As winter’s grip becomes weaker, the first signs of Spring are the audible ones– American Robins and Red-winged Blackbirds starting to announce their presence after their long winter silence.
March is the transition from Winter to Spring and with warmer days ahead plants and flowers, just like our Van Wilgen’s customers, are starting to venture outside. Last week one of my neighbors had been unwell, so I asked Brianna to make up a planter for them. Cold-tolerant plants such as Pansies, Violas, Ranunculus, Tulips, Hyacinths and Daffodils offer resilience against any occasional cold nights or frosty mornings and are guaranteed to bring some colorful cheer back into our lives.
As the old English proverb says, March comes in like a Lion and goes out like a Lamb!
As our days get shorter and the nights get cooler, it’s time to start thinking about fall colors and decorating for the season!
One of our staple fall plants here at the garden center is traditional fall mums. They’re available in a wide range of colors, which means you can create a beautiful fall container to match any décor. So what pairs well with mums? Mum buddies! (Or at least that’s what we call them.) There’s really no shortage of mum companion plants, especially given the large variety of colors. We’ve rounded up a short list of just a few of our favorites.
What goes better with mums than more mums? Mix and match colors for a striking combination.
Cabbage & Kale
We love using these hearty, leafy plants in containers since they’ll continue to look great even as temperatures start to drop. They’re even known to withstand snow.
There’s a wide range of grasses you can use in your fall containers to add a touch of color, texture, and interest with varying heights. We especially love varieties that turn red and burgundy as it gets cooler.
Daisy-like blossoms, with a resemblance to a star, will give your garden a fresh new shade of color. While many fall color pallets are in the conventional red, orange, yellow, Asters offer some cool alternatives in purples, whites, and pinks.
For bright fall color which nearly resembles tie-dye, we love using Croton in our containers, and later bringing it back inside as a houseplant.
One of our favorite spring flowers makes a comeback in the fall! With lots of colors available you can match your flowers to any arrangement, or add a contrasting pop of color.
Celosia offers fun textures for your fall containers or landscapes that last all the way into the fall.
These late bloomers are great for adding fall color right as more tender plants begin to die back.
Stunning fall texture comes from both the foliage and flowers of sedum. Both drought and heat tolerant, sedum is especially ideal for late summer/early fall containers which may still be exposed to hot temperatures.
With constantly ripening fruit, you can expect to see a range of colors on one single plant, for an evolving fall display.
Once you have the perfect fall container planted up with mums and their buddies, you can pair it with pumpkins, cornstalks, hay bales, and even some Indian corn. Your space will be feeling like fall in no time! Need Help? Stop by the garden center and we can give you a hand selecting your fall plants and accessories!
Everyone knows chrysanthemums as the classic autumn annual, but people often wonder just how long they will last, and when all those buds are going to open. The answers to these questions depend heavily on temperature and the intensity and duration of sun exposure. However, we can narrow down a window where you can expect to have a nice display of beautiful fall color from your mums!
Chrysanthemums do best in a full day’s worth of direct sun but will tolerate down to a part shade setting, and they prefer cooler days.
When chrysanthemums have more buds than flowers, it takes cooler nights and sunny days to help their blooms fully open. How long that takes depends on how nice Mother Nature is to us.
When in color, under optimum conditions, you can expect your mums to bloom for about 4-6 weeks. We have early, mid, and late-season bloomers; if timed correctly, your early blooming mums will provide color from August to September, the mid-season bloomers from September to mid-October, and the late-season bloomers will finish the season off from mid-October to the first frost.
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!
Everyone is a gardener when it comes to annuals!
Annual plants only stick around with us for one year but with a little TLC, they can have one heck of a year! Annuals are rewarding, fun, and allow you to be as creative as you like. Anyone can plant annuals even with minimal gardening experience.
Half the fun is just picking out your flowers. This time of year the greenhouse is overflowing with annuals in different shapes, colors, and sizes for both the shade and sun. You can match your colors to your home decor or mix and match. The sky’s the limit!
Annuals are easy but you do have to show them a little love. Follow these easy steps for success:
- Plant in well-draining soil. Compaction and standing water are the kiss of death for any plant. Use our Van Wilgen’s Professional Potting Mix when potting up your outdoor containers, and use our Van Wilgen’s Professional Planting Mix when planting annuals in the ground. You’ll want to loosen up the soil to allow water to flow through.
- Water plants daily. Unless the soil already feels pretty damp, or it’s recently rained, your annuals like to get a drink of water. Keep in mind that the warmer temperatures will help dry out the soil, so your outdoor annuals will likely need to be watered more frequently than plants kept indoors.
- Fertilize. Start all containers out with Van Wilgen’s Slow Release Fertilizer. Follow up every two weeks with Bloom Booster. Annuals can really handle it. Fertilize the heck out of them. We only get to enjoy them for one year so push them hard!
- Dead Head. Yes, I know that some annuals like petunias claim to be self-shedding. This is somewhat true but the reality is, they get messy looking if you don’t do a little cleanup. Don’t be afraid to finger-pinch off the dead flowers, or you can use snippers if the stalk is a little woodier.
- Hair Cut. Are your annuals getting leggy? Give them a good haircut to restore their bounce. You may have to be a little patient for the bloom to return, but in the long run, you will have a healthier, more productive annual.
As always, if you run into trouble or need a little advice, just pay us a visit or give us a call. We’re here to help!
At Van Wilgen’s we have a saying: pansies are tiny but tough.
You might think that pansies need to be kept inside during this time of year with cold nights and warmer days, but that would actually be the worst thing for them.
To keep these cheerful springtime annuals happy, you’ll want to keep them between 45 and 65 degrees, but they can tolerate temperatures as low as 28 degrees, which is below freezing. As soon as the spring sun comes up in the morning, if the pansies were frozen, any ice will melt, and they’ll bounce right back to life. Right now through the end of June is the time pansies enjoy most so it’s the perfect time to take some home to brighten up your garden or containers for instant springtime color.
It’s a refreshing sign of spring when you can see and smell the pansies. For this area, pansies are an annual that typically lasts from March to the end of June. In cooler summers, they can even last as late as the end of August. To prolong the season and promote more flowers, be sure to deadhead your pansies as much as possible, and keep them in tip-top shape with Bloom Booster.
Just remember to keep your pansies outdoors. Unless you have a cold area in your house, they won’t last more than two days inside and will start to wilt. If you’re worried about a steep temperature drop outside you can cover them overnight with a sheet or a box. If they aren’t planted, you can bring them in overnight before you go to bed but make sure they’re out again by the time you make the coffee in the morning.
Not only are pansies beautiful in all colors of the rainbow, but they are also edible. With a taste like lettuce that has a sweetness to it, they’re great with mixed greens in a salad or some people crystalize them as a baking decoration.
No matter what color you prefer or how you like to enjoy them now is the time to plant and enjoy these tough little signs of spring!
Show your patriotic colors this year with a fun red, white and blue themed garden or planter. This color combination looks stunning in any sized yard, and with so many different plant options, you’re sure to have a unique space that pops! Below are just a few of our favorite plants in this popular color scheme.
Red Fox Veronica
James Kelway Tanacetum
Trees & Shrubs
Wilgen’s Ruby Rhododendron
Tuff Stuff Red Hydrangea
Ruby Slippers Hydrangea
Miss Ruby Butterfly Bush
Snow Hill Salvia
Peacock White Phlox
Trees & Shrubs
Hydrangea Little Quickfire
Rhododendron Cunningham White
White Flowering Dogwood
Veronica Venice Blue
Myosotis “Forget me not”
Blue Cross Gentiana
Trees & Shrubs
Buddleia Pugster Blue
Hydrangea Endless Summer
Fothergilla Blue Shadow
Viburnum Blue Muffin
Hydrangea Tiny Tuff Stuff
Blue Mist Shrub
April showers bring May flowers … and April brought us lots of showers.
May is the month of flowers in the greenhouse, and our greenhouse is bursting at the seams with more color this year than ever before!
As Mother’s Day approaches (Sunday, May 10th) it’s time to think big — just how big depends on you. Mother’s Day is a great day to spend with Mom walking around the greenhouse here at Van Wilgen’s where we have amazing combinations around every corner. Our woven rattan baskets are stunning this year, featuring new plant combinations along with new baskets. You have to check them out!
If you’re thinking bigger, let’s talk about making your own personal combo for Mom’s doorstep. Visit us in the custom container corner (in the front of our greenhouse) to create a combo that’s truly unique for her.
Flower combinations are a great way to have all your favorites in one pot. The best part? You don’t have to choose … you can have them all!
We get this question a lot this time of year. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t as simple as giving you a date—it’s driven by nighttime temperatures, so staying on top of the daily weather forecast is crucial. Since Mother Nature is unpredictable, we stick to the following rules of thumb, knowing that it’s all about being flexible and keeping an eye on the forecast. Annuals fall into a couple of basic planting temperatures:
-Fuchsias, petunias, nemesia, dianthus, osteospermum daisies, sweet alyssum, snapdragons, and dusty miller are also cold-tolerant but should be kept above 40 degrees. For those of you who want summer color in early spring, these are great options.
-Everything else requires temperatures over 50 degrees (24/7) to be safely put outside. This includes tropicals, houseplants, citrus, and figs.
Mother Nature is always in control. Our smartphones make life a lot easier these days; just look at any weather app and check the hourly tracking. If temperatures are going to drop below those listed above, cover your plants with some type of cloth … but never use plastic! Better yet, bring your plants inside at night (if possible).
Hint: watch what we do at Van Wilgen’s on our front patio. When it’s safe to put tropicals out for good, you will see them everywhere out there!
As summer comes to an end, rustic autumn colors sweep in as the season’s vibrant blooms begin to fade. Keep your garden looking fresh this year with some fall flowering plants in your space! Utilize plants with late bloom times and apply Bloom Booster to ensure your flowers are reaching their maximum potential.
Here Are Our Top Flowering Plants That’ll Put on a Fall Show
The color variety available for garden mums makes this one of our favorites for fall flowers. Mums can come in autumn hues of orange, gold, russet, and bronze which will keep your garden looking great all season long. Perennial Mums will last through the winter and will bloom again next year. Plant in full sun. Grows 18 inches tall.
Celosia brings incredible color and vibrancy to your garden. They offer flowers in different shapes and colors from the brain like cockscomb to the showy plume varieties that produce feathery flowers that look like flames or puffs of cotton candy. They bloom until the first frost. Plant in full sun. Grows up to 3 feet tall.
Daisy-like blossoms, with a resemblance to a star, will give your garden a fresh new shade of color. Blossoms in pinks, purples, blues, and whites emerge in late August to extend the beauty. Plant in full sun. Grows 5 inches tall.
These rounded, flat-faced flowers bring a variety of bright colors, and some autumn colors, to balance out your garden. Pansies are versatile and can be planted in your garden, a container, or planting beds. They bounce back after a bit of light frost, which does well in an autumn garden. Plant in partial to full sun. Grows 6-12 inches tall.
This fall long-blooming daisy stands up to salt spray, heat, and tight planting conditions in a cottage garden setting. Grows about 3 feet tall.
Gorgeous spikes of blue or purple color. Features large, flowers that can last into the fall. Benefits from a good hard trim after flowers are finished, in order to maintain a nice tight habit.