Is Fall Really a Good Time to Plant?

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One of the most common questions we get this time of year is, “Is it safe to plant in the fall?”. FALL IS FOR PLANTING has long been the Burnett mantra since the days of the little wood shed on route 85 in Salem that displayed hand painted signs shouting this good news.

Good news? No, GREAT news! Not only have we begun to wrap up the season with big savings on top quality plants, but the air is crisp and cool while the ground is still nice and warm, making perfect conditions for good root development. No top growth will occur this time of year, but your plant’s roots will continue to grow right up until the ground freezes, ensuring that you will enjoy your new plant for years to come.

Plants also visibly seem to appreciate Fall’s cooler temperatures. They are less stressed, and so is the gardener that can enjoy working outdoors without being scorched by the sun.

Rain is usually more plentiful in the Fall too, making daily maintenance of newly planted trees, shrubs, and perennials, much easier.  Still, water is part of the insurance policy of your new planting and if we get less than an inch a week, keep your hose handy. Another tool we recommend to ensure the life of your plants is Biotone from Espoma. It is a low nitrogen starter fertilizer that helps produce more and stronger roots. It’s what you don’t see under the soil line that directly impacts the part you enjoy seeing above the soil line.

When planting broadleaf evergreens, it’s a good idea to also use an anti-desiccant spray like EcoLogic Moisture-In. This will help protect your plant from Winter Burn. Extreme temps will soon be on their way, and an anti-desiccant spray will keep those leaves from losing moisture and turning brown. In fact, this kind of treatment is good for even established broadleafs.rhodie

Fall IS for Planting! Enjoy the beautiful weather and plant something! Oh, and if you’re going to plant perennials this fall, why not side plant some spring daffodil bulbs in every hole you dig? You’ll thank yourself next spring.

Express Your Autumnal Self!

DSC_0094Your home is your happy place, right? Your refuge from the world, the place that you can truly call your own. Making it reflect you and who you are is what makes it yours. Changing things seasonally will not only allow you to express yourself, but it’s also about making you smile whenever you see what you’ve created. DSC_0104And making you smile as you approach your home after a long day at work because the MOST beautiful mum (ever) is gracing your doorstep is where we come in…DSC_0092Let your inner artist choose the pallet for your Fall decor; cornstalks, mini and full sized hay bales, ornamental corn, pumpkins, gourds, and Fall plants have filled up our greenhouses! Come and have some fun family time at our Fall Festival, and leave with a cartful of happiness. 

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Fall(en) Leaves

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Driving to the garden center yesterday morning, my eyes noted the presence of leaves on the roadside of route 82, flying into the air as oncoming cars zipped by. My brain (still sleepy and waiting for the coffee to kick in), sighed ‘fall is here’. Yessss…but not the reason the leaves are falling. Sorry to say this dry weather may affect our fall display of colors if we don’t get some much needed rain soon. Look at THIS chart to see how little rain the hottest month of the year gave our gardens. We encourage you to protect the plants you’ve invested in, especially the ones you’ve planted this year. They need to be watered, and not just the kind of water that prevents wilt or just enough to keep them alive, but BIG and thorough drinks every time you water. You loved it when you bought it, continue with the love….questions on watering? Give us a call. We’re happy to help. THIS article will help too.

Pansies: The Tough Cookies of Spring

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If ever there were a pretty little flower that could be considered a ‘tough cookie’ , it would be the pansy. Although these captivating little beauties may look delicate, they are one of the first flowers that can brave our spring time in cold New England. Believe it or not, pansies perform best in cool weather months, looking and blooming best in early spring, and again in fall. It’s the heat of the summer that stretches their limits, literally. Warm weather temperatures cause pansies to stretch and become ‘leggy’ or tall. The solution to keeping them going in the summer is to plant them in part shade, cut them back when they get too tall, and plant summer loving annuals close by to take the spotlight off of them until they perk up again come fall.

So when can pansies be planted outside? What are the minimum temperatures they can tolerate? Good questions. It depends on who grew them. Pansies can tolerate low temperatures down to the mid twenties without flower or bud damage, as long as they’ve been acclimated. That means, they are already used to cold temperatures and haven’t gone straight from a hot greenhouse to outside. Our pansies our locally grown in cool greenhouses, making them ready to brave the chilly outdoors.

This spring is going to be a little messy, with snow still being on the ground and major melting going on, the ground is going to be sopping wet for a while. We recommend planting pansies in decorative pots, containers, or window boxes to bring a little spring to your home and garden. To give you a helping hand, we’ve decide to add a Pansy Container Garden Workshop to our spring events list. Come in on April 4th and 5th, and we’ll help you plant a beautiful early spring container garden that will chase away what’s left of winter.

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It’s Friday! See What’s Growing On…

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Hyacinths and Pansies…how about we pot them together in a container for you? Instant spring.

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Beautiful houseplants to add some life to any room in your house.

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Terrariums are SOOOO fun to make! Lots of options.

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Indoor ferns for terrariums or just by themselves. Elegant and easy to care for.

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Rex begonias. Colorful and interesting leaves.

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Phaleanopsis Orchids.

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Add a little colorful plant to this fun bunny planter!

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Gardenia trees are fabulous with their perfumy blooms.

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…and speaking of perfumy, Easter Lilies are just breaking bud and filling the greenhouse with their scent.

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Smiling little pansies!

Spring is Springing!

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This is a good sign that winter has finally loosened its grip on us!

In the last week, we have had some serious snow melt. Do you realize how long it’s been since we’ve seen…ground? It’s actually kind of weird. I saw my little solar walkway lights for the first time in forever last night, and I thought, what’s THAT? 

With the snow line receding, and as the possibility of walking around your yard becomes a reality, it’s time to start accessing the winter damage. While the snow was a protective blanket for our plants in regards to the record breaking low temps, it was also heavy for some things. I’ve walked only a small area so far. My poor ‘Miss Kim’  lilac bent in some places until she broke, I guess she won’t have a big showing this year. Other small shrubs with broken or cracked branches have also been noted for some helpful pruning as soon as the rest of the snow and ice are melted. 

We’ll keep you in the know about winter clean up as the season progresses, OH, and you might need those pruners and lopers NICE and sharp to make your spring chores easier. (BTW, the tool and knife sharpening people will be at BCG the first weekend in May.)

So how about you and your yard and garden? Winter damage? Concerns? Log on to our facebook page and let us hear it #wintercleanup, post pics too. 

Got Snow? That’s Great News! (For Your Plants)

Authors note: At the time of this post, the temperature has finally caught up to the calendar and the snow is melting! But if you’ve worried at all about how your plants fared through this winter, read on!

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Every time I venture south of our zone 6 climate in winter, when asked where I’m from, I’ll inevitably hear “you get a lot of snow up there”. And while true in this particular year, historically, our winters are anything but consistent with snow covering the ground. As a gardener, I cringe as some days have been below zero followed by a thaw the next day. Why? Because it’s not good for the plants!

 

Believe it or not, a steady supply of snow is a very good thing for the winter survival of plants, especially when we reach the status of record breaking cold temps. When plants are labeled hardy for our zone (zone 6a – 6b in Connecticut, excluding part of Litchfield County), that means they can survive temperatures as low as -10 degrees. Think of snow like a big, soft, insulating blanket, keeping everything below it at a consistent temperature of around 32 degrees, even when the air above is in the single digits. Let’s be thankful for that layer of protecting snow as we broke 100 year old records with some areas reaching -22 degrees!

 

So when the snow melts, the grass turns green, and the trees begin to leaf out while perennials break the ground – you can thank old man winter of 2015 for his consistency.

Do You Know How to Water? Watering 101

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Watering 101. Believe it or not, if it were an actual course, it should be one that everyone should take that gardens, or ever plan to garden or grow anything.  But being capable of watering plants seems like a pretty basic life skill, doesn’t it? Anyone can turn on a hose and spray down the landscape. But does everyone’s landscape flourish, grow, and bloom into an oasis of blooming plants, blooming all season long?

If a plant is thirsty, water it. If you want a green lawn, water it. Simple as that. But what if your flower, vegetable garden, and lawn look they are just barely surviving their way through the season  even  though you water faithfully and daily? Why, oh, why doesn’t your garden look like the beauties gracing the pages of Better Homes and Gardens?

With just a few tips, you can maximize your watering efforts, and make every drop count toward the lush, blooming paradise you want. It’s all in the ‘when’ and ‘how’ when it comes to watering.

When to Water

Watering is best done early in the day and ideally before the sun shines its rays on the leaves of the plants. But what if you don’t want to get up that early? Well. Early day sun is not as intense as midday sun, so don’t let sleeping in stop you from watering.

But what if you really sleep in? And you have a job. Or a life for that matter. And watering in the morning is simply an impossible feat that cannot be squeezed in in the morning. Well, then you have to water in the evening (although this may promote disease and unwanted critters). While this is not the MOST preferable, it would be the other choice.

BUT what if you walk out your door at 12:30 in the afternoon in the middle of August in 90 degree weather and your cucumbers are flattened to the ground because you forgot to water the day before? What then? Then you water no matter the time of day. Maybe they’ll come back. Maybe they won’t. But at least you tried.

The best bet, is to get on a watering schedule. Check the forecast. If it’s a sunny summer day, water. If it’s overcast and showers are expected, hold off.

How to Water

Don’t stop reading now. Your water wand is not magical. You can’t just wave it over the plants with one motion and done. That’s called shallow water and doesn’t promote good healthy root system. Deep regular watering is really the way to go. That does take some time, but plants are an investment you want to last the whole season, right? A perfect example would be a flowering hanging basket: water until the excess drains out the bottom, and if it happens immediately, then you need to do it several times because it was probably so dry that the water is running around the sides instead of saturating the roots. First year trees, shrubs, and perennials need special watering attention. During droughts pay attention to the look of the leaves on your plants and try to water them prior to severe wilting as to not stress the plant and compromise their health.

Soaker hoses are a great way to limit how long you have to stand there watering. Just turn them on and go about your business for a while. Sometimes, just laying down a hose on trickle can accomplish the same results. Nevertheless, let the water flow for a while and it will cut down on how often you have to do it.

Remember how much you loved those plants when you purchased them? Continue the love with regular watering during the dog days of summer so you can enjoy them for years to come!