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Wednesday
Dec092015

Holiday Gift Guide

Christmas came quickly this year! Need a few last minute gifts and stocking stuffers?  Or maybe something to bring to the hostess of that holiday party? Here are a few ideas that will help you mix it up and keep your loved ones thinking of you as they enjoy their gift:

Amaryllis or Paperwhite Bulb Kit: These kits come with everything you need, the bulb, the pot and the soil.  All they’ll have to do is plant it, water it and watch it grow. Measuring the growth each day makes a great project for kids during the winter months.

Cyclamen: These beautiful flowers have a great history to them with this holiday, being that they were the original Christmas flower.  In the 1950s, poinsettias became more popular during the holiday, but cyclamen have begun to make a comeback.

Christmas Cactus: One way to tell that Christmas is near is by seeing your Christmas cactus bud.  These unique cacti bloom once to twice a year at Christmas and sometimes Easter. They are not your typical cactus thought, being as they are not prickly or spiny.

Door County Coffee: Just the thing to warm up on the cold winter days. Door County Coffee comes in a variety of seasonal flavors and classic favorites. For the coffee drinker in your life, these make great stocking stuffers and are handy to have in the cabinet for any out of town guests you will be hosting this season.

Thymes Frasier Fir Gift Set: Bring the smell of fresh greens in to your home with the Frasier Fir line from Thymes.  They have candles, air freshener, soap, lotion and scented oil to bring the smell of the holidays indoors.  Tucked in the right places, guests will never know your faux greens aren’t real because they’ll smell so good.

Bird Feeder & Seed: The little guys need to eat, too! Keep your garden active during the winter by placing bird feeders and seed throughout your yard.  You’ll have lots of visitors throughout the winter coming to snack on your seed.

Bonsai Tree: For those of us who want to keep our thumbs green throughout the winter, try a Bonsai.  These small trees make unique gifts that everyone will be talking about.  Our on-staff expert Dan Kosta can help choose the right type of tree for the conditions it will be growing in.

Fresh Greens Centerpiece: A great hostess gift, giving a centerpiece for the dinner table will add a lot of cheer to the party.  These centerpieces just need to be watered, much like any plant, and they will last throughout all the holiday parties and into January. 

Holiday English Garden Basket: These indoor gardens not only make great centerpieces for parties, but they keep you gardening throughout the winter.  English Garden Baskets are a mix of green and flowering houseplants that are arranged into a larger basket.  They will add a little bit of color to your home throughout the year, being able to change out the various plants for others as the seasons change.

Classic Red Poinsettia…or maybe one of the new colors like Strawberry Cream: Nothing says the holidays quite like a poinsettia.  There’s the classic red that you can never go wrong with, but in the past few years there are a lot of new colors as well.  Strawberry Cream is a pink colored, jagged leaf while Tapestry is a variegated leaf, red poinsettia that catches everyone’s eye.  

Gift Card to Vern Goers Greenhouse: This is the gift that keeps on giving! Whether they come in and use it during the winter, or save it until spring, when they use it they will be thinking of you. Maybe they need a new pair of gloves or a new perennial to add to their shady spot in the yard?  Let them do the hard work of deciding what to get!

Tuesday
Dec012015

Cyclamen: The Original Christmas Flower

 

Every year it is the same routine. The lights start to go up on trees, wreaths on front doors and holiday carols are played at the mall.  Then out come the poinsettias.  Everywhere you look, you see the beautiful red, white, and pink blooms.  These tropical plants, however, were not always the star of the show.

Cyclamen were originally the go-to Christmas flowers in the Victorian Era, and they are making a comeback.  With their affinity for cooler temperatures, their blooms last a long time and their easy maintenance makes them a great gift for those lacking the greenest thumbs.

Cyclamen, or the poor man's orchid, have unique flowers that come in a variety of colors ranging from white to red to purple and they can even be two-toned.  Each flower has five petals that can be single, double, or ruffled, and appear as if they are a cluster of butterflies hovering above the plant.

Not only do the unusual blooms make a statement, but the leaves do too.  With a variety of patterns on the heart-shaped leaves, as well as shades of green and silver, the foliage also makes a great display when the flowers are done blooming.

Their Christmas Flower title came from being a cool season blooming houseplant. With the proper care, a cyclamen can last on average 2-3 months or longer, and often will change color when they re-bloom.

Cyclamen require bright, indirect light and should be placed in the coolest room of the house.  Like a lot of plants, definitely keep cyclamen away from heating vents as the warm drafts can dry them out quickly.

Cyclamen require even soil moisture and are tuberous plants, so it is best to water them from the bottom.  Simply fill a saucer with water and place the cyclamen in the saucer.  Be sure to drain off excess water if the saucer is under the cyclamen at all times.  Also, be sure that plant dries out a little before watering it again.  You wouldn't want the bulb to rot.

So this year, mix it up a bit. Add a cyclamen or two to your poinsettia decorations and you'll have a piece of trivia to tell everyone about.

 

Monday
Nov232015

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

We willl be closed on Thanksgiving to spend the day with family. 

We will be open on Friday, November 27 & Saturday, November 28 from 8-6:00 p.m.

Tuesday
Nov102015

Winter Container Workshop

 

 

Tuesday
Nov032015

Amaryllis & Paperwhites

Throughout the fall, many gardeners are busy planting spring bulbs to shorten their winter. It is also a good time to plant bulbs like amaryllis and paperwhites that you can have in your home throughout the winter, and especially for the holidays.

Believe it or not, now is the time to plant your amaryllis to have them blooming in time for Christmas Day.  And while paperwhites grow quicker than amaryllis, it's not a bad idea to buy them now and store them in the refrigerator, as they tend to sell out fairly quickly.

Amaryllis is a tropical bulb native to South America. They are beautiful six to ten inch trumpet shaped flowers at the top of a one to two foot stem. The large blooms come in a variety of colors, sizes and can even vary in being a single layer of petals to a fuller double layer of petals.  The colors range from a simple white or red to striped petals of pink or a bright lime green.  Petal shape can also vary, giving you loads of textures available to decorate your home with.

Amaryllis take between six and ten weeks to bloom after planting, meaning that now is the time to get yours planted to have it blooming for Christmas.  It is best to put the potted bulb in a warm, sunny place to begin its growth. Once it has begun, place the pot somewhere a bit cooler so the stem does not grow too tall.  These make great holiday gifts for gardeners who want a little bit of color in their home during the winter.

Amaryllis can be planted from October through April. When you go to plant your bulb, choose a pot that is barely larger than the bulb itself.  Be sure your pot has proper drainage.  Being that an amaryllis is a bulb, it will rot easily if the water has nowhere to go after you water it.

As you plant the bulb, be sure to avoid damaging the roots.  No matter how deep your pot is, be sure that at least a third of the bulb is exposed at the top of the soil. (See photo) While it may look funny to us, this is how amaryllis need to be planted to ensure success.  Water the bulb after you planted it, but then less frequently until the stem begins to grow.

Amaryllis may shoot up only one stem, but can often shoot up multiple stems, each producing multiple flowers.  Once an amaryllis flower has finished blooming, cut that faded flower off promptly.  This will allow the plant to give its energy to the flowers that remain, keeping them in bloom longer.

If you want to try to get the bulb to bloom a second year, there are a few extra steps.  Once all the flowers are done, allow the leaves to continue to grow and develop, treating it as you would any other houseplant.  In May, plant the bulb, pot and all, in a sheltered spot in your garden. Starting in September, stop watering the bulb.  In October, trim the foliage down and place the bulb, pot and all, in a cool, dry place.  Come January, re-pot the bulb in new soil, removing old roots, and wait for it to start the process over again.

The blooms the second time around may not be as spectacular as newly-purchased bulbs. This is because the new bulbs go through a three-year preparation process to produce brilliant blooms. This is also why amaryllis bulbs cost more than your tulip and daffodil bulbs.

Paperwhites are more well-known among amateur gardeners.  They are truly the "Just add water" type of plant.  Part of the narcissus family, paperwhites produce bunches of fragrant, small, white flowers that look like miniature daffodils.

These bulbs can be easily force-grown indoors, not needing to be chilled before growth begins, as hyacinths or tulips need.  As soon as the flowers are planted, they begin to grow, producing blooms about three to four weeks later.  To prolong blooming, it is best to keep them in a cooler room and indirect light.  These are also popular gifts to give, as well as decorations in the home.

Paperwhites are popular because they can be grown in or out of soil.  Many people will use them a a table centerpiece after being grown in decorative stones and water.  You can basically plant them in any medium, and as long as they have water, they'll grow.  Just be sure that when growing paperwhites in this manner that you do not have the bulbs completely submerged in water, as they will rot.

When you plant them, put a layer of your medium, let's say stones, in the bottom of a shallow dish that has no drainage.  Then place your bulbs in the medium so that they will start standing.  Part of the trick is to pack the container with as many bulbs as it will fit.  Once all your bulbs are placed, fill in the gaps with your stones, leaving the point of the bulb sticking out of your stones.  Then fill the containers with water up to the base of the bulbs. Be sure to refill the container with additional water as needed.

Both amaryllis and paperwhites can add to your home during the holiday season and throughout the winter.