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In the life of a garden centre: What's next?

As cooler weather starts to creep in, there's no denying that winter is on its way. But as the seasons shift, it's still possible to keep up with your passion for gardening. The joy of gardening can continue to bloom into the fall since there is still plenty of outdoor work to do. Here are a few quick tips to get you started:

1. Prepare plants - Many people are starting to think about putting their plants to bed, but there are some preparations to consider prior to tackling the task. For example, it's good practice to add some peat moss to your garden to increase absorbency and add nutrients.

2. Tidy up - Autumn is an ideal time to embark on some light pruning and shaping. And, of course, you'll want to rake, rake, rake before the snow covers the fallen leaves.

3. Outsmart animals - You might want to apply a bit of Skoot to deter hungry bunnies from nibbling on your foliage for their winter meals. Be sure to also clear away leaves from spots where rabbits and voles tend to set up nesting areas.

4. Dig down - It's a good idea to turn the soil of your vegetable garden in the fall to help create good aeration in the spring.

Even after you've finished with your outdoor endeavours, it's worthwhile to keep visiting your local garden centre throughout the winter months. Although some garden centres might close after the holiday season, many others remain open year-round. Garden centres are becoming popular destinations with an abundance of attractions to keep folks coming back. Here are a handful of ideas to inspire your visit:

1. Enjoy an urban jungle - Some garden centres set up static gardening displays within their tropical houses, where you can indulge in enveloping sensation of an urban jungle. If you can't get enough of the urban jungle, you can create your own by adding lush green tropicals inside your home. To incorporate more greenery, you could even create a mini succulent garden or get creative with tillandsia air plant gardens.

2. Boost your mood - If you're feeling a little depleted from the cooler weather and shorter days, garden centres are great places to boost your spirits. You'll notice a difference in your demeanour the moment you walk through the doors and breathe the fragrant, humid air. Many people refer to garden centres as their happy place since they feel a sense of health and harmony when they're surrounded by plants. Their shoulders relax, their breathing slows and they start to emanate a euphoric glow.

3. Get inspired - Lots of local garden centres host creative craft classes or do-it-yourself demonstrations that allow your inspiration to blossom. Another option is to wander leisurely among the plants to enjoy a relaxing shopping experience. Garden centres are entertaining venue for all ages, so you can even bring your wee ones for a fun family outing.

4. Hone in holidays - Most garden centres create a truly festive atmosphere to celebrate holidays throughout the year. At Halloween, some centres go all out by setting up bale mazes and other family-friendly activities. You can even glean great ideas for seasonal displays complete with colourful pumpkins and golden wheat straw.

During the first week of November, garden centres start to switch their focus to create a jolly Christmas setting. Decorations and accents throughout the entire store can provide inspirational ideas for you to create your own winter wonderland, both indoors and out.

Open year round, St. Mary's Nursery and Garden Centre will transition to its Christmas atmosphere starting on Nov. 12. For more information, visit http://www.stmarysnurseryandgardencentre.ca, call 204-255-7353 or drop by in person at 2901 St. Mary's Rd. Updates are also available on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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