Monday, June 18, 2012

The Joy of Roses

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet...”

So, we’re going to talk about roses now.  Those beautiful, romantic, and oft sought after flowering shrubs for your yard and garden.  Those plants are so admired, that the Canadian government started breeding a “Parkland Series” rose going all the way back to 1962.  The “Explorer Series” and “Artist Series” are also available at Jensen’s.  The nice thing about these Canadian developed and bred roses is that they are on their own root system – they are not ‘grafted’ like the David Austin’s (though beautiful, are a lot more work to put to bed for the winter).

Although our hardy roses are more disease resistant than other cultivars, they still may be stressed by fungal issues, especially given all that early June cool rainy weather.  Therefore, here are a few tips to help ease your rose to fight off some problems:

Proactively use a slow release fertilizer such as Myke’s 5-3-8 rose food.  Remember that the three numbers represent nitrogen (green growth), phosphorus (roots and blooms), and potassium (general vigour); so you can see that this product ups the ante for disease resistance with a high last number.  It also is chock full of organic matter as its filler, rather than synthetic material, and is approved for organic production.  One box is good for twenty average sized rose bushes.

Reactively, you could use a natural-material garden fungicide to fight off black spot, rust, and powdery mildew.  Safer’s ‘Defender’ uses a the good old elemental sulphur as the basis for its spray solution.  Remember, your other plants will also benefit from this product if they succumb to some fungal diseases.

So, if you want to add a little romance to your yard, and have rich well drained soil that receives at least six hours of sun, then come visit us for a rose plant or three – they are available in various sizes, and forms, (and even coloured foliage).   See you soon!

Bill Dowie
Posted by Tammy Jensen at 5:24 PM 0 Comments

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Green Lawn Naturally

Tips on growing a green lawn – Without the use of Heavy Chemicals

It starts in the fall and not the spring!!!

In the late fall, just before the snow comes, over-seed your lawn.  The new grass will start germinating early in spring and choke out a lot of the weeds that are trying to complete for water and nutrients.  In the early spring as the snow melts off the lawn, get your broom out and sweep off the lawn, in particular, sweep off any snow mould that has formed.  As the grass dries, use your fan rake to give it a light raking to collect any debris and introduce some air into the grass.  This will prevent any fungus from forming, especially in the wet areas of the lawn.  If your grass is sparse, it may be because of little to no soil or mulch on your lawn to enable the grass to grow in thick.  This is the time to improve the soil base and aerate if you haven’t done so in the fall. By aerating, I mean by taking plugs of soil out of the lawn, not by walking over it with your spiked shoes or golf shoes on! This is also the time to remove weeds, fix any brown spots or sparse areas.  If you plan to do some weed removal, water the grass well the day before to make it easier to remove the weeds and get the entire root.  If you leave a part of the root, the weed will soon be growing back again.  Do it once and do it right!  If your lawn is covered with dandelions and it will be a few days before you can get out there to remove them completely, remove the tops so they don’t go to seed.  Never let any weeds go to seed.  It only creates more work!!!
If your grass is sparse or you have some brown spots, this is the time to over-seed using a premium grass seed that is 99.99% weed free, such as the C-I-L Golfgreen that we carry.  It’s an all-purpose grass seed for both sunny and shady areas. Apply, as directed and keep the area moist until the first mowing.  We also carry eZseed by Scotts that advertises to even grow on pavement!  I know a number of people that have tried it and swear by it.  They say it is easy to use and the grass seed germinates quickly with using half the water.  It has a combination of mulch, premium grass seed made up of Creeping Red Fescue, Perennial Ryegrass and Kentucky blue, a great combination for our climate, and it also has a trace of Nitrogen. If you have any problem areas caused by your dog, we also carry Dog-Patch and a fast acting dog spot repair kit that has mulch, seed and soil conditioner.  Everything you need!  Remove the brown dead grass, loosen the top 2-3 inches of soil and apply when there is no danger of frost. Frequent watering helps in the grass seed germination and the flushing of excess nitrogen caused by the pet urine.  Continue to water the newly germinated grass seedlings.  I think I would prefer to use the eZseed as all you have to do is remove any dead grass, loosen the hard soil, apply the seed and water until it turns dark brown.  You only add more water when it turns a light brown in colour.
Once you have grown a lush lawn ready for cutting, leave the grass about 2 inches long and, if possible, mulch the grass clippings back into the lawn.  This will add a lot of nitrogen and help keep your grass green naturally.
When it comes to watering the lawn, give it a deep watering once a week, in the morning if possible.  The roots of the grass will grow down looking for moisture during the dry periods and not up to the surface.  A light watering every day will produce shallow-rooted grass that will not be able to withstand the stresses of our hot, windy summer. A deep watering will produce stronger, healthier grass and if you water in the morning rather than at night, this also prevents attracting a lot of insects and disease.  Early morning watering also applies to gardens and flower-beds as well.
If you follow these tips, you will be able to sit with your feet up and enjoy a greener, healthier lawn naturally!
Arlene Wheeler
Posted by Tammy Jensen at 9:37 PM 0 Comments

Monday, June 11, 2012

Living Screens

How to make screens for privacy and beauty...

Whether you are in a new development, or an established neighborhood, everybody needs something to look at other than blank house walls, wide spans of fence, and apartment buildings.  The answer is a ‘screening strategy’.

Proper screens borrow from the planting strategies to minimize wind and noise on farms and busy city streets respectively.  There are many plants that can serve this purpose here at the nursery.  For instance, Preston lilacs that are non-suckering can be planted very close to fences and trained to become mini-trees creating a beautiful ‘lollipop’ form – especially when in full bloom.  This also eliminates any risk of a grafted form failing during an especially harsh winter.  They can reach heights between 5 and 12 feet tall.

If you need tall accents that will shroud large structures from your background view, then the tried and true Swedish aspen is still quite useful.  This can reach heights of 60’, yet stay very narrow, assuming that you ‘limb it up’ to a height that one can walk under.  It does not sucker like its cousin the poplar. Recently we wrote another blog on urban trees – so see those recommendations if you would like a wider crown in an urban tree that will be only 20-25’ in height.

Another great screening plant that will turn red and orange in the fall are both the amur maple, in shrub form, as well as leaving a Cotoneaster to grow upright and natural (rather than trimming it as a hedge).  If you would like flowers and berries, then the elder (Sambucus genus) offers some nice forms that can be understory medium shrubs that will punctuate your beautifully well built privacy fence.  If you need privacy and defence (thorns), then a wilder Caragana hedge can solve the planting issue of poor soil – it fixes its own nitrogen to self-fertilize.

Even large perennials and annuals that reach up to four feet tall (or more) can offer some privacy if you are trying to hide an area on a site-line that is not especially attractive (shed, chain link fence, pool filters, etc.).  Fleeceflower, goatsbeard, Ligularia c.v., sunflowers, delphiniums, and hollyhocks are all useful plants that will ‘elbow’ their way into taller gaps that need filling.

Come and visit us for all your screening needs; blank slates or older landscapes all can use some taller plants to create that private urban oasis you always wanted.
 Bill Dowie
Posted by Tammy Jensen at 4:17 PM 0 Comments

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Hydrangeas for sale!!

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?  (
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 (

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

Bill Dowie

Posted by Tammy Jensen at 9:10 PM 0 Comments