We have all heard the phrase ‘April Showers bring May Flowers’ but it turns out there are few things we need to do to freshen up our gardens. April is the perfect time for spring clean-up! Starting with simple raking and going for a clean slate in the garden, prune any broken branches, and fix any uneven ground by adding Van Wilgen’s Topsoil or Compost. Next is the all-important new layer of mulch. Mulching is the perfect way to get your garden off to a great start. Not only does it help settle in the roots, but it will provide warmth, hold in moisture, suppress weeds, encourage growth, and make your beds look all around beautiful.
We understand that everyone has their own style when it comes to mulch. Whether it’s the classic look of Black Mulch or Van Wilgen’s favorite Pine Bark Mulch we have one that’s just right for your landscape. Probably the biggest question we get is “how much mulch do I need?”, no problem, visit VANWILGENS.COM click on the mulch tab and we have a handy mulch calculator. Pop in the dimensions of your bed and how thick you would like it and we do the work for you! Would you rather have your mulch delivered? We just made that a little easier for you, you can also order mulch online and schedule delivery right to your home. Easy peasy!
Not quite sure what you are looking for and need a visual to get your creative juices flowing? Our North Branford store has several display gardens for you to walk through, sometimes seeing it in person is just what you need for inspiration. We hope to see you soon!
Jason Scire, Nursery Manager
Let’s face facts- there are way too many great ornamental grasses to hope to limit yourself to one type. Panicum, bluestems, miscanthus, Pennisetum- the list goes on and on. But after you’ve gone crazy and put sixteen of every type in your yard, how the heck do you tell them apart? It’s actually easier than you’d think.
Pennisetum, or the fountain grasses, have a classic, bottlebrush seed head that almost looks like a rabbit’s foot or pipe cleaner. As an added bonus, these will produce a seed head earlier than any other large growing ornamental grass.
Panicum, or switchgrass, is one of our native grasses. Its seed head is airy, loose, and almost transparent until you’re close by. Fun fact- One of the most popular varieties, Ruby Ribbons, was bred at UConn and features a great mix of purple and green colors to the grass.
Bluestems fall into two pretty self-explanatory categories- the dwarf little bluestem and the larger growing big bluestem. Both produce a long, wiry seed head that opens sporadically down the line while having the added benefit of being one of the only grasses to have vibrant purple to red fall color after the first frost.
Miscanthus, or maiden grasses, are often referred to as Zebra grasses, as many cultivars have a distinctive yellow stripe either horizontally or vertically along the grass. The seed heads have a braided texture and bright golden color that sways in the wind.
Muhly grass is the most unique of the bunch. Our current favorite, “Fast Forward,” has bright pink seed heads, but any and all varieties will produce a unique seed head that resembles a thick cloud of smoke and holds onto morning dew to create a shimmering show at sunup every day.
October has arrived and with it comes fall flavors. Pumpkin spice pops up practically wherever you go. And there’s nothing like a freshly picked apple or glass of apple cider.
Pollinators know it‘s fall too and they could use some help from your garden. This time of year is known as nectar flow, where many major nectar sources are blooming. They want their own fall fixes as they prepare to hibernate or migrate.
5 Fall Blooming Plants for Pollinators
All kinds of pollinators are attracted to this fall-blooming plant — bees, butterflies, native birds, and other insects. This double-duty plant will bring vibrant colors to your garden while providing nectar from summer into late fall. Asters are appealing to pollinators due to their friendly flower structure. They grow 2-3 feet tall and are happy in both sun and partial shade.
The fall color scape isn’t complete without the echinacea’s vibrant color. This easy-to-grow plant brings butterflies and bees to your garden. It grows well in full sun to part sun and blooms continually through the summer months. It is also deer resistant making it a great choice if you are challenged with deer problems.
Bring the fall colors to your garden with this deep purple plant. The flowers cluster at the top of a long slender stem, which butterflies and bees adore. Verbena responds better to late fall sowing as it likes cold temperatures. They grow 2-4 feet tall and are happy in full sun.
Joe Pye Weed
Joe Pye Weed is perfect for gardeners looking to add some height. It may be called a weed, but it brings the classic fall mauve to play with large dinner plate-sized blooms. They are loved by butterflies and will bloom late summer into the fall. They can grow up to 5 feet tall and are happy in full sun.
Autumn Joy Sedum
If you know the classic sedum for the large pink blooms, you will be in for a surprise with Autumn Joy. This variety offers burnt red blossoms on top of tall gray-green stalks. The vibrant fall color complements your garden this season. Butterflies are frequent visitors to this plant. It will last through the fall until the flowers dry in the winter. They grow 2 feet tall and are happy in full sun.
Be sure to keep fall blooms big and vibrant!