Archive for the ‘Trees and Shrubs’ Category

bare-root-trees…Bare root that is. You knowledgeable shoppers know that getting a good bargain means you skip the pretty packaging and grab the good deal when it appears. It’s exactly the same with bare root season. We’ve mentioned in previous blogs that buying the bare root version of plants is an excellent way to save money, but there’s more to it than just stretching your dollars.

Kip Litehiser

Kip Litehiser

For instance, there’s the outstanding variety of plants available in bare root form. According to Kip Litehiser, our edibles expert, bare root season is when you’ll find the best selection of your favorite edibles like cane berries, grapes and blueberries. “It’s also a superb time to start working your soil,” he says. “The soil is starting to warm up, even at night, so you can get your bare root edibles into the ground, so they can take off. And we’re all itching to get our hands in the dirt.”

Ryan Sanders

Ryan Sanders

We’ve also just heeled in the rows and rows of ornamental trees (above) and shrubs we’re offering in 2013. When I talked with our Landscape Design expert, Ryan Sanders, to get his top pick for this coming season, he said, “I like the dappled willows. They are a year-round visual interest with variegated leaves that are creamy white to soft pink in season. In the fall and winter the branches are a brilliant red; a very eye-catching ornamental specimen.” He also suggested the flowering plum and cherry trees because of their early, beautiful spring blossoms.

Dappled Willow

Dappled Willow

Another great reason to buy bare root is that the plants have a larger root mass, which means they are ready to spread out and establish themselves in the soil right away. This translates into healthier, happier, more productive plants. Ryan had a couple of other bare root tips, like picking up a transplant fertilizer. Working the fertilizer into the soil before planting helps reduce transplant shock and gives your plant a good initial food source. Staking your newly-planted bare root trees until they are firmly rooted in the soil will also increase success.

Mary Archambault

Mary Archambault

I’ll give you one more reason. My favorite, in fact: it’s so much easier to transport and handle the bare root plants. Without the extra soil and pot, even I can lift them into the car and work them into the soil at home by myself. Mary Archambault, one of our Certified Professional Horticulturists on staff, told me she was able to transport three bare root fruit trees in her little Saab recently.
One drawback to the bare root season is the limited window of opportunity. These babies are going to start waking up soon and when they do we have to send them back to our production team and start potting them up. bare-root-blueberriesThat means now is the time to grab that great deal. Come check out the selection and talk with our knowledgeable staff members like Mary, Kip and Ryan!


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Add another dimension to your garden with the Twilight Zone rose, new this year and available now at The Plant Farm.

Add another dimension to your garden with the Twilight Zone rose, new this year and available now at The Plant Farm.

“I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.” A quote by Emma Goldman that grabbed my attention when I came across it while reviewing the roses being introduced on The Plant Farm’s 2013 Rose List. I was also drawn to French poet and novelist Jean Richepin’s quote, “One may live without bread, not without roses.” A wonderful rose quote, though I must admit that I’m awfully fond of bread, too. Still, it’s easy to understand why roses inspire such a passionate devotion and are prized above all other possessions.

Cinnamon Dolce

Cinnamon Dolce

The Plant Farm’s 2013 Rose List is now available and I know you’ll be excited to see the new roses being offered. Two roses being introduced this year that you will find particularly attractive are Twilight Zone and Cinnamon Dolce. Submitted for your approval, the Twilight Zone rose. It’s a gorgeous deep purple Grandiflora variety with blooms that are stuffed with rich, velvety petals. Cinnamon Dolce, a Hybrid Tea rose, will charm you with its highly fragrant blooms, which are brick red with deep pink speckles. Cinnamon Dolce has an excellent resistance to rust and mildew, which makes it perfect for our Pacific Northwest climate.

Fighting Temeraire

Fighting Temeraire

Also new this year and exclusive to The Plant Farm, as a member of David Austen Roses, are Fighting Temeraire and Queen Anne. The Fighting Temeraire is a painting by English artist J. M. W. Turner and the Fighting Temeraire rose color echoes the peachy glow of the sky in the painting. The blooms are large and full, and have a wonderful lemony scent. Queen Anne is a full, hardy deciduous shrub rose. The blooms are delicate pink, plentiful and they have a classic old rose look. Surely, these two beauties helped earn David Austen Roses their 16th Gold Medal at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in London.

Queen Anne

Queen Anne

So many rose varieties and colors to tempt rose lovers this year and we’ve got the roses offered in Bare Root right now. I know I’ve talked about purchasing plants Bare Root in previous blog entries and roses are a perfect example of how buying Bare Root can save you time and money. Bare Root roses will cost you up to 40% less than potted roses. They are easier to transport because they weigh less and you don’t have the bulk of the pot and soil. In addition, they establish much more quickly because their roots are intact and they don’t experience the shock of going from container soil to your garden soil.

Are you excited to get into The Plant Farm and pick out your 2013 roses? Good, because we’re excited to introduce them to you. On that note, I will leave you with this quote from Richard Brinsley Sheridan “Won’t you come into the garden? I would like my roses to see you.”

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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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Glossy Abelia

This month I have an awesome gardening tip for you.  It’s a little known secret, but one that has huge benefits toward your gardening success.  First, though, a question: When is the best time of year to plant?  If you answered spring, then I have some news for you.  Fall, especially in the Pacific Northwest, is the ideal time to get all kinds of plant from cool-season veggies and perennials to evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs into the ground.

In the fall, our soil has been warmed continually by the sun and warm soil encourages the one thing guaranteed to have your plants flourishing – root growth. Roots will continue to grow through fall and winter until the ground freezes.  Then, in early spring, roots begin new growth or if we’ve had a mild winter, roots continue to develop at a faster rate.  The more established the root system the farther it reaches into the soil to return nutrients and water to the plant.

Katsura Tree

In the spring, a newly planted plant gets a slow start due to cool soil conditions, but the fall plants have a head start on root growth. When summer finally arrives, the plant established in fall is far better equipped to deal with heat and drought due to its well-established root system.

In addition to a well-established root system, there are many other good reasons to plant in the fall such as increased rainfall.  Consistent watering is a key component for gardening success and fall rains take the pressure off you and your water system.

Fall planting means fewer pest and disease issues because both are at the end of their lifecycles.   Not to mention that it’s just more pleasant gardening in the fall.  The cooler weather is easier on your body and without the “get-it-all-going” pressure that spring brings, you can work at a more leisurely pace.

Last but certainly not least, it’s much better for the plants to be in the ground, so no garden center wants to over-winter potted plants if they can help it.  This means there are loads of excellent plants available at discounted and clearance prices.  Don’t forget that The Plant Farm has Dollar Days going on during the month of September. Bonus!

Here are five great plants you’ll want get into your landscape this fall…

Crimson Queen Japanese Maple

Crimson Queen Japanese Maple feature foliage with dramatic color and a delicate texture year-round.  Their stunning appearance makes it a perfect garden focal plant.

Glossy Abelia is a gracefully arching evergreen shrub with bright, glossy foliage and fragrant, bell-shaped white flowers that bloom into fall. They make excellent alternative fencing when used as a hedge.

Vanderwolf’s Pyramid Limber Pine

Vanderwolf’s Pyramid Limber Pine is a beautiful soft-textured silvery blue pine with a distinctive pyramid shape.  The graceful shape makes it an excellent feature or accent tree and this conifer is very resilient in addition to being disease and pest resistant.

Katsura Trees are delightful ornamental deciduous tree.  In the spring, the delicate heart-shaped leaves on the delicate tree limbs are reminiscent of paper chains.  In the autumn, the red, yellow and orange foliage lights the tree up and there is a wonderful cotton candy or burnt sugar fragrance.

Vine Maple

Vine Maples are gorgeous Pacific Northwest native deciduous shrubs and an excellent choice for your landscape.  They are native, so they are extremely happy in your yard and grow really well.  Vine Maples feature lovely bark coloration in addition their beautiful foliage and they are attractive year-round.


Learn more by visiting our website: www.theplantfarm.com or on Facebook.

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Hummingbirds are such a delight to share your garden with. They zip through the foliage, scoping out available eats.  Did you know that hummingbirds are the tiniest birds in the world?  Here are a few more fun facts about these little guys and girls:

• Hummingbird wings rotate a full 360° and they beat them 70-80 times a second.

• They have no sense of smell.

• They must feed approximately every 10 minutes and consume more than their weight in nectar each day.

• They are extremely territorial.

Red Hot Poker – Papaya Popsicle

Want to invite of a few of these tiny neighbors into your garden?  You can begin by creating a hummingbird haven.  Here are a few tips:

• Select a sunny spot that can be seen from a window or patio.

• Be sure there is shade nearby, making a good resting spot.

• Provide a source of clean, fresh water.

• Set out feeders when flowers are taking a break.

• Plant brightly colored, nectar-filled flowers.  Red is their favorite color.

The sweet nectar of many annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs make delightful dining for local hummingbirds. From spring through fall, you’ll find these lovely creatures out enjoying the blooms.

Here are a few plants that hummingbirds just can’t resist.

Agastache – Nectar Orange

Achillea – Yarrow


Alcea – Hollyhock

Aquilegia – Columbine





Delphinium – Summer Blues





Echinacea – Coneflower

Erysimum – Wallflower



Impatiens – Sunpatien White


Heliotropium – Heliotrope


Kniphofia – Red Hot Poker


Leucanthemum – Shasta Daisy



Penstemon – Grape Taffy

Monarda – Bee Balm


Origanum – Oregano








If you have any questions about which plants would do well in your garden, come in and see us.  Or you can post your questions here, too!

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We’ve got beautiful colors… even in January!

We are beyond thrilled to re-open our doors for the new season here at The Plant Farm. We’re excited about the changes in the garden center, our jam-packed calendar of events and for a new season to play in the garden.  So excited, in fact, that we’ve decided to call this year A Season of Play!

New, colorful signs abound in our store!

There are so many fun changes this season it’s hard to know where to start.  I’m maybe most excited about the fresh color in the store.   You can’t envision spring without bringing in color and that’s just what we’re doing with vibrant winter-blooming plants like Hellebore and Cyclamen.  New informational signs that anticipate the vivid colors of spring and our freshly-painted fixtures add strategic splashes of color throughout the store.  We’re eager for you to see it.

You'll find lots of cool new things on our shelves!

Speaking of the bright new fixtures, we spent our holiday break working hard and redesigned our hardlines department.  Our shopping isles are now wider for easier access and comfort.  When you visit, you’ll also notice the great new garden supplies we’re bringing in for 2012.  Coastal Climate Fertilizer, designed specifically for Northwest gardens, Espoma, a fantastic line of organic garden products, and excellent garden tools, including DeWit handcrafted, hand-forged gardening tools for serious gardeners.

Plant like a pro with our Seed Starting Success Kits!

This year we want you to play in the garden and we want you to succeed in the garden.  We have a packed calendar of free seminars featuring local experts and How-To and garden tip videos on The Plant Farm TV.  In addition, our Gifts for Gardener’s Success Kits were so popular in December, we’re debuting a year-long program of Success Kits this year.  We put together excellent products that will give you the best chance of success with your plants this year.  Look for Success Kits such as Seed Starting, Fruit Trees and Rose Care in the coming months.

Rainbows come out even when the sun is hiding!

Keep an eye out for our second annual Seasons magazine, arriving on April 1st.  Our full-color gardening magazine is not only beautiful, but chock-full of informative, inspirational articles about gardening.  Don’t forget to ask a staff member how you can earn a free copy for yourself!

Finally, and most importantly, you can’t really get in there and start playing in the dirt without the kids.  The launch of the Kids Club in 2011 was so much fun.  The videos of the Pumpkin painting from last October are especially charming. We have a new schedule of garden fun and games this year starting with Valentine Primrose Pots in February.  You can register for individual Kids Club events or sign up for the whole year.

We can't wait to see you! Come in and play with us!

As you can tell, our excitement abounds… we invite you to come play with us in 2012!

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