What Can I Plant Now? Cool Season Flowers and Vegetables for April and Early May

I’m often asked “What can I plant now while it is still cool and our spring weather is somewhat unpredictable?” Listed below are a few options that have proven to do well in Michigan with our fluctuating spring temperatures. These plants are tolerant of dips in evening temperatures and perform well in cooler weather. ANNUALS Ranunculus – An annual in our growing zone, are brilliantly colored flowers with multiple layers of crepe-paper like petals. The leaves of the plants have …

Strawberries

Strawberries – the Luscious Taste of Summer! Strawberries are delicious!  And when they come from your own garden, they taste even more delicious.  Now’s the time to get your strawberries started.  The information tells you to wait to harvest the second year but we won’t tell anyone if you harvest and eat them the first year instead!  The strawberry’s incomparable sweet fragrance, fresh red color and superb flavor are the essence of summer.  One of the few fruits that originated in …

Fuchsia for new and old fashioned beauty!

Fuchsia are beautiful, delicate plants loved by many.  They’re known for cascading out of hanging baskets and attracting hummingbirds. The botanical name for fuchsia is pronounced FEW-shah.  It’s a diverse genus of plants where some are cascading types and some are more upright.  Some do well in sun but most prefer shade.  Fucshia have beautiful flowers for sure!  They are typically double, tubular types of flowers that hummingbirds and people both love.  It’s a favorite for many. So why do …

Fabulous Ferns

Fabulous perennial ferns add texture and contrast to any shade garden. Their names are complicated and there are many different varieties – but don’t let that scare you!  I”m pretty comfortable with annuals and many perennials but when it comes to ferns, I still have a lot to learn.  The good news is that most of the ferns we offer are pretty easy to grow.  The hardest part seems to be deciding what type of ferns will work best for …

Ensete – The Dramatic Tropical

If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me what “that” plant was… I’d be almost rich!  “That” plant is Ensete.  It’s dramatic and so much more. Ensete is frequently called a banana plant because it looks like a banana plant.  The real name for the redish variety we are coming to love is Ensete Ventricosum Maurelii.  In Michigan, these plants grow and grow and grow.  In a single summer, ensete can grow over 5 ft tall.  They …

Seed Technology

A seed is not just a seed. Was I ever amazed after taking a tour of the Ball Seed Technology Lab in West Chicago, IL.  The hours of work that it takes and the science behind what’s needed is far beyond what I knew about.  I recently attended the Ball Customer Appreciation Day in West Chicago, IL.  Ball Seed is a one of our largest sources for the seed that purchase to produce our plants.  For most items, we sow …

Echinacea – A Must-Have Perennial!

Echinacea – also known as coneflower – is a terrific perennial for Michigan flower beds. Beautiful, butterfly attracting, deer resistant flowers bloom most of the summer in sunny locations.  New colors and new varieties make this plant one of the best choices.  Echinacea sounds more like a disease than a plant you would want in your garden.  And if you read the Wikipedia description, it still seems like something to stay away from.  Maybe that’s why people commonly refer to it …

Brunnera Jack Frost – a Terrific Shade Perennial!

This plant is terrific for adding color to shade gardens plus it’s deer resistant and easy to grow. When you think of shade gardens, most people think of hostas.  I’m a believer in hostas also but I must say that I have found a new best friend in Brunnera Jack Frost.  This variety has beautiful silver like leaves that almost shimmer.  I might go so far as to say they glow in a shade garden.  In the early spring, Jack Frost …

Bloomerang Lilacs – They Rebloom!

Lilacs are the beautiful shrubs that are popular here in Michigan because of their beauty and their fragrance. Not many are blooming yet in Michigan but it won’t be long and you’ll see the pretty blue / purplish flowers all around.  And now, the new for 2012 are Bloomerang Lilacs!  This variety is especially popular because they bloom more than just once during the season.  The tag says “Enjoy lilac flowers for months instead of weeks!  Lilac flowers appear in spring …

Raised Bed Gardening

  Raised bed gardening is a great gardening option for many reasons. Anything from vegetables, to flowers and trees can be grown in raised beds. Advantages Better Drainage – The raised bed allows compost and other organic matter to easily be added to improve the soil structure, drainage and nutrient retention.  Foot traffic is eliminated so there is less compaction of the soil. Bigger Crops – Better root growth promotes greater yields of vegetables and stronger, more lush ornamentals. Longer …