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American Meadows

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5 Reasons Why Fall Is The Best Time to Plant

 

Although spring is often thought of as the best time to plant, adding perennials, bulbs, wildflowers and shrubs to the garden in the fall gives plants a head start for their first season. We’ve put together our top five reasons why we love fall planting.

1. Get a jump-start on spring growth. Planting perennials and wildflowers in the fall gives them a head start in the spring. Plants will start to grow once the ground thaws, before you could have worked the soil and planted in the spring. Wildflowers will bloom earlier and often you will get flowers on your perennials in the first season if they were planted in the fall

2. The cool weather. If the hot, sweaty weather isn’t for you, try gardening in the fall! The crisp, cool air makes for an enjoyable experience leisurely planting and working outside in the garden.

3. Less water. The colder weather helps eliminate evaporation and shorter days means photosynthesis slows down, resulting in your new plants requiring less water than if planted in the spring.

4. Spring-blooming bulbs need to winter over. Do you love colorful varieties such as tulips, daffodils and more? These bulbs need to be planted in the fall and require a wintering-over time to provide gorgeous, cheerful spring blooms.

5. Less stress. The colder weather in fall also causes less stress on your new plants, allowing for the root systems to establish themselves in a comfortable environment before the winter.

We have a variety of wildflower seeds, bulbs and perennials for fall planting that you won’t find in the big box stores. Happy fall gardening!

 

July 25, 2015 · Amanda Shepard · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Flower Bulbs, Gardening in Fall, Perennials, Wildflowers

Enter Our Summer Garden Giveaway

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Stop dreaming about that perfect outdoor space and take action! Build a pollinator oasis, create a wildflower meadow, raise your own chickens, or plant native perennials. Let the 2015 Summer Garden Giveaway be your inspiration.

All you have to do is click here and enter your email address for the chance to win a $100 gift certificate (awarded weekly), or you could win the grand prize, a $250 gift certificate!

Build the garden of your dreams with American Meadows.

The Summer Garden Giveaway ends September 15th. Sign up today!

July 21, 2015 · Ashley Watson · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Contests, Gardening in Fall

Customer Garden Highlight: Low-Maintenance Wildflowers And Perennials In Vermont

One of our customers in Williston, Vermont, plants wildflowers each season along with their multitude of perennial gardens that require “almost no work,” says homeowner Liz.

They planted our Northeast Wildflower Mix on the side of their house three years ago and it has naturalized into a low-maintenance wildflower garden that brings them delight each year, all season long. A bonus is the fact that most of the varieties are native, making it a buffet for pollinators.

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In the front of their house, which has a lot of foot traffic from a busy sidewalk, they planted hundreds of Daffodils several season ago. Now, they add Wildflowers each year and plant the section of the garden closest to the sidewalk with our Fragrant Mix. This gives walkers-by a treat for the eyes and the nose! They also added our Summer Splash Mix to give the space extra color this season.

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The low maintenance perennial gardens in the back of the property feature ferns, hostas, bee balm, daylilies, astilbe and much more.
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July 19, 2015 · Amanda Shepard · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Customer Stories, Gardening in Fall, Gardening in Spring and Summer, Perennials, Wildflowers

American Meadows Celebrates Fourth of July with Wildflowers

AMIBlog_4th-of-July-parade-mike-and-ethanAmerican Meadows owners Mike Lizotte (the Seed Man) and Ethan Platt (inside the truck) posing for the camera as everyone waits for the start of the parade.

This year American Meadows celebrated the 4th of July by making our debut appearance in Williston’s Fourth of July Parade in Williston, Vermont. Everyone in the office pitched in to make this a successful and fun event. Anyone who was available helped decorate the truck and march in the parade to hand out candy and our Red, White and Blue seed packets. Many of the parade’s spectators were pleasantly surprised to receive free wildflower seeds!

AMIBlog-4th-parade-rwb-seed-packetOur playful, red, white and blue design is perfect for the 4th of July and other patriotic celebrations. Hand out at barbecues, business events, parades, and more. This packet contains quick-blooming red, white and blue wildflowers.

The AMI staff’s children were also able to get involved riding decorated bikes alongside their parents and waving to the crowd. We also have our own professional Scottish bagpipe band on staff. Hazen Metro and Shannon Morse are members of the Catamount Pipe Band, and they volunteered to march in front of the truck and entertain the crowd. And of course, we had to have a couple of “pollinators” in our crew, as you can see in the background in one of the pictures below.

AMIBlog_4th-of-July-parade-children-with-truck-2Various members of AMI staff members’ children preparing to get on their bikes or walk with the adults. Left to Right: Evan, Lily, Cora, Adia, Sadie, Margot, and Eva.

AMIBlog_4th-of-July-parade-hazen-and-shannon-marchingHazen and Shannon, who are members of the Scottish bagpipe band, Catamount Pipe Band, performed Scottish bagpipe music as they walked in front of the truck.

AMIBlog-bikes-and-beesHR Director, Chrystie Sands and her son, Evan, waving to the crowd. Web Developer, Genevieve Curry, and Customer Service Manager, Leigh Couture volunteered to wear bee costumes on a hot day so that the important pollinators were represented too!

AMIBlog_4th-of-July-parade-AMI_truck-en_routeWith his daughter sitting next to him, Ethan was the official “float captain” for the parade.

AMIBlog_4th--parade-groupLeft image: Adia, Sadie, and Margot smiling for the cameras. Right image: Ethan and his daughter, Cora, at the end of the parade.

Hundreds of people showed up on Saturday to watch the mile-long parade to cheer and wave to parade participants. This year’s theme for the Williston fourth of July parade was “Community,” and we couldn’t think of better way to celebrate community than to share our love for planting. After all, every community starts by putting down roots. We hope that everyone who received our seed packets enjoys watching their red, white, and blue wildflowers grow! For more information on how to grow wildflowers, check out our handy wildflower planting guide.

We would like to thank everyone at the parade for helping to make this a great way to celebrate the fourth. Lastly, thanks to the town of Williston for naming us Best Business in this year’s parade! We look forward to participating again next year, and we hope to see our Vermont customers there too!

AMIBlog_Best_Business_AwardShannon in our front garden holding our Best Business ribbon we received at the Williston, Vermont 2015 Fourth of July Parade.

Text, Seed Packet and Ribbon photos by Ashley Watson. All other photos taken by Noah Dater.

July 10, 2015 · Heather Viani · One Comment
Tags: , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Company event, In The News, Wildflowers

Extend Your Garden With Fall-Flowering Crocus

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When the season winds down in fall and blooms starts to fade, it can make a gardener get a little, well, gloomy. A fantastic, fun way to get rid of these late-season blues is by planting fall-flowering crocus in the late summer months. These quick-blooming beauties add jewel-toned colors to the fall garden and are extremely easy to grow.

These late-season bloomers are also perennials, multiplying each year, and will quickly become a staple of your fall garden.

Saffron Crocus

Crocus sativus

This purple-blooming variety is the most popular fall-flowering crocus, due to the high demand and price of the spice made from this flower’s stamens: saffron. It’s easy to harvest, dry and then store the stamens to use in your favorite culinary creations. Learn how in our blog here.

Not interested in the spice? No problem. This easy-to-grow crocus adds elegance to the garden and in containers. You can also plant Saffron Crocus indoors on a sunny windowsill.

Fall-Flowering Crocus and Colchicum

These varieties bloom so quickly it’s like magic. Plant in August, either in the ground or in containers, and within days you’ll see them poking through the soil. Coming in a variety of pinks, purples and white, Crocus and Colchicum create a unique, colorful statement in your late season garden.

Each bulb will produce about 5-10 stems, creating a multitude of blooms just when you need them most – In the fall!

July 7, 2015 · Amanda Shepard · Comments Closed
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Flower Bulbs, Gardening in Fall

Our Customers Say it Best: Spark Day

Carol's Sparky's October

To the plant experts at American Meadows:

Spark Day 2015 posterI thought you might enjoy knowing how far and wide your “Sparky Marigold” seeds have spread. Six years ago I started a holiday called “Spark Day” that was inspired by a little dog named Sparky who had come from a shelter in West Virginia and who had lived a rotten life of disregard. When he came home to me, he had the good life: A home, warm bed, friends, food, comfort, vet care.  He was happy.  But he never made it to his one year anniversary in a home, something I had been hoping for him to have.  He was a very old dog and had lived a very hard life.  But he was also very appreciative.

Honoring that, I decided the anniversary of his adoption should be something we celebrated rather than mourned so I decided, along with his many fans — he had come to me with a following — that we should celebrate “Spark Day” a day to celebrate “The Spark of Life” that abounds all around us.  After all, that’s how Sparky got his name: he had collapsed and the shelter director didn’t think he would survive, but when he perked up the next day at the shelter, she decided to call him Sparky.  We celebrate this day by doing life-affirming things.  It is not a day ABOUT Sparky, but INSPIRED by him.  It is not about dogs or animal rescue per se, though those pursuits are life-affirming.  There are many life-affirming things that people do and so people mark it their own ways.  Then at a pre-arranged time in the evening, everyone pauses and raises a glass in a toast and we metaphorically “clink” over the distance at the “Spark Moment”.  We have been doing this six years now. Spark Day is May 16th.

As the founder of Spark Day, I searched for something special to help unify all of us in this holiday and mark the occasion with beauty in some life-affirming way.  As I was shopping for spring plants that first year at your site, I came upon “Sparky Marigold” seeds.  I could not believe it!  I bought a bunch and then bought little envelopes and made them up with special labels for Spark Day and sent them out to the people celebrating.  Everyone enjoyed them and month’s later people would send me the pictures of their Sparky Flowers!  I mixed Sparky Marigolds with some wildflower blends you had that included perennials as well as annuals, thus the mix included seeds that burned brightly but briefly like Sparky and some that would return, like Sparky’s message of behaving in a life-affirming way.

Carol's Sparkies...in honor of Barney

Spark Day has grown over these years and this year people in 17 states celebrated on May 16th, each person receiving a seed packet of Sparky Marigolds mixed with a variety of seeds from your different pollinator blends to support those creatures who help support the life that’s out there. Each year I made up a Spark Day card and send it out to those on my list, but more people receive Sparky Seeds than just those to whom I send them, as the shelter, Wetzel County Animal Shelter in New Martinsville, WV , also sends them out as thank you gifts to those who participate in their annual Spark Day Fundraiser to help old dogs like Sparky.

Susan Fair's SparkiesI make out a supply of packets for them to use and they share them.  I also have sent a supply of seeds to a pre-kindergarten teacher I know who did a whole Spark Day unit with the four year olds in her class.  Those little kids took great care to grow personal Sparky Pots for their mothers to receive on Mother’s Day as well as tending to a Sparky Garden they planted at their school and they took extra seeds home to plant, some families deciding to plant them in community gardens to share with still more people.  This year I made up 573 Sparky Seed packets.  I mailed out 243 packets to all those different states and then took 330 into work with me on Spark Day Eve.

I am a high school teacher and over the years have used this holiday to teach beyond the standard literary curriculum to encourage community involvement and to help them see avenues to apply the lessons literature teaches.  Over these past six years, both students and staff have come to anticipate Spark Day, sometimes asking me well in advance for the seeds.  They have brought comfort to many going through tough times (e.g. cancer, loss of a loved one, personal stress, etc.) and have brightened the days of so many for months to come.  People I do not even know by name stop me in the halls to show me pictures of their Sparky Flowers on their cell phones.  It’s wonderful!  I went into work on Spark Day Eve with 330 seed packets; before the next week was over, I had no more left.  I gave them to people at work, at the pet stores where I shop, at the banks I use, at the restaurant where I celebrated Spark Day with many friends.  All of these people are planting these seeds and in the coming months I’ll put a call out for them to send in pictures to post on the shelter’s Facebook page for all to see.

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So I hope you will never stop selling your Sparky Marigold blend and I hope you enjoy seeing the pictures from many people who have sent them to me in celebration of the Spark of Life and Spark Day.

Enjoy — and thank you!

Sincerely,

Michele K.

 

June 28, 2015 · Amanda Shepard · One Comment
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Customer Stories, Gardening in Fall, Gardening in Spring and Summer, Wildflowers

Urban Gardening: Getting Creative With What You Have

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When I moved into my house, there were already two rose bushes. This white one is about six feet tall and blooms over my fence, giving people walking by a show and plenty of blooms to pick!

As a garden lover and someone who works for a gardening company, each year I really strive to get the most out of my outdoor space and give myself plenty of projects to do in my gardens – which altogether are about 150 square feet. As you can imagine, this takes a lot of creativity, patience and A LOT of containers.

Veggie Garden

This is the year I finally did it – I built a raised garden bed in my tiny yard. I had to build a raised bed to plant veggies because my house was built in the 1800s and most likely has lead in the soil.

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I got my veggie starts from a local farm for only $25 total — A great deal.

This garden serves several purposes:

  • – It helps create a barrier between my yard and my neighbor’s yard
  • – It gives me about 25 sq. feet more garden space
  • – It gives me delicious veggies!
The garden also serves as a barrier between my yard and my neighbors'.

The garden also serves as a barrier between my yard and my neighbors’.

Now, I looked online and on Pinterest at what a raised garden bed would cost to purchase, and decided that me (and my handy boyfriend) could just build one ourselves with lumber from the local hardware store.

So, we did! The lumber cost about $80 and the dirt came to about $120. So altogether, around $200 and about 2 hours of work., which is much better than the prices in the store ($300-$400 for just the structure).

Planting was easy and my plants are doing great, despite the somewhat spotty sunlight between the two houses.

Planting was easy and my plants are doing great, despite the somewhat spotty sunlight between the two houses.

Because I wasn’t sure whether or not we were going to build the raised bed, I didn’t get a chance to start my veggie seeds indoors. Instead, I purchased organic starter plants from my local Farmer’s Market. They came from a farm just a few miles from my house and for about 20 or so plants, I only spent $25. I also added Morning Glories and a small trellis to the garden to give it a little summer color and also provide some privacy from the porch next door.

Morning Glories are coming up! These will add some color to my veggie garden and also some privacy from the porch next door.

Morning Glories are coming up! These will add some color to my veggie garden and also some privacy from the porch next door.

The plants are doing AMAZING despite my worry that there might not be enough sun. The squirrels don’t seem too interested in it yet, so that’s a good start (knock on wood).

Baby eggplants in the garden!

Baby eggplants in the garden!

Wildflowers In The Median

If you run out of space in your own garden, think outside the box – literally! Each year, we try to plant Wildflowers in the medians in front of our house. Unfortunately, due to our harsh winters and the amount of salt that gets pushed onto these spaces by plow trucks, they never last more than one year. So we plant annuals each year.

After only a few weeks, our Wildflower planting in the median is coming up strong. The rain sure helped!

After only a few weeks, our Wildflower planting in the median is coming up strong. The rain sure helped!

This year we built a little stone reinforcement around our planting to help keep the seed from washing away. We planted the Summer Splash Mix and it has grown so much in just a few weeks after planting.

Containers

Containers are a city gardener’s best friend, and this year I took my plantings one step further with sap buckets from a friend. They changed the regulations on the metal that can be used, so he had a lot of extra buckets leftover. I drilled holes in the bottoms and planted Dahlias, Caladium and Gladiolus in them.

Containers are a city gardener's best friend.

Containers are a city gardener’s best friend.

These are perfect containers because they are tall, giving the plants’ roots plenty of room to grow. I also get annuals from my local garden center to spruce things up before my garden goes gangbusters in the summer.

Plenty of Gladiolus fit in this container! They take up almost no horizontal space and are great for deep containers.

Plenty of Gladiolus fit in this container! They take up almost no horizontal space and are great for deep containers.

Garden Beds

 

I try to keep my small garden beds blooming all season long. I am fortunate enough to have moved into a space that has rose bushes original to the house – needless to say, they are gorgeous and provide a sweet fragrance both on my side of the fence and on the street for walkers-by. Throughout the years, I’ve added Daylilies, Hostas, Bleeding Heart, Peonies and Salvia to the gardens.

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Roses

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Daylilies

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Salvia

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Poppies

I’ll post again in a few weeks when my Wildflowers and Bulbs are blooming. It’s so much fun to watch people walk by and pick a bloom or two. Happy first day of summer, all!

June 21, 2015 · Amanda Shepard · One Comment
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Gardening in Spring and Summer, How-Tos, Perennials, Vegetable Seeds, Wildflowers

Patience In The Garden

“A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.” – Gertude Jeckyll

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Wildflower seedlings

As summer approaches, our gardens have been planted, or are soon to be, and we watch and wait patiently … or in some cases not so patiently.

It’s not unusual to get multiple calls from customers this time of year concerned that their wildflowers seem slow to progress or they’re having a hard time identifying what’s a wildflower from the grasses and weeds.

“May all your weeds be Wildflowers!”

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Wildflower seedlings

This was a photo from a customer in Tennessee that planted in late March/early April and was concerned that they weren’t seeing much. They were also worried that what they were seeing was unidentifiable. So they sent along a few photos for me to look at. What do you see? Hint: Lots of wildflowers!

We’re here to help – Seeds, Seedlings, Videos and more!

We’ve added more product images and videos that include pictures of the seed, seedlings and of course lots of customer photos of species and mixtures in full bloom. We will be adding more throughout the summer to help you better identify your wildflowers once they’ve germinated and as they progress. Not sure what you’re looking at? Send us a photo and we’d be more than happy to identify your flowers.

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Check out our new seedling photos to identify your Wildflowers as they grow!

There are many factors that can play a role in how quickly your seed germinates and your plants grow; sun, water and soil conditions are just a few. But in many cases it’s just being a little more patience with nature, don’t get discouraged and your flowers will be bursting with blooms in no time.

Keep Calm and Garden On!

June 15, 2015 · Mike Lizotte · Comments Closed
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Gardening in Fall, Gardening in Spring and Summer, How-Tos, Wildflowers

How to Germinate and Grow Milkweed Seed

Instructions for preparing and planting Common Milkweed Seed (Asclepias Syriaca) and Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias Incarnata). We found these techniques best for growing results.Asclepias_syriaca_Common_Milkweed__4_

Let’s Get Started: Understanding Milkweed Seed & Germinating

Step 1: To start Milkweed seed we recommend starting inside, but before this happens Milkweed seeds need to go through a cold stratification period.  Cold stratification is very important for the germination and growth of Milkweed.  It helps break the seeds natural dormancy cycle.  To do this, we recommend placing Milkweed seed in a damp paper towel or damp sand in a zip lock bag and place in your fridge for 3 – 6 weeks (30 days). Place in an area of the fridge, where it won’t get damaged. We taped ours to the bottom of a refrigerator shelf.

Common Milkweed

Growing Indoors

Step 2: Planting – Once the 30 days are complete, it’s time to plant the cold stratified Milkweed seeds. We recommend planting in 2-4” peat pots. Fill peat pots ¾ of the way with seed starting potting soil and gently add water.  Water should be able to drain through the peat pots.  Once the soil is damp, place 1-2 cold stratified seeds into each pot.  To finish, place 1/4 inch of soil on top of the seed.

Watering – Gently water the planted seed to give additional hydration. The best way to water is from the bottom up.  Use a flat pan under the peat pots and add a half inch of water to the bottom of the tray. Don’t over water as it can cause fungus. Water every day or every other day as needed, the best way to test the soil dampness is to touch it. If the soil seems dry then add water; if it’s wet, wait for the soil to dry out to water.

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Light Requirements – For the next few weeks, make sure the Milkweed is either in a sunny window, in a green house or under a grow light. Milkweed needs lots of sun and warmth to grow.  If you’re using a grow light, make sure to lower the bulb closer to the pots or your seedlings may become leggy, as they stretch to the light. In our experiment, this happened to us. Ideally a sturdier stem is better. Cold stratified seeds should germinate and sprout within 10-15 days once planted.  In total Milkweed from the day they are cold stratified to growth can take 40 plus days, so be patient!

Tray of Seedlings

Other planting options: Place dry seed (not stratified) in seed starting soil and plant in peat pots under a grow light or in a greenhouse to germinate seeds.  The success rate for this is low and more difficult to accomplish.  If you choose to use this option it can take months for the seeds to germinate.

If you are planting seed outside, we suggest seeding in late fall, and let the Milkweed seed lay on the ground through winter. Milkweed seed will have a long winter of dormancy, so once the sun comes out and the ground warms in the spring, the seeds will germinate on their own.

 

Transplanting Milkweed Seedling Outdoors

Step 3: Milkweed does well in open areas with full sunlight exposure areas like fields, parks, cultivated gardens, roadsides, highway medians, and road sides.  We suggest transplanting Milkweed when the plant is no larger than 3 inches tall. In most cases in transplanting, the Milkweed plant will go though some shock and could lose all its leaves. This happens, don’t panic. The plant is trying to establish its roots and will eventually grow leaves again.  This is the main reason we suggest planting seeds in peat pots, because Milkweed roots are very sensitive.  Peat Pots breakdown over time in the ground, which allows the milkweed roots to grows without being disrupted.  We found this to be the best way to transplant. If you decide to plant in plastic containers, but make sure it’s deep enough for roots to grow. If you receive a plant already grown in plastic, be careful to take out the plant and not disturb the roots.IMG_5744

When to Plant Milkweed

Soil moisture and temperature are very important when growing Milkweed. The best time to plant Milkweed is in early spring after the danger of frost has passed.  If you plant seeds late in the spring, the seeds may not grow due toCommon Milkweed Field Grown germination time and temperature. Common Milkweed seed doesn’t germinate over 85 degrees.

Caring for Milkweed Plants

Once your seedling is planted, water it for a few days to get it established, but after that, the plant doesn’t need a lot of supplemental water. Only water if you have an unusual dry spell.  Peat pots are nice to use, but you need to be sure there is no top edge above the soil line after transplanting. In dry climates, this will wick away valuable soil moisture. A small 2 1/2″ diameter x 3 in. deep pot is ideal. Asclepias are somewhat finicky native plants. So minimizing the time growing in a pot and transplanting them as young plants is the best approach.

Are you excited about saving the monarchs? Have any tips for growing milkweed seed? Share with us on facebook or instagram, we would love to see. Happy Growing!

June 11, 2015 · Heather Viani · Comments Closed
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: How-Tos, Wildflowers

Spring 2015 Photo Contest Winners

Our Spring Photo contest was so hard to judge this year and we truly enjoyed looking at hundreds of your amazing photos! We love 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 Summer Photo Contest has already started — Enter Now!

Grand Prize Winner – Dahlias, Submitted by Karrie L.

Dahlia - KARRIE LACOCK

Winner – Tulips, Submitted by Christine M.

Winner – Southwest Wildflower Mix, Submitted by Corey W.

Southwest Wildflower Seed Mix - Corey Whelpley (3)

Winner – Lilies, Submitted by Shirley A.

Lily Lilium - Shirley Audetat

June 6, 2015 · Amanda Shepard · One Comment
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Contests, Customer Stories, Flower Bulbs, Gardening in Fall, Gardening in Spring and Summer, Perennials, Wildflowers