Grow Niagara - Niagara's Garden Resource

Do’s and Don’ts of Container Gardening

Guide to container gardening in Mori Gardens Creative Space

Are your annual planters lacking flare? Use these tips by Mori Gardens’ Creative Space to design a planter full of colour, texture and interest.

Before you start, consider the container that will frame your arrangement.

  1. What is the desired effect you want to create, such as modern, rustic or Zen?
  2. Are you wanting to use shrubs, perennials, annuals or tropicals?  Some plants will require larger pots for rooting space.
  3. How much space do you have? Pots should be proportional to your space.
  4. Will the pots be remaining outside for the winter?  Porous pots such as terra cotta and concrete may crack if left out for the winter.
  5. What kind of drainage do I need?  If pots are going to be sitting directly on a hard surface, they should be raised 1”-2” for proper drainage.
Mori Gardens Creative Space

Now that you have the right container, ask yourself the following questions when selecting your plants. 

  1. How much sun does the area receive and at what time of day?
  2. What are the wind conditions or any other environmental conditions?
  3. What is the desired effect – Tropical, English Cottage, and Formal etc?
  4. What mood would you like to create? Cool colours (white, purples, blues) are relaxing and tranquil, while warm colours (red, oranges, yellows) are vibrant and add excitement.
  5. Are my plants’ proportions matching my container? Plants should not be more than twice the height of the pot or more than 1 ½ times the width of the pot.
  6. Does my planter have interest and texture?  Bold flowers and large leaves can be appreciated from a distance.  To achieve a balanced look, make sure that there is a good mixture of bold and delicate flowers and foliage.
Mori Gardens Creative Space

Other Helpful Hints

  • Remember proper watering is key.  Plants in containers will dry out quicker than they would in the ground and therefore needs to be watered more frequently.
  • Water frequency depends on the size and type of pot, the type of soil used, the type of plants used and the location of the container.  A small container in a hot, windy location will dry out quicker than a large pot in a cool shady area.  So, you will have to look at each container separately to see when it needs to be watered.
  • Don’t forget to Fertilize – Since you are watering containers more often, they also need to be fertilized more often (fertilizer is leaching through the pots quicker).  A good, slow-releasing natural fertilizer, such as A heavy blooming plant will require more fertilizer. Acti-sol Hen Manure is recommended.
  • Try deadheading – By removing spent blooms you will increase the number of new blooms.
  • Remove unsightly, diseased or insect-infested foliage as soon as it appears to stop the spread of insects or diseases.  Isolate any infected containers until the problem has been taken care of.
  • If plants are becoming too leggy, pinch back stems hard to create a more compact plant.

Mori Gardens’ Creative Space is available to assist with your custom container planters for all 4 season, with plants, hands-on assistance and private workshops for home and business.

Create a beautiful custom container
for any spot you want to enhance with colour, interest and life.

Turn Your Small Garden into Your Cosy Oasis

Small Garden Rules of Thumb

Sacrificing square footage doesn’t mean you have to give up the idea of a lush and welcoming garden. In fact, with small garden design, many of the basic principles still apply. There are, however, some rules to consider when making the most of a small garden footprint.

Start with the view from inside

Grab a mug of something soothing and take a seat in your favourite chair looking out into the garden. Consider this perspective, especially here in Southern Ontario, where we spend more of the year cosy indoors. As you begin to design or revamp your garden, think about how this view will be impacted and enhanced.

Dream big, then scale down

Small gardens can be just as dynamic as their larger counterparts. While you’re in the dreaming phase of your plans, think about how space will be used. Take note of things like how often you’d like to entertain outdoors, whether you’d like a water feature, statuary, or architectural features. List everything you’d like your garden to have, and then look for inspiration online or in magazines for how other gardeners have shrunk these classic elements down to scale.

Aim for simplicity

Clean lines work best in smaller gardens. Instead of an army of statues, one or two larger statement pieces add interest. A well-planned seating area works better than chairs scattered all over. Gravel or stone paths are easier to maintain than a manicured lawn. The more you try to pack into your small garden, the more overwhelmed you’ll feel as you enter.

Go easy with colour

Choose monochromatic, cooler colour schemes like greens, purples, blues, or silvers versus a riot of colour so the garden feels more open and your design more cohesive. A bold statement colour as an accent will create more impact than a sea of bright, flashy tones.

Consider privacy

Small gardens often mean closer neighbours. As you begin to sketch out a design, take note of where you might be able to create some privacy with architectural details, trees, or shrubs.

Remember the value of negative space

Don’t feel compelled to fill every surface of your small garden. A little patio with outdoor dining or seating will open things up, as will some strategic pathways that lead to other areas of interest.

Create changes in terrain

Use a variety of ground cover materials and architectural details like low walls, arbours, edging or accents to divide the garden into separate areas and create the illusion of space.

Remember the ‘rule of three’

Stick to no more than three types of ground cover materials to create coherence and consistency. Stay with three colours for the palette for the same effect.

Grow up

A living wall or vertical planting is a great solution where the ground isn’t available. Vertical planting works well for tiny patios and balconies too, and you can even grow herbs and some vegetables this way.

Come see us

Ask your friendly local expert for advice on the best plants for small gardens. The Mori Gardens design team can help you select plants that will create maximum impact and suit your level of gardening experience and interest. We can help you with your design from start to finish, and help you work within your budget.

Take a deep breath

Fragrant plants can be a lovely addition within a smaller area. With less square footage, you won’t need to work very hard to stop and smell the roses.

Use texture to create interest

Waving grasses and ornamental shrubs draw the eye and add movement to your tiny backyard oasis. Blend fine, delicate texture with bold foliage to play with light and shadow.

Create destinations to visit

Strong garden designs will lead the eye through a small garden and including inviting paths and cosy corners will create an invitation to explore or relax.

Choose furniture wisely

Aim to keep furniture around the perimeter of the garden to avoid clutter. Select light and airy pieces instead of anything too clunky. Built-in seating is another great solution for a smaller yard.

Don’t forget about lighting

Remember to include a source of illumination so you and your guests can enjoy your little garden once the sun has set.

Containers are versatile

Planters and containers can be tucked into nooks and crannies, and can also be easily moved to change the look of your garden. Remember to stick within your colour scheme to maintain the cohesive design.

A small garden has great potential to satisfy the imagination of any gardener. Enjoy the process of collecting inspiration, dreaming up your ideal outdoor space, and discovering how to make the most of your personal cosy oasis. Don’t forget the Mori Gardens design team is available to help bring your dream garden to life.


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Give Back & GROW Your Garden Experience #GROWniagara

On April 1st, Mori Gardens is proud to open for its 45th season. Offering beautiful plants, expert advice, award-winning designs and rentals of both plants & venue to assist in clients garden experience.

As a family-owned business, Mori Gardens has always believed in giving back to the Niagara community because it’s only through that kind of community support that we grow together. As part of their 45th year in business, Mori Gardens will continue their support for local organizations, returning as the presenting sponsor for both the Shaw Guild Garden Tour and the Niagara-on-the-Lake Horticultural Society Garden Tour.

Additionally, Mori Gardens has also chosen to increase its contribution to a community resource and preferred charity near and dear to the Mori Family and their friends, Niagara-on-the-Lake Community Palliative Care, a “vibrant organization dedicated to helping the residents of Niagara-on-the-Lake and their families to cope with life-threatening illnesses through compassionate care.”

 “As we grew excited for Spring, our Garden Team discussed how we could give back further to NOTL Community Palliative Care this year, both through monetary support as well as through recognition of this selfless community service,” says Tonie and Miguel Mori.

This year, attendance fees for Mori Gardens’ Garden Seminar Series will be in-part donated to ‘Niagara-on-the-Lake Community Palliative Care and matched up to $2000. 

If you’ve never experienced a garden seminar at Mori Gardens, these casual, fun events are hosted by an award-winning designer and garden expert, with great tips for the sprouting gardener, the green thumb enthusiast and everyone in-between.

Seminar attendees gain assistance on garden projects, learn how to increase the beauty, usage and value of their property, and now they can take pride in supporting a great community organization while exploring their love of gardening.

Join the fun at Mori Gardens on Saturdays at 10 AM running weekly until June 8th. The attendee drop-in rate is $5, Mori Gardens Membership holders attend for free and additional donations are always welcome. Those who register in advance also have a chance to win Door Prizes at each garden seminar.

Garden enthusiasts can register online on Mori Gardens’ website or by calling 905-468-7863

Join Mori Gardens in celebration of their 45th season, while giving back to your community and GROWING your garden experience.

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Five Ways to Make an Inherited Garden Your Own

      Part of the joy of buying a new home is claiming it as your own. Homeowners can count on transforming interiors, and perhaps tackling some renovation, but what about existing landscaping and garden space?

How can you put your unique stamp on an inherited garden?

Five Ways to Make an Inherited Garden Your Own

1. Evaluate the space

Take a critical look at your outdoor space. Consider factors like sun versus shade, the health and stability of existing trees and shrubs, the sturdiness of any architectural features like retaining walls. Identify existing plants by allowing for one full year of blooming to see what comes up. There are several apps available to quickly identify what’s growing in your garden, or you can snap some photos and visit us at Mori Gardens, where one of our experienced staff can help.

2. Make a wish list

As you see what you’ve got to work within your outdoor space, allow yourself to start dreaming of how you’d like to use it. Do you like to cook and eat outdoors during lazy summer days? You may want to create an outdoor kitchen or dining area in your inherited garden. Would you like to see more cozy corners for quiet conversation and contemplation? In creating a wish list, think of how your garden can complement your lifestyle. Then, start to compile a list of the features you’d like to add to your oasis along with any plants or trees that could make excellent additions.

3. Define your style

During this dreaming phase of reclaiming your inherited garden, collect images of other gardens that delight you. As you do this, you’ll start to see some trends emerging. Perhaps you’re a minimalist who favours simple lines and subtle colour. Or, maybe you love the look of a slightly rambling cottage style garden. Keep in mind the architecture of your home, and think about how your garden style will enhance or highlight the design of your house.

4. Create a budget

Once you have a clearer picture of how you can personalize your inherited garden, take a look at your budget, and decide what you can allot to improving your outdoor space. Gardening is an on-going process. Each year you can add new elements, and make changes that suit your evolving life. If you’re not sure where to focus your resources, book some time with one of our garden designers who can advise on where your money is best spent.

5. Create a plan

Give yourself permission to play as you sketch out your yard on some graph paper. Add in the existing features. Play with how you might make changes or additions. Gather all of your inspiration files – that Pinterest board you’ve been curating, and those magazine clippings you’ve gathered. Then come and sit down with us. Our garden designers will help by creating a to-scale design you can follow at your own pace. We’ll incorporate your vision and style while adding value to your property and help you with tree, shrub and perennial recommendations to make the most of your budget and your style. As your garden begins to grow, you can fill it in with annuals, rather than overcrowding with more perennials. And finally, be sure to take the time to enjoy all of your hard work.

With a bit of attention, some dreaming and some research, transforming an inherited garden can go from a daunting chore to a delightful hobby.

Take advantage of Mori Gardens for helpful advice about design, planning, and planting. We’ll help you select plants that suit your skill level and your unique space, and help you stay within your budget, while leaving room for additions in the years to come.

As your new house grows with you and feels like a space to call home, so too will your inherited garden.

A New Garden Resolution

What if?

What if we gave up on New Year’s resolutions before we even made them?

What if, as the New Year approaches, we choose not to beat ourselves up over the goals we didn’t accomplish, or the weight we didn’t lose, and instead decided to make a list of all of the things that brought us joy in the year that was?

Resolutions always seem punitive. They imply sacrifice and deprivation. Sure, we all want to be better people, but instead of focusing on denying ourselves or putting ourselves through the paces, perhaps we ought to shine a light on all of those things that make us feel full, and alive.

If you’re reading this, it’s a safe guess that you love the beauty of nature. Getting your hands into the earth, sowing seeds, tending to plants, or vegetables, or flowers. Maybe you’ve been dreaming of how to transform that little corner of your garden into something special.

This could be the year

This could be the year that you start on that new garden project. Stop settling for a backyard you don’t enjoy being in, or that doesn’t suit your lifestyle. You can finally get the expert advice you need to start the year focused on creating space that you’ll love. Create an oasis, a green playground, the quintessential outdoor living space or an attractive barrier for privacy. Plant that culinary garden you’ve been dreaming of.

Tending to your love of gardening offers many rewards.

Consider the benefits of finally creating a backyard patio and outdoor entertaining area. You’ll eat out less and save money, because your space will demand to be filled with summer evening suppers. You’ll be more active as you tend to the garden and keep your plants looking well-loved. You’ll create a sense of harmony and peace as you commune with your own little patch of nature. There’s even opportunity for more creativity in your life if you get hands on with the design process.

Mori Gardens can help make this the year you focus on things that enrich your life.

We want you to step into the New Year by taking your first steps on the garden projects and problems you’ve been putting off, and our team can help you create a plan. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing; it can be a process, one that carries you through the year, and our team can assist you through it.

We’ve got complimentary consultations available with our knowledgeable and friendly staff, whether you’re designing for the first time or the fifth. We can help you learn a new skill, find your green thumb, and help you choose planters that compliment your style, or the perfect tree to commemorate a special milestone or occasion in the coming year.

Resolve to fill your heart with joy in the year to come.

Get messy and creative, bring your loved ones together to enjoy the fruits of your labour, fill your home with fresh flowers that you’ve lovingly tended. Treat yourself to the rewards of time spent in the garden, and see just how many benefits you’ll reap from reflecting on how you want to feel instead of how you want to change.

Let’s talk about your 2019 gardening goals, ask a question below, contact Mori Gardens at (905) 468-7863 or book an no-obligation appointment through our simple scheduler at

How Lovely Are Thy Branches

Custom planters made in house at Mori Gardens

            Christmas has always been my holiday. I still welcome the sleigh bells and snow drops with the giddy enthusiasm of a child, filling my home with gingerbread smells and boughs of pine. I get a charge from the bustle of shopping malls, and I never get sick of the endless loop of carols. This year, I’m leaning on that festive spirit harder than ever. I’m digging deep for that cheer and wonder. When I was invited to Mori Gardens to help make holiday planters, I enthusiastically agreed. It seemed like a good way to kick-start my holiday spirit.

            I pictured myself slotted into a pine-festooned assembly line, mass producing whimsical creations while working fast enough to keep my fingers warm. A Santa’s elf in a tired mom disguise. I layered some casual clothes, packed a pair of gardening gloves and a thermos of tea, and appeared, ready to churn out whatever the designer had concocted.

            The Garden Centre was transformed into a forest-scented wonderland full of greenery and twinkling lights. Huge arrangements of evergreen dotted with glittering confections warmed every corner of the showroom. Charming twig reindeer bedecked with red velvet ribbon and garlands of cedar stood sentry. I couldn’t help but pat one on the head as I searched for the designer I’d be working with. Clearly, a highly trained pro, with plenty of experience.

            Tonie Mori greeted me with a hug.

            “So, you’ve come to unleash your creativity?” she said playfully. “I can’t wait to see what you come up with.”

            She led me by the hand through aisle upon aisle of glittering branches, pinecones of every variety, ‘snow’ covered boughs, darling little birds, cheerful berries, other-worldly seed pods. There were mountains of fir, pine, cedar, juniper and I was enveloped in the magic of the heady scent of evergreen and spicy sap.

            Tonie, who obviously expected great things of me, quickly demonstrated how to price each arrangement, paired me with a more seasoned staff member, and then like a benevolent fairy godmother with just the spell I needed to break my holiday blues she said, “Have fun.”

            My mentor, Vicky, slid a pot of dirt my way. With a grin, she shoved a thick log of birch into the centre of the dirt. “I’d start like this, and build around it,” she said.

            And that was the sum total of my lesson.

            But I was inspired by the season, and my inner elf was awakening. I took a quick pass around the showroom for closer inspiration. The secret seemed to be in creating a base of interesting texture, working with the fuller boughs (like pine with those long, feathery needles) to create a foundation, then filling in the gaps with graceful, slender cedar. Or the arresting geometry of holly. Or perhaps, adorable tufts of juniper with tiny, winking berries in blue.

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            For the first time in months, I dialed the volume in my head down to zero and just cruised through the garden centre, filling my arms with a hefty pile of fragrant greens. I didn’t care about the sap on my parka. I didn’t feel the cold. My feet were guided by the crooning carols of Harry Connick Jr as I amassed the beginnings of my masterpiece.

            The natural curves of the branches told me where each bough wanted to go. I remembered Vicky’s advice and rooted the greens deep into the soil so the wind wouldn’t take them. Soon the birch bough she’d shoved into my pot rose like an ivory tower from a gently undulating sea of evergreen.

            It took thirty minutes to create the base. I got lost in the wonder of creation. The life-giving magic of my fingers in the dirt, listening to how this sculpture wanted to be born. Trance-like, I took to the aisles again in search of finishing touches; magnolia leaves, giant pine cones, willow branches and lotus pods gilded with a touch of copper. Each element told my hands where to place it, and soon my first planter was complete.

          My creation was handsome; decidedly understated and earthy. There was something calming and grounded in its design – a natural offering, resilient through the bitter frost of winter. The winds could blow, but even under a clump of snow the beauty of this collection of boughs and pods would endure.

          Holiday planters not only make a lasting decoration to add cheer to your entranceway, they also make wonderful gifts. Mori Gardens offers outdoor arrangements year round in a variety of sizes, in addition to wreaths, centerpieces, fresh evergreen boughs and other design elements so you can unleash your own creativity. The design space where I worked is available to the public for use for workshops and creative parties. Evergreen gifts make excellent party favors for your guests to take home after your annual shindig and will add warmth and cheer throughout the winter season.

You may be interest in the following articles:

An Evergreen Tradition

How To Care For A Fresh Cut Christmas Tree

Learn more about out our 4 seasons planter program, the Mori Gardens Creative Space, and how to get your custom planters this season visit us at


An Evergreen Tradition

By: Catharine Skinner 

There is no such thing as perfect. This is what I must remind myself every single year when it comes time to choose my fresh Christmas tree. Still, when it comes to selection, I agonize over just theright height, I agonize over just the right height, shape, colour – really the list is endless

Thankfully, I can’t go wrong at Mori Gardens. Their selection of fresh trees is unrivaled.

So, how do you know which tree is perfect for you? Start by considering your household. If you’ve got little ones around,pine and fir trees have softer needles than say, spruce trees whose sharp needles can hurt when you get one in the foot.

Measure the height and width of the space you’d like to place your tree. Don’t forget to include the height of your tree stand.

Line the inside of your vehicle or the bed of your truck with an old tarp or sheet to protect it from tree sap and needles. Bring utility gloves to spare your fingers.

Test your tree for freshness. Make sure it’s not dropping lots of needles when you give a branch a shake, look for even colour. Pine needles should be flexible when you bend them and fir needles will snap. Check the trunk for a slight stickiness.

Once you get the tree home, saw off half an inch from the trunk and get the tree in water as soon as possible after that.This will freshen the trunk for better absorption.

Find the coolest, driest spot in your home for the tree. Avoid placing the tree near a heating vent or fireplace.

Keep your tree stand full of water. You may find that the tree is extra thirsty when you first bring it home and will need water added every other day.

I remember years ago, my husband at thetime took me to a local tree farm. It was our first Christmas together, and wewere both wildly enthusiastic. The farm was as picturesque and charming as you might imagine, and our cheeks were rosy with holiday cheer.

First we got lost in the woods. Then my husband ruined the wool coat I bought him trying to saw down the tree we’d chosen. (We were city folk, what can I say?) Finally, after sweating andgrunting over attempting to hack down the tree, my husband flicked hiss now-covered (bare) hands and his wedding band went soaring through the air, landing somewhere in the snow with a soft thunk. We had to make the trek back the next day with a metal detector and miraculously found the darned thing.

All this to say that one tree farm adventure was enough for my lifetime. Give me a takeout mug of hot something orother and a stroll through the bedecked wonderland of the Mori Gardens centre and you’ll see my holiday spirit shine. It’s a family tradition; we get the kids involved in selection, and it always ends with a gorgeous fresh tree, acozy evening sipping cocoa and listening to our favourite carols, and a home filled with the delightful fragrance of evergreen.

After all, the lasting traditions are usually the simplest ones.

Real, cut Christmas trees are a wonderfully fragrant tradition for the holidays. Find Your Premium Fresh Cut Christmas Trees at Mori Gardens.

For more information on finding your premium cut Christmas tree contact Mori Gardens E: P: (905)468-7863 or visit

Read more about Christmas Tree Care & Choosing Tips at…

Santa Bob At Mori Gardens behind Fresh Cut Christmas Trees
Santa Bob At Mori Gardens behind Fresh Cut Christmas Trees 

How to Care for a Fresh Cut Christmas Tree

Real, cut Christmas trees are a wonderfully fragrant tradition for the holidays. Selecting and caring for your tree is the key to lasting beauty, and with a few simple tips, your evergreen will flourish throughout the holiday season.

  • When you find a tree that you like, do a freshness test to make sure that it’s worthy to come home with you. Gently grasp a branch between your thumb and forefinger and pull it toward you. Very few needles should come off in your hand if the tree is fresh. Shake or bounce the tree on its stump. You shouldn’t see an excessive amount of green needles fall to the ground. Some loss of interior brown needles is normal and will occur over the lifetime of the tree.

  • After you’ve chosen your tree, keep it in a sheltered, unheated area, such as a porch or garage, to protect it from the wind and sun until you are ready to decorate it. If you won’t be decorating it right away, place the tree in a bucket full of water that you refill as needed.

  • Just before you set up your tree, make a fresh, straight cut across the base of the trunk (about 1/2 inch up from the original cut) and place the tree in a tree stand that holds a gallon of water or more. If you don’t cut off some of the trunk, the tree won’t be able to absorb water, and it will dry out and become a fire hazard.

  • Make sure your tree stand will hold enough water for the size of your tree. Measure the diameter of your tree trunk in inches — that’s how many quarts of water your tree stand should be able to hold. (For example, if it measures 6 inches across, then you need 6 quarts of water.)

  • Keep the tree stand filled with water. A seal of dried sap will form over the cut stump in four to six hours if the water drops below the base of the tree. If a seal does form, you’ll have to make another fresh cut, which is much harder to do when the tree’s decorated.

  • A tree will absorb as much as a gallon of water or more in the first 24 hours and one or more quarts a day thereafter. Water is important because it prevents the needles from drying and dropping off and the boughs from drooping. Water also keeps the tree fragrant.

  • For safety, keep your tree away from all heat sources, such as fireplaces, radiators, baseboard heat, portable heaters, television sets, and heat vents. Not only can all of these can make the tree dry out faster, but can also contribute to setting a tree on fire.

  • Use the correct size of tree stand for your tree and see that the tree is secure in the stand to prevent it from falling over.

  • Be sure to keep an eye on pets and children around Christmas trees. Don’t let your 4-legged friends drink the water in the tree stand as it can upset their tummies and reduce the water the tree is getting. Don’t place glass ornaments where little fingers can reach them and avoid using tinsel.



A Harvest of Local Artisans

I’ve never been one of those people who knock out holiday shopping early. In fact, I typically roll my eyes at friends who smugly announce that not only are their gifts purchased but wrapped too before we’re barely into December. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of the poor souls left racing around on Christmas Eve, but I’ve never had it together enough to be able to kick back and relax the week before Christmas.

Until this year.

I don’t know how I’ve managed to live in this region for four years without noticing the multitude of holiday craft markets on offer. All summer long I’d planned on hitting the market for produce and the occasional bouquet of fresh cut flowers, but it just didn’t happen. It looks like I can make up for my laziness all the way through the late fall. Maybe these events are on my radar now that my local garden centre has hopped on the bandwagon. It doesn’t matter. I’ve decided that local holiday markets are the answer to my shopping prayers.

I’ll enlist a girlfriend, get a sitter for my son (who likes shopping about as much as he likes getting a flu shot), and I’ll choose the perfect layered outfit. Nobody wants to carry around a bulky coat when there’s handmade soap to sniff.

The holiday market will be a feast for all of my senses. My eyes will wonder at the festive décor; boughs of evergreen, cheerful ribbon, snowflakes, icicles, glistening orbs of delicate glass. Creations by local artisans will inspire and delight; beads and baubles, ornaments for the home, accessories, and apparel. My fingers will caress fabric, paper, and wood. Fragrant candles, oils, and soaps will tickle my nostrils. Surely there will be some treats for my taste buds to enjoy – I’m dreaming of shortbread or gingerbread. Really, any bread will do. I’ll even settle for a crusty round of sourdough. Maybe there’ll be hot apple cider to wash it down. Or even better, mulled wine.

The market will help me be a better citizen. I’ll be supporting local makers and entrepreneurs. My friends and family will be thrilled with my thoughtful and creative gift-giving. Who do I know who wears a beard? I’ll bet I can find about five different beard balm flavours. Or are they fragrances? I guess they really aren’t meant to be eaten, though I’ve encountered a few that have made my mouth water.

Friends who come to visit from out of town will think I’m the perfect host as I shuttle them from wine tasting to the festive merriment of whichever market happens to be on that weekend. By this time next year, I’ll know all the best ones to visit.

My holiday market-hopping will kick off on November 16th.  Mori Gardens has made their annual open house (a decade-long tradition) a festive celebration with A Very Mori Christmas Palooza. The Palooza includes Mori’s own showcase of local artisans, the Niagara on the Lake Christmas Market, open through November 18th. While I’m there, I might even pick out my Christmas décor. They have the most beautiful trees, wreaths, and planters. Come to say hi. I’ll be the lady in the festive plaid shirt with a face full of cookies and a steaming mug of cheer.

(NOTL) Christmas 2018-03





What Is A Bulb?

There is nothing more satisfying to a gardener than seeing those first early spring flower bulbs popping up from the cold ground. These little sprouts soon bloom into gorgeous blossoms, brightening up your garden for the start of a great growing year.

“A flower bulb is an underground storehouse and flower factory.  Within the bulb is everything that the plant will need to sprout and flower at the appropriate time.”

There are different forms of bulbs:

True bulb – e.g. Daffodils, Tulips, Hyacinths, Onions

Corms – e.g. Crocus, Gladiolas

Tubers – e.g. Begonias, Potatoes

Rhizomes – e.g. Irises

Storage Roots – e.g. Dahlias, Carrots

Fall Bulbs vs. Summer Bulbs

Fall Bulbs

– winter hardy-can be left in the ground year after year

– plant in the fall

– blooms early spring-summer

Summer Bulbs

– tender-must be dug up in fall

– plant in late spring

– blooms summer to fall

Choosing The Right Bulb

  • Choose bulbs that are not bruised or marked up
  • Choose a larger size bulb when possible – the larger the bulb the larger the flowers will be.  Very small bulbs may not bloom until the second or third season.
  • Make sure you choose bulbs with staggered bloom times to extend the length of colour in your spring garden.
  • Consider the height that the bulbs will grow to be and the height of the surrounding plants.

When, How and Where To Plant

  • The best time to plant fall bulbs is from mid-October to mid-November, before the ground freezes.
  • Bulbs prefer loose, porous soil with lots of organic matter and good drainage.  Too wet of soil can cause bulbs to rot.
  • Most bulbs prefer a sunny location – but remember that they just need sunlight until the time that they go dormant.  So if a location receives sun in early spring, but is shaded later by overhead trees, they should still thrive.
  • Plant bulbs in larger groupings in order to have a more dramatic and instant show of colour.  An odd number of bulbs in a grouping is best.
  • Plant bulbs pointed end up.
  • Follow the directions on package for planting depth.  If there are no instructions provided, plant bulbs at a depth that is equal to 3 times the diameter of the bulb itself e.g. if a bulb is 2” in diameter, plant 6” deep.
  • Once the hole is dug mix in bone meal into the soil at the bottom of the hole.  Place bulbs in the hole.  Backfill the hole with amended soil, gently packing the soil as you go.  Water thoroughly.
  • If you want to achieve a natural effect, take a handful of bulbs and toss them into the air.  Plant the bulbs wherever they landed
  • The Double-Decker Effect – Plant smaller bulbs in a layer overtop larger bulbs – If you plant bulbs that flower at the same time, it creates an interesting two-tiered effect.  If you plant bulbs that bloom at different times, it extends the period of time that you are getting colour out of that same space in your garden.

Tips to discourage squirrels from digging up your bulbs:

  • Use blood meal or Critter Ritter on top of soil above bulbs – Blood meal has to be reapplied after rain.  Critter Ritter scent remains for about 1 month.
  • Collect hair from the hairdresser’s and place on the soil where bulbs have been planted – needs to be reapplied every couple of days
  • Put soap shavings (Irish Spring) on soil area
  • Place chicken wire over bulbs – bulbs will grow through, but squirrels cannot get to the bulbs
  • Once bulbs have been planted, tamp the soil down – makes it harder to find the area where they have been planted.  Cover area with mulched tree leaves.
  • Plant bulbs just prior to the ground freezing

What To Do With Summer-Blooming Bulbs In The Fall

Bulbs that are planted in the spring need to be dug and stored inside for the winter – i.e. Canna, Calla lilies, Begonia tubers, Gladiolas etc.

  • Once frost has blackened leaves, dig up plants including the bulbs
  • Cut off the top off plants just above the bulb itself.
  • Remove all soil from bulbs and roots
  • Let bulbs dry off before storing
  • You can treat the bulbs with a fungicidal dust to cut down on the chance of mildews
  • Store bulbs in a material that breathes such as paper bags, cardboard baskets, open baskets, bushel baskets or mesh bags.  Never store in closed plastic bags or containers.
  • Store in a cool, dark, dry place such as a fruit cellar.  Do not let bulbs freeze.

For your Spring Blooming Blubs, stop by Mori Gardens. We are happy to answer your bulb questions and assist you in creating your ideal garden. For more information click the bulbs category for additional bulb resources.

yellow cluster petaled flowers

The Perks of Parks

When was the last time you visited your local park? It’s no secret that being outdoors has psychological benefits, but what exactly does that mean? Well, aside from the obvious benefits of ‘exercise’ in and of itself, there are other perks to parks.

A study performed by Stanford University has shown that the effects of nature on those who take in 90 minutes of nature a day, reduce obsessive thoughts of worry, decreases the effects of depression, as well as reducing stress levels and improving happiness.

The Niagara region is incredibly fortunate to be the proud owner of some of the most beautiful parks and green spaces in southern Ontario, but sadly as reported by Environment Canada, Canadians spend as much as up to 90% of their time inside. We work at our job, we work on our homes, we work towards building assets and covet that elusive and undefinable destination of ‘success’.

While much diminished by technology and modernity, our need for nature can be traced back to the early nineteenth century, with the likes of Thoreau suggesting that “we need the tonic of wilderness”. Perhaps looking at our local parks and green spaces is a way for us to find success of a different ‘nature’, that of emotional success. According to a paper published by the Harvard Medical School, the benefits of being outside for as little as five minutes are quite amazing.

adult blur camera dirt road

The first and most obvious finding is that your levels of vitamin D will raise. Why is that important you may ask? It increases your body’s ability to fight infection and disease, it improves your ability to lose weight (I know right?!), it affects your bone density, your hair, your emotional wellness, and the list goes on.

Aside from the immediate benefits of a ‘beautiful’ environment, which most are able to appreciate; a walk in the park reduces physical aches and pains and lowers the likelihood of stress fractures, osteoporosis, and some heart conditions.

With the opening of the Voices of Freedom Park here in Niagara on the Lake in September, perhaps now is the time to embrace the outdoors, and take in some local history. Designed by Raymond Tung in collaboration with the Town’s planning department, and storytelling installations by Toronto artist Tom Ridout, Voices of Freedom Park recognizes the contribution of early black settlers to Niagara on the Lake, as well as the abolition of slavery, and the beginning of the Underground Railroad.

There’s so much to gain from spending just a few minutes in a park. With parks such as the Voices of Freedom Park just around the corner allowing you to walk through some of our local histories, there’s no time like the present to put on your walking shoes, zip up your jacket, and take in some fresh air and vitamin D.



Caring for Fall Mums

It has been a long, hot, dry summer and most of our summer containers are looking battle fatigued. Why not bring new life to your doorways this fall by adding mums along with annual and perennial grasses and plants to your containers?

To assist you in your Mum purchase and care process, please use the following instructions and contact our garden team for any additional questions or assistance. Grow Niagara

Annual or Perennial

  • Determine whether or not you are going to transplant them to the garden and grow them as a perennial.
  • If growing them as perennials, make sure you choose hardy garden mums.
  • If planted in the garden they should survive the winter.
  • If using your potted mums as annuals or indoor plants, choose whatever plants you like.
  • Mums purchased from a florist (available all year) are usually not hardy. They will develop black leaves if exposed to temperature below 60° F, and should only be used in the house as they will not survive the winter.



  • Select mums with healthy green leaves and vigorous growth. Do not choose plants that look wilted or stressed.
  • Flower heads should be well-formed and undamaged with no signs of wilt.
  • Choose plants that have lots of closed or partially closed buds so you have an extended bloom time.



  • Water the mums regularly especially if the weather is warm or if kept indoors. Soak the mums until water runs out through the holes in the pot bottom.
  • Don’t allow soil to dry out, as this will stress the plant.
  • Keep the soil slightly moist, and make sure the pot is never allowed to stand in water. Pots must have good drainage.
  • Fertilizing potted mum is not necessary when they are blooming. If you buy plants that are not blooming yet, feed them every other week with an all purpose fertilizer.
  • Keep mums in natural light or in the direct sun, whether indoors or out. They need plenty of sun for proper growth. Keep them away from night lighting, as this disturbs their flowering cycle.
  • Extend your bloom time by picking plants with many unopened buds rather than those with wide-open flowers.
  • Remove spent blooms as soon as they fade. Pluck them from the plant at the base of the flower. Leave on any buds, blooming flowers and leaves.
  • Keep indoor mums away from heat vents.



·       Mums can be planted in the fall or kept in the pot. Allow the mum plants to go dormant over the winter. Keep them outside once the blooms die, and mound the pots with dried leaves or garden refuse to prevent premature freezing.

  • Prune mums in the late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Cut back stems to about 12 to 18 inches or shorter for bushier plants.
  • Water mums in the spring as new growth begins and color returns to the plants. Keep them well watered throughout the spring, fertilizing regularly for the first couple months and then ceasing fertilization once blooms are present.



  • Lack of flowers, buds are small or fail to open: may not be getting enough light
  • Black leaves: florist type mum was exposed to frost or cold temperatures
  • Yellow leaves: either too wet or receiving too much humidity
  • Gray, fuzzy leaves: could be fungus or mildew

If you have questions about your mums or creating your fall planters. Contact our Mori Gardens team, for fall arrivals, tips & tricks. We’re here to assist in your garden needs from Dream to Enjoyment.



Niagara-On-The-Lake; Drinking Up the Beauty of Queen Street Gardens

Without a doubt, we live in one of the prettiest towns in Canada. Niagara-on-the-Lake is in full bloom, and store fronts, businesses and patios are bursting with colour. Each morning, you’ll see the busy crew from the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake watering and maintaining our public spaces. Like a stealthy team of garden ninjas they pluck weeds, spread mulch, fertilize and make sure the lovely floral backdrops that turn up in countless tourist photos don’t whither in the sweltering heat.


The Town’s dedication to keeping Old Town pristine is one of the reasons we’ve won the Communities in Bloom International Challenge two years in a row and why an estimated 3.5 million tourists visit Niagara on the Lake each year. In the warmer months, Queen Street flourishes as flocks of visitors enjoy shops, cafes and restaurants, The Shaw Festival, horse drawn carriage rides and hotels. We took our own little tour of some of our favourite public garden spaces in Old Town, and here are the highlights for those visiting Niagara as well as us locals, to stop and admire our beautiful town from a different angle, including the names of some of those plants you’ve had your eye on.

Our first stop was this charming plot at the end of Mississauga Street at Queen. This spot features the dark elegance of purple fountain beech, the ethereal wonder of weeping Japanese maple, sturdy yew trees and perennial fountain grasses.

The best way to take in the rest of Queen Street is to park and walk. I’d recommend starting at 166 Queen Street, a residential property with a whimsical garden designed by Mori Gardens and maintained by Bryan Jones Landscaping Ltd.

Take a look at the lampposts dotting the street. Those glorious flowering baskets must be watered by pole arm each morning until they drip through.

I love the Snow Queen oak leaf hydrangea in front of the 124 on Queen. At 10 x 7 feet, this majestic plant may be too large for the scale of your home, but the Munchkin oak leaf offers a similar look in a compact 3 x 4.5 feet.

Stop for a treat or lunch at Treadwell, or the brand new Treadwell bakery, and enjoy the wonderful shady patio bordered by pin cushion boxwoods, purple salvia, and perennial hibiscus.

Perhaps the most memorable of Queen Street gardens is the explosion of colour at the Shaw Café and Wine Bar. These annual flowers are part of a plan dreamed up early each year and grown in green houses for months before they are ready to plant outdoors. They start and end each day with a big drink so they’re fresh and ready for adoring visitors.

As you continue along Queen towards King Street, take a look at the trees. You’ll see oak, maple and ginko. These trees looks so healthy because new soil is added, and they are fertilized and mulched by the Town.

Balzac’s Coffee Roasters on King Street features gorgeous planters that get refreshed with each season. Their design incorporates height, texture, colour contrast, and interest from leaf and flower.

Across the street from Balzac’s is the Prince of Wales Hotel. Globed yews, variegated hostas, and astilbe create a lush, green welcome and a striking contrast to the façade of the grand old hotel.

Simcoe Park offers several lovely vantage points to sit and people-watch. Rest in the shade and admire the yew hedging, variegated hostas, Annabelle White Hydrangea, and chestnut trees. Can you spot the layers of height, various textures, and points of interest? Each plant compliments its neighbor, and serves to make this a perfect place for a rest as you wander along Queen.

As you turn back to walk down Queen, admire Corks Winebar and Eatery featuring cheerful variegated dogwood, juniper and hicks yews. Note the rosehip bush in front of Wine Country Vintners and find a globed burning bush at Nina’s Geletaria & Pastry Shop. Great for leaf interest in the summer months, this bush changes colour with the seasons and makes for a great hedge or pruned shrub.

No detail was missed at many of our local shops, such as Greaves, with a sense of entry at even the side doors. That’s rose gold bayberry and yew hedging in the front of the building.

Take a right on Victoria Street and admire homes and local businesses like One Earth and Frances Denny Acquisitions as you stroll towards the water. You can take a left on Front Street and a left again on Gate to head back to Queen Street.

Pop into Pie’za for lunch, or visit the Oban Inn to admire the gardens with a glass of Perridiso wine.

It’s not just the hard working crew from the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake who are willing to get their hands dirty for our award winning beauty. You’ll see countless private residences and bed and breakfasts with meticulous gardens that will delight every taste and style.

As you return to Queen Street, you’ll see the Canada Post Office sign poking through the Virginia creeper. The building is also adorned with white hydrangea similar to either the Annabelle hydrangea (which grows 3 x 4’) or the Incredibelle hydrangea (at 5 x 5’). Those are perennial grasses you see in the distance.

Our little walking tour of Queen Street public gardens is just a small sample of the loveliness on offer here in Niagara-on-the-Lake. If you are planning to visit our wonderful town, locals will tell you, one of the best ways to experience the town is on bicycle, taking your time to soak up all the sights. Choose your favourite spots, and show them off to visiting friends and family, or snap photos on your visit of the gardens that most inspire you.

Mori Gardens is proud to have grown with Niagara since 1974, assisting locals and visitors alike with garden designs, offering many of the stunning plants you see throughout town, and sponsoring community projects in the most beautiful town in Canada.

Join the Grow Niagara Community. Follow our newsletter by putting your information below, like us on Facebook and enjoy beautiful Niagara On The Lake.

NOTL Harvest Festivals: Fruit Tree to Table

There are always lots of wonderful things happening around Niagara on the Lake, and August has been no exception, with its famous Peach Festival. We attended the festival, celebrating its 28th year, not only to purchase the wonderful goods for sale, but also with the rental of our fruit trees to the Town of Niagara-On-The-Lake, enabling areas of the festival to benefit from the interest, texture and shade of our fruit trees.

Throngs of locals and tourists alike converged on Niagara on the Lake in a bid to lay hands on one of the many delicious peach products being sold during this year’s Peach festival. The peach pie was a crowd favourite, we even had one in the Garden Centre fridge for everyone to share…Thanks Tonie!

We of course can’t forget to mention ‘fresh’ peaches. You’ll see the fruit stands dotted all over the Niagara region selling fresh fruits of all kinds; peaches, plumbs, nectarines, cherries, pears and apples…I know I forgot someone’s favourite, but the choices and varieties are so abundant it’s hard to remember them all.

With the increased interest in being self-sufficient, fruit trees are a natural go-to when it comes to food production. There must be no better feeling than picking your own apple or pear from a tree that you planted and looked after yourself. More experienced gardeners graft plants, allowing them to harvest up to 5 different varieties of apple, cherry or pear from the same tree. I know…it’s not me either, but the possibilities are amazing.

For those who have the desire to grow fruit trees, but have limited space, ‘never fear’ there’s something for you too. The espalier fruit tree is an attractive, yet productive form of growing a fruit tree simply trained along a fence, or a trellis which controls the spread of the tree and keeps it neat and contained within boundaries set by the grower.

As well as providing an abundance of food for you and your family, fruit trees provide privacy and shade, so sit back, drink your vino and eat your fruit right from the tree; there’s no better indicator that it’s summer in the Niagara region!

Find the perfect fruit tree for you. Book your one-on-one appointment with a Mori Gardens Garden Consultant.


Terry Mactaggart: A Life of Gathering Stories

On August 9th, members of the community gathered in the oasis at Mori Gardens to celebrate the retirement of Terry Mactaggart. With 30 years of dedicated service, Terry has helped local residents as the Visiting Volunteer Coordinator for the Niagara-on-the-Lake Community Palliative Care service.

“Palliative care makes Niagara-on-the-Lake a very good place to live, and to die, and Terry’s had a lot to do with that,” says Joyce Loewen, long-time board member with NOTL CPC, and Terry’s mentor.

The Community Palliative Care service is a tremendous resource for the seriously ill and their caregivers and families, though it can be a challenge for people to take advantage of what the service has to offer. Why are people so reluctant to even have the conversation about end-of-life care?

“Because our society doesn’t want to talk about death. We are a death-denying society,” says Loewen.

The NOTL CPC has grown over the last thirty years, thanks to Terry Mactaggart, who moved from a career in teaching to palliative care after the death of a close friend in 1983. Terry made the trip to Connecticut to say goodbye and met two hospice workers assigned to her friend’s care. Moved by their gentle compassion, Terry was curious about whether there was a similar service in the Niagara Region.

She started her work in hospice care in Niagara Falls in 1985 as part of the hospital’s visiting volunteer program. In 1986 she began to serve her own community. After about a year, she was asked to take over the program half time, and she made the transition to working for the organization, while still spending the balance donating her time for twenty two years.

The experience of palliative and hospice care is a stark contrast from the clinical, antiseptic hospital environment many people fear when they hear these terms. It is warm, and human and this is what Terry will miss the most.

She tells her hospice team, “Show your emotions. People want to know that you’re feeling, and that you care. “

Volunteers are the backbone of the CPC service. They not only offer comfort and companionship to clients, but they also offer support to caregivers and families by lending an ear, or offering a much-needed break.

“It takes a calm, compassionate person,” says volunteer Nellie Visser. “But if this is something that appeals to you, you’ll be okay if you bring your own unique skills to each visit.”

Terry Mactaggart and her team are unanimous about what makes their experience most rewarding; collecting stories, learning personal histories, charting the map of a life lived with love, and heartbreak, and triumph.

It’s not about dying. Palliative care is about living out the rest of one’s days to the fullest.


Shade Gardening

Many homeowners long for a shady retreat that is until they try to select plants that will successfully grow there.  Most of us can only think of Hostas and ferns.  But a shady yard doesn’t mean your gardening days are doomed.  Numerous options abound for creating eye-catching shade gardens. These easy shade solutions will help turn your shady yard into the colorful retreat you’ve always wanted.

An abundance of large trees and shady areas in your yard can be a challenge to the creative gardener, rather than an obstacle to good gardening. Shady places that provide cool, refreshing areas of beauty during summer’s heat also can contribute color and interest to the landscape throughout the growing season



Amount of Sunlight

Determine the various degrees of shade in your yard. How much sunlight areas receive—and when they receive it—dictate what kind of plants will thrive there. Gardening in the shade doesn’t have to be frustrating. Some plants will tolerate relatively low light, and a few actually thrive in it. You can choose from an array of flowering annuals, perennials, bulbs, and woodland plants for color. Many groundcovers do well in problem areas. In light shade you might even be able to grow a few herbs or leafy vegetables. The trick is to know which plants are most likely to succeed and then to give them the kind of care that will improve their chances.

Densely shaded areas beneath large trees or under the overhang of a building present more problems than do situations of partial or light shade. Although partially or lightly shaded areas receive direct sunlight for only a small portion of the day, light intensity is still quite bright. There are numerous plant choices you can make in these locations, though by no means as many as are possible with five or more hours of direct, full sunlight.

Full Sun: At least 6 full hours of direct sunlight. Many sun lovers enjoy more than 6 hours per day, but need regular water to endure the heat.

Partial Sun / Partial Shade: These 2 terms are often used interchangeably to mean 3 – 6 hours of sun each day, preferably in the morning and early afternoon.

  • However if a plant is listed as Partial Sun, greater emphasis is put on its receiving the minimal sun requirements.
  • If a plant is listed as Partial Shade, the plant will need some relief from the intense late afternoon sun, either from shade provided by a nearby tree or planting it on the east side of a building.

Dappled Sun: Dappled sunlight is similar to partial shade. It is the sun that makes its way through the branches of a deciduous tree. Woodland plants and underplantings prefer this type of sunlight over even the limited direct exposure they would get from partial shade.

Full Shade: Less than 3 hours of direct sunlight each day, with filtered sunlight during the rest of the day. Full shade does not mean no sun. There aren’t many plants, except mushrooms, that can survive in the dark.

Soil Conditions

With few exceptions shade-tolerant plants will do best in well-drained, relatively fertile soil. Both sandy soils and heavy, clay like soils will benefit from the incorporation of organic matter such as peat moss, compost, or well-rotted manure. Such materials are particularly helpful in areas of hard, compacted soils.

Poor soil often hampers shade gardens more than lack of sunlight, so liberally add organic matter in spring, fall or whenever preparing a new garden. Soil fertility also can be a source of trouble. Trees and shrubs fill the soil with feeder roots that greedily use up nutrients as readily as they are applied. It often seems that the more you water and fertilize, the more roots with which you have to contend. Yet adequate fertility is an absolute must for all your plants because without it they are bound to be small and their growth will be weak. In most cases a spring application of a balanced fertilizer, followed by one or two applications as the season progresses, will help your shade plants survive the competition of tree and shrub roots. If root competition is a serious problem, planting in containers above ground is a viable alternative. Try to be careful not to disturb tree roots too much when planting under existing trees.

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Light is not the only major concern when gardening in shady areas. Frequently, inadequate moisture can be a problem. The thick canopy of a large tree or the overhang of a house will act as an umbrella, deflecting rainfall away from the ground directly beneath it. Worse yet, trees and shrubs will compete with smaller plants for every drop of moisture that reaches the ground. It is vital that plants growing in the shade of large trees and shrubs, or sheltered by your home or garage, be watered regularly even during times of seemingly adequate rainfall.

Help conserve moisture and add nutrients and organic matter by mulching with shredded leaves, evergreen needles and other organic materials.


  1. Under deciduous trees, plant bulbs that will bloom before shady canopies develop. Smaller bulbs that naturalize—or spread on their own—work best, such as crocuses, daffodils, grape hyacinths and winter aconite.
  2. Make foliage a mainstay. Allow different colors and textures to complement each other, like broad, paddle-like caladium leaves against frillier fern fronds.
  3. Use shade-loving shrubs to anchor beds, add height and structure, and provide a dark backdrop off which bright blooms visually pop.
  4. Sunlight intensity varies depending on how far north or south you live. Consequently, plants that require full sun in northern climates may need partial shade farther south.
  5. Container gardens add spot color and dimension to shade gardens and thrive because plants don’t compete with tree roots.
  6. Do not bury tree roots with soil when adding shade plants beneath their canopy. As little as 1 inch of soil can kill some species of trees.
  7. Water infrequently—only as needed, if possible—and thoroughly and deeply when you do.
  8. Pick plants that match your soil’s pH, rather than trying to change the soil.
  9. In areas where plants or grass won’t grow, create a mulch pathway to add visual interest, cover bare spots and enrich the soil.
  10. It’s possible to replace dense shade with dappled light through judicious tree pruning. Don’t prune more than one-third of a tree’s branches in 1 year, and focus on smaller branches.
  11. Another great way to liven up a shady spot is to pick plants with varying textures. Combine the fine leaves of ferns against bold Hostas. Or mix leafy Bergenia with spiky ornamental grasses such as Hakone (Japanese Forest) Grass. Even in complete shade, you’ll still have visual appeal.
  12. For a low-maintenance, attractive shady spot, try ground covers. Plant seedlings in staggered rows rather than straight lines. They’ll expand, fill the area and form a nice carpet.
  13. Don’t over-pamper your shade garden in fall. If you allow the leaves to break down, they’ll contribute valuable humus to the soil. Only if they’re smothering your plants should you rake them out.
  14. Consider how changing seasons affect sun and shade conditions in your yard. Even a yard filled with shade trees can support bright, spring-flowering bulbs, as long as they emerge before trees leaf out fully. Pick up hints from previous seasons. If sun lovers like marigolds died where Astilbe thrived, you’ve likely found a hot spot for a shade garden.
  15. Resist the temptation to give shade plants a nudge by overwatering or over-fertilizing them. Shade slows plant growth, so your plants in low light need less water and energy, not more. Mulching will also keep your workload light. It retains soil moisture and minimizes weeds.


Grow Niagara





Designing a Champagne Garden on a Beer Budget

Let’s face it, we’ve all seen a garden that we truly admired, knowing that we could never achieve or afford it. Whether it was the botanical gardens that you visited when you were away on holiday or your neighbor’s spectacular garden that riddles you with jealousy every time you walk past it; Garden envy is real, and cost can be a big factor for many homeowners.

If you lack the budget, creativity and technical know-how to design your own space, having a garden design done ‘will’ save you money. It will prevent you from buying plants and not knowing where to put them, as well as putting them in the wrong spot and having to dig them up, or worse watching them die.

The trick is, once you’ve had your design done, plant it as you can afford to. And don’t think that just because you get a design created that you ‘have’ to buy all of the plants and implement the design straight away. A few plants at a time is ok…as long as you have a plan.

A designer will take into consideration the type of garden you’d like, the space that you have to use, the maintenance level of your garden and much, much more.

It’s almost like paint by numbers…but for plant lovers.

Your design can incorporate everything that you want in your garden like hard-scape items such as decks and seating areas, water features, statuary and more; but it can be implemented over several years. That’s the beauty of having a design done by a garden designer; they know how large the plants will be at maturity, and incorporate that into their design. So, a design created five years ago, will still be good now, because the plants regardless of when you plant them, will be in the correct spot, as per the scale and design on your plan.

MORI GARDENS spring collection by © Alex Heidbuechel - Flashbox-8154

Plant your focal points and favourites first, it will allow you to feel good about your garden, even though you know there’s more the come. The great part is, it will only get better and better. You’ll know that with every plant you add, you’re getting closer and closer to the final product.

Talk to your local garden designer and have them recommend the plants that should go in first if you’re not sure, or don’t have a favourite. In no time you’ll be enjoying your champagne garden, knowing that you used your beer budget to achieve it. The cost of the design will, and I speak from experience here, be less than the time, the continually moved and dead plants you will have wasted from trying to do it yourself.

As with any project that takes time, patience is key. Just know that your wait will be worth it, and will manifest itself in the form of a beautiful garden that can provide you with hours of enjoyment; without having you break the bank! Your dream garden is just a plan away! Cheers!

To Book your Mori Gardens Design Consultation, or to meet with our friendly Garden Consultants , use the following link, and choose a time that works best for you. Not in the area? We can create remote designs internationally. 

Have a Question? Ask away! We’re here to assist in your garden experience from dream to enjoyment.


Behind the Scenes of the Summer Garden Tour

It’s no secret that we live in one of the prettiest towns in Canada. Each summer, locals and tourists alike line up for the chance to view the private gardens of some of our talented green-thumb residents. The NOTL Horticultural Society has hosted their Garden Tour for no less than twenty seven years, collaborating with locals to create an immersive and inspiring afternoon for garden enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

On July 16th, the annual Garden Tour volunteer appreciation mixer was held at Mori Gardens. Mori is the platinum sponsor of the tour, offering a helpful discount to gardeners in the lineup, plus rental items to enhance each space and pro tips for any trouble-shooting before the adoring masses come to call.