions to every rule...  I have recently discovered Adirondack Stone Works.  Since 2002 this small family business has been perfecting the craft of engraving stone, and creating beautiful natural stone pieces for your home and garden.

Specializing in Garden Stones, and Pet Memorial Stones, Adirondack Stone Works is certainly an amazing company to check out.  With Free Shipping anywhere in the USA, their prices are incredibly reasonable; ranging from 38 to 79 dollars! Although they don't normally ship to Canada... If you mention that you found out about them through this blog... they will arrange shipment to Canada!  Take advantage of this offer Canadian readers!

The possibilities for these stones are endless, they truly are a piece of art for the garden; from address stones, memorials, thank you gifts, and more... there's sure to be something that peaks your interest for the garden.

Growing up in a home where my parents owned a small business, I fully believe in supporting small family run businesses.

Check out their website and purchase a beautiful stone to showcase in your garden, just as I have done.  Their stones are specially chosen, hand chiseled, and deeply engraved and painted with 30 year stone paint... So you will have this piece for many many years to come!

Contact Jeremy or Tavia at and
or at (315) 845-6715 And remember to let them know you found out about them on this blog.

All photographs used with permission from Jeremy and Tavia at Adirondack Stone Works

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Bit About Me...

Photograph by Paul Gellatly "Golden Wing"
Photograph by Trystin Lewis (2014)
It occurred to me that I've been writing this blog for a couple of years now, and haven't really given much background on my horticultural experience.  For as long as I can remember I have been gardening. My father is a gardener, growing up we had flower and vegetable gardens, a rhubarb patch, and an asparagus garden, along with various fruit trees. I remember my grandparents garden, a long rose garden, in front of a rockery with snow in summer (Cerastium tomentosum) that used to ramble over the rocks... and lilac's and a mock orange who's magnificent scents would fill the air.  So I guess you could say I came by my love of horticulture naturally!

Photo by Paul Gellatly
When I was a teenager, I became a member of the Waterloo Horticultural Society, and subsequently ended up becoming a Director of the Waterloo Horticultural Society for a couple of years.  I entered flowers in the flower shows, my garden in the city competition, and attended many conferences and training opportunities.

Photo by Paul Gellatly My garden 2013
I started a small horticultural group that met at a local church monthly, arranged speakers, and often did presentations on various horticultural topics and workshops.. the group grew from a couple of members to a great group of 30 or more people in the matter of a couple of years.  I arranged trips to Rochester, New York to the Lilac Festival, and various gardens throughout Ontario, including the Royal Botanical Gardens, Niagara Botanical Gardens, and Lark Whistle Gardens.  We had a progressive supper each year where we visited different members gardens, and ate some amazing food along the way, and shared our love of horticulture.

I joined the Kitchener -Waterloo Bonsai Society after taking several courses in the art of Bonsai, attended regular Orchid Society meetings, and was a chairman of the Kitchener-Waterloo Aquarium Society.  I surrounded myself with plants in as many aspects of my life as I could.
Photograph by Paul Gellatly

In high school, I became the Environment Controller, on our schools Board of control, and organized the school's tree planting day (planting 100's of trees and shrubs) and local park clean-up.  I was awarded the Rotary Environment Award, presented by David Suzuki.

Photo by Paul Gellatly "Chicago Peace"
I have been lucky enough to travel to the West Coast of Canada and visit several of the public gardens there, Butchart Gardens, Minter Gardens, UBC Botanical Gardens, Vandusen, and Stanley Park, and to the east the Montreal Botanical Gardens, and the Biodome in Quebec, and the Public Gardens in Halifax Nova Scotia.

Photo by Paul Gellatly
Photo by Paul Gellatly 
About 5 years ago I decided to make horticulture my career. And began working multiple jobs; I started working at an amazing garden center (Plant World in Toronto, Ontario) (  Starting in sales and information, then moving to the Perennial Department.  I assist at Stephanie's Country Greenhouse in Cheltenham, Ontario (; getting the greenhouse set up, and annuals and perennials planted for the upcoming season.  I  work as a gardener for the City of Toronto; working in various parks and gardens throughout the city. I also do Landscape Consulting, and have worked on both small and large scale projects. I am very lucky to work with an amazing group of people who have such vast knowledge and varied experiences, I can't help but learn a lot along the way.  I am truly blessed to be working, and making a living, in the field that I love.

About a year ago I started a horticultural networking group on Facebook, that has just passed 1100 members... and continues to grow daily!  If you're on facebook and want to join. here's the link...

Photograph by Paul Gellatly 
I have immersed myself in the field of Horticulture, and have been walking along the path...  Enjoying every moment, learning, teaching, and networking.  This past year I moved into a house in Mississauga, (only renting) and immediately started planning my garden.  This past summer my garden became an unofficial stop on a local garden tour, and gathered lots of interest and comments from everyone who passed by.

I continue to walk along the path of horticulture and invite you to follow along and enjoy the view!

This blog has now been viewed over 140 000 times, in over 90 countries! Thank you for following along, sharing it with family and friends and making the blog so successful!  

Photograph by Paul Gellatly "Abelmoschus Manihot"

Monday, February 10, 2014

Phoenix Perennials

Every new year renews my interest and excitement for the upcoming season.  In January I start looking at different mail-order companies, seeing what everyone has chosen as their new plants for the upcoming season.  Every once in a while i'm thoroughly impressed at the quality, and selection some companies carry.

One such company is Phoenix Perennials.  Their selection of unique and rare plants available for sale will definitely interest the novice and experienced gardeners alike.  They have a great selection of over 4000 Perennials, Shrubs, Vines, Grasses, and Sub-tropical Plants.

It doesn't take long going through the website to see that Gary Lewis, owner of Phoenix Perennials, has amazing taste in plants, and goes out of his way to find unique and beautiful options for people looking for exciting new plants for their gardens. Since 2001 Gary has been providing a unique alternative to commonly available plants.

When ordering from a mail-order company, ensure to check your growing zone.  Many plants may be considered hardy where the company is based, but may only be considered an annual, or sub-tropical where you are located.  A reputable company will list the hardiness zone for each plant listed on their site.

With prices that will surprise you, and an incredible variety of unique plants, there's sure to be something for everyone.  I'm putting together my order... you should too!

You can find Phoenix perennials online at:
Connect with them on Facebook:
All photo's are used with permission from Phoenix Perennials and Specialty Plants Ltd.
3380 No. 6 Road | Richmond, BC | V6V 1P5
Email: mailorder at
Phone and Fax: 604-270-4133

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Path Continues After a Year of Change...

Well its been a while since I've been able to sit down and write a blog... its been a crazy season.  Although its been busy... I've missed writing this blog!!!  When signing into the blog today, 25 Years and Still Growing has now reached 117 000 views!  Its amazing the blog is still being read over 400 times daily.  Thank you so much for continuing to walk down the path of horticulture with me.

Throughout the season I have four different jobs in the field of horticulture, in addition to writing this blog...  I'm a gardener with the City of Toronto, a Greenhouse assistant at a small country greenhouse, and a Perennial Sales Associate at Plant World, I also do private landscape consulting.  All of these positions although varied... provide me with a network of incredibly knowledgeable friends and co-workers.

"To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow" Audrey Hepburn.  This has to be one of my favorite garden quotes...  It is very true!  As some of you know I moved into a house, after being in a condo for 4 years... needless to say my front yard was transformed into my little garden oasis.  I planted 14 different Japanese Maples, 2 different clumping bamboos, 6 different hydrangeas...along with countless other annuals, perennials and shrubs.  My garden although only in its first season, unofficially became part of a garden tour in my city, and I have been approached to officially be on an upcoming tour.  I am already planning on some changes and additions to the garden next season... including a small pond, and flagstone path and seating area.

Every year in life we continue to change, and grow... This past year I had Lasik Eye Surgery, and Gastric Bypass surgery... I've lost 85 pounds to date, and I can see!  In the same way we change and grow, the garden is constantly changing and with patience, love and a bit of luck... growing!  Its time to start looking through seed and plant catalogs, and checking online as many companies are phasing out the paper copies and switching to online versions.  I'm going to highlight a couple of companies in upcoming blogs that I truly feel offer some quality plants.

From my Garden to yours... I would like to wish you a New year filled with Health and Happiness... and of course Gardening... I look forward to continuing to grow with you over the next year.
All Photographs on this blog entry are taken by Angel W.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Geranium (Pelargoniums)

"Peppermint Twist"
The time is almost here to plant our gardens, and start to enjoy the 2013 growing season.  Hopefully you've given thought to the colours and textures you hope to create in both your garden and your pots and planters.  The options available to you are endless!

"Raspberry Twizzle"
One plant that has long been a staple in the garden and window box is the geranium.  To be honest that has always been one of my least favorite annuals... Until recently. 

Spending time in a greenhouse prior to the growing season has given me a true appreciation for these plants that I have often overlooked.  The colours, varieties, and uses are endless, and I can honestly say my garden and planters will include a couple of geraniums this year.

"Rocky Mountain Light Pink"
I have always thought of them sort as a plant my grandmother would have kept, as I've often seen gardeners with years of experience planting geraniums year after year.  If you've read other posts in my blog you know that I tend to like the unusual flowers and varieties available.  The plain red geranium isn't one i would consider, however there are so many more beautiful options its hard not to become enamored with a couple of the varieties available.

"Cascade White"
There are more varieties and colours available than a single blog posting could ever get into, I am going to highlight a few of my favorites in the photographs on this blog.  There are many more I don't currently have photo's of.  Some geraniums are grown for their flowers, others for their leaves, others for scent.  There are upright, and trailing varieties, the selection really is endless.
"Americana White Splash"

Geraniums care is quite easy, which is likely one of the reason they have been so popular for so long.  The main requirements for geraniums (as with most annuals) is light, water, and fertilizer... If you get the right mix of all 3 of these factors, you're sure to have success!

"Caliente Fire"
Geraniums require a lot of light... full sun is preferred.  By full sun, the hot afternoon sun is required to keep these flowers happy and blooming for the full season.  All geraniums will tolerate partial sun or filtered sun, but you may not get the quantity of blooms this plant is capable of providing.

"Classic White"
Watering Geraniums is crucial... Although geraniums can withstand BRIEF times of dryness, they really should be kept evenly moist all the way to the bottom of the roots... but not wet (soggy).  This is particularly important in hot dry weather... as a rule the more hot and sunny the weather... the more water your plant needs!   If the plant doesn't get enough water you're sure to notice it in the leaves, and it won't bloom to its full potential.

"Americana Rose Mega Splash"
Fertilizing is equally important to keep your geraniums (and other annuals) blooming and growing.  Feed your geraniums weekly as they are heavy feeders...  I like to use a balanced fertilizer like 15-15-15 or 20-20-20 water soluble fertilizer once a week throughout the growing season.  This will ensure that you get constant and prolific blooms and active growth throughout the season.  If you're not able to commit to regular fertilizing like this, a slow release fertilizer is a good alternative, mixing the required amount (and a bit more for geraniums) into the soil will release small amounts of fertilizer with every water... Although the water soluble fertilizer is definitely the preferred method.

In order to keep your plants looking good, it is important to dead-head the finished blooms by pinching them off, I like to do this as close to the stem as possible to keep the plant looking its best.

"King of Balcon"
If you happen to see your leaves yellowing, it is very likely one of two problems... either too much water, or too little water.  If the soil seems soggy constantly, drainage might be an issue, and you should cut back a bit on the watering... if the soil is dry and dusty, your plant needs more water.  It is a good habit to replace the soil in your containers and window boxes every year.

Many people overwinter their geraniums indoors, in a bright window in the house... I don't recommend doing this, as it normally takes these older plants longer to get going in the spring, and the plants don't end up being as vigorous as new plants... However the option is definitely there.  I like to change my colours and varieties up from year to year... and in all honesty... I don't have the room to keep them over.

Geraniums are normally fairly inexpensive... If you have planted them in the past, try a new variety... if you haven't planted them (like me) give them a try!  I know my garden will have a few of the varieties mentioned on this blog this year!
"Rocky Mountain Pink"
All Photographs on this blog taken by Paul Gellatly