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Fall: The Perfect Time to Get Gardening!

Fall PlantingThere are a variety of reasons why fall is an amazing time to garden. The cool, crisp weather is wonderful to work in, it extends your gardening season significantly and many bulbs and plants prefer being planted in the fall. I’ll highlight several of my favorite reasons to get you excited about fall planting!

The Weather

I’ll admit, I try to plant as much as possible in the fall because I’m someone who doesn’t appreciate the heat. Don’t get me wrong – I love the summer, but there is something to be said about the calm of a cool, early fall morning. That’s why I usually plan on preparing and planting the three aspects of my garden in the fall – Wildflowers, Perennials and Spring-Blooming Bulbs. All of these can (and some do better) be planted in the fall. Fall planting actually mimics mother nature’s way of dropping seeds and getting ready for the winter.

WildflowersWildflowers

As long as you have an extended period of frost, Wildflowers are an amazing candidate for fall planting. Plant after you’ve had a few killing frosts in your area and there is no chance for the seeds to germinate before the spring. You’ll be surprised at how much earlier your blooms come in the spring and summer when planted in the fall. It’s amazing! Then, come spring, you can fill in bare areas with leftover seed to make sure you have a gorgeous, full meadow or garden. Learn more about fall Wildflower planting here.

Perennials

Bleeding HeartI plant perennials in both the spring and the fall. I like to plan my garden design in the fall and plant key elements then. Come spring, once I see where there may be room to squeeze JUST one more plant in, I’ll add some here and there. I also find that perennials acclimate quicker to the garden when planted in the fall and I’ll see better growth and blooms the first season. Two examples of this are a Bleeding Heart and Echinacea plant I planted last fall. I’m amazed at how large and stunning the blooms were this spring/summer with almost no maintenance work!

Bulbs

Allium and LupineWe all know Spring-Blooming Bulbs are the perfect candidate for fall planting. Tulips, Daffodils, Crocus, Hyacinths and more all require a dormant period to grow. These are the most rewarding things to plant in the garden – It’s literally ‘dig, drop, done’ to experience an amazing spectacle of blooms in the spring. If you’re in an area that doesn’t receive a hard frost, you can force your bulbs in the refrigerator. Learn more about how to do that here.

Why do you love fall planting? Please share in the comments below or on our Facebook page. Happy Gardening!

July 27, 2014 · Amanda Shepard · One Comment
Tags: , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Flower Bulbs, Gardening in Fall, How-Tos, Perennials, Wildflowers

Jewels of the Spring Garden: Grape Hyacinths

Grape HyacinthsLike most Spring-Blooming Beauties, Grape Hyacinths create a show-stopping display of color and are fabulously easy to grow. We wanted to highlight a few reasons why we love these hardy, vigorous bulbs and also share a few of our favorite varieties with you.

Grape Hyacinths, also known as Muscari, create a true carpet of color in the late spring garden and are gorgeous planted in clumps. These beauties are also ideal companions for taller spring-blooming Bulbs or spring-flowering Shrubs such as Lilacs. Growing to be about 6-12 inches depending on the variety, Grape Hyacinths are fairly short and should be placed in the front of the garden. These easy-to-grow Bulbs are deer resistant and true perennials, returning year after year.

Grape HyacinthsFun Facts About Grape Hyacinths:

  • Muscari means musk in Greek, which makes sense for these scented beauties!
  • In Holland at the Keukenhof Gardens, there is an area called “Blue River.” There are thousands of Grape Hyacinths planted so closely together, the area resembles a river.
  • Many picture traditional blue blooms when they think of Grape Hyacinths. Although the true blue blooms are a bold and cool look in the spring garden, there are many other colors to brighten up your space. Grape Hyacinths Pink Sunrise delight with light pink blooms and are lovely grouped with the white variety Album and the traditional, true blue variety. Grape HyacinthsLooking for something unique? Try the Giant Grape Hyacinths, the Delft Blue Mix, or d

    Whether you’re planting a small space urban garden or have acres of land, Grape Hyacinths are a true staple in any spring garden. What experiences do you have growing Grape Hyacinths? Please share in the comments below or on our Facebook Page. Happy Gardening!

     

    July 20, 2014 · Amanda Shepard · No Comments
    Tags: , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Flower Bulbs, Gardening in Fall, How-Tos, Perennials

    Growing Bearded Iris

    Bearded IrisBearded Irises are one of the most popular perennials in gardens throughout the world and we’re not surprised! The endless array of colors and sizes makes this a versatile and show-stopping element of any garden. We wanted to give you several tips to make sure your new Irises get acclimated to your space and become the backbone of your perennial garden!

    When to Plant

    There are several times of the year to plant Bearded Iris. In the early spring, add live plants to your garden for spring and summer growth. In the summer (August and September) when Irises are dormant, plant Bearded Iris Rhizomes. August and September is also the time to divide and replant or gift roots that have become overcrowded in your gardens. We recommend doing this after about 3-5 years of growth. Make sure to plant your Irises in the summer at least 4-6 weeks before your first killing frost.

    Bearded IrisWhere to Plant

    Bearded Irises prefer at least 6-8 hours of sunlight a day. If you’re in a hotter climate (zones 8-11), make sure your Irises get some shade during the day. Be sure to plant your Irises in well-draining soil. These plants grow especially well on slopes or in raised beds.

    Soil Prep & Depth

    As long as you have well-draining soil, Bearded Irises should thrive in your garden. Rhizomes should be planted at the surface of the ground. The tops of the Rhizomes should be visible and make sure to spread the roots out below the soil. One of the most common reasons why Bearded Irises don’t grow is that they are planted too deep.

    Other Planting Tips

    Planting Bearded IrisMake sure to give your Rhizomes a lot of water right after planting. This helps to remove any air pockets and gives them a better chance of strong growth. Once established, Bearded Iris do not require regular watering. We recommend planting Iris 12-24 inches apart, as planting too close together results in overcrowding. Be sure to keep your garden free of weeds and other debris, to give your Irises as much sun as possible.

    Do you have any tips on growing Bearded Iris? Please share in the comments below or on our Facebook Page. Happy Gardening!

     

    July 13, 2014 · Amanda Shepard · Comments Closed
    Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Gardening in Fall, Gardening in Spring and Summer, Perennials

    The Joy of Tulips

    Tulips

    Tulips are the most popular Spring-Blooming Bulb and we’re not surprised! Simply drop the bulbs into the ground in the fall and come spring, you will be met by a dazzling show of flowers blooming in all shapes, colors, and sizes. If you have any room in your garden beds, I definitely recommend tucking Tulips in. They don’t take up much room and create a show-stopping burst of early spring color.

    As one of our amazing customers states, “I love Tulips and Daffodils because they mark the end of winter and the beginning of celebrating the outdoors.” This is also one of the reasons I love Tulips. TulipsI anticipate the blooms every winter and can feel myself breathing a sigh of relief once I see the bright green stems shooting out of the thawing ground. If not for any other reason, plant Tulips to give yourself something beautiful to look forward to in the early spring.

    If you love Tulips but don’t want to plant each year, try the Perennial Darwin Tulips. These beauties come in all colors and are lovely put together for cheerful spring bouquets. If you want to add a unique splash of color to your spring garden, try Lily Flowered Tulips, Parrot Tulips, or Double Tulips. You will be surprised at how different the blooms of all these Tulips look! If you want long-lasting color throughout the spring season, plant early blooming varieties with late blooming varieties.

    TulipsFun Fact About Tulips: From 1634 to 1637 there was a period known as “Tulip Mania.” There was such enthusiasm for the spring-flowering bulb that it started an economic frenzy. The value of Tulips shot up and became the most expensive flower in the world, even being treated as a form of currency.

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

    July 3, 2014 · Amanda Shepard · One Comment
    Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Flower Bulbs, Gardening in Fall, How-Tos

    Have Deer? No Problem!

    AlliumWe’ve all experienced it — You spend hours meticulously planting your favorite Fall-Planted Bulbs in the ground, already anticipating the glorious rainbow of blooms to come in the spring. But, almost as soon as you plant them, you see bulbs scattered across your lawn and huge holes dug into your beds. The deer and rabbits have gotten to them and all of your hard work has been ruined! Well, gardeners, we’re here to help with several Spring-Blooming Bulbs that are deer resistant. They have a certain smell and taste that are unappealing to the pesky critters.

    Daffodils not only grow almost anywhere and create a spectacularly cheerful display in the early spring garden, but are famous for being unappealing to deer. We have over 30 varieties of Daffodils to choose from, in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes.

    Daffodils and HyacinthsAllium add a truly mystical, unique look to your summer garden and because they are close relatives of onions and leeks, the deer stay away! If you haven’t planted Allium before, you should definitely try them this season. They blooms have that "wow" factor and are dependably perennial.

    The amazing scent of Hyacinth blooms can overcome your entire spring garden, adding an extra element to your landscape. The colorful and easy-to-grow bulbs are also deer resistant, making them the perfect choice for any garden. Grape Hyacinths create a carpet of color in the late spring and are gorgeous planted in clumps. These unique bulbs are perennial and deer resistant.

    Anemone BulbsThere are also several unique Fall-Planted Bulbs that deer tend to stay away from. Anemone Bulbs bloom in a rainbow of colors and bring drama to the spring garden. Wood Hyacinth Bulbs create clusters of fragrant, blue flowers in late spring. They are perfect for rock gardens, beds and borders. Mediterranean Bells are a true conversation-starter in the garden and boast bell-shaped, bi-colored blooms. The blooms are also fragrant!

    View all of our deer resistant Fall-Planted Bulbs here. What are your experiences with deer and Fall-Planted Bulbs? Please share in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

     

    June 26, 2014 · Amanda Shepard · 2 Comments
    Tags: , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Flower Bulbs, Gardening in Fall, How-Tos

    The Allure of Daffodils

    Daffodils not only greet us gardeners with cheerful, bright blooms in the early spring, but are extremely versatile and serve many purposes for almost any garden. These easy-to-grow blooms are as simple as ‘dig, drop, done’ and provide spectacular color year after year.

    Daffodils

    Daffodils, or Narcissus, grow in almost any spot, as long as you have a hard frost for several months so they can stay dormant. If you’re in a warmer zone (9-10), you can store the bulbs in the refrigerator to winterize them and plant outdoors about 8-10 weeks later. Have hungry deer? Deer tend to stay away from Daffodils and these bulbs are famous for being deer resistant. Dutchmaster DaffodilsGardeners also love Daffodils for their spreading tendencies. Plant a few dozen bulbs one year and be greeted with more and more each year, creating a dependable burst of early spring color.

    Daffodils can be planted in a formal garden in groups, or naturalized in a more relaxed way in your Wildflower bed — These beauties grow almost anywhere and look good no matter what! 

    Daffodils have become so popular, there are hundreds of different varieties that all have different characteristics. The Trumpet Daffodil group includes one of the most famous varieties, the Dutch Master Daffodil, and boasts large blooms with strong trumpets. Large Cupped Daffodils have huge blooms and come in a large variety of colors. Double Daffodils’ unique blooms are full and frilly, adding texture to the spring garden. DaffodilsButterfly Daffodils are becoming increasingly popular in gardens throughout the US and boast elegant, bi-colored blooms. Miniature Daffodils are perfect for a small-space or container garden.

    So whether you’re a seasoned gardener with the landscaping to show it, or a novice just starting out, Daffodils are the perfect choice. Plant once in the fall and enjoy a burst of blooms in the early spring, season after season.

    What are your favorite Daffodils? Please share in the comments below or post on our Facebook Page.

     

    June 20, 2014 · Amanda Shepard · Comments Closed
    Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Flower Bulbs, Gardening in Fall, How-Tos, Perennials

    A Showy, Native Perennial: Bee Balm

    bee BalmMonarda, also known as Bee Balm, Horsemint and Bergamot, is a colorful perennial that is native to North America. It caught the eyes of early settlers in the Colonial days and since then has been hybridized to include a great variety of shapes, colors, and sizes, making Bee Balm a must-have in any perennial garden.

    The colorful, crown-shaped flowers of Bee Balm attract an array of Butterflies, Hummingbirds, and other pollinators to the garden in the summer months. Depending on the variety, the height of these beauties can range from 12” to 60” and they prefer full sun with plenty of moisture. We recommend making sure the stems have good air circulation to prevent powdery mildew. All varieties of Bee Balm are unattractive to deer and have a sweet fragrance, making them perfect both in the garden and cut for gorgeous summer bouquets.

    Bee BalmBee Balm leaves can be crushed up to make a spicy, fragrant essential oil. This essential oil smells like Bergamot Orange, which is why one of Bee Balm’s common names is Bergamot. The plants have also been used for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years, on a variety of different ailments.

    There are over 50 known varieties of Bee Balm in circulation. We carry a large variety of Monarda, including the smaller and compact Fireball, the mildew-resistant Jacob Kline, the tall Marshall’s Delight, and many more.

    Bee BalmWhat are your experiences growing Bee Balm in your garden? Please post in the comments below or on our Facebook Page. Happy Gardening!

    June 9, 2014 · Amanda Shepard · 2 Comments
    Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Gardening in Spring and Summer, How-Tos, Perennials

    Spring 2014 Photo Contest Winners

    Our Spring 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 – Mixed Wildflowers, Submitted by Karyn J.

    Wildflower Seeds

    Winner – Honeysuckle, Submitted by Connie E.

    Honeysuckle

    Winner – Zinnia, Submitted by Donn H.

    Zinnia Seeds

    Winner: Crocus, Submitted by Shanty K.

    Crocus Bulbs

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

    June 2, 2014 · Amanda Shepard · 2 Comments
    Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Contests, Customer Stories, Flower Bulbs, Gardening in Fall, Gardening in Spring and Summer, Perennials, Wildflowers

    Create a Grand, Colorful Statement with Hollyhocks

    HollyhocksHollyhocks, also known as Alcea, not only create bright, dependable color in the summer garden, but also provide many practical uses for your property. We love this garden classic and wanted to share its benefits with all of you.

    Hollyhocks grow to be about 5’ and taller, making them perfect for creating a colorful backdrop in the border of your garden. Hollyhocks arealso great for planting in front of electrical panels and other unsightly views on your property.They also attract butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden and Hollyhocksmake for gorgeous cut bouquets. We’ve heard that the Hollyhock Charter’s Mix is Martha Stewart’s favorite, as she grows it for fall bouquets. It is also said that Hollyhock stems, once they die down in the fall, can be used as firewood.

    Hollyhocks have been known and identified since the early 19th century, originally boasting large, double blooms that are almost fluffy-looking. Since then, botanists have hybridized the plant to have many different forms. We carry a large variety of Hollyhocks in bare root form, meaning as biennials they should bloom in the first season.If you’re looking to start Hollyhocks from seed,we carry Alcea rosea in seed form.

    What are your favorite uses for Hollyhocks? Please share in the comments below or on our Facebook Page. Happy Gardening!  

    May 29, 2014 · Amanda Shepard · 4 Comments
    Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: How-Tos, Perennials, Wildflowers

    Bleeding Heart: A Shade-Loving Beauty

    Bleeding HeartThere are several plants that come up and greet the gardener with the warm welcome that spring is finally here. One of these plants is the favorite Bleeding Heart, which illuminates shady areas with unique, heart-shaped blooms. These easy-to-grow perennials make a bold statement planted on their own or paired with other shade-loving perennials.

    The story behind the name “Bleeding Heart” is quite interesting. The heart-shaped blooms are one reason for the name. The other comes from a Japanese legend, which is where these plants originate. It is said that a young man tried to win the love of a young lady by first giving her a pair of rabbits, which signify the first two petals of the flower, then a pair of slippers, which signify the next two petals of the flower, and finally a pair of earrings, which are the last two petals of the flower. She rejected him with each gift, eventually leading him to pierce his heart with a sword (which signifies the middle part of the flower), causing him to have a bleeding heart.

    Bleeding Heart

    Although carrying a somewhat bleak history, Bleeding Hearts are anything but. Clumping, deep green foliage offsets the elegant, heart-shaped blooms that come in shades of white, red, and pink. These gorgeous perennials can be planted on their own, but also look fabulous grouped with Ferns, Hostas, and Astilbe. Bleeding HeartsBleeding Hearts are also deer resistant and attract hummingbirds and butterflies to the garden.

    What are your favorite varieties of Bleeding Heart? Please post in the comments below or share a photo on our Facebook Page. Happy Gardening!

    May 22, 2014 · Amanda Shepard · 4 Comments
    Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Gardening in Fall, Gardening in Spring and Summer, Perennials