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Birds are our friends – plant some food for them!

Thu, 10/08/2020 - 3:06pm

Many of us delight in watching birds flit around the yard; their high energy and cheerful song make the garden feel so alive! Summer is a feast for birds and the gardeners who enjoy watching them, but when the abundant food and warmth have passed, birds that stay for winter rely on whatever is left hanging around in the garden. Now is the time to assess our fall and winter landscapes and ensure that there is plenty of food and suitable habitat for our winged friends.

Great plants for the beloved birds:

Viburnum – Versatile, beautiful viburnums are an excellent wildlife and landscape plant alike. Arrowwood viburnum boasts spring flowers beloved by pollinators, glossy green foliage, and charming blue fruit that birds love. Planting two of these beauties ensures best fruit set.

Aronia – Aronia, or chokeberry, is a heavy hitter in the landscape with early flowers, clean green foliage that develops nice fall color, and a wide range of habits. Many aronia berries ripen late in the summer and can help birds store energy for the winter.

Winterberry – These plants set abundant bright red fruit late in the season that persists well into winter. When the elements have had their way and the fruit begins to soften, hungry birds feast upon it. Plant some near a window so you can enjoy watching the birds snack!

Grasses and perennials – Seeds are a great winter source of fats and oils for birds, and it’s easy to provide them in your landscape. Don’t cut back your flowers, but let the seed heads stand for both winter interest and winter food. Grasses like bluestem, switch grass, and indian grass are excellent choices as well, and provide forage for birds and vertical interest for us all winter long.

Evergreens – A bird buffet is even more effective if there is suitable habitat nearby. Who doesn’t enjoy nestling in after a nice meal? Evergreens with dense growth like spruce, yews, and junipers provide critical protection during frigid temperatures and many are also a good food source.

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The Bulbs are Here!

Tue, 09/15/2020 - 12:57pm

Bulbs are in the house! Planting bulbs in the fall is a superb way to get a jump on your garden next year. If you’ve long admired the cheery colors of spring and early summer blooming bulbs, why not get some into your own garden? Tuck them in between perennials and enjoy the spring show or start a new bed by digging a trench and dropping them in en masse. To give your bulbs the best start, add some high phosphorus amendment like bone meal at planting time and water them in but don’t keep them soggy.

Bulbs we love:

Allium – Alliums make a statement! Big or small, the pom-pom blooms are impossible to miss. Plant them now and enjoy them for years. Bonus! Allium is deer and pest resistant and attracts pollinators.

Fritillaria – These are some unique and underappreciated plants! The dangling, checkered flowers are a real conversation piece that add an elegant, unique touch to the spring garden.

Hyacinth – If you want fragrance, Hyacinths are it. The tightly packed clusters of flowers are bright and beautiful and usually undisturbed by critters. 

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Categories: Businesses

The Fast and Furious Elm

Fri, 09/11/2020 - 4:29pm

Are you in a hurry for a big shade tree but you have a tough site? Consider an elm. Elms are one of the fastest growing trees we carry, and after a few years you will have a nice sized tree standing proudly in your landscape. Super tough and not picky about soil, elms are an excellent choice for difficult areas where establishing other trees presents a challenge.

Elms do well with fall planting, so now is a great time to get them in and enjoy the soft yellow fall color. Adding a ring of mulch 2-4” deep around your new tree will even further increase its vigor and protect the root zone over winter. As always, make sure mulch isn’t piled up against the bark- keeping it about 2 inches away from the trunk is ideal to avoid bark rot.      

What about Dutch Elm Disease? The varieties we carry all display high resistance to the disease, so you can feel confident in planting these classic trees! 

The fast-growing nature of elms is great, but it does mean that they need regular pruning in their youth to maintain good branch structure.  Prune elms annually in their dormancy, winter to early spring.

Tips on pruning:

Remove branches that are at an extremely acute angle

Remove spindly or weakly attached branches

Branches that are crossing or rubbing will become an issue, prune so that branches do not touch

Dense groups of branches should be thinned- pick one large healthy branch and remove the rest

Avoid cutting into the collar, the swollen ring at the base of each branch

As always, use a sterile, sharp cutting tool

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