Author Archives: Oakridge Lifestyle

How To Repot Root Bound Houseplants Like A Pro

christmas decorated winter porch pot

How To Repot Root Bound Houseplants Like A Pro

Just like how kids go up a shoe size (or three) every year or so, houseplants can get a little too big for their pots and may become root bound if you don’t repot them. However, it isn’t quite as simple as just switching out the pot for a bigger one. Plants have very delicate root systems, functioning kind of like the plant’s brain and regulating many different processes. If you scramble the roots up too much, you could end up with a plant that’s damaged beyond repair. If you want to start repotting rootbound houseplants in Steinbach, Oakridge has all the necessary tools, methods, and know-how to help you pull it off like a pro.


What Happens When A Plant Gets Root Bound?

When a plant is root bound, their roots have grown so big that they’re packed tightly in the container and have nowhere else to go. They likely won’t be able to grow much bigger, and the amount of nutrients they can take in from the soil is very limited. 

The symptoms of a root bound plant are pretty similar to an underwatered houseplant, so if you’ve been watering regularly and your plant has brown or yellow leaves, is starting to wilt or has stunted growth, there’s a good chance it could be root bound. You may also notice roots poking up above the soil surface—a clear sign that they’ve got nowhere else to go. 

To be certain your houseplant is root bound, the most accurate way to check is to get a good look at the roots. You’ll have to slide the plant out of the container, and if the container isn’t flexible and your plant is super root bound, this might not be the easiest task. Try easing it out with a small knife, loosening it up all around the edges to coax it out.


Which Plants Like To Be Root Bound?

Before you get to repotting root bound plants in time for spring, it’s important to keep in mind that some plants actually prefer being root bound! Some, like the Christmas Cactus, will only blossom if they’re under a bit of stress, which a cramped container will provide. Others, like the spider plant, will be able to thrive in a bigger container, but won’t produce those little plant pups to pop off and grow into new plants. Here are some common houseplants that will do best if you just leave them be:

  • African Violet
  • Aloe
  • Peace Lily
  • Asparagus Fern
  • Spider Plant
  • Snake Plant
  • Christmas Cactus
  • Agapanthus
  • Boston Fern
  • Ficus
  • Jade Plant
  • Umbrella Tree


Repotting Root Bound Plant: The 3 Methods

When your houseplant is root bound, there are three ways to fix it. The proper method depends on the kind of houseplant you’re dealing with, and the severity of the root compaction. If you’re unsure of which method to use, feel free to speak with one of our experts at Oakridge and we’ll help you troubleshoot the situation. In the meantime, here are the three classic methods for solving root compaction:

Loosen And Repot: If your plant is moderately compacted and the roots aren’t matted all around the root ball, you can get away with just placing it in a new pot after gently loosening up the roots. Make sure you water your plant the day before repotting, to help soften the roots up and eliminate any crusty, dry soil clumping them together. If the roots have gathered into a tangled ball at the bottom and anchored into the drainage holes, untangle them as gently as possible from the pot and clean up broken roots before repotting.  

Add a few inches of soil to the new, bigger pot with a mix of potting soil and compost, place the plant in, and lightly fill the rest of the container space with more soil without packing it down too much. The plant’s main stem should not sit any deeper below the soil line than it did before it was repotted. Make sure the pot has drainage holes, and is placed on a tray or other container where the water can drain out freely. Avoid watering your repotted houseplant until this soil has dried out.


Prune The Roots: If you don’t necessarily want your houseplant to grow any bigger, but the compacted roots are limiting the amount of soil nutrition it can absorb, you can try pruning the roots. Remove the plant from its pot and slice down the sides of the thread roots (smaller, hair-like roots) up to three times using a sharp, clean knife. The tap roots, which are thicker, should be left intact, because trimming these could really injure your plant. If your plant is looking pretty worse for wear, it might not be a good plan to prune the roots, as it might not be resilient enough to withstand the shock of trimming. Otherwise, if your plant still looks fairly healthy and green, a little pruning can go a long way.   

Divide The Root Ball: Plants that grow from a centralized crown and have a clumping habit are meant to be divided up every few years. Some can handle it easily, while others are a bit more sensitive to having their roots disturbed, so it’s better to divide them during the winter when they’re dormant. Dividing root balls is pretty easy—just try to untangle the roots gently, and then using a sharp knife, split the root ball into two or three sections. Repot each section into a clean pot with fresh soil and compost, and instead of having one dreary-looking houseplant, you’ll be left with several plants with a new lease on life! 

If you need any tools, fresh potting soil, or even some new houseplants, come visit us at Oakridge and we’ll get you all set up! We’re so excited for gardening season to begin, and sometimes a little indoor houseplant care can help get the ball rolling and provide us with inspiration for our upcoming garden projects. 

The Gardener’s Book List


The Gardener’s Book List

In Manitoba, it can be tough to feel cheerful in February early March. The short days, bone-chilling temperatures, and snow-clogged roads all remind us how long it will be before we’ll see any signs of life outside. But during this time of year, the best thing we can do is embrace it!

The days may be short, but perhaps that can motivate us to find creative ways of bringing light into our spirits. The roads may not always be clear, but maybe we can use the time indoors to start dreaming up our master plan for this year’s annuals and edibles. The mercury may be plunging, but perhaps that means it’s the perfect time to curl up and ‘plunge’ into a good book in front of the fireplace. And perhaps we can do all three of these things at once. Here are some fabulous gardening books to pick up this month.

Colour Your Garden: Exciting Mixtures of Bulbs and Perennials by Jacqueline van der Kloet

Fans of bulbs and perennials will love this guide for capturing and enhancing the colours and shapes of these magnificent plants. Author Jacqueline van der Kloet offers practical tips and guides for creating stunning combinations for gardens of all

oakridge winter porch pot

sizes – from airy landscapes to balcony-sized container gardens. This is a must-read for those of us who get a rush from watching our spring tulips bloom!

Escape to Reality: How the World is Changing Gardening, and Gardening is Changing the World by Mark Cullen

For those who crave the soul-nourishing pleasures of gardening, Canadian gardening guru Mark Cullen’s recent release is the gardener’s very own Chicken Soup for the Soul. With beautiful design, touching

winter porch pot in urn

narratives, and practical tips, Cullen’s collaborative work – co-written with his son, Ben – explores not just how we garden, but why.

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Christopher Silas Neal and Kate Messner

You’d have to dig deep to find a better way to introduce young people to gardening than Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt. For parents and grandparents who wish to spark a curiosity about gardening in young readers, this book is equally filled with adorable illustrations, bedtime-worthy lyricism, and teachable information about the garden ecosystem. It’s the perfect way to share our love of the garden with our little ones and get them itching to explore the outdoors in the springtime.

Vegetables, Chickens & Bees: An Honest Guide to Growing Your Own Food Anywhere by Carson Arthur

You might recognize Carson Arthur as the host and garden expert on shows like Better Homes and Gardens’ Home, First Home, Global’s Room to Grow, and HGTV’s Green

closeup of holiday decorated porch pot with berries, lights and pinecones

Force. If you’ve been a fan of his, you’ll be excited to hear of the upcoming release of his first book. In Vegetables, Chickens & Bees, Arthur imparts the wisdom he’s gained over his 20-year career with an unconventional gardening book – to be released on February 26, 2019 – that speaks to a younger crowd of homeowners.

Prairie Garden 2019 Growing Food by the Prairie Garden Committee

Guest-edited by urban farming and gardening expert Tiffany Grenkow, the latest edition of the Prairie Garden Committee’s Prairie Garden guide is set to be released on February 24, 2019! This issue will be

wooden sleigh with winter porch pots

focusing on the edible gardening trend, but will cover so much more. Look forward to over 50 articles produced by local gardening experts, all with invaluable advice for growing gardens of all kinds in our region. If you’ll be in the Winnipeg area on the 24th, you can even attend the book launch at the Grant Park location of McNally Robinson at 2:00 pm.

closeup of red berries in winter porch pot

During these bleary days when the snow won’t let you into your garden, let your imagination take you there instead. We hope you find some inspiration in these titles, and maybe a new perspective to serve you well when the snow melts!

Transitioning Your Tropicals from Winter to Spring

christmas decorated winter porch pot

Transitioning Your Tropicals from Winter to Spring

Every Manitoban can appreciate the newfound energy that comes with the longer days of spring. As the sunset grows later by the day and the snow and ice begin to melt, new buds on the trees and shrubs start to swell in anticipation of spring. While most of the action is happening outdoors, we mustn’t forget that our houseplants are experiencing a transition, too!


As we gain more sunlight, tropical houseplants begin to move out of their winter dormancy. Just like a family of hibernating bears, this awakening from sleep is accompanied by a change in needs and a hunger for food and water! Here’s how to accommodate your indoor tropicals and ease them into spring.

Water More Frequently

Dormant plants are essentially frozen in time; they’re conserving energy rather than focusing on new growth and therefore consume very little water. When dormancy ends, the plant enters a growing period, and the need for water increases substantially. Most of your indoor tropicals will need to be watered every 7 days throughout spring and summer to keep up with the demands of the season.

oakridge winter porch pot

Begin Applying Fertilizer

Ask anyone who has trained for the Manitoba Marathon, and they’ll tell you that proper nutrition is just as important as thorough hydration. The same goes for your tropicals. Now that the winter is over, fertilizer is more important than ever to give your plants the nutritional boost it needs to grow and thrive throughout the season.


Begin applying fertilizer approximately eight weeks before the last expected spring frost, which is typically just before May long weekend in Steinbach. In mid-March, start using water-soluble fertilizer at half strength. Water your tropicals thoroughly first, then make a half-strength solution of water and fertilizer and pour in onto the soil surface (avoid splashing on the plant’s foliage). Another method is to pour the solution into a saucer and place the plant pot on top. This method allows the solution to soak into the soil via the drainage holes, bringing the fertilizer closer to the root system. Apply using this method bi-weekly until the last frost has passed.


Once spring has officially arrived, transition to full-strength fertilizer according to the package directions. Continue to fertilize bi-weekly, or according to the needs of your plant.

Repot As Needed

If you notice your plant roots have started to creep through the drainage holes of their pots, now is the perfect time to repot them. Timing is everything when it comes to repotting houseplants—you want them still a little dormant, which reduces stress on the plant, but close to a period of rapid growth, during which the plant can recover from any damage sustained from the move.


Repot your tropicals on a day when they’re due for water, but not fertilizer. Water the plant thirty minutes to an hour prior to repotting. When choosing a new home for your plant, a pot with drainage holes is best. Prepare the new pot with a layer of fresh, sterile potting soil at the bottom. Remove your tropical from its old pot by gently tilting the pot to the side and slowly sliding the root ball out into your hand. Avoid grasping or tugging the plant by the stem. Once the plant is out of the old pot, gently tease the root ball apart to release old soil and separate the roots. Place the plant in the centre of the new pot and backfill around the sides with fresh soil. Add soil until the plant stands in place, tamp it down firmly, and water again to settle.

Dust Off the Leaves

Sunlight is as vital to your tropicals as water, fertilizer, and soil. Our Manitoba winters leave us with a very dusty indoor environment thanks to those long months of dry air from the furnace. When the dust settles on your tropicals’ leaves, it blocks out sunlight and slows down the process of photosynthesis. Furthermore, dusty plants are an eyesore!


If your plant has large, broad leaves, it may be easiest to simply wipe the front and back of the leaves with a soft, damp cloth. Plants with finer foliage may be easier to clean in the shower under a gentle stream of cool water. Once your plants have been dusted off, apply Miracle-Gro Leaf Shine to give them a beautiful, glossy sheen.

Once spring arrives, your tropical plants will come alive with healthy, vigorous growth and better defences against pests and disease. Meanwhile, you’ll enjoy starting the new growing season surrounded by beautiful, vibrant greenery.

Fall Maples

christmas decorated winter porch pot

Fall Maples

Maple trees have long been known to have some of the finest displays of fall colour. While common in Ontario and Québec, very few maples are native to zone 3 areas like ours in Steinbach. However, we can still enjoy fall maples here in Manitoba! Thanks to the hard work of commercial breeders, there are a few maple cultivars that can transport that beautiful autumn colour into your backyard. Here are our favourite hardy fall maples for Manitoba landscapes.

‘Silver Cloud’ Silver Maple

This maple variety is a fair bit different from the more traditional sugar maple, however, its lobed foliage does have that classic patriotic shape. The leaves are a deep green with silvery undersides, and the bark is a lovely silver colour as well. Primarily grown as a shade tree, Silver Cloud grows to a stately 50’ height with a 40’ spread.

oakridge winter porch pot

Silver Cloud isn’t typical of most fall maples. While this maple does change colours in the fall, the leaves reach a buttery yellow shade rather than deepening to the reds and golds characteristics of other maples. All the same, Silver Cloud has plenty of ornamental value! Instead of red fall foliage, this maple bears very attractive clusters of red flowers in spring before the leaves emerge.


‘Autumn Blaze’

While sometimes sold as a zone 4 tree, there’s a consensus among many zone 3 nurseries (ourselves included) that Autumn Blaze does very well in our cooler climate. This maple is similar in size and canopy to the Ontario red maples we so admire, with an average height of 40-60’ tall.

When it comes to fall colour, the name really says it all. Autumn Blaze’s fall palette of fiery red-orange is nothing short of jaw-dropping. Earlier in the season, the tree is still highly ornamental with medium-green leaves with silvery undersides and attractive red twigs.


Amur Maple

If it’s fall colour and compact size you’re after, you can’t go wrong with Amur maples. These compact maple trees fit nicely into small spaces of the yard, reaching only 20’ tall with an 18’ spread. The foliage of the Amur maple has a more slender profile than the broad, lobed leaves of the more traditional fall maples, but the colours are just as punchy. In late summer, the bright green foliage is joined by bright-red samaras that add extra colour to the landscape.

Once summer fades into fall, the real show begins. Amur’s foliage matures into breathtaking shades of orange, scarlet, and deep currant red. There are a few forms of Amur maple that indicate their growth habit, but each are low-maintenance trees for high-impact fall interest. You just don’t see many trees this vibrant during the fall in Steinbach!


‘Hot Wings’ Maple

This small but attractive tree has a unique look compared to most maples. In spring, white flowers emerge before the serrated oval leaves settle in. In the summer, the namesake ruby-red samaras appear in abundant clusters. As fall maples go, the colours of Hot Wings has an unusual but captivating beauty. The inner leaves mature to golden yellow while the leaves on the outer branches turn blazing shades of red and orange. The effect gives the tree the appearance of being engulfed in flames!

Hot Wings offers big colour without the big footprint—it’s a dwarf cultivar that reaches 15-18’ in height and spread. Its rounded habit makes it a neat accent tree that requires very little pruning.

Prairie Rouge® Red Maple

For those who can’t get enough red, the Prairie Rouge® maple delivers. Like Silver Cloud, Prairie Rouge® produces red flower clusters in spring ahead of the foliage. However, its leaves emerge red instead of green, maturing to green only for the late spring and summer. As the leaves turn green, the red colour is transferred to its bright red samaras. Finally, when fall arrives, the leaves take on a spectacular true red colour that must be seen to be believed.

It could be said that this fall maple combines the most desirable features of the Amur and Silver Cloud maples. The leaf shape and early spring display more resemble the Silver Cloud, whereas the samaras and fall colour are closer to what you’d see on the Amur. The height lands somewhere in the middle, reaching 30’ tall with a 15’ spread.

While they certainly aren’t as common around here, it is possible to enjoy the beauty of fall maples here in Manitoba. We recommend planting your maple in September to help it prepare for the winter. This will allow some extra time for the roots to establish, whereas other trees can be planted right up until the frost. To purchase a fall maple, or discover other shrubs and trees with remarkable fall interest, visit us today at our garden centre.



How to Get Your Indoor Plants Ready for Fall

With summer winding down and the days becoming shorter, it’s time to prepare our indoor plants for the months ahead. Check out these tips for getting your plants ready for Fall.


Bring Your Plants Indoors

If your indoor plants have been outside enjoying the warmth and humidity of summer, it’s time to bring them inside once nighttime temperatures begin to dip below 10°C. While chillier temperatures still above freezing won’t kill most houseplants, they can cause leaf drop and signal your plant to go into dormancy.

To check for any little critters that may have taken up residence on your plant, be sure to look closely at the top and underside of the leaves as well as the stems. Remove any debris, like dead leaves, that has gathered on the soil surface where critters typically like to hide. If you happen upon any insects, remove them by wiping down the leaves thoroughly. If you find an infestation, an organic neem oil spray can be used to help deter the pests.

Give Your Plants a Shower

At the turn of each season, give your plants a thorough shower with a gentle spray of lukewarm water. This is the perfect time to leach any salt build-up out of the soil by letting the water run freely out of the bottom of the pot. The shower will also clean off any dust that has collected on the foliage. Not only will your plant look nice and clean, but it will also be better protected from insects that like to lurk on dusty leaves.

If you find dust still lingering on your plant’s leaves post-shower, wipe them down with a microfibre cloth to remove any remaining dirt or dust.

Feed Once More Before Winter

After their shower, take advantage of the damp soil and recharge with nutrients for the last time this year. Be careful not to overdo it—we suggest using a water-soluble all-purpose fertilizer mixed at half the recommended strength.

Trim Aged or Unsightly Leaves

To continue cleaning up your plants, take care to trim any yellow or browning leaves with sharp, clean plant shears. Be sure to disinfect the shears with rubbing alcohol after each snip in order to minimize the spread of bacteria or any disease from plant to plant.

Find The Best Lighting

As the days get shorter, the sun is lower in the sky, changing the way sunlight enters your space. If you have nearby shade trees that drop their leaves come fall, this can also allow more direct light to enter your space. Where you placed your plant in the spring and summer may not be the best lighting scenario for it during the fall and winter. Take note of how the light enters your space and adjust your plant’s placement according to their lighting preference.

In the case that you find your plant isn’t getting sufficient light, consider incorporating a grow light into your space.

Repot When Needed

Has your plant outgrown its pot? To check, gently lift your plant out of the pot and observe the roots. If the roots are coiling around the bottom of the pot, or even growing through the drainage holes or out of the top of the soil, then it’s time to size up and repot in a larger planter.

Don’t know how to go about repotting your plant? Check out our post about repotting rootbound plants.How To Repot Root Bound Houseplants Like A Pro

Snow Mould & Spring Lawn Care

Our lawns take up much of our yard space and whether your outdoor space boasts perennial beds and edible gardens, turf care is important in ensuring the health of our yards as a whole. With winter slowly fading and a new season of growth approaching, here are some tips to have a lush and healthy turf.

Waiting Game

As soon as the snow starts to recede, and you see grass peeking through it is easy to give in to the temptation to start spring lawn care right away. For a lot of us eager gardeners our first instinct is to grab a rake and leap into action – sometimes even when our yards are still caked in ice. Resist the instinct!

Working your lawn while it’s still wet and recovering from the winter can do much more harm than good. Heavy feet can compact the soil or break emerging shoots and all your early work could be for nothing if you damage your grass and give the weeds a head start.

Dealing with Snow Mould

Snow mould (typhula blight) is very common for us, thanks to our long, snowy winters. It can be ugly to look at – fungus forming silvery-grey patches on the lawn – and it can be tough on seasonal allergies, but, thankfully, it goes away as your lawn dries off. Unless it’s thick enough to choke your grass or causes you discomfort, don’t even bother raking it off, let time work its magic.

If you’re itching for something to do as the lawn dries, consider sharpening your mower blades. Waiting while your lawn is in plain sight can be tough but improving the condition of your mower will set you up for a summer with a healthy lawn. Sharp blades will shear the grass instead of tearing it, resulting in healthier turf. While you’re at it, remember to change the oil, spark plug, and filters regularly too.

For the most impatient and keen gardeners among us, the waiting can be hurried by spreading out leftover snow from the shady spots of your lawn. Your lawn will dry sooner, more evenly, and you’ll be left with less snow mould in the most protected areas of your lawn.

Raking and Top-Dressing

Once the thatch is dried your lawn is ready for you to “spring” into action! Give everything a good rake, especially with older lawns or those that have a half inch or more of thatch. You don’t need to clear all the thatch, but excessive amounts can be a breeding ground for pests and mildew.

Once you’ve got your thatch down to a healthy quarter inch or so, you can work on nurturing your lawn. Top dress any sparse areas right away so your lawn still has a chance to beat out the weed seeds that are swiftly germinating.

Top Dressing How-To

Start by throwing a quarter or half inch of potting soil across sparse patches. The organic nutrients in the soil will help feed your lawn for the upcoming growing season. Top seed over your new soil – if your area has a lot of hungry birds, dusting some more soil over your new seed will disguise their lunch.

Fertilizing and Aerating

Spring is all about giving your lawn what it needs to be healthy and lush all summer! Aerating your lawn pulls plugs out to give your lawn’s cramped root system some air. Whether you rent a machine yourself or hire a company, this is great for the long-term health of your turf. Aeration is an especially important step in lawn care for older lawns or those that have been compacted by high traffic.

Fertilizing gives your grass the fuel it needs to grow healthy and strong. Your grass won’t be awake and hungry as soon as the snow melts. Fertilizing your dormant lawn is not only a waste of time, effort, and money, and it could end up giving fuel to weeds that wake up quicker in the spring. You’ll have the best results if you wait to fertilize when your grass is green and growing.

Thankfully, the days of blasting your lawn with a high-nitrogen mix and a hose are over. Most lawn fertilizers are now slow release, so they will feed your lawn steadily over weeks and months, and you won’t have to worry about burning your roots.

Planting Your New Tree

Planting Your New Tree

Trees play an important role in our landscapes. Not only do they provide shade, beauty, and structure, they can also hold a great deal of sentimental value. From tire swings to treehouses, some of our most precious memories are centred around a beloved tree.

As our communities grow many newer homes tend to lack mature trees. Planting just one new tree makes a tangible, long-lasting difference for a community. Trees leave a legacy on a property that will often be there much longer than you will, and every year it’ll give a little more back. From its earliest days your new tree will produce oxygen, soon thereafter it will become a shelter for wildlife. Then, someday, it will be a landmark that will always remind someone of home.

The Best Time of Year to Plant a Tree

Planting when a tree is dormant in early spring has traditionally been known as the best time to plant a tree. However, if you’ve been wanting to plant a new tree, did you know that there’s no need to wait until next spring? Planting a potted tree can be done at any time of the year as long as you can get a shovel in the ground, spring, summer or fall.

Despite the common belief that spring is the only time to plant, summer can be a great time to give a tree a new home in your landscape with some very simple maintenance. When planting in the summer it’s important to water it thoroughly and regularly to keep the root ball moist. We recommend a generous drink every third day or so. You can also check with your finger to assess soil moisture levels and see if your watering schedule needs adjustment.

Planting a New Tree

Choose a location for your tree that will look attractive and suit the environment the tree is adapted to. For instance, if the tree prefers a wetter environment, a lower area in the landscape will collect more water during rainfall.

Before you plant your tree, make sure you’ve got some black earth on hand to backfill the space between the tree’s root ball and the surrounding ground. Fresh black soil has air pockets that will allow new roots to pass through easily as the tree establishes, whereas compacted old soil may be tougher for the new roots to penetrate. Allow several inches of space around the root ball. The tree’s label will tell you how much space is recommended.

The hole itself should be about the same depth as the root ball so the tree can be planted level with the ground. Ensure that any circling roots are pulled away from the root ball. This will ensure that root girdling won’t happen. After planting, water the tree well and lay down a layer of mulch to conserve moisture and prevent weeds from sprouting in the fresh soil.

Your New Tree’s First Year

During your tree’s first spring and summer, water it well every 10-14 days if needed to help it establish. Continue watering until the ground begins to freeze in the late fall. Freshly planted trees are much more vulnerable than established trees, so be very careful not to run over the root ball or bump the trunk with a lawn mower or weed whacker. Mulch the tree within about a foot and a half radius of the trunk to prevent the need for lawn tools near the planting site— just be sure not to pile too much mulch around the base as this could lead to rotting.

If you’re concerned about your new tree surviving its first Manitoba winter you can consider wrapping the tree. We also carry materials to help guard your tree against rodents and deer. Our staff can help you choose the right items for your tree species.

A new tree is a significant investment in your landscape — one that you’ll grow to love more and more each year. As your tree matures and grows, it will begin to shape the way you and others see your property. With the right start, your new tree will be on its way to enjoying a long and healthy life.

Pierre’s Tried & True Landscape Selections

Pierre’s Tried & True Landscape Selections

Pierre is not only one of the owners of Oakridge, but he is also our expert in all things tree and shrub related. On any given day in the spring, summer and fall, you’ll find him in the landscape yard tending to every tree and shrub we have. For Pierre, these plants don’t just add visual appeal to your landscape, they create impact that continues to grow year after year, season after season.

We were able to pull Pierre away from the growing array of new trees and shrubs arriving to our lot this spring and ask him what his tried-and-true landscape selections are. From beautiful bloomers to stately evergreens, this list has some amazing choices. Want some help picking the perfect tree or shrub for your landscape? Be sure to ask for Pierre when you come in for a visit at Oakridge. He can make sure you choose the best plant to suit your needs, and your landscape.


Annabelle Hydrangea – The Consistent Bloomer

For Pierre, this Hydrangea is a popular choice to add a floral accent to your landscape and for very good reason. A very consistent bloomer, it’s large white blooms have a romantic mounding habit and cascading appearance that add a touch of show.


Diablo Ninebark – The Bullet-Proof Shrub

Pierre affectionately refers to the Diablo Ninebark as the bullet-proof shrub. If you are looking for a quick-grower to provide screening/privacy, this aggressive growing plant is perfect for you! Just keep in mind you’re the boss of this shrub! Prune it to the shape and size that you need to keep it looking its best.


Black Hills Spruce – The Landscape Staple

Pierre loves this landscape staple. A native tree to Manitoba, it’s hardy and well-adjusted to our soil conditions. Bushy and full, yet slightly smaller overall than the Colorado Spruce, it adds a great touch of evergreen to any landscape.


Double Play Spirea – The Double Bloomer

The Double Play Spirea shines through with bright reds and golds, blooming early and then again in later summer. Pierre finds this whole series of Spirea holds its colour very well through the summer and is outstanding when it first leafs out in spring.


Dwarf Korean Lilac – The Petite Beauty

What is not to love about this lilac? The leaves are shiny and curly, and it’s consistently covered in blooms – starting mid- to late-June. The best part? It needs very little pruning to maintain its impressive round shape.


Autumn Blaze Maple – The Firebrand

The Autumn Blaze Maple is a large shade tree that puts on a show every fall when its foliage turns from bright green to an intense fiery red. With this tree you’ll want to ensure its planted in a dry area – no Maple likes standing water at its feet.


Little Giant Cedar – The Goldilocks of Cedars

For Pierre the Little Giant Cedar is not too big, and not too small, but just the right size as a foundation plant or as an accent in a shrub bed. With its globe shape and rich green foliage it can be the perfect addition to your landscape.


Hot Wings Maple – The Compact Stunner

This compact tree is perfect for small spaces and adds a pop of colour starting in July when bright red samara (helicopter-like seeds) start making their appearance. Come fall, the Hot Wings Maple will add a stunning orange-red colour to your landscape.


Lemony Lace Elder – The Airy Accent

The Lemony Lace Elder has a fantastic fine cut leaf texture with bright gold foliage that shines all season long. Its airy texture makes it a great accent against heavier-leafed plants like the Diablo Ninebark.


Hydrangea Quick Fire Fab – The Newbie

The new kid on the block, Pierre is very excited about this new plant! Super early to bloom and more compact than the regular Quick Fire this Hydrangea has conical blooms that go from white to pink to red from the bottom up as the season progresses making it a wonderful feature plant or accent.

Container Gardening – Tips & What to Avoid

Container Gardening – Tips & What to Avoid

Planting in containers is a fabulous and versatile way to garden. It is also an excellent method for learning the basics of plant care if you’re new to gardening. Adding pretty pots, baskets, and other containers to your landscape is a wonderful way to add colour, texture, and variety to your outdoor space and can be changed up year-after-year. While caring for your containers is relatively easy, we have some tips and things to avoid to make sure your containers look bright and healthy all summer long!

Container Gardening Tips

Choose the Right Soil

We highly recommend a combination of sea soil and a soil-less potting mix. The sea soil holds moisture and nutrients well, and the soil-less potting mix allows for good drainage with enough aeration so the little roots can grow strong.

Pick Healthy Plants

Wherever you choose your plants from, make a point of checking them to make sure they have been watered well. This means they’ll have sturdy stems and bright green foliage.

Light Levels

Consider how much sun your pot will receive. If you watch where you plan on placing your pot for a few days, you should be able see how many hours of direct sunlight it will receive. If its 1-3 hours, it is considered full shade. 3-5 hours, it is considered part shade/part sun. 6 or more hours and it is considered full sun.

Plant Placement

Thriller: The tallest and/or most impressive plant should be placed at the back of your pot if it is against a wall or planted in the centre if you can see the pot all the way around.
Filler: These plants are spaced in and around the thriller plant. These are the plants that you choose for bushiness or for colour and contrast.
Spiller: Anything that trails should be planted on the edge of your container allowing it to spill over.

Water & Fertilize

After initial planting, water thoroughly so your container soil is wet right through to the bottom. During periods of hot and windy days, water daily, especially if your pot is in the sun. Remember that shade plants don’t require as much water as sun plants do. Be sure to fertilize regularly. You expect a lot of colour and wow factor out of your container plants so we need to supply them with the nutrients that they will need to fulfill that potential!

Deadhead Your Plants

Many plants require deadheading to keep them blooming all summer long. Take the time to remove faded or dried-up blooms and you will have beautiful pots all through the season.

What to Avoid

Using Soil from Your Garden

Soil from your garden often has too much clay in it, compacting the soil and making it hard/dense after rain and hot sun. This doesn’t allow for proper root growth.

Too Large or Too Small Plants

Make careful choices to ensure you are not overcrowding, but creating a nice, full container. Check with our wonderful staff or read the tags carefully as you choose your plants.

No Variety

Choose plants that will complement each other well, not just in terms of colour, but also in size. Avoid choosing plants that are all the same texture or have the same size leaves or flowers. It’s more attractive and appealing to the eye to have a variety of sizes of plant leaves and blooms in your pot.

Letting Your Pot Dry Out Completely

Avoid letting your pot dry out completely. If your pot gets too dry, some plants may not be able to be resuscitated. Stay on top of your watering!

From Our Grower – Tania’s Pepper Picks

From Our Grower – Tania’s Pepper Picks

Tania is our long-time vegetable grower and one of her favourite things to grow and eat are peppers! Peppers are such a versatile fruit; they can provide amazing flavour and spice or can be the star of a dish all on their own.

Peppers are also so much fun to grow with their vivid colours, unique shapes, and varying flavours and heat. In fact, did you know that if we have a hot, dry summer like we have in recent years your peppers can be up to 10 times hotter as when we have a cool, rainy summer?

From hot to sweet, Tania grows a wide variety of peppers, and these are her must-haves she grows in her garden year after year.

Cayenne Pepper – Red Embers

Scoville Scale – 30,000 to 50,000 SHU
This tasty, large cayenne pepper is packed with flavour. Along with a very high yield, this plant produces early making it great for our shorter growing season. The peppers can be eaten raw but are excellent to use as a shaker spice once it has been dried.

Drying Tip! If you don’t have a dehydrator, another option to dry your cayenne peppers is to put them in your oven at 150 degrees with the oven door slightly ajar, checking every 30 minutes or so and rotating them as needed. After about 1-2 hours they should be dried enough that you will be able to put through your food processor or blender.

Poblano Pepper – Trident

Scoville Scale – 250 to 1,500 SHU
These extra-large poblano peppers are great as a stuffing pepper, for making homemade green salsa, or as an addition to almost any Mexican food. With their mild heat, they’re also delicious roasted with just a bit of olive oil and sea salt.

Jalapeno Pepper – Jalafuego

Scoville Scale – 4,000-6,000 SHU
Another high-yielding plant, the Jalafuego Jalapeno Pepper is the best for adding a kick to any salsa. These dark green peppers are also delicious as a jalapeno popper or an armadillo egg. If you’ve never had an armadillo egg, check out Tania’s recipe below and give them a try!

Tania’s Armadillo Egg Recipe
1. Slice the pepper in half, remove seeds and stuff with a mixture of cream cheese and cheddar cheese.
2. Mix your usual hamburger patty mixture and form around the stuffed pepper.
3. Wrap with bacon and bake at 375 degrees or BBQ till done.

Bell Pepper – Lunch Box – Red, Yellow and Orange

Scoville Scale – 0 SHU
With their cute size, sweet flavour, crunchy walls, and amazing colour, kids (and those of us who are kids at heart) will love these little peppers as a snacker, in fact you may find they disappear right off the plant! A high-yielding plant, it produces peppers that are 2-3” long with a deliciously sweet flavour that is great raw or cooked.

Chili Pepper – Anaheim

Scoville Scale – 500 to 2,500 SHU
A relatively mild, Californian chili pepper, the Anaheim can be eaten when green or allowed to ripen to a deep red giving them a slightly sweeter taste. With their thick walls and mild flavour, these peppers are great for stuffing or roasting.

Winter Storing Tip! Once matured to red, string the peppers together using twine or thread and hang them in a dry location. After several weeks the peppers will have dried out and you’ll have delicious garden chili peppers to use in your dishes all winter long.