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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

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 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.

Your Fall Planted Bulb Questions Answered

This month we’ve covered how to plant cool-season veggies. If flowers are more your thing, then it’s time to plant spring-blooming bulbs. Favorites such as tulips, daffodils, hyacinth and alliums are planted in fall but burst forth with color in spring.

There’s nothing difficult about planting bulbs and you can plant dozens of them in just a few minutes. Here are three easy steps for planting fall bulbs.

Today, the experts at North Haven Gardens answer the top 10 most common questions about planting bulbs.

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Top 10 Burning Bulb Questions

1. When should I plant spring flowering bulbs?

Spring-flowering bulbs such as tulips and daffodils are planted September to November. They need several weeks underground to grow roots before the ground freezes.

Check your hardiness zone to be sure when the best time is to plant. Usually, Zones 1 – 4 can plant late August through late September and Zones 4 – 7 can plant mid-September through early November.

2. How far apart and how deep should I plant?

The bulb package should tell you how deep and wide to plant bulbs. If you’ve lost your package, follow the 3×3 rule. Plant bulbs three times as deep as their height and keep 3x the diameter of the bulb between plantings.

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3. Which end is up?

Bulbs with pointy ends make it easy: plant the pointed end up. Corms and tubers should have roots attached. Plant those down.

4. When should I feed my bulbs?

Bulbs do store their own food, but a little extra nutrition will help them last years. Add a sprinkle of Bulb-tone to the hole of each newly planted bulb. Come spring, sprinkle a little more Bulb-tone on top of the soil to give them an extra boost.

5. Should I water the flower bulbs after I plant them?

We call spring-flowering bulbs drought-tolerant. While they’re not exactly, you only need to water immediately after planting them.

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6. Should I mulch bulbs?

We are huge advocates of mulch as long as it’s applied correctly. In cool climates you can mulch after the soil freezes. In warm climates, Zones 8 and above, mulch after planting and watering.

7. What should I do with the leaves after the flowers have faded?

Give leaves at least 8 weeks of growing, after the flowers fade. You can cut the stem, but the foliage provides energy for next year’s blooms. This is also a good time to feed bulbs, as they’re building up reserves.

One solution is to camouflage the fading foliage. Plant perennials or cool-season annuals. They will emerge right as unsightly foliage is fading.

8. Are there any bulbs deer don’t eat?

Daffodils are the most pest free spring bulbs you can grow. Alliums, in the onion family, are also unappealing to deer. However, if they’re really hungry, they’ll eat anything.

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9. What about other pests?

There are measures you can take to keep unwanted visitors from eating your bulbs. Lay a small layer of hardware cloth or chicken wire over the top and around the sides of the new plantings. Just don’t forget to remove it come spring.

10. Will my flower bulbs come up again next year?

Flower bulbs are divided into three groups: annuals, perennials and naturalizing. Annual bulbs such as tulips produce their most beautiful display during the first year and if you’re lucky, may also emerge the following year. Perennial bulbs such as daffodils and hyacinth emerge and continue to bloom year after year. Naturalizing bulbs such as muscari, snowdrops and crocus will emerge every year and better yet, increase in number.

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

Grab Your Books for a Lesson in Gardening 101

Going back to school is equal parts nervous jitters and genuine excitement for what could be. Remember what it was like to have a new backpack, a fresh outfit that makes just the right statement and your stack of empty notebooks waiting to be filled?

It feels like anything is possible at this time of year!

Molbak’s Garden + Home is here to help teach you gardening basics. Already an experienced gardener? Now is the time brush up on your lessons.

Espoma’s Gardening School 101

1. Build a Foundation for Success. For a garden to be great, superior soil is a must! Perform a quick soil test, study the results and your garden will be A+ in no time!

soil test

2. Back to School Shopping. Examine your garden equipment to see what should stay — and what needs to go. Look for cracked handles, rust and missing or loose parts. Then, go shopping for replacements.

Plan your garden

3. Get a Whole New Look. A new school year means it’s time to reveal your new look. Do you want to be refined? Edgy? Colorful and bold? Sweet and simple? Define your garden look and do your homework — then start pinning!

Espoma Pinterest

4. Make a Plan for Success. The only way to improve this year’s performance is to analyze the successes and failures of last year’s garden. Your assignment: create a new garden plan.

plan your garden

5. Meet the Teacher. Hi! It’s a pleasure to see you! At Espoma, we’ve been teaching organic gardening practices since 1929. Comment with questions below, post them to Facebook or tweet us. We’re here to make you the best gardener you can be.

Espoma Facebook6. Sharpen Pencils. Clean and sharpen your garden tools to get them ready for the new season! You can DIY or take them to your local garden center.

Garden tools

7. Find New Friends. Follow us on Facebook and check out our posts to find gardeners who are just as passionate about organic growing as you are.

Garden Party

Patio Party photo by Proven Winners

Throw your cap (or gardening gloves) up in the air! You passed the Back to Gardening School Class! Your garden will thank you for it later!

Fall Is the Best Time for Planting

Every gardener knows it. Fall is for planting. From the cooler weather and heaps of rain to fewer pests, diseases and weeds, fall has distinct planting benefits.

Throughout the fall we will identify some of the best plants and activities to do in fall. Stay tuned for our expert tips, guest blog posts and giveaway’s.

But in the meantime, learn why planting in fall can make spring gardening much, much easier.

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6 Reasons Why Fall is the Best Time to Garden

1. Work is Easier on Plants… And You

The cooler air temperatures are easier on both plants and gardeners. Neither of you need to suffer through the intense summer heat. Yet, in fall, the soil is still warm enough for roots to thrive. They will grow and get established until the ground freezes.

2. There is More Time in Fall

There are more good days for planting in fall than in spring, when bad weather can make being outside impossible. Plus, you have more free time as a gardener than during the spring rush.

Note: The window for fall planting ends six weeks before your average hard frost, usually September or October.

3. Mother Nature Does the Watering for You

In many regions of the country, fall showers happen often. You might not ever have to water new plantings, which means less maintenance for you. However, due to the cooler temperatures, it’s a cinch to water plants if it doesn’t rain at least 1” per week.

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4. Easier Weed Control

In the fall, weed seeds are dormant, i.e., they don’t grow. So any weeds that do grow up in your flowers are easily removed when they first appear as sprouts in spring.

5. Bye-Bye Pests and Diseases

Pests and diseases are less prevalent in the fall. Most of the bugs are either dead or preparing to hibernate in fall. Plus, the humidity that promotes many diseases fades away.

6. Fall Planting Results in Earlier Blooms

Like fall-seeded lawns, fall-planted wildflower seed has a chance to “settle” into your site during the winter, and is ready to burst into growth in early spring. This is why fall-planted wildflower seed is up and in bloom about two weeks earlier than spring-planted seed.

While all of these make compelling reasons to garden in the fall, the season also means bargain time at garden centers. Check back often for the best deals.

Have a picture of your fall garden that you want to share? Drop by our Facebook page!