Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Living Walls - Update

I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised when visiting this living wall again. It has been nearly 4 months since I last stopped to take a look.  Here is my last post to refresh your memory:  Living Walls - Still Not Sure...

My hunch was correct.  A slow state of decline is apparent.


 Lots of yellowing foliage is seen in various spots.


Simple care plants like Philodendrons even yellowing is not a good sign.


Large pockets of missing plants.



Dieffenbachia plants struggling...it's so sad.

Well, I hate to report such a sorry state, but like I mentioned in my original post: living walls require attention and constant care. Great idea - but to say it takes minimal maintenance, the evidence proves otherwise.

Be sure if you decide upon installing one, to invest in a maintenance routine that creates great results.


Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Evergreens Falling Over in Wind Storm

If only my phone camera could have captured as many fallen evergreens as my eyes have seen in the last 4 days.

The GTA suffered from a serious wind storm that took shingles off roof tops, toppled limbs off of trees and uprooted many a tree within my neighbourhood.

This is our neighbour's Spruce. Two limbs went straight into their back window. It could of been so much worse!


A common denominator that I've noticed: each had their limbs lifted to quite a height off the ground.

I get it - folks want to have clearance and to enjoy perhaps shade or what not under the tree. But doing this practice isn't encouraging optimum plant health.


These evergreen trees aren't supposed to have growth and branches only on the top 1/2 to 3/4 of the tree.


Removing the branches from the bottom half, makes the above growth act as a sail of sorts - which puts added pressure at the base of the tree. Once you remove the branches, foot traffic at the base of these pruned evergreens just compacts the soil and allows the base to dry out.


Evergreens should have a "skirt" to protect the root mass below and to shield the trunk from heavy winds.

Trees pruned like the ones above have no defence mechanism to bear the weight and force of wind.


The skirt protects the base of the tree from drying out. Needles, fall cast and cones are nature's own mulch. They help keep moisture locked in, enabling the tree to flourish despite drought conditions.


The wind flows all the way around the tree as apposed to through it when trees have a skirt. This stabilizes the tree and keeps it at bay.



So if you're interested in planting an evergreen, give it ample space to sprawl out and allow it to spread to its natural width and breadth.  Don't limb it up and park your car close by.

Or, you'll have a hefty arborist bill awaiting the next time we have one of these storms.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Spring Ice Storm 2018 - Garden Woes

This isn't the first time I've experienced snow/ice in mid-spring.

I have recollections of snow falling in May. Global climate change may be a factor but I think this is just a strange meteorological blip.


Our gardens are covered in little ice pellets.


Nonetheless, not to fret. I post this as friends have contacted me worried about what they should do with the garden.


The interesting fact is: snow and ice are great insulators as long as the ice coating around the foliage and flowers will thaw in a day or so. It's the COconcentration that remains in the cell structure of the plant that is more worrisome.

Citrus growers and fruit farms use sprinkler systems to ward off heavy frost damage.

Ice is a good thing. Frost isn't.


Ice insulates as it prevents cell tissues from bursting or getting damaged from frost - frigid below -0°C temperatures.



As the ice rain pelts down, I continue to read the weather reports indicating the ice rain will turn into just rain later this evening. That's a good thing. Temps are to go up to 7°C. It will melt quickly. Hoping for the best and looking forward to seeing how resilient my bulbs/plants are.

#whereareyouspring ?


Saturday, March 31, 2018

Garden Inspiration - Collaging

Sometimes the length of the winter just drags on....all I want to do is dig in the garden.

Over the years I have collected many gardening magazines and if I were to have kept them all, I'd have to buy a bigger house to store them.  Instead, I cut out memorable snip-its of what caught my attention for the moment.


Collecting them for ages, I have seen how my tastes have changed and how much I have learned over the years.



The easiest way to get started is being organized.  I have categorized items based on colour and based on my knowledge of plant requirements. Groupings: sun vs shade conditions, garden designs, specific  cultivars and contrasting colours. This way arranging photos is simplified.


Beginning with a blank canvas, I just arrange plant photos, laying them out on the page - rearranging until they click.  I have come up with many plant combinations this way. Complete garden inspiration.


I go back to the collage scrapbook each winter and engage in arrangements, plant variations and it refreshes my love for gardening every time.


By doing this, you find plant cultivars that catch your eye and help you remember them for any future gardening plans.


Pure eye candy for me.


I get so engulfed in arranging that I lose all track of time.


In the spring, I keep it as a invaluable resource for gardening ideas.

It's a great way to recycle old gardening magazines and it keeps me inspired. Try it yourself!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Living Walls - Still not sure...

When I first came across a sample of an indoor living wall 2 years ago, I thought - that's awesome!  But now... well,  I'm still not sure of their environmental value. I truly like the concept, but reality hits when you see the project months later after it's been installed.


This week, whilst waiting for a colleague, I had the privilege of being able to examine this living wall up close. For a few minutes or so, I examined how the plants were arranged and even helped them along, with some TLC; removing dead leaves and repotting two that were popping up from the trough container. To say the plants were thriving, well, some were and others not. I couldn't help but intervene on the behalf of those plants struggling.


From what I have read about living walls, they range in cost of $95-300 per square foot. I wonder if living walls will gain more popularity, given their expense. I guarantee, maintenance is key to their success and that won't come cheap either. I can foresee many plants will need replacing time and again. Then there is the cost of the water pump, grow lights and growing mediums...

Each plant is situated in a trough container, angled towards the light. A mixture of gritty compound is placed in each trough where roots feed off of water and nutrients/fertilizer.

On the positive side, I will admit - it certainly is a conversation starter. It is a welcomed sight to those of us that have green thumbs working in confined spaces. It does have a tranquil sound coming from the oscillating water. For this, you cannot quantify its beneficial attributes.

Ferns placed at the bottom, as they require less light.

The fact that this wall requires added grow lights, makes me wonder if it's in the right location or whether it should be moved closer to a better natural light source. It can't be that cost affective. And what happens when the walled unit parts break down or material needs replacing? Is this something we have to think about for the future? Is it recyclable? At least regular flower pots are.

Mixture of Philodendron vines, dwarf Spathiphyllums, Hoyas, Ferns and Dieffenbachia make a textured green wall of interest. 

Nonetheless, I realize I camp too often on practicality.  I have to remember: it is a far better view a living wall like this, rather than a brick wall.

Hopefully people will be drawn to it and be encouraged to grow plants at home or in their office.

Will update later in the year, to see how this living wall comes along.

Please see my updated post:  Living Walls - Update


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