Archive for the ‘Containers’ Category

Plymouth Plantation

Plymouth Plantation

Magical… that is the best way to describe the sensory experience that greets you when you walk into The Plant Farm’s front door every spring.  The greenhouse is verdant and lovely year round, but in spring, it feels like you’re walking into a secret garden. There are intoxicating fragrances and brilliant colors, but the best is the canopy of full, colorful hanging baskets.

Evening Gown

Evening Gown

We have many new basket recipes this year, which I had fun strolling through the greenhouse to see for myself.  There is a terrific new MixMasters basket series with super fun basket names like Bubble Bath and Evening Gown.  The Evening Gown basket is an elegant blend of Petunia Black Velvet, Euphorbia Breathless White and then Gaura Ballerina White, which have flowers with a delicate, wispy quality; so pretty!I was also very attracted to a striking new basket called Velvet Skies.  It’s no wonder since this basket which features Royal Velvet

Velvet Skies

Velvet Skies

and Mini Silver Petunia Supertunia varieties and Lobularia Blushing Princess, is the Proven Winners Consumer Ad Combination for 2013.  My eye is normally drawn to vivid color combinations, but this basket’s timeless, stylish color combination is very effective.In last week’s blog, I talked about pumping up your color palette, and the lush, stunning Plant Farm Grown Hanging Baskets are a perfect way to achieve that effect.  A Plant Farm classic like Tuscan Sun or Parade of Color or the fantastic new red, white and blue basket, Plymouth Plantation, will boost the color quotient in your landscape.   Strategically placed baskets give your front door, deck or patio an instant summer-ready look; and you don’t even have to get your hands dirty. Linda Gribble, who

Tuscan Sun

Tuscan Sun

works in The Plant Farm’s accounting office, was doing just that last week.  She picked up two of the new MixMasters Circus Parade baskets for her family’s weekend gathering.  MixMasters Circus Parade is a vibrant mix of Lobelia Waterfall Blue, Verbena Aztec Red Velvet and a dazzling yellow, Bidens Sunbeam.  “They were highly complimented and no one noticed my un-weeded flower beds!” Linda says.  That’s a success by anyone’s standards.

If you love to get your hands dirty and want to build your own hanging baskets, we have all the materials you need to get creative including a vast array of 4” annuals, all sorts of hanging basket accoutrement, cool pottery (if you want to go the container garden route) and the perfect soil blends and soil amendments.  If you’re thinking of starting a container garden be sure to ask for our design expert, Tami Hylback.

Parade of Color

Parade of Color

And hey, Hanging Baskets aren’t just for hanging anymore.   I saw a great way to repurpose an old rocking or wicker chair.  Cut a hole in the seat large enough to hold your baskets and add your favorite combo basket.  I was thinking I could make a shabby-chic masterpiece with an old rocking chair painted a distressed white and the adorable new Petunia basket called Above & Beyond.  Above & Beyond is a charming mix of pinks; Petunia Supertunias Vista Bubblegum, Vista Fuchsia and Vista Silverberry varieties.

Now you have the basket, here are a few tips for keeping your basket blooming all summer long:It’s a good idea to rotate your basket often so it will receive even Sun as it continues to grow through the summer.

Above & Beyond

Above & Beyond

A fertilizer with a high Nitrogen formula will keep your basket covered in blooms.   The Plant Farm uses Summer Liquid Fertilizer (20-10-20) every day in the greenhouses to grow our amazing annuals and hanging baskets.  We shared our secret ingredient for increased flower production on FaceBook last week:  give your annuals some Epsom Salts, which contains Magnesium (Mg).  At home use a gallon milk jug and mix 1 ½ teaspoons of fertilizer into the water along with ¼ teaspoon of Epsom Salts.  Your blooms will boom!

Circus Parade

Circus Parade

Watering is crucial and balancing your watering task so as to not over water or under water is tricky.  Many factors such as the location of the basket and wind patterns change how much and how often you water.  My tip on this one is to talk with our Annuals Expert, Apollonia Chambers, when you come in to pick out your baskets.   Apollonia oversees our annuals and hanging baskets from our growing operation to our retail floor, so she’ll know just how to keep your baskets thriving.


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tulips and sunSpring anticipation is such a delicious agony.  Daydreams about warmer temperatures and the sun feeding the garden, the occasional hint of spring flowers have you marking the days off on the calendar.  Your heart is beating out a chant: “How soon can I start? How soon can I dig in? How soon can I start?”  Big events like the Northwest Flower & Garden Show have you making lists and it’s so hard to wait.  I have to tell you, The Plant Farm isn’t going to make it any easier on you.  We have way too many excellent new plants and products this year.

Dark Night RoseNew for 2013!

Dark Night Rose – New for 2013!

In the coming weeks, we’ll take a more in-depth look at colorful new annuals, exciting new container and basket combinations, and share garden ideas from local gardening masters and our own staff experts. Stories like The Berries & the Bees and Herbs: Beyond Spice will delight you and give you food for thought; pun intended. This coming week, we’ll focus our spotlight on the gorgeous new roses we’ve added to The Plant Farm’s Rose List. I can’t wait to tell you about the new roses!

Plant Bare Root and Save!

Plant Bare Root and Save!

Oh, and if you’re a savvy shopper, you will want to know that in about two weeks we’ll bring in a huge selection of Bare Root ornamental trees and shrubs. We offer them bare root for a couple of weeks and then they go to our production crew to be potted up. Buying bare root is an excellent way to save money and it’s much easier to get the plant in the ground.

Ryan Sanders, TPF's Landscape Design Expert

Ryan Sanders, TPF’s Landscape Design Expert

You may have to wait for spring to arrive, but right now, you can do more than daydream at The Plant Farm.  You can come check out the plants arriving every day, sit down with our Landscape Design expert, Ryan Sanders, or hire the Pruning Services crew to get your trees and shrubs into tip top shape.

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A festive holiday welcome from The Plant Farm

A festive holiday welcome from The Plant Farm

Heedless of the wind and weather, it’s time to deck the halls with boughs of holly.  Okay, I promise not to serenade you with any more carols, especially since I’m mixing up the lyrics, but I do want to share with you that the holidays are in full swing at The Plant Farm.   We’re always thrilled about our holiday selection, but this year we have an abundance of plants and products.  We have fantastic ideas for your holiday decorating, beautiful and festively wrapped host/hostess gifts and tons of potential presents for your green-thumbed loved ones.

Are you getting your home ready yet?  The holidays really start to take shape when I get my tree and the last few seasons that means a living Christmas tree.  With a living Christmas tree, you have the beauty and fragrance of a live tree gracing your home and after the ornaments are packed away, you have a lasting, living memory when it takes up residence in your backyard.  A living tree also means you can find a unique tree silhouette.  A friend used a Cloud Pine and being a traditionalist where Christmas trees are concerned, I was skeptical, but once decorated it was lovely and very festive.

Holiday whimsy abounds

Holiday whimsy

If you want to be quirky and traditional at the same time, you could go with one of the adorable Dr. Seuss Christmas trees we brought in from T&L Nursery this year.  They have trained Goldcrest Wilma and Lawson Ellwood Cypresses into a distinctly Grinchy posture, wrapped them in bright red ribbon and adorned the tip with a single ornament.  This is just the right touch of Christmas whimsy.  I don’t know if my gardening skills are up to it, but I’m thinking about trying it with a larger Cypress next year…

Need an idea for a lovely host/hostess gift this season?  Beautiful winter-blooming plants such as Hellebores, Cyclamen and Camellias are bright and cheerful, and they’ll keep blooming through winter.  This year, the Cyclamen and Hellebores have holiday wrapping and cute little Santa or presents tucked inside. Hellebores or Christmas Roses, as they are sometimes called, are deer-resistant winter blooming perennials.  They have delicate, almost Victorian-looking blooms that are lovely in holiday displays and make them a great centerpiece for a holiday table.  The wrapped Cyclamen is going to make a charming and budget-friendly gift for my daughter’s teacher this season.

Speaking of charming, the custom container-gardens at The Plant Farm are a fantastic way to spruce up your front door and could also make a wonderful gift.   We can help with the perfect Custom Planter for you.  We have everything you need to pull together your vision or we have a variety of unique, already planted container-gardens.

Already assembled gift packs make shopping easy!

Already assembled gift packs make shopping easy!

If you’re looking for gift ideas for your gardening friends and loved-ones, this year The Plant Farm elves have outdone themselves.  They’ve created several ready-to-go combos and kits that will make completing your shopping list easy-peasy, and the names alone will delight them.  What gardener wouldn’t love to receive a gift kit called Berry Pancakes? It contains a combination of berry plants, protective netting and soil amendments for successful growing.  Know someone who’s going to make a “get-healthy-this-year” New Year’s resolution?  Then the Growing Salad kit would be perfect.  It’s a seed starting kit filled with all the veggie seeds you need for delicious salads all spring and summer.

Not all the gift packs we’ve created this year have an edible theme, but if edible sounds appealing to you, then the season for Bare Root Fruit Trees is just around the corner.  A fruit tree is a gift that continues to provide delicious treasures season after season.  Right now, you’ll save 10% off the regular price by pre-ordering and we will provide you with an attractive certificate detailing what your loved-one will receive.  I gave a 5-way Apple Combo tree to my husband last year and it was a huge hit.

Mason Bee starter kits make a wonderful gift.

Mason Bee starter kits…a wonderful gift.

Or maybe the recipient of your holiday giving already has fruit trees and you want to get them something to ensure crop success each season.   I was thinking a Mason Bee Guide & Starter Kit would be great follow-up gift for my husband, the aspiring orchardist.  Mason bees are excellent little pollinators and they are very easy to raise.  They are able to pollinate an estimated 97% of the flowers they visit each spring, which make them an excellent gift for those with established fruit trees or as a complement to a gift of Bare Root Fruit Trees.

Another excellent gift idea for gardeners with established landscapes is a Winter Pruning Service certificate.  Pruning is an essential part of promoting plant growth and increasing blooms.  It also keeps your plants attractive and healthy.  The Plant Farm now offers Pruning Services at $40 an hour and when you purchase the service as a gift we’ll provide you with a charming certificate.

Gift Certificates are the perfect solution when you can't find the perfect gift...

Gift Certificates are a perfect solution when you can’t find the perfect gift.

In addition to the pruning service, we now also offer Landscape Design services.  Have a special someone who is considering a yard or landscape makeover in the coming year.  One hour of Landscape Design is valued at $50.  A combination of design services and a gift certificate for the plants they’ll pick later on would be an awesome gift…

Okay, so there are so many more holiday gift ideas The Plant Farm has to offer, but I promised to keep the word count down.  There are many, many more you’ll find when you visit.  But if you’re still having trouble finding that perfect gift, there is a perfect solution – a Plant Farm gift certificate. Now through Christmas gift certificates are on sale [link to page].  Slip a gift certificate into their stocking and let your gardener choose the perfect item.

The Plant Farm is privileged to be rapidly approaching our 30th year of offering quality plants and gardening products to the greater Smokey Point area.  From everyone at The Plant Farm at Smokey Point, we wish you the warmest, happiest of holidays and a hale and hearty new year!

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We’re days away from the official start of fall and that means the holidays are close behind.  It also means we’ll be receiving more visitors, so it’s time to get our front doorstep and walkways spruced up.  Cleaning up or changing out your spring and summer containers, is an excellent way to mark the changing of the seasons.

Fall Container by Lora Keddie

Attractive containers have a mix of plants with different heights, shapes and textures.  In container gardening they’re known as the thriller, filler and spiller.  The thriller is a bold, vertical plant that is tall in relation to the other plants in the container.  The filler is the plant with medium height in the pot and the spiller plant cascades over the edge of the container.

If adding gorgeous, welcoming fall containers to your doorstep is on your list, right now is a great time to get started.  There is a lot of exciting fall color plant material on sale and you still have time to come in with your bucks for Dollar Days at The Plant Farm and get a double dip on savings.

We’re also offering FREE potting soil September 22nd-23rd when you purchase any container or pottery with plants. All containers are currently 30% off.  That’s a very exciting deal and here are a few plant ideas to inspire you…

Fall Pansies add a touch of whimsy

Fall standards like Cabbage and Kale have started arriving along with the Mums and Asters.  We’ve got a great selection of Pansies and Violas in gorgeous fall colors to add a touch of whimsy to your containers.  All these fall standards work well as filler or mid-level plants.

Heuchera is charming choice for fall containers because of the wide range of rich, earthy colors and the full leaves which are often variegated.  Coleus, too has striking, rich colors and gives an exotic look to your container.  Coleus is an annual, but it loves the weather we’re having right now.

Bold and bright Wilma Goldcrest Cypress

For thriller plants, especially large doorstep containers, the vibrant color of a Wilma Goldcrest Lemon Cypress tree is a great hardy choice and they have a wonderful lemony scent.  Nandinas, which take on fiery hues in the fall, would make a dramatic focal plant.

Grasses can play any role in your container

Grasses come in so many shapes, textures, colors and sizes they are almost an essential choice for container gardening.  Tall grasses have a firework aspect and make a dramatic thriller in any size container.   Many grasses also have a weeping habit and make great spiller plants.

If you want more ideas I highly recommend attending our Free Fall Container Gardening seminar this coming Sunday, September 23rd with Rachel Zeutenhorst.  Rachel is a Certified Professional Horticulturist with 20 years in the industry and was awarded the People’s Choice Award for her container display at the 2009 Northwest Flower and Garden Show.  It’s free and seating is limited so click here to register.

If you can’t make the class, stop into The Plant Farm anytime our staff is always ready to show you awesome plants and give you planting tips.  Like us on Facebook and share the results of your gardening with our Garden Club Members!

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We are all threads woven together into the fabric of our community.  The way we live, shop, play and even garden has an effect on that community and we all want that effect to be supportive and thriving.  Going green is an excellent way to have a positive impact.  Whether your goal is to practice stewardship of the earth, help the local economy or save some green in your wallet, we’ve come up with 12 simple ways you can go green this gardening season.

#1 Recycle Your Pots at The Plant Farm
Instead of sending your pots to the landfill, bring them into The Plant Farm. We have two green recycle bins located inside our store where you can recycle your pots.  We will sort through your pots and make sure that each type of pot is either recycled or reused.

#2 Re-Use Your Plant Farm Carry Out Box
Every time you shop with us and bring back your Plant Farm carry out box, we will give you 10 cents off your current purchase for every box reused.  Don’t forget to keep your box in your trunk for the next time you shop at The Plant Farm.

#3 Save a Tree – Go Paperless
Using E-Coupons or QR Codes (QR stands for Quick Response) means a lot less paper waste in order to get your Plant Farm discount.  Instead of printing the coupon from the email, show us the coupon on your smartphone when you check out.  For customers who don’t have a smartphone, we’ll provide a stock number on the email coupon. When you’re ready to check out, tell us the stock number on the coupon and we’ll give you your discount.

#4 Raise Your Own Orchard Mason Bees
Orchard Mason Bees are native to our region and pollinate in the early spring when our weather is wet and cool, while honeybees need warmer, less rainy weather.  Raising your own bees will mean increased fruit, nut and berry production for your home garden.  Join us for one of our seasonal Mason Bee Seminars or come in for our help sheet on caring for these wonderful garden buddies.

#5 Plant Native Plants
Native plants are already adapted to our Pacific Northwest environment. Their nutrient and watering needs are based on our soils and weather patterns, which saves you money on your water bill and means you don’t have to spend money on soil amendments to change the pH of your soil. This also means they have fewer disease issues and you spend less time and money doctoring your plants.  They are the no fuss, foolproof plants.  For more information on the benefits of native plants, visit our website at www.theplantfarm.com.

#6 Grow Your Own Veggie & Herb Garden
Growing your own veggies and herbs means you will have confidence in the food on your table.  You know your crops are organic and no unknown chemicals or fertilizers applied, and your soil is providing high quality edibles.  Eating crops straight from your backyard means higher nutrients obtained.  Better soil equals better plants, which equals better nutrition for you!

#7 Use Organic & Cultural Practices
Unlike conventional fertilizers and pest controls, organics are neither harmful to people and pets nor toxic to earthworms and beneficial microbes. Organic fertilizers and pest controls work naturally within your garden to enrich your soil and control unwanted pests without destroying microbes and beneficial insects. In conjunction with using organic products, we recommend you incorporate cultural practices such as applying compost, spacing, drip irrigation or soaker hose, pruning and general landscape cleaning. Top-dressing compost in your landscape improves your soil and healthy soil means healthy plants. The practice of spacing prevents disease by increasing air circulation and limits your need to doctor your plants.

#8 Reduce Waste by Composting
Composting has become an attractive way to manage yard waste and recycle natural materials. Some people are surprised to find many of the items that go into our everyday garbage can be composted or recycled.  The vital ingredients for premium compost are brown (carbon) materials such as leaves, straw and paper and green (nitrogen) materials such as grass clippings and food waste.  The easiest alternative to a compost pile is a compost bin. Our website has great tips on composting or just come in and see us, we’ll give you all the information to get you started.

#9 Mulch to Improve Your Soil
Mulch is a great, natural way to improve your soil from the top to bottom layer.  Utilize your compost made from your own kitchen scraps and other compostables, to improve soil microbial activity and diversity, soil fertility, aeration, texture and, if that isn’t enough, it helps maintain moisture content.  A layer in your flowerbeds will also aid in weed suppression and removal.

#10 Conserve Water with Efficient Systems
Water conservation can be accomplished with drip irrigation or a soaker hose. Whether you currently use a sprinkler or hand water, more than 50% of the water is lost to evaporation and therefore won’t reach the plant. Drip irrigation or a soaker hose will provide 90% or greater of the water to the soil with only a loss of 10% or less to evaporation. The benefits to using either of these systems includes consistent and deep watering, weed suppression, disease control and a lower water bill.   Consistent and deep watering provides better growth, fruit and blooms.

#11 Collect Rainwater, Conserve Ground Water
Because the Pacific Northwest receives such an abundance of rain, we often forget that our gardens need water in dryer months like July and August. Oftentimes the drier season can extend into the fall, but using rain barrels to collect water while it’s raining is the best way to plan for the dry season. Collecting the rainwater will also conserve ground water, which is easy to deplete and hard to replenish. It can take up to 300 years to replenish ground water once it’s been removed.

#12 Buy Local to Support Your Local Economy
Buying local not only keeps dollars in our community, but it offers local jobs and provides savings for you. Here at The Plant Farm, 80% of the plants in our garden center are grown by us or are from local growers. In addition, locally grown plants have a shorter distance to travel, which means better quality and far less fuel consumption.  Given current fuel prices, this translates into greater savings for you.

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Our Center Display

Our Center Display

Earlier this week I took a stroll through the store and I’m so impressed with our holiday offerings this year. The elegant and festive Holly trees and shrubs are particular favorites of mine and this year we have The Guardian(TM) series

The North Walkway

The North Walkway

cedars. Three of the varieties we carry include Silberstar with its striking silver blue foliage, Golden King proudly displays its broad fan-shaped branches with golden foliage and, the delicate, lacy Silver Queen which has a snow-dusted quality in its mantle of light-green foliage. Not only are these cedars gorgeous, but they’re grown on root stock resistant to Phytophthora lateralis – a particular insidious disease that has caused the demise of many cedars over the last two decades.

However, the best are the beautifully shaped and manicured living Christmas trees; the best I’ve seen here at The Plant Farm. Living Christmas trees are increasingly popular, with not only

Carissa Unloading Trees Coming to The Plant Farm

Carissa Unloading Trees Coming to The Plant Farm

environmentally concerned people who also want the enjoyment of a real Christmas tree, but also those who want to enjoy their holiday memories year round. Living Christmas trees are a great alternative to cut trees. They are gorgeous when decorated and lit up, but you avoid that discarded, needle-shedding carcasses days after… Talk about a post-holiday letdown. With a living Christmas tree, after the ornaments are packed away, you have a lasting, living memory when it takes up residence in your backyard.

Plant Farm Christmas Tree by Michelle P (and Kids Club backdrop)

Plant Farm Christmas Tree by Michelle P (and Kids Club backdrop)

Whether you prefer the dense, tightly packed look of a fir tree or the sparse elegance of a spruce that will show off your best ornaments, we have a varied selection of potted trees that will make excellent choices for a living Christmas tree. Check out our Live Christmas Tree handout for tips and tricks for caring for your living tree and our recommended list of trees.

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Halloween is just around the corner. One of my favorite parts of Halloween is how the community comes out. Parents, Grandparents and kids go door to door with their cameras and their trick or treat bags. Most of my neighbors know I love to garden and look forward to the open invitation that Halloween offers to check out what’s growing in my doorstep containers. When the doorbell rings, and after the kids yell “trick or treat”, traditionally the next thing I hear is a parent asking, “What is that you are growing?” or “Wow, that container is beautiful.” I have to admit, I love it, but the pressure is on each year. While other parents are out hanging spiders and stretching faux cobwebs, I’m tearing out my summer annuals and popping in evergreens and hardy annuals that will get me through the holidays.

Ego strokes aside, one of the main reasons I love fall container gardening is the rules change.  I should better say, many of the rules are gone all together.  I just love thinking I’m being a little wild and breaking a few gardening codes.

One of the first rules of container gardening fall containers allows you to break is sun versus shade. Guess what, one of the blessing of little in the northwest this time of year… is it’s all shade all the time!  So mix it up.  Plants this time of year are used to a solar break.  So I can finally mixed plant colors and textures that I’ve been dying to put together.

The second and my favorite rule to break size doesn’t matter.  During the next few months you plant is going to be spending more time growing roots than growing tops, so you don’t have to think ahead and make room for expansion.  Pack it in!  I’m not a patience person, which is a killer in gardening, so I love that I can plant up a finished looking container and have it on my doorstep for immediate “ahs” and “ohs” and I don’t have to wait for it to grow on to make an impression.

That said, here’s a couple of recipes I used this season for my doorstep delights. One is a warm color option, the other is a cool color option. There are TONS of options you can try to create a color and style that will match your home. So before your door bell starts ringing, take some time to come to The Plant Farm to see what you might want to try this year, and have fun breaking a few rules.

Before: Borning!

Before: Boring…

After the removal of my summer annuals what is left is an Emerald Green Arborvitae, and two other burned out perennials that have got to go.

After: Moonlight Glow!

I love these colors. I tend to go warm for fall, but these black purples, light purples, white and silvers just glow in the shade of my porch.

 Additions include:

1 White Ornamental Cabbage
3 Raoulia
3 Purple Mini Ornamental Cabbages
1 Ajuga ‘Black Scallop’
1 Variegate Euphoria
1 ‘Pagei’ Hebe
1 Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’
3 Lavender Violas
1 Euonymus ‘Emerald Gaiety’

Before: Burnt Out

Before: Burned Out…

I believe this container didn’t get watered a couple of times. The shrubs are coming back, but it just looks burned out. So out go the shrubs.

After: Burning Autumn Sunset

This container now reminds me of those warm autumn sunsets that  are great to watch go down with a nice glass of red wine. This container will look great lined up with all

my pumpkins.

Additions include:

5 Crimson Wine Color Big Face Pansies
3 Carex ‘Buchananii’
3 Heuchera ‘Peach Flambe’
3 Ornamental Cabbage ‘Pigeon’

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