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Gardening Resolutions with Team Espoma

Here at Espoma, we’re constantly making plans and growing. But the new year is always a good time to slow down and decide on your most important intentions for the next round of seasons. That’s why we got in touch with some of our hardworking team members and partners to find out what their 2021 gardening goals look like. Read on if you’re looking for some inspiration for your own resolutions!

Lauren Boissonnault, How’s It Growing NJ, Brand Ambassador

2020 was a wonderful year to get a ton accomplished in the garden! I think we can all agree that our gardens were our safe space, escape, and motivation to get outside. It really helped me keep my sanity intact this year. Creating something beautiful and watching it grow and flourish was a blessing — I think that is really the best takeaway.

We spent some of the year revamping our driveway and installing raised veggie beds, which I enjoyed so much. I grew veggies I would have never had the space to try, and I have garlic tucked in right now looking wonderful. We have lots of plans for that space in 2021.

As I look out upon my garden covered with a beautiful blanket of snow, I’m now wishing I got all of those spring bulbs in the ground! I do this every year, and every time I promise myself that I will have bulbs planted before our Christmas tree goes up. But being a mom of two little ones and a web developer limits my time that I can spend playing in the dirt. This year, I promise to get them planted before I hear sleigh bells ring. It’s better late than never because that spring display is so worth it. If you can get a shovel in the ground, it is not too late to plant bulbs — trust me!

Another thing I’d like to challenge myself to do this year is to plant more from seeds. I buy lots of petunias every year, so I hope growing them from seeds will help save money. Lastly, I’d like to add a small greenhouse or revamp our existing potting shed into one. My 2021 will be filled with greenhouse goals, seed-grown gardens, and bulbs planted by November. I trust you to hold me to it!

Bonnie Satterthwaite, Espoma Organic, Territory Sales Manager

This year will be all about leaf mulching for me! It’s a technique that I’ve been looking to learn more about, and I hope to finally master it in 2021. I think once I get the hang of it, it’ll make my overall garden maintenance much easier. I’m also going to make things easier for myself by removing some of my rose bushes as they’re too labor-intensive and I’m just not loving them anymore. 

Some other things that won’t make the cut this year are many of the different types of annuals I normally have. Instead, I plan to select a few stellar performers and mass them. Given all the fabulous garden centers I get to visit throughout the spring on behalf of Espoma, picking just a few may be the most difficult resolution on my list.

I think these changes will be worth it, since I genuinely find every part of gardening to be so much fun —  and I’d like to keep it that way! I think it’s important not to overexert yourself in your horticulture hobby. I plan to end my long days of work with a nice glass of wine and a stroll around the garden — and maybe pluck just one or two more weeds.

Nick Cutsumpas, Farmer Nick NYC, Influencer

This year I am focusing on drought-tolerant plants that can also handle intense summer temperatures. I just moved to LA, which means I’m still adapting to a warm and dry climate. It’s much different than the wet and cool climate in NYC, and learning this new plant palette will be an exciting challenge. 

I also want to grow more flowers in 2021. I grow a ton of sunflower varieties, but I want to expand the diversity a bit and introduce new colors that will attract more pollinators to the garden. My garden has traditionally been green, yellow, and orange, but it’s time to throw in reds, blues and pinks into the mix.

Something else I’d like to incorporate this year is bottom watering. It’s a great technique to keep the top of your soil dry and allow the plant the drink at its own pace. Plus you will avoid annoying pests like fungus gnats which love the moist soil!

My biggest project I’ll be focusing on is building an edible rooftop for my new home. LA is water-deprived, so instituting a sustainable ecosystem for pollinators, drought-tolerant species, and native plants will be vital!

Ambrose & Angie Salazar, Garden Obsessions, Brand Ambassador

This year, we plan to have fun in the garden by continuing to include the whole family. Considering how 2020 has been — including our kids having to do school at home — we feel it can be just as much of a stress reliever for children as it is for adults.

Gardening with the family is not only a way to relax, but it’s also a big educational opportunity that gives a sense of ownership and responsibility. Learning to work in a small space garden helps our family grow as gardeners, keep an open mind to new gardening methods, and learn how to face these challenges in the future. In 2020, we took on landscaping a slope and felt a big sense of accomplishment with the end results.

Something we have in mind for 2021 is to include some of our neighbors with our gardening. We plan to put together some basic containers for them to enjoy at their home. With more people getting interested in plants and gardening in 2020, we feel that this would be a perfect opportunity to put a smile on other faces!

Our biggest focus this year is welcoming nature into the garden and educating others on how important it is to have plants that attract pollinators.

We’re feeling pretty inspired by these 2021 resolutions! Here’s to a year of growing and blooming alongside our plants. Have you decided on your gardening goals for this year? We’d love to hear them!

 

Video: Caladiums for Christmas with Garden Answer

Laura from Garden Answer got her hands on some gorgeous new caladiums just in time for Christmas. Follow along for some keys to transitioning to holiday decor using Potting Mix!

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4 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Poinsettias

‘Tis the season of poinsettias! These jolly red plants are a classic holiday gift and household decoration all across the country during the winter months. Unfortunately, for many people, the leaves quickly turn lackluster and the plant dies soon afterward. But you can avoid this outcome with proper care and maintenance! Here are 4 ways yours can thrive this holiday season, as told by Garden Answer.

1. Get a healthy start

Did you know poinsettias are actually tropical plants? These festive spurges have somehow become a staple during the colder months, but they very much still appreciate their native climate! That means you should try to avoid the ones that are placed near the entrance of your local grocery store, since the draft from outside and the dry heat from inside are already harming the plants’ health. If you find them elsewhere, be sure to check that the foliage has solid colors and is not showing any green as this could mean they’re finished flowering for the season.

2. Give them a loving home

Since poinsettias appreciate that tropical climate, be sure to place them somewhere with lots of light that’s away from cold glass. As mentioned before, keep them away from any drafts — warm or cold. Be sure to check their soil moisture regularly as heated homes often lack moisture in the air. You can water them when the top layer of soil feels dry. As a finishing touch, feel free to mist them regularly and use Espoma Bloom! to give them a boost.

3. Stay safe this holiday season

A widely believed myth is that poinsettias are incredibly toxic to pets and humans. But the truth is that you would have to ingest an exorbitant amount of it for it to actually be dangerous! You should still err on the side of caution since the white sap that’s produced when the stems break can be a skin irritant, and it’s best to set them somewhere pets and kids can’t reach as with all houseplants.

4. Start anew next year

No matter how devoted you are to your beloved poinsettias, you should still think of them as annual plants that need to be replaced each year. It can be very difficult to get them to bloom again a year later and it involves much stricter care than the tips listed above. 

Now that you have all the necessary knowledge, go find the biggest and brightest poinsettias you can locally buy — and rest assured that they’ll last much longer than last year’s!

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Create Your Own Fall Centerpiece for Thanksgiving

Your Thanksgiving dinner may look different this year with a smaller number of attendees, but that’s all the more reason to stun them with holiday decor! It’s more important than ever to relax with members of your household and find ways to put everyone in that classic festive mood. Here are some ways to make a beautiful table centerpiece to help this holiday season be as cheerful as the last.

1. Pumpkins everywhere

Not sure what to do with all the pumpkins you got for Halloween? Turn them into flower pots and get the full effect of fall! Hollow them out and put in some of your favorite flowers. You can even paint them to match any decor color you already have.

2. Create your own cornucopia

Thanksgiving is celebrated to give thanks for the harvest for the year and all the food you’re going to eat, so it’s fitting to display your harvest on the table too! If you took part in growing fruits and vegetables over the summer, why not display your hard work on the table in the form of a cornucopia?

3. Flower arrangements

Another creative trick you can try is creating flower arrangements! If you’ve been growing flowers, you already have everything you need. But if you haven’t, hop on over to your local florist and pick out some fall-colored bouquets and arrange them however you want. There’s no wrong way to do it!

4. Shrubs and leaves

If you’re looking for an inexpensive yet effective way to get it done, your backyard is your oyster! Don’t want to pluck out your flowers? Simply bring in some fallen leaves that are bound to be a mix of red, yellow, and orange. This will definitely give your home a more rustic look. Add some branches and evergreen shrubs for some texture!

5. Don’t forget houseplants

If you’re a dedicated plant parent, you probably already have some unusual houseplants around your house. Now all you need to do is re-pot them into something more festive to brighten up everyone’s spirits! Make sure to add some potting mix while repotting and some Indoor! Houseplant food to keep them perky throughout dinner.

Whether you’re going all out or only want to make a small arrangement, adding some festive decoration is sure to get everyone feeling more festive and joyful this holiday season. Even if Thanksgiving is dinner for one — remember that plant care is self-care!

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Video: Ultimate Guide to Anthurium Care with Homestead Brooklyn

Anthurium – commonly known as flamingo flower – is a super common and super beloved houseplant. Learn everything you need to know about caring for them with this ultimate guide from Summer Rayne Oakes.

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5 Ways to Get Your Children Involved in Gardening

It’s never too early to teach your children about gardening! From learning about nature to developing patience, horticulture can benefit everyone, no matter their age. But it can be difficult to decide what your little gardener is capable of doing. We pulled together a list to help you get your whole family involved — just in time before the colder months take over.

1. Decorate flower pots

A great place to start is with potted plants. A benefit of this activity is that it works year-round — even when it’s too cold to be out in the garden. Let them express their creative side with a little acrylic paint on some clay pots. The acrylic will last long and hold up in harsh weather if you plan to keep them outside. With the upcoming holidays, you can encourage them to get festive with their designs and colors!

2. Grow some easy fall vegetables

Do your children know where the food they eat comes from? Use these last few months of warm weather to show them how their favorite veggies are grown. Fall plants like arugula, spinach, and kale can grow from a seed within a month! Your little one will be able to see for themselves how food makes its way to their plate, and they’ll feel super proud that their hard work helped it get there.

3. Plant future spring blooms

Ready to teach your little one about patience? Right now is the best time to plant spring perennials. Be sure to give your future flowers enough time to establish roots in warm enough soil before it gets too cold out. We recommend tulips and hyacinths since they actually need a period of cold weather in order to bloom later! Just don’t forget to help them along with some bulb-specific fertilizer. Your child will soon understand how hard work and patience pays off when your garden turns into a wonderland of flowers in the spring.

 

4. Carve pumpkins

It doesn’t feel like fall until you break out the pumpkins! But instead of carving them out as porch decorations, try to add a gardening twist this year. You can actually hollow them out and use them as biodegradable flower pots! This is a great time to teach your children about resourcefulness and composting. When you’re done with them, throw them into your fertilizer mix for your soil.

5. Let them decide

Gardening can be a very creative and personal hobby, so let your child have the freedom to explore and choose how they want the garden to look. Teach them what kinds of flowers and vegetables are able to grow at certain times of the year, but let them have the final say. It can also be helpful for you to have a second opinion when you get in your own habits. You’d be surprised to see how it turns out! 

The only thing that can make your gardening hobby better is to get your loved ones involved — no matter how young they are. And it’s never too late in the season for them to jump in and help out! All you need is some patience and quality products to help you along the way. Even in the midst of winter, there are plenty of indoor plants that they can learn from in the meantime. Before you know it, they’ll be counting down the days until they can get outside and start gardening once spring comes around!

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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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5 Reasons to Start a Cutting Garden

Summer weather brings with it new planting projects. If you love having a fresh bouquet of flowers to keep you happy and refreshed while you’re spending more time than usual indoors, it may be time to start your own cutting garden. And the best part about it is that it’s completely customizable to what you like. You can grow roses, shrubs, perennials, and even bulbs. Try growing berry bushes to add an accent to your next bouquet!

If you’ve always thought growing your own flowers isn’t worth the hassle, take a look at these five reasons for why you should definitely reconsider. And don’t forget to stop by your local garden center to find out which plants will work best in your yard.

1. So many blooms

If you love to spend all day staring at your vase of flowers every time there’s a special occasion, you’re going to love having a cutting garden. When all the flowers are in your backyard, you get to enjoy them inside and outside! Plus, there’s no more waiting around for special occasions. When you use Espoma’s Bio-Starter Plus, your flowers will be ready to be freshly picked every week.

2. Health benefits

Gardening really can be a great workout. All the same, it can be incredibly relaxing and meditative. Take a moment to get some fresh air, move around by digging and planting, and reap the benefits later (physical wellbeing and fresh flowers)!

3. Unlimited bouquets

Who says you have to stop at one bouquet a week? Fill your entire home with color-coated bunches of fresh flowers! Once your garden is fully bloomed, you no longer have to run to the store or tip for delivery.

4. Quality bonding time

There’s no better way to teach the kids how to care for living things and to connect with nature — all while spending quality time together. Even if you don’t have room in your yard, taking a family trip to a community garden can also help expand your circle of friends!

5. Curb appeal

If you do have room in your own yard, your cutting garden will instantly boost your curb appeal! Your home will not only be filled with beautiful flowers but will be surrounded by them too. Proper maintenance with Espoma’s liquid Bloom! will help keep your neighbors green with envy and your plants nice and bright.

Are you convinced yet? As you can see, there are numerous benefits to starting your own cutting garden, and very few cons! Who wouldn’t want unlimited access to fresh flowers? Even when you have to roll up your sleeves and put in the work, you’re still getting a great workout and great payoff. Find your nearest garden center and get started today.

Top Picks for Growing A Cutting Garden:

Succulents with Flowers – Beauty Meets Simplicity

Succulents can be the most intricate houseplants out there. They are available in a variety of colors, styles, shapes and sizes, perfect to match any houseplant lover’s wants and needs.

It is a common misconception that only cacti can flower. But that’s not true! There are succulents with beautiful flowers. We have picked out some amazing and unusual flowering succulents to showcase for  your collection.

If you are just getting started with succulents, check out our tips for beginners. An important tip to remember is succulents need well-draining, dry soil to thrive. Espoma’s Cactus Mix will help keep your plants healthy and happy.

4 Flowering Succulents You Need for Your Home:

Kalanchoes

This stunning succulent comes in a variety of vibrant and cheerful colors that will brighten up any home. The blooms on this succulent last almost all year long. Kalanchoes prefer bright indirect light, with only being in direct light about 2 hours a day. Water every two weeks when the top inch has dried out. Trim off the dead flowers where it meets the foliage to keep it looking its best.

Jade

Also known as the luckiest houseplant, this succulent will bloom tiny white flowers, though it doesn’t happen very often. Jade needs to be in an environment similar to its native growing habits in order to bloom – cool nights, bright days, and lack of water. Don’t give up on this plant so quickly, as it needs to be fully matured before it will flower.

Euphorbia Milii

Commonly known as Crown of Thorns for the thick base and long thorns, the Euphorbia Milii’s flowers come in small clusters. The blooms are usually a light red, but can be found in vibrant yellows and deep reds as well. It is a common houseplant, preferring bright light and dry soil.

Donkey Tail Plant

These trailing succulents cascade over their containers. With their grey-green tear-drop shaped leaves, the “donkey tails” can grow up to two feet long. Flowers with small blossoms in red, yellow or white will emerge in late summer. Place these sun-loving succulents near a sunny window and water weekly during spring and summer.

Watch as Laura gives a few tips to get you started on succulent care.

 

Espoma products for flowering succulents:

 

Plant America – Red, White and Blue Plants

While getting ready to decorate and hang the flag high for the Fourth of July, think of your garden. Show off your patriotic colors with red, white and blue plants for your garden or containers.

Don’t worry though, patriotic colors stay in season all year long. Red hues will make your garden look bigger, white plants are perfect for a moon garden and blue plants bring a peace of mind for relaxation.

Plants for Fourth of July

Rocket’s Red Glare – picks for red plants:

Photo courtesy of Star® Roses and Plants

Red Roses

Red roses are one of the most traditional plants to grow in the garden. They either become the statement plant or are a fine complement to a focal point. You can use roses to cover up an unsightly area or add fragrance. Feed regularly with Rose-tone to ensure bright colors and thriving blooms.

Red Gerbera Daisies

With a bright and cheery demeanor, gerbera daisies have quite a bit of flair. They will have single, double or even multiple petals, which can add some texture and contrast to your garden. They will withstand the summer heat with their sturdy stems and big blooms. Feed regularly with Flower-tone to give their stems a boost.

Broad Strips and Bright Stars- picks for white plants:

Ox-Eye Daisies

Ox-Eye daisies’ will be in full bloom by the Fourth of July. With their white rays and yellow centers, they will be sure to brighten up a patriotic space. They grow 1-3 feet tall so they will not take up too much space. Feed regularly with Bloom! liquid plant food for vibrant whites and beautiful fragrance.

White Dahlias

With a variety of sizes and varieties, dahlias can add a lot to a garden. As one of the most popular summer flowers, dahlias live up to their reputation. Whether you choose a ball or a collerette, the dahlia will be the talk of the neighborhood. When planting, feed with Bulb-tone for full, bulbs that will last all summer.

Twilight’s Last Gleeming – picks for blue plants

hydrangea care, hydrangea color, growing hydrangas

Photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries

Blue Hydrangeas

Large, beautiful blue hydrangeas are a great addition to your patriotic garden. Their bold blooms make them perfect for freshly cut or dried flowers. Getting off to the right start in the right location is key to keeping your hydrangeas blue. If you are having a little trouble keeping your blooms blue, feed with Holly-tone to keep the soil acidic.

Brazelberries jelly bean, Espoma soil acidifier, Holly-tone, growing blueberries

Photo courtesy of Bushel & Berry

Blueberries

A quirky take for your patriotic garden, but perhaps one of the most American fruits, blueberry is another great choice. With their red insides and blue exteriors, they would be perfect with red and white companions. Plus when you are itching for a holiday snack, head right outside and pick one off! Be sure to feed with Holly-tone to give it the nutrients it needs.

 

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