Three Must-Know Tips for Seed Starting

kate wilson by Kate Wilson

Seed Starting Kit









Seed starting indoors is not for the timid or faint of heart. It’s an endeavor. Although it can potentially make economic sense to seed start, you’re saving some $$ in exchange for your time, commitment and literal weeding out. Yup, you must kill some of your seedlings that you have committed to. The experts call this “thinning out.” And I feel like this is a must-know before starting. If you’re cool with playing Darwin, then let’s proceed to some tips that will help you save time and give you a better chance at success.


Seed starting soil–vital for seed starting success.

Soil Matters. It really does. You need soil that will stay loose, somewhat arid, but still
retain moisture without compacting. And it must do this in tiny pots or trays (and they must have drainage holes!). Seed starting potting soil is most widely used because it contains perlite which is a naturally occurring material (volcano popcorn!) which is lightweight and won’t compact. Coir, naturally occurring extract from coconut husks, is recommended by expert Jodi Kushins from Over the Fence Farm (a local CSA).

What is key about both of these types of “soil” is that neither contain fertilizers. You’ll want to be able to control the amount and source of fertilizer later, once you have sprouts.


Self watering seed tray.

Bottom Watering. When I mentioned commitment earlier it was in reference to watering. If you do not spritz daily with a spray bottle your seeds will not germinate and you’ve already lost. If you are able to keep on task and spritz those little seeds into germination you’ll see sprouts pop up within one to two weeks. Once you have sprouts, congratulate yourself and reward yourself by bottom watering. Bottom watering, in this case, is using a tray under your tray/pots (that have drainage holes) of seedlings that is filled with water. You can also add in your liquid fertilizer to the water you fill the bottom tray with. The soil will soak up the water and stay moist as needed and encourage root growth. Also key to winning.


Oakland offers a huge variety of regular, heirloom, and organic seeds.

Acclimation. At first I thought I was being very Darwinian when I took my first tray of seedlings and planted them directly into the garden. I figured after all the TLC I had given them indoors they needed to venture out on their own. Those that would survive were the toughest, right? The lesson, as always, is I’m a fool. Acclimation is the dance that needs to happen between your seedlings and the great outdoors. This is not some funny tradition, but completely necessary. Your little dudes have been growing in ideal, unrealistic conditions with lots of fake light, regular water, and no breeze. It will take about a week to two weeks for your seedlings to adjust to the outdoors (and grow a protective cuticle).

Set out your trays/pots, in the shade at first, for a couple hours a day and then gradually have them out longer with a little direct sunlight. Bring them inside each night. After five to seven days of this back and forth, they’ll be ready to spend the night outside. After their first overnight, they’ll be ready for the garden!


Florescent light bulbs.

Okay, so there are really 4 must-know tips. Light! It, too, is really important for success. Little seedlings like loads of light, about ten hours a day. Use fluorescents directly over your seed trays, starting at about 4 inches. Once your sprouts begin to grow, you can move your lights higher. It’s important to keep your lights weirdly close to your seedlings so that they don’t over stretch (and pull a muscle…no that’s not right) and get leggy. Okay, maybe I was kinda right about the muscle thing. Regular fluorescents are fine if you’re unsure of your commitment and investment. If you want to get serious it’s worth it to invest in real grow lights.

For a more step by step process, click here.

Posted in Gardening | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Five Interior Plants (Nearly) Impossible To Kill

by Kate Wilson  kate wilson


Although I’m confident in my horticultural knowledge, experience and eye for design, I have to admit I’m also really good at slaying indoor plants. Despite my own failings once cabin fever sets in every winter (it’s in full force now!) I can’t help but dream of growing an indoor jungle. Managing these five plants, not an ecosystem, however, is achievable and makes for a more cozy, happy, and healthier home.

peace lily


  1. The Peace Lily Spathiphyllum. The Peace Lily is considered the drama queen of interior plants. It will let you know you’re neglecting it by losing all sense of trigger pressure and demonstrate flopping down leaves, stems and all. This is its way of telling you to water it. Water it now and not later.  Once adequately watered (i.e. plopping in the sink for a good through soak) it will stand up straight and fill out its natural full form. It bounces back every time. Every once it while the Peace Lily will reward consistent watering efforts by blooming.  There are different varieties of Peace Lilies that bloom some more often than others, so I would recommend buying a Peace Lily that is already blooming.  The Peace Lily blooms are a soft, almost cream white that contrasts nicely with the large dark green foliage of the plant.  Peace Lilies prefer low light, something near a north or east facing window would be ideal.
  1. Rex Begonia. Begonia rex-cultorum.  The Rex Begonia is growrex begonian for its wildly colored foliage containing patterns of swirling burgundy, pinks, deep purple and a frosted green. It doesn’t get particularly thirsty, just needs a once a week soaking. It likes bright indirect light.



3. Spider plant Chlorophyum comosum. The spider plant keeps on giving.  This finely textured plant sends out adorable little spider babies on stem.  You have the choice of letting the babies hangout (literally) or cut them loose and re-planting them.  After your house is overrun with spider plants (just think of how fresh and clean your indoor air will be!) you can give them away to friends.  There arespider plant even spider plant varieties! Not as far out as the Rex Begonia with its swirling action, but still notable.   





2. Pothos. Epipremnum aureum. This one is just fun to say. Npothoson-botanical friends will also be impressed if you can remember its common name.  This sweet heart of a plant can take low light, direct light and yes, even comes with its own highlights (typically yellow/cream variegation).  It can tolerate drying out between waterings as well as being submerged in water.  I’ve seen this plant live happily in someone’s shower as well as thrive submerged in my son’s fish bowl.

fishbowl pothos





1. Snake plant. Sansevieria trifascita. The Honey Badger of all interior plants. It can take direct light (which would require the occasional watering – but no soaking) as well as low to no natural light.  That’s right, no natural light! Utter craziness, busnake plantt makes for the perfect office plant. It gets better- it prefers to be pot bound. This means no messy transplanting. Mine is nicely placed in decorative pot on the floor, next to a wall vent – and it’s still alive! (Not recommended). The only damage is near a tip of one leaf and that is due to a curious two year old. This plant can live on neglect, no natural light, likes tight containers, and can with stand the curiosity of a two year old.  The Snake plant is the best, easiest-to-care-for interior plant.  And it happens to be one of the prettiest.

Want more information on tropical plants? Stop by or call any of our greenhouses and our horticulturalists can help figure out the right indoor plant for your needs!

Posted in Gardening, Interiorscapes, Tropical | Tagged , | Comments Off

Happy Holidays to all our New and Existing Customers!

As the snowflakes fall and temperatures plummet, please remember the theme of the season. Giving is a great way to express gratitude for loved ones and friends. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff can help. At our Oakland Nursery four locations, we have wonderful and numerous ways to ‘gift give’ this holiday season. Our gift cards are one of the easiest ways to give.  Plus, browse our gift departments – completely stocked with every day and seasonal home décor and garden accents, many hand-made and unique.  At the Oakland Delaware location we have two floors of unique gift ideas for that special someone.

Don’t forget, our garden stores and greenhouses are still brimming with every day and seasonal items as well. We will gladly handcraft Holiday green arrangements for you. For handcrafted arrangements and decorations, big or small, we certainly have it all!

Of course, our staff at all locations can answer any questions on plant or landscape material. We wish you all a warm and happy holiday season. Certainly the joy of living is in giving.

-Provided by Oakland Delaware

Posted in Floral Arrangements, Interiorscapes | Comments Off


Now is the perfect time to consider a natural Christmas tree for the holiday season! We have already been selling a considerable number of these with the season being somewhat shorter between Thanksgiving and Christmas; many customers are either considering a switch to a natural tree from an artificial tree or setting up a  Christmas tree for the very first time and have many questions about selecting and using a “live” tree  indoors. Among the most major things to consider are how long the cut tree will remain “fresh” inside the home without dropping a lot of its needles before Christmas. Also important are the sturdiness of the branches for hanging ornaments and lights and how fragrant it is, one of the greatest aspects of having a live tree!  There are several varieties of trees we consider to be excellent to use for this purpose.

DSC05303Fraser Firs are quickly becoming one of the most popular as it has many desirable qualities that make it a superior choice. It has gorgeous, soft, light blue-ish green needles that are very full, lush, and extremely fragrant! Coming from the hills of the Carolinas, the needles are short and the branches firm, making it prime for decorating, with superior needle retention. Also extremely popular is the Douglas Fir, traditionally coming from the Pacific Northwest and having very soft needles that are also extremely full and lush, but being a little longer and darker green then the Fraser. It is also very fragrant but with a little different aroma, taking on a citrus tone; this classic fragrance alone makes this tree the choice of many!

Scotch PineAnother favorite is the Scotch Pine, traditionally a hugely popular choice that brings to many great childhood memories!  It is locally grown, usually coming from Ohio or Michigan. It is relatively inexpensive, with longer dark green needles that are somewhat coarser but with a very attractive and distinct aroma. It also has excellent needle retention, making it another safe  choice without much mess. White Pines are another popular locally grown tree known for its long, soft and lush, beautiful needles with a wonderful fragrance. Needle retention is usually not quite as good as the Scotch Pine and some other choices but still makes a great tree to use indoors.

Another traditional and less expensive choice is the Balsam Fir. Coming from Canada, it is  popular for its unique fragrance and loose, open habit with short, soft needles that make it very appropriate for filling it with many larger ornaments.Balsam Fir Canaan Firs have started to become a popular choice in recent years. It is locally grown and inexpensive, with short, soft fir- like needles and full and stout growth habit.

When choosing a tree at a nursery or tree lot, there are several things that should be considered. One way to test the freshness of the tree is to run your hand along one of the branches. If it starts dropping a lot of needles, it is probably not very fresh and will not hold up very well inside the home through the holidays. Check the tree for fullness, symmetry, and no open spots. Also, check the trunk to make sure it is straight and the base, which will decide the size of tree stand you will need. Make sure to make a fresh cut on the base as this will ensure maximum absorption of water. Once the fresh cut is made the tree should be set up and put in the stand filled with water immediately, or in a bucket of water, to avoid sapping up of the cut. It is very important to make sure the stand does not run out of water; check the tree stand frequently, once a day right after set up, as this is when the tree would take up the most water. Once the tree is set up it is best to not decorate the tree for 6-12 hrs to allow the branches to fall down and retain its original shape. Try to minimize the number of lights to avoid drying out of the tree, using miniature lights is best, and turn off over night.

We also are frequently asked about live trees to be used inside for a Christmas tree, ones not cut and with the root ball, either balled and burlapped or in a container, to be planted outside after the holiday. This can be an excellent option but there are several things to consider when planning to use this type of tree. Firstly, the root ball can be a bit sizeable and very heavy when utilizing in an inside space; as a result the most typical sizing is a 3-4’ or possibly 5’ height. It also will need to be place in a tub of adequate size so as to be able to water the root ball, which should be always moist and never totally dry out but not setting in water. Also, it is recommended to not leave a living tree inside the house for more than 3-5 days. Also, when bringing in the tree from outside, for best results, place in a cooler area such as a garage for a day or two so the tree can acclimate to the warmer conditions. It is also recommended to not use many, if any, lights on the tree.

Sit back and enjoy the fragrance and beauty of your tree this Holiday season.  Happy Holidays from Oakland Nursery!

-Provided by Oakland New Albany

Posted in Floral Arrangements, Interiorscapes | Comments Off

Holiday Decorating!

  DSCF0994Christmas is fast approaching, and the pressure is on!   Making your home festive can be MORE (AND SIMPLER!) than a Christmas tree!!

Bring Christmas into the dining room by using ribbon to decorate your table and chairs.  Relatively inexpensive, ribbon can be tied into bows on the backs of dining chairs.  Tie ribbon around candles (flameless would be best!), arrange in the center of the table, add some cut greens for that holiday smell, and weave more ribbon through, or add a few shiny Christmas balls for a simple and fabulous centerpiece!  A similar arrangement makes beautiful and simple mantle décor.

DSCF0976Quick, festive touches in the living or family room include swapping bright Christmas pillows for every day ones and adding glitter in the form of Mercury glass, candles, and candle holders in gold and silver.  If your style is more casual, try filling canning jars or a collection of glass vases with battery operated fairy lights and colored Christmas balls (or mini pine cones) to brighten your coffee table or mantle.  A simple basket or bowl of sparkly Christmas ornaments makes a great decoration for a living room table.

DSCF0972Don’t forget the front door! In addition to the wreath on the door, welcome guests with empty plant containers filled with Holiday greens!   Instant holiday décor!  Green arrangements can also be purchased ready-to-go with bows, cones & glitter, or custom designed for you!

Now, relax and enjoy the holidays!  Merry Christmas from Oakland Nurseries!

-Provided by Oakland Nursery HOME


Posted in Gardening | Comments Off

Holiday Lighting

Christmas lights can be a real pain to hang yourself, so why not let the technicians here atNight Lights Oakland Nursery’s Irrigation department tackle them for you? We know how busy the holiday season gets, and we are here to take the fuss out of decorating your house for the season. No untangling pesky strands of lights, no climbing up ladders that are icy and rickety, no coats, boots, and hats, just a nice cup of coffee and a view from inside your toasty home and VOILA!  Your home will be the envy of the block. Let the folks here at Oakland Nursery help you spread holiday cheer for you and your family, who knew? Oakland Nursery will take the hassle out of Christmas!

The best part is that Christmas light installation is relatively inexpensive, and we even come and take them down for you when you are ready. We neatly pack them back away for you to store, and then re-use them the following year.  Servicing commercial and residential sites, there is no holiday lighting job too big or too small. We are now scheduling free estimates and installations; call us today at 614-268-3444.

-Provided by Oakland Irrigation & Landscape Lighting

Posted in Gardening, Interiorscapes, Irrigation, Landscape | Comments Off

Keeping Birds Happy during the Winter

images3People would not think that Northwest Ohio is exactly a premier winter hangout, but some birds think so. Many of the birds which nest in the Arctic areas come down to Ohio during the winter. So to keep your birds happy when feeding during the winter time, make sure seed is dry and the birds can get to the feeder.

Offer a variety of feeders positioned at different heights and locations around your yard. Also provide a variety of feed. Black oil sunflower is the hamburger of the bird world. Almost any bird that will visit a feeder will eat it. Suet is an excellent source of energy.  A good mixed seed and mealworms are good for winter also.

images7Keep an extra feeder or a larger capacity tube for use in bad weather. Put out high-energy foods, suet, meat scraps, and peanut butter. Fat gives the biggest energy boost to winter birds and without enough energy to keep them going strong, many songbirds would not survive a cold night. Some people save the seeds from squash and melons – this is a great way to put seeds from your pumpkins to good use. Spread them out on trays to air dry before placing them into your feeder.images1

Peanut butter is a great source of energy but some worry that the birds will choke on the sticky peanut butter; you can eliminate any risk by mixing it with cornmeal or oatmeal . Using a birdbath for water is a good thing but there is evidence that birds will bathe in open water in very cold weather. This can be bad or even fatal for birds in very cold weather because the water may freeze on their feathers before it dries up so place large rocks in the bath but make enough room for the birds.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        If If you decide to provide a birdhouse, a roost box is better for the winter as it will provide secure, comfortable shelter.  If you don’t have a roost box, backyard birders can live in birdhouses.  Just remember it would be nice to snuggle down into some dried grass or dry wood shavings to keep warm!

imagesL099XMGGPlanting trees and bushes that keep their cover throughout the year is an easy and natural way to provide birds with winter shelter. Landscaping that includes evergreen trees like cedars and pines provide cover in every season. A fast way to provide shelter is to build a pile. Add pruning clippings to the pile to enlarge it and keep it sturdy.

Wintering birds have done quite well in order to survive the coldest months. They’ve also learned to rely heavily upon humans for food, water, and roosting spots. The more we chip in and help, the better. And once you start helping the birds in the winter, don’t stop until winter is over.

-Provided by Oakland Columbus

Posted in Gardening, Landscape | Comments Off

Caught Off Guard!

Oakland Nursery Delaware

Without revealing my exact age, I should be old enough by now and know what is coming. Yet once again, Mother Nature surprised me. Autumn sprang out of summer like a rabbit, skittering across the landscape at break-neck speed, stopping occasionally to make sure I was paying attention. I confess to being caught off guard.

This is one of nature’s dramatic showcases of the unfolding life cycle. Like all of life, we can choose to celebrate or bemoan it. Our choice says a lot about us. This very moment would be a great one to step outside and observe the scenic overlook on your path through life. Every seasonal change seems like a reminder to look up from our to-do list, and be aware of our surroundings.

There is much discussion of old farmer’s predictions (these guys need some cheering up!), and the color of wooly worms (why do humans insist on picking us up?). This is a traditional time of celebration. Harvest, abundance, and the reward from previous work, make the notion worthy. The metaphors abound if we stop to consider them.

DSC09515Of course, it’s not over yet! It’s time to plant the bulbs that will introduce a future season. Think of those early snowdrops letting us know that winter does not last all year. Inhale the lovely fragrance of any and all daffodils. Rejoice in the dancing of of the tulips (keep those deer and rabbits away!) in the early spring breezes. More predictable than the weather, is that future surprise. Since we keep a somewhat naturalistic landscape, I expect those blossoms will appear not long after I’ve forgotten where I planted them!

-Provided by Oakland Delaware

Posted in Gardening, Landscape | Comments Off


WinterIn recent discussions with customers we have been getting a lot more questions concerning exactly what to do to prepare plants, the garden, and the landscape for winter. Hopefully this broad overview will help provide some essential information and direction.

Concerning landscape plants in general, it is still not too late to fertilize if you have not yet done so this fall. Trees, shrubs, and perennials would all benefit from plant foods that are more slow release and focused on supplementing the root development that naturally occurs this time of year as plants get ready for the upcoming winter months and prepare for dormancy and helps them look really great the following spring and summer! We are also quickly approaching the time of year to mulch the plants for the winter when the soil is cooling down. The idea is to provide an insulating layer of 2-3” of fresh mulch in the landscape beds once the ground is colder to prevent the freezing, thawing, and frost heaving that can occur during the late fall/early winter and can damage or disturb plants and their root systems as they prepare for the winter. We prefer either hardwood or pine bark mulches, as they quickly break down and add organic matter to the soil profile. Also falling leaves (once shredded- a lawn mower is good for this!), straw, or compost are all excellent mulches.imagesZ0YB4Y9A

We have also been getting a lot of questions as to what needs cut back or pruned this time of year. A good guideline is to prune all perennials back to the ground once the foliage dies and turns brown or black; this typically occurs with most plants after the first few hard frosts or freezes. Certain plants, such as hosta, astilbe, coneflower, etc. will show this die back early while other plants, such as daylily, Shasta daisies, and etc, will last much longer. As long as the plants have green foliage, they can still photosynthesize and build energy for the root systems so should remain as long as possible. Ornamental grasses start to take on stunning aesthetic characteristics for winter interest and for that reason should not be cut back until early spring, before new growth appears.  Many deciduous flowering shrubs such as potentilla and spirea can be pruned back rather hard (about halfway) to revitalize the plant and provide much more compact, full-looking growth in the spring with lots of blooms! We usually advise not to trim or prune evergreen shrubs, such as boxwood, junipers, and yews this time of year as it may induce new growth that would not have time to harden off before the freezing winter temperatures. Also it is best not to prune spring flowering shrubs, such as rhododendron, azalea, and lilacs as this will remove flower buds that are already formed for spring bloom!  Certain Hydrangeas, including Endless Summer and mostly other pink and blue blooming varieties will benefit from being pruned back about half way this time of year. There are other Hydrangeas, mostly white blooming and oak leaf varieties, that are more woody in nature and should only be pruned modestly to maintain size and shape. Knockout roses, a popular and exceptional shrub rose, should be cut back only about halfway, and mulched and treated like other flowering shrubs this time of year. Other roses, such as hybrid teas and climbers, require more preparation such as pruning back to the grafts (just a few inches above ground level) and mulching several inches over the plant to protect the grafts.

This is also an excellent time of year to fertilize the lawn one final time with a lawn food formulated for fortifying the grass with what it needs for root development, stem hardiness, and preparing it for winter. Also it is not too late to do one last weed control application of the lawn, with an herbicide designed for this time of year.  It would be a good idea to keep in mind that all plants, especially ones recently planted, will still be actively growing and developing  roots long after the top growth goes dormant and until the soil freezes, so supplemental watering will be necessary until then.

-Provided by Oakland New Albany

Posted in Gardening, Landscape | Comments Off


Home Deco

Oakland HOME Store

Orange, red and gold leaves, sunny days with blue skies, pumpkins, mums and pansies; the colors and scents of fall make the change of seasons exciting and encourage us to look forward to soup in the crock-pot and cozy nights in front of the fire.

Welcome fall into your home with colorful accents such as pillows, candles, potpourri ,fall wreaths and table arrangements. Pillows in fall colors and designs featuring leaves and Halloween motif can brighten and completely change the look of any room.   Candles with scents from sweet apple to smoky bonfire will bring the scent and feeling of fall into your home.  Potpourri with a mix of dried and scented natural materials will add texture as well as adding fall scents in bathrooms and kitchen.  And of course, a fall wreath of leaves, gourds, berries and twigs does not need to be used only on the front door.   Hanging over the mantle or in the foyer, a wreath will set the stage for a beautiful fall inside your home.   And don’t forget a fall table arrangement in dried or silk materials can brighten the dining room for fall and do double duty as the Thanksgiving centerpiece.

Fall is DSCF0845also a great time to freshen up your home with live or artificial greenery. With cooler weather, house plants that spent the summer outside will need to come back inside. Now is the time to re-pot  plants that have become too big for their container, using decorative pots that complement your decor.  If you don’t have a green thumb when it comes to house plants, or need greenery to brighten a dim corner, excellent artificial  plants are now available either in decorative containers or ready to be “planted” in a container of your choice.

Change the look of your home with fall accents, simple changes that brighten and freshen, and Celebrate Fall!

-Provided by the Oakland Nursery Dublin / HOME store

Posted in Gardening | Comments Off