06/04/2012 08:44 EDT

The Perfect Garden: Peter Cantley's 10 Tips (PHOTOS)


We've put up with April's showers and have seen May's flowers, but now we're transitioning into the months that keep us outdoors.

Because of the amount of time we plan to spend in our backyards (or patios for those living in apartments) we consulted Peter Cantley, vice-president of floral and garden at Loblaw, to give us some of his insider tips on creating the perfect garden.

From an unexpected use of cayenne pepper to making your backyard feel like a room, Cantley's tips are unconventional and simple for any gardener.

Here are Cantley's 10 tips for creating the perfect garden. If you have any gardening secrets let us know on Twitter.

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Peter Cantley's Top 10 Gardening Tips
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Easy Colour Coordination

"One of the biggest challenges that many gardeners face is what colours and plants go together? Visit your local Garden Centre and look for combination planters that are specifically developed to make it so easy to colour coordinate your entire backyard. Simply take these and plant them into containers, window boxes or in the garden. The plants and the colours work incredibly well together and provide non-stop coordination all season long."

Attracting Hummingbirds

"Everyone loves to watch hummingbirds as they hover in the garden. We discovered an incredible "hummingbird magnet" at the California Spring Trials last year. Hummingbirds love bright red flowers and, of course, fragrance. As a matter of fact, when we were in the greenhouse looking at the display plants, there were actually three hummingbirds going from bloom to bloom on the plants."

The Lived-In Look

"When it comes to furnishings, consider old patio furniture or weather-resistant indoor furniture. If pieces are mismatched, all the better -- the point is to go for an eclectic, casual look. Benches and rocking chairs are a great touch and very affordable. Add outdoor cushions in vivid colours and prints to all the seats."

Set The Tables

"Old tables can be easily adjusted to better suit your outdoor area. Table legs can be cut down and lowered to a more comfortable height for playing games or enjoying refreshments. Plastic tables can be draped with a pretty floral tablecloth and wooden tables can be unevenly sanded to create that great distressed look."

Lighten Up!

"Proper lighting is essential for entertaining on summer evenings and creating the perfect ambiance for your garden getaway. Light from candles, lamps or a solar illuminated planters are available at an affordable price and provide a splash of colour."

Define Your Space

"You'll need to put up "walls" to make it feel just like a room. Use part of your fence, big potted plants, a trellis or simply arrange furniture to create privacy and separation. Also, lay down patio tiles or an outdoor rug to define your "floor" and further separate your room from the yard."

Planters In Minutes

"Here’s a little secret that I use when planting up my planters at home. I have a lot of planters in clay, fibreglass and concrete and instead of buying individual plants and doing all the work of planting them all together, I pick up some hanging baskets in my favourite colours. Then I remove the hangers and take them out of the basket (you can do this really easily by carefully turning the basket upside down and removing the plastic basket. Then I simply drop the root-ball into my planters, add more fresh soil to fill and presto! -- you’re done. And there’s no waiting for individual small plants to grow larger and fill in -- your planters will look professionally done in minutes."

Tropical Paradise

"One of the great new trends in gardening is adding a tropical flavour to decks, patios and balconies. We’ve got just the ticket with our new Tropical Plant Collection. These come in a tree-shape and the leaves are a glossy dark green, but the real joy comes from the beautiful, heavy fragrance of the gardenia flowers! Imagine sitting out on your patio next to one of these plants in the evening as you enjoy the refreshment of cool summer air -- there's nothing like it."

Don't Let All Of Your Hard Work Go To Waste

"Here's an insider tip to keep those pesky animals away from your beautiful garden: to deter large mammals or rodents from a particular area one can use a mixture of black pepper corns and cayenne pepper as a soil surface dust. When applied to the soil surface this becomes an eye and nose irritant to rodents or mammals that may be snooping around that area of the garden."

Make A Big Impression

"Liven up your garden with some easy to grow plants that, although they might start small at the beginning of the season, reward you with huge results. My favourite is the PC Super Gigantico Dragon Wing Begonia. I planted these in my planters last year and in a matter of a few weeks, they were massive -- they finished up the season almost 3 ½ feet to 4 feet tall! And they were covered with flowers right up until frost."

For more information, visit or Loblaw banner store Garden Centres across Canada.

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