What Do We Grow at The Branch Ranch?

Early this fall, Carola Vynhak, a journalist who has worked with the Toronto Star for 35+ years, spent the morning with us on the farm, taking photos and talking about what we do here. Today her piece is featured in the Life Section of the paper. It has been an interesting and overwhelming experience for two reclusive farm girls! We love what Carola wrote and thank her very much for writing about us. Here is a link to the article online: At The Branch Ranch, an Unusual Farm, They Grow - what else? - Branches!

Madame Twig says "Empty Your Urns!"

Timing your fall urns can be a tricky business. In some years when the frost hits your annuals early you can fill your urns with colourful branches until your ready for your holiday greens. This year however, we have had exceptionally warm weather right into November and the annuals in our urns remained untouched by frost. It seems a crime to rip out plants while they are still blooming, so we wait until they are a horrid mass of dead stems before we attempt the task. The trouble with this method is that the weather is unpredictable and as witnessed in the past two days, temperatures can plummet, freezing those pots solid with their mess of frost bitten, dead plants intact. This weekend it appears we may have one last chance to empty our urns before we get caught again.


How to Prepare Your Urns For Winter Displays:

1. Once the soil thaws remove it from your urns. If the weather doesn't cooperate and you can lift the urns, place them indoors for a day or two to thaw out or if they are too large to lift try pouring boiling water on the soil, this may loosen it enough for you to get the majority of it out.

2. When you are ready to decorate for the holidays you can fill them again with new soil (if you have a bag handy that isn't frozen), or put your holiday decor into a plastic pot and insert it into your urns or use floral foam.

3. Whatever method you choose, make sure to water your arrangement once it is in place. The water will help to keep the evergreens healthy and will freeze the decor in place when the temperatures drop again. 

**If you do get caught with frozen urns you could always switch to hanging baskets this year, we have lovely moss covered hanging baskets and standing urns here at our Open House. We have empty baskets for you to create your own or you may buy them custom made. 


Ilex Verticillata

Nothing says holidays quite like Ilex Verticillata, also known as Winterberry. This shrub is a species of holly native to North America. At the end of the season Ilex branches are covered in large, vivid red berries which attracts birds and brightens the winter landscape. In order to produce berries, a male plant must be present to pollinate the female fruit bearng shrubs. 

Ilex in fall.

Jill and Gina bring in the branches.

These berry laden branches are surprisingly heavy! 

Ilex and Magnolia

Ilex bundles.