Tag Archives: spring

Tulip Time – Plant bulbs for a Spring surprise!

2 Nov

It may seem odd to be already thinking about Spring but if you love the vibrant fresh colours that bulb flowers deliver, it’s time to plant now!

Here are some quick tulip-planting tips to get your Spring flower display started.

1. Find a sunny spot
Though most bulbs prefer a sunny location, you can still plant them under trees as the bulbs will bloom before the leaves on the trees are fully out.

2. Plant in clusters  for bold effect
To get maximum impact, don’t plant them in a straight line or dot them here and there in the garden. Instead, arrange bulbs in groupings of 5 to 9 or more.

3. Layer-it-on!
Your Spring display will have greater impact if you layer bulbs according to bloom time and depth requirements (sounds complicated, but all bulb packaging clearly identifies both of these important facts).  For example, the same area of soil can hold crocuses in the top 13 cm (five inches), hyacinths at 16 cm (six inches) deep and daffodils and tulips at about 20 cm (eight inches) down.  The result is a full Spring season of blooms fr0m late April to early June.

4. Avoid creating a buffet for local critters! 

Some bulbs, including tulips and crocus are a favourite food for squirrels. Others, such as daffodils, fritillaria, alliums a are not quite as appealing.  If squirrels are a nuisance, put chicken wire over the bulbs. It can be left in place all winter and bulbs bloom right through it in Spring.  Be sure to clean up after planting because the papery bits left on the ground is a signal to critters that there is likely buried treasure nearby.  Also, your can try a dusting of cayenne pepper or blood meal over freshly planted bulbs but don’t be surprised if this doesn’t slow them down – squirrels are crazy-smart and quickly learn from tricks your neighbour’s may have already tried!

5. Spring Maintenance Tips
Let bulb foliage “die back” naturally for six weeks after before cutting back their leaves, because the leaves store food for the following year’s bloom. But, dying foliage can be unsightly so pair bulbs with perennials as their foliage will camouflage the bulb foliage as it dies back.  For example, the purple foliage of these Plum Pudding Coral Bells makes the orange tulips pop!

Orange Tulips contrasted against Purple Coral Bells

Purple tulips with pansies underneath




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Fresh and bright! The perfect summer urn for shade.

18 May

Ok you city dwellers, do you have a deeply shaded urban garden in need of a face lift?!
Consider a modern and fresh palette of electric lime, rich purple and flirty fuchsia. Here is a look at one of my favorite combos.

Spice up your salad greens

27 Apr

The punch of peppery Arugula!

Mmmm… nothing tastes better than fresh salad and it is the perfect time to be growing it.  Salad greens prefer cool moist weather of spring and late fall and are super easy to grow.  Pick up a packet of seeds at your local grocer or home supply store like Canadian Tire and get started in a semi-shaded area of your garden or sow in a container.  Within 3-4 weeks you will be able to spice up your store-bought lettuce with some fresh greens from your garden.

My favorite one to grow is Arugula as its dramatic peppery flavour improves any bland salad.  For more details, read this article from Toronto Star’s Sonia Day.  Spice up your salad greens – Yourhome.ca.

Get Busy! Your Spring Garden Checklist.

5 Apr

It’s time to get your hands dirty!
Here is your quick checklist to get your garden rocking this Spring.

1. Rake and remove excess debris, not all debris (i.e. remove broken branches and smothering leaf litter).  Be careful not to damage fresh tender shoots.
2. Prune summer-flowering shrubs (e.g. Rose of Sharon, Hydrangea, Hardy Fuschia) but NOT SPRING flowering shrubs or you won’t flower this year! (e.g. Azaleas, Rhododendron, Forsythia)
3.  Cut back ornamental grasses (leaving about 4″ of last years dead growth)
4. Fertilize & amend your garden beds using compost and organic mulch now so they have time to mix and settle before you plant in May.
5.  Divide & Save $$$: Divide perennials such as Hostas, Daylilies and fall blooming ornamental grasses (e.g. fountain grass, maiden grass) once their sprouts reach greater than 2″ in height.  By dividing and replanting now, you will save $$$ at the garden center this spring.
6.  Indoor Care: Re-pot overgrown indoor houseplants as they too will soon have a quick burst of growth and will welcome a larger home!

Tulips that last!

20 Mar

Sustainable DIY Fresh Flower Tip
Everyone loves fresh-cut tulips in the spring… but they simply just don’t last!
Instead, for the same price, buy a planted tulip pot from your local grocer and in under 5 minutes you can easily transplant the bulbs into any type of container you like — a vase, glasses or even mugs and bowls. 

 Personally, I highly recommend glass vases because it reveals the bulb itself and really interesting root structure.  Add some stones or pebbles and you’ve created a little work of art.

The result? Fresh and modern tulip creations that will last weeks instead of day.  
Stylish, sustainable…. perfect!

Garden Metamorphosis – Behind the Scenes @ Canada Blooms

18 Mar
Verkade Design had tons of fun supporting  Sander Designs  to create a sexy garden for Juno award-winning Jully Black.  Our garden planting garnered us the award for (drum roll please) …. “Best Use of Tulips”   No too surprising… I am dutch afterall 🙂 
Sexy takes work!

Putting on my marketing hat, a video montage was created to showcase her philosophy and philanthropic work with CARE Canada and also invited people to interact with Jully on Twitter.   Check out the Jully Black garden experience this weekend at Canada Blooms.

To see some behind the scenes (and not so flattering pics of me) click here.

In the media:
Toronto Star Article 1
Toronto Star Article 2

Spring is around the corner!

10 Mar

It may not feel like it but spring is definitely around the corner!
The weather outside may be confusing but the definite sign is the upcoming Canada Blooms Festival at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto.  This year, I’m getting my hands dirty and helping out Sander Designs complete a stunning garden inspired by Juno award-winning artist Jully Black

Come visit and breathe in the fresh aromas of spring a few weeks early. 
Festival runs March 15-20.