5 reasons to spend more time at the Garden Centre

Garden Centre

If you are a plant-file like me you probably need little in the way on convincing to get me to spend more time (and money) at the garden centre.  Garden centres engage all of your senses – sight, smell, touch and even taste.  And generally speaking the people that work at garden centres are pretty awesome!  You have to really like plants, and people, to work at a garden centre, let alone own one.

Unfortunately, most garden centres, at least in North America, are located on the periphery of towns and cites.  Some of my favorites likes Grobes, and Heeman’s are a few kilometers outside the city. Unless your daily commute to work takes you past the garden centre, going to the garden centre requires more forethought than spontaneity.

Despite not being the most convenient places to get to here are 5 reasons why you should be spending more time at the garden centre.

The flowers are always changing

Unless your yard is decorated with plastic flowers (not that there is anything wrong with that) your garden is alive and in a constant state of change.  So to are the plants sold by your local garden centre.  You may walk right by that flowering vine in the spring, but come back in late July when the plant has matured, and in full bloom, you may go home with 3 of them, and kick yourself for not getting them in the ground earlier.

Much like the fashion industry, garden centres change their stock throughout the gardening season, as plants become available from different growers. You would be hard pressed to find a single pot of Mum’s in the spring, but come back in September, and they are seemingly everywhere. Generally speaking, selection is at it’s highest in the Spring and Fall which are both optimum times to plant outdoors.

Expert advice

Local utilities companies popularized the saying “call before you dig” to reduce accidents and service disruptions caused .  Perhaps garden centres should should promote the saying “visit before you dig” to help their customers avoid costly mistakes, and make gardening more enjoyable.  There are lot’s of things to consider when purchasing a plant for your garden, such as, is this the right plant for this space? How do I take care of this plant? And what plants are complimentary?  Good garden centres can help you answer these questions.

Meet fellow gardeners

There is nothing like the validation of a fellow gardener when choosing plants for your garden. Want to talk to a green thumb, just visit your local garden centre, and talk to some of the other customers.  More than a few friendships, and even romances have started while walking through the aisles of a garden centre.  Plants are great.  People that love plants are even better.

Hang out

Looking for something to do on a Saturday afternoon, why not visit the garden centre.  Garden centres a probably one of the most relaxing retail spaces out there.  In many urban areas, they are almost a substitute for parks and other green spaces where access to nature is hard to come by.  As someone that lives in Canada, where the snow falls 5 or 6 months of the year, there is no better cure for the winter blues than walking around a heated greenhouse full of plants.

Increasingly garden centres have started to capitalize on being a “destination” rather than just a store and created spaces for people to relax, and spend more time in their space.  Amenities like Coffee Shops, Free Wifi, and ample in-store seating allow people to spend more time at the garden centre by increasing the reasons for going there.  Need to get some writing done? Bring your laptop and work from the garden centre cafe.  Chances are the more time you spend at the garden centre, the more money you will spend.

Deals

The only thing better than shopping, is buying something on sale.  Gardening can be an expensive pastime.  One way to save money is to purchase plants and supplies in sale.  As the seasons change, and stocks run low, garden centres often seek to clear out inventory.  Sometimes these promotions are advertised, but often they are not.  Visiting the garden centre a few times each month is the best way to find deals.

Now you have 5 reasons to visit the garden centre today.  You will be glad you did.

Matt

About Plantola

Plantola makes it easy to catalog and share your garden with friends and businesses, like your landscaper, or local garden center. Like the look of that tree down the street? Take a picture and share it with your plant guy. Captivated by the rose growing in your friend’s garden? Look it up while you are at the garden center. Plantola lets gardeners spend more time in the garden, and less time looking for plants.  For more information visit www.plantola.com.

Download the Plantola iPhone app

5 Amazing Trees That Grow In Canada

Canada is the second largest country in the world in terms of landmass, and has approximately 0.5% of the world’s population. Suffice to say we have a lot of room to grow trees. Roughly 30% of the Boreal forest, the world’s largest land-based biome can be found in Canada.

The Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) is arguably Canada’s most well known tree.  Too be honest, it is also pretty amazing.  Maple syrup is, after all, nothing more than the condensed sap of the Sugar Maple. What is more amazing than Maple syrup on pancakes, with a good helping of bacon on the side? Not much.

Thankfully, there is much more to Canada than Maple trees.  Canada’s diverse climate and topography supports a diverse variety of trees. These are 5 of the most amazing trees that grow in Canada.

Arctic Willow (Salix arctica)

Arctic Willow grows in Canada’s far north.  It is the most northerly, woody plant in the world.  Salix arctica has made many adaptations to the cold climate of the tundra. Adaptations like it’s stunted growth, shallow root system, and insulating “hairs” allow it to survive such harsh conditions.

Arctic Willow

Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis)

After talking about one of Canada’s smallest trees, let’s talk about one of the biggest, the mighty Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis). The Sitka Spruce can grow to a height of 100m.  It is the tallest species of spruce and the 3rd tallest conifer.  The Sitka Spruce grows in the Coastal Rainforest of British Columbia along the Pacific Ocean.

Sitka Spruce

Arbutus Tree (Arbutus menziesii)

The Arbutus Tree is a broadleaf evergreen tree that can grow up to 30 metres in height. It is the only broadleaf evergreen tree native to Canada.  The Arbutus grows in the very south-western part of British Columbia, close to the Pacific Ocean.

Arbutus Tree

Pawpaw (Asimina triloba)

The Pawpaw tree produces the largest edible fruit of any tree native to North America. The Pawpaw grows in the Carolinian forests of Southwestern, Ontario.  The large berries (4-16cm) produced by the Pawpaw have a creamy, custard texture when ripe, varying in color from creamy-white to yellow-orange. The taste is described as a cross between a mango and a banana.

Pawpaw

Jack Pine (Pinus banksiana)

The Jack Pine can be found across Canada in the Boreal forest. The Jack Pine is uniquely adapted to deal with the intense fires that sweep through the forests it inhabits.  Jack pine cones are sealed with a resin that melts when exposed to intense heat.  When fire destroys the forest, the Jack Pine is one of the first species to be re-established.

Jack Pine

Canada is home to 180 different species of tree, all of which are “amazing” in their own unique way.  Consider planting a native tree in your yard.

About Plantola

Plantola makes it easy to catalog and share your garden with friends and businesses, like your landscaper, or local garden center. Like the look of that tree down the street? Take a picture and share it with your plant guy. Captivated by the rose growing in your friend’s garden? Look it up while you are at the garden center. Plantola lets gardeners spend more time in the garden, and less time looking for plants.  For more information visit www.plantola.com.

Download the Plantola iPhone app