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 …

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 …

Kid’s Plants – A Great Tradition by Effie Boven

Giving a free tray of flowers to children has been a tradition at Wenke Greenhouses for many years.  My grandmother, Nancy Wenke’s mother, Effie Boven, started this tradition years ago.  Many people have told me how they remember coming in and getting their free flowers and how much they remember it now that they are selecting flowers for their own homes as adults.  On Mother’s Day, it seems fitting to remember and celebrate this fond memory of Effie Boven. Do you …

Keeping Deer Out of Your Flowers

Deer are beautiful when they are in the woods, far away from your flowers.  But when they start eating all the blooms off your impatiens – something has got to change.  Don’t give up.  We have a few ideas. Many gardeners have problems with Deer and other four legged vegetarian wildlife. There aren’t any plants that are truly Deer proof. Fortunately there are varieties that are less favorable or what we refer to as resistant. There also are products on …

Beautiful and Good for You Too!

Did you know that plants are really beneficial in addition to being beautiful? There are so many ways that plants make the world a better place.  Most of us reading this know how good plants make us feel.  This article will just give you a few more reasons to enjoy your flowers even more.  We’ve known for years that plants are beneficial in producing oxygen. Research has now found that plants also produce many other health benefits. Studies show that …

Keeping a Garden Journal

Sue Sarters shares her insight about keeping a garden journal. “Everyone who gardens should really try to keep a garden journal.  I’ll be the first to admit that I do not always keep an official journal, but I do take a lot of pictures, which can serve as a journal of sorts.  And I do try to record important information like, when our first and last frost occurred for the season, how certain plants did their first year in my …