November 15th, 2017

How to Winterize Your Lawn and Garden in Fall

When preparing for the chilly fall and winter months, winterizing your backyard or deck may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but it is an important step. Before you retreat indoors to cozy up in front of the fireplace with a mug of cocoa, it’s important to remember that your home requires fall maintenance. Here’s what you need to do to winterize your lawn and garden. 

By following these outdoor tips, you’ll ensure that come springtime, your backyard, deck or garden will be ready to thrive.

1. Clean and compost

Winterize Your Garden - London Drugs Blog

Clear leaves and gutters

Even if you are short on time, or are heading on an early fall vacation, the one thing you can do to prepare for the season is to keep your deck, gutters, and lawn clear of fallen leaves. They may look beautiful at first, but if you leave them on the ground for too long—especially in wet weather—they can rot, cause mould and moss growth, and damage wooden decks. Clean out your gutters and downspouts as well, as clogged leaves can cause ice dams once the temperature drops. You may want to invest in a gutter screen just to be safe. If you do only one thing on this list, this should be it. 

Pick over and compost

If you have a garden and are keen to keep it in good shape for the spring, it’s incredibly important to pick over and pull out plants and flowers that are no longer productive. The same goes for any fruits or vegetables that aren’t in harvest or have been leftover from last season. Rake up all debris (this can easily be done while you’re clearing out leaves) and add to the compost bin. Don’t forget to trim dead tree branches and shrubs, and while you’re at it, clean your flowerbeds and mulch— you’ll need them in shape to help protect your next crop!

2. Inspect for damage

Fix up your garden for fall - London Drugs blog

Check for leaks and cracks

While you’re already up on the roof clearing out the gutters, take a look around and make sure there is no roof damage. The last thing you need this season is a dripping ceiling! Inspect for loose or missing shingles, and if you have a deck, make sure the gutter doesn’t empty onto its foundation. If you want to go the extra mile, inspect your driveway for cracks and seal them with driveway filler, and then check  your windows to make sure they don’t need extra caulking. Making sure your home is as snug as a bug in a rug will help you save $$ on heat and electricity. 

Repair and replace

Tighten any loose screws, replace nails, and fill any cracks or loose boards on the deck or patio. If your region is anticipating heavy rain or snowfall in the coming months, plan ahead and consider creating a rainscape below your gutters to redirect any overflow. Use rocks as a channel guard underneath to protect your flowerbeds, driveway or deck from damage.

3. Plant and protect

Flower pot planting bulbs in winter - London Drugs blog

Plant bulbs and trees

It may come as a surprise, but fall is actually one of the best times of year to plant spring-blooming bulbs in certain cold-weather areas. Simply plant them in containers just as you would do in the ground, in odd-numbered groups of 5-9. Choosing containers with good longevity (think ceramic or plastic) will protect your plants from freezing and moisture. Tulip bulbs are a favourite that can be transplanted around the garden in the spring. Trees and evergreen shrubs can also be planted during the cooler season, and you’ll have a great head start to the growing season when spring comes.

Protect plants and flowers

There are a number of measures you can take to protect your garden and plants over the winter months. This includes deadheading potted plants and making sure they get plenty of water before bringing them inside, as well as covering flowerbeds with mulch for protection against frost. You can also leave some seeds out for the birds to ensure your garden gets some attention over the winter, and to promote your next bloom.

4. Winterize the patio

Fall decor winterize garden - London Drugs blog

Care for patio furniture and equipment

The last thing you want when opening up your patio or deck in the spring is to find rusted or damaged patio furniture that you have to replace. If you plan ahead and store, cover, and clean all hard surfaces before the first frost, you’ll having nothing to worry about. Even if patio furniture is powder-coated, it can pay to take extra precaution by cleaning and covering aluminum metals with automotive wax. Plastic furniture and fabrics do need to be brought indoors, and while wood-based and wicker furniture will probably need oiling or painting touch-ups, covering with a tarp will protect them from most elements. The same goes for covering any exposed air conditioners, and other lawn equipment.

Decorate for the season

Don’t miss out on the most fun part of winterizing your deck—the decorating! Once you’ve cleaned, inspected and winterized the backyard and taken care of all the logistics, it’s time to get creative. Whether you string fairy lights around windows and doors, or display multi-coloured pumpkins, cornstalks, and pinecones along the staircase, there are endless patio designs available to inspire you. 



August 17th, 2017

Raise Your Backyard Party Game with These Accessories

It’s that time of year when your browser history reveals the hours spent ogling other people’s backyards. It’s hard not to think of all the decor changes you could make for your outdoor space, from accent colours to string lights. Here are a few scenes to recreate this year (or someday soon). When inspiration hits, London Drugs has the accessories you need to raise your backyard game.

Tractor Chic

Taking inspiration from the farms of Alberta, tractor-themed accessories (like these sweet solar lights and milking stools and matching tractor table) can transform your backyard into a rustic chic haven. If you’re looking for a pop of colour, channel the classic red barn door with this sharp patio set.

Steel and Magnolias

Do you love the smell of fresh herbs? The most fabulous gardens combine opposites in beautiful ways, like these pretty blooms planted up in old buckets. Pot basil, chives, and other garnishes in this cool wrought iron planter for a lovely scented centrepiece.

Backyard Party on the Patio

In the light-filled summer months, we’re more keen to stay up late and dine al fresco, sharing laughs and meals with friends. Set the mood with delicate fairy lights or a pathway of solar-powered torches for an outdoor space you can enjoy all night long.

Soundscaping

The perfect evening get-together needs an audio experience to match the lovely conversation with friends. Hardy waterproof speakers allow you to choose a complementary soundtrack for any backyard soiree.

Stay Warm

Let’s not forget that Canadian necessity for summer evenings: the fire pit. Redesigned as bowls, tabletops and glass aquariums, London Drugs has many to choose from. Just decide on your backyard’s theme and enhance with an engaging fire feature. Always practice fire safety and pay close attention to fire bans in your area.


 

The time you spend with friends and family in your backyard will undoubtedly become treasured memories for years to come. Find all the gorgeous accoutrements you need from London Drugs online and in-store from our Outdoor Living Guide.



March 1st, 2017

13 Tips for Growing Your Garden in Canada

Whether you’re a green thumb veteran or a novice with limited lawn space, we’ve assembled the following gardening tips to give you a head start for growing your ideal garden this Spring.

Gardening Tips for Beginners

If you’re just starting out this year and have a blank slate to work with, or you’re returning to your yard with new ideas, it’s your time to get creative. Before you begin, make sure you carefully plan and design for your space.

  1. Take a walk around to get a feel for the size, soil, light and any pre-existing plants. Tread lightly during your initial inspection — especially if your city had a recent rainfall or has just begun to defrost. Make notes of what you would like to keep or change, and map out a design plan of what you envision your garden to look like.
  1. Take inventory and replenish any tools you may be missing or that need updating. This may include a tractor for efficiency over large spaces, pruning shears, a shovel or rake, pots, gloves, hoses or a bin for your compost.
  1. Know your cool-weather crops and mix up perennials and annuals to make sure your garden will last year-round. Be diverse: mix up seeds and starter plants for the same reason (and to shorten waiting times), and look for edible plants that you enjoy eating.
  1. Check out more tips and how-tos to get started.

Cold Climate Gardening


In Canada, the growing season varies across regions. It’s important to know your 
frost dates before you begin planting — especially for crops that need longer seasons. However, if you want to get a head start and the weather outside is still chilly, don’t worry. There are many guides for cold climate gardening in Canada, with lists of which fruits, vegetables and flowers you can start planting in your region, even before Spring arrives.

  1. To guard your outdoor plants against freezing during the coldest winter months, consider investing in a greenhouse, using raised beds or employing old comforters to insulate containers. You can also plant a winter garden in late summer or early autumn with dormant plants that will have time to take root.
  1. Pick which plants best suit your climate. Winter-happy herbs include: chives, parsley, thyme and mint. Some vegetable possibilities are: asparagus, green onions, garlic and rhubarb. Lavender, figs, strawberries and sage are hardy perennial and biennial options to last the whole year, as well as are some domesticated wildflowers. Find a more extensive list of available options here.

Winter Lawn Care

To achieve the garden of your dreams, first make sure your lawn is in top shape. After a rough season, it may seem disheartening when you’re left with the aftermath of a storm. But taking the time for some upkeep is essential in maintaining a beautiful (and fruitful) yard.

  1. If your lawn is recovering after a cold snap, grab a recyclable lawn bag and collect any debris. If the ground is firm and there is some thaw, rake up dead leaves (this contributes to snow mold) — and be careful of disturbing any growth. Check for winter damage and make repairs to supporting structures or fences as needed. In the future, ensure there is minimal walking or driving over the lawn, since this can cause bare spots.
  1. Learn first aid for your lawn. This includes everything from year-round maintenance like weeding, treating any insect infestations and other plant diseases.
  1. Replace mower blades and shears the instant they become dull. Look for any bends or cracks ahead of time. As the weather changes, take the time to adjust the cutting height of the blades to slightly higher than usual to allow for growth over the winter.
  2. Spot-treat any areas the dog may have soiled, or where weeds have come up. Learning just a few lawn care tricks can make all the difference. Know how to prepare for next winter to avoid any difficulties you may have found.

Indoor Gardening

Not everyone has access to a community garden or backyard — but that doesn’t mean you can’t grow plants indoors or on your balcony.

  1. Container gardening has become increasingly popular for those who live in smaller spaces or are brand-new to growing their own flowers and vegetables. And for good reason: container gardening is a great way to bring greenery and joy into your home with minimal stress and mess. Follow these steps to cover the basics, which include: knowing how to pick pots and containers; sterilization; fertilization; rotating and watering; and choosing the best potting mix.
  1. Start an indoor vegetable garden. Ideally, your plants will have ample access to sunlight — six to eight hours on average — to promote growth. If this isn’t possible, you may want to invest in supplemental light fixtures. Make sure you also determine what kinds of veggies you want to grow. Some require a cooler climate, while others grow faster at higher temperatures (so adjust the thermostat accordingly). Keep your pots lightweight in case you have to move them around to achieve the perfect climate.
  1. Not looking for a big project, but love the idea of growing your own food in the house? Indoor herb gardens are a beginner staple for the kitchen. Not only are herbs incredibly useful when cooking (and more affordable to grow than purchase), but their fragrance creates a fresh reminder of Spring and don’t take up much space. Consider ginger root, oregano and cilantro. Basil is also a popular option as it grows quickly and can be revived fairly easily. Like with all your plants — indoor and outside — make sure you watch the amount of sunlight and water each one requires, nurture their environment and tend to them carefully.

 



May 20th, 2016

Get Your Garden on with a Planting Party

Looking for an excuse to get outdoors, go green and celebrate the weekend? Round up some friends and get your hands dirty with a planting party!

Gardening is all about growing locally and building a better community – it gets even better when you throw in some sparkly summer beverages and good company. Whether you’re working with a balcony, backyard, or community plot – planting parties cultivate great conversation, eco-friendly edibles, and lush gardens through the summer and beyond. Here’s how to get the party started:

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