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Make your Garden a Hummingbird Haven


Hummingbirds are great little birds to watch zip about your yard.  The secret to attracting these little guys to your yard comes down to food.  Not only can you use hummingbird feeders to attract hummingbirds, but what flowers you have in your garden can draw them to your yard, too. 


Hummingbirds look for certain qualities in flowers.  While they are attracted to blooms of all colors, they particularly like red flowers.  They also like flowers that have a tubular shape that they can stick their nose into.  Any sweet smelling flower will also attract them.  It’s best to plant flowers in your garden that bloom at different times throughout the season, to continually provide food for the little hummers.


Here are some popular flowers amongst hummingbirds:


1. Bee balm (Monarda): This perennial is a great one for our area and it not only attracts hummingbirds, but butterflies, too. The plant has a minty, citrus-scent scent that both you and the hummingbirds can enjoy. It has clusters of tubular flowers that are found in red, violet, purple, pink and white that bloom all summer.  It is a taller perennial that grows to be about 3 to 4 feet wide. It needs full sun but will tolerate some afternoon shade. Space bee balm plants about 18 inches apart. Provide ample water and they'll quickly spread and fill in until they look like one large mass of blooms. To limit their invasive quality, you can plant them in a sunken container or in an area you don’t have to mow or maintain.


2. Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis): This perennial has scarlet red blooms that the hummingbirds like and that really pop in your garden. It blooms throughout the summer and is another taller perennial that can grow up to four feet high. Plant in part shade to full sun in moist soil where they will get at least a half a day of sun.


3. Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans): This is a favorite of hummingbirds. Plant this vine in full sun and be sure to provide a climbing support for it that is strong enough to handle it, such as a fence or trellis.  It has orange-red blooms all summer and can climb up to 40 feet tall with little to no fertilizer.


4. Salvia (Salvia splendens): Salvia is a great flower for hummingbirds because it blooms throughout the summer. There are a lot of varieties to plant, both annual and perennial, but the most popular among hummingbirds are annuals like black and blue salvia and Lady in Red. These bloom from late spring all the way through the autumn and grow anywhere from 8 to 30 inches high depending on the variety.  They all have conical clusters of tubular flowers that come in a variety of colors like red, purple and deep blue. Be sure to pinch the tops of the salvia back once they’re done blooming to encourage branching and more blooms. 


5. Fuchsia: These flowers are a great in both hanging baskets and potted containers. Every variety seems to be popular among hummingbirds.  They have beautiful blooms that come in a variety of colors including purple, white, pink, red and coral.  They are also great flowers for shady spots in your yard. And being one of the few flowers that blooms from late spring to first frost in part to full shade.  


6. Columbine (Aquilegia): These hardy perennials have a number of varieties, some which are native to this area.  Columbine is an easy plant to grow that will catch the attention of hummingbirds in your garden.  These perennials bloom from late spring to early summer and come in a variety of colors, including yellow, red, pink, blue, purple, and white, single or bicolored. Depending on the variety, they can be planted in the shade or full sun. Columbine can be grown from seed in early spring, and while it reseeds easily, the offspring plants may produce less showy flowers.


7. Hollyhock (Alcea rosea): These flowering giants add a lot of height and color to your garden.  They are a biennial, meaning they do not bloom their first year planted. It has funnel-shaped or double blooms in numerous bright and pastel hues including red, pink, yellow, white, and purple. They bloom early to midsummer in full sun. Plant seeds in midsummer for blooms the following year. 


8. Flowering tobacco (Nicotiana): This flower is a multi-tasker.  Not only does it attract butterflies and hummingbirds, but they’re poisonous to rabbits so they’ll leave them alone.  This relative of the tobacco plant is also known as nicotiana. They come in a variety of colors, including white, red, pink, lavender, green, and yellow.  It is an annual in our zone and will bloom from summer to first frost. They should be planted in partial shade to full sun and prefer rich, moist soil that's well-draining.


9. Honeysuckle trumpet (Lonicera sempervirens): Its elegant blooms attract gardeners and hummingbirds alike.  Being a vine, it also needs to have something to climb on, so be sure to give this plant something to latch onto. It will climb your trellis and bloom all summer long with beautiful blooms that are deep red with yellow throats. Plant it in partial to full sun.


10. Red-hot poker (Kniphofia): This bright flower is also known as torch lily. All birds love this beautiful flower, which alternates in color from red, orange, yellow, white, or greenish white or bicolored. With its unique bloom shape and bright color, it will steal the show. It blooms from late spring to autumn and grows to be two to six feet high.  These prefer sandy soil and be sure to mulch plants for first winter.



Spring Hours

With May 1st tomorrow, our extended spring hours are beginning! During the month of May, Vern Goers Greenhouse will be open:

Monday - Friday 8:00 am - 8:00 pm

Saturday 8:00 am - 6:00 pm

SUNDAYS 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

If you're looking to beat the crowds, some of the best times to shop are the early evenings or early mornings. 

And don't forget about our Pot With The Experts Nights!

Happy Planting!


2016: Year of the Delphinium

Each year, the National Garden Bureau (NGB) selects an annual, bulb, vegetable and perennial to be showcased. The selected plants are chosen for their popularity, versatility, and simplicity. NGB is predicting 2016 to be the Year of the Carrot, the Year of the Begonia, the Year of the Delphinium and the Year of the Allium.  All of these have not only been popular for years, but are great plants to grow in our Midwest conditions.

Delphiniums are beautiful perennials known for their tall spikes of bold, beautiful flowers.  Also known more commonly as larkspur, these plants do wonderfully in a full-sun area in your garden that has well drained, evenly moist soil.  The tall spikes of flowers will add height, texture and lots of interest to your yard.

While the blue delphiniums are the most popular, they also come in red, pink, violet, white and yellow. These low maintenance perennials will give you lots of color without needing too much care and maintenance.  They do well in cooler climates, not hot and humid areas, so our zone 5 climate is perfect for these beautiful perennials.



Tags like this can be found at other garden centers Vern Goers Greenhouse is proud to be neonicotinoid-free in our growing porcess.We all want to do our part to help the environment and by being careful with our plant selection, we can make a big impact in our own backyard.  From planting native pollinators that attract birds, butterflies and bees, to having rainwater barrels for watering our yards to using very few chemicals on your plants, you can make a difference in your garden.

You can also make a difference with where you purchase your plants.  Certain garden centers and growers may use neonicotinoids while growing their flowers.  These insecticides are used to control pests during the growing process.

Being insecticides, neonicotinoids can be very harmful to bees, one of the key pollinators in your garden.  The bees land on the flowers to pollinate, as they usually do, and when they return to the hive, they bring these chemicals with them.  The entire colony is then infected and is the number one cause of colony collapse.

While studies are still being done by the EPA on all of the effects these pesticides have on bees, the use of neonicotinoids has already been banned in Europe. There is a lot of uncertainty as to what these chemicals do to pollinators, so why take the risk?

Vern Goers Greenhouse is proud to say that we do not use neonicotinoids on our plants. Any plants you purchase from us, you can be sure that they will not harm any of the pollinators in your garden.   The bee population has already been affected by human interference, so anything you can do to help preserve this vital part of our environment.  


2016: Year of the Carrot

 Each year, the National Garden Bureau (NGB) selects an annual, bulb, vegetable and perennial to be showcased. The selected plants are chosen for their popularity, versatility, and simplicity. NGB is predicting 2016 to be the Year of the Carrot, the Year of the Begonia, the Year of the Delphinium and the Year of the Allium.  All of these have not only been popular for years, but are great plants to grow in our Midwest conditions.

Carrots are among the most common vegetables to show up in lunch boxes and on the dinner table, and they are also one of the most popular vegetables to grow in your garden. These roots are easy to grow and because they are so popular to eat, you will definitely enjoy the spoils of your hard work.

Being a root vegetable, you will want to sow the seeds directly into the soil either in your garden bed or a deep patio container.  There is no need to start them early indoors, just three or five weeks before the last frost.  The soil will need to be deeply tilled as the carrots are roots and grow down, versus up like other vegetables. If the soil is not loose enough, the carrots can fork as they try to find an easy route down.

There are many varieties to choose from when growing, but all of these varieties are easy to grow and delicious.  The most common type of carrot is in Imperator variety with the standard conical shape and orange color.  Believe it or not, there are also varieties that are purple or yellow in color as well. You can also grow baby carrots in your garden as well.

No matter the variety, carrots require full sun, well-drained soil and should be protected from frost.