New Friends in the Butterfly House

So we’ve had a few additions to the Butterfly House that we didn’t really expect. First off we spotted some new baby quail! Very cute I must say! Then we found that some of our atlas moth caterpillars had hatched and the caterpillars are eating and eating, getting ready to make a cocoon.  Here are some neat pictures, but nothing beats coming in and seeing it in person!

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Fall Sweaters, Tulips… and coffee??


Well, the weather is still pretty nice (knock on wood), but there is that crispness in the evening and the morning that is nagging us to get our sweaters out. This means that some preparation is in order to get ready for fall. We have just recieved our fall bulbs, and we have our fall lawn fertilizer out. Our mulch is on sale right now for $1.00 off/bag! Other than that, some fall pruning and then let those perennials, trees and shrubs go dormant, and put the annuals in the compost bin.

Once you have your bulbs planted and you’ve tucked those plants in for their winter nap, what better way to kick back than with a hot beverage. What would you think if the Windmill Garden Centre could serve you up a tasty London Fog, or a yummy mocha? We hope to be able to do that for you very soon, so when you come down to look at our Christmas trees you can have a hot tasty coffee treat! If you are excited about this leave a comment or like this post on facebook. We would love to hear your thoughts!

We do still have perennials, trees, and shrubs which are still alright to plant as long as you water, water, water! Anywho, make sure to leave a comment, and have a happy weekend.

Love the Windmill Garden Centre

Bumble Bees and Buterflies

I recently went camping to Elkwater in the Cypress Hills and on a hike saw some beautiful wild butterflies and bees! Plant a butterfly garden and a few bee attracting plants and you too could have some nature photography to do. Let’s stay green so we don’t lose any more bees!!

Here is a local woman who makes delightful treats with the help of bees! Click Here!

And here is some nature photos! Enjoy!

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Ugly Nest Caterpillars

There have been many people coming in lately with a silky mess in their trees. These are most likely Ugly Nest Caterpillars. Right now these guys have eaten their share of leaves in your tree but are getting ready to change to a moth and fly away from your sight all together. They are protected by their nests at the moment and cannot be treated with poisons. So don’t even bother! If these little devils are really bugging you, you can try removing them from your tree by hand. Simply cut off the branch nesting these caterpillars and throw them in a garbage bag, or burn them. They will not harm your tree, and they have most likely already eaten all they needed so no more leaves will go missing. Relax your garden and trees will be fine. Nature can be a little bit messy.

For any other garden concerns please call us or come to see us at the Windmill Garden Centre!

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Atlas Moth Back in Town!

We have the Atlas Moth once again. We have been asked to share when it is out so that our butterfly/moth lovers can come and take a peek! We hope you can come down to see this lovely piece of nature up close and personal!


Blue Morpho Madness

The butterfly house is stocked full of Blue morphos these days, and they aren’t afraid to land on you!

Come down for a beautiful experience with some beautiful butterflies!

We also have some great summer sales on right now. All bedding plants and flowering hanging baskets are on for half price, and our perennials are all 30% off! Come visit this weekend!

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Planting Potatoes!

We have received our seed potatoes and onion sets at the Windmill Garden Centre!

We have a nice selection of specialty potatoes as well, like the Caribe which always goes quickly, so come down soon and pick up your bag today. If you aren’t sure how to plant potatoes but would like to start, here’s a little po-ta-to in-fo!

The first step to planting a high yielding potato patch is making sure you have fertile soil. Potatoes do well in a soil that is slightly acidic, loose, and sandy. There are certain things you must avoid with potatoes such as lime and fertilizers high in nitrogen as this can cause scabs on your potatoes. Use a fertilizer high in potash for nutrients, and add some aluminum sulphate if your soil is not acidic enough, just avoid getting any on your tubers.

To get the potatoes ready for planting, you have to let the eyes sprout, which is called “chitting”. To “chit” a potato simply means you are allowing the potato to grow a sprout. Just stand the potatoes with their eyes up in a tray, and in the company of some natural light. When the shoots are almost an inch long you may plant them outside! This is not necessary but apparently it helps.

Plant the potatoes outside when the soil has started to warm. This would be right away here in Medicine Hat. Be careful when you are planting not to break off the sprouts and make sure the sprouts are facing up. Lightly cover your potatoes with soil. As the sprouts grow taller, more soil should be added to the pile to keep the potatoes safe from the sun. Watering is essential especially in the hot summer months. For pesky bugs add nematodes to your garden. They will attack those pesky wireworms that like your potatoes as much as you do!
By June you should have enough potatoes to make some tasty French fries! Dig up the potatoes as you need them as they keep better in the ground, and most of all… have fun!!

The Herb Garden

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One of the most simple and useful type of gardens one can have, is the herb garden. If have just bought your first packet of basil seeds, or are a herb growing pro, a herb garden can bring you happiness. Gardening in general has already been found to be good for your health whether it is flowers, vegetables, or herbs. Herbs however, can also spice up your life!

There are many different kinds of herbs you can grow. Some are grown for cooking, some for teas, some even for medicinal purposes.

Basil, oregano, and parsley are great examples of cooking herbs. Simply find a spot in a sunny location, plant the desired herb in a pot or in the ground, and trim off what you need! Any recipe that calls for dried herbs can be replaced with fresh ones, and you will notice the difference in the taste.

Mint, chamomile, anise, lemon verbena, lemon balm, and sage are great for teas. There are many other hers you can grow for herbal tea so have some fun trying new mixtures and growing new things. All you need for tea is some hot water, a pot, and of course, herbs!

Another herb I would suggest trying this year is Stevia (Sugar Plant). It is a great substitute for sugar (and it won’t rot your teeth). Stevia is a lot sweeter than sugar and can be substituted in baking, sprinkled on fruit, or just chewed on for the fun of it. Try growing and drying Stevia to add to your her garden this year.

Pour boiling water over tea herbs: Use 1 cup of boiling water to 1 teaspoon dry or 1 tablespoon fresh herbs per cup. If making in a pot, add an extra teaspoon or tablespoon (if using fresh) – this is called “one for the pot”. Cover to prevent aromatic steam from escaping. Let steep for 3-5 minutes. Don’t steep longer because the tea will have a bitter flavour. If you want a stronger flavour, add more herbs.

Good herb combinations:
• Ginger, lemon, honey, cayenne pepper. Good for upper respiratory ailments
• Thyme and sage, with a bit of ginger – great for sore throats.
• Spearmint, lemon balm, hibiscus flowers, lemon peel, rose petals and cinnamon sticks.
To sweeten herbal tea: A natural herb, like Stevia or honey.