Archives > August 2018

Fall Asters

Posted by Wallish on Aug 28 2018

As August winds to a close, many gardeners feel a glum that the days of our growing season are numbered. But gardeners are a mixed camp…others are all over the fact that the gardening chores are lightening up, and others may have already stopped gardening – they are just over it and moving on to Halloween. For those of us who hate to let our gardens go, there are fall blooming perennials to extend our gardening timeline. Fall blooming sedums and asters would be in their prime right now – let’s chat a bit about Fall Blooming Asters.

Fall Asters sport blossoms that are clusters of little daisies – they tend to run in the pink spectrum. They are available all shade of pink and purple. They work well as cut flowers, too. Fall Asters are easy to care for; they are very hardy and are bothered by few pests and diseases.>p?

Preferred Sun Exposure: part sun – full sun they need a minimum of 4 hours and are happy with all day long sunshine

Height Range: 18 – 30”, best planted 24” apart

Watering: Fall Asters are ok with being on the drier side but they don’t like to be parched – nobody likes to be parched. To tolerate dry conditions, they must be a mature and established clump– which is generally 3 years old. Think of perennial maturity this way: The 1st year they sleep, the 2nd year they creep, and the 3rd year they leap. So treat them well in those first few years.

Moving them: If you would like to relocate your Asters, keep their bloom time in mind. Since they bloom in the autumn, it is best to move them early in spring so the bloom time is disrupted the least. They will have time to establish and get the fall blossom in time.

If you are looking for a little zip for your fall garden, consider Fall Asters – some great varieties for our Edmonton area are: Purple Dome, Alert, Wood’s Purple, Wood’s Pink, Winston Churchill, and Professor Klippenburg.

One last benefit of these flowers is that they attract bees and butterflies – they will keep your garden lively. They are rated at a zone 4, so be sure to mulch them before winter.

We have a couple more blogs on Fall Blooming Perennials – check out these links to: It Doesn’t have to be Over! Late Blooming Perennials & It’s Not Over Yet – The Glory of all Blooming Perennials

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions – follow this link to our contact form and send us a quick email. We are happy to talk to you on the phone, too at 780-467-3091.

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Tips on Making Cut Flowers Last

Posted by Wallish on Aug 14 2018

Summer is the time when we can cut our own fresh flowers and grace our spaces with the colors of the garden. Delphiniums in blue, Dianthus in pink, Salvia & Limonium in purple, and Rudbeckia in yellow all great vase flowers. Here are a few tips on maximizing the lifetime cut flowers and how to get them to last a longer.

About the Vase:

  • Make sure your vases are squeaky clean – this slows the growth of bacteria in the water.
  • Use clean, fresh, cool water to fill the vase.
  • Add anything to the water?
    • This is a question with a LOT of discussion and opinion! There isn’t much agreement on what is best here…with ideas starting at adding pennies or lemon juice or sugar or vinegar or bleach to getting hairspray involved on the top end.
    • Here’s one recipe:
      • To 1 Litre of water add – 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (some acidity) + 1 tbsp sugar (food source) + a few drops of household bleach (to deter bacterial growth) — but we’re making no guarantees on how this will work.
  • Change the water in the vase regularly, like every 3 days — nobody really does this – BUT it would keep things from getting slimy.

About the Flowers:

  • Cut your flowers first thing in the morning while they plumped up and fresh from a good night’s rest.
  • Some flowers are best cut closed – do a quick check online for recommendations to your specific flower.
    • cut peonies closed when they feel like a marshmallow
    • allium, tulips, roses, daffodils all do best cut closed
  • Other flowers are best cut open or partially open like:
    • delphiniums, dahlia, dianthus, gladiolus, liatris, lilies, rudbeckia, stocks, salvia, sunflowers, sweet peas, zinnias
  • Use a knife to cut the flowers – this ensures a clean cut which leave the xylem & phylum open, clippers can crush the xylem & phylum if they aren’t sharp and this makes it more difficult for them to take up water & sugar.
  • Cut the stems at a 45º angle – this maximizes the surface area of the stem to take up water.
  • Strip leaves off the stems that would otherwise be below the water level – this decreases the amount of plant material that will rot in the water and decreases bacteria counts.
  • Keep your cut flowers away from direct sunlight and sources of heat to keep them from drying out.
  • Some sources say that storing flowers in the fridge overnight will extend their life, that’s why florists keep most of their flowers in a cooler.

We have a blog on Peonies as Cut Flowers that gives more specific instructions on getting the most mileage out of this spring bloomer.

Contact us via our website or give us a call on the phone (780-467-3091) and we will be happy to talk fresh cut flowers with you!

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