Green Thumb Newsletter: Spring 2018

Wow – 30 years in business!

Every gardening year is different, and this one seems to fit right in.

Snippets from the Farmers’ Almanac suggested a ‘volatile March and cold April’. Seems to be accurate, doesn’t it? That lovely span of March weather most certainly warmed up our gardens.

The snow gets heavier with warmer temperatures. The insulating qualities of the air pockets in the snow are filled up by heavier snow, so the benefit of the winter blanket’s effect of fluffy snow is reduced when we have a winter thaw.

Some of the plants might have woken up prematurely during that March Spring weather. That could make for a little stress in these plants’ life. Yews around the city seem to have suffered from either wind burn or sun burn, too. As always, patience is the solution. Mother Nature more often than not bails us out by helping out our plants. No premature decisions to discard any plants; no rash pruning of dead needles or evergreens. There could very easily be buds hiding underneath the damage. The last thing you want to do is interfere with this new growth. It’s waiting to happen.

The Plant Search on our website includes more plants than in previous years. Plants are sorted in the same categories as in our garden centre display areas. We carry all plants that are listed, or we can readily get them. They are hardy for Ottawa (zone 5a).

Remember that you can find us on Facebook. Either on our website or on Facebook, you’ll find out about our goings-on, some speaking venues, our staff’s twice monthly floral pick and helpful garden hints.

Please tell your friends and family about us!

Mary Shearman Reid
Owner, Green Thumb Garden Centre

Email newsletters

With approximately 75% of you having asked to get your newsletter by email – we’re saving some trees and some expense – that’s the good news.

Last year, we had some ‘mailing issues’ causing delays in sending our newsletter out. We’re trying a different method this year – fingers crossed for increased speed of delivery. I won’t be able to write personal notes on all of those emails…but we still want you to come and visit. We want to hear about your garden successes and help you with your new garden adds. Many of you tell me that you like to post our newsletter on your fridge to remind yourselves of us, our location, and hours and so on…we have hard copies to share when you come to the store, if that is your preference.

We continue to email invoices… for a planting job, a spring or fall clean up, weeding and so on. We’ll accept your cheque, but you can also do an email transfer to us for your payment.

Perennial of the year

The Perennial Plant Association is a North American group of growers, garden designers, nursery and garden centre owners. This group votes for the Perennial of the Year. The winners are usually known for their year-round interest, their ease of care, their ability to thrive in a wide range of zones and varying growing conditions.

This year’s winner is Allium ‘millenium’ – also known as the millenium ornamental onion. Unlike some allium, this is not a bulb. It is an herbaceous perennial, meaning you don’t have to
wait until the Fall for planting AND over time you can divide it readily. A rose-purple compact (12”/30cm x about the same) late bloomer is a butterfly magnet. With its flower stalk the height
increases by about half. Even as a cut flower, its spherical blooms retain their colour. The neat and slender shiny green leaves look nice all season long.

This allium is a sun lover, although might benefit from a little shade from the very hot afternoon sun. Easy to grow, liking a well-drained soil and quite drought tolerant. Nice to know it is
relatively free of pests and diseases; apparently, even rabbit and deer don’t even like it. It looks great with yellow bloomers or perennials with silver foliage e.g. Russian sage. Why not have a
look at it on our website under our Plant search.

Minimum wage

The new Ontario minimum wage etc. legislation is problematic for Green Thumb. The good news is our staff has always been paid substantially above that target. Of course, that is due to their
talents and their years of experience. I have employees that started with me in 1999, 2000, 2001 etc. How fortunate am I. That all being said, I’m seeing substantial increases in our suppliers’ prices, which means I have to pass them on to our customers on our plants, supplies or labour. I’ve done some comparisons and we continue to price things very fairly and competitively. Thank goodness that we have our Green Thumb membership program that offers discounts to all of our loyal customers.

Green Thumb Membership

Your Green Thumb membership continues from year to year — it’s our way of thanking you for your business. No matter what level of discount you had last year, your membership is
automatically renewed with your first purchase; just remind us that you’re a member. Your membership entitles you to discounts that increase, depending on your total yearly purchases. Just save your receipts and bring them in.

Level Annual purchases Most items Trees, shrubs, perennials
Green $100 10% 15%
Silver $150 12% 17%
Gold $300 15% 20%

Please note: the only reason we have your name, address and phone number on file is to be able to share these discounts with you and to send you our newsletter or other Green Thumb information — we do not sell our customer list to anybody. If you do not want to be a Green Thumb member and receive these benefits, please let us know.