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Give a gift certificate for our Garden Centre in Campbell River. Gift Certificates can be posted to your loved one, or held in their name at the...
Just in Fruit Trees - Nov 22/17
  Just in ~ Fruit Trees! Late fall is the best time to plant new fruit trees. Remember when you are planting bare-root trees that they need to...
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Campbell River Garden Centre23rd Annual Great Pumpkin Contest October 14th, 2017 1st place Adult Joe Hanrahan 521 lbs2nd Place...

Winter

Getting Festive with your Garden

Everybody has that friend who rocks the Christmas décor. To be honest it sometimes leaves me sighing and exhausted just thinking about all they have done. I don’t think I’ll ever be the friend who knocks it right out of the park but I’m ok with that. In fact when it gets right down to it I get most excited about the little things that are simply done but add so much to the season.

One of my dear friend’s mother hangs her childhood skates with a few carefully chosen boughs and a bow on her front door. It is still the most nostalgic and stylish door decoration I have seen. I think I’ll ask my mom for my dad’s ice skates to do that this year. Another friend is big on trimming boughs for her mantel, real ones of course, that smell divine. I guess the point is that having a garden and being able to trim bits of holly or evergreen boughs feels like part of the richness of the season and that in itself is simply wonderful.

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Top 5 Christmas Gifts for Gardeners

I remember about a bunch of years ago my sister, Alana, was in town for the weekend and visiting me for the day. We had decided to spend our time together planting daffodil and tulip bulbs into containers and in the garden as well as some paperwhites and an amaryllis for indoor Christmas blooms. We were just getting started when she remarked that she loved gardening with me because I had "all the good tools". Gloves that kept her finger nails clean, a shiny stainless steel trowel that didn't bend and pruners that were of excellent quality and were a pleasure to use.

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The Autumn Colours

Here come the beautiful fall colours!  Whether walking or driving around, Campbell River I have had enjoyed these colours in street trees, on our trails, the stunning view of Quadra Island with the big leaf maples (Acer macrophyllum) lit up within the deep green coniferous trees and in your private gardens.  This leads me to think, of how we never know, who will enjoy the trees and shrubs we plant.

A personal experience of this was a particularly magnificent Smoke Bush (Cotinus) on Hilchey Road which caused me pull over and snap a photo of its glory; all glowing coral deepening to pinkish-red.  I was so pleased I had my camera handy and thankful to the homeowner who planted it for the glowing feeling it passed along to me.

For many years the burning bush (Euonymus alatus) and red maples (Acer rubrum) at the Arena on Dogwood street have been enjoyed by so many of us.  Customers mention this gorgeous planting each and every fall.  I hope those who planted and cared for these plants know how much we all appreciate their beauty.

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Plants for Fall & Winter Interest

Autumn is such a magical time in the garden.  With summer behind us the light is softening to golden hues and the shadows are getting long and a lot of plants are preparing for winter.  At the same time some plants have been waiting all spring and summer to delight us with their showiest season - Autumn.

Some plants will dazzle us with fall colours of rich burgundy, red, gold and orange and others will more delicately change to apricot, soft yellows and dusty rose.  All in my mind are beautiful but finding stunning combinations is as important as the plants themselves.  For example; I love the way the deep, dark, plum leaves of Cotinus (Smoke Bush) illuminate in the fall to salmon-pink tones.  However when Smoke Bush are combined with Pampas Grass (and maybe a little bit of a wrought iron fence or railing in behind) you have a gorgeous vignette to look upon, not only in the summer but also in the fall.  This is a little combo I've been looking for a place around my house for a while. 

Here are just a few of the plants that I think are interesting for using for fall and winter interest.  Some have interesting leaves or fall colour, some have beautiful stems and some have gorgeous berries.

Cornus sanguinea 'Midwinter Fire' (Twig Dogwood)

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Living Christmas Trees

If the idea of using a tree that you can plant in your garden later appeals to you, this is how I would do it. First, choose a tree that you would like to add to your garden. So it may not look exactly as what we have come to think of a traditional Christmas tree; however, it will be pleasing in your yard for many years to come
 
It is important to know that a living tree will only tolerate being in your home for a short period and will not like to be in a room with a wood stove or other extreme heat source. While your tree is indoors keep it well watered. Acclimatize it before putting it back out in the cold again by setting it in the garage or carport overnight.
 
As your tree will only be in the house a few days (about 7-10 at the very longest!), you may want to make a bit more of a fuss over it than usual. Make sure the whole family is home to set it up so that this new tradition appeals to all.
 
Make your family's favourite easy dinner or have an appie night, it feels like a family party! Get your kids to help with the traditions like lighting candles or choosing Christmas music. I think these are the specials times that your family will treasure. Read More

"If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?" Percy Bysshe Shelley

As this winter season blasts on and on with wind and storms and snow and yet even more snow; Shelley's quote reminds me that the "Joy of Spring" must surely be near. We are a bit spoilt, at times, on the coast when we have mild winters and spring comes early. Not so this year. Even now, in the early days of February, we cannot say how much longer winter will heft her weight around. I think this is not a year when gardeners will boast about geraniums and other non-hardy types wintering out of doors.

However, it is in a winter season such as this that I find gardeners look most forward to the tiny signs of spring approaching. Are any of the tips of their bulbs up? Are buds beginning to swell? We watch, and we wait, and then before we know it the early blooms of witch hazel (Hammemalis) amaze us with their tiny, fragrant, sort of crinkled, yet spiky flowers. Ah.some clock within nature has chimed and time has moved on from the dead of winter to foreshadow the coming of spring.

Then the next thing we know the forsythia has burst open to bathe us in it's golden splendour and it really does feel like the warmer days are coming. Many other bloomers will follow of course but these early ones, these are the ones that get us through the last that winter has to offer. These are the shrubs we love to cut to bring indoors and know that if winter is here, spring cannot be far behind.

 

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