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Home | Gardening Tips

Green Thumb Secrets
We are passionate about gardening, and during the last few years our expertise has grown along with our business. We want to share with you what we have learned along the way. Consult our Gardening Tips section to learn more about all things horticultural and to find a wheelbarrow full of useful tips and tricks to help you take care of your plants, your property and even your garden.

Preparing Your Soil in the Spring

Young plantsWhen winter ends, everyone is thrilled to be able to finally poke their heads outside. The winter chill gives way to the April sun prompting you to get on with spring cleaning both inside and outdoors.

In this short article, you will find a few simple and useful tips that will help you get your yard ready for a super green summer!

First of all, uncover your trees from their winter protection, they won’t need it anymore. Once their protective wrap is removed, cut off any dead or broken branches with your pruning shears. In the springtime, trees need all of their energy to grow their buds into green leaves.

Next, it’s time to tackle your lawn. Fresh air will do your lawn a world of good. Grass also needs to breathe, but first you must rake it vigorously. Raking gathers all of the last dead leaves from the fall. It also gives you a chance to clean up any litter or garbage that landed on your lawn during the winter months.

Maybe you’ll need to spread some fertilizer or grass seed over a few patches or your whole lawn. If this is the case, make sure that you wait until your grass seedlings have sprouted before mowing it. When you do mow it, we suggest you remove the grass catcher bag and let grass clippings fall directly on the ground since this is an excellent way to naturally fertilize your lawn.

Once the thankless task of prep work is done, you can really dig into the joy of gardening. Now’s the time to get your flowerbeds ready. Remove all dried-up or damaged patches of perennial plants, turn the soil over, and spread fertilizer and mulch where plants have already sprung up.

Then, the real fun starts - choosing your favourite Exceptionnelles®, annual and perennial flowers and plants, shrubs, fruit trees, etc. Choose according to personal preference but keep in mind the limitations of your property. Try to balance colours and blooming times when planting.

Last but not least, plan on enjoying your colourful landscape all summer long.

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Secrets to enjoying a summer in Full Bloom

Perennial and annualsIt doesn’t take much to keep your plants at their best all summer. You need fertilizer, gardening shears, mulch and a garden claw. Once you have these, all you need is just a little time to groom your flowerbeds, borders, containers and window boxes. Here are a few tips that will help you make the most of beautiful flowerbeds for the longest possible time.

1. Water all of your plants once a day (except when it’s raining) to keep the soil moist. The best time to water your plants is at the end of the day. Try not to get water on flower petals.

2. Regularly cut withered flowers. These prevent the growth of new flower buds and needlessly put stress on the plant.

3. Remove weeds once a week or as soon as they appear.

4. Spread mulch around your plants if you haven’t already. Mulching your flowerbeds, borders, etc. considerably reduces weed growth and undesirable bugs and pests. Mulch keeps the soil loose and well-aerated while reducing temperature variations in the soil. It also protects useful insects and favours organic growth during the wintertime.

5. Make sure to put up a trellis for taller plants or top-heavy plants to provide protection against the wind.

6. Keep an eye out for parasites and diseases.

By spending just a few hours a week, you can guarantee maximum bloom and yield from your flowerbeds, borders, rock gardens, etc.

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How to Take Care of Your Herb Plants

Herbs and vegetables plantsHerbs are aromatic plants that bring much savour and flavour to your summer. They are also somewhat delicate so they require special attention. There are lots of herbs you can choose from but you must keep several factors in mind to grow them properly, namely, soil type, growing space, sun exposure and most of all your personal taste.

Sun Exposure and Soil Type

Herbs need direct sunlight for six to eight hours a day to promote the production of the essential oils that give them their unique taste. They can be grown in containers, in the garden, along pathway borders, or wherever else you like. Ideally they should be planted in rich, loose, well-drained soil that is ph-neutral or slightly alkaline to ensure maximum yield. We recommend planting them outdoors, once the risk of frost has passed and after hardening them off, that is, after taking the young sprouts outside a few hours every day for about 10 days.

Care, Fertilization and Insects

Once planted, you must now take care of your herbs – by fertilizing them and protecting them against harmful insects. First, we suggest trimming the flowering stems or the end of the stems to make sure you get compact plants. If you grow your herbs in a container, we recommend checking daily to see if the soil needs watering. They must also be fed a 4-3-4 fertilizer mix every three weeks. For herbs grown in garden soil, it is best to fertilize them one time only, that is, right after they have been transplanted.

It’s not just harmful insects that attack herbs and other aromatic plants. Herbs are also targeted by parasites. If this happens, here’s what you have to do:

•If infested, douse the plant with lukewarm water.

•If this doesn’t work, we suggest spraying the plant with a mixture of water and mild soap.

•Perennials can be cut and pruned - they will grow back.

Harvesting, Drying and Storing Herbs

You can harvest herbs all summer long once they are established and bushy. We recommend harvesting herbs after the morning dew has evaporated but before the sun is at its strongest. This is for one simple reason: they taste best this time of day.

Leafy or long-stemmed aromatic plants can be dried as hanging bouquets or spread out on a sheet. The best spot for drying is a warm, well-aerated dark place. This is important because good air circulation is crucial: the less moisture in the air, the less likely the plants will rot. Also, drying herbs in the sunlight affects the intensity of their flavour. You can dry seed-bearing plants by hanging them in a paper bag or over a cloth to catch the seeds.

Once dried, herbs are best kept in sealed opaque containers. This way, fresh herbs keep their full flavour for up to six months.

Remember, these are general tips and do not necessarily apply to all aromatic plants.

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Herbs and vegetables plantsGiven the differing specific needs of annuals, it is sometimes hard to choose plants, trees, shrubs and flowers that will best suit your location. According to the experts, Exceptionnelles® are specially selected flowers that will give you the best yield among all annuals.

Yield is the result of a plant’s overall growth as well as its resistance and ability to adapt to our northern climate. Exceptionnelles® are insect- and disease-resistant and require only a minimum amount of maintenance for maximum bloom all summer long. Finally, they are number one amongst consumers and the general public’s first choice.

For a no-hassle summer bloom extravaganza, come see our great variety of Exceptionnelles®. Here are some suggestions that will help you choose the right plants for you:

• Begonia Boliviensis ‘Bonfire’

• Begonia Tuberous ‘Nonstop Deep Salmon’

• Calibrachoa ‘Superbells Dreamsicle’

• Lobelia ‘Purple Star’

• Nemesia ‘Angelart Pear’

• Pennisetum ‘Prince’

• Pennisetum Setaceum ‘Rubrum Dwarf’, syn. ‘Minimus’

• Petunia ‘Supertunia Raspberry Blast’

• Rudbeckie ‘Cappucino’

• Verveine ‘Tukana Raspberry’

• Sage 'Cathedral Deep Blue'

• Rudbeckie Hirta 'Tiger Eye Gold'

• Celosia 'Chinatown'

• Impatiens 'Celebration Icy Blue'

• Coleus 'Henna'

• Bracteantha 'Strawburst Yellow'

• Pennisetum Setaceum 'Fireworks'

• Lantana Luscious 'Citrus Blend'

• And many more

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After-Bloom Hibernation

Blooming perennialsAfter your colourful garden has brightened up your summer, the time has come to get ready for winter. You have taken good care of your plants, flowers, trees and shrubs all throughout a fun summer season. To make sure that your trees, shrubs and perennials are in good shape next spring, here are a few ‘must-do’ steps to take when you close your garden.


• In October, prune the trees and shrubs that need it and water those evergreens and shrubs with persistent foliage.

• Pick up dead leaves and compost them by spreading them in flowerbeds and border trims.

• Fertilize damaged trees and shrubs.

• Trim back perennials

• Divide and replant perennials that seem to be under stress.

• Plant spring bulbs.

• Store hardy bulbs inside for winter.

• Bring potted annuals indoors.

• Dig out and store non-hardy bulbs.


• Fertilize soil with a chemical or organic fertilizer.

• Wrap and winter-proof your trees, shrubs, flowerbeds and others.

• Around mid-November, pick up the remaining dead leaves and compost them by spreading them in your flowerbeds and border areas.

• Dig up annuals damaged by the frost.

• Store your gardening tools.


• Check to see if your winter-proofing is still sturdy and well-positioned in place.

For the rest of winter, water your indoor plants and read up to improve your gardening knowledge. Remember, a well-prepared gardener is twice the gardener - come see us next spring!

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Les Serres Sabrevois
585, road 133
Sabrevois (Quebec) J0J 2G0
Map Serres Sabrevois at Sabrevois