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Archive for ‘May, 2018’

How to Pair Your Plants

One question we hear all the time is, “how do I know which plants to pair up in my garden?” We get it…with so many different species of plants, creating a cohesive garden can be a somewhat daunting task. We want you to take the beauty of St. Williams home with you, that’s why we’ve come up with this simple guide to help you get started on pairing your plants. Let’s get started.

Pair by Colourimage of: Plants paired by colour

Did we say simple, or what? The first way to pair up your plants is the most obvious, but doesn’t always occur to some people. There’s no need to overcomplicate things, try pairing up some plants based on their colour scheme. If the colour of two plants is pleasing to look at, then they’ll add some immediate flare to your garden for sure! Take St. John’s Wort (Hypericum ascyron) and Canada Anemone (Anemone canadensis) for example. The bright yellow pistil of the Canada Anemone is highlighted by the vibrant petals of St. John’s Wort. People passing by won’t be able to help but glance at your beautiful, colourful garden if you plant these or a similar pairing together!

Pair by Height

Think photo day at school – tallest in the back, shortest in the front. There’s a reason photographers do this, right? imageo of: plants paired by heightThe same basic principle can be applied when planning out your garden. It’ll be difficult to see any low growing plants if they’re planted amongst other plants of a similar height, and if you want to be able to quickly pick out what you’ve grown, that just won’t do. Take this ‘low grow meadow’ garden for instance. Side-Oats Grama (Bouteloua curtipendula) – standing at 2.5’ tall – has been planted in the back. In the middle, we have Upland White Aster (Solidago ptarmicodes) – coming in at an average of 1.5’ – and finally, Wild Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana) – sitting at just around 1’ – has been planted in the foreground for everyone to see. This style of pairing not only shows off a variety of colours, but leads the eye from the tallest plants, right down to the delicious Wild Strawberry, ending on it’s succulent, red fruit.

Pair to Attract

If you want to add another element to your garden entirely, consider planting not only for yourself, but our friends the image of: plants paired by attractionpollinators as well. In this example, we can see that Brown Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa), and Field Pussytoes (Antennaria neglecta) have been planted to attract butterflies to the garden. Each of these plants is a favourite of pollinators and planting them together will nearly triple the likelihood that you’ll see some fluttering guests in your garden. Butterflies aren’t the only pollinator in need of a place to rest and feed though. Check out our piece on pollinators right HERE for other plants that bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies are sure to stop by if planted.

Of course, these are just a few ways that you can go about pairing up plants for your garden. Other things to take into consideration are: what type of soil, sun exposure, and water level you’re working with, and which plants will thrive in those conditions. We hope this has helped you when making your decision of what to plant in your next garden or landscaping project and, of course, if you need any more recommendations, we’re here to help.

For more on everything involving native Ontario plants, stay tuned to stwilliams.com, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube so you don’t miss a thing!

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Species Profile New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus)

It’s finally here! The weather has taken a turn for the better, and that means that Southern Ontarians are looking forward to (optimistically) five months of beautiful, bright, sunny days to spend out in their gardens. To celebrate this, we’ve selected a plant that does best in full sun conditions to showcase as our May Species of the Month. The gorgeous New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus) will bloom into a beautiful white flower in the proper conditions, and is the perfect way to say, “bring on the sun!”


New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus) can grow to be between three to four feet high, and will spread across image of: new jersey teathree to five feet, making itself a great plant to cover some ground in your garden. It performs best in dry soil, shallow, rocky soil, or in drought conditions, so it truly doesn’t need that much water to thrive. What this plant does need, however, is sun. New Jersey Tea will soak up sunlight all day long, and in return, will produce beautiful, showy, white flowers that will add a lovely fragrance to your garden as well.

Did We Say Dry?

That’s right, New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus) is easily grown in average, dry to medium, well drained soils. The reason for this is that New Jersey Tea has thick, woody, red roots that go deep in to the soil and help the plant withstand overly dry conditions. Make sure you know exactly where you want to plant it though. Once these roots set up shop New Jersey Tea becomes very difficult to transplant.

What’s In a Name?

New Jersey Tea is a dense, rounded shrub that blooms cylindrical clusters of tiny white flowers on long stalks at the stem ends. It starts to bloom in late spring, and young twigs are noticeably yellow and stand out in the winter. Dried leaves from the plant were used as a tea substitute (without caffeine) during the American Revolutionary War, which is where the plant’s common name, New Jersey Tea, comes from. The plant also works wonderfully as a cut flower.

Pollinators Will Thank You

As is the case with many plants that we write about at St. Williams, New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus) image of: Ceanothus americanusattracts pollinators. While we’ll be the first to point out the importance of saving the bees, New Jersey Tea tends to attract hummingbirds and butterflies first, so if you’re interested in a picturesque garden rich with colourful, fluttering butterflies and adorable hummingbirds, then you should seriously consider adding New Jersey Tea to your garden this spring.

We couldn’t be more excited about the warm weather on the horizon, and think you’ll agree that New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus) is the perfect flower to welcome the sun into your garden. For more information on availability of the plant click here.

There’ll be more on New Jersey Tea this month, including ‘Fast Facts,’ ‘Did You Know,‘ and a ‘Species of the Month’ video! So stay tuned to stwilliamsnursery.com, and our Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages.

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