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Business Profile from The Hinsdalean


First Aid for Summer Gardens

The sun and heat takes a toll on all of us during the summer, and can especially be hard on the garden. From leggy petunias to green geraniums and drought-ridden plants, it can be rough on all your plants. Here are a few first aid tips to keep your garden looking its very best all summer long.

The first tip is fertilizing.  We can’t stress this enough during the summer time.  With the warm weather and sunshine, plants are doing a lot of growing. When the heat comes it puts a lot of stress on them and they burn out of energy.  Fertilizing on a regular basis helps keep your plants looking healthy, lush and blooming.

Specific fertilizers can also help with problems we see pop up during the summer months. We often see the foliage on plants turning a bright, lime green versus the darker green that they should be.  This is due to a lack of iron.  Find a garden food that contains iron and sprinkle some of this on your plant. In no time, they will turn back to their natural green color.

The heat can also cause stress on blooming plants like geraniums.  Using a fertilizer that is high in phosphate, the middle number, will keep blooms coming all summer long. Using a water soluble fertilizer is best for this, and we recommend using it every fourth watering to get the optimal performance from your plant. You can do it more often, but be sure to cut down on the amount of fertilizer you use, so you do not burn the plant.

During the summer months, some of the trailing plants like petunias and alyssum can grow to look leggy. They have long, spindly stems and are not as beautiful as when they were first planted.  If this is the case, we recommend cutting them back. Yes, it is good to dead-head them, but to get them to bush out some more, we recommend cutting them back to where there is only 3-4 inches left of the plant.  From there the plant will bush out and appear fuller and much happier.

Watering is key with plants, especially in the heat.  In the summer however, most of us travel for at least a weekend here or there, and sometimes longer.  If you come back from vacation and notice that your plants are laying flat and wilted from drought, don’t give up!  If it’s a hanging basket, which often dry out the quickest, try filling a bucket up with water and dumping the whole basket down into it. If it is a larger pot, water it really well, about three or four times, and let that water soak in.  Drenching the plants after a drought should help them revive themselves, as long as it hasn’t been in the drought stage for too long.  If you notice your plants are not perking back up, then it may be time to replace them.

Finally, much like with mosquitos coming out during the summer to bother us, bugs and other diseases pop up during the summer months to bother our plants.   With lots of rain and cooler nights like we have had, powdery mildew may be popping up in your yard where plants don’t have enough air circulation to dry out.  There are different sprays you can use on mildew to help get rid of it, and while giving plants enough space surrounding them for air circulation can help prevent it, the weather determines if it will affect your garden at all.

Bugs like aphids and spider mites come out this time of year as well.  They thrive in the heat but can be treated with insecticides and sprays fairly easily.  Other bugs that may munch on your plants after we get lots of rain are slugs.  If you notice small holes in the leaves of your plants, be sure to get a product like Bonide’s Slug Magic or Ortho’s Bug-Geta to take care of these.  It’s a granule that you shake around the base of the plants and it will keep slugs off your plants.

While summer is our growing season, the weather can take a toll on your garden.  With a little bit of first aid, however, your garden will be lush and beautiful all summer long.


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!