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Want a beautiful garden that you can show off to friends, family members and visitors but don’t have the time to pinch, prune, weed and water all spring and summer? Well believe it or not you can have the garden you want without the hassle of weekly maintenance and upkeep. Just follow these four tips for achieving the perfect low maintenance garden.

Say Goodbye to Grass

Gravel garden

Your lawn is by far one of the most time-consuming, high-maintenance areas of your garden. It requires frequent watering, weeding and mowing. To really reduce the workload that goes into gardening, it’s best to replace grass with “hardscaping” alternatives such as gravel, pavers and stone.

Gravel is a great alternative. Unlike grass, which needs constant care and attention, gravel allows water to drain freely and requires very little, if any, maintenance throughout the summer. If you lay down landscape cloth before adding the gravel it will keep weeds at bay making it that much easier to maintain. Laying pavers and stone is another great way to reduce your garden’s to-do-list as it can create an aesthetically pleasing patio area that requires only a simple sweep from time to time.

If, to you, that patch of green grass is just something you can’t do away with completely, consider at least reducing the size of your lawn to make the maintenance more manageable.

Plant Perennials

perennial garden

If you are looking to save time when it comes to gardening then don’t plant flowers that require constant care. When you live a busy lifestyle the last thing you want to be doing is constantly watering your impatiens to keep them alive, or lifting and storing your delilah’s after each summer. To avoid these kinds of tedious tasks consider planting perennials. Unlike annuals, which have an expiration date of just one season, perennials can survive for many years. The top portions of perennial plants tend to die back each winter but will regrow again the following spring from the same root system. The ability for perennials to resurrect themselves saves you from having to replant your garden each spring. Low maintenance perennials include blanket flower, yarrow, and purple coneflowers, all of which can tolerate heat and drought and bloom all summer long.

Native Plants

Plants native to your region often require less maintenance and overall care than plants that originated in different regions or climates. They often need less fertilizer, water and pesticides. Putting native plants such as black-eyed Susan’s, butterfly milkweed, and New England aster in your garden will reduce your workload when it comes to tending to your garden.



Nobody likes to spend too much time watering plants and pulling weeds. An easy way to avoid these time-consuming tasks is to make sure you are using the right mulch on your garden. Organic mulches that include evergreen needles, shredded leaves and woodchips conserve moisture in the soil, reduce weed problems, and add organic matter and nutrients to the soil as they break down. Laying mulch in your garden will reduce the amount of time spent on watering, weeding, and caring for the plants in your garden.

much shot

There you have it! If you live a busy lifestyle, spend a lot of time away from the house, or simply can’t be motivated to spend your down time literally down in the dirt weeding and pruning your garden, now you don’t have to! While all gardens will call for a little maintenance, the ones planted with these tips in mind will require less time labouring over it and more time admiring it.

For inspiration on what perennials to choose for your garden this season visit Planter’s Barn Wildflower House online at or visit us in person at 5101 Dundas St., Thorndale, Ont.


If you’re a fan of General Mills Honey Nut Cheerio’s you may have noticed a change to their cereal box in the last couple of weeks. Instead of Buzz the smiling honey bee pictured on the front of each box, the company has decided to replace their long-time brand ambassador with a blank cut-out of Buzz for the duration of their six-week cause marketing #BringBackTheBees campaign.

“This is the first time in the brand’s history that we’ve taken ‘Buzz’ off of the box,” Emma Eriksson, director of Marketing for General Mills Canada told Adweek. “With ongoing losses in bee populations reported across Canada, we wanted to leverage our packaging to draw attention to this important cause.”

Removing Buzz from the cereal box is a move paired with the release of a tear-jerking video advertisement that features a compilation of viral videos that show animals being rescued by humans. Some videos from the compilation include the GoPro: Fireman Save’s A Kitten video and the ATE team rescue another baby elephant from well footage. To give the advertisement an even more emotional feel, the powerful videos are synced with a cover of Mr. Mister’s 1985 pop hit “Broken Wings” performed by Toronto’s Choir! Choir! Choir!


The message presented here is delivered loud and clear. The combination of emotion and fact makes it hard to ignore that it is in our human nature to help animals and it points the viewer in the direction of another species that needs our help: bees.

The decline in bee populations has been documented since the 1990s and continues to pose a strong ecological threat today. Natural causes such as diseases and parasites have always affected the lifespan of the bee, but human impacts such as industrial agriculture, insect-killing pesticides, climate change, and the loss of biodiversity due to monocultures are all culprits in the decline in bee populations.

But how does this decline really affect you? Sure you might like the sweet taste of honey glazed over your Cheerios for breakfast but on the other hand bees are also those pesky un-invited dinner guests that make outdoor dining a nuisance in the summertime. Well there’s more to bee’s than just their honey and their benefits to the ecosystem far outweigh any annoyance they might cause.

One-third of all of our food relies on the pollination process that bees naturally provide. When a bee collects nectar and pollen from a flower or a plant, some of that pollen from the flower’s stamen –or male reproductive organ– clings to the hairs on the bee’s body. When that same bee makes its way to the next flower it rubs the pollen off into the plant’s stigma –the female reproductive organ– allowing fertilization to occur and fruits with seeds to develop.

The labour of bees in this tedious pollination process allows us to enjoy the fruits, vegetables and nuts that we’ve all become so accustomed to. Without the presence of bees in the ecosystem, the growth of vegetables such as cucumbers and Kale, fruits including raspberries, strawberries and apples, and nuts such as almonds would all be negatively impacted.


But it’s not just General Mills that is using their presence in the public eye to shed light on the threat that the decline in bee population poses. Celebrities such as Morgan Freeman are also weighing in on the topic. Freeman, the award-winning actor known for his roles in The Shawshank Redemption and Million Dollar Baby, made an appearance on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon last year where he light-heartedly spoke about converting his 124 acres ranch in Mississippi into a sanctuary for bees. Just last month, Freeman sat down with Larry King for a more frank discussion on the importance of bees and their presence in the ecosystem.

With this growing topic being advocated for and discussed openly on public platforms by corporations and celebrities alike, it now comes down to the actions of the masses to see a significant change in helping sustain bee populations. But knowing where to start as just one individual trying to save an entire species can often be daunting. You want to help bring back the bees but don’t have a 124 acre ranch to devote to their protection like Morgan Freeman? Well don’t let that discourage you; it’s actually shocking how easy it is to contribute to this cause. Some easy solutions to help combat the decline in bee populations include planting bee-friendly plants such as wildflowers around your home and refraining from using insect-killing pesticides. General Mill’s #BringBackTheBees campaign is making it even easier to help by giving away free packets of wildflower seeds through their website in hopes of planting over 35 million wildflowers.

The goal is to “issue a call to action to Canadians to help plant 35 million wildflowers – one for every person in Canada,” Eriksson said on behalf of General Mills.

In a news release for General Mills Canada, Marla Spivak, an entomologist at the University of Minnesota outlined the benefits that wildflowers have for Canada’s bee population.

“There are a range of threats to Canada’s bee population, but among the biggest are the elimination of flowering plants and ground cover in urban and rural areas alike,” Spivak said. “The goal of planting 35 million wildflowers will go a long way toward helping provide the natural habitat and food supply that is essential for healthy, sustainable bee colonies.”

The planting of wildflowers is one important way to bring back the bees, and the incorporation of wildflowers in private home gardens, as well as local, regional and national landscaping projects can make a positive impact in the sustainability of bee populations in Canada.

The Planter’s Barn Wildflower House located in Thorndale, Ontario, just north of London, grows perennials and wildflowers to serve local nurseries, architects, and landscaping companies. Their passion for growing and providing high quality plants has allowed them to contribute an aesthetically pleasing element to landscaping projects within the community and in effect, to help produce bee-friendly environments within the local London area.

For more information on the Planter’s Barn Wildflower House, their products, and inspiration for your next project visit www.

The outdoor space you’re designing is your canvas, and you are its artist. Each new landscape is a clean slate to design something unique to suit your client’s taste and lifestyle.

Your outdoor space’s vibe is often primarily determined by its non-plant elements such as furnishings, archways, pathways, bodies of water, ornaments, rocks and even the type of containers that hold the plants. These non-plant elements are important to consider during the design process, as they really set the tone for the space.

Classic Garden:

You can’t go wrong with classic gardens. White columns and French planting boxes are timeless and beautiful in their simplicity.

Zen Garden:

Want to create a place suitable for meditation, yoga or relaxation? Stones, pebbles, ponds and bamboo will create more of a zen ambiance that is perfect for feeling closer to nature.


Contemporary Garden:

Is your client a bit of a hipster? Typically characterized as a collection of potted plants on the balcony of a high-rise, contemporary gardens can be very low-maintenance {hyperlink to my article on low-maintenance gardening} and convenient for the modern, urban gardener. All you need is some funky terracotta pots and you’re set.

Vintage Garden:

Love thrifting? Create a vintage garden. We recommend up-cycling any beer bottles, wine bottles, glass Christmas ornaments, mason jars or any old coloured glassware you may have to create these fun DIY glass ornaments for your garden. They will shine beautifully in the sun next to multi-coloured wildflowers.

Another thing to consider when planning your space is, of course, colour! Wildflowers come in all shapes, sizes, textures and colours, and the Planter’s Barn team is sure to be able to find some that suit your vision. If your goal is to attract bees and butterflies, click here. Otherwise, pick your favourite colour, but add some flowers that will act as an accent colour to your favouritecolour. It’s best to avoid the monotonous look, as this makes it harder to find a focal point. The Planter’s Barn shop page allows you to shop by colour, so you can easily find exactly what you’re looking for in a fraction of the time.

The design possibilities for gardens and landscapes are endless. Your outdoor space really is your canvas so have fun with it and let your imagination run wild.

Happy designing!

Everything you need to do for butterfly -worthy yards this spring

It’s astounding that 75% of the foods we eat, including chocolate, completely depend on pollinators like bees and butterflies. Creating hospitable homes for these creatures in your garden or landscape not only creates great photo opportunities for your website and Instagram account, but also does a lot of good for the environment and your taste buds.

With spring just around the corner, there is no better time then right now to start planning your garden or landscape.

So if you’re ready to wow your social media followers with stunning pictures of beautiful butterflies enjoying your landscape, here are some helpful tips:

Tip # 1: Think local! Bees and butterflies tend to prefer native over non-native plant species for pollination. Ensure you’re buying plants that are indigenous to your area.


Tip # 2: Plant the rainbow! Bees and butterflies are most attracted to areas with a wide array of brightly-coloured flowers. So don’t be afraid to mix it up! You really can’t go wrong with choosing a variety of colourful pansies and primroses, for instance.

If you want to get serious about attracting as many pollinators as possible, keep in mind that bees are known to be especially attracted to blues and purples. At Planter’s Barn, we carry some marvellous blue flowers like blue flax, great blue lobelia and purples like smooth asters, harebells and coneflowers that are sure to please bees and your social media followers!

When it comes to butterflies, however, they tend to prefer warmer colours like reds, yellows and oranges. We’ve got some truly exceptional red blanket flowers and some lovely yellow sweet black-eyed Susan that are sure to bring all the butterflies (and envious passers-by!) to your yard.

Tip # 3: Sun not shade- Bees and butterflies prefer warmth and sun to cooler, shadier areas. Make sure that at least some of your plants get plenty of sun!

Tip # 4: To truly feel at home, pollinators like bees and butterflies need both nectar flowers (like thistle) and host plants (like milkweeds). Planter’s Barn is fully stocked with a ton of variety of North American nectar flowers and host plants.

Tip # 5: Ditch the synthetic pesticides- they will deter bees and butterflies from entering your garden.

Finally, to make it super easy for you, you can shop our website here by colour, bloom time, plant type and more to ensure that you find exactly what you’re looking for in half the time.

Happy planting!

-The Planter’s Barn team

The lazy gardener’s guide to easy gardens

Love gardens but hate gardening? You’re in luck! {insert final website domain} has a low-maintenance plant section that we like to call “Light Needs,”making it easy for you to shop for easy to please plants. These North American native plants, like our geraniums and butterfly weeds, require very little attention. No green thumb required! Here are five our best fool-proof ways to enjoy your garden or landscape this spring without any hassle.






Tip #1: Native plants are the way to go. Planting exotic flowers will require a ton of work because you’ll have to try extra hard to mimic the conditions in which the plant is supposed to grow. Keep things simple and make sure you are choosing plants that are native to your area. Planter’s Barn is fully stocked with plants indigenous to North America, and our team is always happy to help you find low-maintenance plants that will feel at home in your specific area.

Tip #2: No sun? No problem! Our website allows you to shop by Full Sun, Full Shade or Partial Shade, so you can easily pick which plants are most-likely to thrive on your property, regardless of your gardening skills. If your property is super sunny, we recommend mainacht and lavender. For shadier areas, evening primrose and beardtongue are great plants that practically take care of themselves as long as they don’t have to deal with much sun.

Tip #3: Build a nutritious foundation. Your plants won’t have a hard time growing if they’ve got the right nutrients. Ensuring your plants grow in a nutritious soil is the easiest way to give them a boost. Mulch is the ultimate lazy gardener’s secret weapon. You can pretty much let mulch do the gardening for you. It’s great for preserving moisture, deterring the growth of weeds and even balancing changes in temperature. Mulch doesn’t have to be complicated, either. Your plants will thrive if you fertilize your soil with compost from your kitchen. Grab whatever fruit peels you have and throw them down on the soil before you start planting your seeds. Your plants will love you for it.

Tip #4: If you’re a gardening novice, pick plants that are well-known to be easy-going. Some of our favourites include astilbe and liriope. You really can’t go wrong with them.

Tip #5: Lastly, don’t stress. Gardening should be a relaxing, enjoyable part of your day, even if you spend very little time doing it. If it’s not, the Planter’s Barn team is always open to answering any questions you may have about any of our plants and we’ll be happy to assist you in choosing the most low-maintenance plants to begin with.

Happy planting!

-The Planter’s Barn team

Fine Gardening. “Creating a Low-Maintenance Garden.”

Glass ornaments for gardens are hugely popular on Pinterest and make for highly likeable Instagram posts. The best part is that these fun crafts can be incredibly easy and inexpensive to make. Plus, they’ll look stunning as they sparkle in the sun next to your perennials
The Planter’s Barn team has come up with an easy and up-cycled DIY garden decor project that you can work on this spring.

All you need is:

  • 1. Industrial Strength Adhesive or “super glue.”It can be purchased at your local craft store, Walmart or hardware store.
  • 2. At least three coloured glass vases, mason jars, bottles, old glass christmas ornaments or wine glasses of different shapes and sizes from your recycling bin, the local dollar store, thrift store or garage sales. Vintage is an asset! The more colour, the better- especially if you want to attract butterflies
  • 3. Paper towels
  • 4. Your own unique artistic vision!

What to do:
Simply start by applying your industrial glue to the bottom of a larger, sturdier vase that will act as your base and affix a smaller, more decorative piece to it. Let it dry overnight on some paper towels before adding your next piece. We recommended that you glue a plate to the bottom of your creation to add stability. When you’re finished, dig a bit of a hole in your garden, place your piece in the hole and add dirt around it to stabilize it.

You can also add coloured pebbles (which can also be purchased at dollar stores and craft stores) to your creation. To add even even more flair, consider adding inexpensive solar lights from your dollar store to add even more shimmer.

Bonus tip: to avoid the accumulation of water and subsequent mould or mosquitoes, try to design your creation in a way that will allow water to drip down like a water fall. For instance, invert a bowl rather than using it upright.

Here are some examples:
Recycled Glass Garden Ornaments


These would look beautiful amidst a bed of lavender, liriope, or even mainacht, or, ideally, whatever perennials are native to your area. The Planter’s Barn team are experts when it comes to plants native to the Ontario region.

Happy crafting!



" Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. "
Albert Einstein



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