Communities in Bloom Week

This week is Communities in Bloom Week in Strathcona County — as proclaimed by Deputy Mayor Aaron Nelson. The full proclamation is here.

“Communities in Bloom Week celebrates the positive impact Communities in Bloom has on communities. Residents of all ages and abilities can make a meaningful impact by volunteering with Strathcona in Bloom. From nominating your neighbour’s garden, to picking up the trowel and maintaining a flower bed in your neighbourhood, anyone can become involved!”

Preparations for this summer are well underway — greenhouses have been contacted, bed plans are being made, volunteers are being recruited etc. It is not too late to volunteer. We still need 10-20 volunteers to do our best this summer. Check out our Volunteer posts and let us know. We need all of you to be the best we can be.

Indoor Planting Calendar

Spring has been slow to arrive ….. but we all know it will come and, before too long, summer will follow.

Do you start plants indoors from seed to transplant outside? If you are thinking of starting vegetable seedlings, here are some recommendations for gardeners in our area.

Things you could have started in March

The best time to sow pepper seeds indoors is the beginning of March. Try to keep them as warm as you can during germination by keeping the seed tray by a sunny window.

Seed your tomatoes about 8 weeks before the last frost (around early March).

Sow the seeds about 3 mm deep in a moist seedling mix. You won’t need excess light during germination but as soon as they emerge pour as much light on them as possible.

Things to start in April

Broccoli and Cauliflower
It’s a good idea to start broccoli from seed in early April to make sure it’s ready for harvest before the first hard frosts of fall. Provide lots of light and keep it inside until the last frosts have passed.

Cucumbers are easy to grow indoors and started them in mid April will give a convenient jump start to the season. Plant the seeds about a half inch deep in 3” pots. I recommend only planting 1-2 seeds per pot as they grow quickly.

The seeds prefer a temperature of 20-25 degrees C, but will germinate, albeit grudgingly, with slightly less.

Zucchini & Summer Squash
Starting squash from seed is easy and can be done in late April. Make sure you have a warm spot (above 20 degrees C if possible) and plant 1 or 2 seeds in each 3” pot.

Keep the soil moist and they will germinate in about a week. Give them as much light as possible and they’ll grow quickly. They grow quickly so don’t start them too soon.

Most other vegetable seeds can be seeded directly in the garden when the soil is warm — you can plant them a few weeks before the expected last frost as it will take time for them to germinate. We need a little sun and warm temperatures to warm our soil up this spring!!

Most flower seeds should have been started now if you already haven’t — they take a bit longer to get to a size suitable for spring transplanting.

Flower Power: A Guide to Caring for Easter Flowers Indoors

daffodils in yellow with green leaves
Photo by Tim Gouw on

Spring is coming, and with it comes the beautiful sight of blooming Easter flowers. Whether you received them as a gift or bought them for yourself, you’ll want to make sure they stay fresh and vibrant for as long as possible. In this post, we’ll take a look at the five most popular Easter flowers and share some tips on how to care for them indoors.

Daffodils are the quintessential sign of spring and are a popular choice for Easter bouquets. When you bring them inside, make sure to place them in a cool room away from direct sunlight. Change the water daily, and trim the stems every few days to keep them fresh.

Tulips are another springtime favorite and come in a wide range of colors. They are best kept in a cool room, but not too cold. Keep the water level just below the bottom of the bulb and change it every other day. Trim the stems at an angle to help them absorb more water.

Hyacinths are known for their fragrant blooms and come in shades of pink, purple, blue, and white. They should be kept in a cool, bright room away from direct sunlight. Water them well and keep the soil moist, but not soggy.

Easter Lilies
Easter lilies are a symbol of purity and are a popular choice for Easter decorations. They prefer cool temperatures and bright, indirect sunlight. Water them regularly, but make sure to avoid overwatering as they are prone to root rot.

Irises are a beautiful addition to any Easter bouquet, with their delicate petals and vibrant colors. Keep them in a cool room with plenty of light, but away from direct sunlight. Change the water daily and trim the stems every few days.

Caring for Easter flowers indoors is easy as long as you follow a few simple tips. Keep them in a cool room away from direct sunlight, change the water regularly, and trim the stems to help them absorb more water. With a little bit of care, your Easter flowers will continue to brighten up your home long after the holiday has passed.

Go Slow on the spring Garden Clean-up

Spring is a great time of year to start preparing your garden for the warmer weather, but it’s important to resist the urge to start cleaning up too soon. In this blog post by the Xerces Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of invertebrates and their habitats, the key elements to consider before jumping into garden cleanup are highlighted.

Consider the timing of your cleanup. Early spring is a critical time for many beneficial insects, such as native bees and butterflies, as they emerge from hibernation and begin their search for food and shelter. By removing dead plant material and debris too early, you may be removing important habitat and food sources for these insects.

Consider the type of plants and flowers you have in your garden. Many native plants, such as milkweed and goldenrod, provide important food and habitat for pollinators and other beneficial insects. By leaving these plants standing throughout the winter, you provide essential shelter and food for insects during the colder months.

The third key element to consider is the use of pesticides and herbicides in your garden. These chemicals can be harmful to both beneficial insects and the environment, so it’s important to use them sparingly and only when necessary.

In summary, while it may be tempting to jump right into garden cleanup as soon as the weather starts to warm up, it’s important to take a step back and consider the impact of your actions on the ecosystem around you. By waiting until the right time, leaving native plants standing, and minimizing the use of pesticides and herbicides, you can help support the important role that insects play in our world.

Communities in Bloom — National Edition

Strathcona County has officially entered the 2023 Communities in Bloom National Edition and International Challenge!

The National Edition includes the categories of Population, Circle of Excellence, Class of Champions, Grand Champions, International Challenge, and Special Attractions.

The International Challenge involves winners from Communities in Bloom, Britain in Bloom, America in Bloom, Tidy Towns of Ireland, Japan in Bloom, Comuni Fioriti (Italy), Belgium, Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia, and other countries competing based on population categories. An international jury will evaluate communities based on the accomplishments of the municipality, its businesses and institutions, and citizens and community groups.

We can’t wait to get started and show how beautiful Strathcona County truly is!

Stay Up-to-Date with Strathcona in Bloom’s Newsletter

If you’re a fan of gardening and nature, you’ll love Strathcona in Bloom. Our organization is part of Communities in Bloom and is dedicated to making Strathcona County a beautiful and sustainable place to live. We work hard to promote community involvement in gardening, environmental stewardship, and beautification projects.

One of the best ways to stay in the loop with Strathcona in Bloom is by subscribing to our newsletter. Our quarterly newsletter is packed with updates on our activities and upcoming events as well as other gardening tips. Here are just a few reasons why you should sign up:

  1. Get the Latest News and Updates: Our newsletter is the best way to stay up-to-date on all of our activities. You’ll get the inside scoop on our latest projects, including our Front Yard, Public Spaces and Community Flowerbed programs as well as information about community gardens, tree planting initiatives, and more. Plus, you’ll be the first to know about upcoming events like plant sales, garden tours etc.
  2. Connect with Other Gardening Enthusiasts: When you subscribe to our newsletter, you’ll become part of a community of like-minded individuals who share your love of gardening and nature. You’ll have the opportunity to connect with other gardening enthusiasts, share your own tips and tricks, and learn from others.
  3. Be informed first of opportunities to volunteer with Strathcona in Bloom and contribute to the beauty across our community.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up for Strathcona in Bloom’s newsletter today and stay in the loop on all of our activities. Together, we can make Strathcona County a more beautiful and sustainable place to live.

Scotts Gro for Good Grants

Scott’s Canada has launched an initiative called the “Gro for Good Grants” in support of community gardens and green spaces across Canada. The initiative will provide grants to support the development and maintenance of community gardens and green spaces, as well as educational programs that promote sustainable gardening practices. The initiative is part of Scott’s Canada’s commitment to promoting sustainable gardening and to helping communities create vibrant green spaces that improve the health and well-being of residents. The Gro for Good Grants will be available to eligible organizations and community groups across Canada, and applications are now being accepted.

Only 200 applications will be accepted nationally for these $2500 grants.

Colour of the Year — 2023

Are you starting to dream about your garden this summer? Have you started pouring over seed catalogs looking for ideas for your plantings?

purple, pansy, flower, bloom, communities, Strathcona, garden

Communities in Bloom nationally have chose PURPLE as the colour of the year for 2023.

Purple has a variety of effects on the mind and body, including uplifting spirits, calming the mind, enhanced feelings of spirituality and encouraging imagination and creativity.
From lilacs to coneflowers, from coast to coast, let’s paint the country purple!

We will all be watching for PURPLE across Strathcona County this summer. Let there be purple flowers but also purple cabbage, eggplant (can you grow it??), etc. etc. See what creative ways you can incorporate PURPLE in your garden this year.