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Hello Sunshine – Plants that Love the Sun

While most plants need only need some sunshine throughout the day, others love being in the sun all day. Sun loving plants can fill spots where you need some life or color in the garden. Know where the sun hits the most in your garden before picking plants out and then head over to your local garden center for the best choices.

Sun Loving Plants:

1. Sunflower

As the name states, this flower was made for the sun. It screams summer the way no other flower can. Since they are native to the United States, they will grow well and easy pretty much anywhere there is sun while bringing along pollinators to help. Your climate will determine how big and tall your flowers get.

2. Black-eyed Susan

Named for their dark brown centers peeking out of the gold or bronze petals, black-eyed susan’s thrive in the sun. These daisy-like blooms are perfect for the long summer days. They tend to grow to about 2 feet tall and handle high heat and drought conditions well. Hardy in zones 3-9.

3. Catmint

This perennial is drought tolerant, and has a long flowering period through summer into fall. They can sprawl throughout the garden, which makes this a fun groundcover. It comes in a large variety of colors. It is a powerhouse in the garden and is easy to grow. Hardy in zones 3-9.

4. Peonies

Another fan favorite, peonies make the most amazing cut flowers. When growing them in a cutting garden, be sure to get them into full sun. With so much texture, color and fragrance, there is no shortage of reasons no to include them in your garden this year. Hardy in zones 3-8.

5. Dwarf Fountain Grass

Fountain grass is a perfect ground cover anytime you want to add texture to your garden.  Planting a dwarf variety will help you add texture in smaller areas. This pant does well in both dry and wet areas, so as long as you give it sun, it will do well. Hardy in zones 5-9.

6. Sedum

This is a plant that will keep on giving. Every year, sedums tend to grow bigger, so it is a perfect plant for a border or an area that needs filling. Depending on the variety it will either hug the ground or grow up to 3 feet tall. Hardy in zones 3-10.

Since these plants will be hanging out in the sun all day, be sure to keep them watered and give them a boost they deserve with Espoma Organic’s Bloom! liquid fertilizer. After planting, mix it with water and give them a good drink! See the back of the bottle for directions.

Once you’re done in the garden, try making a hanging basket for your porch.

Espoma Product Featured in this Post

Bloom! Plant Food

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nosey Rosy – Guide to a Rose Garden

Rose gardens are one of the most classic pieces you can add to your landscape. With some love and regular upkeep, they can last for years.

Roses bring beauty by either becoming the statement plant or a fine complement to focal point. You can use roses to cover up an unsightly area or introduce a new fragrance, they are incredibly diverse. Roses are offered in a large variety of colors and patterns to match anyone’s need.

When choosing the best rose for you garden, be sure to know how much sun the area gets. Check the tags on the rose plants to ensure you are picking up ones that will thrive in yard. If you aren’t sure what to choose, your local garden center can help choose for your space and your region!

Planting Tips for Rose Gardens:

  1. Plant Time. Wait until after the last frost to get your roses in the ground. Most roses want to establish roots in the spring before the weather gets too hot.
  2. Space is Key. When planting, dig a hole deep and wide enough to accommodate the roots. If you are planting more than one bush, keep at least 3 feet in between each plant. Add Bio-tone Starter Plus to promote bigger blooms.
  3. Feed Often. Give roses Espoma’s Organic Rose Tone to help keep roses vibrant and looking their best. Feed regularly as described.
  4. Watering Deep. Roses don’t do well in drought conditions as they need a good deep drink often. At least once per week water about an inch deep and evenly around the plant. It does better as the soil is even throughout. Try to get the water around the roots and not the leaves.
  5. As your roses start to bloom, be sure to keep up with the maintenance. If the blooms are looking dead, remove the spent flowers. This will give the bush extra energy to produce bigger and fuller blooms. Roses will continue to flower throughout summer, so don’t be afraid to deadhead into August.

Watch as Laura from Garden Answer plants her own roses!

Help Local Pollinators Survive the Winter

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.

You’ve probably added perennials and trees to your garden for pollinators, now add fall flowers to bring pollinators to your garden.

6 Fall Blooming Plants for Pollinators

Aster

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 in zones 4-9 and are happy in both sun and partial shade.

Goldenrod

The fall color scape isn’t complete without the goldenrod’s vibrant color. This easy-to-grow plant brings butterflies and bees to your garden. Being a native to North America, it will adapt to the climate it is set in. They grow 2-3 feet tall in zones 4-9 and are happy in sun or partial shade. Pollinator Tip: Goldenrods do well when paired with Asters.

Purpletop Vervain

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. Purpletop Vervain responds better to late fall sowing as it likes cold temperatures. They grow 2-4 feet tall in zones 7-11 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 in zones 4-9 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 a frequent visitor to this plant. It will last through the fall, until the flowers dry in the winter. They grow 2 feet tall in zones 3-9 and are happy in full sun.

Bugbane

Known for being a dramatic addition to any garden, Bugbane is popular among gardeners.  Bugbane is a host plant and source of nectar for butterflies. On top of long stalks, wispy white flower spikes bring sweet smells. Other fall colors are offered in various varieties of this plant. They grow up to 6 feet tall with 12-18 inch spikes of color in zones 3-9 and are happy with partial sun to full shade.

Be sure to keep fall blooms big and vibrant with Espoma’s Grow! Liquid Plant Food.

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.

How to Plant Hydrangeas

In the video below, Laura from Garden Answer demonstrates how to plant hydrangeas using Espoma’s Bio-tone Starter Plus and Holly-tone.

Can’t wait to learn more about hydrangeas?
Check out our Hydrangea Growing Guide


 

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.

2017 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show Walk-Through with Garden Answer

Laura from Garden Answer guides you through this walk-through of the 2017 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show, “Holland: Flowering the World.” Laura breaks down the design elements from the show so gardeners can bring the natural look of Holland gardens to their own back yards. Explore the bridges, windmills, canals and water gardens on this tour that is inspired by the Dutch New Wave Movement.

Like what you see? Check out this video to learn how to plant blooming bulbs in your own yard.

Why Fall is the Best Time to Plant Perennials

This month we’ve covered fall gardening basics, how to plant cool-season veggies and fall planted bulbs. If you’re starting to wonder what you can’t plant in the fall, the answer is almost nothing.

We’re going to help you get a head start on spring by planting perennials in the fall. Perennials, those plants that return each year, provide a low-maintenance way to have a beautiful, colorful garden. Your garden will take on a life of its own as the perennials continue to expand year after year.

Perennials, those plants that return each year, provide a low-maintenance way to have a beautiful, colorful garden.

While fall is for planting, Al’s Garden Center still has a few tricks that will ensure your plants look their best in that first season.

Plant Fall Perennials in 8 Steps

  1. Start by preparing the soil. Dig out rocks, weeds and other debris.
  2. Dig a hole deep enough for the root ball and twice as wide.
  3. Gently remove plant from pot and gently loosen roots.
  4. Mix in 3 inches of compost or other organic matter.
  5. Remove the plant from its pot and loosen roots before planting. Place plant in hole and backfill the hole with a good quality garden soil.
  6. Water immediately. Cover the planting area with a natural mulch of bark or straw. Mulch keeps soil moist and protects new roots from freezing.
  7. Finish by adding an organic plant food such as Espoma’s Start!
  8. Water at least 1 inch per week until the ground freezes. This keeps roots growing and helps plants get established before winter dormancy.

Fall Perennial Plant Picks

  1. Choose perennials that add color to your garden in early spring such as hellebore and astilbe.
  2. Plant or transplant spring-blooming power-house shrubs such as rhododendrons and azaleas.Perennials, those plants that return each year, provide a low-maintenance way to have a beautiful, colorful garden.
  3. Choose pollinator friendly plants such as phlox, coneflower and aster. You can plant, divide or transplant.
  4. Divide and replant hostas and daylilies. Learn more about dividing perennials.
  5. Peonies should always be planted or transplanted in the fall. Plant 2 inches above the root ball.
  6. Plant and transplant irises, Asiatic and Oriental lilies.

Have a question we didn’t answer? Visit our Facebook page and ask us!

Al’s Garden Center is a third generation owned and operated local family business.  Established in Woodburn, OR in 1948, Al’s is now the largest full-service independent garden center in the Willamette Valley.  Through its three retail stores, Al’s provides an extensive selection of plants, plant care essentials, garden accessories, outdoor furniture and home décor.