Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Arlene's Watering Tips

Arlene’s Mid-Summer Gardening Tips -Watering



In this scorching heat that we are experiencing, it’s hard to keep up with the watering.  To maintain a healthy, green lawn, water to a depth of 6 – 10 inches a couple of times a week (about ¾”) each watering.  You will maintain a healthy grass if you completely wet the root zone each time you water.  Each sprinkler applies water at a different rate.  A simple test to find out how much water your sprinkler is applying to your lawn is to put out a small empty can such as a tuna or salmon can.  After 15 minutes, measure how much water is in your can.  An efficient way to test how deeply you have watered is to either use a soil probe or a very long screwdriver. After about an hour after watering, push the probe into the soil.  It will be difficult to push through dry soil; however, it will easily slide through wet soil. Water your lawn until you can easily slide the probe to a depth of 6 – 10 inches.
Also, water in the morning and don’t waste your water by watering at the hottest part of the day.  I discourage watering at night as water sits on the blade of the leaf and attracts insects and fungus.  Mow your lawn to a height of 2 inches minimum and remove the weeds – they only use up a lot of the water!
It is important to water around the foundation of the house to prevent cracking of the foundation, however, during periods of rain, insure that the drain pipes are flushing the water away from the house.


Water around the drip-line of the tree, (that’s where the water falls off the outside of the tree), and out about two feet. The feeder roots are in this area, not at the trunk of the tree. Use mulch to preserve moisture, keep the roots cool and suppress the weeds.

Perennial and Annual Flower Beds

Perennials have a deeper root system than annuals, so water them slowly and deeply.  Annuals, with their shallow root system require more watering on a regular basis. Ensure that you water slowly so as not to expose any of the roots.  Use mulch as well to preserve moisture.

Hanging Baskets and Containers

Most hanging baskets and containers are quite full right now so make sure to water slowly to ensure the roots are well watered.  The roots will gravitate to the outside of the container so try not to let your baskets and containers dry out.

Posted by Tammy Jensen at 4:29 PM 0 Comments

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Jensen Nursery has those Hydrangeas you have been thinking about...
You must have seen those shrubby plants with huge flower structures – some the size of a small child’s head; or you always wondered where that friend of yours got that beautiful dried flower arrangement.  Look no further than besides Jensen’s main building – it’s the Hydrangea.
Remember that great article on Hydrangeas in the Winnipeg Free Press back in the early spring?  (http://homes.winnipegfreepress.com/winnipeg-real-estate-articles/renovation-design/GARDENING-Beautiful-bloomers/id-2733/)
Colleen Zacharias astutely summarized that all Hydrangeas are not created equal.  Some are needing a strategic trim in the spring to flower (Hydrangea arborescens c.v.), while others can take a decapitation almost to the ground (Hydrangea paniculata c.v.).  And remember:  some of this pruning may be done by your furry little garden friend, the rabbit – so be mindful of the type you want and the effort of protection (both by herbivores and deep cold snaps) that you are willing to provide.
Jensen’s still has the following varieties, so be sure to go to the website to check-out these beauties (http://plants.jensennursery.com/11050012):
H. Paniculata
Fire and Ice
Little Lamb (smaller flowers for shadier spaces)
Little Lime
Pee Gee (the grandmother of all the P.g.s)
Pinky Winky
Quick Fire

H. arborescens

Bella Anna
Invincibelle Spirit (the Breast Cancer support)
Vanilla Strawberry

Tags hydrangeas 
Posted by Tammy Jensen at 12:00 AM 0 Comments

Friday, July 20, 2012

Arlene’s Favourite Gardening Poem!

Taken from the 2003 Prairie Garden Booklet
When I first read this poem in the 2003 Prairie Garden Booklet, I laughed myself silly as I could so relate!  It’s called My Wife The Gardener. Jensen’s carries the Praire Garden!

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 white 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!!!
Posted by Tammy Jensen at 2:09 PM 1 Comments

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Grass is always Greener...

So, let’s keep talking about naturally caring for your lawn.  You may be envious about that “golf course look” grass that your neighbor has, but it comes at a price – both personally and environmentally.  Not only do many lawns use far too many fertilizer-pesticide combinations (the reason many governments have stepped in across Canada to ban ‘weed and feed’ products), but the personal time that you must commit to tending that synthetically created lawn is tremendous; and let us not forget about your water bill in a drought.  So why don’t we use Mother Nature to help us maintain and refurbish our existing lawn – and that includes beneficial fungus.

You have probably heard about the Myke brand product and our five year warranty with trees and shrubs.  Well, there is also a Myke product that, when used properly, can reduce watering needs, promote faster establishment of the mineral sod that we sell (using peat-based sod is risky), and increase drought tolerance (www.usemyke.com/mycorise/gardening/lawn/MykeTurf/MykeTurf.htm).  Remember, similar to their other products, MYKE® TURF contains mycorrhizae that “...form a close symbiotic relationship with plant roots.... However, in most soils that have been disturbed by residential construction [or] applications of fertilizers containing pesticides and other chemical products, the mycorrhizae content has considerably diminished, and has become insufficient to significantly enhance plant growth.... MYKE® TURF uses a natural heavy granular carrier that allows easy application for lawn care”.

So, as part of responsible landscaping and yard care, why don’t you try out a natural way to continue to establish and maintain your turf.  But remember, it should not be all about turf in your landscape.  A balance between your grass and constructed islands, curvilinear beds and ‘rooms’ for trees, shrubs, and perennials is how you make that urban oasis.  You can visit Jensen’s and talk to our knowledgeable staff about this aesthetic balancing act.  Search our blog archive for more lawn and garden design ideas.

By Bill Dowie
Posted by Tammy Jensen at 2:33 PM 0 Comments

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Arlene's Homemade Recipes for weed and insect control

A Home Brew for Insect Control on Herbs and Vegetables

This is an old recipe that I had by Jerry Baker, America’s Master Gardener that I have used over the years and found it very effective – and it’s safe!

Blend 1 whole head of garlic with 2 cups of water in a blender for about 2 minutes.  Allow this mixture to sit in a glass or plastic container for 24 hours.  Strain the mix, add 4 litres of water and shake well. Apply to the tops and bottoms of the plant leaves that are being attacked.

Arlene’s Tip – Don’t spray on any plants while the sun is shining on them! Try to spray in the early morning!

A Home-made remedy for control of weeds in between cracks in a sidewalk or patio

Mix together ¼ cup of salt, 1 litre of vinegar and 2 tsp. of regular dish soap.  Spray on the weeds when they are actively growing.

Another method is to douse the weeds and grass with undiluted bleach.

Posted by Tammy Jensen at 2:51 PM 1 Comments

Friday, July 06, 2012

Arlene’s Tips for Aphids, Spider Mite and Fungus

Arlene’s Tips for Aphids, Spider Mite and Fungus

1. Aphids – To get rid of Aphids, mix 15ml (1 Tbsp) of liquid soap and 240ml ( 1 cup of Vegetable Oil) together.  Add 2 tsp. of the blend to 3.81 (.83) gal) of water, but don’t use it on squash, cauliflower, or cabbage, which can suffer leaf burn.  Spray the plants with the mixture and follow with a spray of water.  Wait about 15 minutes and then repeat.  If the infestation has just started, this will do the trick, otherwise, you may have to resort to using chemical control.
2. Spider Mite – When it is hot and dry – the spider mite is about!  You may see very time holes in the leaves.  Cucumber is susceptible to the Spider Mite.  Spider Mites do not like cold water so spray down with the hose.  A good test for Spider Mite is to put a white sheet of paper under the branch.  Tap the branch and if you see tiny red dots on the paper, you have a Spider Mite problem.
3. Fungus – Fungus is usually a result of poor air circulation or cold nights when there is moisture on the plant. My home-made solution to fungus is to spray the plant with a solution of 3 Tablespoons of baking soda to a gallon of water.  This must be done on a regular basis.  Never spray your plants when they are dry or when the sun is shining on them, always do it in the early morning, if possible.

Always keep your plants and trees well watered, especially during hot weather and keep them well fertilized.  Never water at night.  If the leaves are wet over-night, this will attract both insects and disease!
Posted by Tammy Jensen at 11:38 AM 0 Comments

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Arlene’s favourite Drought Tolerant Shrubs

Arlene’s favourite Drought Tolerant Shrubs

Over the years I have grown many shrubs that, once established, are drought tolerant.  When you plan your garden (and I am one that doesn’t want you to be a slave to your garden and wants to save you money on the watering), please consider planting some of the following shrubs.  They are beautiful, and, when combined together can give you a great effect, with little work and much less water.

1. Potentilla – this is a shrub that flowers all summer long, from June until frost.  They come in beautiful colours; bright yellow, white, pink and a mango-yellow colour.  Mango Tango was one of Dr. Louis Lens’ creations and he was with the University of Manitoba.  They are deer resistant, are very hardy and also attract butterflies.  They like to be pruned yearly, after their leaves have dropped in the late fall or in early spring before they start to leaf.
2. Barberry – one of my very favourites! They have beautiful burgundy foliage and berries for winter effect; are deer and rabbit proof because of their prickly stems and look great, especially combined with a gold leaf shrub or perennial.  They come in a number of different varieties and look good from spring until their leaves drop in late fall.
3. Junipers – both spreading and upright.  They look great all year round! They range in green to blue to yellow; add a lot of texture, height and interest to your garden and are more tolerant of dry, sunny locations than are cedars.  Some varieties are spreading and others are upright. Some have silvery blue foliage, others are gold and others are blue green.
4. Spirea – Another one of my favourites that I have grown. They are beautiful, yet tough plants that tolerate a variety of soil conditions. They are also deer resistant. Some have lime green foliage that flowers in early summer, while other varieties have dark green foliage with red tips that turn purple in fall.  They are worth checking out.
5. Mugho Pine - They come in a dwarf variety that grows to four feet high, is a dense, low growing mounded evergreen. The regular Mugho Pine grows to 8 feet high and wide and looks great as a background plant or in mass plantings.

These are just a few of my favourites, but, check out our plant catalogue for many more that can add interest to your garden and require little work and, once established, very little water!!!
Posted by Tammy Jensen at 8:41 AM 0 Comments

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

New Organic Products - Good for the enviroment and for your yard!

When thinking of organic gardening supplements I didn't think they were anywhere near as good as a regular fertilizer. Oh was I wrong!

It's not just about how much nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium it contains. Organic fertilizers have the ability to provide those nutrients but also to allow the condition of the soil to be more beneficial to plants. Microorganisms that are already in the soil will be happier!

Here are some great new organic products to try!

Granular Neem
- helps in improving organic matter and physical properties  in soil
- contains 1.5% phosphorus, 1.5% potassium and .7% calcium

- conditions soil for more vigorous growth and improved mutrient uptake
- contains nitogen, phosphorus, potassium, copper, calcium, boron, iron, magnesium, and zinc
- promotes beneficial microbial activity in soil

Kelp Boost

- soluble potash 5.0%
- brings vigor and boosts all stages of growth
Posted by Tammy Jensen at 11:42 AM 0 Comments