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Summer Garden Tips – 2018

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Looking to make your great outdoors even greater this summer? Check out our 2018 SUMMER GARDEN TIPS.

Gardening has long been one of my favourite outdoor hobbies. I wish I could say my cottage gardens rival those featured in magazines. Truth be told, I’m not quite there yet. Gardening certainly has its challenges, especially in cottage country where you’re not on site every day. Yet, I am determined. What I lack in knowledge I learn through first-hand experience.

Whether you’re in the city or the country, check out our 2018 SUMMER GARDEN TIPS. These simple ideas will help you discover that green thumb you always knew you had.

Cultivate your skills with one or all of these tried and true ideas:

Plant herbs in pots


Seasoned cooks and at-home chefs know the importance of using fresh herbs. Planting your favourites in containers keeps them close at hand for easy access.

I like to use terra cotta pots for this and begin by filling them halfway with nutrient-rich potting soil. Then I purchase smaller, annual herb plants, take them out of their plastic pots and place them into the centre of the container. Fill around the herbs with more soil, gently pressing it down and around the plants. Water the herbs as required and place the container in a location to allow for the correct exposure to the sun.

SUGGESTED HERBS – Look for annual herbs such as basil, rosemary, coriander, sage, mint and parsley. Some of these herbs may also be considered perennials if you live in warmer climates. You can plant them directly into your border. I also like the look of them growing together in containers. This makes for a nice visual.

ADDITIONAL TIP – Make sure your containers have drain holes to prevent the soil from becoming too wet. Placing terra cotta pots on matching saucers is also a good idea to help capture a bit of excess moisture too.

Garden boxes are attractive especially along decks and docks


Having a few container boxes to place on your deck or dock adds a welcome burst of colour to your outdoor space. I especially like long, low, rectangular shaped boxes that I then fill exclusively with annual flowers. These attractive boxes are simply another version of the containers mentioned above, so follow the same process – add soil, plant, additional soil, then water them.

When adding multiple plants into these confined spaces, allow somewhere between 2 to 4 inches between each flowering annual, depending on the size. Feel free to create your boxes using a selection of different plants, or for a more uniform look, fill each with only one type of plant – I think it more pleasing to the eye. I especially like positioning these flower tributes down on the dock to create a warm welcome for guests arriving by boat.

SUGGESTED FLOWERING PLANTS – Oxalis (wood sorrel), impatiens, portulaca (Mexican roses), Bidens, Coreopsis (Tickseed), petunias, and geraniums plus many more. Head HERE for a really great article on annuals.

Hostas fill out areas of a garden


Hostas have long been a treasured staple in many gardens. They come in a wide range of colours, sizes and variations, but I also appreciate them because caring for them is so darn easy. If you’re thinking of adding them to your cottage garden, be advised that deer love them – keep them away by planting a few daffodils close to your hostas since deer dislike their taste.

Once you have a few hostas established in your garden, you’ll be able to enjoy even more by dividing them. I call this my “hosta takeover”, but some gardeners refer to the process as “divide and conquer”.

I like to divide my hostas as soon as the points of the new, springtime leaves peak out of the soil. Place a spade or shovel in between the points in the centre of the plants then press down firmly to divide the plant into two. Dig out one half of the plant and relocate it to another spot in your garden. Dig a hole, place the new hosta in, fill with fresh soil and water it. You’ll have a new plant thriving in that spot in no time.

hardiness zones

SUGGESTED READING – One of my favourite articles about incorporating hostas into your garden plan is in FINE GARDENING. Head HERE to read all about it.

ADDITIONAL TIP – One year I was devastated by the appearance of holes on the leaves of a few of my hostas. Wasn’t long before I discovered the reason – slugs! Canadian gardening legend MARJORIE HARRIS has the perfect solution: sprinkle a bit of sand onto the soil near the affected area and the slugs stay away. Hmmm, just goes to show the value of asking an expert!

If you missed last year’s tour of our COTTAGE GARDEN, click HERE!

Three easy ideas to make this year’s adventures in gardening even more enjoyable – give our 2018 SUMMER GARDEN TIPS a go.


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