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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

Fall Planting: Drought Tolerant Perennials

Many gardeners live in drought-prone areas where it is necessary to conserve water, which means a lot needs to go into the “planning and organizing” phase of gardening, even before the gloves come on. Other gardeners, Daylily Original Orangein places like the Northeast, may not need to conserve water, but choose to plant drought resistant varieties to help save on their water bill or give themselves less work in the garden. Whatever your reason may be to go drought tolerant, we have several hardy, easy-to-grow perennial varieties that are perfect for almost any garden.

Daylilies are a great choice for conserving water. They also give you a lot of ‘bang for your buck,’ as they multiply each year and are easy to divide and move. We have a variety of Daylilies for fall planting this season. Try the re-blooming Daylily Purple D’oro for knockout, dramatic purple blooms in the summer months. The Original Orange is a true staple in many gardens throughout the US and looks gorgeous paired with the purple varieties. Other re-bloomers include Strawberry Candy, a delightful pink bi-color, and Stella D’oro, another familiar sight throughout the country. SedumBonus: Daylilies not only require minimal water, but also attract pollinators and are extremely easy to grow. View all of our Daylilies here.

Sedum, also known as Stonecrop, is known for its tolerance of dry, sunny conditions. We love Sedum because it puts on such a unique show in the late summer garden, with unique foliage giving way to gorgeous blooms in the fall garden. Sedum also is a great addition to your rock or container gardens. Try the unique Lime Zinger, vibrant Dragon’s Blood, soft Vera Jameson and more.

Echinacea Hot CoralEchinacea are another great choice for your drought resistant garden, blooming in the summer months and become a dependable and spectacular staple of the garden. Try the pure-white variety White Swan or the vibrant, red-blooming Hot Coral for a pop of color. Add texture to a shady spot with Christmas Fern, the perfect backdrop to any of your blooming plants. Salvia Lyrical Silvertone is another variety famous for its drought-resistant tendencies, adding both color and texture to the summer garden with gorgeous, spiky purple blooms.

What are your favorite drought resistant varieties that you’ve grown? Please share in the comments below or on our Facebook page. Happy Gardening!

 

August 17, 2014 · Amanda Shepard · 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Gardening in Fall, How-Tos, Perennials

Veggies Galore!

Each year, the team at American Meadows starts our vegetable and herb seeds indoors, patiently waiting for the ground to thaw, the dozens of inches of snow to melt, and for us to be able to garden (outside) again! It’s one of our favorite group activities and this year the results have been fabulous.

We always have enough crops to go around and this season is no different. We’ve had enough Zuchinni to make all of the bread, soup, stir fries and more and have also been enjoying fresh herbs and cherry tomatoes. We have peppers, tomatoes, squash, peas and more still working to ripen up and figured we’d share some of the pictures from our current garden. Enjoy!

Zuchinni
Tomatoes
Jalapenos
Veggie Garden
Peas

How is your vegetable garden growing this year? Please tell us in the comments below or on our Facebook Page. Happy Gardening!

August 6, 2014 · Amanda Shepard · Comments Closed
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Vegetable Seeds

Favorite Photos from our Spring 2014 Photo Contest

Although the below photos didn’t win, we wanted to highlight them because we were impressed by both the gardens and the photography! We hope you enjoy as much as we did.

Cosmos & Monarch, Submitted by Karyn J.

Cosmos

Daylilies & Friend, Submitted by Donna S.

Daylilies

Tulip, Submitted by Connie E.

Tulip

Forget Me Nots, Submitted by Linda G.

Forget me Nots

Daffodils, Submitted by Karen V.

Daffodils

Red Poppies, Submitted by Jan S.

Poppies

Sunflowers, Submitted by Julie S.

Sunflowers

Columbines, Submitted by Lily M.

Columbines

To view more gorgeous photos, find us on Facebook. Have an amazing garden photo of your own? Enter our Summer Photo Contest for the chance to win!

August 4, 2014 · Amanda Shepard · Comments Closed
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Contests, Customer Stories, Flower Bulbs, Gardening in Spring and Summer, Perennials, Wildflowers

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 · Comments Closed
    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