Green Thumb Newsletter: Spring 2019

An early winter with lots of snow, ice, cold and wind, and now a late Spring. What surprises will await us as our gardens wake up from their very long hibernation! I wonder if the excess of snow might make up for last summer’s very dry conditions. As always, be patient as your garden wakes up. If you need to unwrap or uncover anything, try to do it on an overcast day…and even over a day or two, when removing hilled up compost, soil, mulch etc. No premature decisions to discard any plants; no rash pruning of dead needles on evergreens. There could very easily be buds hiding underneath the damage. 

We are excited about a small expansion to Green Thumb as we enter into our 31st year in business! We have been fortunate in being able to use the land behind Green Thumb since moving to Tristan Court. We have now been given permission to improve it as we see fit. We intend to plant a few more display gardens in ‘the back 40’ as we call it. We are planning on more orderly storage there, meaning there will be more display and shopping(!) room on ‘our side’. Before Winter came, we had the land all prepared for some changes this Spring. 

The Plant Search on our website includes more plants than in previous years. Plants are sorted in the same categories as in our 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 

 We tried a new way of emailing out our newsletters last year – thanks to our website gurus. All seemed to go well, so we’re trying it again! This is no small task, 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. 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 Stachys – ‘Hummelo’ or betony, in the same family as lamb’s ears, but it looks very different and is a long bloomer. This is clump-forming and is fairly low at 12” (30 cm) with an 18” (45 cm) spread – so nice to plant it at the front of the border. The leaves are emerald green topped with upright spikes of bright purple flowers. These early summer blooms attract bees, and if you do the deadheads, you’ll enjoy more blossoms. 

Alpine betony is not an overly needy plant, like most of the perennial plants of the year – full sun to part shade, well-drained soil and is fairly drought tolerant. This stalky plant looks very nice with ornamental grasses or later blooming perennials like shastas and cone flowers…or take the blooms inside to enjoy as cut flowers. Alternatively, leave some of the seed heads up over the winter for some added interest poking through the snow. Recommended as deer resistant and hardy to zone 4a. It is not invasive, but might benefit from division (in Spring) every few years. 

Why not check it out on our website under our Plant search: 

Organic fare 

At Green Thumb, we have always been concerned about the environment, as evidenced by our Green for Life award that we received many years ago. Our interest in the environment continues. Two of our suppliers have been certified as ‘organic’, and the balance of them are very aware of minimizing any outside influence on their plants. Our herbs (from Les Serres de la Vallée) and our top dressing mix (in the big pile at the rear of our property supplied by Greely Sand and Gravel) are both organic! These are wonderful additions to our organic veggie seeds (Ontario Seed Company) and a choice of organic fertilizers. 

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.