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Wednesday
Jul162014

Spotlight On: Hollyhocks

Our Spotlight Series continues to highlight different plants that are a great addition to any garden. Some you may know and others may be completely new to you.

Hollyhocks

Scientific Name: Alcea rosea

Common Name: Hollyhocks

Plant Type: Perennial

Sun: Sun

Water:  Moderate

Bloom Time:  Summer

Bloom Color: Blue, Pink, Red, White, Yellow, Purple

Height:  1 to 10 feet

Hollyhocks are a great perennial to add as an accent to any garden.  With beautiful blooms stacked on tall stalks, these flowers will not only attract butterflies and hummingbirds, but the eye of anyone who passes by your garden.

Hollyhocks can be started from seed or from starter plants. If you are starting with seeds, it is best to sow them outside a week before the last frost. If you start with plants, it is best to wait until two or three weeks after the last frost.

You will want to find a place in your yard that gets a lot of sun and has rich, well-drained soil. Most varieties are a biennial, meaning that they only grow foliage the first year and flower the second year.  While they are a short lived perennial, it is recommended to plant hollyhocks in groups to help with reseeding. 

There are some newer varieties that are more of a traditional perennial, meaning you’ll have flowers every year.  The Spotlight series is one of these varieties that is carried at Vern Goers Greenhouse and pictured above.

Happy Planting!

 

Wednesday
Jul092014

Spotlight On: Celosia

Spiked or Candlestick CelosiaOur Spotlight Series returns to highlight different plants that are a great addition to any garden. Some you may know and others may be completely new to you.

Celosia

Scientific Name: Celosia

Common Name: Cockscomb

Plant Type: Annual

Sun: Sun

Water:  Moderate

Bloom Time:  Late Spring through Fall

Bloom Color: Red, Pink, Orange, Yellow

Height:  1-8 feet

Celosia are a beautiful family of flowers that are showy and spectacular all summer long. There are several varieties of this beautiful annual that give you bright color all the way until frost. Each variety has a different shaped bloom, either being a plume, crest or a spike. No matter what the shape of the flower is, they do best while planted in full sun and are low maintenance plants.

Celosia come in a variety of colors, most commonly red, pink, orange and yellow, all of which are a glowing, neon-like color. The plume varieties look like feathers, while the crest shaped celosia are more twisted in shape, almost resembling actual cockscombs like the nickname implies.  The third variety, spike celosia, are similar to little candlesticks coming out of the foliage.

Celosia are great for hot, summer containers or gardens, because they are drought tolerant and love the heat.  They do not need to be deadheaded and make a great impact in any garden.  With such little maintenance required, and such bold blooms, celosia are a wonderful choice for your garden beds and containers.

Wednesday
Jul022014

Red, White & Blooms!

Happy 4th of July!

We will be open on Independence Day from 8:00am to 2:00 pm. 

Stop by for any last minute patio decorations for your BBQs or hostess gifts for the parties you'll be attending!

 

Wednesday
Jun252014

First Aid for Your Garden

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.

Tuesday
Jun172014

A Gardener's Toolbox

Gardening is a multi-purpose activity.  It adds value to your home, puts food on your plate, is great exercise and can be very enjoyable.  The best way to make the most of gardening is to have the proper tools. With the following ten items, you will be prepared for almost anything that will come your way in the garden.

1.       Gloves:  Before starting any garden work, you need to have a good pair of gloves.  These don’t have to be expensive, but a durable pair of gardening gloves makes working with plants, dirt and tools much easier on the hands.  Dirt not only gets under your nails, ladies, but can dry out your skin. Plants may have thorns that could prick you, and using tools without gloves can cause blisters.  They don’t have to last for years, mine typically last a season and then its on to the next pair.  But, as they always say: a gardener can always use another pair of gloves and a tub of hand crème.

2.       Pruners: Almost as essential as gloves, is a good set of pruners.  This tool makes deadheading and cleaning a much quicker task.  Compact pruners are a smaller sized blade, but just as effective on most plants as the larger set.  Keep in mind what you have planted to determine how large of a pair you will need for cutting things back. (The bigger the stem, the larger the pair)

3.       Watering Wand/Gun: This may not seem essential to a lot of new gardeners, but the pressure your water is coming out can make a difference with soil erosion. Using a watering wand over just a watering head is also good in the fact that it will help you water the hard-to-reach areas. IT is important to water plants at their base, and the extended wand will help you get there.

4.       Hand Trowel:  This tool is indispensable for container gardening and any smaller scale gardening.  When you have a flat of annuals you want to plant in a bed, digging the small holes with a big shovel is a little ridiculous.  Hand trowels get the work done and are very useful when it comes to digging up your root-bound containers at the end of the season.

5.       Shovel: While a hand trowel is necessary for smaller jobs, it definitely can’t do the work on larger jobs.  Planting perennial gardens, shrubs, trees and even aiding in soil preparation for the season, is left to larger shovels. 

6.       Knee saver: Knee savers come in a variety of styles.  You have your basic knee pad to lean on when planting, and fancier stands that have built-in pads and handles to lean on when standing up.  This last style is great, because most of them also turn into small seats to use when in the garden.  Whichever style you go with, your knees will thank you at the end of the day if you have one to kneel on.

7.       Weeder: Weeders are just what they sound like.  They help pull out the weeds that attack your beautiful garden.  Some are smaller hand weeders, which are great for small-scale jobs.  Others are stand-up weeders, that use the force of your whole body to help remove the weed and its roots.  This useful tool will keep your garden weed-free for the season.

8.       Quality   Plants: It may seem like a no-brainer, but starting with strong, healthy plants in your garden is important.  You don’t want to bring something with disease or bugs into your home, and you want the best results you can get. Starting with plants you know have been taken care of and that are known to last long is the best way to go.

9.       Systemic Granules: Unfortunately, bugs happen. Even with quality plants, the hot, humid summers encourage bugs and other diseases to attack your plants.  Using a systemic granule is a great way to treat just about any plant.  They have indoor and outdoor types to use, but these little granules of insecticide will get taken up through the roots and help bring your plants back to life.

10.   A Plan: Again, this may seem strange, but before stepping foot at a garden center, you need to know what you’re working with.  Look at the amount of sun you have, the type of soil you have and the size of the beds you have.  These will help you determine the type of plants that work best.  If you need help or ideas in what you would like to do, try using an online planner like this one