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Hellebore Care Guide

These long-blooming, low-maintenance flowers really brighten up winter landscapes. Laura from Garden Answer shows how to care for winter hellebores using Espoma’s liquid fertilizers.

 

 

Fragrance of Fall – Plant Something Sweet

As autumn nears, we’re dreaming of cooler weather, cozy sweaters and pumpkin everything.

The flavors and aromas of autumn float around the air and it is full of bliss.

As the trees change color and the pumpkins begin taking shape, step outside to experience this bliss and the crispness of the air.

Fill your garden with these sweet smelling plants to keep the fragrance of fall floating around your garden all season. Make sure you fertilize with Espoma’s Liquid Bloom! Plant Food to maximize the fragrance.

Chrysanthemum

Add some classic beauty to your garden with a simple Chrysanthemum. Some varieties have an earthy, herb-like smell. It blooms with many varieties, so choosing what color you desire adds to the value. The classic mum will get you in the autumn spirit in no time. Plant in full sun in zones 3-9 and feed regularly with Espoma’s liquid Bloom! for gorgeous flowers.

Katsura

As the leaves of this tree turn to gold, orange or red, the brown sugar scent closely follows. This multi-hued tree has all of the redeeming fall qualities. Known for its shade protection, katsura is a great addition to your garden. The sweet fragrance can be enjoyed from a considerable distance. It is perfect to get you into the autumn feel. Plant in full to partial sun in zones 4-9 and use Bio-tone Starter Plus when planting to help katsura establish roots.

Flowering Tobacco Plant

Best for filling gaps in your garden, this tall fragrant beauty will keep you enjoying its white tubular flowers all autumn long. Known as a night plant, the terrific smell of jasmine is found most powerful at dusk. They are wonderful at attracting hummingbirds. Plant in full to partial sun in Zones 10-11 and feed regularly with Plant-tone to ensure superior growth.

Chaste Tree

This shrub releases refreshing fragrances of sage. And with its light blue flowers on a wooded stem, it’s a great addition to a cut flower fall bouquet. Plant in full sun in zones 6-9 and feed regularly with Tree-tone for strong roots and trunk.

Fragrant Angel Coneflower

Mix and match colorful coneflowers, just be sure to include the fragrant angel. The large sweetly scented flowers are made up of two rows of white petals surround a greenish, orange cone. They tend to smell of vanilla which is wonderful wafting through the air in autumn. Plant in full sun in zones 4-9 and feed regularly with Espoma’s liquid Bloom! for gorgeous flowers.

Tea Olive

Known as the “false holly,” tea olives grow into dense evergreen shrubs or trees and have leaves that look like holly. Their flowers commonly come in white, but can surprise you with yellow or orange blooms. The apricot fragrance from these shrubs will make you happy you welcomed them into your garden! Plant in full to sun in zones 7-10 and feed regularly with Holly-tone to provide essential nutrients.

 

Stuck on what else to plant this fall? Learn how to plant the perfect tree this season to enjoy for generations to come!

Fall Flower Child – Add Bloom power to your garden

As summer comes to an end, rustic autumn colors sweep in as the season’s vibrant blooms begin to fade.

This year, fall is going to be hot, so keep your hand shovels at the ready. Fall Flower Power is ready to kick some blooms into your garden.

Find where you need to include some fresh new flowering plants. Utilize plants with late bloom times and continue to feed regularly with Espoma’s Bloom! to ensure your flowers are reaching maximum potential.

5 Flower Powered Plants to put on a Show:

Garden Mums

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. Perennials will last through the winter and will bloom again next year. Plant in full sun in Zones 3-9. Grows 18 inches tall.

Celosia

Celosia bring 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.

Aster

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 in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 4-8. Grows 5 inches tall.

Pansies

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.

Sweet Autumn Clematis

This queen of climbers is a great vine to add into your garden. Known as the Sweet Autumn Clematis, the Clematis terniflora, blooms well even in the shade. It has masses of white blooms and a strong fragrance to enjoy. They bloom in late summer and into autumn.  Plant in partial to full sun. Can climb up to 20 feet.

Stuck on what else to do for your garden this fall? Check out our Fall Garden Checklist to get you in the right direction!

Timeless florals will never go out of style

Spending time in your grandmother’s garden is a lovely memory: The big luscious blooms, the scents and peacefulness radiating off the flowers, watching your grandmother putter around always adjusting something. You never wanted to leave.

You can bring your grandmother’s garden to your home. Plus, gardening is good for your own wellness. Try planting our favorite timeless flowers in your own garden and, fertilize with Espoma’s Flower- Tone to ensure your blooms stay luxurious.

Top 10 Timeless Flowers

1. Sweet Pea – Our first pick in the timeless flowers category due to their old-fashioned fragrance. They are a delicate flower with a diversity of color. Generation after generation has introduced this flower to their garden. It is a climbing plant, so keep a trellis or a wall to allow it to reach its full potential.

2. Primrose – With over 400 varieties of Primrose in the world, this flower has withstood the test of time. Typically pale yellow in color, with varieties including white or pink, many people are fond of this plant. It’s one of the first perennials to bloom and can flower into winter as a low growing flower.

3. Heliotrope – It’s sweet vanilla and almond fragrance makes this flower a lovely addition to any garden. It even dates back to the Victorian era. Often used as a border plant, this bloom will make your garden timeless. Heliotropes do well in container gardens too.

4. Four o’clocks – Featured in the 1876 St. Louis seed catalog, this flower is incredibly popular thanks to its jasmine-like scent. It is described as a favorite, combining the beauty of foliage, the wonderful bloom, a diversity of colors, and delightful fragrance. They are a self-sowing plant, so monitor the seed pods to control spreading.

5. Foxgloves – With name variations that date back to 1847, foxgloves can be a perfect fit for your garden. The bell shaped flower provides a variety of color and freckles on the inside. Foxgloves are a biennial, so flowers don’t show up until the second year in the ground. They are self-sowers, so if you leave the stalks in, they will continue to bloom year after year.

6. Morning Glory – Being a climber, this vining flower will grow well by a trellis, fence, or a leaning ladder to add some beauty to anything. When choosing your variety, be sure to choose Ipomea tricolor, which is non-invasive. Other more popular morning glories are invasive and can cause problems in your garden.

7. Poppies – Starting off as a common weed, poppies gained their popularity over time. They became a symbol through World War I and have stuck around since. They are beautiful swaying in the wind with their vibrant colors. Many are self-sowers, so plant them once and watch them come back for years.

8. Peony – Peonies have been around for hundreds of years. They are able to survive with minimal effort for the gardener, but draw “oohs” and “ahhs” due to their big beautiful blooms. Gardeners have hundreds of hybrids to choose from for their own garden. They release an abundant fragrance and are perfect for adding some color to a bouquet.

9. Bleeding Heart – Known as a classic cottage staple, the bleeding heart has captured many gardeners’ love. Their romantic blooms develop quickly in late spring and are long lasting through the summer. It’s easy to see why their floral pendants, in shades of rose pink and white, are considered timeless. You can never go wrong with a bit of romance.

10. Hollyhock – Often seen in front of a barn, cottage or white fence, hollyhocks are perfect for bringing some beauty to a bland canvas. They have big blossoms in vibrant colors and will grow five to seven feet tall. They are perfect for the back of a border or by itself, to not overwhelm the surrounding blooms. Plan accordingly as some varieties are perennials and others are biennials.

 

Ready to try something new? Use Espoma’s liquid Bloom! plant food to give your favorite flowers the nutrients they need and to promote bigger blooms.

Nature Never Goes Out of Style – Transition into a Fall Cutting Garden

Seeing all of your hard work and tiny seedlings bloom into amazing plants full of color is the best part about gardening. It’s easy to bring the essence of the outdoors inside. All you need is a cutting garden.

Choose blooms that will make you happy, even if they don’t look particularly pleasing next to each other in the garden. This is your place to be creative and make amazing floral bouquets to brighten your indoor spaces.

Top Autumn Plants for Cutting Gardens

Autumn brings a change of color. This list shows off vibrant fall plants that will keep your bouquets fresh and on trend.

1. Goldenrod

This filler adds a bright pop of color to any arrangement. The mustard yellow flower can vary from short, packed blooms to long, spacious blooms. Goldenrods require minimal care and can grow almost anywhere.

2. Blue Mist Spirea

A reliable performer, blue mist spireas are the perfect addition to any fall cutting garden. Use individual stems or entire branches of this purple-blue flower. Blue mist spirea will grow about 2’ to 3’ tall and wide with 1” clusters of flowers.

3. Sunflower

Since sunflowers come in a variety of colors, keep autumn tones in mind. Seeds are easily germinated and will bloom within 60 days after germination. Pollen-free sunflowers are best for bouquets.

Where to Start:

1. Choose Your Site

Scope out an open, well-drained, sunny spot for your cutting plants. The size of the space depends on how many plants you want to grow. Don’t think you have space? Plant cutting flowers between your vegetables rows. Or add them to containers on your patio or balcony!

2. Plan Your Plants

Check plant tags to see if your site meets the requirements for sun exposure and growing conditions. Be sure to keep the layout of the garden in mind. Leave spaces between the rows to make cutting and collecting easier. Plants that are the same height work better together— for you and the plant.

3. Prepare the Ground

Make sure your soil is clear of any debris and weeds – you don’t want your flowers competing with anything else. Work in several scoops of Espoma’s Bio-Tone Starter Plus in to the soil, to give your plants a good head start.

4. Planting Your Garden

Planting with seeds or seedlings are both great options for this garden. They are planted an inch into loose soil. Fertilize regularly with Espoma’s Liquid Bloom! Plant Food for the best results. Make sure to water flowers at least weekly.

As your plants start to bloom, keep cutting. The more you cut the more flowers you will get! It’s as easy as that.

Looking for more inspiration? Learn how to plant this easy fall flower container with Laura from Garden Answer.

5 Ways to Give Your Summer Garden a Boost

There’s no better way to enjoy your garden than by encouraging it to grow bigger and better. Before your summer veggies and flowers peak, take your garden to the next-level by refueling it.

Knock-out these 5 essential tasks and your garden will thank you. You’ll extend your summer season and ensure that your lawn and garden are in tip-top shape.

 

5 Ways to Give Your Summer Garden a Boost

1. Hydrate. When it’s hot, dry and muggy, the best thing is a nice cold drink. Your plants need some H2O, too. The trick to keeping your garden hydrated during the hottest days is not to water more. It’s to water smarter. Water plants deeply in the morning so they have the entire day to soak it up.

Image courtesy of Garden Answer

2. Keep plants fed. Your summer veggies and flowers are hungry. Feed hanging baskets, container gardens and annuals with liquid Bloom! plant food every 2 to 4 weeks. Vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers are heavy feeders. Continue to feed every 2 weeks with organic fertilizers Tomato-tone or Garden-tone.

3. Prune and deadhead. Extend the life of perennials by deadheading flowers as soon as they are spent. This will encourage plants to keep blooming as long as weather permits. Your roses will thank you. Prune tomato suckers and shrubs now, for fuller plants later.

4. Mow lawns strategically. When mowing, keep the mower blades high (3” or higher) to encourage healthy roots. Cut grass in the evening to give it time to recover and keep yourself cool.

5. Plant more! There are many quickly maturing plants that will thrive in summer gardens and be ready for harvest in the fall. Try planting radishes, cucumbers, beans and more.

Sit back and relax! Take a good look at your hard work and dream about the rewards and bountiful harvests you’ll enjoy in the months to come.

If you’re looking to get a better tomato harvest this summer, be sure to check out our complete tomato guide!

Plant Perennials for Easy Curb Appeal

Summer is a great time to spruce things up, giving you the chance to make your home feel warm and welcoming.

If you want to add curb appeal or if your yard just seems a bit bare, plant perennials that will come back year after year. Look for them in many different colors, heights, and forms.

Before planting, evaluate your space for the amount of sun and shade it gets. Check to make sure the perennials you’re selecting will thrive in your space.

Here are our top six picks for the prettiest perennials.

The Best Perennials For Summer Curb Appeal:

1. Hydrangeas. There are endless options of these bright bloomers to choose from. Pick a spot where hydrangeas will get afternoon sun and be sure to water daily. For bright blue hydrangeas, you’ll need to perfect the soil’s pH level. Use Espoma’s Soil Acidifier for best results. Zones 4-9.

2. Black-eyed Susan. Black-eyed Susan blooms from midsummer to fall and always makes a strong comeback in spring. This vigorous bloomer is also a favorite of pollinators. These flowers grow best in full sun, but will tolerate partial sun as well. Zones 3-9.

3. Aster. The lovely pink or lavender blooms attract a wide range of late-season butterflies and beneficial insects. Position purple asters against a white picket fence or light colored background for a look that pops. Zone 4-8.

4. Daylillies. Daylilies are just as hardy as they are colorful. Blooming from early spring to late summer, these perennials make the perfect border or road-side addition. Since soil near roads and walkways tends to be in need of a boost, make sure to plant with Espoma’s liquid Start! plant food.

5. Hostas. Choose Hostas for their never-ending display of colorful summer foliage. You’ll find these perennials at your local garden center in a wide variety of colors, shapes and patterns. Plant under trees, near shrubs, or near your home. Hostas prefer shade, but some varieties do well in sun. Zones 3-9.

6. Sedum. One of the most dependable perennials you can grow, varieties of sedum will quickly establish themselves in any sunny spot. These creeping ground covers and low-maintenance plants will also attract pollinators. Zones 3-9.

Once you’ve chosen your perennials, all that’s left to do is plant. To get your best perennials yet, use Espoma’s new liquid Bloom! plant food.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perk Up Summer Containers with Stunning Annuals

Give yards and patios a boost by adding containers full of summer flowers to your landscape. Revitalize your summer landscape by pulling together your yard with the addition of easy and inexpensive annuals.

Annuals instantly transform the look of a space from year to year or month to month. Choose from a variety of colors and forms that complement your exterior, your patio or even your pool area. The options are endless.

A good-looking container will set your yard apart from your neighbors. To start, choose your containers and make sure they have proper drainage holes. Check plant tags for the mature size and plan to plant accordingly.

5 Tips for Using Annuals in Containers this Summer:

  1. Add pebbles or rocks to the bottom of your container to keep dirt from escaping and use Espoma’s potting mix to keep plants healthy.
  2. Select annuals in a single color and variety repeat throughout containers in different parts of your yard. Try planting bright, purple petunias near your entrance or mailbox. Add more in containers on your front steps and finish with a pop of color in a hanging basket.
  3. Pair annuals with matching colors and like-forms. Plant purple geraniums with yellow daisies, or orange snapdragons with an edging of blueish lobelia.
  4. Stick with one color and choose an assortment of different annuals to create a monochromatic scheme.
  5. For best results, feed annuals in containers regularly with Espoma’s liquid Bloom! plant food.

Looking to expand your container garden? Learn how to plant fruits and veggies in containers.

3 Ways to Celebrate National Pollinator Week

National Pollinator Week is a time to give bees, birds, and bats a little recognition. Pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, play a big part in getting our gardens to grow. Honeybees 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.

This week, we’re helping to educate people on the purposes these pollinators serve. Keep reading for three ways to celebrate pollinators in your garden.

1. Plant a Pollinator-friendly Garden

To keep your garden beautiful, you can attract pollinators by planting 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. Follow this simple formula. Plant tall flowers 18-20” apart, medium flowers 12” apart and short flowers 8-10” apart and then use Espoma’s Bloom! liquid plant food regularly for a boost.

Pollinators especially love these flowering plants:

  • Allium
  • Alyssum
  • Basil
  • Bee balm
  • Bergamot
  • Cosmos
  • Geranium
  • Globe thistle
  • Goldenrod
  • Helianthus
  • Lavender
  • Mint
  • Poppy
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Sunflower
  • Thyme
  • Verbena
  • Wild rose
  • Zinnia

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. DIY or purchase a bee hotel at your local independent garden center to encourage pollinators to check-in to your garden.

3. Increase Feather Pollinator Population

Insects aren’t the only pollinators around town. Hummingbirds are also great pollinators. Build a Hummingbird feeder in your yard to encourage our furry friends to stop by. Ask kids to help building a feeder that will attract these polite birds. The plants that are pollinated by Hummingbirds tend to produce more nectar than plants pollinated by insects, so penciling in some time to create a feeder will pay off in the long run.

Want to do more? Like Espoma and The Pollinator Partnership on Facebook and follow along for more tips!

Fall Gardening Checklist

September marks the turn of a new leaf. The hot summer weather is fizzling out in favor of cool, crisp fall breezes, prompting bonfires, football games and pumpkin everything.

For gardeners, fall can be one of the busiest seasons. Often, gardeners juggle wrapping up their summer harvests with the responsibilities of preparing for the coming seasons.

With this to-do list from Homestead Gardens, you’ll be ready to fall in love with fall; and with some extra preparation, you’ll be better prepared for winter and spring, too!

organic vegetable gardening, edible schoolyard project, top reasons to start a garden

7 Things To Do in the Garden This Fall  

1. Deadhead to get Ahead. Freshen up flowerbeds by deadheading and removing plants that have stopped blooming. Do maintenance in the morning before the weather gets too hot.

2. Don’t stop Planting. After you’ve harvested your remaining summer veggies, you can plant fall crops and begin transplants!

3. Serve… or Preserve. Have more vegetables and herbs than you know how to handle? Preserve your harvest. Experiment with making jams or pickles, and try freezing raw fruit, veggies or herbs. Make sauce out of your tomatoes, or slow-roast them.

4. Flower Power. Keep your annual flowers blooming as long as possible! The key to success? Use Espoma new Bloom! liquid fertilizer.

5. Watch out for Winter! Start winterizing your garden’s watering system. Keep an eye out for the first few frosts of the season, and cover plants when necessary. Gradually transition your summer houseplants back indoors.

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6. Divide and Conquer. Divide and split your perennials, dig and store tender bulbs like dahlias and caladiums, and start planting spring flowering bulbs.

7. Red, Dead Ahead! Are your tomato plants lacking fruit? Producing dull leaves? Sprinkle some Tomato-tone to give them a final boost.

With these tips, your fall landscape will be looking better than ever. Have a picture of your fall garden that you want to share? Drop by our Facebook page!