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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

Coreopsis: A Garden Staple from Coast to Coast

CoreopsisCoreopsis, also known as Tickseed, is a perennial superstar in gardens from Maine to California. Native to the Great Plains, Coreopsis is drought-tolerant and resilient, making it the perfect choice in almost any garden. This deer-resistant perennial’s bright, gorgeous blooms ignite the garden in the summer through the fall.

Although originally a native Wildflower to the Great Plains, botanists have been working hard to hybridize Coreopsis into a rainbow of colors and sizes, making it an even more versatile perennial than it was before. The selections today range from the tough, heavy-flowered Grandifloras to the newer, more delicate versions – All in spectacular colors and dependably perennial in almost any American garden.

CoreopsisIf you have a smaller garden and want to experience this easy-to-grow, colorful perennial, try planting the yellow Coreopsis Sunrise, red Coreopsis Mercury Rising, or bi-colored pink/dark pink Coreopsis Heaven’s Gate. All three varieties grow to be less than 1.5 feet tall and are the perfect burst of color in your smaller summer garden.

Varieties that grow to be about two feet are the gorgeous Coreopsis Star Cluster and Sweet Dreams, both boasting pure white blooms offset by deeply-colored centers. CoreopsisCoreopsis Early Sunrise, Moonbeam and Full Moon all bloom a cheerful yellow, but have distinctly different blooms. Coreopsis Route 66 is a unique favorite, blooming bright yellow and maroon.

Whether you are a gardening in New Mexico or New Hampshire, Coreopsis is sure to be the staple of your perennial garden, delighting the summer garden with bright, cheerful blooms year after year.

May 19, 2014 · Amanda Shepard · Comments Closed
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Gardening in Fall, Gardening in Spring and Summer, How-Tos, Perennials

Daffodils in Bloom

DaffodilsWe recently caught up with a gardener in Vermont who had planted hundreds of our Daffodil Bulbs several years ago. We wanted to check in on the project and learn a little more about the garden.

The garden is a memorial for Liz’s son who passed away several years ago. She said, “After Joe died, we started thinking about plants and the idea of renewal and birth, and the garden just took shape.” The garden, on a busy street in the middle of a quaint Vermont village, is in its beginning stages right now and will eventually become a community garden where people can walk by and enjoy, come in and sit down, or just walk through and enjoy from the inside.

She sees the garden having an informal, naturalistic feel and is inspired by landscape designer Piet Oudolf. She explained, “We want it to be very free-flowing and plan on using primarily native plants, really only what is available in Vermont. We want it to be multi-seasonal and that is why we want a lot of grasses for structure in the winter.” They also would like to eventually have a sculpture in the garden.

Daffodils

I asked her why she chose to plant hundreds of Daffodils in the space for now. She responded, “I love that Daffodils are one of the first flowers up in the spring and they come up through the snow. They are just so hopeful and sunny. They really make me smile, especially planted in mass – I really love that.” DaffodilsShe told me that people around the village and her friends follow the succession of the Daffodils’ growth and are just as excited as she is when they start to bloom in the early spring.

The garden is framed by a Pennsylvania Bluestone Wall that is shaped like a horseshoe, with random words engraved into several of the stones. When I asked her about these, she responded, “We had groups of friends that knew Joe come up with one word they would use to describe him and had these carved into stones.” The words in the wall are “Witty, Superstar, Unforgettable, and Perseverance.”

I truly enjoyed speaking with Liz about the memorial garden and am excited to track its progression as they get started on planting this season. We’ll follow up with another blog in the future.

Daffodils

 

May 9, 2014 · Amanda Shepard · Comments Closed
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Flower Bulbs, Gardening in Fall, Gardening in Spring and Summer, How-Tos

Top 5 Gardening Questions Answered

Wildflower SeedsEach day, we hear from hundreds of gardeners across the country with a variety of planting and general gardening questions. We asked our customer service team to compile the top 5 most-asked customer questions for us to answer. The questions and answers are below. We hope you enjoy (and learn something)!

I like perennials because they come back year after year, but I’m also looking for quick color this season with annuals. What types of Wildflowers should I plant?

This is a common question we get from first-time Wildflower gardeners. Due to this frequent request, we’ve specially formulated dozens of regional and special-use mixtures that contain a variety of annuals and perennials, for blooms in the first season and each year after that. To view all of our mixtures, click here.

WildflowersDo I cover my Wildflower Seeds after I plant?

Many are used to digging a hole, planting their plant or bulb and then covering it with soil. Thus, we always get the question: "Do I cover my Wildflower Seeds after I plant?" The answer is no. Wildflower Seeds need plenty of sun to grow and will not germinate if covered by any soil at all. We recommend simply pressing the seeds down into the soil by walking on them or using a roller (depending on the size of the area) and giving them plenty of water in the beginning stages of growth.

What do I do with my Wildflowers at the end of the season?

In the fall, once all of your Wildflowers have died back and aren’t growing anymore, we recommend mowing them down as you would a grass lawn. This helps for some of the annuals to re-seed naturally and also gives some food for the birds!

Will this grow in my area?

PeonyThis question is typically about Wildflower Seeds but is also asked about Perennial Plants and Bulbs. There are really two parts to answering this question. Before we get into hardiness zones, soil types and water requirements, the most basic way to answer this question is with another question: What is currently growing in the area you want to plant? If there’s something growing in the area, this means your soil is viable and you will be able to grow Wildflowers or other Plants there.

Once this question is answered, there is the matter of hardiness zone, sun requirements, soil type and water accessability. Wildflowers will grow almost anywhere, they just require as much sun as possible and some water in the beginning stages of growth. Perennials and Bulbs, however, have light, zone, and soil requirements. DaylilyYou can find your hardiness zone here and each variety on our site lists its sunlight, soil, and other preferences. To learn how to amend your soil, read our article here.

I got ahead of myself and bought plants and bulbs too early to plant in my area. What do I do with them until I can plant?

If you have perennial or annual plants, keep them lightly watered in a sunny window until it’s time to plant. For bulbs and bareroots, store them in a cool, dark, dry place until it’s time to plant. Wildflower seed can also be stored in a cool, dark, dry place until it’s time to plant.

Do you have a gardening question you want us to answer? Please post in the comments below or write on our Facebook Page. Happy Gardening!

May 1, 2014 · Amanda Shepard · 10 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Flower Bulbs, Gardening in Spring and Summer, How-Tos, Perennials, Wildflowers