Kalanchoe – big beauty, low maintenance!

This colorful succulent plant is easy to grow and almost as easy to bloom. Kalanchoe has thick, rich green, succulent leaves with clusters of small, upright flowers in a rainbow of colors, which can include red, orange, pink and yellow. Most often grown in pots as a brightly-colored houseplant, Kalanchoe can also be used as a landscape plant provided you live in the right climate. However, their needs vary slightly depending on whether they are planted indoors or outdoors. Indoors, Kalanchoe …

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 …

Bruschetta

This delicious and easy to make brushetta recipe will put your fresh tomatoes to good use. This tomato bruschetta (broo-SKET-uh) is the most wonderful appetizer during fresh tomato season. Easy to prepare and bursting with summer flavors, these bruschetta make a great snack, appetizer, or side dish.  Try it and you’ll be hooked. Ingredients 10 plum tomatoes, diced 3 cloves garlic, minced ¾ cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (optional) 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil Salt …

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 …