Fourth of July is often used as a marker for pruning some shrubs, perennials, and annuals. Knowing when to prune is an important step in keeping your plants healthy and thriving. Now is the perfect time to prune the following :

Evergreen trees and shrubs










Mock orange


Veronica (halfway)


Bleeding Heart


Spring flowering bulbs such as daffodils

Montauk Daisy (halfway)

Painted Daisy


I hope things are a little bit fishy around your house this summer. If not, you need to get your sea legs working and start using Fish & Seaweed fertilizer in your garden. Van Wilgen’s has our own Organic Fish & Seaweed and despite its slightly smelly disposition, it is awesome for your garden. The benefits of using Fish & Seaweed during the hot summer months definitely outweigh the drawbacks of the very temporary fishy smell. In the summer months, plants can get super stressed due to heat, drought, insects & disease. Fish & Seaweed is one of those hidden treasure fertilizers that help your plants thrive instead of saying “Argh”!

Fish & Seaweed is a gem of fertilizer with an ocean full of advantages. I’m going to reel myself in and start with just the Fishy part of Fish & Seaweed. Who knew fish could be such a great fertilizer?! Fish protein gives plants an organic nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium source that not only helps plants thrive naturally but brings our soil to life. The bottom line is “living soil, makes living plants.” Fish adds biological life to the soil, promotes beneficial bacteria, relieves compaction, and keeps microbes swimming. You will be amazed by the growth and yield of your plants when using fish-based food.

Seaweed is quite a catch itself! Seaweed is the perfect compliment to Fish. No garden would be complete without the combo of the two. There are so many major & minor nutrients in Seaweed, I stopped counting at 50. The growth-promoting substances in seaweed add great color to plants and extra taste to herbs and veggies. Adding Seaweed to your fertilizer routine will help plants bask in the summer heat with joy. Seaweed adds moisture and keeps diseases at bay even in the extreme heat of summer.

Van Wilgen’s Organic Fish & Seaweed comes in a really easy-to-use liquid. If you do not start using Fish & Seaweed now, I just might make you walk the plank. It is that good! Apply Fish & Seaweed weekly in your garden beds and your plants will be doing the cheer wave in no time!

Come see us at Van Wilgen’s. We would love to help!


*Van Wilgen’s Organic Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer

Butterflies are creatures of habit. Once they emerge from their cocoons, they immediately look forblooms to supply them with nectar. All butterflies prefer sunny open spaces, like meadows and prairies. Likewise, some of the most popular butterfly plants are meadow and prairie natives.
The most popular butterfly plant is Asclepias, the family of butterfly weeds and milkweeds. Many different types of adult butterflies will feed on butterfly weed blooms even though gardeners plant them, especially for Monarchs. You see, the Monarch caterpillars that feed on the milky sap of milkweed do not get eaten by other creatures. All species of Asclepias will host Monarchs, though the species A. tuberosa is one of their favorites and makes a great statement for the meadow bed and the dry perennial border.
Butterfly weeds are attractive, native perennials with compact green leaves and red to orange to yellow flowers. This year Van Wilgen’s has the cultivar A. ‘Hello Yellow’ with clear yellow flowers.
Another popular prairie native is the family of Echinaceas or the coneflowers. Coneflowers are great choices for the sunny perennial border. Their flower petals are called ray florets and they radiate from the flower’s central cone. We call them daisies and we see pinks, yellows, and reds; butterflies see bullseyes, targets that help them zero in on the flower’s nectar-rich cones. Dozens of butterflies are attracted to Echinaceas, like Skippers, Mourning Cloaks, and Swallowtails. We like the ‘Pow Wow’ Echinacea series at Van Wilgen’s with their easy culture and long-blooming season and a customer fan-favorite is the many-colored variety ‘Cheyenne Spirit.’
monarda web
A third pick is the family of Monardas, collectively known as bee balms; some of the best perennials for pollinators. Beebalm flowers attract many species of butterflies, as well as honey bees and hummingbirds. Butterflies love Monardas for their colorful and sweetly scented flowers but are not so attracted to their pungent foliage. Gardeners love Monardas for their easy culture and long bloom season. When choosing varieties, choose the darker colors, like the reds of ‘Marshall’s Delight’ or ‘Jacob Cline.’ Butterflies see these colors better. Beebalms will bloom over the course of the summer which covers many different generations of butterflies.
Butterflies are attracted to masses of flowers. Remember this when you make your selections. Always look for long-blooming varieties and plants with prolific blooms. Stop by our garden center and garden marts for these picks and even more great plants to add to your butterfly haven. We’re here to help, both you and the butterflies.

With Father’s Day just around the corner, do you think it’s finally possible that mother nature will turn the heat up and let the sunshine? I think we are all ready for summer to arrive.

I absolutely love being the annual greenhouse manager. Every day I come to work and get to enjoy all the summer color annuals provide throughout the summer and well into the fall season.

Early spring, we have show stoppers like nemesia, osteospermum daisies, petunias, snow princess allysum, and of course the number one favorite PANSIES!!

But, once the summer heat arrives so do the full-on summer colors.

For the best of all summer color, you can choose from a wide array of thriller plants such as:

Next, choose a great filler plant:

And last we need a great creeping/spiller plant.

Whether the annual color is in your garden or in pots on your patio any combination of the plants mentioned above will have you saying, IT’S FIVE O’CLOCK SOMEWHERE. “ L.O.L “

The perennial department at Van Wilgen’s lives at an interesting crossroads. We watch as the nursery yard fills up with evergreen interest, and the Greenhouse loads up on pansies, and we poke and prod our plants, waiting for the day that they too might be in bloom. Then the evergreen gives way to the spring bloomers, and the greenhouse starts whispering about veggies and herbs, and perennials…. While, we proudly display four or five perennial plants that bloom early (here’s to you, hellebores, and columbine) and continue to wait. Until now.

The perennial season is finally in full swing, and our humble department is about to go off like the fourth of July. From catmint and salvia in full bloom to coneflowers, yarrow and coreopsis just about to break open, all our favorite plants are finally arriving on the scene. Red Hot Poker? Budded. Delphinium and Heliopsis? Buds and blooms! Bellflower and Iris and Bee Balm, oh my! It’s June- the best time of year to be a perennial gardener. Come enjoy it with us.

Here are a few of Trevor’s favorite’s that look fantastic right now!

Echinacea Lemon Yellow– Sunny, lemon yellow blooms sure to brighten a summer border! A must-have for a cutting garden, this drought-tolerant perennial was bred for cold hardiness and compact form with prolific flowering over an exceptionally long season.

Gaillardia Spin Top Yellow Touch-Each plant is bathed in big, flat, solid, medium red daisies with just a touch of yellow at the tips of each petal that blooms from late May through early July.

Geranium – Johnsons’s Blue-Large, blue-violet flowers appear continuously from spring to fall above finely cut, divided leaves. Use in borders, rock gardens, and containers.

Perovskia- Crazy Blue-A compact and colorful, easy-care perennial for use as an accent, border, or mass planting. Violet-blue flower spikes arise from the lacy, gray-green aromatic foliage, adding an airy feel to the landscape. Hardy and heat tolerant, and sturdy, interlacing branches do not fall open in wind and rain. Deer and rabbit-resistant.

Delphinium – Blue Butterfly -This little beauty stands at a height of 14″ and forms compact mounds of well-branched foliage. It puts on a spectacular show from early summer to fall, with 1.5″, deep blue flowers that cover the lacy leaves. Though it is short-lived, it is worth using as edging, a bedding plant, or in containers combined with brightly colored annuals.

Will O’Hara

Perennial Manager