Bath Gardening Club and Horticultural Society - Gardening Tips

Garden Tips   



As far as possible, the garden tips shown on this page are relevant to the growing zones for Bath Gardening Club members. Gardeners rely on this information when choosing plants that have the best chance of doing well in our area. Read more...

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Email us with your question or tip and your submission may be a topic for discusssion at one of our regular monthly meetings, and the information provided could be posted on this page!

Garden Tip 
Dandelion Non-toxic Weed Killer Recipe:
  • 1/2 gallon of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 c table salt
  • 1/2 tsp Dawn liquid dish soap
  • Mix above ingredients in a spray bottle and spray weeds thoroughly.
    Kills weeds on first application. The Dawn dish soap strips the weed of its protective oils so the vinegar can work with deadly force.
    Safe for use in yards used by children and pets!!

    Submitted by Joyce LeBlanc


Tips on Pruning Broken Branches

Prune broken branches on shrubs or trees whenever they happen.

Submitted by Barb Bradford

Tips on Protecting Evergreen Trees

Remove winter protection (burlap) from your evergreens in early April after last snowfall and before the beginning of spring growth.

Submitted by Barb Bradford

Tips on Early Spring Annual Flowers

Plant pansies as they flourish in cooler weather. Seedlings may be planted outside when temperatures average 15 degrees and will tolerate nighttime temperatures down to 4 degrees. Prefer full sun but will tolerate partial shade. Taken from:

Submitted by Marnie Brough

Tips on Spring Pruning

Prune spring blooming shrubs such as Forsythia and Spirea after they have completed flowering.

Submitted by Wendy O'Neill

Tips on Insect Control

Save your eggshells during the winter. Have a stash ready in the spring to spread under Hostas, to ward off snails. Rinse the shells, air dry, crush and store in a recycled coffee can.

Submitted by Unknown

Tips on Protecting Evergreen Trees from Snow

Brush snow from evergreens as soon as possible after a storm. Use a broom in an upward, sweeping motion. Serious damage may be caused by heavy snow or ice accumulating on the branches.

Submitted by Wendy O'Neill

Tips on Insect Control

Plants to repel mosquitoes in your garden • Lemon Balm: best planted in a planter as it is very aggressive. Then simply place the planter near your seating area. • Marigolds • Basil and Lavender • Citronella grass, an ornamental grass.

Submitted by Marnie Brough

Watering the Roots

If you have thirsty plants like roses and hydrangeas, here is a simple tip on how to ensure that the water reaches down to the roots where it is needed most.

Simply dig in beside the plant an empty medium sized plastic flower pot with drainage holes in the bottom. Rather than watering the surface soil around the plant, simply fill the flower pot instead and the water will seep out from the bottom of the container to water the roots.

Submitted by Daniel ffolliott

Ants in your Flower Beds?

Keep your used coffee grounds until you have enough to cover the nest. They’ll move away.

Submitted by Gail Gault

Indoor Winter Plants

Coffee Plants make attractive indoor specimens. Give them oodles of light and rich, well drained soil with ample fertilizer. They will bloom in the leaf axils generally in late winter.

Ken Beattie

Raising Heritage Tomato Seedlings

  1. Put rocks in bottom of small margarine container
  2. Add earth
  3. In fall, put one small ripe tomato in it, cover with lid and place in basement (cold dark area)
  4. Bring up to light in March. Open container, add water, place in window
  5. Seedlings will start to grow in mid-April. Separate into individual containers, grow to desired planting size, then transplant to garden.
  6. Or sell for $1.00 each seedling at Gardening Club plant sale.

Submitted by Barb Bradford

Over-Wintering Your Dahlias

Bateman's Dahlias In an attempt to develop the easiest method to store our twenty five plus dahlia tubers over the winter months, I have come up with this system that has worked quite well for the last two years.
  • leave the tubers in the ground in the autumn as long as you can. They need to be hit by a killing frost and blackened. Last fall I did not dig them up until November 10
  • Dig up the plant and cut off the stalks approximately six inches above the tuber
  • I do not wash them, or shake the earth from them, nor spray them,just let them sit for a couple hours as I dig them all out of the ground
  • Place them separately in plastic bags with a nice blanket of wood chips all around them. Not vermiculite or peat moss
  • I then place these bags of Dahlia tubers in containers (rubbermaid, plastic rain barrels etc.) and leave them in the garage until the nights are really cold and there is a distinct likelihood of freezing. This year it was Dec. 24th that I moved them down to our cold storage room.  They can be moved back to the garage sometime in March, depending on the weather
  • Once I bring them back up to the garage in March/April, I take them out of their comfortable bag of wood chips and place them in individual pots, give them a little water and wait for the sprouts to appear.  (Do not leave outside overnight if there is danger of freezing)
  • When danger of frost is past, transplant your sturdy dahlia plants to your garden.  They now have a good headstart
  • I have also concluded that our best dahlias grow in the full sun but are protected by a cedar hedge on the west side sheltering them from wind damage. I also use a very tall tomato cage on each dahlia plant for support

Submitted by John Bateman

Welcoming Birds to your Garden

As long time bird lovers, we have come to the conclusion that the larger the menu we offer our birds, the more we attract and the greater the variety that appears. Mixed birdseed, two types of sunflower seeds (black-oil by far the most popular), and nyger seed continue to attract a wide variety of sparrows, finches, juncos, mourning doves, blue jays, cardinals (especially plentiful this winter) and starlings (remember "all God's critters got a place in the choir"). Others, like the woodpecker, nuthatch, chickadees and grackles love suet, peanuts in the shell, crunchy peanut butter (special feeders for such available from Kym Tyson) and, of course, the proverbial bread crumbs/crackers. We also know that although some birds prefer to feed from an elevated tray or feeder, others like the cardinals and juncos are more comfortable feeding at a lower level or on the ground.

Always remember to feed on a daily basis and remove old or wet feed from the feeders regularly. Store your feed in a cool, dry place, preferrably in lid-covered containers. And don't forget water - who doesn't enjoy a nice drink even on a winter day? There is nothing more mesmerizing than to watch the sparrows and finches drinking and taking baths in the birdbath on a mild winter's day. A wide variety of birds in your garden during the winter can add a different dimension of interest and you will be rewarded by their colour, movement and special characteristics. You will no doubt develop an increasing interest and appreciation of birds and birdlife.

Submitted by John and Valerie Bateman

Some Gardeners Promote Epsom Salts

  1. Herbs: To improve the flavour, treat Herbs with an occasional dose of Epsom salts. Mix 2 tbsp. /25 ml Epsom salts in one gallon/4 liters and give them a good drink. This will produce sturdier stems, stronger growth and make them more resistant to marauding insects.
  2. Roses: Epsom salts supplies magnesium to the soil, so add a least 1 tbsp. /15 ml to the base of rose bushes in May and then again in June, to encourage new growth.
  3. Vegetables: Epsom salts spread around vegetables such as lettuce and cabbage keeps slugs away.
  4. Spring Flowers: In the spring don’t you wish you could keep those daffodils, tulips, hyacinths going longer? When you see the first signs of growth in the spring, mix 2 pounds of bone meal with two pounds of wood ashes and one pound of Epsom salts, and sprinkle the mixture on the soil around the plants. This will fortify the bulbs and give them extra strength for their blooming journey.

Submitted by John E. Bateman