Posted by: lizabennett | May 19, 2010

Blueberry Care

Here is a summary of Blueberry care.  If you have any other questions I will be around the Farmer’s Market May 22, 29 and June 5 or give a call and I can help you out.  I still have 2 varieties available, Blue Crop and Duke.  I will be bringing these to Market, although delivery is always an option.  

Exposure:  Blueberries grow well in both full sun to partial shade, in ground or in containers.   Plant about 2 ½ – 3 feet (1m) apart.   

Soil:  Prefer a moist, but well drained soil, avoid very too sandy or soil very heavy with clay.  Areas where red huckleberry, azalea or rhodos are growing well will have suitable conditions for blueberries.  Areas where the water table is 18-30” below the surface are also good.

Blueberries also prefer a very acid soil, pH 5, so additions of humus, peat moss, saw dust (fresh or weathered) or leaf matter, eg. Oak leaves leave behind and acidic residue, will help to acidify the soil and improve moisture holding capacity.   If you know the soil is sweet (alkaline) it can be acidified with aluminum sulphide.

Blue berries are shallow rooters, and benefit from a covering of mulch.  Mulch the base of plants with sawdust fresh or weathered straw or leaves.  Oak leaves are especially good for mulch, as well as incorporating into the soil, because of the acidic residue they leave behind.    

Feed:  Use a feed formulated for Blueberries.  Ammonia Sulphate is the best source of Nitrogen for blueberries, they cannot convert or use the nitrogen(N) in Nitrate of soda or ammonium nitrate, so avoid fertilizers where this is the main source of nitrogen. 

If bushes become chlorotic (yellowing) in color, it is an indication that they are not able to access the nitrogen in the fertilizer.  Change fertilizers to a form that contains ammonium sulphate.  This will also jump start vigorous growth when plant stall out

Pruning:   Pruning prevents the bush from becoming too dense and twiggy.  This produces larger berries, more vigorous growth and a better producing plant the following year. 

Prune early spring before leaf out, when fruit buds are easily distinguished from vegetative buds.  Fruiting buds will be fatter and rounder than vegetative buds and most often at the ends of branches.  All cuts should be made perpendicular to the branch, no more than ¼ inch above an existing branch or bud.  Do not cut stem where no bud exists, this causes stem die back.   

Very little pruning is necessary in the first 2-3 years after planting.  Cut back weak and horizontal growth to an upright shoot or visible bud. 

Regular annual pruning should begin the spring following the second at the end of the third season

  1. Remove the low spreading branches next to the ground, leaving only the tall upright braches or shoots. 
  2.  If the center of the bush is dense, the weak and the older branches at the centre should be cut out.  Remove no more than ¼ of the bush in any year. 
  3.  Many of the slender small branches should be removed leaving strong branches and shoots.  Leave vigorous shoots 6” or more in length.  Most of these slender branches have no fruit buds and if they do they will be small and weak. 
  4. Fruit is produced on last year’s wood, the biggest berries being produced on the most vigorous wood.  Most bushes tend to overbear and unless a part of the new shoots are removed each year the berries will be small.  If branches contain too many fruit buds, reduce to 3 or 4 buds per shoot. 
  5. Fruiting wood will produce well from 1-4 year.  4 year old wood should be removed in favour of younger, more productive wood.   
Posted by: lizabennett | May 12, 2010

Beware the Volunteer

Volunteers can be a good thing, a necessity actually, organizing the local triathalon, fundraising events, community policing.  Volunteers in the garden, not so much… Its’ appeal was the brillant greenish yellow flowers, the fine feathery soft textured foliage, tinge red at the ends in spring.  It came via seed, delivered by bird or wind I am unsure, but it took up residence in a place in my garden that deserved brightening up.  For 2 seasons it remained a gently increasing clump, only this spring I surveyed my garden bed to find hundreds of little fine textured tufts errupting with more more agression than horsetails. 

Euphorbia…a good substitute for a 4 letter word.  Awareness of  ‘Invasive Plants’ is one the rise and a close relative has made the list, earning a designation of Provincial Noxious Weed:  Euphorbia esula or Leafy Spurge (24″ tall, blooms in June-July).  The species I spent an afternoon doing battle with does not  have a designation, but from a busy gardener point of view it should.   To kill a snake you must first chop off the head…upon digging up the main plant, I was horrified to find underneath it a stringy ball of elastic underground roots, spreading out to the 4 corners of the bed, at least 6 feet in any direction, only stopping because the garden stopped.  I found as I pulled, they were not only spread through the surface soil, but down 1 1/2 feet and deeper, poking out of the rock wall even lower.  Each root is covered with hundreds of tiny buds and developing plantlets.   Established shrubs had to be dug up, soil shook off and offending plant material removed from deep with in the root ball.  It took some serious effort and the better part of an afternoon and I am not confident I have elliminated the threat.   

The lesson in all of this is:  Even if you know your Volunteers, it is important to check out their behaviour before welcoming them into residence in your garden.  

Here is a link to the Invasive Plant Council Of BC, it may come in very handy:

Posted by: lizabennett | May 2, 2010

Patio Pot Special

Here are the ladies of Oak Leaf Bookeeping working with the design produced for their Patio Pot Special.   In this tiny shaded, north facing area we used a combination of  evergreen and deciduous perennials, one arching shrub and a vine.  The evergreen perennials, with purple green foliage, along with the arching habit of the shrub and twining habit of the vine will provide interest through the winter.  The other perennials are container hardy, needing only cutting back after frost.  Since purple was the theme, the clematis will be trained around the bottom of the balcony above, enclosing the design in a profusion of purple flowers.

Posted by: lizabennett | April 23, 2010

Farmer’s Market

The Farmer’s Market will be starting Saturday, May 15.  I am returning this year and my stall,  formerly know as plants & pots or the Iris lady will be  around for planting high season:  spring,  May 15, 22, 29 and June 5, and again in late summer, Aug 21 and 28.  

I still have a large selection of iris and hosta varieties and I have added an interactive component to my stall this year, with the ‘bring a pot and plant it up’ workshop.  I will have a planter box mix, custom blended for perennials and vegetables, available on the sopt in the volume you need.  As well, I will have a variety of plants, edible and flowering,  that can be grown in either the potted landscape or the garden bed.   Just the pick the plants you need to suit the site you have, pot them on the spot and leve the mess behind.  Prices vary depending on number of plants and soil volume needed.  An example of an average size clay patio pot filled with 2 herbs, 2 strawberries, and 2 pansy plants plus soil, cost less than $20 to assemble.

If the urge arises to take part in the workshop without the benefit of recycling your own pot, a variety of low-cost (recycle) containers will be on hand.  I will also have a variety of my handmade pottery that can be used for single plants, special Sedum planters or miniature plantings. 

Look forward to seeing you there.

Posted by: lizabennett | March 29, 2010

We’re almost live!

Hello and welcome to Liza Bennett’s Greenscapes. We are just in the process of getting the site live and the business cards printed, but the virtual shop doors will be opening soon and we’re very excited about it!

I encourage you to subscribe to the site which will mean any updates I make on this site get emailed directly to your email box. That way, you’ll be able to keep up with my landscape services and other offerings. How easy is that!

Spring is officially here and that means more time spent in the greenhouse raising irises and hostas for you to purchase and put in your garden. It also means time spent in the garden pottery studio making my clay creations. All of these beauties will be featured on the site soon.

Thanks for your patience while we get things underway. Until next time!

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