How To Find Parts For Lawn Mowers

If you are one of those who works usually with lawnmowers, then you probably already know the big importance that lawn mower parts have. No matter what model of machine you drive, it will need some parts replacement after some years of use. Even the best manufacturers’ models, which worked smoothly at the beginning or that model you bought being the sturdiest mower at the moment will have something broken and therefore will go wrong after few years.

Damage and wear are two of the most typical reasons for replacing lawn mower parts. Since wear refers to parts that have been working hard and do not perform as they should, damage refers to parts that are totally broken and need to be replaced completely. Wear situations come up usually due to worn parts. Unsharpened blades is a clear example of worn parts. You just need to sharpen blades and you mower will cut the lawn as a newer one. Damage situations are easy to detect because most of the times the engine doesn’t start at all. It can also happens that suddenly you’d had a lawn mower break when you have only mowed half of the garden size. It becomes an annoying situation and very embarrassing as well.


Put Your Lawn On a Diet

Those wonderful green lawns many homeowners care about so much can be made much more healthy if we put them on a diet. Overfeeding causes as many problems with lawns as it does with people. Fat lawns are not healthy lawns. Rather than go on about this problem, let me simply tell you about the research at the University of Guelph.

Researcher Christopher Hallfound there was a way to promote health in the lawn by the frequency of the fertilizer application and the amount of fertilizer applied. According the Hall, fertilizer for lawns should be applied three times per year. One quarter of the fertilizer being applied should be applied in early summer, (not early spring) when the ground warms up and the grass is beginning to really grow.


The Home Front: Down-to-earth

Water feature by Alchemie Landscape Architecture.

When someone is described as down-to-earth, it usually sounds like a compliment—grounded, equally so. Up-in-the-air, or flighty… less so. There seems to be a bit of universal acceptance that connecting with the earth is a good thing, which is perhaps why people love entertaining outdoors, weather permitting.

People often love the smell of earth, says landscape designer and master gardener Janis Matson, of Shoreline Landscape Design, who also teaches horticulture at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. And, she says, she and her colleagues have noticed a real uptick in the number of people growing their vegetables in Vancouver during these COVID months.

“It’s huge, absolutely huge! Flowers have been secondary. I was touching base with a couple of my nursery friends, and it was just nuts. Absolutely everybody has their own little


Brian Minter: Show your support for B.C.’s public gardens

VanDusen Garden Fountain in Livingston Lake.

If there was ever a time to support botanical and pleasure gardens in British Columbia, this is it.

Gone this year are the thousands of visitors from the United States and other countries around the world who came to B.C. to enjoy its natural beauty. Our public gardens are a big part of that experience.

As with so many businesses, the pandemic has had a devastating effect on tourism.

In the world of public gardens, the cost of maintaining them is relentless.  The constant maintenance — weeding, pruning, soil preparation, feeding, lawn mowing and the planting of annual and perennial colour — requires a great deal of labour and expense. This upkeep is quite disproportionate when compared to many other enterprises. The window for visiting gardens is also relatively short.

It is only recently that gardens have been permitted to reopen, and our summer will quickly disappear. Though several B.C. gardens are open year-round, the normally busy spring and summer months are largely what sustain these venues throughout the remainder of the year.

These factors combined mean that our province’s gardens would be greatly appreciative of your patronage this summer and fall. Their team members have been working hard to keep their gardens looking their best, and while some aspects of your visit may be different than before, you’re sure to feel the same sense of peace and enjoyment.

Many gardens require an online booking before arrival, so it is no longer a matter of just showing up.  Tickets can be purchased in advance online for several venues, or at the time of your visit for others, but please confirm before you head to your destination. Gift and plant shops, as well as restaurants, may or may not be open, depending on the situation at each garden.

Every garden is concerned about the safety of its team members and guests.  Social distancing is a huge factor, and the number of people allowed to visit at any one time will be monitored.

The 2m (6 feet) distancing protocol is an absolute must during this time; please ensure you respect this. Check each garden’s website for details or phone ahead for information.

These requirements reflect today’s new reality.  Thanks to the leadership of our current government and the guidance of our amazing health care professionals, notably provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia has one of the lowest rates of COVID-19 infection in North America.  We all need to keep doing our part by following these recommended guidelines, and that includes when we are visiting garden attractions.

Supporting the gardens in our province will also benefit us personally.  After being isolated and restricted for such a long time, surrounding ourselves with plants, trees and the beauty and colour of nature is, according to the World Health Organization, one of the best ways to relieve stress, improve our immune systems and benefit our overall health and well-being.

It is also a great opportunity for folks newly engaged in growing plants and food to see so many inspiring displays on how plants can be grown and cared for.

The need for our support of gardens now, as a community, cannot be overstated. They are among our leading provincial visitor attractions, and when this worldwide pandemic is behind us, tourism will be a key economic driver helping this province recover.

The following gardens are open to the public, but there may well be others in your region. Please take the time to review the details included on their individual websites pertaining to COVID-19 precautions and practices, because operating hours, entry details, service/amenity availability etc. will likely be impacted.

 Bloedel Conservatory. Francis Georgian / PNG

Bloedel Conservatory, Vancouver

Purchase tickets online in advance.

Dr. Sun Yat-sen Classical Chinese Garden, Vancouver

Purchase tickets online in advance.

 Nitobe Memorial garden at UBC.

UBC Botanical Garden (including the Greenheart TreeWalk), Nitobe Memorial Garden, Vancouver

Purchase tickets online in advance. The Shop in the Garden and Garden Centre is open, and UBC Botanical Garden will soon have more information available on booking small weddings.

VanDusen Botanical Garden, Vancouver

Purchase tickets online in advance. While the gift shop may be closed, Truffles Café is open, and one person/household in the maze at a time, please.

 Butchart Gardens.

The Butchart Gardens, Brentwood Bay, Vancouver Island

Tickets can be purchased online in advance or at the time of your visit.

The Gardens at HCP, Victoria, Vancouver Island

Tickets can be purchased on arrival.

Victoria Butterfly Gardens, Brentwood Bay, Vancouver Island

Tickets can be purchased online in advance or at the time of your visit.

Hatley Park, Victoria, Vancouver Island

Tickets not required but admission is based on garden guest volume

Tofino Botanical Gardens, Tofino, Vancouver Island

Tickets can be purchased at the time of your visit.

Milner Gardens & Woodland in Qualicum Beach is working hard to be open soon, so visit , for further details. The Chilliwack Sunflower Festival is a go for this August as well, so visit for full details closer to that time.

More information on provincial gardens near you can be found at .


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Brian Minter: Versatile boxwoods come in sizes to suit every purpose

Clipped boxwood hedges are an excellent way to feature formal garden beds.

We see them everywhere —  as low or tall hedges, topiary specimens or in stylish containers gracing the entrances to some of the world’s most elegant hotels.

For centuries boxwoods have played an important role in gardens and landscapes. Used in old European parterres, they divided and framed stunning flower beds and were also used to create huge, meticulously pruned hedges and uniquely shaped garden features.

Native to many parts of the world, including southern England, northern Africa and Asia, historically boxwoods were reputed to offer a cure for epilepsy and toothaches.

Today, pharmacologists and herbalists agree that they have little, if any, medicinal value.  Common boxwood (Buxus sempervirens) contains alkaloids, making it toxic to horses, cattle and pigs if consumed in larger quantities.

The name boxwood comes from the fact that the wood was used to make decorative boxes. The wood has also been utilized to manufacture musical instruments like flutes, and chess pieces have been made from boxwood because it is relatively easy to carve.

Today, boxwoods are still widely used as low border plants to accent driveways, sidewalks and garden beds. Many different varieties are available, but it is a little challenging, even for nursery folks, to distinguish between them.

Because of their versatility, resilience and size range (depending on the type, they can grow from two to 20 feet, or 60 cm to 6 m), members of the boxwood family will always be important elements of many gardens. Buxus are tolerant of full hot sun to partial shade, and once established, they are quite drought tolerant.

The most widely planted boxwoods are the more compact varieties that stay reasonably low and require a minimum amount of pruning. The well-known dwarf English variety, Buxus sempervirens ‘Suffruticosa’ (zone 6), grows only two feet high by two feet wide (60 x 60 cm) and has been used for centuries for low borders and knot gardens. Its light green foliage matures to a glossy, deep green.

 Buxus sempervirens ‘Suffruticosa’ is popular for low borders. Photo credit: Minter Country Garden.

Buxus ‘Green Gem’ (zone 4) is a much hardier, low-growing (two feet by two feet, or 60 cm x 60 cm) variety.  It has smaller, glossy leaves and grows into a nicely rounded form. Low-growing and mounding (two feet by two feet, or 60 cm x 60 cm), B. ‘Calgary’ (cold rated as zone 3) is perhaps one of the hardiest varieties.

A little taller at three feet by four feet wide, ‘Green Velvet’ (zone 5), with its bright, glossy leaves, is a great choice for two reasons: it has a broad mounding habit, and it takes well to shearing.

A lesser known variety in B.C., slow growing ‘Buxus koreana’ (zone 3), has quite small leaves, making it far more resilient in very cold temperatures.  It can grow in areas where other varieties freeze.

A particularly attractive boxwood, ‘Green Beauty’ (zone 3) is very cold tolerant, and I love the fact that it holds its rich deep colour even in cold winters.  It grows about three feet tall and three feet wide (90 cm x 90 cm).

 ‘Green Beauty’ is a very cold tolerant boxwood. Photo credit: Minter Country Garden.

A taller, narrower variety (five feet by three feet, or 152 cm x 90 cm), ‘Green Mountain’ (zone 4) is ideal for slightly higher hedges, and it takes well to pruning.

With lustrous, rich, deep green foliage, Buxus sempervirens (zone 4) is one of the oldest and best-known boxwoods. Growing rather quickly, it can reach 20 feet (6 m) in height.  It is ideal for beautifully clipped garden specimens and is frequently topiaried into globes, pyramids and other enchanting shapes.  It prefers moist growing conditions and does poorly in dry, alkaline soils.

 Boxwoods are ideal for sculpting unique topiary forms. Picture credit: Minter Country Gardens

There are many variegated forms of boxwood, mostly in a soft creamy yellow/green blend.  Buxus sempervirens ‘Variegata’ (zone 5) is an excellent example of this coloration.  Growing up to six feet (1.8 m) and often seen shaped into a narrow cone, it will add vibrancy to any garden.

 Buxus sempervirens ‘Variegata’ adds vibrancy to any garden. Photo credit: Minter Country Garden.

Since small space gardens are today’s reality, more narrow forms of boxwood are becoming very popular.  One of my favourites is B. ‘Graham Blandy’ (zone 6).  Reaching up to 10 feet (3 m), its slender shape creates a stunning accent feature in both ground beds and containers.  It also works well as a privacy barrier on a patio.

In terms of modern design, small, rounded varieties set atop tall, narrow containers is very much today’s ‘in’ look.

The unfortunate downside of boxwood is its susceptibility to boxwood blight (the fungus Cylindrocladium buxicola).

Although relatively rare in B.C., it can cause rapid defoliation and the ultimate death of the plant. It spreads rather quickly and can destroy whole hedges. Warm, wet conditions with temperatures between 18 deg. C and 24 deg. C (65 F to 75 F) create the optimal situation for spreading this fungus.

It can also be transmitted by water and by moving hedging shears from one infected plant to others.  Use only a soaker hose when watering boxwoods and shear them on dry days when the temperature is below 18 deg. C (65 F).

One of the most at-risk varieties seems to be Buxus ‘Suffruticosa’, but others can be affected. The good news is that blight resistant varieties are currently in development and should be widely available within three to five years.

As trends and garden sizes change, boxwoods will continue to be one of the most versatile garden plants.

 Clipped boxwood hedges are an excellent way to feature formal garden beds. Photo credit: Minter Country Garden.


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Brian Minter: Stunning sedums change with the seasons

Sedums are some of the best pollinator-friendly plants.

Are you tired of fighting the weather and bugs, dealing with constant watering and struggling with a plethora of diseases? Would you love to have displays of easy colour in pots and in those difficult corners of your garden?  May I suggest some rather quiet, unassuming beauties: sedums.

As a species, they are as old as the hills, but many newly developed varieties are revolutionizing their popularity and their role in today’s gardens.

Coming in many forms, from creeping evergreens to deciduous ground covers, sedums look fantastic mounding over landscape stones or standing upright as focal points in beds or containers. Sedums are the mainstays of rooftop gardens, and are used to create beautiful living picture frames.

When it comes to coping with weather and drought tolerance issues, they rule.  Most are very hardy — some even survive prairie winters — and they are among the best pollinator-friendly plants.

 Sedums are some of the best pollinator-friendly plants. Picture credit: Minter Country Garden.

Many of us are aware of the low-growing golden oldies, with names like Dragon’s Blood, Cape Blanco, Voodoo, Gold Carpet and Coral Reef. There are dozens of others that not only stay green all year but also flower at various times over the spring and summer.

One of the greatest new introductions, Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’ (zone 4) has lovely golden foliage all year and spreads quickly, making it a fabulous ground cover. When the weather gets cold, it takes on a reddish hue and looks even more spectacular.  In small space gardens, it may be just a little too aggressive.

 ‘Angelina’ is a vigorous sedum and makes a great ground cover plant. Picture credit: Minter Country Garden.

Sedum ‘Angelina’s Teacup’ (zone 4) is better behaved, growing much more slowly into a shapely mound.  Both have brilliant gold foliage which accents all their garden companions.  Another more compact yellow sedum is S. ‘Sunsplash’ (zone 2)

An herbaceous vibrant green mounding variety, ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ has a conveniently tidy habit and blooms with attractive yellow flowers from early to mid summer, and it is a pollinator magnet.

Perhaps one of the greatest innovations has come from the breeding work of Chris Hansen and his appropriately named ‘SunSparkler’ series.

SunSparkler ‘Cherry Tart’ (zone 4) has deep cherry red foliage with pink flowers.  ‘Dazzleberry’ sports raspberry red flowers with cool smoky blue foliage that ages to a rich purple blue.  ‘Firecracker’ has vibrant red-burgundy foliage with contrasting pink flowers.  ‘Lime Twister’ has red foliage in early spring that turns creamy yellow in summer and back to red in fall.  The lime green leaves of ‘Lime Zinger’ feature a unique red edging. All these very vigorous mounding varieties make great ground covers.

I have chosen to highlight these sedum selections because of their stunning foliage that changes with the temperature and the various seasons.  They can all be easily pruned back for planting in containers, and they all look spectacular spilling over the edge of a tall pot.

 Green and white variegated ‘Atlantis’ created quite a stir at a recent Chelsea Flower Show. Picture credit: Minter Country Garden.

In 2019 in England at the world-famous Chelsea Flower Show, one of the new plant hits was a beautifully variegated green and white sedum called ‘Atlantis’ (zone 4). Its white edged, serrated leaves become tinged with pink as the weather cools in late autumn. Its unique colouring demands attention in any landscape, and it’s not hard to understand why it created such a stir at this top international flower show.

When I mentioned this plant to a couple colleagues who work for a North American perennial supplier, they agreed that it was nice, but they liked ‘Boogie Woogie’ (zone 4) better.  It has similar variegated foliage but with a much lower and tighter growing habit.  I think both are remarkable.

 ‘Boogie Woogie’ is a stunning, more compact, variegated sedum. Picture credit: Minter Country Garden.

For years, ‘Autumn Joy’ (zone 3), with its huge deep rose blossoms and light green foliage, has been the standard in upright, summer blooming sedums. Always a great source for long-lasting cut flowers, it grows about 24 inches (60 cm) tall, mounds nicely and as its pink colour fades, the seed heads remain attractive throughout the winter.

There have been dozens of new introductions over the past few years, many featuring new flower colours and striking foliage from almost pure black or grey to several variegations. If you love grey foliage, S. ‘Matrona’ (zone 3), with its contrasting rose-pink flowers, will quickly become a favourite.

There are many other varieties that share similarities with ‘Autumn Joy’, such as S. ‘Autumn Fire’, S. ‘Brilliant’, S. ‘Neon’ and S. ‘Autumn Charm’.  Sedum ‘Frosted Fire’, with its beautiful creamy yellow and green variegated foliage, is a sport (genetic mutation) of ‘Autumn Fire’.

Sedum ‘Mr. Goodbud’ from Terra Nova Nurseries in Oregon is a good compact variety with deep purply-pink flowers and strong purple-red stems.  ‘Night Embers’ (zone 3) is a narrower grower with blackish-purple leaves and contrasting mauve-pink flowers.

The true test of any new sedum is the ability of its stems to support the flower heads, its disease and weather tolerance and its capacity to produce robust show-off blooms.

 Sedum stems are a wonderful source for long-lasting cut flower bouquets. Picture credit: Minter Country Garden.

These great sedum varieties pass that test with flying colours and are well worth a try out in your garden. In hot weather, the whole family of sedums will be the glue that holds your summer garden together, and they can be enjoyed without a great deal of care or attention.


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