1) Choose the right plant for the right space
2) Start Digging
3) Amend your soil
4) Place your plants
7) Water, water, water!
With summer here, it means more time spent outside, with lots of cookouts and family gatherings on decks and patios. To create a welcoming space that everyone will enjoy, dress up your outdoor areas with beautiful custom containers for a colorful focal point.
Putting together a unique container might sound overwhelming, but we’re here to help! Just follow these simple steps:
Pick your container:
There are tons of container options to choose from ranging from ceramic, terra cotta, plastic, or wood. With so many options available, you can be sure to find something to match any style or decor. Depending on the size of your space you can consider large statement containers, which look especially lovely flanking either side of a door. Or if you have a smaller space you can pot up some smaller containers to sprinkle around your space. Having several containers in the same style or color can really tie together your space. Experiment with grouping different sized containers together, or play around with different heights by incorporating a plant stand. There are no hard rules, so have fun experimenting until you find something you like. The one thing to be mindful of with containers is drainage. Check to make sure each container has holes in the bottom. Luckily, most materials are easy enough to drill through if your container is lacking drainage (ceramic may require a special drill bit).
Pick your soil:
Picking the right soil will set your plants up for a great beginning. Depending on what you’re planting we would recommend the following:
• Van Wilgen’s Natural and Organic Potting Mix for your herb and vegetable containers.
• Van Wilgen’s Premium Container Mix for any of your annual or perennial container plantings. This mix contains starter fertilizer and water-holding polymers perfect to keep your container looking its best.
• Van Wilgen’s Professional Potting Mix for any of your houseplant container pots. This is a lighter-weight soil ideal for most houseplants.
Don’t forget to add fertilizer to all your containers. We have many to pick from but one of our favorites is our Van Wilgen’s Slow Release Fertilizer which will keep your plants looking beautiful.
Pick your plants:
Picking your plants is your time to shine and show your creativity. Just be mindful of the light the area gets and choose plants that will thrive under those conditions.
If you’re unsure of where to start, we always recommend the tried and true “thriller, filler, and spiller” method. Start by choosing a plant with some drama and height (thriller), add in a mid-height companion plant (filler), and then complete the arrangement with a hanging plant that will spill over the side of your container rather than grow upright (spiller). This method works well to give the appearance of a really full arrangement. Just keep in mind the size of your container when choosing the size of your houseplants. You don’t want to have too much excess space or squeeze plants into a container that’s too small.
Another way to plan your arrangements is to consider plant color. Choose contrasting colors (those that are opposite one another on a color wheel) for added drama or you can choose analogous colors (those next to one another) for more of a cohesive look. Be sure to factor in the color of your container when planning everything out. There are no hard fast rules here, so play around until you find a combination that you personally like.
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. This is a great project you can do together with your kids for memories that will last a lifetime. And when in doubt, pay us a visit. We’re here to help!
It’s June, and your gloriously green, spring lawn, may not be looking quite as vibrant right now. So let’s do something about it! It’s time to give your lawn a little boost. As the weather turns hot, the cool-season grasses in our lawns start to suffer and could use a little of your help to look and feel better. When working on your lawn, just a few things to keep in mind:
• Small patch seeding only! Don’t take on big seeding projects this time of the year. If you do, you’ll have to water so much you won’t have time to enjoy your super green lawn. Only do small, manageable, bare patches of seeding.
• Keep the lawn mowed as high as you can tolerate. Never let that mower dip below 3 inches. The higher the lawn is, the less chance of burnout in the summer heat.
• You are either all in or all out. Meaning if you’re going to water in the summer months, commit to it. No piddly amounts of water will do. If you are only going to give your lawn shot glasses full of water, then do not bother at all. Just let it go dormant and take a little summer rest.
If at least a month has passed, since your last lawn fertilization, it’s time to get out there and do it again. Here’s the good news, there are many choices to fit your lawn’s needs.
• If your lawn is just looking a little tired, not quite as green, and not overrun with weeds, you could stick to fertilizer. Not just any ordinary fertilizer, but one that contains iron. Iron is great when applied in the month of June. It adds strength, vigor, and deep green color to our lawns, making them look better through the hot summer months ahead. Grab yourself a bag of Summer Revitalizer by Espoma or Milorganite.
• If you recently fertilized your lawn within the last four weeks but you still want that nice green color that iron gives you, then you can apply Fast Acting Iron by Earth Sciences. Talk about green!
• If your lawn is crying out for the nice green color iron adds to it, but still has quite a few weeds popping up, then the perfect combination would be one of the above fertilizers with a bottle of liquid weed control. You can choose a synthetic, such as Bonide’s Weed Beater Ultra plus Crabgrass and Broadleaf Weed Killer, or a natural, such as Weed Beater Fe. You’ll get a wider range of weed control with this synthetic choice but it is nice to know that a natural choice exists.
• Don’t forget the grub control this month. The new, hungry batch of grubs have not hatched yet but they will be soon and you want to be prepared. It is time to put down Grub Ex. Be sure to water it in or put it down before a rainfall to be most effective. If natural is the way for you, then you can put down Milky Spore to help keep those damaging critters at bay.
• If inevitably, each summer, your lawn is plagued with the summertime disease, now is the time to be proactive and put Bonide‘s Infuse Fungicide down. Be sure to water in and you may even consider a second application in 10 days.
Summer is on its way and this is the time we will want to enjoy our lawns the most. Give them a June boost now for the best summer lawn ahead! Happy Gardening!
You probably don’t need us telling you this, but it’s been HOT outside. With those sun rays beating down on your plants, it’s important to give them a little extra TLC to keep them happy; especially those that have been recently planted. So how do you protect your plants in the sizzling heat? Simple: Water, water, water!
With new plants especially, we always encourage folks to reference our Watering Guide for basic watering instruction, but when it comes to extreme temperatures, there are a few extra things you should keep in mind.
Timing is Key
Early morning is the best time to water since it gives the plant time to absorb the water and dry the leaves making them less susceptible to plant diseases and heat scorch, which is where the plant actually burns from the water sitting on the leaf. If you wait to water during the heat of the day, about half of the water can be lost due to evaporation.
Shady Plants Need Love Too
You might think that plants that are under large trees and in the shade won’t need to be watered as frequently as those in the sun. However, these plants can actually dry out due to the larger trees absorbing the water that’s in the soil, so it’s equally important to give those shaded plants a drink too.
Even toward the end of summer, with cooler temperatures and rain on the way, it’s important to remember to apply some recovery nutrients to replenish what was used by the plant during this stressful period. We have a full line of plant fertilizers and the team at Van Wilgen’s can help choose the right product for your specific need. When in doubt, give us a call. We’re here to help!
June is National Pollinator month, and it’s the perfect time to give bees, butterflies, and birds a little recognition. Pollinators are such an important part of getting our gardens to grow.
Did you know, Honeybees alone are directly responsible for pollinating one-third of the food we eat? They help fertilize flowers, carrying pollen from one plant to another in exchange for food.
So how can we give back to the creatures that do so much for us? We’ve compiled a few easy ways you can celebrate pollinators in your garden:
1. Plant a pollinator-friendly garden with plants
To keep your garden beautiful, you can attract pollinators by planting nectar-rich flowers that appeal to them. Try adding native plants to an existing garden or creating a whole new garden specifically for pollinators. Choose plants that bloom at different times throughout the year, providing long-term food and shelter. To keep blooms going, be sure to fertilize with Van Wilgen’s slow-release fertilizer and Bloom Booster.
Adding Echinaceas and Rudbeckias to the perennial border is one way to attract Swallowtails and Painted Ladies. Plus, providing host plants like parsley and dill is great to keep these two returning. The butterflies will use the herbs to lay their eggs and provide for young caterpillars, repeating the cycle.
Pollinators are also attracted to a wide variety of other perennials, annuals, and shrubs including Lantana, Verbena, Vermillionaire, buddleia, zinnia, Black-eyed Susan, Butterfly Weed, Nepeta, Yarrow, Foxglove, Lupine, and Lavender just to name a few. You could easily fill an entire garden with pollinator plants, so stop by the Garden Center for additional plant recommendations.
2. Build a bee hotel
Solitary bees, bees that live alone and not in hives, need a place to make their nests. Welcome these gentle bees to your garden by adding a bee hotel. Solitary bees don’t make honey and rarely sting. Females lay their eggs inside a small hollow tube and then they patch the door with mud. You can DIY or purchase a bee hotel here at the Garden Center to encourage pollinators to check in to your garden.
3. Create a butterfly-friendly space
In addition to nectar-rich plants, such as butterfly bush, there are some simple steps you can take to ensure butterflies pay you a visit year after year. Butterflies love warm sunny spots, so you can add a few big, flat rocks to sunny areas for butterflies to bask and sunbathe on. You can also add a butterfly house or hibernation box in your butterfly haven. Place it several feet above the ground in a lightly shaded area. Butterflies will seek refuge in the narrow openings of the house where predators can’t enter. A butterfly house also provides protection from wind and rain in summer storms. To be a good backyard host, place your butterfly house near nectar-rich plants.
Butterflies also love mud puddles on a sunny day (especially after a good rain) and drink the salt and minerals from the soil, which they later pass to females during mating. Salts and minerals greatly improve the health of a butterfly egg, ensuring generations to come. You can make your own at home, by adding sand and water to a saucer and placing it in your garden; you can even add a pinch of salt.
4. Increase feather pollinator population
Insects aren’t the only pollinators around town. Hummingbirds are also great pollinators. Hang a hummingbird feeder in your yard to encourage our feathered friends to stop by. The plants that are pollinated by Hummingbirds tend to produce more nectar than plants pollinated by insects, hanging a feeder will pay off in the long run.