Friday, January 18, 2013

Garden Import... Where Quality and Unique Plants Meet

Agapanthus 'Blue Heaven'
Amorphophalus Bulbifer
My path of horticulture has led me to many great gardens, garden centres, and mail order companies, all over North America.  One company that has impressed me for more than 20 years is Garden Import.  Garden Import is a family run business in its 30th season.
Sauromatum Venosum

Garden Import's quality and selection gives me something to look forward to every year.  This year is no exception! Its no secret that I like plants that are unusual.  Plants that you don't find in every home or garden are the ones that capture my attention and keep my interest in horticulture growing.

Clematis 'Princess Kate'
Bessera Elegans
Garden Import carries quality rare and unusual plants, seeds, and bulbs suitable for indoor, outdoor, container, and garden plantings.  The Customer service is excellent and the website is very informative and user friendly. Each plant on the website is listed with growing tips, size, colour and condition requirements.

From the blue Agapanthus, to the yellow Clivia, the pink Clematis, to the black Bat Flower there's sure to be something that catches your eye.
Hellebore 'Amethyst Gem'
I will most definitely be placing an order with Garden Import this spring;  including the plants pictured on this blog.

Try something new this year in your containers or in your garden, and plant something that will be sure to be a conversation piece for family and friends to admire.

Be sure to check out their website, and sign up for their email updates.

Tacca Chantrieri
All photographs used with permission from Dugald Cameron
President at Garden Import

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Jovial Jade

Photograph by Paul Gellatly (Crassula arborescens)
Photo by Paul Gellatly
(Crassula ovata Gollum)
Another year has come and gone, and the blog has been very successful!  In one year this blog has had just shy of 16000 views in 82 countries.  Thanks for walking down the path or horticulture with me and continuing to support this blog!

A lot of things have changed in my life over the past year.  My original plan to move to the west coast of Canada has been postponed as I was recently diagnosed with Diabetes.  Due to this diagnosis I decided to stay where I have a family doctor and stable employment.  My roommate and I subsequently decided to leave the Condo Life and opted to move to a house.  I'm very excited about the gardening potential for next season!

Photo by Paul Gellatly
(Crassula Argentea)
The move created a need to cut back on my houseplants from over 200 to just over 100.  The house has a large north facing window, where most of my plants were thriving in southern exposure with floor to ceiling windows at the condo.  I made a lot of necessary reductions and was able to give my friends a number of plants I knew would no longer thrive in these conditions.  When one door closes... another always opens...
Photo by Paul Gellatly
(Crassula arborescens)

With the hustle and bustle of the Christmas holidays over, the decorations put away, and life returning back to normal, its a great time to take a look at your home and see where you can add some life and beauty to your living space.  Garden Centres tend to be quite slow in January and February, which makes it a great, relaxing time to do some shopping for new houseplants.

Photo by Paul Gellatly
(Crassula ovata 'Variegata')
One plant I believe everyone should have in their collection is the Jade Plant.  I have 5 different varieties of Jade Plants in my collection. Although the most common variety is the normal green variety, with a little bit of luck and research you can find other varieties available to you. A lot of people have told me they have difficulties growing Jade Plants.  I have put together a few tips to help you have success with this beautiful plant.

Photo by Paul Gellatly
(Crassula Argentea)
Firstly Light Conditions...Jade Plants require a lot of light, a south facing window is ideal, but mine do quite well in an east or west facing window as well.  In a south facing window you may even get your Jade Plant to flower!  I do have a couple of my Jade Plants in a north facing window, and they do live, but don't thrive.

One common problem with Jade Plants is Rot.  Many people over water their Jade (I learned my lesson) Only water the Jade when you stick your finger into the potting medium and feel no moisture.  Water less frequently in the winter.  Keeping your Jade in a Terra-Cotta (Clay) Pot will help with the moisture control, as the pot itself will wick some of the moisture from the soil.  As a rule I water mine every other week... But always check the soil before watering.

Photo by Paul Gellatly
(Crassula Argentea)
Using a succulent or cactus based soil mix, or a mix high in perlite or sand is the best option for success. Re-pot your Jade in the spring, and only pot to one size larger than the plant is currently in. Normally I don't transplant my Jade until it becomes top-heavy.

A temperature of 50 to 80 Degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for the Jade... So normal household temperatures are great!  If possible keep your Jade a bit cooler in the winter months, but never below 45 Degrees.  Having the plant cooler in the winter can help promote your Jade to flower.

Photo by Paul Gellatly (Crassula Argentea)
Fertilize your Jade Plant with a high Phosphorus Fertilizer such as 10-20-10, every 3 months in the active growing season April to October.  Do not fertilize the plant in the winter months.  Prune your Jade for shape if you like, although I like to let mine grow naturally.  If you do prune the plant... Jades are very easy to start from cutting, so place the cuttings in soil and root them up for your friends...

Jade Plants are fairly bug and disease resistant.  One common pest that may infect your Jade is the Mealy Bug.  Mealy Bugs are a common household plant pest.  They can be washed away with water, sprayed with Rubbing Alcohol, or a household pesticide...  I try not to use pesticides unless absolutely necessary.

I have seen Jade Plants as tall as 8 feet tall, down to 6" in height.  With the variety of sizes and colours available growing a Jade Plant will provide you with a beautiful houseplant for many years to come.

Photo by Paul Gellatly with Crassula Argentea and Portulacaria afra 'Tricolour'