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New Bulbs for Spring 2015

Dahlia Alauna Clair-ObscurEach season, our garden experts choose a selection of new varieties to carry and all of us here at American Meadows get really excited to see the list. This year, the excitement level was met with an amazing selection of vibrant, unique summer-blooming bulbs that we’ll all be adding to our landscapes this spring.

New Dahlias

As the Dahlia gardener knows, there is always room for new varieties in the garden and each year must top the last! The Dinnerplate Dahlia Peaches and Cream gets its name from the delightful contrast of peach and cream blooms that can reach up to 8” across. The Semi-Cactus Dahlia Striped Vulcan requires almost no care, growing in any sunny spot and blooming from mid summer to frost. With unique blooms that fade from deep pink to white in the center, Cactus Dahlia Hayley Jane is a unique variety that is a true conversation-starter in any sunny spot. Like the city itself, the Dinnerplate Dahlia Manhattan Island is full of life and color, boasting huge, red blooms with a hint of yellow in the center. View all of our new Dahlias for Spring here.

Gladiolus Princess Margaret Rose

New Gladiolus

Gladiolus take up little room in the garden and are perfect for tucking amongst perennials or adding to containers on the patio. We’re excited to be carrying three new varieties for spring 2015. Igniting the summer garden with yellow-orange blooms edged in red, Gladiolus Princess Margaret Rose creates a huge statement both in the garden and cut for summer bouquets. One of the richest, most luxurious purple Gladiolus around, Purple Flora is a must-have for any summer garden. A fabulous color combination of purple, green, and white, the Gladiolus Glad You Are Here Mixture is extremely easy to grow and creates a cool color statement in any landscape.

New Canna Lilies

Canna Lily TropicannaCanna Lilies add a unique, dramatic look to the summer garden with boldly-colored blooms and variegated foliage.  A perfect choice for the backdrop of a garden bed or large containers, Tropicanna Gold shines brightly in the summer garden with vibrant green, variegated foliage and light orange blooms. Canna Lily Orange Magic is extremely easy to grow and can be planted in large pots or window boxes. With bronze foliage that illuminates the summer garden and blooms to match, Canna Lily Tropicanna is a must-have for any Canna lover. 

Other New Favorites

Why not add a little diversity to the garden? Harlequin flowers are easy to grow and at only 10” high, are perfect for containers, borders, rock gardens, and containers. A unique addition to any garden, Caladium Tapestry’s gorgeous heart-shaped leaves are deep green with vibrant pink veins and cream centers, growing in any shady spot. Looking for something to “wow” your neighbors? This Pineapple Lily Mix is the perfect choice, boasting fun, spiky flowers and decorative top tufts.

Caladium Tapestry

View our 24 new Spring-Planted Bulb varieties here. What are your favorites? Please share in the comments below or on our Facebook page. Happy Gardening!

October 28, 2014 · Amanda Shepard · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Flower Bulbs, Gardening in Spring and Summer

The Three Most Important Steps to a Successful Wildflower Meadow

Mixed WildflowersWe’re frequently asked to go over the step-by-step process of planting a Wildflower meadow with gardeners. In fact, it’s one of the most common questions I received while working in customer service for over 3 years. Although all of the steps are important, I wanted to highlight the three most important steps so you’ll know to take extra care to do everything right during these parts of the process. You’ll be thrilled that you did when your meadow is bursting in blooms!

1. Clearing existing growth. This is technically under the “preparation” part of the process, but clearing existing growth during preparation is a big one. Wildflowers won’t compete well with existing plants, weeds, etc. and really need bare soil in order to thrive. Whether this means pulling everything by hand or renting a tiller, you should spend extra time on this step! A little extra work during the preparation stage will provide better results both short and long term.

Sunflowers

2. Choosing the right varieties. This is very important!! Many Wildflowers prefer 6+ hours of sunlight a day, so if your area receives less than this, you’ll want to choose specific shade-tolerant varieties. Some varieties prefer sandy soil, others hate the cold, several varieties need a place to climb, etc. We’ve solved this problem by creating a filter on the left side of our Wildflower pages where you can choose your region, soil type, light requirements, etc. and it will show you the best varieties for your property. If you’re still not sure, one of our regional mixtures is always a great bet for a rainbow of blooms; they are specially formulated to thrive in certain regions of the country. Don’t forget – Our helpful gardening experts are also here to help 6 days a week. You can either call them at 877.309.7333 or send them an email.

Morning Glory Seeds3. Seed coverage/compression. OK, I cheated a little and lumped two important steps into one. But they are both so important! Seed coverage is one of the main reasons customers don’t have success with planting a Wildflower meadow. Over-seeding an area can result in the seedlings choking each other out, therefore not growing at all. Our seed mixtures cover 1,500-4,000 square feet per pound, depending on the coverage you want (lush blooms to a scattered, meadow look). Any more than this and you will have trouble with growth. Individual species vary greatly by variety. Before planting, check the coverage for each variety; for example, a pound of Red Poppy seed can cover up to 10,000 square feet and a pound of Sunflower seed can only cover up to 400 square feet. For more information, read our article "How Much Seed Do I Need?" here.

Zinnia Seeds

Compression is a super simple and extremely important step. Depending on the size of your planting area, either walk on the seed after you’re finished planting or use a seed roller to compress the seed into the ground. The seed-to-soil contact is important for strong, healthy growth!

Don’t forget, if you ever have any questions about planting you can contact the Seed Man. With over 25 years of Wildflower experience, he’s our resident expert on all things seed! Find him on Facebook here or email him here.

Do you have questions about Wildflower planting? Feel free to ask in the comments below or on our Facebook page. Happy Gardening!

October 21, 2014 · Amanda Shepard · 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Gardening in Fall, Gardening in Spring and Summer, How-Tos, Wildflowers

Winners of our 2014 Wildflower Photo Contest

We had hundreds of beautiful, inspirational, and hilarious entries to our first ever Wildflower Photo Contest! It was hard to pick 4 winners for each of our categories. A refresher of the categories: Selfie, Close-up, Landscape, and Miscellaneous. We hope you enjoy as much as we did!

Category One: Selfie in the Garden

Cosmos, Submitted by Richard G.

Cosmos

Daisies and Hersperis, Submitted by Debbie D.

Daisies

Sunflowers, Submitted by Steven K.

Sunflower

Midwest Mix, Submitted by Amy K.

Midwest Mix

Category Two: Close-up Shot

Sulphur Cosmos, Submitted by Dennis K.

Sulphur Cosmos

Echinacea, Submitted by Marsha S.

Echinacea

Sunflower, Submitted by Melnee B.

Sunflower

Poppy, Submitted by Brady K.

Poppy

Category Three: Landscape Photos

Sunflowers, Submitted by Arthur T.

Sunflowers

Poppies, Submitted by Arthur T.

Poppies

Mixed Wildflowers and Friend, Submitted by Janet M.

Mixed Wildflower Seeds

Zinnias, Submitted by Christine W.

Zinnia Seeds

Coreopsis, Submitted by Andrew P.

Coreopsis

Category Four: Miscellaneous

Sunflowers, Submitted by Donna W.

Sunflowers

Llama, Submitted by Wendy G.

Bouquet, Submitted by Jinn F.R.

Wildflower Bouquet

OxEye Daisies, Submitted by Teddy M.

Daisies

Stay tuned for another Wildflower contest soon… Happy Gardening!

October 9, 2014 · Amanda Shepard · One Comment
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Contests, Customer Stories, Wildflowers

Create a Wonderful Spring Display with Tulips and Daffodils

Melanie Lee is a farmer and gardener living in Maine. She is the author of In Pursuit of Maine, a blog dedicated to the natural beauty of the state of Maine.

Tulips and DaffodilsAhhh, fall at last.  It has been a wonderful year.  You worked hard in your garden, and it showed.  You had beautiful color from your many flowers, scrumptious vegetables to eat, and appreciative neighbors who loved the gift of seeing a beautiful garden every day.  It’s time to put the garden to bed now.  Almost.  There’s just one last thing, and it’s one of the most important things to do.  It’s time to plant your fall bulbs.  I know you’re tired and you’ve worked hard and you deserve a rest.  Believe me, I understand, but if you put this last bit of effort in now, you will be rewarded tenfold with a wonderful display come springtime.

Two of my favorite bulbs are Tulips and Daffodils. There are dozens of varieties, colors, shapes, and sizes of these bulbs.  Take your time deciding which bulbs to buy.  Decide what kind of effect you want to create.  If you want the flowers to complement one another, then choose bulbs that will flower at about the same time, and choose colors that go well together.  For example, the bright yellow color of Daffodils is stunning alongside deep purple Tulips.  If you want to prolong your spring garden, then choose bulbs that flower at different times.  For example, just as the yellow daffodils are starting to decline, turn the volume up with brilliant red Tulips and let them steal the show!

Tulips and Daffodils

Whatever you decide, there are a few rules to remember.  First, never plant bulbs in a straight line.  They don’t have enough foliage to complement their flowers, and they end up looking too contrived and sparse.  Always plant bulbs in groups of 12, if you have the space, in a sunny well-drained location.  These groups should be of the same type of bulb, that is, 12 daffodils, then 12 tulips, then 12 daffodils, etc.  Plant the bulbs in a somewhat circular pattern, but don’t be too stringent about this.  Again, you don’t want a contrived look.  You want a natural look.  When they are planted together, they appear to have more foliage, and that really draws the eye to your garden.  Large clumps of color and greenery are very welcome after a long winter.

Tulips and Daffodils

Plant your bulbs a few weeks before the ground freezes.  People often plant too soon and then end up with fall growth that compromises the bulb’s quality.  Plant with the point upward and the tiny roots downward.  You want a minimum of twice as much soil on top of the bulb as the bulb measurement itself.  For example, if your bulb measures two inches, you want a hole at least six inches deep–two inches for the bulb itself and four inches of soil on top.  Bulbs planted deeper are hardier.  You can dig a large hole and place all the bulbs at once, or you can use a bulb planting tool and just dig individual holes.  I prefer this latter method because I feel that it helps to deter hungry squirrels.  They like fresh loose soil that they can easily dig into, and a large freshly dug hole is just too tempting.  Space the bulbs at least four to six inches apart because eventually they will multiply and will need room.

Really, that’s all there is to it.  I know you’re tired now, but if you take just a couple of hours this fall to plant bulbs, your reward in the springtime will seem astronomical, especially after a long winter when the eyes are so hungry for color.

October 3, 2014 · Garden Writer · Comments Closed
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Flower Bulbs, Gardening in Fall, How-Tos

The Seed Man’s Wildflower Scavenger Hunt

We’re excited to announce the start of The Seed Man’s Wildflower Scavenger Hunt on Pinterest! We’re giving away twelve $50 gift certificates throughout October, so participate in our hunt each week for the chance to win.

It’s As Easy as Three Steps:

1. Create a Public Board. Create a public Pinterest Board. Name it anything you’d like (the more fun, the better)! Post a link to your board in the comments below.

2. Pin! Go to our website each week & pin Wildflowers from our weekly themes on your board. See below for weekly themes and follow us to learn more.

3. Share: Use the hashtag #AMISEEDHUNT with each post & share the URL to your board in the comments below.
Weekly Winners Chosen Each Friday Through October 31st. Good Luck!

Week Three: What’s Your Favorite Color?

Many gardeners want to plant Wildflowers, but don’t know if they will grow in the shady spots on their property. This week, pin your favorite shade-loving Wildflowers to your board for the chance to win!

Wondering Where to Start?

Annuals or perennials? We want to know your favorite Wildflowers! This week is easy; simply head on over to our Wildflower page and pin your favorite Wildflowers to your Pinterest board. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #AMISEEDHUNT in the comments to be entered to win!

Week four of the contest: Annuals or Perennials?

Week Three of the Contest: What's Your Favorite Color?

Week Two of the Contest: Shade-Loving Wildflowers

Week One of the Contest: Feed the Pollinators!

Follow our Boards or Check Back Here Each Week for the New Theme to Start Searching!

The Seed Man's Wildflower Scavenger Hunt

September 29, 2014 · Amanda Shepard · 2 Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Contests

Photo of the Week: Picking Flowers on the West Coast

This week’s photo of the week is a series sent in by our customer Suzi D. in Washington State. She planted our Pacific Northwest Wildflower Mix and shared these gorgeous photos of her daughters enjoying the blooms. We hope you enjoy and don’t forget to sign up for our email newsletter to get more photos, gardening tips, news, and more!

Pacific Northwest Wildflower Mix

Pacific Northwest Wildflower Mix

Pacific Northwest Wildflower Mix

September 25, 2014 · Amanda Shepard · Comments Closed
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Customer Stories, Photo of the Week, Wildflowers

Create a Big Splash of Color in Your Garden

As fall planting approaches quickly, many of us are planning on adding new garden beds or filling in existing ones that may need extra color. I wanted to share an extremely simply garden tip with you that can go a long way: Limit your plant selections!

Peonies

Customer Photo: Peonies Planted in a Group

In the garden, a little bit of everything doesn’t always have as much impact as a wealth of a few well-chosen plants. Choose several reliable perennials that you know will grow in your area and repeat the plant combinations to set the overall tone for your garden. Love the early color Peonies bring to the spring garden? Instead of planting 1 or 3 plants, try planting 9 for a dramatic effect. Love the way Butterfly Bushes attract pollinators to the garden? Try planting 3-5 in one area for a show-stopping look.

Customer Garden

Customer Garden

As you’re planning for fall planting, remember also to think about seasonal blooming – Spring-Blooming Bulbs, Columbines, Peonies, and Bleeding Hearts all offer gorgeous spring blooms. Daylilies, Butterfly Bushes, Astilbe, and other Lilies provide fabulous summer color. Hydrangea, Sedum, and Echinacea provide late summer and fall blooms in the garden.

Do you have any photos of your garden design that you’d like to share? Please head over to our Facebook Page to connect with over 120,000 other gardeners. Happy Gardening!

September 16, 2014 · Amanda Shepard · Comments Closed
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Flower Bulbs, Gardening in Fall, Gardening in Spring and Summer, How-Tos, Perennials

Summer 2014 Photo Contest Winners

Like always, our Summer Photo contest was so hard to judge this year! We truly enjoyed becoming spectators in each of your gardens and appreciate you taking the time to submit your photos. Below you’ll find our winning photos and we hope you enjoy them as much as we do. Don’t worry — Our next Photo Contest is not too far away!

Grand Prize Winner – Rudbeckia & Friend, Submitted by Debbie D.

Black Eyed Susan Seeds

Winner – Veronica Purpleicious, Submitted by Clare O.

Veronica

Winner – Wildflowers, Submitted by Joyce P.

Wildflower Seeds

Winner: Daylilies, Submitted by Dennis M.

Daylilies

Again, a big thank you to all who entered photos of their spring gardens in bloom. Happy Gardening!

September 2, 2014 · Amanda Shepard · 3 Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Contests, Customer Stories, Flower Bulbs, Perennials, Wildflowers

Daylilies: A Smart Garden Investment

DaylilyDaylilies are some of the most recognizable blooms in gardens throughout the world, dazzling with dependable, colorful flowers in the summer garden. These fabulous perennials are some of the true cornerstones of any perennial garden. With little care, they grow in any soil type and multiply each year, making them one of the best garden investments. Many varieties are re-bloomers, putting on a colorful show twice in one season. 

A Little History

Daylilies, genus Hemerocallis, are native to Asia. Hybridizers in the United States and England have been working with Daylilies since 1930, improving the species greatly. DaylilyThe original colors were yellow, orange, and red. Now, we get to enjoy a rainbow of colors in the dependable Hemerocallis. Many of the Daylilies you see growing in the wild in the US are actually varieties that have ‘escaped’ the hybridizers.

The Parts

Daylilies are known to form clumps and are made up of four parts. The roots of Daylilies are usually long and fibrous. The roots absorb the water and minerals for the plant, serving as a storage place for nutrients produce by the leaves. The crown is the stem of the Daylily, producing leaves and scapes. The leaves of Daylilies are long and grass-like. The scape of the Daylily is the stalk which produces the flowers. It typically does not have any leaves and there can be two or more per plant.

Mixed Daylilies

Will Daylilies Grow in my Garden?

Daylilies grow in USDA Hardiness Zones 3-9. If you don’t know your Hardiness Zone, find it out here. If you’re in a warmer area (zones 9-10) and want to try planting Daylilies, put them in an area that does not receive full sun. For everyone else, DaylilyDaylilies require a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight per day and prefer well-draining soil. Daylilies are so famous and wide-spread because they are extremely easy to grow, tolerating most growing conditions. They also multiply quickly, making them a great garden investment.

Daylilies are deer resistant and if you choose a re-blooming variety, you’ll get a show in the garden twice in one season. The versatility of the different colors, shapes, and sizes, makes it easy to pick a variety that will thrive in your garden. What are your experiences growing Daylilies? Please share in the comments below or on our Facebook Page. Happy Gardening!

September 1, 2014 · Amanda Shepard · 3 Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Gardening in Fall, Gardening in Spring and Summer, Perennials

Practically Indestructible Plants

PeoniesLet’s face it: As much as we all try our hardest in the garden, some of us – and our growing conditions – are just not as good as others. I have a lot of shade in my garden, meaning I’m probably not going to be able to grow everything. The experts here at American Meadows wanted to come up with a comprehensive “practically indestructible” plant list for gardeners with challenging soil, water conditions, or anything else that may get in the way of growing prize-winning roses! Feel free to add to the list with your “practically indestructible plants” in the comments below.

We like to call these four groups “Power Perennials,” meaning they will thrive in most conditions. Like all plants, they will need some water in the beginning of their lives in your garden. Pruning them as recommended also won’t hurt!

Peonies: These fragrant beauties create a spectacular spring show! Certain homes have them in beds, borders, along drives – and anywhere they grow, they create probably the most beautiful clump of blooms. Peonies tend to multiply each year and are a sure sign that spring is here.

Hostas and Lilies

Hostas: Talk about ‘bang for your buck!’ Hostas are a landscaper’s dream, adding spectacular foliage to walkways, garden edges, and anything in between. There are so many varieties to choose from and most delight with colorful blooms in the summer. Hostas are fast multiplyers and can be divided in the fall and re-planted throughout the garden.

Phlox and HydrangeaPhlox: Garden Phlox create mid-summer color for weeks and weeks, boasting tall columns of fragrant flowers. They are extremely easy to grow and look great paired with your favorite Hydrangea. In a few years, you’ll be dividing them in the fall with your Hostas to re-plant!

Daylilies: These fabulous perennials are some of the true cornerstones of any perennial garden. With little care, they grow in any soil type and multiply each year, making them one of the best garden investments. Many varieties are re-bloomers, putting on a colorful show twice in one season. 

DayliliesHonorable Mentions: We don’t want to forget Lilies, Echinacea, and Coreopsis as ‘practically indestructible’ plants. All three are tough and easy-to-grow, making them a great choice for almost any garden.

What are your favorite ‘indestructible’ plants? Please share in the comments below or on our Facebook Page. Happy Gardening!

August 25, 2014 · Amanda Shepard · Comments Closed
Tags: , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Gardening in Fall, Perennials