Basil wants his spotlight in the walk of fame
Basil, our beloved greenhouse cat, has been immortalized in our new concrete sidewalk that was installed earlier this month. The sidewalk now connects the Teaching Brewery, Teaching Greenhouse and the Benchmark Restaurant together making it easier for students and patrons to navigate our beautiful campus. It is part of our ongoing list of projects that are improving our campus and overall student experience.
Basil is doing very well for a 14 year old cat! He is a fierce hunter that keeps our campus clear of mice and a gentle soul that soothes students stresses.
Basil is our beloved greenhouse cat that has been with us for nearly 15 years. He is a fearless mouser that keeps us pest free, and a student lover that keeps them stress free.
Earlier this week, the college poured a new sidewalk to connect the greenhouse to the restaurant and we thought that it was a great opportunity for Basil to immortalize himself by imprinting his paw into the cement.
Here are a few pictures of him leaving his mark…
Student Grown Poinsettias
Our student grown Poinsettia crop has never looked better! Our greenhouse is a sea of red and white, with 3000 6″ and 500 10″ pots that our students have been growing since the beginning of August.
NC Greenhouse is open 7 days a week from 9-5
Here are our prices:
4″ Poinsettia – $4.50
6″ Poinsettia – $7.50 ($1.00 from each purchase is donated to the United Way)
10″ Poinsettia – $20.00
I am amazed how my perception of time speeds up in the spring. Every year I have big plans to accomplish many things in my garden and complete only a fraction of them. If you are like me you still have a list of things that you would like to do, I would like to help you with that list by letting you know that all of the annuals at Niagara College Greenhouse are on sale! If you buy one at our regular price of $2.75 you will get one for free! Our quality is great, our selection is dwindling but still have an abundance of plants to choose from. Hanging baskets are $10 each, Patio Planters are priced to go. We have an amazing selection of perennials that are on sale as well, 3 4″ perennials for $10! It is time for us to clean out the greenhouse and get it ready for the new crop of students.
Stop in and get some fresh vegetables, strawberries, lettuce etc. our vegetable garden is beginning to produce some delicious product.
Spring is here and it is time to get your planting done! You are in luck because Niagara College has what you need! Come and see our greenhouse, we have annual bedding plants, hanging baskets, vegetable transplants, herbs, perennial plants, nursery stock, house plants, tropical plants, mixed planters and much more.
As you can see from the pictures taken below, our plants are well cared for, full of colour and ready to be taken to a good home.
Here are a few prices for you to look at before you come:
- 4″ annual bedding plants and vegetable transplants are $2.75
- 10″ hanging baskets are $12.00
- 12″ hanging baskets are $16.00
- Herbs are $4.00 each or 3 for $10.00
- 4 packs are $1.25 each or a full tray for $10.00
- We have Spreading Phlox, a beautiful spring flowering perennial ground cover on special right now on for $5.00 while supplies last.
- More nursery and perennial plants are available as well.
Hope to see you soon, our knowledgeable and friendly staff are here to help.
Selecting Annuals or Perennials for Your Ornamental Bed
By Kelly Masterson
The choice is yours!
With the right information and knowledge from Niagara College’s Greenhouse Technician Program, you can design, implement and watch your garden grow. Each garden bed planted whether on a commercial property or for a residential garden is a unique and visually appealing piece of art. “Good landscaping can add up to 28% to overall home value, says landscape economist John Harris. Even taking your landscaping from “good” to “excellent,” in terms of design, condition, and placement, can add 6% to 7% to a home’s value, according to a Clemson University study of homes in Greenville, S.C.” (1). Gardens are designed for the purpose of aesthetics, hiding imperfections in structures, highlighting structures like balconies and decks, creating moods for peaceful study at a college or creating serenity in your backyard. Gardens are shared with the community or kept hidden for your eyes only creating a world of privacy. Knowing the purpose of your garden bed makes it that much easier to design, implement and enjoy. Start your research by choosing a selection of your favourite annuals, perennials or a mixture of both.
When selecting plants — whether annuals or perennials — keep in mind the overall needs of the plants for a successful growing season. The height of the plants including the foliage and finished bloom height, water requirements, hardiness zone for proper climate restrictions, colour, light requirements and nutritional requirements are the necessities to research for each variety of plants chosen.
If you visit a nursery to help with your selection, tags are available in each pot with the descriptions of growing conditions. Some of the information is tricky to understand such as height. The height of the plant usually includes the full height of the bloom. For instance, a 36” daylily will reach approximately that height but will remain at 24” after bloom time. After the blooms have faded the daylily might be lost in the garden not taking advantage of the water falling foliage. Colours on the tags might be faded not giving an accurate description from red to pink changing the overall theme of your garden completely. Light requirements can also be misleading labelled improperly or not descriptive enough. For instance, a plant that requires morning sun and afternoon shade might be labelled as partial sun or partial shade. Double check your findings with reputable greenhouse websites or research material before opening your wallet.
Annuals are “Plants that perform their entire life cycle from seed to flower to seed within a single growing season. All roots, stems and leaves of the plant die annually. Only the dormant seed bridges the gap between one generation and the next” (2). Annuals are generally less expensive than ornamental perennials. From spring to fall, annuals with fill the space with non-stop colour as long as the watering, lighting and temperature requirements are met. Make sure the garden beds are amended with a porous, light sandy soil full of organic material. Annual roots are soft and supple and will not grow to their potential in a dense clay. They normally do not need any attention, little deadheading with the new varieties and will never over crowd your garden beds. Garden centres sell thousands of annuals per year just for the low maintenance to the buyer. Leave them in the garden to till in the following season or rip them out in the fall to prepare the gardens for next year’s new design. Better yet, change the beds for themed gardens for holidays and celebrations. For Canada Day weekend add red and white annuals or add the colours of fall for the celebrations of Thanksgiving and Halloween. The selection of annuals grow rapidly each year with big box stores selling the latest and greatest. Research is constantly being done for brighter colours, larger blooms, and more blooms. Buyers beware.
“Perennials are plants that persist for many growing seasons. Generally the top portion of the plant dies back each winter and regrows the following spring from the same root system (e.g. Purple Coneflower). Many perennial plants do keep their leaves year round and offer attractive borders and groundcover (e.g. Tickseed, Shasta and Ox-Eyed Daisy). NOTE: WHEN STARTING PERENNIAL PLANTS FROM SEED, BLOOMS WILL BE OBSERVED IN EITHER THE SPRING OR SUMMER OF THE SECOND YEAR AND EACH YEAR THEREAFTER (e.g. Ox-Eyed Daisy planted in the spring of 1996 will not bloom until the spring of 1997)” (2).
Perennials in a garden centre tend to sell for ten times the price of annuals. To keep costs lower, seeds are always an option, understanding they will take up to 3 years to mature. Perennial beds done right the first time will supply a lifetime of colour and waves of bloom throughout all of the seasons including winter interest. Perennials need more attention during the growing season. In the spring, they need to be cleared of any lasting debris from the following season to be rid of overwintering pests and diseases. The garden beds need to be amended with compost, preferably natural fertilizers like fish emulsion, Epson salts, blood meal, bone meal, the list goes on. To keep maintenance low adding mycorrhizae each season helps build up the porosity, necessity for watering, and limits the amounts of fertilizer needed. Mycorrhizae do the majority of work for you, breaking down nutrients and bringing them to the root surface. Perennials attract wildlife, beneficial insects, reduce rain run off on the property and raise the value of your property exponentially. They fill every humanly sense: the fragrance of the rose, the beauty of mother nature’s muted and complicated colour structure, the touch of silk caressing the pedals in your palm, the taste of heaven when growing flowering herbs and spices. Lastly the sound of nature whistling through the blades of grass with birds chirping in harmony. In the fall, the garden needs to be closed up, the roses hilled and layers of protection from the bitterly cold winter. To witness the spring arrival and watch the plants awaken from their deep sleep is a wonder in its own.
To maximize your garden space and keep the maintenance to a minimal the choice is always available to incorporate perennials as well as annuals in your garden bed. Niagara College students from the Horticulture Programs are taught every year what, where and how the annuals are planted in the mass planting in and around the college for each season. Filling in empty spots with bright colourful blooms of annuals when the perennials are done their lifecycle with only foliage remaining. The possibilities are endless. The shapes, colours and designs are as good as the imagination of the artist themselves. Regardless your choice, building a garden bed is a satisfying accomplishment for your family, friends, neighbors, or clients to enjoy with each visitation. Research, preparation and physical hard work is necessary but in the end worth every muscle ache and drop of sweat. So this spring don’t be sour grow some flowers. The choice is yours!
- Does House Landscaping Increase Home Value? | Retaining … (n.d.). Retrieved October 21, 2016, from https://www.houselogic.com/by-room/yard-patio/landscaping-home-value/
- What Is An Annual, Perennial, Biennial? (n.d.). Retrieved October 21, 2016, from http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/wildseed/growing/annual.html
Our Horticulture technician students have been growing this Hydrangea crop for the winter term, and they are now ready to go! Beautiful, large blooms of pink white and blue that are picture perfect and scream spring is here. If you are looking to add some life and colour to your home or office come to our greenhouse, pick up one of these incredible plants! Our students would love to see you here, discuss how to care for them and tell you how they grew them!
The price of these amazing plants are $15 each or 2 for $25!
Our greenhouse features plants that are “Proudly Grown by Students” and is open 7 days a week: Monday to Friday from 9am until 5pm; Saturday and Sunday 10am until 4pm.
Handmade Soaps at Benchmarket
Wash away the winter with soaps from Roots and Radicles. A “home grown” company started by a graduate from our very own Horticulture program (Sarah McLeod). Sarah makes all of the soaps by hand, with all natural, plant based materials (which are listed on her labels).
Here are a couple of examples:
KELP! I need some – body! (clever right!) Ingredients are: Olive oil; Coconut oil; Palm oil, Hemp seed oil; Castor seed oil; distilled water; sodium hydroxide; lemongrass oil; lavender oil; rosemary oil; patchouli oil; rosemary leaf powder; kelp.
Rose Clay Ingredients are: Rice bran oil; coconut oil; palm oil; Shea butter; sodium hydroxide; distilled water; Essential oils of: Rosewood; Sweet Orange; Lavender; Geranium; Kaolin Rose. White Clay; rose petals.
Pamper yourself or the ones you love with soaps from Roots and Radicles, their soothing ingredients are great for your senses and the environment!