Monday, February 17, 2014

A look back at a day in life of Karl at Jensen's!

  All in a day’s work.
Jensen Nursery has been a contributor to the Scandinavian Centre for a number of years through advertising and donations of gift certificates to many events annually. To make this possible, I will like to give you an account of a traditional day at work, leading up to Christmas.
Christmas is getting close and I know, we will have a busy day at work selling Christmas trees. On the long drive to work I curse the City for the poor planning of road infrastructure and the poor drivers ahead of me, but look forward to a nice cup of coffee, waiting for me at work. When I finally arrive, I am greeted by a chilling look from Susan, my boss that says “you are finally here”. I steer directly to the lunch room for my coffee and stop dead in my tracks. “What, no coffee”, I yell. Jennifer enters the lunch room. “You want coffee, you make your own. We are too busy to bother with that,” She exclaims” Jean now enters with a big smile.”I’ll make the coffee for you and bring it to you when it is ready, go help the girls in the greenhouse. As I enter the greenhouse, Jennifer and Susan M. (Macpherson) are getting trees ready for delivery. “What took you so long? Give us a hand doing these fresh-cuts” she says, giving me a certain look. “You know I’m not much good till I’ve had my coffee” I explain. Just then, as if she has read my mind, Jean enters with a cup of coffee and I’m ready to go. With my coffee in my left hand and a saw in my right, I can now do a fresh-cut on the trees, only to hear my boss, Susan complaining. “You are cutting crooked, how can we make the tree stand straight with a cut like that” Looking at a pretty good cut I say defiantly,” Well if we had a good saw that could cut straight, you would have a perfect cut.”
As we continue getting the trees ready for delivery, the first customers of the day enter the greenhouse. This gives me a chance to finish my coffee and help the people at the same time, leaving the heavy work to Jennifer and the two Susan’s. It is not hard to sell a tree as we have a really nice selection and in no time at all I have made a sale. Now I just have to take it down from it’s hanging position. I swallow the last of my coffee and go to work, only to hear the girls yelling for me to come give them a hand. More costumers arrive and now we all rush to serve them. We blame this on Tammy, who has been busy advertising our services. Come in, bring your tree stand and pick your tree. We will then give it a fresh-cut, put it in the stand for you and send it out right into your living-room, and there for people are coming in droves buying their trees. 
Late in the morning Elsie arrives, bringing Kurt to work. Elsie doesn’t look too happy. “Keep him here the rest of the day,” she says, “I’m going to the Scandinavian Centre for the Norwegian lunch without him,” she says and off she goes. Kurt wanders around the greenhouse mumbling something only he understands and then disappears out to the garage. We are now close to noon and two more staff arrive, Laura and Jane. “Anything we can help with” they both ask and instead of replying we simply hand them tools to cut plastic with and point to the trees waiting to be wrapped. At this time the girls are noticing that I am slowing down. “Don’t lift the trees by yourself, let me help you. You are getting too old to do it by yourself,” Susan M says and the other girls soon follow suit. Looking like my pride has been hurt, I manage to hide my pleasure of being pampered.
It is now one o’clock and I have to teach a group of ladies how to make wreaths. Another staff member, Arlene will teach another group to make center pieces. This gives me a break from the hustle and bustle in the greenhouse, but Jean soon lets me know that I am needed there as well, so back and forth I go. The end of the day is nearing and Elsie returns from the Centre, this time with a smile on her face from having a nice visit with friends from the Centre. Kurt has come back from the garage and has wandered around the greenhouse, mumbling his own language. He too now has a smile on his face. He has been counting the trees and learned how many we have sold in the course of the day and he is pleased. Everybody is exhausted from the day’s work but already they are discussing the plans for the next day.
As I am driving home, fighting the traffic, my cursing is less, perhaps from being too tired, but mainly from realising how lucky I am, working in a lovely environment and with a great group of people, who really spoil me. Also knowing that because of the hard, but fun work, we are able to help others. From every tree sold two dollars go to the “Pennies from Heaven” foundation.
Just a brief outline of what goes on at Jensen’s. All in a day’s work.
Karl Sorensen
Posted by Tammy Jensen at 7:10 PM 0 Comments

Monday, February 10, 2014

Making Sense of Hydrangeas

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I know exactly what you have been worried about. Last summer I know it was worrying me. Then……Colleen Zacharias gave a seminar last September about …..Hydrangeas. And I took notes:
 
There are three types of Hydrangeas.
 
Arborescens, which is also commonly known as a mop head, has large round flower clusters. They bloom on new wood and should be pruned in late fall or early spring. The most well known is Annabelle, which can be pruned to 6” in the spring of its third year. 
 
The second type is Paniculata - Limelight and Quick Fire - which has a cone shaped flower cluster. It is the easiest to grow and also blooms on new wood. You can also prune this one in late fall or early spring. The Quick Fire Hydrangea is great for gardens as it blooms one month earlier than other Hydrangeas.
 
The third type is Macrophylla - Endless Summer - which is known for the large leaves. It blooms on new and old wood. This type, especially, doesn’t like the afternoon sun and must not be pruned. 
 
It’s important to consider the following guidelines when growing Hydrangeas. They need three deep waterings a week with a weak fertilizer mix. Most varieties need afternoon shade and they should all be mulched. 
 
Stop by and see us in the spring and check out all the varieties that we have at Jensen’s.
 
Now your worrying is over,
Jennifer

FIRE AND ICE HYDRANGEA

BELLA ANNA HYDRANGEA

 
Posted by Tammy Jensen at 10:15 AM 0 Comments

Monday, February 03, 2014

These long, cold days of winter...when will it end???

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Everyone you meet these days is talking and complaining about our crazy, cold, snowy winter.  Have you booked your winter vacation yet???  
Many gardeners I know are taking this time when they’re forced to be indoors, to reflect; gather information and plan for the spring that’s around the corner.  This is a great time to be going through all the seed catalogues that are arriving; choosing some new plants, some old favourites, colours and themes for the garden; and for perhaps thinking of planting a few more vegetables or herbs.  Many herbs and vegetables enjoy being planted amidst flowers and add interest to the garden, as well as beauty.  With all the snow accumulating, many gardeners can’t help thinking about the wet spring that may lie ahead.  This may affect the type of flowers or vegetables that you want to plant.  Now is the time to plan!
Many of us are enjoying our indoor gardens and houseplants.  Many indoor plants provide us with some much needed colour during these drab days of winter, while other larger ones soften and blend with groups of furniture, and other smaller plants enhance and adorn our tables and windowsills. Plants do a great job of cleaning our air.
Have you been checking your houseplants regularly for insects and disease?  With our busy lives, we often tend to neglect our plants, taking for granted that they will continue to perform on their own.  Then, one day when watering you notice that one of your plants is really suffering.  It looks wilted, is losing colour and it looks like it’s covered with tiny cotton balls.  Oh no, Mealy bug!  Isolate the plant immediately and spray with an insecticidal soap or use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.  You may have to repeat this process a number of times.  Mealy bug is one of the hardest insects to control.  Whitefly, scale, aphids and red spider mite are also insects most common to houseplants.  If the leaves of your plant are looking a little yellow, dry and dropping, you may have an infestation of whitefly.  They flutter around the plant when disturbed.  The scale insect looks like little tiny bumps that collect along stems and at the base of leaves.  They cause a reddening of the tissue wherever they feed.  The stems usually lose vigor and die.  Aphids are usually light or dark green, are very tiny and also cluster on stems and underneath leaves.  They will literally suck the life out of your plant.  Red spider mite is seen as little red dots on the underside of the leaf and they usually attack when the humidity is low.  Herbs are susceptible to spider mite.  To increase the humidity, place your plants on a tray filled with pebbles and water.  Avoid misting your plants to increase the humidity as this will encourage insects and disease.  To discourage disease, remove dark, dead and sickly growth and dip your shears or pruners in a bleach solution to prevent the spread of disease.  Use an insecticidal spray to control whitefly, scale, aphids and spider mite.
To help your plants through the winter, let them rest.  Avoid fertilizing.  The optimum time to fertilize is from late January to the beginning of October.  Cut back on the watering.  Keep them away from heat registers, hot or cool drafts and warm appliances.  High room temperatures make the plant spindly, may cause blooming plants to drop buds or finish blooming prematurely and make them less resistant to insects and disease.  Keep your plants clean.  Dust the leaves using a soft cloth & lukewarm water wit a bit of mild dishwashing or insecticidal soap.  Avoid over-crowding or over-watering your plants.  Fungus is usually a result of poor air circulation. Also, avoid letting your plants dry out.  When they are stressed, that is when insects and disease attack!
Some dependable and easy to care for houseplants include the cactus, jade plant, sansevieria or mother-in-laws tongue, spider plant, wandering jew, ponytail palm and pothos or devil’s ivy.
If you have pets, please keep in mind some of the houseplants that have been reported by the A.S.P.C. (Animal Poison Control Centre) to affect some animals with mouth irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting and difficulty swallowing. They are elephant ear, arrowhead vine, begonia, caladium, calla lily and dumb cane.  The following house plants are more toxic and may cause diarrhea, colic, weakness, stupor, asphyxiation, colic, depression, leg paralysis, kidney failure and possibly death:  azalea, cyclamen and oleander.  If you suspect your pet has ingested any of these plants, please take your pet to your local veterinarian immediately or call the A.S.P.C. at 1-888-426-4435 for information.
 
On a lighter note, enjoy one of my favourite poems.  Some of you out there may relate. I’ve been there! Taken from the 2003 Prairie Garden Booklet.
 
My Wife the Gardener
 
She dug the plot on Monday
The soil was rich and fine
She forgot to thaw out dinner
So we went out to dine
 
She planted roses Tuesday
She says they are a must
They really are quite lovely
But she forgot to dust
 
On Wednesday it was daisies
They opened with the sun
All whites and pinks and yellows
But the laundry wasn’t done
 
The poppies came on Thursday
A bright and cheery red
I guess she really was engrossed
But never made the bed
 
It was Dahlias on Friday
In colours she adores
It never bothered her at all
All the crumbs upon the floors
 
 
I hired a maid on Saturday
My week was now complete
My wife can garden all she wants
The house will still be neat
 
It’s nearly lunchtime Sunday
And, I can’t find the maid
Oh no!  I don’t believe it
She’s out there with a spade!!!
 
And for the kids:
 
What did the fast tomato say to the slow tomato???
 
Ketchup!!!
 
Don’t worry, spring’s around the corner.  Enjoy this time to relax and plan for the craziness of spring!
 
Arlene Ortiz (Wheeler)
Posted by Tammy Jensen at 9:37 AM 0 Comments