Great Ponds & Gardens

Garden landscape design and construction tips


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Daylily: the perfect perennial

The daylily is often called “the perfect perennial,” due to its dazzling colors, tolerance for dry soil, capability to thrive in many zones, and ability to endure in a garden with little or no care. Daylilies establish quickly, grow vigorously and survive winter with little or no injury. Many of the plants that we call lilies — canna lily, lily of the Nile, daylily and calla lily — are, in fact, not lilies at all. True lilies, such as the popular oriental, asiatic, and trumpet types grow from bulbs. The daylily belongs to the genus hemerocallis – an appropriate name, since each flower lasts one day.
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Growing daylilies
Daylilies thrive in full sun, although certain daylilies require partial shade, depending on their color. Lighter shades, such as yellow, pink, and pastels require the sun to bring out all of their color. Darker daylilies, such as some red and purple flowers, need shade because their darker colors absorb heat. Each daylily plant produces an abundance of flower buds that open over a long period of time. There are many varieties, a wide range of flower colors, and the flowers continue during the heat of the summer. Varieties with muliticolored blooms, often with a contrasting “eye,” or center, are increasingly popular.

Daylilies have a relatively short blooming period, depending on the type of daylily. There are a variety of different daylilies; some of which will bloom in early spring, while others wait until the summer or even fall. Most daylilies bloom for one to five weeks, although there is a type of daylily known as a rebloomer, which will bloom twice in one season. Depending on the variety, heights range from 1 to 4 feet, with flower stalks on the tallest varieties reaching 6 feet. Depending on the species and cultivar, daylilies grow in USDA plant hardiness zones 1 through 11, making daylilies some of the more adaptable landscape plants.

And with more than 13,000 types available, deferring to daylilies that have gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit can make your decision easier:

Beloved returns • Berlin lemon • Berlin red • Berlin red velvet • Burning daylight • Cartwheels • Chief Sarcoxi • Corky • Golden chimes • Green flutter • Helle Berlinerin • H. lilioasphodelus • Lemon bells • Marion Vaughn • Missenden • Neyron rose • Nova • Pink damask • Red precious • Royal Mountie • Stoke Poges • Tetrina’s Daughter • Whichford

http://www.pinterest.com/greatponds/flowers-daylilies

Planting instructions
In the north, lilies should be planted in spring, spacing plants 1 to 3 feet apart. Daylilies are commonly used in perennial flower borders, planted in large masses, or as a ground cover on slopes, where they form a dense mat in just a few years. Daylilies should not be planted near trees and shrubs as they can compete for moisture and nutrients. Although daylilies are adaptable to most soils, they do best in a slightly acidic, moist soil that is high in organic matter and well drained.

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No sun, no problem

hostaPlanting for the Shade
What to do in your shady areas can be a challenge even for the most experienced gardener. Fortunately there are many shrubs, trees and perennials that will thrive in shady conditions. One of my favorites is the Hosta. Layered against garden accents, water features or amongst other shade-loving plants, the Hosta adds texture to your surround. As a general rule, gold and yellow varieties produce their best colour in slightly more sun. Blue varieties produce their most intense colour when grown in dappled shade. The top five Hostas include: Sagae, Sum and Substance, Great Expectations, Patriot, and Pauls Glory.

http://www.pinterest.com/greatponds/plants-hostas

Your August Garden checklist


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Consider Fido in Your Garden Design

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There’s a lot of interest these days in creating landscapes that are also functional for pets.
The first thing to consider is always safety, then comfort. Consider,

  1. pool and pond safety – be sure to teach your pet to swim and exit pool, enclose your pool area and use a pet-friendly cover;
  2. fencing and gates that are high and low enough to avoid escape;
  3. using pet-friendly materials: fertilizers, weed control and mulches (horticultural vinegar is a great way to remove weeds) and NEVER ever use cocoa shell mulch; and
  4. supervising small pets particularly in rural areas (to avoid run ins with local wildlife)

Your pampered pooch may also enjoy outdoor furniture designed for them, a heated/air conditioned dog-house or a doggy cabana with all the amenities. Cat cages allow cats to play outside within a safe and confined space.  See for yourself www.pinterest.com/greatponds


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Tips for selecting a contractor for your garden landscape needs

Is it time for a garden touch up or perhaps, a complete overhaul? There are many advantages to turning over your footprint to a landscape expert. Before you do, here are six tips:

Landscape Contractor Checklist

  1. Do you know what you want? Like a carefully planned kitchen, it’s important to understand the functionality and look you expect from your garden; www.houzz.com and www.pinterest.com/greatponds are great resources to see what’s possible and to create your outdoor “ideabook”; a well-designed garden landscape will incorporate your expectations for functionality, colour and texture; the successful landscape contractor should spend a lot of time asking questions and listening to your needs before presenting solutions
  2. Hire locally – a resource in your area, like www.greatponds.ca for Oakville and Halton, saves time and money by reducing transportation time
  3. Beware of startups – hire a credible, experienced contractor that has referrals and repeat business; your contractor should be knowledgeable about techniques, grading requirements, resources, local bylaws, local issues (such as dealing with clay soil in Oakville and southern Ontario) and plant species appropriate for your area
  4. Inspect previous landscaping work – specifically installations that are a few years old so you can see the quality of workmanship and how it stands up to our Southern Ontario temperatures
  5. Timing – you may have to wait to get the best landscape contractor for your needs; be sure to start early so you don’t have to compromise and to allow for ordering of special materials
  6. Respect the environment – ask about the landscape contractor’s disposal procedures to ensure they follow local bylaws