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Tips for a green thumb from Kelowna landscaper

Sam Geleynse owns and operates Vita Nova Landscape
Landscaping work completed by Vita Nova Landscape. (contributed)

Spring has sprung and that means spring cleaning.

Sam Geleynse, owner of Vita Nova Landscape in Kelowna, said it’s the perfect time to take spring cleaning outside.

“Right now is a huge opportunity before the shrubs and trees break out into leaf. You’ve got a bit of a window here where you can be more aggressive with your pruning, so it’s a good chance to get shrubs that have maybe grown out of control over the years back under control.”

Geleynse said it’s important to get the old leaves off your lawn so it can start to dry out from the winter.

If you want a luscious lawn, the landscaping expert said there are two key things to do, aeration and de-saturation. Aeration allows moisture to get down to the roots of the grass, while de-saturation removes winter build-up and promotes new growth.

Geleynse said he’s keeping a close eye on drought conditions, noting the Okanagan has had a number of very dry years.

“We’re actually about three years into some pretty significant drought, it’s been a recurring thing,” he said. “Right now, we’ve got a lower-than-normal snowpack which doesn’t bode well for the extra moisture we typically get down here during the spring melts.”

Geleynse commented that the consistent drought along with the cold snap seen in January is going to pose a challenge for crops, specifying lavender and roses as two plants that are more susceptible to the weather.

Despite the dry weather, there are a number of plants that will still thrive in your garden.

“The more that we can move in the direction of having stuff that is drought tolerant or low water usage the better the chance it has of surviving our climate, which seems to be getting drier all the time.”

Geleynse made a point of saying that drought-tolerant doesn’t have to mean boring. He said there are lots of plants that are full of colour and don’t require nearly as much water as others, and even edible varieties that can delight the taste buds.

The Okanagan Xeriscape Association offers a large plant database in which Geleynse said one can find all the ins and outs they need to grow plants in the valley.

Landscaping for the first time and not sure where to start?

Geleynse’s advice is to start with cleaning up your outdoor space and remove all the dead branches and leaves to give yourself a fresh canvas.

“We’ve got a really unique opportunity here in the Okanagan. I think we’ve got just about the longest landscape season we have anywhere in Canada, except for maybe down by the coast.” Geleynse said. “We’re really fortunate to have a long growing season, we have a warm climate overall, and so we’ve really got a unique opportunity to create some absolutely stunning outdoor spaces. My encouragement to everybody is to not only go out there and get their hands dirty and try to do something in their space themselves, there’s a lot that can be done and it doesn’t have to be complicated, it doesn’t have to be some kind of crazy tens of thousands of dollars project, it can be something like little changes in your yard that make it come back to life.”

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Brittany Webster

About the Author: Brittany Webster

A video journalist with Black Press Media. I recently made the exciting move from my radio anchor position at AM 1150 to this new venture.
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