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VIDEO: Buzzing with Joy Over Summer Rayne Oakes’ Pollination Garden.

Variety is the key to pollination, and Summer Rayne Oakes has it down tenfold with over 160 species of plants in her garden at Flock Finger Lakes. Want to know what really makes it buzz? Espoma Organic Bio-tone Starter Plus, of course!

Learn more about Flock Finger Lakes here:

Website: homesteadbrooklyn.com

Instagram – @homesteadbrooklyn

YouTube – Summer Rayne Oakes

Twitter – @sroakes

Facebook – Summer Rayne Oakes

 

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Beginners Guide to Growing Cut Flowers

Beginners Guide to Growing Cut Flowers

Growing flowers in your garden can be as appealing as growing food, because not only are flowers beautiful, but they’re pollinator magnets. Let’s get into the basics of growing cut flowers. 

This blog is inspired by Episode 128 of Bloom and Grow Radio Podcast, where host Maria Failla interviewed Brooklyn Sherri, owner of Petal and Herb Farm.

Why Are Seed Packets Important? 

Seed packets can be crucial in helping you understand all the components that go into growing your cut flower garden. They provide information on when to plant, how long until germination, plant description, growing habits, how deep the seed should be planted, and helpful details on growth and harvesting. Make sure you do your homework on the seed company of your choosing to make sure they fit your needs. 

What Is My Growing Zone? 

Your growing zone helps you determine how long your frost-free growing season is. If you’re in the U.S., you can find your USDA plant hardiness zone by entering your zip code. 

Once you find your hardiness zone, you can also search for the last frost date in your zip code. Your first and last frost dates will show you how many frost-free growing days you have in a season. This can help you figure out when to plant each of your cut flower varieties. 

What Growing Conditions Do Flowers Need? 

Most flowers prefer well-draining soil. If you’re starting with clay soil that tends to hold water, you want to amend it with compost or peat moss to provide more drainage. Additionally, you can mix in bagged garden soil, like Espoma’s Vegetable & Flower Garden Soil to add structure and drainage. 

Sun needs will also vary by flower, but a general rule is 6 hours of direct sun for flowers. Whether you’re direct sowing seeds outdoors or transplanting plants, make sure each variety is in a location with enough sun. 

Water requirements for annual flowers may be higher during Summer months, but in general, deep, infrequent watering is best. About one inch of water per week is enough. 

Fertilizing requirements will depend on the specific flower you’re growing. If you notice foliage yellowing, it can often mean your plant is low in nitrogen. Or if you have lots of green foliage but no blooms, that could indicate you have a phosphorous problem. Try Espoma’s Flower-Tone Fertilizer to get large, healthy blooms. 

 

Now that you know basic care for growing cut flowers, check out our list of the 7 best flowers to grow from seed as a beginner

1) Sunflowers

Sunflowers are some of the easiest annual flowers to grow from seed. You can directly sow them outdoors in full sun with minimal effort. They come in so many sizes and colors too! 

2) Zinnias

Zinnias are another easy annual flower to grow from seed in full sun. They only take about 60-70 days to bloom from seed, and there are tons of varieties like double flowered, dwarfs, cactus, and giant zinnias. They also come in a wide range of stunning colors! 

3) Daisies

Unlike sunflowers and zinnias, daisies are a perennial flower that will come back year after year. You can start them from seed outdoors as long as you keep them moist for up to twenty days. Otherwise, they grow great from transplants and continue to spread every year. They come in whites, yellows, pinks, and reds.

4) Sweet Peas

Sweet peas are an annual flower that can deal with cooler temperatures. Plant them in very early Spring and you’ll have beautiful pastel bouquets in a couple of months. Since they are vining plants, give them something to climb like a trellis.

5) Snapdragons

While snapdragons will need to be started from seed indoors 2-3 months before your last frost, the payoff in blooms will be worth it. Pay attention to the seed packet for best germination methods. The more you cut snapdragon blooms and create branching, the more blooms you’ll get. And snapdragons come in so many different colors that you’ll be creating gorgeous bouquets for weeks! 

6) Cosmos

Cosmos are another easy-to-grow annual that produce tons of Summer blooms. They come in a variety of heights and colors, and their long, slender stems make for an easy addition to any cut flower bouquet.

7) Strawflower

And finally we have the humble, yet unmistakable strawflower. This annual is another easy-to-grow flower from seed that can handle any soil quality you have. Its textured petals feel similar to straw and make gorgeous cut or dried flower bouquets. 

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To give your cut flowers a healthy start, try using Espoma’s Flower-Tone Fertilizer during the growing season for larger, more abundant blooms. 

About Bloom & Grow Radio Podcast

 Bloom & Grow Radio Podcast helps people care for plants successfully and cultivate more joy in their lives. Host Maria Failla, a former plant killer turned happy plant lady, interviews experts on various aspects of plant care, and encourages listeners to not only care for plants, but learn to care for themselves along the way.

About Our Interviewee

Brooklyn Sherri is a flower farmer with many skills. She runs her own flower farm, Petal & Herb, where they produce flowers, vegetables, berries, herbs, and microgreens all on 5 acres of land in Colorado. Brooklyn also hosts Ya Grandma’s Garden & Houseplants on Clubhouse and teaches horticulture at The Cool Choice to improve the opportunities for children and families in her neighborhood. 

​​Follow Brooklyn:

Instagram

Petal and Herb Farm

Ya Grandma’s Garden & Houseplants on Clubhouse

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VIDEO: Daylilies for Days with Garden Answer!

Garden Answer’s daylilies certainly brightened our day! Add in some Espoma Organic Bio-Tone Starter Plus and you’ll have every variety blooming and brightening your day in no time too.

 

 

Learn more about Garden Answer here:

https://www.youtube.com/c/gardenanswer 

https://www.gardenanswer.com/

https://www.facebook.com/gardenanswer

https://www.instagram.com/gardenanswer/

 

 

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VIDEO: Perennial Planting with Garden Answer!

It’s a beautiful day for planting some beautiful perennials! Take it from Garden Answer: a little bit of Espoma Organic Bio-tone Starter Plus goes a long way in getting them off to a great start.

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Kaleb Wyse: My Annual Plant Haul

Kaleb Wyse, an enthusiastic fourth-generation Iowan gardener, made Wyse Guide as an outlet for his passions in gardening and cooking. This Spring, he’s sharing with us his seasonal plant haul, complete with colorful foliage, fun ferns, and cute succulents. You can watch the full video below:

 

To start off with, Kaleb picked out some of his go-to annuals to fill in his yard with foliage. He grabbed some Helichrysum plants, a Limelight variety, which he thinks will pair beautifully with the yellow stripes of his Americana Agave. Kaleb also brought home some Purple Lady, Amethyst Falls (an ornamental oregano), and Variegated Lemon.

Kaleb was also excited to fill up his hanging pots with greenery. He had a problem, though. He loves the look of hanging ferns, but with a west-facing porch, he was concerned about sunlight. Luckily, over the years, he’s learned that Kimberly Queen Ferns thrive in full sun. He took a few of those and added some fun succulents around them, like String of Pearls and Senacios. Kaleb also made sure there was plenty of room for the plants to grow, so the baskets still look great when July comes around.

Before adding in his fun plants, though, Kaleb needed to make sure his greenery had all the right nutrients. He started by pouring some Espoma Organic Potting Mix into his hanging containers. This soil is great because it is so versatile and can be used on all indoor and outdoor container plants. Kaleb also added in a bit of Espoma Organic Garden-Tone. While Kimberly Queens don’t need a lot of food, it’s great to add just a little extra nutrients to help them thrive.

Kaleb ended with some words of wisdom for fellow gardeners: “Guess what, it’s not as hard as it looks. We make mistakes, things die, things grow. In the end it just makes us happy, and that’s what matters.” Stay tuned for more tips from Kaleb on Wyse Guide and right here on our own blog!

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Video: Reusing Summer Pots for Fall Plants with Garden Answer!

 

Follow along as Laura from @GardenAnswer gives her outdoor plants a fall makeover. Reusing pots for your fall garden is quick and easy with the help of Espoma Organic Potting Mix!

 

 

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Walk Down the Aisle with These Wildflowers in Your Bouquet

It’s wedding season! Whether you’re having a dreamy, late summer wedding or a rustic, autumn wedding, wildflower bouquets can match almost any color palette and theme. You can even grow your bouquet in your own backyard with the right timing and resources. Here are a few suggestions as well as tips and tricks to have beautiful blooms on your big day!

Zinnias

If you’re new to gardening, zinnias could be a great place to start! They are one of the easiest wildflowers to grow and bloom from late spring until the first frost, which is sometime in the fall, depending on where you live. They also grow in a variety of bright colors, so you have a large palette to choose from. Make sure to grow them in full sun!

Daisies

If you want flowers as white as your dress, daisies are perfect. For extra vibrant white petals, use Flower-tone. Daisies are a convenient option if you’re short on space in your garden, as they grow about 1–3 feet tall. They typically bloom in full sunlight from late spring to early fall.

Baby’s Breath

Baby’s breath is the perfect flower to fill the spaces between larger blooms in your bouquet. They’re low maintenance, deer resistant, and have an extended bloom time of four weeks. Grow in full sun.

Sunflowers

Who doesn’t love sunflowers? Single-stem varieties will grow quickly and produce one stem per plant. The classic golden sunflowers can add a beautiful pop of color to your bouquet, but if you’re looking for something a little more unique, try growing Lemon Queen sunflowers, which have more of a lemon shade of yellow than the typical golden variety. For the biggest, brightest blooms, feed your sunflowers Espoma’s Bio-tone Starter Plus and grow in full fun or half shade.

 

Cutting

Once your wildflowers are in bloom, cut the stems. It’s best to do this in the early morning or in the late evening so that the sun and heat do not wilt the flowers. Foliage placed in water may grow bacteria that will kill the flowers prematurely. You can prevent this by stripping the foliage from the bottom of the stem gently using your hands or scissors.

A bouquet of wildflowers makes a beautiful addition to your wedding, but if bulbs are a better fit for you, check out these tips from Laura from Garden Answer!

 

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Video: Planting 2022 Recipes with Garden Answer

Follow along as Laura from @Garden Answer plants the Proven Winners 2022 Recipes of the Year using tried-and-true Espoma products!

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Meet the Team: Q&A with Bonnie Satterthwaite

Here at Espoma, our products are only as great as the team behind them. That’s why we’re excited to begin our Q&A series where you’ll get to learn a bit more about the talented folks behind the brand. We want you to see for yourself just how our company is comprised of hard-working people who genuinely care about our customers and everything plant- and garden-related!

First up is our Southeast Territory Sales Manager, Bonnie Satterthwaite. Bonnie has been with us for 14 years! We’d love to tell you about all her and the amazing things she has done for Espoma over the years, but we figured it would be best to hear it straight from the source. So, we sat down with Bonnie and let her put it in her own words.

Q: What’s your favorite part of your job?

A: Developing relationships and often becoming friends with our customers. And, of course, the opportunity to visit all of the fabulous garden centers in my area.

Q: What about your personal life? Any new hobbies helping to pass the time? 

A: I purchased a rowing machine, but have yet to leave the dock…

Q: Tell us about your personal garden, yard, or plants. 

A: I truly love gardening, and I know that passion resonates with my dealers. I maintain a floral cutting garden, a white/night garden, over 150 hydrangeas, and a hydrangea graveyard.

 

Q: What is your top gardening tip? 

A: Never think you are finally finished and get rid of non-performers!

Q: What’s one Espoma product you couldn’t live without?

A: Without hesitation, BioTone Starter Plus. I do not plant without it. I have seen what it does for plants and transplants. I have seen unsolicited “with and without” trials by garden centers who use the “trust and verify” model. It is an amazing product. I am proud to recommend all of the Espoma line, because of our dedication to quality, the environment, and the safety of children and pets.

Q: What is your favorite aspect of gardening?

A: My favorite aspect is certainly the seasonal outdoor garden beds — just tending the garden beds and the joy of watching things flourish. There comes, for me, great satisfaction from the hard work — and I find the whole process relaxing.  I love a morning and late evening stroll around the garden.

Q: What made you want to enter the gardening industry? 

A: I was a stay-at-home mom and my sister was a grower for a local garden center. She asked me to come and help her plant 10,000 geraniums during school hours. The owner of both the growing operation and garden center told me I talked too much to be in the greenhouse and asked if I would come to his garden shop during the busy season and talk to customers. And there you go….

Q: Tell us what made you want to work at Espoma and what makes it a special place to work?

A: I met Jeremy Brunner on a garden center bus tour and, unbeknownst to me, my Espoma adventure was about to start. I was very happy at my previous job, but Jeremy’s passion and vision for the growth of the Espoma company was something that was missing from my previous job. I wanted to be a part of something that I could see and feel was going to be spectacular. Espoma cares just as deeply for their work family as they do for their products. So, for me, there was just no question on where I wanted to continue my career.

We were so fortunate to have Bonnie join us when she did — and we hope to keep her around for as long as possible! At Espoma, we definitely pride ourselves on being able to congregate hard-working employees who genuinely enjoy the gardening industry the same way our loyal customers do. Thanks for all you do, Bonnie!

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