Category Archives: Plant finder

I DARE YOU!

This month I want to dare you to push yourself to be a unique gardener.  What do I mean by this?  I want each of you to make the most of your garden.  It could be adding a new vegetable that you haven’t grown before or adding a tree to your yard that you’ve always admired into your own yard!  Maybe it’s a new ground cover where you’ve always put mulch.  It’s up to you!

We all have an area in the yard, no matter the size where we could add a garden area to enjoy.  Butterflies, hummingbirds, songbirds can all be attracted to your private spaces with just a simple addition of a few flowering perennials or shrubs.  Maybe you want to mow a little less grass and add some more square feet to an existing bed!  The possibilities are endless!

I could list all the plants that I love in the garden but what makes your garden yours is YOUR plant selections and combinations!  There are endless possibilities out there for you to choose from!  You can narrow down your selections by researching them online, you could join a garden club, you could read a gardening book or magazine but my favorite way to pick out the plants that go in my garden are at the garden center!  I like to see for myself what a plant is going to look like!

You are lucky to live in an area that has many garden centers!  Of course you have Gilson Gardens but there is also, Martin’s Nursery, Springlake Nursery, Havel’s, Bluestone, Middle Ridge Gardens, Secor Nursery, Sabo’s Woodside Nursery, Wyatt’s Nursery, Petitti, Gales Garden Center, Woodworth’s and many more!  Look them up and patronize them!  Spend an afternoon and hit several!  Although Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and Lowe’s all offer gardening supplies and plants, I highly recommend that you shop your local small business for all your plant needs!  Keep our county alive by shopping where the experts are!  Your local garden centers are employed by some of the most knowledgeable people there are!

Share your love of plants with people that know how to help you!  They will help you find that perfect addition to your garden!  You may find a new passion for plants that you didn’t know you had!  Plants at your local garden centers are most likely grown right here in Lake County!  Can it get any better than that?  You’ll find the right plant for the right place from the best place in America….Lake County Ohio!

Let me know what you are shopping for!  Which spot are you going to add something new?  What color bloom are you looking for?  Go ahead!  Share!

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Help in the Garden through Apps! The Down and Dirty!

iPad mini

iPad mini (Photo credit: patrick-allen)

This was written by Jane Milliman and I felt it was worth sharing! By all means if you find an app that you have found to be helpful, I’d be glad to hear about it!  We’re always looking for ways to make our customer’s gardening experience a positive one!

Fortunately, a few apps for both Android and Apple users have generated positive reviews and the even better news is that two of the better ones are free.

The Gardening Guide from Mother Earth News (free onApple and on Android, as Garden Guide), Gardening How-To (free on iPad and Android) and Landscaper’s Companion — Gardening Reference Guide ($6 on iPad andiPhone, $5 on Android) are all worth downloading.

The Landscaper’s Companion wasn’t created by a gardener, but the app’s developer, Dave Stevenson, and his researchers have landscaping and gardening experience with botanical gardens and the United States Department of Agriculture, among others.

The companion is an encyclopedia of sorts, with more than 20,000 plants and vegetables listed. You can browse an alphabetized index that is separated into 16 categories, including houseplants and vegetables, for instance, or you can search by name.

The search feature is nicely designed. You can enter “cucurbita pepo” or “zucchini” or “summer squash” and the software will find the same vegetable.

Each plant page includes a profile with the plant’s zone, growth rate, water and sun requirements, color and typical height and width. The descriptions are basic but include important elements — like whether the plant has thorns, for instance — that would help a gardener prepare for a planting.

You can also narrow the search criteria if you specify the zone, height or color of a plant, among other features. If you live in an area with deer, you can also filter results to show only plants that are deer-resistant.

On each plant page you can leave notes for yourself, e-mail the description or add photos of your own. In another section of the app, you can review only those plants that you marked as favorites, or review every note you have recorded.

Not every feature of the app is built with this same attention to detail.

You could spend hours perusing the 14,000 photos in the “Plant Images” section, for instance. Unfortunately, some of that time would be wasted, since you can sort the images to include only plants in your particular zone, but you can’t sort in other meaningful ways.

If you could filter out all but the plants that needed full sun, for instance, or those with red flowers, the images would be more useful.

While the Landscaper’s Companion is encyclopedic, it’s not highly useful as a how-to guide. On that front, the Mother Earth News Gardening Guide is considerably more helpful, at least for vegetable gardeners.

The app makes good use of archival materials from Mother Earth News, an environmental conservation magazine that publishes organic gardening tips, among other pieces.

The guide includes tutorials on growing about 20 different types of crops, like carrots and tomatoes, and the advice is excellent.

The carrot tutorial, for instance, offers overviews on the different varieties, how to plant them, when to harvest and how to generate and collect seeds. The “Growing Tips” section includes a range of information that will appeal to serious and more casual vegetable gardeners alike. (Carrots grow best in soil with a pH balance of 5.8 to 7.0, it says, then adds: “Before pulling carrots, use a digging fork to loosen the soil just outside the row.”)

The techniques section is equally helpful, with 23 in-depth tips on disease prevention and planting self-seeding crops, among others.

The app is free, which is great, but it wastes valuable space with advertisements for Mother Earth News. No ad-free option exists for current subscribers or those who would rather pay for the app.

Flower gardeners who own iPads have a solid option with Gardening How-To, which is built on content from the magazine of the same name, published by the National Home Gardening Club.

Users receive four free issues of the magazine in iPad format, which yields dozens of features and smaller stories on flower gardening and information for vegetable and fruit growers.

Unlike many other apps, Gardening How-To isn’t strictly confined to biology or design. Articles on new plant varieties and building flower beds sit alongside more conventional growing tips.

You can take the iPad into the yard for guidance, as long as the device is in a zippered plastic food storage bag. That way the screen is protected yet still reacts to your touch.

Graphically, Gardening How-To is far more polished than Mother Earth, with beautiful photography and interactive elements like animated graphics, audio and video. (All those interactive elements and glossy photos add up to a slow download, so start the download at bedtime.)

Unfortunately, I found nothing as good as this for iPhone or Android users, who must pick through a thicket of poorly rated choices — often for $1 or $2 — to get what they need.

Given that we are still in the early days of apps, this looks like a case of the software engineers grabbing some quick bucks before being crowded out by more established gardening publishers.

So until those publishers get serious about mobile technology, gardeners will have to pull lots of weeds to find something good.

Dreams of the Early Risers on a Winter’s Day

My office is on the back porch of a very old home.  I love it  most of the year. I remember when I was applying for the job and my boss said that my office would be right here, surrounded by windows and I was thrilled! 15+ years later, I still love my office and I can’t imagine being anywhere else day in and day out. (I truly do mean this!) I can look out and see the birds and the trees and flowers in the summer and watch the rain in the spring and admire the leaves changing colors during the fall.  You’ll notice….I said nothing about the winter. On days like this….I am literally the somebody in a snow globe! The snow is whirling around me and let’s just say…I’m not a fan of the white stuff! My boss, ever the optimist says it’s beautiful, I say it’s beautiful up until December 26th….then it can go!

Ok, I live in a snowbelt in Ohio so I guess it’s going to hang around for a while but as my friend just texted me…she thinks the snow is snowing and she has a point! So after all this complaining and rambling…what I really wanted to share today is my favorite early rising plants in the garden. I can dream of them now, waiting patiently for those first sunny warming days and breath a sigh of relief that they have FINALLY arrived and I can really start concentrating on what to do in the garden this year!

PULSATILLA vulgaris Pasque Flower –  The dainty fern-like foliage that is covered in fuzz emerge first and very soon after…these incredible flowers that seem to last and last! Flowers are deep to pale purple, depending upon maturity and stand proudly above the foliage and I can just hear them saying “Hey Looky here…I’m back!  Sometimes these beauties will be blooming in February in our greenhouses if the weather breaks early!  It’s so exciting!  These do well for me in the shade garden where the soil is evenly moist.  They can tolerate more sun but will tend to cook a bit in the heat.  Alkaline soils are best.   Plants only reach a height of 10″ tall but a very worthy addition to your garden if you don’t have it.  

Pulsatilla vulgaris, Botanical Garden of the G...

Image via Wikipedia

 

 HELLEBORUS – Lenton Rose –  These are VERY early risers and many times will stay evergreen in the garden year-round. The flowers come in many many shades from white to burgundy and everything in between depending on the cultivar! Some are single, some are double, some are speckled, some nod, some don’t….there are way too many varieties to mention but very often, these are blooming when the snow has yet to melt. Hellebores require full sun to part shade and reach a height of 2-15″ often with the flowers reaching taller than the foliage.

Bloodroot

I love the bloodroot! My aunt gave me a piece of hers years ago and now I have a healthy batch that I simply adore!  You have to be quick to see this bloom though! I keep watch out my window every day as soon as the weather turns because if I don’t…I miss the blooms! The large leaves spring from the soil in early spring (most times before any of us have even had a chance to venture out to the garden!) and are literally wrapped tightly around the flowers.  Then one day….there are the flowers and you know we really have reached spring! It makes me smile!  I’ll have to dig up the photo that she took of a few that she had where she literally watched the flowers open!  They last about a day, especially if it’s warm but what I sight for sore eyes! If planted in the shade in a woody area, the foliage will stay nice all season long and makes a nice ground cover. I have it interplanted with galium, asarum, hostas and Tiarella and it’s very happy! 

 Of course these are just a few of my favorites that keep me waiting for the seasons to change and I’m sure you have many more that are your favorites. Tell me what yours are! Are you a fan of the bulbs like crocus and daffodills?  Share with me!  Till next time!

Annette 

 

Rudbeckia n. ‘Herbstsonne’ – A Perennial Giant

I LOVE this perennial! Now that you all know how I feel about it, I’ll tell you why! It’s a biggy! In full sun, it will easily reach over 6 feet! (this is the flowers, not the plant itself!) The flowers are a beautiful butter-yellow, the petals droop downwards and they have nice dark brown cones.  When in bloom, you are looking up at them and they are beautiful! The bees love them too!

       The plant itself only gets a few feet tall. It sort of reminds me of cabbage but prettier. If you want the plant to stay shorter, you can cut the foliage back hard in mid to late June and the flowers will stay about 4-5 feet tall.  If planted in full sun, the plant does not need staking but if it’s in anything less than full sun, the flowers may flop on you.  Because the flowers get so tall, it’s not easy to stake it.  This plant is not picky on soil conditions, needs average moisture once established and doesn’t require fertilizer to perform well.  Just give it the sunshine!

  You can cut the flowers for the house and they will last for up to a week if you keep your water changed every day. 

Maintenance for this perennial is up to you. You can leave it alone, and it will bloom for you and be awesome. You can cut it back, dead-head it and it will be awesome.  It’s just not that picky!  You MUST however, plant it in the back of the perennial bed because it would look silly out front! It is beautiful planted in a mass planting or all by itself.  I just love it but I said that already didn’t I? 

 Rudbeckia n. ‘Herbstsonne’  is a zone 3 plant and  will bloom July through September depending on where you are. Here in NE Ohio, she kicks into color about early August and will bloom in to the fall.   Overall I would give this one a 10!

2012 Perennial Plant of the Year….Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’!

Unidentified blue flower in upstate New York

Image via Wikipedia

Exciting News! Wanted to share!

 David Kuack January 10, 2011 Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ named 2012 Perennial Plant of the Year - Image

Members of the Perennial Plant Association have selected Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ as the 2012 Perennial Plant of the Year. In addition to the winner, the other choices for 2012 were Panicum virgatum ’Northwind’, Heuchera ‘Caramel’ and Chelone lyonii ‘Hot Lips’. Over 400 plants were nominated this year.
Discovered at Walters Gardens in Zeeland, Mich., in 1999, B. macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ was commercially introduced in 2000. The deer-resistant plants produce silver-gray foliage and reach a height and width of 12-15 inches. Plants produce racemes of blue star-like flowers in mid to late spring. ‘Jack Frost’ is hardy to USDA Hardiness Zones 3-8.
The 2011 Perennial Plant of the Year is Amsonia hubrichtii.

Pictured: 2012 Perennial Plant of the Year Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’
Photo courtesy of Walters Gardens

Putting the season to bed

Forsythie, aus dem Winter geholt (am 9. Tag be...

Image via Wikipedia

Today is December 1st. and with December came our first snowfall. Although it hasn’t amounted to much (yet!) it is the first snow and the hope of seeing anything blooming out of doors is gone. I’m not a fan of winter…don’t think I have been since I was a child but I am a BIG fan of spring. The first crocus, the first snowdrop or helleborus breaking bud even when it’s still freezing outside! Now that is something to get excited about! I knew this winter day was coming when we took our last fall drive through the hills and valleys of NE Ohio not too long ago and I was sorry to see the leaves fall to the ground but then I smiled to myself (and only to myself because my husband absolutly loves fall!) because I knew then that before I know it, the buds will start to swell on the trees and the earth will awaken with life again! Look for plants like Pulsatilla, Spring Heath,  Helleborus and Forsythia to help you celebrate the end of winter with early blossoms, a sign of the beginning of all that’s growing!

Crocus

To stay sane during the winter months I force bulbs to bloom in pots in the house and somehow (I have no idea!) keep my Hibiscus blooming all winter long by a sunny window! How do you keep your winter bright on the dark days? Share with me and we’ll get through it together!

Social Media for Wholesale Business

Ok already! I surrender! I have put Gilson Gardens on Facebook for our retail garden center and florist, my boss, our office manager and I  have joined LinkedIn, I’m blogging, we’re googling, and we’re making changes to our website so we can keep it more current and change the content whenever we want! Good for us right?  We’re trying but why must it be so complicated? I’ve attended classes, I’ve asked questions, I’ve done research…..I still seem to be spending WAY too much  time trying to get our name out there! I want you to enter “plants” or “nursery” or “wholesale” and have Gilson Gardens  just pop up on your screen!  I want to be right in front of the landscapers, the garden centers, the homeowners, the old, the young, the generation X,Y and Zr’s! Bottom line….I don’t have to Twitter and that’s good because I don’t have time for that too but  I want our content to be relevant, I want it to be educational and more importantly I want it to get to the kinds of people I want to reach!  Our wholesale nursery sells ground covers, perennials, shrubs, vines, grasses and natives to independent landscapers and garden centers in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia.  We ship in our own racked trucks.  We have a sales team like no other where you’ll get sound experienced advice that is honest and dependable.  Our plants are grown right here in northeast Ohio and in stages so you will receive fresh stock most  of the growing  season.  We are a family owned business, third generation operated and owned! We can custom grow for large orders but we can also get you the small orders for a single job with the same smile and professionalism you deserve.

     So back to the internet and how to get our name out there….I’m hoping the blogging is helping….I know we’re making friends (or fans) on Facebook, I will continue to write of plants that we grow, we will continue to stay “plugged in” and hope in the end it pays off! Till next time….I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving! We are so thankful for all the great people we do business with every year!