Spring has finally arrived, which means homeowners are starting to think about home renovations, but that’s not all. Gardening enthusiasts are preparing for, well, gardening! The country’s biggest flower and garden festival – Canada Blooms – had its very own flower expert on hand to provide the very best advice in the business.
Last Saturday, the last day of the National Home Show and Canada Blooms event, featured Frank Ferragine, a.k.a Frankie Flowers, was on hand to talk about taking the work out of
gardening. No stranger to the gardening world, Ferragine (you may recognize from Breakfast Television Toronto) brought his charm, charisma and knowledge to the main stage.
If Canada Blooms charged its visitors a fee to attend keynote speaker presentations, then they would have had a sold-out audience! It was a free event and there hardly any empty seats. In fact, crowds of people were standing around the seated audience, intently listening to Frankie Flowers’ advice.
It’s no wonder this Ontarian drew such a big crowd. Ferragine is personable and extremely knowledgeable. I have no shame in telling you I have absolutely no knowledge or experience with gardening, but he speaks with such passion that I want to start simply because I heard him talk about it!
Ferragine talks flowers at Disney World
Some people visit the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida to visit the fun parks and go on some rides. Not Ferragine! He visited the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival at the park earlier that week. He shows the audience what the gardening experts curated there and were they a sight to see! If you’re a beginner, Ferragine was quick to tell us not to get discouraged by the life-size images of topiaries carved into popular Disney characters.
“Is 3,000 people practical for a home gardener? No!” he jokes to the crowd. Yes, that’s how many people it takes to maintain the gardens at the Epcot park! Luckily for you, Ferragine’s advice is strictly for home gardeners doing the work themselves.
Your garden is an opportunity for colour
“Gardening is like outdoor interior decorating,” Ferragine told the crowd. “They [flowers] always tell a story.” Not only that, but Ferragine says gardeners are artists playing with colour. What’s the lesson here? Don’t be afraid to play with colour! He recommends planting perennials. These flowers, although they bloom for a limited time, add a burst of colour to your garden. More importantly, they can be planted anywhere in your landscaping.
Here’s Ferragine’s take on spring gardening trends:
Garden beds require proper drainage
“You wouldn’t sit in a bathtub for 24 hours, would you?” Ferragine asks the crowd. “Neither do your plants.” Ferragine’s figure of speech transitions seamlessly into his next gardening lesson: when it comes to planting, there has to be proper drainage. If there’s too much water in the container and the soil remains wet, the plants won’t grow. A raised garden bed allows for proper drainage since the soil is above ground level. I guess that’s why they call it raised. As a gardening newbie, I did not know that! Not only that, but Ferragine tells the crowd that in a raised garden bed, the soil gets warmer faster, which accelerates the growth process. Keep these tips in mind and your garden will flourish in no time.
Planting in containers? Don’t use water bottles
If you prefer potted plants to a raised garden bed, there’s nothing wrong with that. After all, they’re easy to move around on your properly. But, Ferragine warns, do not weigh down the container with empty water bottles just because they’ll make the pots lighter. If gardeners don’t weigh down the containers using rocks or stones, they’ll topple over in the summer wind. “It will just fall over, fall over, fall over,” Ferragine says. Besides, who wants to see flattened plants and soil strewn across their yard after all that hard work?
If you’ve killed a plant, you’re not alone
“Who here has killed a plant?” Ferragine asks the crowd. Out of a crowd of at least 100 people, maybe 5 people raise their hand. “The people that didn’t put their hand up are liars!” jokes Ferragine. “If you’ve ever gardened, you’ve killed a plant.” Ferragine says there are a couple of reasons why plants die from time to time.
- Not using proper soil. Turns out, not all soil is the same. Buy potting soil for plants in pots and containers. You’ll see a difference in plant growth immediately.
- Lack of soil mass. “I want to make sure I have good soil mass,” says Ferragine. “Look at the depth of [the container].” If there’s not enough soil in the pot, the plant will dry out quickly and the plant won’t grow. Once you strike a balance between soil and moisture, your garden will flourish.
Learn when to say goodbye
Ferragine is good at making gardening relatable to real-life situations. Ferragine says like a needy friend, a needy plant needs to be cut off. If you’ve kept a plant in your garden for 3 or 4 years that’s a nuisance – it doesn’t bloom, it doesn’t grow, yet every summer, you spent countless hours replacing the soil, trying to make it grow, it’s time to go. Don’t waste your time with these plants, for they require too much of your time and energy. Instead, invest in a brand new plant. Follow Ferragine’s tips to ensure gardening success this summer season.
Say goodbye to old plants and hello to a new garden worthy of showing off. Consult our list on top landscape and gardening experts. Their design, maintenance and gardening expertise can make your property come to life.