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Starting plants from seeds is a fun and easy way to stretch those gardening dollars. Whether you are interested in annuals, perennials, herbs or vegetables you’ll find a great selection of seeds to start prior to planting out this spring. Of course you can also sow seeds directly into your garden beds. When you consider that a typical seed pack will contain upwards of one hundred seeds there is no better ‘bang for the buck’.

To sow seeds indoors you will just need a seed starting mix, seed box and tray. Most seed starting kits come complete with these items and a plastic cover to complete your own mini ‘greenhouse’. You will just need to sow the seeds thinly and evenly throughout the seed packs – usually just two to three seeds per cell. Press the seeds into the surface of the soil and cover with a thin layer of fine peat or soil. Next water gently and cover with your plastic cover to retain humidity until the seeds have sprouted, the remove the cover and allow air to circulate. Most seeds will germinate in about two weeks, but you can speed up the process with bottom heat. You can thin out the seedlings as soon as they are large enough that the leaves touch. You will need to time the process back from a couple of weeks past the last scheduled frost date. You can ‘harden’ off your seedlings in a cool, but not cold garage or breezeway to acclimate the seedlings prior to planting.

You can follow this process for just about all seeds, with the exception of some of the larger vegetable varieties that are sensitive to transplant shock. It is a good idea to start larger plants directly into larger pots or ‘peat pots’ that will require the amount of transplanting. You should always follow the instructions on the seed package to determine specific care instructions as well as the time need for germination and development.

Of course you can also sow seeds directly into the garden soil. You would be amazed at how you can add dozens of new plants from a single package of seeds. Mixing and matching the varieties can help you create specific gardens such as those that attract butterflies, or if you are ‘naturalizing’ a portion of your home landscape. 

Some of the easiest plants to grow from seeds are annuals, especially those that ‘self-sow’, or grow from seeds they sow themselves. A few good examples are Alyssum, Calendula, Cosmos, Larkspurs, Nicotiana and even Impatiens! You just need to remember to leave some seed heads to fall onto ‘receptive ground’. Receptive ground is nothing more than friable soil that is raked out and free of weeds, stones and debris.

Nothing is more fun that starting seeds in the sometimes gloomy weeks and months prior to the spring. Of course you can always find expert advice from our staff. We are always here to help you with all of your gardening questions. 

Anthurium Care
Family: Araceae
Common Name: Flamingo Flower, Tail Flower, Painted Tongue Plant
Botanical Name: Anthurium andraeanum

Here’s a little secret: the beautiful heart-shaped “flowers” are not flowers! What makes these durable, easy-care houseplants so appealing are red, white, pink, or purple waxy leaves called spathes that flare from the base of the fleshy spike where the actual tiny flowers grow. These indoor plants are epiphytes, a type of air plant that comes from warm, tropical regions where they either grow on the surface of other plants or in rich organic humus. Therefore, as a houseplant, the Anthurium is extremely durable and requires little care. Simply repot with a peat moss or a coco coir-based soil mixture, provide bright, indirect sunlight, and allow the soil to partially dry out between waterings. For more robust, repeated “flowering,” allow the Anthurium to rest for six weeks with little water during the winter at approximately 60°F. If you notice that the “flower” is green rather than the color you were expecting, it may be a new sprout that was forced to bloom when it should have been resting. If a “flower” is fading, it is likely an older bloom that is ready to dry up and fall off (see below for care).

Important! Anthurium are poisonous if ingested, so be very careful if you have pets and/or small children. The sap can also cause skin irritation.

Light
Flowering Anthurium needs bright, indirect light (direct sunlight will scorch the leaves and flowers!). Low light will slow growth and produce fewer, smaller “flowers.”

Water
Water thoroughly when the first inch of the soil becomes dry to the touch, stopping when water starts draining from the drainage holes. Avoid overwatering (Anthurium roots are susceptible to rot!). The more light and warmth that your Anthurium gets, the more water it will need, so check the soil for dryness every few days. These plants will provide signs of stress or thirst, so pay attention: thirsty plants will be light if you lift them and will have droopy or puckering leaves. You will not need to water as often in the winter when the plant is not actively growing.

Temperature
The Anthurium prefers very warm temperatures (70-90°F), but don’t worry – these plants are extremely adaptable and can flourish in typical household temperature ranges. However, be careful of temperature extremes: if your thermostat drops below 50°F, the Anthurium will stop growing; if your house gets too hot, your Anthuriums will wilt.

Humidity
Most Anthuriums thrive on humidity, but the flowering varieties can tolerate more dryness. If your humidity level is less than 50%, then consider using a humidifier to increase the level to at least 60%. Filling small trays with pebbles and water and grouping indoor plants together can slightly increase the humidity immediately surrounding your plants.

Fertilizer
During the growing season (spring and summer), feed your Anthurium once a month using a complete, ¼-strength liquid fertilizer. Note — too much fertilizer can do more harm than good. To encourage more blooms, use a fertilizer higher in phosphorus during the growing season.

Pro Tips
Use a fertilizer high in phosphorus to promote blooms in flowering varieties.
Use a soil that drains well to avoid root rot, but holds enough moisture for root absorption.
Don’t be alarmed when you see roots growing from the stems! These are simply aerial roots that would benefit from occasional misting. If you don’t like the look of these roots, you can cut them without hurting the plant.
As your Anthurium grows, place it in a bigger pot. Crowded roots will stunt the plant’s growth!
When the flowers fade and you want to remove them, cut at the base of the flower stem, closest to the base of the plant.

…and you never have to worry about getting the wrong size!

Selecting gifts for family, friends, and neighbors can offer a challenge to even the most organized amongst us. Making a gift special requires effort; either in remembering the correct size, or a favorite color, a type of music or even a favored flower. A good gift is something that shares your passion with a friend, or contributes to their interests through your gift.

The most cherished gifts are those that reflect the effort you’ve put into the selection. It is in this process of gifting that we truly give of ourselves. As gardeners, we often share from our garden-whether it is a surplus of tomatoes, fresh blooms, or even a special recipe.

These gifts from the garden are special. They include all the elements that show you care: time, creativity, beauty and expertise. As this holiday season approaches, consider giving the gift of gardening. It is a present that is appropriate to any age, level of friendship or interest.

Which of your gardening friends wouldn’t appreciate a new tool, seed collection, gardening book, wind chime or bird bath? And who among the others on you list would you not share your favored moments from the garden or nature? So let this be the season to share your passion with a poinsettia, bulb collection or pottery.

Remember, a gift card is always a great idea and can be used all year-round!

The holiday season is fast approaching and soon it will be time to deck the halls with decorative greenery and boughs of holly. To make sure all your garland, swags, trees and kissing balls look their best make sure to use an anti-dessicant such as Wilt-Pruf® to keep your greens from drying out.

This is also a helpful tip for prolong the life of greens, holly, berries and boxwood used in outdoor window boxes or winter planters. An application of Wilt-Pruf can help extend the life of your festive display.

You can use Wilt Pruf® to protect and extend the life of Christmas trees and wreathes by reducing moisture loss. Moisture loss is the primary cause of the needle loss and browning that is so common. For wreathes, holly and other seasonal greenery many commercial producers dip the object in Wilt Pruf® and let if drip dry over a catch tray. For the homeowner, spraying is just as effective.


This is a simple process:

  1. For a long lasting Christmas Tree begin by selecting one that has been cut recently and is still fresh.
  2. Apply Wilt Pruf® to all foliage outdoors in daylight, Wilt Pruf® needs exposure to ultra violet light to dry properly.
  3. Let dry before bringing indoors
  4. 1 Quart RTU will treat the typical 5′ – 6′ Christmas Tree, you can also mix the concentrate at 5:1 dilution and apply with any pressurized sprayer.

Wilf-Pruf® is also a good way to protect evergreen shrubs from Winter winds and chills. It provides a protective layer that helps to lock moisture in preventing burning and helps to keep plants from drying out.

 

Fall is for Planting!

Trees are a fundamental element of any landscape plan. The proper position, selection, and placement can set the stage for the entire home landscape design. Trees are the most permanent plants we grow. Most will live for 50 years or more. Because they are such a long-lasting addition to the landscape, special care should be taken when selecting and planting trees in the landscape.

Function of Trees
Shade-Trees are most often planted to provide shade. When considering placement, keep in mind that you will want to provide protection from the afternoon sun. therefore situate your shade tree planting near the southwest corner of the house. Trees are the ultimate air conditioners. They will shade as well as cool the air passing through the branches through transpiration.

Framing-In addition to providing shade, trees also serve other functions. They can frame the house on the property. Select trees that will fit in proportion to the house. You can achieve dramatic effects by understanding your options. A large, two story house framed with smaller trees appears larger. Using low flat trees can lend an appearance of spaciousness. These trees are usually planted on an angle diagonal from the front corners of the house. This gives the lot an appearance of depth more than when trees are planted directly out to the sides. Juxtapose different varieties in odd numbers that are planted at irregular depths.

Background-By planting trees as a backdrop to the house you will effectively soften the roof lines and make the house standout on the property. Consider the heights of the selected trees so that the tops of the trees will be seen above the roof line at maturity. Maples, such as Acer Rubrum “October Glory”, plus A Rubrum “Red Sunset”, as well as Sugar Maples and Oaks are good choices for background plantings.
Accent-Small trees with attractive flowers, berries, leaves or bark are often used to provide distinctive touches to the landscape design. These trees, often referred to as specimen trees, should be used sparingly. However, they are often used to direct the eye towards areas of interest, such as the front entrance, around a pool or patio, or at the end of a walkway or path. Just about any landscape will benefit from the proper use of an accent tree. A few excellent examples of an accent tree would be Magnolia Stellata “Royal Star”, Cornus Kousa and Stewartia Pseudocamellia.

Attributes of Trees
Size:Trees for use in the landscape are usually classified as small, medium, or large. An example of a small tree might be a Malus, or Crabapple. These small trees add interest with flower, fruit and foliage, but will rarely reach a height of more than 25 feet. A medium tree, such as a Cornus Kousa, or Korean Dogwood, will mature at a height of around 35 to 40 feet. Large trees like the Quercus “Rubra” or Red Oak, will grow to heights in excess of 75 feet.

Shape:The shape of the tree will certainly impact the landscape design. Careful selection will blend with the property, structures, and existing plantings.

Texture:Trees offer so much in personality through leaves, branches, stems and twigs. Fine textured trees are open and airy, like the layered effect that can be exhibited by Dogwoods. This effect creates a feeling of space. Large, fine textured trees give the impression of depth to small areas. Conversely, coarse textures give the feeling of closeness and are appropriate as screens or noise barriers.
Trees are essential elements to any complete landscape design. To insure success, remember to position your tree where it will serve the greatest benefit, select the most appropriate tree for the location, and give them proper care and maintenance for the generations to follow.

Delicate white Montauk daisies (Nipponanthemum nipponicum) grow a profusion of 2-inch flowers in late summer. The daisies grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9, and they sometimes remain green through the winter in the warmer climates. These low-maintenance plants attract butterflies, making them a suitable choice for butterfly gardens, beds and borders.

Montauk is native to the coastal regions of Japan and has been naturalized in the United States in Long Island, New York and New Jersey. Unlike other daisy species such as Leucanthemum vulgare (Oxeye daisy), this species is the only one previously associated with Chrysanthemum family.

Montauk Daisy Care

Size & Growth

These perennials may grow up to 1.5’ – 3’ feet tall, sprouting shrubby foliage with alternate leaves. 

Each leaf is toothed, has a slightly leathery texture, and oblong-shaped. 

They grow quite well under the right conditions, putting on a great floral show come bloom time.

Flowering and Fragrance

In late summer or early fall, Montauk daisies put on a showy display of beautiful white flowers until the hard freeze arrives. 

These bloomers with daisy-like white flowers have 2” – 3” inches wide flower heads with white rays and green centers.

Light & Temperature

These plants are hardy to USDA Hardiness Zones 5 to 9. 

They are acclimated to coastal climes, doing well in warm but not excessively hot temperatures. 

As for humidity, the plant can tolerate different levels.

Full sun is the optimal light conditions for Montauk daisies but partial shade in very hot and overly sunny regions is preferable.

Watering and Feeding

Weekly watering is more than enough for N. nipponicum but they are drought-tolerant and survive without frequent watering every 7 to 10 days.

If the soil has sufficient organic matter, fertilizers aren’t necessary. 

If your soil is poor in nutrients, add a balanced, 10-10-10 NPK ratio fertilizer in early spring. 

Don’t overfeed the plants as the plant may flop.

Soil & Transplanting

Montauk daisies are drought-tolerant and can succeed in dry, well-drained soils. 

They thrive in most average soils with medium moisture. 

If the soil doesn’t drain well, improve it by adding sand or small pebbles.

Be careful with using heavy soils with poor drainage as Nippon daisies don’t tolerate sogginess around the roots.

Transplant root divisions in spring or mid to late-summer, moving them to a new position in full sun, planted in dry soil.

Grooming and Maintenance

Growth on these daisies can become leggy and woody if it doesn’t die back during winter. It’s important to cut back the foliage in late fall.

In spring to early summer, when the plant is in its active growing season, to encourage better growth pinch plants back to half their size.

Cease pinching the stems once the flowering season begins.

Deadheading spent daisy flowers can stimulate the plant for additional blooming.

Sterilize the pruning shears before you pruning daisies.

Besides these grooming requirements, the plant is deer-resistant and low-maintenance.

$200.00 for 1 hour private hayride for 6 people. Additional guest $25 per person, up to 24 people.  

24 people maximum per private hayride

Included is a private hayride to pick a pumpkin from the private field, apple cider, and apple cider donuts.

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