Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver

Leave a comment

3 top garden tips for summer


Deadheading truly is addition by subtraction when it comes to keeping your garden in full bloom. Make sure to remove the entire flower from the stem. Photo by Julie Cheng


During the dry summer months, managing your garden turns into more of a survival game than anything else.

Proper watering, pruning, and deadheading are all essential to keeping your garden fresh as the summer months carry on. Whether you are an experienced gardener or someone that is just getting started, remember these important tips while executing these fundamental gardening tasks.

1. Watering

  • When watering planters, fill the pot until there is a thin layer of water on top of the soil and then let it drain. Repeat 5 to 8 times depending on the size of the container. If the soil is still absorbing the water rapidly, keep watering until the absorption slows.
  • Even after what feels like significant rainfall, continue your watering routine. If you check the soil after some rain, you’ll see that it is often only the top layer that gets wet.
  • For larger plants such as shrubs and small trees, extensive watering is required. If you notice any signs of wilting, start putting either a soaker hose, or some sort of continual watering apparatus, on the plant for at least a couple of hours a day. The permanent wilting point (PWP), is when your plant has wilted past the point of no return. To avoid this, ensure it is given significantly more water at any sign of wilting.

2. Pruning

  • While certain plants call for specific pruning guidelines, a good rule to stick by is always cutting at a “crotch,” where the branch you are pruning meets another branch or the main stem/trunk. Cutting at a crotch will allow the plant to maintain a natural shape, as cutting mid branch often causes “suckers,” where are new growths that extend straight up in undesirable fashion from the point that was cut.
  • When pruning roses, always try to cut back to a branch that has at least five leaves on it. If that’s not possible, aim for a “node,” a small bump where new growth is beginning.
  • Always be on the constant look out for dead limbs on your trees. Not only are they a danger to the people walking below, removing the dead weight will encourage quicker regrowth.

3. Deadheading

  • Like weeding, deadheading can be a tiresome but ultimately worthwhile endeavor. Continually removing the dying flowers from a plant, before they seed, forces the plant to keep producing more and more flowers.
  • Make sure to remove the entire flower from the stem. An efficient technique can be found by just using your thumb and your index finger to pop the flower heads off.
  • If you are not in a position to deadhead regularly, don’t hesitate to remove flowers that are only beginning to show signs of decay. As contradictory as it feels, deadheading during the flowering season truly is addition by subtraction when it comes to keeping your garden in full bloom.

Soren Elsay has worked as a professional landscaper in Vancouver. He is an aspiring writer with a bachelor of arts from the University of British Columbia.

Copyright 2019 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

Leave a comment

June 2019 issue of RCC News is here

RCC News June 2019

This issue of the RCC News full of the many wonderful people, events and programs happening in our neighbourhood.

Get your latest issue of the RCC News at your local coffee shop, grocery store, library and community centre.

Or click on the cover image to view the new issue.

In this issue:

  • Collingwood Corner: The Birds’ Paradise
  • New exhibit at Il Museo on the immigrant experience
  • On volunteering by Vince Prasad
  • Youth Celebrate Canada Day – July 1 at Renfrew Park Community Centre
  • Local volunteer Janet Lee featured on CBC
  • 3 garden tips for summer
  • Help your native bee pollinators

Do you have a local story to tell or an event to share? We’d love to hear about it! Email

The deadline for the July 2019 issue is June 10. We welcome story submissions from 300 to 400 words long. Accompanying photos must be high resolution in a jpg file at least 1 MB large and include a photo caption and the name of the photographer.

Leave a comment

4 gardening tips for fall


Do not be afraid to cut hydrangeas back quite drastically once they finish flowering. Photos by Julie Cheng


The days of tank tops and bare feet in the back yard have come to an end. However, as experienced gardeners know, garden work is a year-round process. While the spring and summer are where the excitement happens, what you do during the fall and winter plays just as crucial a role in your garden’s fortunes.

The conditions may be less than ideal for being outside, but make sure you find time to properly put your garden into hibernation mode by following these tips.

1. Plant bulbs

The best way to make sure springtime starts off with a bang is to plant bulbs in the fall. Aim for planting them from the middle of October until the end of November to see them emerge in full bloom in the spring. Make sure they are planted four to eight inches below the surface and most types, such as the ever-popular daffodils, should be planted in groups of five or more per hole.

Unfortunately, bulbs are a favourite treat of the local wildlife. Try deterring them by coating your bulbs in baby powder just before they get put in the ground.

Keep your bulbs dry at all costs while storing them. Wet bulbs tend to go bad very quickly. If a bulb is black or mushy, don’t put it in the ground and expect it to grow.

2. Cut down perennials

Perennials, as opposed to the one-season-and-done “annuals,” are plants that return every year. But that does not mean you let them wither and die though the winter. Cut down them down to the ground once they turn brown or begin to look unpleasant. They will be back.

Cut down perennials like peonies right to the ground once they turn brown.

3. Prune hydrangeas (if you have them)

Although brilliant when they flower throughout the summer, hydrangea bushes tend to get overgrown and hard to manage very quickly. To keep them under control, do not be afraid to cut them back quite drastically once they finish flowering. It’s not unheard of to prune it down to two-thirds or even one-half of its initial size. Always make your cut just above a fresh bud or at “crotch” (where a branch meets another branch).

4. Leave the leaves

Understandably most people like the tidy look of not having brown leaves scattered across their lawn; however, I would advise leaving or even putting a layer of leaves on top of your garden beds once the plants are done for the season. The leaves will provide both insulation against the cold for the bulbs still in the ground as well as an influx of nutrients as the leaves decompose over time.

Soren Elsay has worked as a professional landscaper. He is an aspiring writer with a bachelor of arts from the University of British Columbia.

Copyright 2018 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News