Monthly Archives: June 2014

Q & A for New Gardeners

I’m looking for some shrubs to plant on the north side of my house; what are some suggestions for such a shady location?

The two best choices for shrubs to plant in the shade are Hydrangeas, and Viburnum.

Nannyberry:  Viburnum lentago


Mature Height: 8-10’ (3m)
Mature Spread: 8-10’ (3m)
Flowers: White (blue fruit)
Zone: 2

This native shrub produces white flowers in June, followed by blue-black fruit. The upright growth form with brilliant red foliage in the fall makes this a great landscape choice.

Annabelle Hydrangea:  H. arborescens grandiflora‘Annabelle’


Mature Height: 3-4’ (1.25m)
Mature Spread: 3-4’ (1.25m)
Flowers: White (mophead)
Zone: 3

A large flowered hydrangea that requires a sheltered location.  The large flowers produced in July are long-lasting.  Spring pruning will renew the plant.

Of course, there are also many many perennials that will grow quite large in shady areas!

Lacoste’s Favourite Plants








Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass

This grass is a favourite throughout the city, in a wide variety of applications. I’ve seen it in planters, planted singly in the garden, and as a mass planting.  In each situation it is a gorgeous grass that never fails to impress

Scientific Name: Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’

Plant: in Sun or Part-Sun

Space: 18-40” (45-100cm)apart

Grows: 4’ (120cm) tall by 32″ (80cm) wide

A narrowly upright and columnar growth habit.

This ornamental grass will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and is best cut back to the ground in late winter before active growth resumes.

Very adaptable to both dry and moist locations.




Q & A for New Gardeners: Am I too late to start planting?

Is it too late to start planting?

I like this one! It is definitely NOT too late to start planting.  I still have a couple of flats of impatiens waiting to get in the ground.  They’re at least sitting beside where they will go, but we’re just waiting on a free hour to get them in there!

Bedding plants, vegetables and basket stuffers are still available in the greenhouse, and will be just fine to plant anytime. (Though be warned, the selection is no longer as extensive as it was in early May).

Starting seeds, with proper selections is still possible too.  It is unfortunately a little late to start tomatoes and peppers by seed, as they require a longer growing season than we have left.  However, there are lots of choices that only require a 60-day season.  Lettuce and arugula grow quickly, and you will be enjoying fresh salads before too long.  Beans, radishes and beets are also great choices, and you can enjoy them later in the season, after others’ are finished!

Lacoste’s Favourite Plants


A hibiscus is (to me at least) a definitively tropical flower.  Fortunately, even though we don’t live in Hawaii, we can at least grow these beauties through the spring and summer.  The gorgeous flowers are one of my very favourites!

Scientific Name: Hibiscus

Plant: Sun to Part Shade (Hibiscus will bloom more profusely in a sunnier spot)

Grows: 6″ (180cm) tall by 3″ (90cm) wide

Keep soil moist, but do not let the plant stand in water or let the soil dry out

Tropical hibiscuses are considered heavy feeders: Fertilize monthly in spring and summer with a general-purpose fertilizer.


How to Attract Butterflies to the Garden

One of the common questions we hear throughout the greenhouse, is how to attract butterflies to a yard.  The Garden Experts at Costa Farms have assembled this list of 13 must-have plants for your Butterfly Garden.

An added bonus, 8 of the 13 are perennials for us in Winnipeg! (Butterfly Bush, Lavendar, Penstemon, Scabiosa and Verbena are not)






Aging Terra Cotta Pots


Terra Cotta pots are a great low-cost solution for small container gardening. In our garden we have 13 scattered through the backyard.  Each of the kids has one that is their own to choose the plants for, and to care for. The remaining 11 are typically used for herbs, or miscellaneous leftovers that didn’t make it into any of the larger containers.

When it comes to Terra Cotta, people have definite preferences.  I was talking to a lady this weekend, who scrubs her pots at the end of each year to make sure that they stay clean and fresh.  Other people prefer the worn-in, white and greenish patina of well-used pots.  Ours at home are somewhere in between these two extremes.  I think that the oldest one is 5 years old or so, and is starting to acquire a nice white-ish layer, and definitely no longer looks brand-new.

Fortunately, if you’re someone who likes the look of well-used pots, you don’t need to suffer through years of waiting and use, before your pots get the look you love!

I’ve heard of using yogurt to age pots, but haven’t tried it myself.  Fortunately, Martha Stewart has come through with a set of directions how to do it!

“One of the most natural-looking patinas can be achieved by simply slathering plain yogurt on a new pot. Yogurt applied to dry pots yields more dramatic results. For a subtler look, above, first soak pots in water for 15 minutes.”


Plain yogurt

2-inch foam brush


1. Stir yogurt.

2. Use brush to coat surface of pot with yogurt, covering it completely.

3. Set aside in a shaded place until pot achieves the desired look, at least 1 month.

Follow this link to find her other suggestions on how to achieve that perfect aged look!