Category Archives: whoesale nursery

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!

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Fall Bloomers in the Garden

This was sent to me in an email and it has good information for fall bloomers in the garden! Enjoy!

 

Final Flourish
by Gene Bush – posted 08/15/11

Think about adding some of these underused fall-blooming beauties to your shade garden later this season. After the heat lets up a bit, you will want to get back out there and expand your season and plant palette.

Gardeners in this region tend to give up on gardening come mid to late July and into August. Still fewer gardeners are aware September, October and into November can be filled with flowers. The fact that fall-blooming flowers are not found more frequently is due more from an absence of information than a lack of performing plants.


Aster divaricatus‘Woods Purple’  
Aster divaricatus ‘Woods Blue’


Aster laevis ‘Bluebird’
Aster photos Courtesy of Bailey Nurseries

Gardening myths about lack of blooms in shade gardens during summer and fall are just that. Myths. Gardening references tend to switch over to evergreens, bark textures and various colors of berries with the mention of blooms sadly missing after September. Bark and berries are important for the backbone of a garden—to basic design—but blooms are what we gardeners truly desire.

Fall-blooming perennials are no more difficult to grow than plants blooming in spring or summer. If you have been successful with a bed, border or garden containing bulbs and perennials you can grow fall-blooming plants to perfection. The exact requirements concerning soil, moisture and sun or shade varies from plant to plant. In general, I begin with the classic “well-drained soil with plenty of humus and adequate moisture.” My next step is a good gardening encyclopedia or nursery catalog that gives tips and hints for success with each family of flowers and special needs for individuals within a family.

Since some of the fall bloomers are not as well known as spring bloomers, you might have to shop a bit to locate specific species or cultivars. A local nursery or catalog specializing in a full inventory of perennials is my first choice.

 

Asters (Aster species and hybrids)

Asters are well known, but to the best of my knowledge, sadly underused in local gardens for fall bloom. Since they are such a widely adaptable and easily grown plant, it is hard for me to understand why they are not used more often in gardens. Perhaps it is a case of familiarity breeds contempt for numerous species of asters decorate our fields, fence rows and woods during September and October. Asters are a must-have for middle to back of a border with its stately foliage and wide range of bloom color from all the new hybrids.

There are numerous species, hybrids and cultivars to choose from with a range in height from 18 inches to well over 6 feet. In decent garden soil, give them room—for they will form clumps rather quickly making for a large show. The taller species benefit from shearing or pinching back around June to make them more compact and fuller in foliage.

One of the features that makes an aster an aster is the yellow disk in the center of each ray of petals. Flower petal colors include blue, lavender, white, pink and red. Great drama in color combinations can be easily achieved by using goldenrods as companions with all their different shades of yellow.

 

 


Monkshood Aconitum napellus
Photo: iStock-© Anna Yu

Monkshood (Aconitum species and hybrids)

Monkshoods or aconitum are masters of the open shade garden in fall and early winter. Depending on the species or hybrid, you can have blooms from June through December.

Aconitum are easily grown to perfection in the Midwest when given three basic needs. Provide a good compost-rich soil dug relatively deep. Place them in all the light you can provide without full sun. Mulch around (but never over) the crown to retain moisture.

Almost all aconitum are tall and stately with a range in height from 2 ½ feet to more than 6 feet. The blooms have their top two petals fused together, which forms a helmet or hood shape that gives it the common names of helmet flower or monkshood. Blooms are numerous toward the upper third of the plant with most en masse at the top of the main stem. Colors can be white, rose, yellow and bi-color, but blue and lavender are the most common.

All aconitum are toxic to mammals and caution should be exercised. Use gloves when handling or planting.

 

 


Gentian saponaria 
Photo: Gene Bush

Gentian (Gentian species and hybrids)

My favorite fall-blooming flowers are gentians. Imagine, if you will, the red, brown and gold of falling leaves. Then picture rich green foliage decorated with masses of the most beautiful blue blooms. There are some 200 to 350 species of gentians around the world plus numerous hybrids. Among the fall bloomers are species growing wild in local woodland edges, fields and roadsides. Bloom shape can range from a bottle to crested trumpets. Size can begin at less than 1 foot to more than 3 feet in height. There are numerous gentians that begin blooming in September and October lasting into November.

The two most common species in the Midwest are the bottle gentians (G. andrewsii and G. saponaria). The common name comes from the resemblance in shape of the blooms to small bottles. I think they look like the old-fashioned Christmas tree lights with the rounded tips. The blooms do not fully open on these two species. Other easily grown gentians I enjoy are summer and fall blooming species and hybrids from Asia. Two species on the smaller size in foliage with large trumpet-shaped blooms are the G. paradoxa and G. septemfida or everyman’s gentian.

 

 


Tricyrtis ‘White Towers’
Photo: Gene Bush

Toad Lilies (Tricyrtis species and hybrids)

Toad lilies have been gaining popularity in the last few years. They originate from Japan, Asia and the Himalayas with about 18 species and many hybrids to choose from. There is a toad lily for every shade garden, since growth can range from 6 inches to more than 4 feet. Blooms can be upright cups to hanging bells and exotics resembling orchids in shape. Colors run most of the spectrum with rich buttery yellows to spotted bi-colors of lavender and pink. The individual species and hybrids chosen determines the period of bloom. It is possible to have a toad lily in bloom from June through the first hard frost. The blooms are frost sensitive so you will need to cover the plants if an early frost is forecast. One of my favorites for fall blooms in the shade garden is T. hirta x miazaka. This hybrid toad lily is one of the most graceful with its arching habit and height of about 2 feet. Be sure to place it on a raised bed near a path where you can see the blooms up close.

 


Hymenocallis occidentalis 
Photo: Gene Bush

Bulbs

There is a wealth of bulbs to choose from that will provide blooms from September into November. There are fall-blooming crocus and colchicum, which are often confused with the crocus. Several species and hybrids of flowering onion (Allium sp.) make gorgeous displays. The native spider lily (Hymenocallis occidentalis) is seldom seen and blooms about the same time as our resurrection lilies, or naked ladies. Hardy cyclamen are seldom seen in gardens and there are at least three species and their hybrids with some performing into December.

There are far too many flowers blooming during fall and into early winter to give up on gardening now.

 


Japanese anemone 
Photo: © justdahl – FOTOLIA


Turtlehead (Chelone obliqua speciosa)
Photo: Don Kurz

Fall-Blooming Perennials

•  Japanese anemone (Anemone hupehensis)

•  Hardy begonia (Begonia grandis)

•  Bluebeard (Caryopteris sp.)

•  Turtlehead (Chelone sp.)

•  Bugbane or Fairy candles (Actaea aka Cimicifuga)

•  Hardy cyclamen (Cyclamen hederifolium)

•  Joe Pye weed (Eupatorium sp.)

•  Lobelia (L. cardinalis, L. siphilitica)

  •  Goldenrod (Solidago sp.)

 

 


Gene Bush is a nationally known garden writer, photographer, lecturer and nursery owner. Contact Gene at munchkinnursery.com.


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.

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. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheap Trees Prices Won’t Last!

A tree nursery using gutters to decrease growi...

Image via Wikipedia

Why Tree Prices Will Increase –

This was posted by Bold Spring Nursery.  Very interesting information.

    Usually price increases are a sore topic. In our current economic climate, cost cutting has become a way of life as businesses fight to conserve cash and preserve margins. The unwelcome news of a price increase from a supplier is usually the last thing a buyer wants to hear. The ornamental tree business has been no different. Growers have suffered a crushing over-supply of trees which was, in fact, developing 6 -7 years ago, but was masked by the frenetic pace of construction through the middle part of the decade. When the bubble burst in 2007-2008 the demand for trees was reduced dramatically, beyond what few of us have ever witnessed. Since that time, growers, desperate to maintain a market share, have reacted by cutting prices for each of the last 3 years to the point where prices, on some items, have reached 30-year lows.

    Unlike many businesses, tree growers cannot simply downsize their company to a scale that matches their sales. Existing inventory requires upkeep and that costs money. Like everyone else, growers have aggressively cut costs to try to staunch the negative flow of cash. That is a tall order in a world where the costs of raw materials such as burlap, diesel, and plastic have only increased. So, in many cases, fertilizer, pesticides, pruning, and staking have gone by the board. The results of excessive cost cutting are evident in the marketplace this year and many growers are simply not capable of supplying trees of adequate quality.  For most growers, even the cost of culling bad trees is daunting when cash is tight and so the trees sit around, on display in the fields or, in the case of containers, growing increasingly pot-bound.

    The other major area of cost cutting has been a sharp decrease in tree-planting in nurseries. Many cash conscious growers have realized that if they cannot afford to maintain what they have, then there is little point in putting more trees in the ground. As a result, tree planting has declined 70-80% over this period. This reduction occurred progressively: first by about 20% in 2008-2009 and then an additional 30-40% in each of the two following years. This trend has only just begun to become evident, with many smaller-sized trees and evergreens becoming scarce this spring. Over the next two years the breadth of shortages will increase dramatically and progressively, as more gaps appear while the old inventory outgrows the market, becomes ruined from neglect, is sawed down to increase spacing, or grubbed out entirely to prepare fields for re-planting.

    Growers are watching carefully to see which items are selling out and they will raise prices whenever market conditions allow. This is not a matter of greed as much as survival. Most nurseries are just hanging on and absorbing losses, if they are even doing that. We are all watching while prominent nurseries fail, unable to continue in an economic meltdown that was nearly impossible to predict.

    The shock waves from the sub-prime melt-down will continue to be felt, but will soon be felt in different ways. The crash of demand will be followed by a crash in supply caused by a reduction in the number of nurseries that have been willing and able to continue to risk investment in the planting and maintenance of quality inventory these last three years. And just as the construction boom masked the over-supply of trees 5-6 years ago, the construction bust is masking the currently developing shortage. When we experience even a modest resumption in new construction, the shortages will be difficult to manage.

    It is important for businesses to educate their customers for what is coming. There is a special challenge for those who are bidding projects that are further out. There is a shocking gap between the desperate pricing of 2010-11, and the prices of, even, the over-supplied market of 2007. But when scarcities become prevalent, prices will return to their former levels, and eventually go higher still. That market of shortages may be much closer than you realize. Buyers should be prepared for price increases in fall 2011 and very large increases in 2012 and 2013.

Applicants, Friend or Foe?

     With the spring season comes the HELP WANTED signs and here come the applicants! We get large waves of unemployed coming in the door to fill out applications. Because we are a wholesale nursery and a retail garden center, we get  a wide variety of people coming in the door.

  Some are teenagers looking for work after school and weekends. Some are immigrants, some are the average Joe just out of work and looking for something to do. Some are just so over qualified, you don’t know how they could even be interested! Some are mom’s with extra time and want something “fun” to do. Some are seniors that would like to get out of the house. We get plant lovers, people with no knowledge that the “green side goes up”, ex-factory workers….you get the idea!

   Some funny things happen when people come in to apply. We get those that want to work RIGHT NOW and don’t understand that breathing isn’t the only requirement for the job. Interviews don’t seem to be these people’s forte for when called to come in for just that….they don’t show up at all.

  Then you have people that harass you…they come in everyday, want to talk to the person in charge, want to bully their way in…just so you know….this doesn’t work too well!

 Then the other day, we had this dear gentleman come in. We have on the application a place when they can put a person’s name to contact in case of emergency…he left this spot blank. Then where the line is for that person’s phone number would be he put in “911”.  We all got a chuckle out of that one.

  I think there should be a class offered (and maybe there is) on the right way to conduct yourself when applying for a position. What to wear (and what not to), what to say and communicate on the application, how to follow-up so you’re remembered and not feared…you know the basic stuff!

   Although we have many that apply…with the economy and that we are mostly seasonal…we have to work hard to “put the right people on the bus” and then after they are hired…get them in the right seats! That takes finesse! Wish us luck! The sign is down so we are now sorting through the candidates and we’ll see what happens!  Happy Spring everyone!

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!