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Looking Back at 2016

img_6320Winter is such a wonderful time of year for everyone.  It’s a time to relax by the fire and reflect on the spring, summer and fall seasons that have gone by so quickly!

Some may say it was too hot or there was not enough rain, but most will tell you it was amazing.  Thanks to our hard working and dedicated staff at Brantim, we were able to take some time off away from the farm this summer.  Our fishing vacation trip at the end of June was to Lake Nagagami, at a fly in fishing resort near Horne Payne, Ontario.  It truly was a wonderful experience and, as fishing stories go: Brian caught the most, but Joanne caught the biggest!

Our next road trip took us to the Michigan Garden Plant Tour and Flower Trials at the end of July.  These trials and presentations gave us a chance to review the performance and characteristics of new plant material offered by plant breeders from around the world.  All plants from similar cultivars (i.e. petunias, begonias, impatiens, both old and new varieties) are grown with the exact identical growing standards and environmental growing conditions.  Usually grown and presented side-by-side, the exceptional performers really stand out.

These trials are also a display of new ideas possible for the 2017 garden season, and boy did we get lots of great new ideas.  The amazing displays of plants and colourful plantings in both garden and containers were by far the best that we have seen.  These flower trials help to reassure us in our choice of plant material at Brantim for the 2017 season and we look forward to sharing some new ideas for both gardens and container plantings in the New Year.

You can visit Four Star Greenhouses, home to Proven Winners (one of the number one flower brands in the industry) at www.pwfourstar.com  and you can see some of these amazing plants and displays coming for 2017.

img_0751While Brian and Joanne were gallivanting all over  the country, Andy was busy at Brantim all summer working with staff to improve the property landscaping with new fences and garden plantings.  One of his assistants in this endeavour was his ever faithful dog, Maggie, a beautiful golden retriever who thought her prime responsibility was rearranging the mulch beds that Andy had installed.

With Andy’s guidance and a total team effort, a complete rebuild of one greenhouse, and the recovering of three others with new plastic, we are ready for and look forward to continued success in upcoming growing seasons.

We hope your 2016 was just as fantastic as ours, and we look forward to seeing you this winter season at the farm!img_5969

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8 Great Gardening Books For Mom!

Mother’s Day is this weekend and Brantim has got you covered!

We think a Brantim Gift Certificate paired with one of these great 8 gardening books, would make any Mom swoon.
So head over to the greenhouse this week to pick up a gift certificate in any denomination and click the links below to buy these great books online.

Brantim’s 8 Great Books for Mom:

Northern GardenerThe Northern Gardener: Perennials That Survive And Thrive
by Barbara Rayment

Rather than fighting nature by trying to raise plants unsuited for a northern climate, master gardener Barbara Rayment, who has grown–and in some cases killed–nearly all of the plants in this book, helps readers get maximum results with minimum effort by selecting the right plants for their conditions. There are literally thousands of beautiful, interesting and garden-worthy perennials perfectly suited to northern conditions.

 

 

 

FrankieFlowers

Pot It Up: 150 Fresh Ideas For Beautiful Easy-To-grow Containers
by Frankie Flowers, Shannon Ross
This book has an amazing 150 inspiring, beautiful and sometimes surprising container ideas. Each plays with Frankie’s signature technique of using a thriller, a filler and a spiller to make sure your pot will have maximum impact. Frankie gives you the breakdown on which plants he’s used, and to which conditions they’re best suited. Lots of great ideas!

 

 

 

sqauremeterSquare Metre Gardening for Canada
by Alan Jackson
Raised beds make it easier to garden for many reasons: you can control the soil, the plants are easier to reach, you can grow quite a lot more plants and you can put the garden wherever you have at least six hours of sunlight. They are easy to build and they”re great for large or small lots. Alan Jackson takes you through all the steps and all of the seasons of a Canadian year.

 

 

 

ediblegarden

Edible Landscaping: Urban Food Gardens That Look Great
by Senga Lindsay
This great book includes advice on the most resilient and rewarding edible plants and detailed plans for fifteen types of urban gardens–from green roofs, community gardens and children”s gardens to hanging container gardens–enabling anyone with an interest in growing their own food to design a space to perfectly match their environment and needs.

 

 

 

grassesbookGrasses: Versatile Partners for Uncommon Garden Design
Photographed by Saxon Holt
by Nancy J. Ondra
Although ornamental grasses are widely available, few books advise the gardener on how to use them in the garden – and especially how to combine them with perennials and other plants. GRASSES features plans and practical advice for more than 24 unique gardens. It’s complete with an identification and growing guide to the plants, and it features more than 150 full-color photographs, illustrations, and landscape plans. A great practical gardening book.

 

 

flowerrecipesThe Flower Recipe Book
by Alethea Harampolis, Jill Rizzo
This book is simply stunning. The flower arrangements are so so so gorgeous and each one is paired with a “flower recipe”; ingredients lists specify the type and quantity of blooms needed; clear instructions detail each step; and hundreds of photos show how to place every stem. You will learn how to work with a single variety of flower to great effect, and to create vases overflowing with layered blooms. The photos alone are worth it.

 

 

herbsbookHomegrown Herb Garden: A Guide To Growing And Culinary Uses
by Ann Mccormick, Lisa Baker Morgan
This book proves you don’t need lots of space for a huge herb garden, and you don’t need to spend a lot of money on fresh herbs at the grocery store or farmers’ market. With Homegrown Herb Garden, you can choose the herb or herbs you will use the most and build your herb garden around them. Start with an overview of how to grow, harvest, and store herbs. Then, learn how to handle each herb and what flavors they work well with.

 

 

compostbookCompost City: Practical Composting Know-how For Small-space Living
by Rebecca Louie
Ok – so this book won’t be out in time for Mother’s Day but we thought we’d include it anyways since it looks very promising. You may think you need a big yard to compost. Think again. Compost City teaches you how to easily choose and care for a compost system that fits perfectly into your (tiny) space, (busy) schedule, and (multifaceted) lifestyle. This book provides simple and effective indoor and outdoor composting options.

 

 

What’s your favorite gardening book? Share it with us in the comments below! Happy Mother’s Day!

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Ottawa Tulips Turn 70!

TulipStoryThis weekend is the start of the Ottawa Tulip Festival, marking 70 years since the start of the tulip legacy in Ottawa.

So how did this whole tulip thing get started anyways? We knew they were a gift from the Dutch back in 1945 – but did you know the whole story?

While in exile from the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, Princess Juliana came to Ottawa in 1940. While she was here she gave birth to daughter Princess Margriet at the Ottawa Civic Hospital, which was temporarily declared extraterritorial by the Government of Canada, to ensure the princess would hold exclusively Dutch, rather than dual nationality. Overseas, the princess’s birth was seen by the Dutch as an important symbol of hope and source of inspiration.Tulips2

When they returned home in 1945, as a show of thanks, Princess Juliana presented to the people of Canada a number of gifts, including 100,000 tulip bulbs. She continued to send tulips to Canada every year of her reign as Queen. The festival was created in 1953 to showcase the tulips and today, over 1 million bulbs bloom throughout the Tulip Route. Pretty neat!

Festival Events

There’s lots to see and do during the festival including Artists in the Park, Mother’s Day Royal Tea Party, Daily High Tea, Gordon Harrison Painting Workshop, Photography Workshops or just stroll through the Tulip Route – the weather is looking good so far!

For more information go to the official festival website at tulipfestival.ca

The festival runs in various locations in Ottawa – Gatineau, May 8-18, 2015.

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Congrats to our friends at Rideau Woodlands Ramble

RideauWoodlands2We thought we’d pass along some great news for our friends over in Burritt’s Rapids at the Rideau Woodlands Ramble.

This Spring, the Ramble was named Canadian Garden Centre Destination of the Year by the Canadian Garden Council. 

Dave Dunn and Rob Caron are very pleased with this recognition. “It is a solid endorsement of the vision and mission to capture the imagination of collectors and gardeners in a woodland setting”, said Rob Caron. Rob’s partner, Dave said “our focus on the creation of an experience for visitors continues with the creation of the new gardens each year”.

2015_award_BW1If you’ve never been to the ramble it’s worth the drive. It features beautiful garden structures, artwork , trails and gardens containing more than 25 years of collections of rare plant material for the Ottawa area.

Visit The Ramble This Summer

Where: Rideau Woodland Ramble Display Gardens and Garden Centre, 7210 Burritt’s Rapids Rd.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily from April to November
Info: 613-258-3797 or rideauwoodlandramble.com

Tell them Brantim sent you!

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3 Tasty Herb Recipes for Summer BBQ’ing

You know that summertime is alive and well when you can walk outside in the evening and smell the delicious aroma of a barbeque. But have you ever thought of growing your own barbeque herbs? Culinary herbs are perfect for growing in containers on the patio right next to the grill, so you can easily reach down and pluck the leaves as you are cooking.

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Selling your house? Kick up the curb appeal.

The late spring this year seems to be delaying more than just the tulips. The real estate industry, which is typically going full steam ahead at this time of year, has also seen a slow start. It’s not strange that a delay in nice weather would affect sales, but that’s no consolation if YOUR house is on the market. Here’s some tips to improve your curb appeal and hopefully nail the sale.

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5 Steps to Starting a Vegetable Garden

Most produce available in the grocery store today has traveled thousands of miles to get there, and could have been grown in nutrient poor soil with loads of pesticides. Why not enjoy organic, pesticide-free produce from your own backyard? A little bit of preparation and maintenance through the growing season and you will never look back.

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