The Dirt on Dirt

 by Kate Wilson

We all know that when we put a shovel to the ground here in central Ohio, it can be a bit of a daunting task. We have dense, heavy clay soil which can make digging a hole tiresome, and doesn’t exactly promote healthy plant growth.  At Oakland Nursery, we always recommend amending your soil when planting. With what exactly?  Anything! Anything that contains organic matter will help break up the density of the clay. Any version of topsoil, compost, or peat will be better than choosing to not amend your soil at all.

In many newer housing developments builders backfill around houses with subsoil. Our soil is typically broken up into multiple layers or horizons. Topsoil, the upper most layer, usually containing leaves and organic matter that’s beginning to breakdown (humus). The next layer in central Ohio is going to be dense clay soil (NE Ohio also has clay soil, but with a more acidic pH. Which is why a certain number of plants thrive better than in our clay alkaline soils – think rhododendrons, azaleas and hydrangeas with blue flowers!) But I digress: it is imperative that you amend your soil.

So what is the best amendment? I’ve always considered Topsoil to be the “all purpose” bag – works in most situations and is budget friendly. I’ve reserved my use of costlier compost for perennials and veggies. I’ve used peat when I’ve put down grass seed, because it’s the cheapest and a lot of it is needed for seed.

Having said all that, I recently did some more research the matter. Research as in: I bothered to read the ingredients on the bag. All the bags. I’m going to share my results with you – with pictures!

 

I couldn’t believe my eyes- no mysterious, un-pronounceable ingredients. Whether topsoil, compost, peat and even potting soil, the main ingredient – the one that takes up 90% of the bag or more – is peat! Reed Sedge Peat to be exact. Do hear what I’m telling you?! The scoop is that these soils are all peat based.

Topsoil (Garden Magic brand) is peat with a bit of sand mixed in. And even though there’s just a small percentage of sand, that sand has value. The sand serves to make the composition lighter and helps with drainage. Something that breaks up our dense clay and promotes healthy plant growth.

Compost: peat with manure. There are few options offered when it comes to compost. Holy Cow has a higher compost to peat ratio blend than the Oakland Garden Magic, and is priced accordingly. Posey Power is another popular option because it contains horse manure, rather than cow manure. It should be noted that horse manure is considered, um…”hot” due to its high nitrogen content compared to cow manure. It’s great for leafy greens, garlic, potatoes or corn- but cow manure would be the preferred choice when using it for flowering veggies (tomatoes and peppers) or perennials.

Peat: 100% peat – no bones there.

Now, this isn’t ground breaking or negative – I just never realized. Did you know that these products were all peat based?

The initial lesson remains the same: amend your soil. Add this peat (with sand, manure, or whatever) because it will help build your soil profile. Some blends contain more soil nutrients than others. Any amendment is better than no amendment.

….But wait….what about Potting Soil?

Potting soil is, like topsoils and composts, peat based. The main difference with potting soils is that it contains perlite. Even though there is only a small percentage of perlite, it is important, like sand with topsoil or manure with compost. Perlite will keep air spaces in your soil, preventing it from getting compacted in your container- and compaction means less air and water getting to the roots of your plants..

There are so many options (7 is my current estimate) when it comes to potting soil. Promix, Mircale-Gro, Fox Farm and Garden Magic are just the different brands. There are more options then within each brand, a different mixture for any use. Promix has two blends, both containing mycorrhiza, which is a fungus that helps with root absorption. Mircale-Gro also has two blends, which contain different mixtures of fertilizer tailored to their intended use. While Fox Farm potting soil blends contain earth worm castings and bat guano. And Garden Magic is the most budget friendly, containing only peat, sand and perlite.

Are there noticeable differences in plant growth using one or the other?….If only I was in middle school again…this is a great science fair project just waiting to be done!

In the meantime, that’s the dirt on dirt. 🙂

Happy Gardening!

 

Posted in Gardening, Landscape | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Dirt on Dirt

Beautiful & Tasty Herbs for your Garden

 by Kate Wilson

Yes! You can have hardy, long bloom-time, even steppable, draught-tolerant perennials… that you can eat!  Indeed, many have made even my mediocre home-cooked meals taste decent! We’re talking efficiency here, folks. Not just planting with a purpose, but many purposes. These guys are low maintenance and so, so much more.

But I digress: here are some of my favorites that are looking great this summer.

We’ll start with the most obvious first – Lavendula. There are many tried and true varieties of Lavender out there – some of which are Provence, Munsted, Hidcote, just to name a few – but there are many more. All are rounded and compact, just some more so than others. I was inspired by The Biltmore’s hedge of lavender in their scented garden within the walled garden. Typically when you think of an herb garden, you just plop down a little bit of everything, right? But a whole hedge of mature lavender? Glorious. Mine is not nearly as mature or as long, but it gets the job done. Its slivery leaves are technically evergreen and, by technically, I mean they can really look rough in late winter. But come April, it’s noticeably perking up.

And come June – I think the picture speaks for itself. The flowers are edible and, once dried, go well in an Herbs De Provence mix. (For those of you like me – newish or slightly lazy to this whole cooking yourself thing – Herbs De Provence makes any chicken meal taste great!)

Thyme is another biggie. There many varieties here as well, but let’s just try to get through some of them. All are steppable – meaning you can step on it and not destroy it.  It works nicely bordering a path of a walkway; when you brush past it, it lets off a nice scent. Some varieties, such as English Thyme or Mother of Thyme are edible. Wooly thyme, however, is giving me dry mouth just typing it out. Although it does have a great color a unique texture to it. And man does it fill in gracefully.

 

 

 

Magic Carpet Thyme

Magic carpet is another variety which is used more for its long bloom time rather than ingesting, that also happens to be steppable. It also fills in nicely without being aggressive.

Lemon Thyme

Lemon thyme is probably my favorite of all the thyme varieties. It is steppable, has a great yellow and green variegation and tastes pretty amazing. And when it’s in bloom those honey bees seem to really like it.

Dill

Dill: This guy I didn’t initially have great expectations for. In fact, I would have never planted it in the first place if it wasn’t for one of Oakland Nursery’s interns. He’s a little obsessed with it, perhaps because it’s the only herb he uses in his limited – but delicious – repertoire. We’re talking only potatoes here. I planted it hoping it would make him feel a little less home sick and I fell in love with this plant. It’s an annual, but it will seed out and pop up in great unexpected places the next year. You don’t even have to brush it as you pass by to get a pleasing whiff. It’s beautiful and will heighten your mashed potatoes to a level you didn’t even know existed.

Arugula (bolted)

Arugula will bolt (flower and then the leaves will then taste terrible) as soon as our summer weather hits. It’s what we call a cool weather crop. It does best when planted from seed in early spring and again in later summer for fall harvest. I “let” mine go to seed this summer, hoping it will re-seed itself this fall for me. It has a nice white flower to it and fills in nicely, getting taller than I thought it would. It has been able to withstand our recent heat with little rain (I’m not bothering to water it) and the blooms seem to be lasting more than two weeks.

So happy to see those honey bees out there modeling for a photo shoot. Happy Gardening!

Posted in Design, Gardening, Landscape, Low maintenance, perennials | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Beautiful & Tasty Herbs for your Garden

Plant bio: Deutzia

kate wilsonby Kate Wilson

IMG_20170521_164408582

Deutzia gracilis is a small growing shrub (2’-5’ tall and wide), native to Japan, that is tolerant of clay soils – which we know all too well about here in Ohio. The largest I’ve ever seen it here was about 3 ½’ around in a New Albany garden where they had amended their soil pretty extensively. It has a white showy bloom in mid to late spring after it has started to leaf out. The leaves are a bright green and serrated along the edge. It’s often trimmed or made into a hedge after blooming, but I think it has a nice natural rounded shape all on its own. The best part – it can take full sun to part shade! No serious pest (including deer!) or disease problems.

This highly under used shrub also comes in a couple of fun varieties.

IMG_20170521_164250439

Deutzia Chardonnay Pearls

Deutzia gracilis ‘Duncan’ CHARDONNAY PEARLS is more compact growing to 2’-3’ tall and wide. Also has the white showy bloom in mid to late spring – but instead of bright green leaves, it has showy chartreuse colored leaves. Almost yellow. It too can take full sun to part shade. And no serious pest or disease problems.

IMG_20170521_164342671

Deutzia Cherry Blossom

Another variety – seen even less often– is Deutzia ‘NCDX2’ YUKI CHERRY BLOSSOM. It’s even more compact only growing 1’-2’ around. It has a pink showy bloom and bright green leaves. Full sun to part shade and no serious pest or disease problems.

nikko2

Nikko Deutzia

IMG_20170521_165119403

Nikko Deutzia

 

At the nursery, we also carry a variety called “NIKKO SLENDER.” It produces lots of tiny, white flowers and is good for small spaces, only getting about 2′ tall. It’s foliage turns burgundy in the fall and can tolerate lots of soils.

Other websites claim no fall color, but I’ve witnessed a nice deep purple in late fall before the leaves drop on my mine. Which is cool. As far as uses go: they make a great informal hedge, look well massed in a garden border or could also be used on a woodland border. It’s a great three season compact shrub.

Happy Gardening!

Posted in Design, Gardening, Landscape, Low maintenance | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Plant bio: Deutzia

Easy Care Fruit Trees and Shrubs

kate wilsonby Kate Wilson

IMG_9040

Apple tree in bloom

There’s something romantic in the idea of walking out into your yard and picking an apple off of your own tree and taking a big juice bite out of it! This notion becomes even more intense once you have your own kids – who of course, are crazy picky eaters. In an attempt to selfishly fulfill my own dream and encourage my children to have a healthier relationship with food, I’ve been trying to plant more (decorative) edibles in my landscape. Living in town, I don’t have the space available for a straight up orchard, but rather, I’ve been mixing in fruiting trees and shrubs within my normal (ornamental) garden beds. And having a bit of chaotic life, I’m seeking out easy to care for – will come back year after year without me having to replant them annually- delicious tasting food. Not high maintenance. Low key rather.

pawpaw

(a photo of Paw paws I took at Dawe’s Arboretum)

I’m starting off with a small cluster of Pawpaw, a slow growing local, which will hopefully start baring fruit ten years or so from now. Not exactly a quick return on investment, but they are beautiful trees- fruiting or not. I also planted raspberries, which I’ve never fertilized or needed to spray – only getting the occasional trimming of the tops from deer. They have provided more bountiful harvests as the bramble has established itself. Twice a year (once in the spring and again in late fall) I chop out shoots with a shovel that have escaped their intended area. Monrovia has come out with a new variety of red raspberry, Raspberry Shortcake, which is thorn-less and is compact growing 3’ around. Perfect for containers or small gardens.

Raspberries

After consulting with expert (and fellow Oakland Nursery compatriot) Cat Baumgartner about my efforts, she has opened my eyes to a wider array of easy-to-care-for perennial edibles for the garden than initially suspected.

Despite my daydream, I’ve been hesitant to actually plant an apple tree. Old varieties need quite a bit of space and it’s always been recommended that you have two of varying varieties for good pollination. Which in my mind equals eating up more of my limited space. Then there is the whole spraying obligation that complicates the issue. But Cat was able to clear some things up and now I feel enabled to plant said apple tree. Yes, just one. Why? Because Cat knowledge bombed me – which I’m happy to pass along to you as well. In town, there are so many crabapples, that you really don’t need the recommended pollinator tree. Crabapples will pollinate your apple tree! There are also quite a few dwarf and semi-dwarf varieties and with the realization that I only need to plant one, the space issue is no longer a concern.

peach and apple

(Cat’s peach front left, apple centered with a ‘Forest Pansy’ Redbud to the right)

She also recommended using Orchard spray if scab gets out of hand. Did you know that apples are still edible if they have scab? I didn’t! Yes, they look slightly less appetizing, but if you were going to be making sauce, pie, cider or what have you anyway, then no worries about a little scab. And if does become too much for you, the Orchard spray label with detailed directions are really easy to follow. It also helps to clean up all the infected leaves once they have fallen and don’t add them to your compost pile.

peaches

(Cat’s beautiful peaches despite having a bit of scab – the small black spots) And no, Peach trees didn’t make the short list, because of their short life span.

Moving on to some often overlooked fruiting trees:

figs

Cat’s Fig Tree

Figs! There are more things to do with figs than make Figgy pudding- my neighbor likes to eat them fresh off the tree! Brown Turkey and Celeste are two varieties of fig that are “hardy” in central Ohio. Quotations are necessary here, because they do need winter protection if you want any fruit for the following season. It’s easiest to protect them by placing a large tomato cage around the tree and fill with leaves in the fall. Figs also have a gorgeous giant leaf giving them a tropical look- which can be fun.

Growing citrus wasn’t even on my radar, as I thought that was more of Florida and California thing. It turns out there is one lovely exception, the Persimmon. This sweet tasting citrus is harvested after the tree drops all of its leaves, giving it seasonal interest in late fall/early winter, when there isn’t typically a lot of interest going on in the landscape.

cherries

(Cat’s cherries- in the foreground and to the right)

Lastly, the Cherry. The uniformly rounded tree form is a small size – 25’ or under depending on the variety. They also have a showy spring bloom. There is a Dwarf Korean Cherry, which is a shrub form and self-pollinating! This is what I have planted (next to my raspberries) and this will be the first year I’m going to cherries from it! I planted it two years ago, but last season a late freeze killed off the flowers.

dwarf cherry

Freezes are an uncontrollable risk to any in-flower fruiting tree (or shrub) you may have, but it will make you cherish your harvest that much more in the good seasons! Please consider planting some of these easy care edibles to your garden, they’ll enrich your landscape and your food fare!

Happy Gardening!

(And a special thanks to Cat for not only sharing her expertise, but her photos of her beautiful edible garden!)

Posted in cooking, Design, Gardening, Landscape, permaculture | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Easy Care Fruit Trees and Shrubs

Old Shrubs, New Uses

kate wilson by Kate Wilson

It always amazes me how preferred landscaping styles can inspire such controversy. And I’m not here to condone one way or the other; but rather to encourage and hopefully inspire. Whatever your preference, own it. If you aren’t sure you even have one, then you’re in a great spot to explore and figure it out. I encourage everyone to view gardening as a safe place to take risks and experiment, but mostly to have fun. Where to start? How about the classics of landscape design? There are some oldie but goodie plants out there that are in need of a little creative reconfiguring.  Let’s look beyond their standard uses and come up with some alternatives. Here are a few ideas:

landscape bed--birches and arbs landscape--arbs and hostas

Arborvitae is overwhelmingly used for screening. When planted en masse, the arborvitae reins king of the budget-friendly “green” fence option. But that doesn’t have to be its only function. Why not a single vertical element in a border or perennial bed? If you have the space to allow for it, Arborvitae Techny or ‘Nigra’, which grow to be about 5’ wide and 18’ tall, have a great deep green color and a more attractive texture than some other varieties.

mailbox landscape bedAnother thought on good old arbs….Globe Arborvitaes. As the name implies, they are naturally globous in shape, giving value to the term low-maintenance – no sheering required. And for those who love the manicured look with less effort, I say go all in. Don’t be afraid to give your garden some balls. And why not lots of them!

There’s no arguing that the manicured garden style makes a bold statement. Another creative warose of sharon espaliery to achieve this look is with the Rose of Sharon. Typically desired for its repeat showy summer blooms, it can grow to be rather large naturally but can also tolerate sheering. More memorable, however, is seeing it pruned into a topiary, as a specimen at The Biltmore Estate left an impression on me years ago.

Vegetable and herb gardens are also typically grown in formal design beds or at least allotted a separate spot from the rest of the landscape. But why? There are so many beautiful varieties of food, why not grow them throughout your yard? Take companion planting to a whole new level when you have edibles mixed in your mixed borders! Or if that sounds too daring, try some ruffled kale or rainbow chard in your annual pot displays. Same idea, just on a smaller more manageable scale.

kale and cabbage container phlox in perennial bed

Speaking of daring, let’s talk about roses for a moment. There are so many colors and roses in bedvarieties available now, mostly all disease- and pest-resistant to boot, it would be a challenge not to get creative with them. If you have a sunny foundation in need of some pop, I’d suggest a row or mass planting of roses with a small evergreen hedge (read: boxwood) in front. The boxwoods would hide any inevitable naked leg syndrome and provide an evergreen backbone during the winter. Depending on the variety, you could potentially have a consistent blooming foundation from late spring into early fall. Not everybody has that!

ornamental grasses and black eyed susansMy last thought I’ll leave you with is with ornamental grasses. Typically used in threes to soften a corner or edge. Standard curb appeal. But when these guys get together en masse and with a couple different varieties thrown in, something magical happens. Yes, in early spring, everything will get cut back- but grasses will start to green up quickly and by the time June has arrived, the buzz cut will have completely grown out. The grasses will be full with varied heights and subtle color variations, and the bigger the mass, the bigger the impact, all year long. I’m using a few smaller varieties to frame in a wildflower patch in my front yard. Yup- front yard, folks. That has me thinking, maybe I should flank it with some globe arborvitaes…..

Happy Spring and Happy Gardening!

Posted in Design, Gardening, Landscape, perennials, trees | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Old Shrubs, New Uses

Spring Fling!

Believe it or not, spring is just around the corner! (We can hardly wait!) Our garden stores will be celebrating with our annual Spring Fling–classes, workshops, special events, kids activities, and more will be available March 11-19.  For this post, we’re showcasing the events that will be occurring at our Oakland Park Avenue store in Columbus. For more information, visit our website or call us at 614-268-3511.

March 11  & 18th (12pm-4pm): Kids Carnival
March 11 (4pm-7pm): Herbal Cocktail Sampling (21+, print invitation here)
March 15 (6pm-9pm): Paint & Sip with Via Vecchia wines (21+, tickets must be purchased ahead of time–click here to sign up!)
March 18 (4pm-7pm): Craft Beer Tasting (21+, print invitation here)

Check out the poster below for details!

Oakland Nursery Poster_2.15Updated-page-001

Oakland Nursery_Postcard Art--admission

 

Oakland Nursery_Cbus Underground AD-page-001

Posted in Gardening | Comments Off on Spring Fling!

Finding Winter Inspiration

kate wilson by Kate Wilson

pansies

During these grey days of winter, I’m often day dreaming about my garden. Taking mental notes of what worked well last year and usually more importantly, what didn’t work so well. Where to extend my bed lines, what to plant from seed, where to tuck in more perennials- you get the idea. I’m all over the place and to rein it in I’m big on making lists. To do lists, to plant lists, to clean up lists – and then of course prioritizing ALL of the lists. Although I’m not necessarily advising my wacky list system, it does help me come up with a game plan. And having a game plan is necessary. In fact it’s now right essential. Not only will it make you more efficient and competent in your decision making, but potentially saving yourself money and heartache from easily avoidable blunders. But where to start? How does one compose a game plan?

Start with some much needed inspiration! And since sunshine isn’t readily available, start with a trip to the library. Just seeing all of the niche books relating to gardening is pretty awesome. Some recently jewels I discovered are:

The American Meadow Garden: Creating a Natural Alternative to the Traditional Lawn. John Greenlee

Roots Shoots Buckets & Boots. Sharon Lovejoy

americanmeadow rootsshoots

Columbus’ Home and Garden Show is just around the corner. This year’s show theme is International Gardens, and Oakland Nursery is excited to represent Ireland–so you’ll definitely get your green fix!

At the Garden Show, it’s impossible not to feel inspired surrounded by all the blooming plants, plus it’s a great place to gather information. Our landscape design team will be there in our garden, amongst all this color and you should come over and say hello. Ask us any of your gardening questions and we’ll be happy to help out! We also excel at coming up with master game plans, better known as landscape designs. The show is at the Ohio Expo Center February 18-26 2017 (closed on Tuesday Feb.21). (For more information on what our Landscape Design Department offers, click here.)

hgs20161Oakland

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oakland Nursery is also hosting our annual Spring Fling March 11-19, where we take a whole week to celebrate the onset of spring! We’ll have sales and events going on (details are forthcoming, but check back here). It’s fun to feel the buzz and to see what first appears at the nursery. Our team will be itching to talk anything gardening with you!

appleblossoms

Happy Garden Game Planning!!

Posted in Design, Gardening, Landscape | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Finding Winter Inspiration

The Hunt for Mistletoe

kate wilson
by Kate Wilson

IMG_20161120_111605440    IMG_20161120_111529113

It was an unusually warm November, one that I am grateful for – but now that temps are starting to return to normal chilly and we’re midway through December – how can you not be feeling wrapped up in the Holiday season?

The Oakland Nursery gift shop is way ahead of me and has prepared for this fun season for weeks, if not months! Noticing an especially sparkly box filled with heavily glitterfied (just went ahead and made this fitting word up) balls of mistletoe (see above), I couldn’t help but wonder: why we don’t offer the real thing?

Oakland Nursery has offered real mistletoe on occasion, but only in very small amounts. Why? The boring, straightforward answer that I’ve been accepting for years: Because mistletoe is not cold hardy here and, similar to poinsettias, will burn and turn brown if it is too cold.

IMG_20161120_112105422

However, poinsettias are not only widely celebrated, but we also carry them by the boat load.  What’s the rub? After some minor hunting around to get some deeper answers (thank you liberal arts degree for teaching me to always ask questions!), I came across some really interesting and – dare I say – highly entertaining details.

Detail #1:  Mistletoe – berries and plant – are poisonous. Just how much so?  Depends on the variety. Typically if a berry or two are accidently eaten, you will live to tell the tale. But your digestive system will not be thanking you. Definitely not advisable for brewing in tea and definitely not okay for pets to ingest. (Side note: poinsettias are also just for looking – not ingesting)

Detail #2: How is mistletoe grown? Maybe in a greenhouse? Nope – in the warmer southern United States there is no need for such fuss. As a matter of fact, it is parasitic! Not bothering to set down roots in soil, it just taps in directly through hardwood trees and grows in the tree tops. As if that isn’t interesting enough, the most commonly practiced way to harvest this little holiday wonder is to blast it out.

Detail #2 a: Ever hear of mistletoe hunting?  It’s a real thing. Using a shotgun, one blasts out a bunch of mistletoe from the tree tops and hopes that by the time it falls to the ground not all of it was blown into smithereens. So fascinating, right?! We’ve come full circle- hunting for answers and the answer involves actual hunting. Now that we know this poisonous parasite has an established hostile harvesting technique – how in the world did we get to smooching under it?

And if you’re still having trouble believing this nugget of blog-posting dreams, check out this link:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2001/12/1219_mistletoe.html

Wishing you and yours the happiest of Holidays!

Posted in Gardening | Tagged , , | Comments Off on The Hunt for Mistletoe

Scents of the Holiday Season

IMG_7713

by Kate Wilson

My colleagues and I were discussing our favorite smelling Christmas tree as they started rolling into the nursery the other day. And while it’s still a toss-up between Balsam Fir and Douglas Fur – both having a strong citrus scent- we decided there are two other variables to consider when picking out the perfect Christmas tree. Branch strength (for holding up ornaments) and needle retention. Here’s the list of fresh cut Christmas tree varieties we carry.

Scotch pines have stiff dark green pokey needles. Good branch stiffness and needle retention. Mild to no scent. It is an excellent value.

White pines have long soft needles with limber branches. Mild scent. Good needle retention and is also an excellent value.

*nerd alert : Frasier, Balsam and Canaan’s all derived from the same ancestor (Abies balsama) and then became sub species evolving differently due to geographical differences. Balsams in Canada, Fraser’s in NC and Canaan in WV and southern Ohio.

Frasers are the king of needle retention, have a strong fragrance and strong branches, their needles are blue-green with a silvery-grey undertone. We view the Frasers as our premiere Christmas tree.

Balsams have the strongest fragrance of the firs. They have deeper green needles,  a narrow open habit (old fashion look) and flexible branches. Balsams are also the most inexpensive of all the firs.

Canaans are pretty much the exact same as frasers except branches aren’t quite as stiff. For anyone looking to be the most eco-friendly, these are Ohio grown.

Concolor have strong branches and longer needles. A bluish green color and a strong orange/citrus fragrance. It’s lovely.

Douglas have more flexible branches with short needles. Also having an orange scent with moderate needle retention.

Blue spruce is not as common. Very strong branches with pokey needles. Mild to no fragrance.

IMG_7711

Now that I let you know what trees have strong scents and you can tell me which you think smells the best? I’m going to start a tally.

Whether you’re considering a fresh cut tree or have been choosing them for years, I wanted to share a couple care tips for the season. Now wait a minute – fresh cut – you may be thinking to yourself….what do you mean care tips??! It is already cut, right? What else is there?!

After getting a fresh cut, a service the nursery provides or you decide to do it yourself, you need to get that tree in water asap! Even if you’re not putting up inside or in the tree stand right away, place it in a bucket of water right away. Sap will start gumming up the cut, so have a ½” minimum for a fresh cut.

It is really important to check daily for the first few days for water. It’s downright startling how much and how quickly the tree will take up water. This water supply will help keep the tree fresh longer. After the first few days the need for water will slow considerably.

Straight up water is fine, but some like to give there tree a cocktail of sorts. I remember my Dad mixing in Sprite to the tree stand. It’s fun to experiment, but the most important factor is keeping the tree stand full for those first few days. A product I do recommend is Santa’s Magic Water Spout. It’s a long skinny funnel with a cup at the top end, and relieves us from having to fumble with pouring watering into the tree stand while under the tree! It blends in with tree, making watering way easier ($7.99), and reaches about 3’ tall.

Lastly, the cooler the room, the longer the tree will last. Keeping it away from heating vents is also a good idea.

Here’s to Happy Holidays and a Merry Chistmas!!

IMG_7710PS: Below is our Tree Lot information, in case you can’t make it into any of our Garden Centers!

HOURS:

Monday – Thursday 11 am – 8 pm
Friday 11 am – 9 pm
Saturday 9 am – 9 pm
Sunday 10 am – 7 pm

Lot Locations:

1. SHERMAN SHOPPING CNTR (Rt. 256) 1230 Hill Rd N, Pickerington, OH 43147 – 3 Miles South of I-70, Pickerington, Canal Winchester

2. WEST OF LENOX CENTER – KINNEAR RD 1066 Kinnear Rd, Columbus, OH 43212 Columbus, Upper Arlington

3. ACORN FARMS 7679 Worthington Rd, Westerville OH 43082 Galena, Westerville, Polaris, Lewis Center

4. KARRIC SQ. SHOPPING CTR 5857 Frantz Rd, Columbus OH 43016 – South of Tuttle, Dublin, Columbus

5. GLENGARY CENTER (Dempsey Rd.) 5992 Westerville Road, Westerville, OH 43081 Westerville, Columbus

6. HIGH STREET (North of Graceland) 5304 N High St, Columbus, OH 43214 – Across from Iron Grill BBQ Restaurant Worthington, Columbus

7. HILLIARD ROME ROAD 2633 Hilliard Rome Rd, Columbus, OH 4  3026 – Corner of Hilliard Rome & Roberts Rd Hilliard, Plain City, Upper Arlington, Columbus

Posted in Gardening, trees | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Scents of the Holiday Season

Planting bulbs in the Fall for Spring rewards

kate wilson by Kate Wilson

bulbs

As a mother of two young children, planning ahead and following through as planned is a sweet rarity. There are always well meaning intentions to do more, get more done whether around the house or being more focused on work, eating healthier, exercising, volunteering, socializing with friends….You get the idea and I’m sure you all can relate on some level. It’s focusing on the follow through that seems to be the constant struggle.

This notion extends into the gardening realm. Looking out at the garden I see perennials that need to be cut back, tired annuals, veggies that are waiting to be harvested, and a lawn that is looking rather weedy. In shorter terms, its fall clean up time! Realizing that my ”to do” list to going to take me most of fall to actually complete (click here for a more comprehensive fall clean up list) there is one stand out item on that list – Planting spring blooming bulbs.

Admittedly, planting spring blooming bulbs does not have any immediate reward. But once you get them in the ground, that’s it. You’re done. They do all the follow through. In fact, most of the time – with the above mentioned busy schedule- I forget about having planted the bulbs altogether.

Until spring! Once you see those green tips peeping out of the cold ground, you can’t help but get gitty with excitement and thank yourself for taking the few minutes it took to tuck them into the ground.

Here are some of my favorites:

crocus field

Photo courtesy of oldhousegardens.com

Crocus. One of the first to come up in early spring. Reliably come back from year to year and look best in large groupings.

crocus flowers

daffodilsDaffodils. They reliably come back from year to year and gradually fill out. The dwarf all yellow are particularly cute.

 

 

colorful tulips

Photo courtesy of easytogrowbulbs.com

Tulip mixes. This is one of the few scenarios where lots of color packed together works really well – take advantage!

There are loads more spring blooming bulbs out there and it’s always fun to experiment if you find something you like.

 

 

 

Ideally, September through the end of October (maybe early November if you’re desperate) is best to plant spring blooming bulbs. Rafiki (the Mandrill baboon from Disney’s Lion King) said it best “It is time.”

raffiki

That facial expression also happens to be extremely similar to the one I exhibit when spring bulbs are a bloomn’ !

Happy Fall!

Posted in Gardening, Landscape, Low maintenance | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Planting bulbs in the Fall for Spring rewards