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Stories Tagged - plants

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Jan. 14, 2021 | Tyler Difley

10 low-maintenance indoor plants to green up your home

If your home's interior is feeling a bit drab and lifeless, adding a handful of houseplants to the mix can make a world of difference. This is especially true during the winter, when a little bit of greenery inside can help you forget about the weather outside.

Courtesy of Sean Young

May 14, 2020 | Tyler Difley

Four ways to make the most of your balcony

For many residents of apartment-style condo buildings, a balcony offers a small, private slice of the outdoors – a place to kick back with a book, sip your morning coffee, catch a few rays, or enjoy an al fresco meal or cocktail.

In recent months, the widespread adoption of social distancing and self-isolation to combat COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of private outdoor spaces. For those who have them, balconies and backyards provide a crucial refuge – a safe space to get some fresh air while avoiding contact with other people.

CREB®Now Archive

July 18, 2018 | Donna Balzer

Packing up plants

How to take pieces of your garden with you when you move

If you want to move your entire garden when you sell your home, think again. First, it's illegal, and second, plants ripped out randomly in summer wilt and die unless pampered.

But what if you have a sentimental piece of grandma's peony, a special perennial plant or a friend's perfect poppy? Taking bits and pieces of your garden with you without changing the look of the yard is possible with these tips:
A simple windowsill is all that is needed to grow delicious, fresh herbs, like basil. Photo by Donna Balzer / For CREB®Now

April 27, 2017 | Donna Balzer

Kitchen herbs


Grow your own herbs and inspire your next culinary creation


Is there a shortage of basil at the store? No problem. Frost in the garden? No worries. Basil and other herbs are always in season and at your fingertips when you grow them right in your own kitchen.


A herb garden in the kitchen is amazing. And if you're the family cook or aspiring chef, you already know that fresh herbs bring meals to life. With a little space and the right kit, herbs practically grow themselves. Or, if you prefer a low-tech approach, even a modest a windowsill can suffice.


Photo by Donna Balzer / For CREB®Now

April 20, 2017 | Donna Balzer

A place for plants


By following three simple rules, you can keep your apartment plants happy and healthy


They say you should raise a plant before you raise a pet – it's a warm-up activity. At the very least, tropical plants are easier to take care of, and cheaper too.


Apartment-ready plants, typically in four inch (9 cm) pots, are available at most grocery stores. At that size they're not a big financial or emotional investment. Plus, tiny tropical varieties are just so cute. Before bringing home a baby houseplant, however, it's important to think of the light and space you have available in your apartment.


The usual definition of a weed is a plant growing where you don’t want it.   Identifying what's a weed, however, takes a bit more effort. Photo courtesy Donna Balzer/For CREB®Now

Aug. 08, 2016 | Donna Balzer

Crazy weeds

When you know it's too good to be true

newDonnaweb"Help! This plant is growing behind my office in Calgary and I can't identify it" tweeted Christene.

Gloria had some "wonderful old flowers" suddenly appear in her Canmore yard, so she sent photos by email. Mehran fell in love with a beautiful plant he saw in a Springbank ditch. He texted me a photo. Pretty and mysterious plants were suddenly on all my media.

"Our office building is about two blocks west of the Bow River. There's always a bunch of interesting plants growing out back behind the warehouse loading dock so I'm always trying to identify them, see if there are any plants I can steal to put in my garden. I had never seen anything like this one before and probably spent a good hour trying to figure out what it was," said Christene by follow-up email. But of course anything this exotic and pretty and springing out of nowhere could only be one thing. Christene and Gloria and Mehran all had or wanted to know more about weeds. Pretty, vigorous weeds.

May 27, 2016 | Donna Balzer

Fools rush in

Create a back-up plan with insulating fleece

newDonnawebIt's early spring and it seems like time to plant.

Well go ahead and shop 'till you drop. But consider holding back on planting the tender plants such as Hosta, Begonias and even Marigolds unless you have a backup plan this spring.

I'm not talking a big plan like a home greenhouse or sturdy cold-frame. The backup plan can be as simple as a few meters of insulating fleece, also sold as Reemay or spunbond polyester. This light fabric is sold in packages at hardware stores and by the meter from rolls in garden centres.

It is sold in different thickness levels and is good for different degrees of frost. Even the thinnest, lightest fleece materials will give a few degrees of frost protection, and that is what we need in May in Calgary.

April 11, 2016 | Donna Balzer

First signs of spring

Plants may not wear a watch, but they know what time it is

newDonnawebIt's March and days are ripe and sunny enough for a patio lunch downtown. Other days bring wind and snow and winter boots out of the closet. Seriously, is there really anything a newbie gardener can do outside this early in the season?

Sarah found out by accident that there is plenty you can do early. She attempted to plant her spinach in May with her other garden crops a couple of years ago and then found out, by surprise, that spinach could tell time. Perhaps not time the way people measure minutes but certainly plant time, as dictated by the sun and the moon.

When the days got longer close to summer solstice on June 21, Sarah's spinach, barely four leaves old, suddenly bloomed and went to seed. She was devastated because spinach is one of her favorite foods and it was finished for the season before July.

Donna flowers

Nov. 08, 2015 | Donna Balzer

Slow down . . . you move too fast

Three garden tasks you don't have to do this fall

newDonnawebMowing down your perennials the way you mow your lawn is not the best way to spend your time this fall. If you have your shears in hand, gently place them on the shelf in the shed and take a minute to read this fast-breaking gardening news.

1. There is no need to cut back most perennials in the fall:

Gardeners often cut plants back to within an inch of their life while plants are still green, still blooming or still providing interest. If you cut back green plants, you remove stored energy and weaken plants.

Jan. 13, 2015 | Donna Balzer

Shedding light on growth

Explore grow lights to boost seedlings this year

First the plants get tall and thin, and then they fall over and die.

Such is the fate of seeds grown too long on a winter windowsill.

Like Humpty Dumpty, a germinated seed can't be put back in the seed. Once seeds get enough water to germinate, they sprout and are suddenly desperate for light to grow. A windowsill can work for micro-greens, but larger plants need intense light to grow, and the easiest way to get it is to set up grow lights.


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