Big City, Little Homestead

Living rural in the city is hip and urban – and you can, too.

Category: Gardening (page 1 of 5)

It’s summer – get your tulips 🌷🌷🌷 ready for replanting!

This quick tutorial on getting your tulips ready for next season is something I first posted on BCLH’s Instagram account. Please follow me there!

Did you know it helps your tulips if you dig them up in spring and replant them in the fall?

Preparing tulips for a beautiful garden begins when this year’s flowers have withered and you have the seedpods left on the stems. Deadhead them! Chop off the seedpods unless you’re cultivating for seeds, in which case you probably know what you’re doing (or else: do your research). Deadheading puts the plant’s energy back towards the bulb. For other flowers, it puts energy towards more flower production.

A deadheaded pink tulip

Leave the tulips for another week or so, and then dig them up (carefully). Keep them sorted by colour if at all possible! You’ll find that the bulbs have likely multiplied into smaller ones. (Dig deep, and carefully).

Yellow tulips dug up and ready to dry

Then sort them without taking the vegetation off. Some will come off anyway; compost it. Those that are just bulbs: put them in a cool, dry place, away from fruit. The cold cellar for me! Those that have vegetation: let them sit in another location, preferably still daylit, until the greens dry out.

Bulbs that lost their vegetation while digging them up
Red tulips kept separate from other colours

Small numbers can be stored with their withered greens which will brown and crumble in time; this large batch (last photo) I will cut from their stems and leaves and store with the others in the cold cellar. Tulips need the cold.

These are mostly yellow tulips a week after drying.

Come Canadian Thanksgiving (mark your calendars!), dig deep into your lawn or flower beds and plant them anew. Cover the flower beds to prevent the squirrels from digging them out – they go for fresh dig sites!

I’ll plant the smallest bulbs in plant pots to see if they come up with blooms in the spring. If so, they make a nice gift. If not, they’ll grow bigger for the following year.

I hope, coming next spring, you’ll be greeted by even more tulips than this year.

Get your trowels ready! Montréal’s garden giveaway is coming up.

The spring gardening season is upon us with even more speed than it usually assaults us, since winter lingered just a little longer than some people had hoped.

So it comes as small surprise that the Ville and its annual “embellissement” campaign (this translates to “embellishment,” but also “beautification”) is coming to many boroughs just a little late, on the fourth weekend of May, this year (with exceptions).

This annual campaign gives residents of Montreal a panier — a basket — of seedlings for their gardens and balconies: impatiens and begonias, an annual flower such as echinacea, fine herbs like sage, rosemary, and basil, and sometimes mint and tomatoes or cucumbers. Also included is as much compost and wood chips as you want to take.

Continue reading

A clutter of resources to help you design your garden

Well, here we are, late March! Are you ready to design the layout of your garden?

For those who have space, those who’ve not planted a garden before, or those who get to plan theirs anew every year, you need to have a rough plan. It will give you an idea how many seedlings you should start or have on hand of each kind of plant.

First, know that we gardeners always get overambitious and end up tending tonnes of seedlings we have to give away! What’s worse is planting seeds that never germinate, or else germinate and fail. Planning helps deal with this disappointment.

Continue reading

A seed library catalog at the Westmount library

Once upon a time when I was at the Westmount Public Library, I saw something to get excited about: they’re reusing their old card catalog, situated near the main circulation (borrowing) desk, as a Seed Library.

I spoke with Daniel, who is responsible for it. It started in May 2016, and last year they reopened it in April 2017, when they learned that’s way too late for most gardeners. So this year, they’re opening the seed library on Monday, February 26. The quick explanation of what it is? “Free seeds for members for more than 50 varieties of plants. ”

Continue reading

Older posts

Rewilding is about converting your lawn to groundcover (bit by bit!) to native species. This fosters biodiversity. It also creates habitat for urban wildlife. Finally, you'll only trim it 2-3 times per season rather than every 7-10 days!

The green driveway gallery shows you how you can DIY a driveway conversation using my first model as an example. There are other ways to do it, and things I learned in the process and afterward. Please call me at 514-815-5163 for my landscaping service, or to discuss upgrading your driveway.

The work season is April 1st through June 30th, but I install bird strike prevention (to stop birds from crashing into windows and glass balconies) whenever the temperature is above 5ºC. Call the number above or email. It's important to do this earlier rather than later,  in time for bird migrations in late April to end of May, and late August to mid-October.


Sign up to the monthly newsletter. It'll have even more goodies than the blog (DIY, Q&A, and more!). Bonus: milkweed seeds. This perennial plant will attract bees and butterflies to your yard. 

%d bloggers like this: