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Garden Design: Get this Look

One of our favorite customer photos and the winner of our 2011 Photo Contest is this gorgeous photo from Robert B, a customer gardening in Illinois. We’ve had many so customers ‘oooh and aaaah’ over this design, we thought we’d share the varieties so you could re-create the look for this season!

Garden

1. Caladium Bulbs (Great for containers and also thrive in shade)
2. Black Eyed Susan Goldsturm (Easy to grow and low maintenance)
3. Marigolds (Easy-care, quick-blooming annual)
4. Canna Lilies (Sun-loving beauties add bold summer color)
5. Marigolds (Easy-care, quick-blooming annual)
6. Zinnias (Deer resistant and easy to grow)

If you end up planting these varieties together, please send us a photo or post it to our Facebook page. Happy Gardening!

March 20, 2014 · Amanda Shepard · One Comment
Tags: , , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Customer Stories, Flower Bulbs, Gardening in Fall, Gardening in Spring and Summer, How-Tos, Perennials, Wildflowers

Have Wet Soil? No Problem!

Siberian IrisDo you have a hard-to-plant area that has poorly-draining soil? Turn this troublesome spot into a colorful landscape feature by planting Perennials and Bulbs that thrive in wet soil. Whether you have an area with runoff from a roof or an area next to a body of water, there are plenty of options for you to turn this into a gorgeous focal point of your garden!

Perennials That Thrive in Wet Soil

There are several varieties of perennials that not only tolerate wet soil, but also create a burst of color all season long, year after year in the garden. Siberian Irises are one of the easiest Iris to grow and are extremely hardy, making them a dependable plant for any wet spot. Bonus: These exquisite Irises also attract butterflies to the garden! Ligularia The Rocket is a great choice for moist, shady gardens and illuminates with bright yellow flower spikes that attract hummingbirds.

SpiderwortSpiderworts are hybridized from a wildflower with the wild form of this unique three-petaled flower usually purple. The foliage is lily-like, forming a clump of glossy green. They naturally grow along streams, so give them plenty of water and some shade. Hydrangeas are famous for their large, ball-shaped blooms that add elegance and charm to the summer garden. They can also be planted in wet soil. Hardy Hibiscus are extremely easy to grow. All they ask for is full sun, decent soil, and some pruning once in awhile. They leaf out very late in spring, so don’t think they’re dead and chop them down. Be patient, and in a few weeks you’ll have attractive foliage and soon thereafter a summer full of spectacular blooms that attract hummingbirds and butterflies.

Bulbs that Thrive in Wet Soil

Many Summer-Blooming Bulbs tolerate wet soil and add unique, gorgeous color and foliage to the garden. If you’re in a frost-free area these Bulbs act as perennials, but if you receive a hard frost you’ll want to dig them up for the winter.

Canna Lily BulbsElephant Ear Bulbs create a dramatic, whimsical look both planted in the garden and in containers. Huge, unique foliage is beautiful on its own or planted as a backdrop for your favorite blooms. Canna Lily Bulbs ignite the late season garden with huge, boldly-colored blooms that last for weeks and weeks. These beauties are also extremely easy to grow. Calla Lily Bulbs are another gorgeous choice, thriving in wet soil and creating an elegant statement both in the garden and cut for summer bouquets.

This season, turn that poorly-draining spot on your property into the fabulous garden that it deserves to be! What experience do you have planting in wet soil? Please share in the comments below or on our Facebook Page.

 

March 8, 2014 · Amanda Shepard · 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Flower Bulbs, Gardening in Spring and Summer, Perennials

Creeping or Cooking: Find a Place for Thyme

David SalmanDavid Salman, Chief Horticulturist at High Country Gardens has spent over 26 years in pursuit of better plants for eco-friendly landscapes. He is a recognized expert in the field of waterwise gardening and xeriscaping and a sought-after speaker on these subjects throughout the United States. Text and photos are his.

The genus Thymus (Thyme) is a wonderful group of herbal plants for both culinary and gardening use.  Native to the Old World of Europe and the Mediterranean, this herb has had a close association with mankind since the times of the ancient Egyptians and the Romans.  The various species are planted for use as medicinal plants, as culinary plants and as ornamental plants of the finest order.

Creeping:

The creeping Thyme are a great group of ornamental groundcovers enjoyed for their wonderfully textural mat-like stems and foliage and the showy flowers that bloom in colors of white, pink, rose and rose-red. The blooms rest right on top of the flat branches creating a blanket of color in full bloom.  The key to a great Thyme patch is to provide the plants with a full sun location in well drained, preferably “lean” (low nutrient and humus content) or sandy soils. 

Thyme

Ideally, Thyme like warm to hot days and cool nights as many of the species grow in the foothill and mountains of their native lands.  Prolonged muggy heat and hot nights is not to their liking so they aren’t generally suitable for the Deep South and Gulf Coast.  Thyme doesn’t want to be grown too dry so irrigation is needed in hot weather and occasional supplemental water during the winter if conditions are very dry.

I have always had best luck growing Thyme in between flagstone. This a western landscaping rock that looks like slabs of irregular brown slate but is of sandstone origin. Back East, the flagstone equivalent are slate pavers. Thyme likes to grow up over the top of the rock’s hot, hard surface with its roots below the rock which acts as mulch, keeping the roots moist and cool; Hence, its preference as a crack filler for flagstone or slate patios and walkways.

Thyme also does very well when planted into a thick layer of gravel mulch. Like the flats stones, Thyme also likes to grow over the top of the gravel. In moister Eastern climates the gravel keeps the stems dry and clean from splashing dirt and prevents rotting during wet winter and early spring weather.

Creeping Thyme varieties

  • Elfin Creeping Thyme – a tight compact grower makes a cushion of colorful flowers.
  • Woolly Thyme – grows to knit a gray-green carpet along paths and in between stone pavers.
  • Creeping ‘Coccineus’ – green foliage and a blanket of bright rose-pink flowers in early summer.

Cooking

Thyme is an essential culinary herb. And they are like the creeping Thyme in their cultural needs (see above). As you might guess after thousands of years of growing Thyme, mankind has made many selections of Thymes to cook with.

In the garden, culinary Thyme is most commonly a compact, upright growing herb with small, fine textured foliage.  The variegated cultivars are especially colorful. But when growing the variegated ones, watch for green branches that have lost their multi-colored leaves (reverted) and clip them out.

These plants can be used along the edges of patio and along sidewalks where their fragrance can be enjoyed as you brush past them. I love to mix them with other culinary herbs like Salvia (Sage), Lavandula(Lavender) and Rosmarinus (Rosemary).  Not only is this combination of Thyme and other herbs beautiful and aromatic, they are fantastic nectar and pollen sources for bees. Herbal honey anyone?

Cooking Thyme varieties

February 25, 2014 · David Salman · 8 Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Gardening in Fall, Gardening in Spring and Summer, How-Tos, Perennials

Maximize your Blooms this Summer with a Regional Wildflower Mix!

The Seed Man shares with us why our Regional Mixtures are so popular.

Did you know that our regional mixtures have about 300,000 seeds per pound?  That’s a lot of wildflowers.  In fact not only is it a nice blanket of annual color in the first growing season, it’s a long standing display of perennials for the second and successive seasons.  This is one of the many reasons why our regional mixtures are so popular. 
Wildflower Mix
With most mixtures containing over 25 different varieties, we’ve formulated them to give you blooms all season long, starting in late spring through fall.  We’ve taken the guess work out of it.  Did I also mention it’s the best bang for your buck too?  If you were to buy all these species separately it would cost a lot more money. 
Wildflower Mix
All of our seed comes with full planting instructions and we also have our very helpful planting video you can view below as well.  Give us a call or ‘Live Chat’.  I love talking wildflowers and we’re here to help!

For over 30 years we’ve been helping people establish wildflowers all across the world!  Help the pollinators, cut down on mowing and enjoy endless color all season long.  Whether you want to add more color to your meadow or trying wildflowers for the first time, our regional mixtures are guaranteed to provide beautiful flower for years to come.

Happy Gardening! – The Seed Man (Follow the Seed Man on Facebook here)

February 20, 2014 · Mike Lizotte · Comments Closed
Tags: , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Gardening in Fall, Gardening in Spring and Summer, Wildflowers

Edible Flowers Add Color to Culinary Creations!

Edible Flower MixIn recent years, edible wildflowers have become increasingly popular in the culinary world, often used for garnishing dishes and brightening up salads. Our customers have been asking for them for quite some time and we’re excited to have formulated an Edible Flower Seed Mix, perfect for making a colorful statement both on the plate and in the garden!

Our Edible Flower Mix is comprised of 16 flower varieties, 11 annuals for first year color and 5 perennials for second and successive years’ blooms. The mix includes:

Edible Flower Mix

  • Hollyhock
  • English Daisy
  • Calendula
  • Safflower
  • Bachelor Button/Cornflower
  • Daisy
  • Chicory
  • Organic Coriander/Cilantro
  • Sweet William
  • Leaf Fennel
  • Hyssop
  • Sweet Alyssum
  • Large Leaf Italian Basil
  • African Marigold
  • Nasturtium
  • Johnny Jump Up/Violet
  • How have you used edible flowers to liven up your culinary creations? Please post a photo on our Facebook Page or share in the comments below! Happy Gardening!

    February 11, 2014 · Amanda Shepard · 3 Comments
    Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Gardening in Fall, Gardening in Spring and Summer, Wildflowers

    Hydrangea Magic: Changing Bloom Colors

    Blue HydrangeaA common question we get from gardeners each year is: "Why are my blue Hydrangeas pink, or, Why are my pink Hydrangeas blue?" The answer is really quite simple (and no, it’s not magic). The color of your Hydrangea blooms are directly linked to the PH levels of your soil.

    Knowing this important information means you can easily (well, somewhat easily) change the color of your Hydrangea blooms! Alkaline soil produces pink blooms and acidic soil produces blue blooms. The first step in determing the PH of your soil is to do a soil PH test to determine the acidity of your soil.

    Blue to Pink: A test result below 7 means that your soil is acidic (blue blooms). To raise the PH of your soil (to turn blooms pink), try adding limestone – most packages will tell you how much to add to increase your PH to the correct levels.You can also try using a fertilizer with high levels of phosoporus in it. This helps keep the aluminum in your soil from entering the root system of your plant. Pink HydrangeaIf you can’t seem to lower the acidity in your garden beds, consider planting in pots.

    Pink to Blue: A test result above 7 means that your soil is alkaline (pink blooms). To lower the pH of your soil (to turn blooms blue), you can add things such as sulfur, compost, pine needles, or pine bark. This will help to add some acidity to your soil. You can also try an organic fertilizer that is low in Phosphurus and high in Potassium.

    The best success rate comes from gardeners who grow their Hydrangeas in containers, which allows for them to completely control the acidity of the soil with no outside factors.
    Also note that it is easier to change a pink Hydrangea to blue than blue to pink. Other colors of Hydrangea cannot change colors with soil acidity.

    What experience do you have changing the colors of your Hydrangeas? Please post in the comments below or on our Facebook Page. Happy Gardening!


    February 8, 2014 · Amanda Shepard · 7 Comments
    Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Gardening in Fall, Gardening in Spring and Summer, How-Tos, Perennials

    Hostas: The Ultimate Foliage Plant for Shade

    Hosta, Allium and FernHostas are the ultimate foliage plant for shade. Their resiliance, versatility and endless variety of colors, shapes, and forms makes it a true garden gift that keeps on giving. Whether you’re looking for a smaller variety for a shade container, or a larger Hosta to offset your favorite flowering-plants, there are sure to be (several) choices for you!

    Hostas, also known as Funkia or Plantain Lilies, provide interest from spring to fall, finishing off the season with a grand show of blooms. They thrive in almost any zone (3-9) and prefer partial to heavy shade, making them a must-have for almost any garden. These shade beauties grow in almost any type of soil, as long as they have some moisture.

    Caring for Hostas is quite simple. These perennials are vigorous growers and it is best to dig up and transplant in the early spring, just as new shoots appear. Hosta and SedumDeer tend to enjoy Hostas as an afternoon snack, so use an organic deer repellant to keep the pesky critters away. The best maintenance to prevent rot or bugs is to weed regularly and remove any decaying leaves around your plants. In the late fall, once your Hostas have died down, cut the foliage back to a few inches.

    Adding Hostas to your garden design is both a fun and easy process. Pair Hostas with summer-dormant plants such as Virginia Bluebells, Tulips and Bleeding Hearts. The Hostas provide extended interest in the garden after the other varieties have finished for the season. Hosta and FernIf you’re planting a moonlight garden (learn how here), white variegated Hostas make a great addition. Also, Hosta leaves add lovely green interest to cut bouquets.

    What are your favorite ways to use Hostas in your garden design? Please post in the comments below or on our Facebook page. Happy Gardening!

    January 31, 2014 · Amanda Shepard · Comments Closed
    Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Gardening in Fall, Gardening in Spring and Summer, How-Tos, Perennials

    Great Gardens and Landscaping Symposium

    WildflowersAmerican Meadows is proud to be a sponsor of the 11th Annual Great Gardens and Landscaping Symposium. If you’re in the Northeast, come for a weekend of gardening lectures, classes and to talk with hundreds of other gardeners growing near you!

    The Garden Symposium takes place on April 4th and 5th in Manchester, Vermont. Learn more information and register here. Whether you are a hobbyist or landscape professional, the Symposium is sure to spark your interest, featuring top quality curriculum, handouts, and interaction time with well-known speakers.

    Classes and presentations include "The Layered Garden: Design Lessons for Year Round Beauty," Celebrity Pots," "Fun with Color: Variegated Foliage in the Garden," "Flashy New or Underused Perennials for 2014" and much more.

    LilyWe hope to see all of you local Northeastern gardeners at the Symposium this April. Happy Gardening!

    (To learn more information, please visit the website here)

     

     

     

    January 23, 2014 · Amanda Shepard · Comments Closed
    Tags: , ,  · Posted in: How-Tos, In The News, Perennials

    Turn your Winter Blues into Spring Blues!

    African LilyThere is no better way to cure the ‘winter blues’ than starting to plan your spring planting! Although some claim that there can never be a true “blue” flower, gardeners and growers have worked to come as close to blue as the human eye can tell. Blue flowers illuminate in the sunlight and provide a striking, contrasting statement with their green foliage. In the spirit of planning for spring, I have highlighted some of my favorite blue flowers to try this season.

    Blue Perennials are perfect for a hardy, romantic statement in the garden. For those gardening in shade, try the African Lily; its waist-high, beautiful foliage sets off the full, strikingly-blue blooms. Blue Wild Indigo can be planted in sun or shade and will provide a beautiful contrast to your favorite white blooms. For a blue ground cover, try the Creeping Phlox Emerald Blue. This favorite perennial is easy-to-grow and fast-spreading, making it a hardy blue statement in any garden. For a blue climber, try the Passion Flower Vine. It’s wonderfully unique blooms are white with blue highlights – perfect for winding around trellises and a fast-grower.

    Passion Flower VineTry planting several blue Spring Bulbs for a unique, dramatic statement in a sunny part of the garden. The Starflower Bulbs Queen Fabiola bloom a rich, deep blue and are named after Belgium’s Queen. Try planting these bulbs among low-growing plants, so the stunning flowers poke up through the foliage. The Semi-Dinnerplate Dahlia Blue Boy is a favorite for its large, full blue blooms and tall foliage. The Gladiolus Bulbs Nori and Blue Moon Mix provide wonderful splashes of blue and do not take up much room in the garden – perfect for tucking in with other colors.

    Morning GloriesTry planting an all-blue wildflower meadow for a cool, relaxing statement. Blue Flax is native to the US and is an extremely hardy and easy-to-grow perennial; its blooms are a lovely powder-blue. Baby Blue Eyes is a beloved, quick-blooming annual that will make a lovely statement in any sunny area. Try planting Morning Glories along a fence for a quick-blooming, bright statement of blue.

    There are endless possibilities for blue blooms this season; try planting an all-blue garden bed or nestle striking blue flowers in with other colors such as white or yellow, to cool down the color scheme. What is your favorite blue flower? Feel free to comment below or post on our Facebook Page!

    January 17, 2014 · Amanda Shepard · Comments Closed
    Tags: , , , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Flower Bulbs, Gardening in Spring and Summer, How-Tos, Perennials

    Bulb, Rhizome, Tuber… What’s the Difference?

    Dahlia TuberThroughout the years, the term “bulb” has come to describe any type of root form that is planted in the ground to produce a plant. However, only a few of these plants are truly “bulbs.” There are four different types: rhizomes, corms, tubers and bulbs. We’ll get the bottom of this misunderstanding and explain exactly what the true difference is between these four terms.

    Tuber

    Tubers are formed from a stem or root and shoots grow upwards from many different places on the tuber. Examples of tubers are Dahlias, Begonias, Anemones and Potatoes.

    Gladiolus CormCorm

    Corms are characterized by a dry, flaky outer layer that protects its inner structure. After stems sprout from the corm, buds form on top of the stem. At the end of the growing season, a new corm typically grows on the base of the spent one. Examples of corms are Gladiolus and Crocus.

    Rhizome

    Rhizomes grow horizontally and form roots from its bottom while shooting out leaves on the top. Buds form at different parts along the structure, not necessarily at the top. Examples of rhizomes are Canna Lilies and Calla Lilies. Calla Lily Rhizome

    Bulb

    A bulb is comprised of a plant’s stem and leaves. The bottom of the bulb is a compacted stem and roots grow from this part of the bulb. Layers of nutrient-filled leaves sit at the bottom of the bulb and surround a bud that eventually becomes the flower. Examples of bulbs are Tulips, Lilies and Daffodils.

    Lily BulbWhether it be a tuber, corm, rhizome or bulb, all of these plant structures are sure to produce an easy, spectacular show in the spring and summer months. Happy Gardening!

     

    January 9, 2014 · Amanda Shepard · Comments Closed
    Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Gardening in Fall, Gardening in Spring and Summer