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Did your plants survive the frost last night? Pretty chilly in London, Ontario, let me tell you. Can you believe that it is May and we have had snow, sleet and a whole dollop of winter this week? Well, this coming weekend is the Victoria Day weekend in Canada. Traditionally it has always been the harbinger of summer. Hopefully this long weekend will measure up!

Not only is Victoria Day touted as the beginning of summer, it is also the unofficial start of gardening season. So even if you lost a tender plant or two last night, you should be able to replace and plant pretty much anything now. Bring on the flowers, vegetables, annuals, perennials and whatever else you’ve got planned to go into your plot of dirt.

Do you know what you are planting this year? Haven’t gotten that far yet? No worries. There are plenty of garden centres in and around London with plenty of stock to choose from. Whether you want healthy, pre-established vegetables, heritage herbs or colourful hanging baskets, you are sure to find something to please your green thumb with. So where do you go? Why not try one of these local garden centres;

Local Garden Centres

Canadale:

  • 269 Sunset Dr. (Highway 4,  on way into Port Stanley), St Thomas
  • HOURS – Weekdays 8 am – 8 pm, Saturday 8 am – 6 pm, Sunday 10 am – 5 pm
    • A family run business since 1955, this garden centre and nursery has received the Better Business Bureau’s Business Integrity Award, as well as Landscape Ontario Consumer’s Choice Award. The 110 acre growing facility is home to a plethora of fresh and healthy shrubs, trees, perennials, roses, vines, annuals, vegetables, herbs, houseplants as well as gardening supplies and decor items. They even have a kid’s activity centre where children can do gardening crafts while you shop.

Heeman’s:

  • 20422 Nissouri Rd, London
  • HOURS – Weekdays 8 am – 8 pm, Weekends 8 am – 5 pm
    • Another family run nursery, Heeman’s has been around since 1963. Strawberries is where the business started and it has flourished from there. With over 50 acres dedicated to strawberries, featuring a pick-your-own that is constantly in demand, the 190,000 square feet of greenhouses featuring 900 varieties of annuals, 500 varieties of perennials, 80 varieties of vegetable plants and 30 varieties of herbs are also a big draw. They even offer winter storage, custom ordering (to create personalized containers that shine), plant rentals (for weddings or other special functions) and regular updates on their social networking sites (Facebook & Twitter).

Springbank Garden Centre:

  • 462 Springbank Dr, London
  • HOURSSpring hours are constantly changing, but 9 am -6 pm on Wednesday, 9 am – 7 pm Thursday & Friday, Saturday 9 am – 7 pm, Sunday and Holiday Monday 9 am – 6 pm. After the long weekend Weekdays 9 am – 9 pm
    • Started as The Little Tree Farm, the Springbank Garden Centre has seen plenty of changes since the early 1960s when they first opened their doors. The garden centre has seen changes in owners, in property size (City of London expropriated 30 ft strip for widening Springbank Dr in 2003) and more recently a change in location when they moved to a newer, more modern building 200 ft west of the original site. They hasn’t changed the heart of what they offer though. You will of course find a wide variety of annuals, perennials, herbs, vegetables, hanging baskets, trees, shrubs, house plants, soil, mulch, garden stone, tools, decor items, lawn needs, fertilizer, firewood and more. The staff are always friendly, as well as being extremely knowledgeable about everything that they carry. Located in the heart of London, it is easy to get to from pretty much anywhere. Why not stop in and see what they have today?

Van Horik’s Greenhouses and Garden Centre:

  • 930 Gainsborough Rd, London
  • HOURS – Weekdays 8:30 am – 8:30 pm, Saturdays 9 am – 6 pm, Sundays & Holidays 10 am – 5 pm
    • Are you looking for something new or unusual? Van Horik’s is the place for you! This family run business has been around since 1969 and they have a pulse on the gardening world. In fact, Denise Hodgins writes a weekly column in the Homes section of the London Free Press, discussing the latest news and views from the garden industry, not to mention their regularly updated Facebook page. There is more to Van Horik’s than that though. You will find a wide selection of annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs, pond plants, tropicals and even seed packets for those wanting to grow their own plants, at the garden centre. Other garden essentials like soil, mulch, fertilizer, landscape stone, lawn care items, tools, containers, and decor items can also be found there.

Van Luyk Greenhouses & Garden Centre:

  • 1728 Gore Rd, London
  • HOURS – Weekdays 9 am – 9 pm, Weekends 9 am – 6 pm
    • The Van Luyk family opened the doors on their greenhouse in 1970 and have been going strong since then. Now boasting over 50,000 square feet of greenhouses, where 80% of the plants that are sold come from, they sell annuals, perennials, bulbs, trees, shrubs, vines, hanging baskets, mulch, soil, landscape ornaments, garden tools and more. They are open seven days a week, year round, featuring tropicals, pumpkins, straw, Christmas trees, poinsettia, lawn care and whatever else you might need for your garden, regardless of the season. If you can’t find it, then ask! The employees are resourceful, dedicated and one of the joys of visiting Van Luyk’s.

What is your favourite garden centre, nursery or greenhouse in London? What will you be planting this weekend?

Labour Day has come and gone. The school bell rang this morning and all the kiddos filed in for another season of ABC’s and 1,2,3’s. Can I get a fist pump parents? Woohoo!

Cork Elementary School Bell

Not so fast though! Just because the kids have headed back to school, doesn’t mean that you don’t have a thing or two to learn as well! Of course, my version of learning comes from home maintenance, as you might well imagine. So here are a few ABC’s and 1,2,3’s that you home owner’s might want to think about now that the kids aren’t constantly underfoot. Back to work with you!

THE HOME OWNER’S GUIDE TO ABC’s & 1,2,3’s

Autumn

Autumn (Photo credit: blmiers2)

A – Autumn is a great time to give a good clean to yard tools, before storing them for the winter. Sharpen the blades on your shears (and whatever other sharp tools you’ve got). Don’t forget to oil them before putting them away either. Check to make sure your rake is handy and will make it through another season of raking. With all the drought-like conditions we have had this summer, the leaves seem to be turning already, so start warming up those raking muscles! Pull out the summer annuals that are looking ragged and replace them with festive mums and kale. It’s almost time to plant spring bulbs too! I don’t even want to think about it yet, but you also might want to move your snow shovel to a handier spot too. Just saying!

B – Brushes that have been ignored during the humid months of summer deserve to be picked up again to apply a fresh coat of paint to the house. Update the kitchen or freshen up the bathroom. Start the school year off right with a fresh start for everything and everyone in your house, including everyone’s bedroom walls! The temperatures will only be dropping from here on out, so making your home more inviting, when you will be spending more time indoors, will be a delight on those cold winter nights when all you want to do is cocoon.

C – Clean out the cupboards of the summer gear. With the school bell rung, sneakers are the shoe of choice for children now. It is a perfect time to toss the ratty flip flops and store your strappy sandals for another season. At some point a little rain might fall, so grab your galoshes and get them handy, along with the fall coats. As you are cleaning and storing summer gear, you also might want to cover your patio table and store your chairs. Lazy days in the hammock are pretty much over too, so if you store it for winter, now is the time!

Plus,

1 – Once a month the furnace filter needs to be replaced. I am not saying that you need to turn on the furnace just yet, but it might be time to go look at your furnace and see when the last time you replaced its filter was. The cold winds of winter will be blowing around soon enough, so make sure that you are prepared for when they arrive. While you are at it, you might even want to have your furnace inspected and cleaned before winter is knocking on your door.

2 – Twice a year you should seal your tile grout and now is the perfect time to do that. The heat and humidity of summer are on the wane, making indoor projects less gruelling. This is a project that many home owners forget, but applying a sealant protects your tiles from mildew and mold. As many bathrooms are tiled, and humidity is a given in this room, this is a project that you should definitely have on your home improvement list.

Lawn

Lawn (Photo credit: प्रतीक)

3 – Remember the big 3 of fall lawn care; fertilizer, overseeding, water! Just because the heat of summer is gone, doesn’t mean that its time to ignore our lawn’s needs. You should continue to water your grass right up until your lawn stops growing. Look towards a greener lawn next year, by overseeding and fertilizing now to ensure a healthier lawn in the spring. While it doesn’t need to be done twice a year, if you didn’t aerate your lawn this spring, you might want to consider it now as well.

Lots of folks like indoor plants, as they feel that it makes a home appear more inviting. That is true, plus they act to purify the indoor air that we breathe, so are definitely worth the investment. When the weather starts to warm up at the tail end of winter and we turn to Spring cleaning, one of the things that people do is to slowly transition some of those indoor plants outside. It serves to declutter your home, plus it gives your plants a breath of fresh air of their own. If transitioned properly, indoor plants flourish with the extra sunshine they receive.

As the days get shorter and the nights chillier, it becomes time to start thinking about bringing those plants back indoors though. They need a gradual reintroduction to the inside world (same as in the spring), so feel free to take your time. While you are at it, you can even transplant your precious indoor plants into larger pots and even freshen up some of your other plants that never made it out the door. It can be a messy job, so take advantage of the pleasant weather outside while we still have it. Here are a few other suggestions on how to care for your houseplants this time of year.

FALL INDOOR PLANT CARE

Houseplants and Clean Air

  • As the days grow shorter and the sun’s rays get weaker, cut back on your watering schedule. While you might need heavy watering mid-summer, by the time the winter months arrive, many houseplants require little to no water during this dormant phase.
  • The same thing goes for fertilizer. In the spring, plants need fertilizer to stimulate growth and occasional top-ups over the summer. Indoor plants have most of their growth during this time. By fall, this growth tapers off and in winter it generally stops. Your fertilization schedule can too!
  • After a summer spent outdoors, many plants will have stretched the bounds of comfort in their pots. Before you bring them inside for the winter, take the time to transplant your indoor plants into larger pots. You can also top up any of your plants that didn’t make it outside, but still need a little TLC.
  • English: Potted House plants.Group plants together to increase their general humidity level. You can keep several plants in one tray or just keep them in the general vicinity of one another.
  • As homes tend towards being dry over the winter, it is a good idea to begin spritzing your houseplants. Be careful of plants that do not like water on their leaves (ie. African violets), but be generous with others. Your whole home will thank you for it.
  • While winter days might not offer much sunshine and it may be tempting to place your plants as close as possible to the windows, make sure that you keep them away from cold draughts. It is best not to have them directly touching windows regardless, but always make sure that you offer appropriate lighting for the plants needs

Good Luck with your Gardening Green Thumb this Fall!

 

The temperatures have shifted. It is decidedly cooler at night and you might have even needed a sweater in the morning as of late. While I am not quite ready to say goodbye to Summer, I think it is safe to say that the height of it is gone. Autumn might not officially ring in for another month yet, but the school bell will be calling all kids in two weeks time. It won’t be long before frost will follow. Perhaps it’s time to tackle some last-minute outside projects, before the weather is too crisp for comfort.

LATE SUMMER OUTDOOR PROJECTS

  • Now that the humidity has broken, how about tackling those outdoor painting projects?
    • Stain the deck and fence
    • Slap a fresh coat of paint on wooden siding
    • Repaint the bench on the front porch to erase that sun-stained look
    • Touch up your cast-iron planters with a bright and cheery colour
  • While you are looking at your planters, why not think about replanting them with some fall flair?
    • Remove leggy annuals and replace with seasonal selections like kale, stonecrop, mums or bright red blood grass
    • If you are thinking further ahead, you could even add a hay bale under, behind or near your planters, plus other fall selections like Indian corn, or decorative gourds that will have visitors in mind of the coming Thanksgiving season
  • Don’t limit yourself to planters to bring Autumn colour to your yard!
    • Say goodbye to pansies and petunias and embrace black-eyed susans, asters and delicate grasses to sway in the breeze
    • Deadhead spent flowers to make room for late season bloomers, but leave enough for a bit of winter interest once a blanket of snow covers the ground. Sedums look graceful touched with white, as do decorative grasses and sunflower stalks. You just might find a new crop returning next year due to your (lack) of efforts now!
    • While you are planting fall favourites, think about digging in some spring bulbs too, like daffodils, crocuses and a tulip or two
  • The leaves might not be turning yet and clogging up your gutters, but it doesn’t hurt to get up on your roof now to inspect it for loose or missing shingles. Check your flashing, chimney and pound in any loose gutter spikes while you are up there.
  • Once you are back on the ground, inspect your home for ventilation leaks around windows and doors. If your a/c is still running, you will feel the cool breeze through those gaps and be able to fill them before the breeze is blowing the other way.
  • Inspect your foundation to see if you might be in for any other problems come the approaching wetter seasons. Cracks can spell trouble in your basement and are better to fix when the weather is still dry.

 

This is the weekend that all good rockers come out in droves. That’s right Londoners. It’s time for the 9th annual Rock the Park in London, Ontario! With a mittful of rockin hot musicians warming up over at Harris Park as we speak, and proceeds going to Bethany’s Hope, you don’t want to miss this awesome event. The fun starts this afternoon at 4pm, with Monster Truck from Hamilton, Ontario taking the stage, but rocks throughout the weekend.

Have you heard tell who else is going to be there? Check it out! Something for every good rocker to enjoy from the 70s, 80s, 90s to right now!

Thursday, July 26 Friday, July 27 Saturday, July 28
9:00pm – SLASH with Myles Kennedy 9:30pm – Steve Miller Band 9:30pm – BOSTON
7:15pm – BUSH 7:30pm – George Thorogood 7:30pm – REO Speedwagon
5:45pm – I Mother Earth 6:00pm – David Wilcox 6:00pm – 54-40
4:30pm – Monster Truck 4:30pm – The Romantics 4:30pm – Prism

You know it’ll be loud, but that’s what its all about! Don’t expect any ballads from Slash and don’t be surprised if the audience is louder than the Steve Miller Band on some of their classic favourites. I’m sure that Boston and REO Speedwagon will be in top form as well, but you will have to roll down to Harris Park to hear for yourself.

Here’s a taste to rev up your engines, before you head downtown to Rock the Park!

♠♠♠

For those of you that are feeling a little beyond the hard rock that comes in music form, I have a quieter suggestion for your weekend entertainment. How about working on that rock garden you’ve always dreamed about? With all the heat alerts that we have been having this summer, it is a perfect answer to your wilting garden. Think low-growing, creeping and hardy plants that can survive the heat and lack of water that has been rampant this summer. You might consider heat tolerant species like Portulaca, Candytuft, Sedum, Boxwood or an ornamental grass or two. While you are working away in your new garden, the only sound you will hear will be the sound of your wheel barrow straining under the weight of your rocks. Or maybe the sound of your grunts when you drop a loose boulder or two on your foot.

That is unless you live in the vicinity of Harris Park. They shut it down by 11pm, so don’t plan on going to bed early Thursday, Friday or Saturday night folks, unless you figure that you will pass out cold after all your hard work in the garden.

ROCK on this weekend folks!

Welcome to In Your Neighbourhood!

Allow me to introduce myself. The name is Jim. You want to know more? Well, check out my "About Me" page! Don't forget to take a peek at my "Local London Listings" while you are here too! I update it regularly. Enjoy your visit and drop me a line to let me know you were in the neighbourhood!

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