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Archive for the ‘Hanging Baskets’ 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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They’re both getting up late this year!

  The weather, as you know, has been pretty cold this year, colder than normal and we can really see its effects with these two major attractions at The Plant Farm.

  The flower display for the freeway has always been put up by Mother’s Day weekend, every year since we’ve been open, but sadly, not this year. This color crop is just not far enough along in its growth and development to display outdoors. For the past three months these planters have been snuggled into a heated greenhouse growing and setting flower buds. If we had just had a bit more sun we feel we would have been on time as planned, but as it sits, this is the first year we’ll miss our Mother’s Day mark. Dang rain!

  On the bright side, the hanging flower baskets we sell were ready and got shipped over about the 22nd of April. At first they didn’t have too many flower buds open, but with that little bit of sun we had they are really looking great now. Since your baskets are hung close to the house you won’t have to worry about the weather as much as we do with the exposed setting we subject our display to.  

  Don’t miss out on this year’s crop of baskets for a quick Mom’s Day gift here at The Plant Farm and remember to pick up a package of our Summer Liquid Feed that your Mom needs to be fertilizing her basket with and you will be her biggest hero. Our hours now are 9-7 every single day, so you don’t have to worry about missing out.

  Hurray! It’s finally May and our fish are swimming around again, showing interest in visitors! This may seem like a silly thing to be excited about, but I can’t remember a spring this tardy…where Hoover and Company were not already actively feeding by now. This has been an exceptionally cold winter and they have been on a very long fast. We have had to explain for months, especially lately, that since fish are cold blooded they can’t digest their food when the water temperature is less than 54F. You possibly didn’t know that the fish haven’t been fed at all since last Halloween! On that day we pulled the vending machine to store it for the winter as the fish settled into the bottom of the pond to wait out the cold weather to come.

  Every April we get out the ol’ floating thermometer to start checking the ponds water temperature and it has finally reached a point that’s warm enough to start feeding Hoover and the kids again. But only a little bit can be fed daily to start with since their digestion is still not woken up entirely. So next time you come visit us, make sure to go out and wave ‘Hi’ to Hoover’s gang and if the vending machine is out, drop in a quarter for a little fish food. Hoover and Company will thank you!

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August is a beautiful time to live here in the Puget Sound, especially if you are a gardener.  To keep your garden and landscape beautiful here are a few tips I’d suggest thinking about this month.

Water smart! To me, when the sun is hot it means drier soils and sunburned plant! This is only because I get to see leaf samples on a daily basis once the heat sets in. Folks that water for a few minutes, even daily, see crisp-scorched leaves and panic. Sun scorched soil that is too dry produces leaves that curl upward and turn quite crispy. If this sounds like one of your garden issues see the July 9th blog on watering tips for heat. Water smart!

Plant some more veggies! Planting seeds now will reward you with tasty spinach, radishes, carrots, beets, lettuce, and green onions this fall. The veggie garden needs regular watering and whenever possible, water in the morning or early afternoon. We still have some super nice tomato plants and peppers in big pots ready to go home with you, it’s not too late to still enjoy some home grown goodness of your own.

Strawberry Shortcake time! It is still planting season for our Seascape summertime strawberry crop, the Plant Farm preferred variety perfect for your strawberry desserts. This new ever-bearer has bowled us and our guests over with its exceptional taste and productivity. More folks than ever before have commented on how great they are! You can plant them in a sunny garden space or in a large container on the patio for quick picking… Yum! 

Get rid of the girls….begonia girl-flowers that is!   Remove single-petal female begonia flowers from the tuberous begonia plants to grow the biggest flowered begonias you have ever seen!   The female flowers are small, single and have a winged seed pod right behind the flower, as you can see in the photo below with only one flower. The girls are produced right next to her male flower counterpart.  

If the male flower pollinates the girl, he falls off, job complete. The male flower is very full with petals and much showier than the female flowers, so I get rid of all the girls. My begonia in the back yard is my red accent plant in the garden to the left of the patio. I love red flowers and the huge double-red male begonia flowers are just about the flashiest bloom around for my shaded space. We still have non-stop tuberous begonias available!

  The male blooms on my begonia, pictured, are retained for weeks if no girls are around to distract them! Female flower.

Vines- climbing color!  Prune back the overgrown wisteria vines now and tie-up other fast growing vines before the tangled mess can’t be trained. The wisteria grows lots of extra shoots and you may get gobbled up trying to reach the porch someday if they are left to their own devices!

You can plant clematis right now with the roots buried a bit deeper into the soil. The roots of the clematis prefer cooler, shady ground that is well draining and enriched with organic compost. A tip: I always plant the clematis on the north side of another shrub that will help shade the root zone. Cooler roots= a happy and vigorously blooming garden performer!

Don’t worry- plant now and be happy with your outdoor rooms.  You don’t need to wait for the fall to plant; I assure you the plants want to get into the ground! The roots will be much happier with cool soil surrounding them than the hot, confining plastic walls of a pot!

Summer is when we are outdoors and really living in the yard, so why not make the rooms you live in outside as beautiful as the indoor spaces. Watering the new arrivals is usually handled every four to six days or so if you water deep when you water and mulch the ground around the new plants with organic compost or bark.

This is not the time, however, to dig up a plant and move it to another location. Wait until late fall to start such projects (except for perennials past their blooming, see dividing perennial notes below).

Lawns were also mentioned in the July 9th blog. The same watering and mowing information applies for this month, so check out that blog entry for a refresher.  

You can get a new lawn started pretty fast now that the soil is warmed up. In the chilly spring, grass seed is super slow to germinate and even though fall is the ideal time to start a new lawn, sometimes the opportunity presents itself around this time of year! We have seed, fertilizer, lime and organic compost and all the instructions you’d need to create the lush green lawn of your dreams.

Hanging basket haircut time? Sometimes even with all the best fertilizing and attention the hanging baskets get to looking a little long and scraggly. Give them a hard haircut with hedging shears! (I’ll have to cut my big basket back soon and post the photos in our facebook photo album to show you why it’s such a good practice.) Cutting the entire basket back will promote a brand new flush of growth and flowers. I’ll cut my basket back by ½ its size and then cut some of the topmost stems farther back to promote a bushier top. I know it’s hard to do this when they are still flowering, but remember, pruning stimulates growth! Then make sure you are feeding the baskets every other watering with the Summer Liquid Feed 20-10-20. This is the only fertilizer formula we use on our hanging baskets! 

Perennials- early spring/summer bloomer can be dug and divided now. Perennials are those hardy plants that grow and bloom year after year. If they are spring and early summer bloomers that no longer bloom like they once did, then you can dig them up and divide now to get them ready for next spring. Tip: water well prior to digging. Divide the big clumps up, giving some chunks to friends and neighbors, if you have too much for your own garden.  There is such a rich selection of perennials to choose from right now at the nursery and it’s always fun to look for colorful additions to add some new summer interest in your garden.

 
 

Stop in soon...the fish are hungry!

Water quality for your fish pond? We have some big floating Water Hyacinths for sale at the nursery right now. Every May we bring in 50 Water Hyacinths to float at the top of the waterfall in order to help with the biological filter system. Right now there must be thousands! Because we have so many fish and they get fed constantly by guests and their kids, the floating raft of plants grows to massive quantities and we have to start selling some off. These are big healthy plants that will help use up the nutrients from the fish waste to grow before the alga gets a chance to take hold. 

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A little update about the new flower basket display along the freeway:

The new Plant Farm freeway flower basket displays have received yet another flower upgrade!

You can see it in the before and after pictures…

The first time around we hung 28 different colored baskets on the poles.

Not a single one matched so the display lacked power or enough ‘wow’.

The very next week we went back and hung up matching baskets and created a ledge on top of the pole to set two long planters end to end like we do on the entry arbor. We just popped in extra drip irrigation tubing to accommodate the extra planters.

These baskets are identical to the other display of flowers at the front entry arbors.

By massing the color and repeating the design, the strength of the presentation on the freeway now packs a big WOW!

You are invited to come see for yourself!

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I just wanted to share what some of our guests have been up to…

Stanwood residents, Missy Anderson and Greg Snaer, live next door to each other.

They were talking last weekend about our displays and how cool it would look in one or the others garden.

Missy & Greg's Beautiful New Fence

Then they had the brilliant idea to share the beauty, cost and labor and construct it on the fence between their back yards!

I think it turned out great and love to see that our wonderful customers are creating in their gardens.

Keep up the great work, Greg and Missy. We can’t wait to see what’s next!

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Come see!   We just increased our freeway flower presence by 28 flower baskets!

Pictured to the left is our grower, Don, as is hanging up baskets and setting the ends of the drip tubing into each basket. Don prefers to use four drip tubes per basket, assuring that the water or fertilizer moves into the soil evenly.

Some of you might remember the pretty flowering pergola displays we had along the freeway at our nursery’s former site. We now have 14 of those displays back up, with two flower baskets hung on each, all along the east side of our growing fields and in view of the freeway.  I think they look fantastic… and it sure does take me back in time! 

You can create a similar project at your home or business with one, two, or more poles and a simple irrigation system.    

In a straight line down the east edge of the property, we dug and set the 14 flower basket displays.    

Don and Anthony are splicing into our water line to hook up the drip irrigation pipe for each flower display.

You can set them with concrete in the hole if you want the poles to be a permanent decoration.  When setting, make sure the poles are vertically plumb.  We then dug a trench to run the lines for the ½” black plastic pipe to each flower display, the plastic tubing running all the way to the top of the poles.   Any plumbing department at your local  hardware store can get you set up with what you need for this simple drip irrigation system.   

In this photo you can see the main water line coming up to the top of the flower display and the four drip lines used for each basket.

Be prepared to get lots of compliments from your neighbors if you take on a cool summer project like this!  

You should stop by to see for yourself how you think the new basket display turned out. We love hearing from folks that drive by and enjoy the view of all our flowers from their cars. There are a few of you that took on a flowering pergola display in your own gardens. We have heard from these ambitious gardeners when they call or come in with pictures of their masterpiece.  It’s fun to help folks get their creative juices flowing!
Our baskets are getting watered every day now, and getting fertilized with Summer Liquid Feed every other watering. We could use any formula in the world, but choose this one because it creates the beautiful, full baskets we grow that are bursting with blooms!

Laceleaf Maples are a fantastic colorful addition to any landscape.

Oh! One more new feature you can see from the freeway; a rather large Red Laceleaf Japanese Maple. This tree is at least 40 years old. Our company President, Joel, planted this tree with his Grandmother at her home when he was 4 years old!  

Stop in soon and see for yourself what we have been up to lately!

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