New Plants 2015-Organic Heirloom Vegetable, Fruit and Herbs

In CategoryGet it Growing, Grass Root Gardens NEWS, Organic Vegetable Plants


Cosmos-Sonata Mix
Lavender-Ellagance Purple-(non-heirloom)
Lettuce-Red Velvet
Marigold-Antigua Mix
Nasturtium-Whirlybird Mix
Parsley-Dark Green Italian
Pepper-Hot Cayenne-Long Thin Red
Pepper-Hot Habanero -Maya Red
Pepper-Hot Hungarian Wax
Pepper-Hot Jalapeno-Raam
Pepper-Sweet Bell-California Wonder
Pepper-Sweet Salsa-Pimento
Swiss Chard-Rainbow
Thyme-Winter Thyme
Tomato-Black Cherry
Tomato-Bloody Butcher
Tomato-Bonny Best
Tomato-Chocolate Cherry
Zinnia-Lilliput Mix
Blueberry-Blue Crop-Organic-(non-heirloom)
Rhubarb-Canada Red-Organic-(non-heirloom)

New Plants 2015-Perennials

In CategoryGet it Growing, Grass Root Gardens NEWS

Like you, we too are eager and excited to add new perennials to our ever-growing list of plants we grow at Grass Root Gardens. Some of these perennials make the list year after year, for their popularity and proven track record with our zone 5 gardeners.

Type Description Common Name
tub. ASCLEPIAS-Tuberosa Butterfly Weed/Milkweed
dav. BUDDLEIA-Black Night Butterfly Bush
CALAMAGROSTIS-Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass
COREOPSIS-Big Bang™Mercury Rising Tickseed
CROCOSMIA-Lucifer Montbretia
dwarf DELPHINIUM-MagicFountains-Dark-Blue-White-Bee Larkspur
spe. DICENTRA-Spectabilis Old-fashion Bleeding Heart
pur. ECHINACEA-Magnus Purple Coneflower
rug. EUPATORIUM-Chocolate Joe Pye Weed
gla. FESTUCA-Elijah Blue Blue Fescue
GAILLARDIA-Goblin Blanket Flower
HELIOPSIS-Helianthoides-Loraine Sunshine Perennial Sunflower
HEUCHERA-Caramel Coral Bells/Alumroot
HEUCHERA-Obsidian Coral Bells/Alumroot
HOSTA-June Hosta
HOSTA-Frances Williams Hosta
HOSTA-Patriot Hosta
pan. HYDRANGEA-Limelight PW Panicle Hydrangea
ang. LAVANDULA-Ellagance Purple Lavender
sup. LEUCANTHEMUM-Becky Shasta Daisy
spi. LIATRIS-Spicata Gayfeather/Blazing Star
asiatic LILIUM-Buzzer (Sweet Lord) Lily
asiatic LILIUM-Landini Lily
oriental LILIUM-Star Gazer Lily
cardinalis LOBELIA-Queen Victoria Cardinal Flower
sin. MISCANTHUS-Graziella Maiden Grass
alo. PENNISETUM-Hameln Fountain Grass
x-ad. PENNISETUM-Rubrum Fountain Grass
PENSTEMON-Hot Pink Riding Hood Beardtongue
PHYSOCARPUS-Burgundy Candy Ninebark
grand. PLATYCODON-Sentimental Blue Balloon Flower
moss SAGINA-Subulata Moss
int. SALIX- Hakuro-nishiki Tri-Colour Willow
sco. SCHIZACHYRIUM-Prairie Blues Bluestem/Prairie Grass
SEDUM-Matrona Stonecrop/Tall
sie. SEDUM-sieboldii Stonecrop/Carpet
dwarf SYRINGA- Bloomerang™ Purple PW Lilac Bush-Rebloomer

The Journey from Seed to Harvest – Sweet Pepper ‘Marconi’

In CategoryGet it Growing, Organic Vegetable Plants, Seeds

Well the journey from seed to harvest this year regarding peppers was long and often times uncertain due to weather conditions. Too cold, too much rain and lack of sunlight slowed the peppers greatly. Many farmers across Ontario had to plant a second crop of peppers this year to make up their losses and to have peppers for you the consumer.  There were many days I spied black trays of dirt praying for any signs of life. It wasn’t until late May when sprouting began in earnest and some varieties didn’t sprout until June, a few didn’t germinate at all.  Next year I will start the peppers 30 days earlier than this year. Oh it’s the farmer’s life for me,  I wouldn’t want to do anything else, so if waiting a few more months for peppers has to be – so be it. All the more sweeter!


According to the Marconi seed cultural notes Marconi is an Italian heirloom prized for extremely sweet, large red fruits. Plants produce 3-lobed tapered blunt-tipped fruits that measure 3″ at the shoulder and up to 12″ long. Excellent for using green, in fresh in salads, and also for frying. 70-90 days from transplant.

My Observations

Some peppers were ready for harvest September 17th, 2011. There are four more plants with dozens of unripened peppers as of this date. I would suspect they need another four weeks to harvest. Normally from seed to harvest these peppers should take 150-160 days but this year they needed a longer growing time at 210-240 days. Proving 2011 was a poor year for peppers in Windsor Ontario, at least for my Marconi’s. Long red Cayenne peppers seemed to do just fine.


Sowing the Seeds 2011

In CategoryGet it Growing, Organic Vegetable Plants, Seeds


Fall Gardening with Ornamental Grasses

In CategoryDeals, Fall, Get it Growing, Grass Root Gardens NEWS, Ornamental Grasses

A fall garden is not complete unless you have at least a few ornamental grasses. Partner them with other fall blooming perennials and shrubs for dramatic results and eye-popping colour.

In this picture-mums, asters, sedums, kale, and fountain grass grass. For less than 100.00 this garden could be yours. Grass Root Gardens would love to help you select everything you need to make this garden happen. Plant it once to enjoy for years. Sure its an investment, but think of what you spend on annuals per year-its a bargain! don’t have to water and fertilize it constantly like the annuals. I don’t know, why plant every year if you don’t have to. Just saying..

Fall Gardening with Ornamental Grasses
Fall Gardening with Ornamental Grasses

Love Ornamental Grasses? This Book is for You!

In CategoryFall, Get it Growing, Grass Root Gardens NEWS, Ornamental Grasses

You know what I like about this book on ornamental grasses? Everything! Whether you use it as a reference book or a casual read as a coffee table book, bored you will never be. Durability-wise it holds up nicely, the designs are before their time, thus never out-dated. I’m giving this book 5 green thumbs up.

From the moment I picked it up in 2002 I loved it. The photography is exceptional, and photographer Saxon Holt captures the breathtaking beauty of ornamental grasses in the landscape and garden in extraordinary ways. From cover to cover the author Nancy J. Ondra presents outstanding garden design showcasing the versatility and splendour of grasses for any garden setting. Discover unique ways to combine other garden plants such as perennials and shrubs with ornamental grasses to bring out the best in your garden year round.

Light, wind, texture, movement, drama, grasses do it all. To every home and commercial landscape embracing these lovelies there is joy in knowing very little maintenance is required to keep them at their best. One snip in the spring, amend the soil with organic matter, water and you are good to go for another year! So what are you waiting for-plant your grass today. You will love it..and the book too!

Excellent Book on Ornamental Grasses
Excellent Book on Ornamental Grasses-Versatile Partners For Uncommon Garden Designs

For more info and stunning photos..

Fall is the perfect time to plant a garden!

In CategoryFall, Get it Growing, Grass Root Gardens NEWS
Fall Gardening

Fall is the perfect time to plant a garden

Seasoned gardeners realize that fall is the perfect time to garden and not just for bulbs. There are a number of benefits to planting in the fall.  First, the weather is agreeable and the rainfall is generous. Fall is the time in which the plants focus on their root system rather than flowering, therefore, being very strong by the time spring comes when they are ready to flower. Basically you gain a whole year by planting in the fall. Secondly, the spring garden will grow in more fullywith the root system well established. And fnally the layout of the garden is clearly seen in the fall and the gardener is not left guessing at what was in that space! This allows planting and filling in with more confidence about the desired results.

Grass Root Gardens will help you plan your fall garden, assist in plant picks and answer your garden questions.



In CategoryDeals, Get it Growing, Promos & Events

P.J.M. Rhododendron is a dwarf broad-leaf evergreen(does not lose its leaves in winter) shrub presenting masses of pretty, fragrant, lavender flowers in the late spring. Small, rounded leaves bright green in summer, turn a gorgeous mahogany in winter. Tolerant of cold, heat, shade and sun, along with its compact, mounding form-make this one of the most versatile rhododendrons. Rhodos must have well-drained, rich acidic soil, use plenty of peat moss when planting.


Newly planted P.J.M. Rhododendron

Care and Cultural Tips:

P.J.M. Rhododendron is deer-proof and somewhat tolerant of urban pollution, benefiting from being planted in a somewhat sheltered location. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder zones. At maturity P.J.M. will grow 4 feet tall spreading 3 feet. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 40 years or more. Prune only after flowering to avoid removing any of the current season’s flowers. Feed rhodos after flowering with a low nitrogen/high phosphorous organic fertilizer.


Landscape Attributes:

An outstanding evergreen shrub planted in mass or standing alone as specimen. Consider planting with spring bulbs, hostas and ostrich ferns. For the zen garden pair this rhododendron with Japanese Maples and Lemon thread-leaf Cyprus.

rhododendron flower

Fragrant lavender flowers in late spring

P.J.M. Rhododendron as Specimen

P.J.M. Rhododendron as Specimen

Rhododendron foliage in winter

P.J.M. Rhododendron adds interest, texture and colour in the fall and winter landscape.




Mass of P.J.M. Rhododendron

Mass of P.J.M. Rhododendron


What is this plant?

In CategoryAdventures of Greenhouse Mama, Get it Growing, Wicked or Wonderful

I thought I knew a lot of plants by sight and I do, so when I discovered this plant growing behind the shed at my home in Windsor, Ontario, Canada I was taken with surprise. I first noticed its gorgeous purple-red stems and black berries arching towards the ground. Looking up a bit, I spied clusters of dainty white flowers dangling gently amid dark green broad-leaf foliage 4 to 5′ tall and wide.  Let me say this widened my curiosity even more!  Was this plant something wicked or something wonderful? Having looked a bit online and in the reference books I’ve yet to find my answer, but never say never. Heck its what GARDENING IS ALL ABOUT, opening one’s eyes, the quest to find the answer, nature’s treasure hunt!

So I’m off to find the answer, unless of course one of my readers has my answer. Until then..happy hunting.


The Journey from Seed to Harvest

In CategoryGet it Growing

French dramatist and diplomat, Jean Giraudoux once said, “The flower is the poetry of reproduction. It is an example of the eternal seductiveness of life.”

For me a seed is the expanding universe, the miracle of nature, treasured and sure. It is all things. It pulses through our veins just as surely in the oceans and the air we breathe. Seed gives us hope of a thousand tomorrows. Persons that are keepers of seed have a desire to sustain and protect it. This is not an easy task. You cannot simply toss a seed over your shoulder and hope a plant springs forth. The experienced seed keeper knows this, for they have learned the rhythm of science.

We can all learn to be seed keepers and stewards of our planet just by opening our minds to the rhythm of science through seed. The heart will follow. It is the reason.

I hope that my journey as a seed keeper will inspire and aid you, should you decide to participate in nourishing our planet in a safe, responsible manner.  Grass Root Gardens strives to use certified organic seed at all times, especially for all my vegetable, herb, and fruit seedlings. I am constantly looking for heirloom varieties that provide outstanding taste, texture, and colour.

When I started many moons ago, I had no clue what a seed looked like! Well I knew what a seed looked like; I just could not tell one seed from another. This made it extremely hard for me to collect seed from a flower, not knowing seed from shinbone. I looked in print and online for images of what the actual seed of a tomato looked like. I hit the jackpot; the information was plentiful, cultural information galore (excellent) but not one picture of the seed itself. Short of purchasing different vegetable varieties from my local supermarket (do not laugh, I have done that) to see the difference, I was at a loss for the information I so desperately wanted. Perhaps had I access to images when I began my journey as a seed keeper I would have saved time, money, and the seed! No regrets, the journey is the fun, the lessons learned, the reason. Having a little help on the path doesn’t hurt. Let’s go..


I started these tomatoes from organic seed in a heated greenhouse on March 27, 2011. Planted seedlings in the garden May 22 and picked them for eating August 3, 2011 at 7:15 pm. Minimal cost, maximum benefits. Delicious, nutritious, organic, and GM free!

Not new to me, Bonny Best tomato produces an early crop of sweet-tasting, medium sized tomato with high yield. On to the cherry tomatoes, Sweetie is what it says, sweet. I like its taste, early- delivery, high yield, and the skins do not split like other cherry tomatoes. New to me this year is the Black Cherry tomato. I was excited to try this heirloom variety and it did not disappoint thus far. Black Cherry seems to be an early variety with high yield. I will not know for sure until later, but hey, that is the journey, the rhythm. Black Cherry tomatoes are a bit larger than most cherries, and their purple colour will pump up the colour in any salad. Pop one of these plump toms from vine to lips, they really do taste like black cherries.




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