Hanging Baskets Plant Care Tips

by Bob the Gardener

Hanging baskets are a beautiful and versatile way to plant mixed blooms. They also make a great gift idea and, once planted, are relatively low maintenance. To keep your plants looking fresh all season, here are some of my care tips for hanging baskets:

Hanging Basket Maintenance
  1. Water often and thoroughly.
  2. Deadhead blooming plants (here is a useful article on deadheading flowers).
  3. In a mixed basket, replace plants as needed.
  4. Fertilize (see below).
  5. Cut back leggy plants.

Second to watering, fertilizer is the most important thing to keep your baskets looking great all season. By constantly feeding, you are ensuring that your plants maintain all the nutrition necessary to grow large and produce blooms. You should find your basket weekly with a water soluble fertilizer. I recommend using a 20-20-20 fertilizer (20% nitrogen, 20% phosphorus, and 20% potassium – the remaining 40% is chemically inert).

Learn more care tips and join Bob on a garden tour, held as part of our spring and summer recreation schedules.


Spring Has Arrived

by Bob the Gardener

April showers bring May flowers! At this time of year, it’s time to prepare flower beds and lawns for spring. The time that you spend in prepping will help your plants thrive and makes maintenance easier later. Here are some simple steps for getting your gardens ready.

Flower Beds
  1. Remove all leaves.
  2. Cut back perennials if required.
  3. Clean all leaves from Hostas if present.
  4. Prune shrubs (flowering).
Lawn Care
  1. Remove leaves from the lawn.
  2. Around the end of April, cut the lawn on a high setting (3-3.5 inches).
  3. Overseed lawn with grass seed; by overseeding, it will help with the weeds.
  4. Apply fertilizer to the lawn (high nitrogen, e.g. 24-5-5). To save a step, you can use a farm fertilizer seeder with maximum 50% fertilizer and 50% grassy seed.
  5. Always water after applying or seed on a day when rain is in the forecast.
Seed Preparation

It’s time to start seeds inside for your garden. For a vegetable garden, start your tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, and lettuce. For flower beds, start seeding blooms such as marigolds, dahlias, and zinnias. Use a good seed-starting soil for your seeds. When seeding:

  1. Fill container with soil.
  2. Water with warm water.
  3. After seeding, cover container with plastic.
  4. Remove plastic when you see plants.
  5. Keep plant soil moist.
  6. Place seeds in a sunny location.

Bob will be leading garden tours as part of our summer recreation schedule.

Conferences Done Right

by Kayleigh Hindman, Operations Manager

You might be asking yourselves a very, very, important question right now. “Why would I host my corporate event at Viamede?” And its a perfectly fair question… so we’d like to tell you our top five reasons for retreating at Viamede Resort for your business that we think you’d like to know. Every conference centre you talk to is going to tell you they have meeting rooms, snack delivery, and a pool. We’ve got that too, but we decided to tell you about everything boldly different we do to make Viamede your personal corporate meeting hosts.

First, we think you’ll like our simplified billing process.

We know that you don’t know all the details; Janice from accounting will probably bail, someone has a newborn they can’t be separated from, and your CEO wants everyone to bunk up except them. Don’t worry. We have you covered. We offer seasonal rates based on single occupancy (your CEO taking up all the space they want in a king bed) and double occupancy (you and your closest work buddy in a room with two doubles). Take how many people you have coming, how many double rooms you want, and how many single rooms you want and we multiply it out. We’re not going to penalize you for Janice and we’ll let that newborn baby hang out at your conference if that’s what you’d like.

Plus that magical price includes almost everything you can think of: meeting room, protector, flip chart – yep, yep and yep. Meals – try snacks too – you work hard you could use a snack. Caffeine? We’ll have you so caffeinated, you won’t ever want to make it back to those rooms you’re sleeping in.

Second, our food is pretty great.

We’re not going to give you run of the mill triangle cut sandwiches that are unlabeled, you’re not sure if you’re eating chicken or turkey, and the bread kind of tastes like the fridge it has so clearly been stored in… no, not us, because we like food and we want you to like food. We’re going to get you fish and chips, homemade potato salad, pizzas, pastas, and we’ll work around your dietary restrictions. Your breakfast will consist of eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, toast, and it’s included in the cost of your room package.

Third, location, location, location.

Tired of people sneaking out on team building to go catch a movie? We’re conveniently located 30 minutes away from the closest theatre. Your employees will be in a remote location together. Makes it much harder to escape your team building plans. You want everyone to go kayaking? We’ll take them kayaking. If a guided nature hike is more your style, let’s show you the Viking Oak. If you think you’d enjoy learning to bar tend and enjoying an adult beverage by the fire instead, let us show you all the tricks we have up our sleeves. Think your group would benefit from spending less time together? It’s a pretty big resort and they’re welcome to wander.

We can be as involved, or uninvolved, as you’d like us to be. If you all want to play board games in 1885 and chat – that’s fine. If you want the staff to overload you with the worst jokes you’ve ever heard, let me tell you, we’ve got plenty of dad jokes to share.

Fourth, we plan like pros.

You stress about this yearly, twice yearly, quarterly, whatever shindig. We know you do. Let us take that stress off of you. We will get your rooming list and assign the rooms for you, we will work with your dietary restrictions, we will get you an appropriate sized room. You ran fifteen minutes late for team building because you we’re really enjoying your quarterly reports? We’re not worried, we can plan around that. You want lunch at 2 in the afternoon? That’s fine with us. You need an early breakfast? Alright; let us know when you are waking up so we can have the coffee brewing. Your group is really into running? We won’t go for a run with you, but we’ll happily point you in the right direction.

You’ll look like you’re a pro who’s been planning this all year, and we’ll even tell your boss it was all you.

Fifth, we have the best staff.

Whether you want us involved in your team building or not we will be around to see you through. We’re the nice folks in blue shirts sneaking into your meeting room to check on your coffee, dropping off your snack, troubleshooting the trails, letting you know about the weather patterns in the area, and where to find things you might have forgotten to pack. We have a secret hoard of markers if yours runs out, we know where the coolest parts of the property are, we know how to pour a pint and tell a joke, and we know the importance of teamwork to your business – because that’s our business.

So if you’re still wondering why you would pick Viamede for your company? We’re wondering why you wouldn’t.

For rates and more information on retreats and conferences at Viamede, click here.

How to Grow Basil Indoors

by Bob the Gardener

Basil is an annual herb that can be found in dishes all around the world. This is an easy plant to grow indoors and it will thrive in a sunny location with regular watering. The following steps will help you grow your own basil indoors.

Growing Basil Indoors

  1. Start seeds a few weeks before the last frost.
  2. Fill your pots with a good quality potting soil.
  3. Pre-soak the soil and sow the seeds 1/4″ deep.
  4. Place the plant pots in a sunny location.
  5. Keep the soil moist at all times; if the soil dries out, it will kill the seeds or seedling germination.
  6. Basil seedlings will take approximately 5-12 days to grow.
Transplanting Seedlings

Seedlings can be transplanted in a 4″ pot after they have two (2) sets of leaves.


As a general rule, whenever the soil starts to look dry it can be watered. Soil should always be moist, but never soggy.

Companion Planting

When basil is planted near tomatoes, this will repel flies and mosquitoes and will enhance the flavour.

Basil Varieties

Sweet Basil: Medium sized aromatic leaves.

Thai Basil: Used in Thai cooking, the leaves are anise flower. It holds flavour well when cooked.

Cinnamon Basil: The leaves retain the spicy sweet flavour of cinnamon.

Italian Large Leaf Basil: The leaves grow 4″ long and the flavour is sweet and mild.

Purple Basil: Dark opal basil is a beautiful plant with purple leaves and a sweet flavour.

Bob can often be found maintaining the Viamede gardens during the summer and enjoys leading garden tours for guests. He will be holding Planting Classes as part of our March Break activity schedule.

What’s On: Thanksgiving Weekend Edition

by Jill Persson

It seems like it’s been a long couple of weeks since the last three-day weekend, doesn’t it? Between back to school nuttiness, bosses coming back from vacation and the inevitable return to a faster pace, it doesn’t feel like we’ve had a minute to breathe!

So it’s perfect timing for a family- and food-filled long weekend with lots of down time. Personally, I love getting out in the community over Thanksgiving, because, frankly, there’s just so much to do! The Kawarthas are just beautiful in the fall, and with harvest season in full swing, there is no end to the festivals and activities one can get up to.

Whether you’re hosting at home and need an excuse to get out of the house, or you’re staying at Viamede and want to explore, here is my round-up of the BEST things to do in the Kawarthas this weekend:


Walk the Line – Johnny Cash Tribute, October 5, Cameco Capitol Arts Centre, Port Hope

Choir! Choir! Choir!, October 5, Market Hall Performing Arts Centre, Peterborough

Bowie Lives – David Bowie Tribute, October 6, Academy Theatre, Lindsay

Steve Hill, October 6, Market Hall Performing Arts Centre, Peterborough


Fenelon Falls Turkey Trot, October 6, Fenelon Falls

Runway Funday, October 6, Kawartha Lakes Municipal Airport, Lindsay

Pumpkin Festival at Buckhorn Berry Farm, October 6-7, Buckhorn Berry Farm, Buckhorn

Norwood Fall Fair, October 6-8, Norwood


Victoria County Studio Tour, October 6-7, Kawartha Lakes

Haliburton County Studio Tour, October 6-7, Haliburton

Harvest Craft Show, October 6-8, Buckhorn Community Centre, Buckhorn

Packing For A Viamede Cottage Stay

by Alyssa Joynt

Going on vacation can be stressful.  The packing rush, the multiple turn-arounds for forgotten chargers, favourite stuffed animals, and bathing suits, and the constant chimes of “Are we there yet?” from the back seat make getting on the road difficult.  That’s why we want to make it easier for you with the perfect cottage packing list.  So grab a pen and paper and start taking notes for your need-to-bring list… wait, don’t do that.  We’ve done it for you!

Bedding and Towels

The last thing you want to worry about while on vacation is laundry, so it’s a good thing you don’t have to.  All of our cottages get full housekeeping service, so your beds will be freshly made (yes, we provide sheets and blankets) and your bathroom is fully equipped with full sets of fluffy towels.  It might not be a bad idea to bring your brightest beach towel to decorate your porch railing, though.

The Kitchen Sink

One of the things people like about our cottages is that it gives them the opportunity to cook their own food (and if that isn’t your shtick, you can get all of your food at The Boathouse or even enjoy the comfort of home-made food minus the prep, by ordering from our signature BBQ Menu).  We provide the pots and pans, all of the dishware, coffee and a coffee maker, a fridge, a microwave, a toaster, and even an oven and a stove, depending on the cottage you book.

If you are particularly partial to a specialized coffee, or you can’t live without your morning smoothie, bringing your coffee machine or blender might be a good idea.  We don’t have a lot of specialized cooking ware, but we do give you the counter space for it!

All cottages also have a barbecue, because what is cottage country without a night spent grilling, drinking a beer, and catching up with family and friends out on your front porch?  And don’t worry about packing the kitchen sink – our cottages all have sinks, dish rags, and dish soap to help with the clean up.

So all you need is any food you won’t be eating at our restaurants, and any specialty cookware you can’t live without.


You know what’s also annoying to pack? Hair products.  To this day we are still perplexed about how to conveniently travel with something that isn’t quite solid and isn’t quite liquid.  With our full housekeeping service comes regular refills of shampoo and conditioner, so unless you have a specialized kind we’ve got you covered! We also provide hair dryers, but I personally prefer the beach-hair-don’t-care look. We also provide soap, so the only supplies from your bathroom that you’ll need are sunscreen, toothbrushes and toothpaste (but if you forget those we have some at the Front Desk!). And maybe makeup and hairspray (but we encourage you to go cottage-chic and throw the hair in a pony, and freshen your complexion with nothing more than your fave sunblock).


We hope you’re looking forward to your vacation almost as much as we are looking forward to having you, and we hope this has helped answer some of your perplexing packing problems.  Just remember to pack underwear, bathing suits, sunscreen, and your sense of fun, and of course your camera so you can relive it all when you return to real life.