Category Archives: Spring

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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Fall Planting is GOOD for your Plants!

  Remember the old adage…Fall is for Planting“?  That has been the truth for  many, many years! Not only is this the time for planting bulbs like daffodils or tulips for spring but almost anything else you want to plant!  The secret?  Mulch!

As long as you mulch your plantings, you are almost guaranteed that your fall plantings will break forth in the spring with new growth and be as happy as ever! 

Shrubs, perennials, ground covers, grasses, vines, etc. actually love this time of year. Planting now, you get the benefit of fall rains, soil temperatures that aren’t headed to  “too hot” and cool air temperatures mean the stress level is low.  Plants get a chance to get settled in before winter which is what you want!

We do not recommend planting rooted cuttings this time of year. We do not suggest you divide your hostas now but most anything else is fair game! Most perennials are on their way to dormancy so they won’t have much on top anyways. You are planting the roots, giving them a nice home for the winter where they will settle into the soil and be ready for take-off come spring!

Don’t fear the fall and the good news is most garden centers are running specials and sales to avoid storing them in containers over the winter.  You get rock bottom prices and happy plants!  You won’t be sorry!  Just follow the planting instructions on the labels!  Have fun and PLANT!

I received this from a friend that read it online at opennhort.com.  It’s fantastic and should make all independent garden centers think about their customers. Also…to those that shop at the big box stores…remember the lil’ guys out there where you will receive the personal assistance and someone WILL remember your name when you walk in but may not have that big parking lot!

 

You know Her: she’s a great customer. She ADORES plants, devours every issue of Better Homes & Gardens, and spends Her winters pining away for the first signs of spring thaw so she can eagerly attack Her garden plans. She drives the nice-but-not-too-nice car, knows your staff by name, and wouldn’t dream of shopping for Her garden anywhere else.

Um, yeah. There aren’t 10% of Her out there anymore.

NewsFlash: She’s already cheating on you. And if she isn’t, she will.

Honestly? She likes you well enough, but she’s gotten bored with you, the spark just isn’t there anymore. She used to be surprised by something new each time she came in, she was inspired by your lush and lavish displays.

The recession-era you: with paint from two seasons ago, staff reductions, and merchandise constriction, well, you’re a little less alluring.

You’ve become predictable, and not in a good way.

She’s already shopping at Nordstrom for Her shoes but Costco for Her paper towels. She’s smart enough to see the grower’s truck when it stops at the Big Box store on Tuesdays with fresh product, which, golly – looks fairly much the same to Her eye.

She’s using more coupons these days, because austerity is ‘in.’ She’s savvy enough to price shop the essentials online. And even if you’re closer… well, your staff are more harried and distracted than ever, your parking lot is tight, she can’t get to your store after work…

Can you make Her feel special again? Can you give Her the thing she values most – Her TIME – back? Can you delight Her? Make Her life easier? If not, then you’re just 5% better than the other guys – and they’re 20% cheaper.

And she’s smart enough to do the math.

Let the bees buzz as the perennials bloom!

Hydrangeas in front of the Office de Tourisme ...

Image via Wikipedia

      I love this time of year! There isn’t a day that goes by no matter how rushed I am that I don’t find a new flower, a new bird, a new WEED in my gardens! The hostas are still fresh and green, the Leucanthemums are starting to pop, the Astilbes are blooming and I just feel refreshed!

    The birds wake me up in the early pre-dawn mornings with their calls to one another…the hummingbirds flitter here and there from flower to flower, the orioles pop in from time to time and I await the bluebirds!  The bees are busy and I know they just can’t wait till the Agastache begins to bloom!  They swarm those beauties!  The dragonflies can’t make up their minds if they want to visit the yellows purples or pinks!  It’s funny to watch their confusion!

      There is much discussion out there on the web and among conscientious gardening  groups regarding the natives that are available on the market and the cultivars that are created….but that is for another discussion and another day!  Needless to say I am happy when my perennials arrive from the soil in the spring and perform well throughout the season.   I treasure each summer day and have taught myself NOT to watch the clock each night to see that the sun will set earlier and earlier! (yes…I used to do this!)

   The hydrangea are budded and just getting ready to show off their showy blossoms! I spoke to a woman today that has babied hers so much that the blue they should be blooming has been bleached a Chartreuse green!  I told her to “walk-away” from the Hydrangea!  Ha Ha!

  If you get a chance, try out the fairly new Coreopsis ‘Creme Brulee’.  I have been pretty impressed with the growth habit and the blossom thus far!  (pretty hard to impress me with a Coreopsis!)  The new Echinacea ‘Pow Wow Wild Berry’ (I know where do they come up with the names!) seems to be a robust plant with sturdy stems and high bud count and the flower is impressive too! I must also mention Hakonechloa ‘All Gold’….great short, golden arching grass for the shade…..LOVE IT! 

   If you find that your garden isn’t giving back….drop in to your local garden center and pick up yourself a pretty that will make your day!  Enjoy till next time!

Those intriguing elegant ferns in the garden

Fern plants at Muir Woods, California

Image via Wikipedia

     This has been an interesting spring so far. We nurserymen don’t even know what it means to have a “normal” spring anymore.  Mother Nature finds a way to keep our lives interesting year after year!  This year (as any other!) we emerge from winter as the sun-starved creatures that we are. We look to the sky and gaze at the blue sky welcoming it back! But…this year…not so much! April….I’m pretty sure we didn’t see the sun and it was still so cold!  May came in pretty nice but wet…oh the rains we’ve had!  Our neighboring towns have had hail three times in the last month and the winds have been dangerous and damaging!  

  So where am I going with all this whining about the weather….to the ferns…the beautiful ferns. They emerge from the ground like some slow alien being that pops up out of the earth and slowly begins to unfurl their fuzzy tendrils and fronds! I am absolutely fascinated by the stages of the fronds as they unfurl and dream of just sitting and observing the show but hence, no time for that!  All the different shade of green, and it’s a wonder-garden of  perfectness for fairies and tree-frogs!

  I took some pics of the fronds opening on some ferns in the nursery and I’ll try to post them. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found this from P.Allen Smith and since Easter is coming I thought I’d share! Don’t throw them away this year. If you can’t plant them, share them and this with someone that can.

 It’s interesting how certain plants have become associated with certain holidays—poinsettias for Christmas, roses for Valentine’s Day and lilies for Easter. Now, my poinsettias usually go out with my Christmas decorations, but I always try to find a place for my Easter lilies in my garden. Seems like such a shame to throw them away.

Lilium longiforum is the botanical name for Easter lilies and they don’t actually bloom during Easter. Greenhouse growers pot up the bulbs in fall and force them into bloom for the holiday. In the garden they flower in summer.

You can plant your Easter lilies outdoors after the holiday. Pinch off the faded flowers but don’t cut the foliage. You want to keep it as green and healthy for as long as possible. It’s this foliage that helps re-invigorate the bulb for next year’s flower.Easter Lily After the danger of frost has passed, plant the lily outside. A spot with full to half day sun is ideal, and make sure the soil is very well drained.

Plant the bulbs about 3 inches deep and 12 inches apart. Since my soil is heavy clay, I always add some extra sand for drainage. And then work in some compost before I tuck them in. Water well. Once the original foliage begins to yellow you can cut it back. New growth will emerge and you just might get a bloom too.

Next year you’ll have beautiful, fragrant white lilies to enjoy in the garden and as cut flowers indoors.

My boss should have been a writer….

Springtime  – Mark Gilson

      I read somewhere that Spring travels north at 16 miles a day.  It’s not here yet, but there are signs that it’s getting close…maybe Cincinnati or Columbus.  I was in a greenhouse the other day and heard a flock of geese making a commotion as they traveled up from the south.  They were more musical than the Canada Geese who overwinter here and I knew immediately that spring was approaching.  Snow geese!  Stepping outside, I watched as their ragged formation passed over a nearby farm, turned briefly to check out our back pond and then resumed their northward progress towards Lake Erie, a short ways away, probably just coming into their leader’s view.  They spend the cold months at the Gulf of Mexico, awaiting some signal, unknown to us, that it’s time to begin their three thousand mile journey to the tundra above the Arctic Circle.  I waved as they passed. 

     The ice on Lake Erie is broken now, drifting in giant flows with open water in between.  One day it’s gone, pushed off by a southern breeze.  And the next day it’s back, acting like a giant ice cube to keep things from getting too far ahead.  I’m reminded of the number sixteen again, for that’s the distance to the horizon on large lakes and open seas. 

     Nursery trucks are all over the local roads, another sign that Spring is approaching!…loaded with balled and burlapped trees and shrubs from Loselys, Klyns, Yoes and others.  Some of the white poly is coming off the hoop-houses at Cottage Gardens and Roemers as crews load containers onto farm wagons. 

     It’s getting close. 

     We’ve enjoyed a few sunny days in a row and I can feel my ‘seasonal mood disorder’ beginning to lift.  I feel like a bear or a wood chuck peering outside the cave, eager to begin another year.  (This metaphor only works until I reflect that they emerge from hibernation substantially thinner….) 

     Another season… 

     Another year…

     My fifty-eighth.  

     What if I could apply the magic of the number sixteen to my own life…subtracting that many years and reliving my forty-second!  Thinking back…I was just entering the most productive and one of the happiest periods of my life!  That Spring our nursery was thriving.  Our boys were thriving.  I was jogging four times a week and feeling better than ever.  I totalled our Ford Aerostar Minivan so we bought a used Buick Park Avenue and drove around pretending we were wealthy.  Perennials flourished and so did everything we touched.  It was a time and an age of renaissance.  Even our favorite artists were doing their best, most creative, most reflective work!  Sting had just won album-of-the-year for Summoners Tale, at age 43.  Annie Lennox had recently come out with Diva (at age 39).  Life remained a mystery, but clues abounded and we felt we were on a golden path to somewhere.   

     Don’t get me wrong.  

     I’m not complaining about fifty-eight.  

     But the world has been roughed up in recent years and so have we.  Business is tough.  We drive utilitarian company vehicles now.  We seem to keep acquiring more debt, more weight and more doctors with medical specialties.  Life is murky, filled with shadows.  Everything is relative. (I think I just paraphrased a line from William Golding  Freefall)  Elusive questions outnumber the hard-won answers. That optimistic and confident forty-two-year-old is a stranger now, a character in some former lifetime.  

     And yet…life is good.  There’s plenty to build upon.  We’re more engaged in our communities these days than ever before.  We’ve got great friends going through the same things we are.  We laugh every day.  Bitterness, cynicism and remorse remain beyond our doors.  Spring is almost here…a time of new beginnings.  I think of Tennyson’s Ulysses, in which the tired warrior and adventurer, late in life, longs again for the sea, for battle, for the unknown:  tho’ much is taken, much abides; and though we are not now that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are; one equal temper of heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but stong in will to strive, to seek to find, and not to yield.  (Despite a reference by the embarrassed Illinois Governor Blagojevich in one of his absurd news conferences, this remains my favorite poem, followed closely by Ferlinghetti’s Dog.)

     Spring is almost here. 

     Life is what we make of it.   

     I’m going jogging!