(Products that are good for your lawn and garden in the summer heat!)

“It is sooo hot!” This is what I have been hearing a lot of this summer. Fellow employees are hot,stacey tips art 1 customers are hot, dogs are hot, kids are hot, everyone is hot! We are able to express our feelings and even whine about the heat. What about our poor lawns and gardens. They are hot too. They are just a little quieter about it. Sure, hydrangeas may droop in the afternoon sun, herbs may not be standing at attention, tomato leaves may be curling a bit, and our lawns may be looking a little crispy but at least they are not making a lot of noise about the hot agony they are in. Since they are being such troopers, shouldn’t we give them a little summer treat?! Van Wilgen’s has some delicious treats that will really help your plants make it through this hot, dry spell.

Let’s talk about our newest Van Wilgen product…ROOT BOOST. Root Boost is great any time of the year but its’ summer benefits are off the chart. Root Boost is as organic as you can get. It is an organic powerhouse filled with every essential plant element, beneficial bacteria, and mycorrhizae (beneficial fungus). It is also a balanced fertilizer with a ratio of 6-5-5. I do not want to get too nerdy, technical about this product but I do want you to know how great it really works to increase the root system of any plant. The beneficial fungus and bacteria literally attach themselves to the roots of plants and increase the roots network system. Roots, in turn, can absorb more water and nutrients. Here is the kicker! Root Boost will never burn a plant even in this summer heat. In fact, the added kelp will actually help plants to retain moisture and give them a little breather from the hot sun. Use it on every plant from veggies to houseplants. They all will benefit from all it has to offer. Give your summer plants a boost with Root Boost!

Let’s move onto a little smellier but awesome summer product…FISH & SEAWEED. This is another awesome summer fertilizer that can be used any time of the year. Root Boost has no odor and comes in a powder form that you mix with water. Fish & Seaweed is in a liquid form that gets diluted with water. It works really well in a hose-end sprayer if you have a lot of gardens to cover. Fish and Seaweed is a nice balanced fertilizer that keeps plants strong, helps them retain moisture, and keeps them productive even under the stress of heat. Van Wilgen’s Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer can be used in conjunction with Root Boost and WOW! your plants will be beyond happy.

Do not forget your lawn. Love your lawn this summer with DR. EARTH SUPERNATURAL LAWN FERTILIZER. It comes equipped with a hose-end sprayer so all you do is attach it and go. One bottle covers 5,000 sq. ft. and fills your lawn with prebiotic microbial food, humic acid, and aloe vera to moisturize that stressed summer lawn. This can be used in conjunction or alternating with the tried and true Milorganite. Milorganite is a mainstay for lawn fertilizers that will not burn your lawn even when everything and everyone is suffering in the summer sun.

It is okay to complain about the heat but remember your plants can’t utter a word. Give them a summer treat.

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

There’s no doubt that hydrangeas can hold their own in the garden. With big colorful blooms and beautiful green foliage, summer’s favorite flower makes a bold statement in any garden.

But, why not pair them with delicate foliage, bold flowers, or subtle ornamental grasses for more variety? If you’re looking for ways to make your hydrangeas pop, even more, try these companion planting tips.

When planting hydrangeas, be sure to use Espoma’s Organic Soil Acidifier for best results.


It’s hard to go wrong when choosing a color for companion plants. Try pairing hydrangeas with foliage in different hues of the same color. This adds subtle dimension and almost creates a 3-D effect in the garden.

If your hydrangeas are pink, pair them with Rose Glow Barberry shrubs. The deep pink and purple foliage emphasizes the pastel pink flowers and contrasts perfectly with the green leaves. Try planting Blue Star Juniper alongside blue hydrangeas for a beautiful display. This low-maintenance shrub provides beautiful bluish-green foliage that complements any blue flowering plants.


When planting flowers with flowers, timing is everything. Be sure to choose a summer-blooming flower that will blossom around the same time as your hydrangea. You can choose to plant similar hues or bright contrasting colors. If you’re looking to create a dramatic contrast in the garden, choose a flower that comes in a variety of colors.

Begonias and geraniums are beautiful flowers that come in many different shades, making them a perfect companion for hydrangeas. Create a colorful rainbow garden by pairing blue hydrangeas with pink geraniums or white hydrangeas with scarlet begonias.


If you want the focus of your garden to be mainly on hydrangeas, opt for more subtle ornamental grasses that simply enhance their beauty. Most ornamental grasses are low-maintenance and easy to grow, giving you more time to spend perfecting your hydrangeas.

Fountain grass is one of our favorites because it provides pretty feathered plumes that dance in the wind. Green and yellow Japanese forest grass also complement hydrangeas very nicely.

Things seem to be looking up for Hydrangeas

2016 proved to be such a disappointing year for Hydrangeas but I think things are looking up. Fingers crossed! I suppose I should not lump all hydrangeas together and give some credit where credit is due. Some Hydrangea varieties actually performed quite well last year. Most of the smooth-leaf(Annabelle) and paniculata(Limelight) Hydrangeas actually put on a nice show in spite of Mother Nature’s lack of cooperation. The Hydrangeas that struggled the most last year were the big leaf varieties/macrophylla. But we love this kind of Hydrangea! No need to stop loving them. The Endless Summer, big leaf varieties of Hydrangea are so beautiful with their pom-pom-like pinkish to bluish blooms. Macrophylla Hydrangeas got hit hard with last year’s late April frost. Shame on Mother Nature. Hydrangeas were duped by the unusually warm March weather in 2016 and thought it was their signal to grow. Then April came along and fooled everyone with her unexpected, harsh frost. Poor Big Leaf Hydrangeas, they didn’t know what hit them! Here is the good news…2017 seems to be going better for our favorite Big Leaf Hydrangeas. What can we do to make it an even better year?

Let’s begin with flower color. Macrophylla varieties of Hydrangeas are interesting because in some people’s yards, they have these showy, pink cotton candy-like flower balls. In other yards, the flowers are of the deepest blue. How is this possible, that the same type of hydrangea can be pink on one property and blue in another person’s garden? It is not because Hydrangeas have a choice, it all has to do with the pH of your soil. The sweeter the soil, the pinker the Hydrangea flower. The more sour the soil, the bluer your Hydrangea flower. It is as simple as science. If you prefer pink cotton candy over blue, add lime to your soil. Lime makes the pH more alkaline/basic, thus, in turn, making the flowers pinker. If you have a preference for blue, add sulfur to your soil. Sulfur makes the soil more acidic. It is important that you start your applications of Lime or Color Me Pink a.s.a.p. Soil Acidifier and Color Me Blue also should be applied first thing in the spring. It takes a little while to change the pH of your soil, so get going now to see the color you prefer when they bloom.

pH is not the only important part when it comes to Macrophylla Hydrangea care. They also need to eat guys! Don’t deny them the fertilizer they need to give you those showy blooms. If pink is your color, use Plant-Tone on those hydrangeas. It contains no sulfur, so the soil will not become more acidic. If you are true blue, use Holly-Tone. It has a touch of sulfur, so your soil pH will drop even lower, making flowers even bluer. Fickle flowers aren’t they?! Actually, they are pretty low maintenance. Did you know that you do not even need to prune a Hydrangea except for some simple dead-heading of the spent flower? Yes, it is true, they would rather be left alone. Be patient folks. Macrophylla Hydrangeas can be slow to show green growth on the old stems. Don’t be hasty and cut them right off in the spring. Give them some fertilizer and give them a chance to do their thing.

I love all of our Endless Summer varieties of Macrophylla Hydrangeas, from Twist n’ Shout to Bloomstruck, they are all so pretty and just make me think of New England. You might even want to have some fun this year and see if you can change some Macrophylla varieties pink and the others blue in your yard. Why not?! Go for it. While you are at it…throw some Lime around some other sweet soil-loving plants. Lilacs, Peonies, Clematis, and Tomatoes all love a little Lime. If you are in the process of changing your Hydrangeas blue, share some of the soil acidifiers with your Blueberry bushes and Potatoes. They like a little sour treat.

The bottom line is, do not stop loving and caring for the Big Leaf/Macrophylla Hydrangeas. As long as Mother Nature cooperates, they will shower you in pinks or blues. It is all up to you!

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


*Color Me Pink


*Color Me Blue

*Soil Acidifier