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Summer's Must-Have

GOMPRENA

Gomphrena is beautiful and long lasting either fresh or dried... and best of all, this annual thrives in heat and any soil conditions. What could be better than that? We think nothing!

This warm season beauty offers vibrant color, structure and height. Gomphrenia loves full sun and will survive drought. Use this easy-to-grow plant in borders, annual beds or even in containers. A showstopper in the garden, this interesting globe shaped bloom is a real conversation piece when cut for a mixed bouquet. Cut some of the blooms to use indoors, either dried or fresh. These flowers will keep their color and their shape and add an interesting element to your home décor. Dried, these flowers will last a very long time in a vase. We absolutely LOVE using them for a pop of color in the house long after their outdoor blooming season is over.

Try our favorite varieties in your garden:

FIREWORKS
This unique plant is a showstopper and grows to form a full, dense, landscape specimen ~ eventually reaching up to 3-4 feet tall and 1-2 feet wide. Tons of strong, tall stems are topped with exploding bursts of full blooms in hot pink tipped with bright yellow.

LAS VEGAS
Available in either vibrant purple or white, this shorter variety displays the same vigorous growing habit and adaptability as the pink Fireworks variety. Perfect in combinations or planted in the landscape, you will not be disappointed.

Pumpkins in June? Are we off our gourds?!

When thinking of things to do in your garden in June you typically think about coneflowers, daylilies, coreopsis, hostas... and pumpkins. Yes, we did say pumpkins! Planting pumpkins in June is a great idea with the harvest timed just right for decorating for the holidays ahead. So, for any of you that enjoy a fun family tradition of carving pumpkins together, or if you like to have decorative pumpkins on display for Thanksgiving, take note. Now's the time to get those pumpkins & gourds in the ground!

Here are a few tips for growing pumpkins in your garden:

  • Growing pumpkins requires a lot of room. Many pumpkin plants can grow to be 30 to 40 feet long, so be sure to provide ample room for the
    sprawlers.
  • Plant your pumpkins where they will get lots of sun. The more the better.
  • Although growing pumpkins will tolerate some drought, it is best to make sure that they get regular watering (approximately 2 - 4 inches of water a week).
  • Squash bugs are the #1 killer of pumpkin vines. To help fend them off, place some companion plants nearby. Catnip, radishes, nasturtiums, marigolds, petunias and mint will help deter squash bugs from your pumpkins.
  • When you harvest your pumpkin plant, be sure you leave a lengthy piece of the stem on the pumpkin. This stem or "handle" will help slow down the rotting process.
  • Pumpkins can be harvested whenever they are a deep, solid color (orange for most varieties) and the rind is hard. If vines remain healthy, harvest in late September or early October, before heavy frosts.
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A Peach of a Tree

Most of us wait all year for that first bite into a juicy peach, just one more reason we adore summer! If you love these juicy gems, we suggest growing your own. Peaches out of your own garden always taste the best. Here are some expert tips to get you started in the peach world:

WE RECOMMEND
July Elberta Dwarf are sometimes considered the world’s most famous peaches because of their abundance of taste, attractive color and disease resistance. They ripen to a deep, golden yellow with a blush of red. Elberta peach trees grow rapidly, and mature quickly to a height of 15 feet.

Redhaven Dwarf produces plenty of juicy fruit full of flavor ~ and it produces fruit in abundance very quickly. Not only are the peaches full of flavor, but they are also HUGE! These are one of the largest peaches you can find.

PLANT IN PAIRS
These two varieties of peach trees are normally planted in pairs so they can pollinate each other. This pollination causes your trees to produce more fruit. We recommend cross-pollinating Red Haven with the Elberta peach tree.

PLANTING
Peach trees adore the sun. Pick a place in your yard or garden that will receive full sun all summer long. Dig a large hole and add plenty of compost to the soil. This will give the tree added nutrients and help with drainage. Poor drainage in the soil will kill the root system of growing peach trees, so make sure the soil is well drained.

PRUNING
Peach trees should not be pruned before February. Avoid pruning within several days of predicted cold weather. Pruning peach trees during bloom or shortly after bloom is not ideal, but it will not adversely affect the growth of the tree or the fruit. It is better to prune a little late than too early.

TIP: Harvest the fruit before it turns completely ripe. Once it is picked, it will soften and ripen quickly. The fruit will still be hard, making it easier to handle and store. Store fruit in a cool, dry place, out of direct sunlight.

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True Blue

BLUE CHIFFON ALTHEA

These blues will make you happy! We love the newest Althea variety... Blue Chiffon, and we think you will too. Althea (sometimes called Rose of Sharon) is ideal if you have a sunny entrance way begging for the right shrub.This stunning variety features huge double blue flowers with lacy centers that blooms profusely from July through September, providing much needed color in the midsummer and fall garden. This deciduous shrub grows 8 to12 feet high with a spread of 4 to 6 feet in peak season. It is drought tolerant and loves the sun, but does just fine in part shade. Plant and prune into a hedge or simply place it in sunny spot for an explosion of beautiful blooms that are sure to provide you with many years of enjoyment!

There are lots of other varieties to choose from as well making the Althea shrub a versatile & beautiful choice for your summertime landscape. With an interesting choice of colors, this beautiful shrub is best known for it's large, showy flowers in single or double flower form that bloom all summer long. In white, red, mauve, violet or blue, you're sure to find the perfect variety for your garden.

Tip: Since Althea blooms on new wood each summer, this shrub is easily controlled and it's size can be maintained by cutting it back in late winter or early spring.

A Summer Without Tomatoes? No Way!

Here it is... June 18th and you may be worried you haven't planted your tomatoes in the garden yet. Don't worry, it’s not too late to get a juicy summer harvest. So, relax, take a deep breath and plant away. For those of you who have planted tomatoes, now's the time to pop in a second crop to extend the harvesting season. Unlike the first planting, it is essential to get the second crop of tomatoes in before the end of July in order to harvest all the fruit before cold weather sets in come fall.

There are many different types of tomatoes so, be sure to check the informational tag attached to each tomato for planting deadlines and instructions. Here’s a few fast producing tomatoes that we think you’ll fall in love with:

San Marzano - The San Marzano tomato is thought to be the best tomato in the world for making pasta sauce. Grown in the rich volcanic soils near Mt. Vesuvius, they are thicker and sweeter than Roma's and have a stronger, less acidic flavor.

Grape Tomatoes - Grape tomatoes have a sweet flavor, a firm texture, and less juice, so there's no need to worry about any squirting when you bite into one. Averaging between one-half and three-quarters of an inch in length, they're perfect for popping whole into your mouth like candy, which is probably why kids adore them too.

Super Sweet 100 - This scarlet, cherry-sized tomato explodes with sugary flavor. Fruits are produced in long pendulous clusters right up to frost. Add to your favorite dish or eat them all by themselves.

Sweet and Neat - This high yielding, cherry-sized tomatoes thrives in containers making it a great choice for small space gardens or balconies. Produces masses of sweet fruits over a long season.

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Pink or Blue, It's Up to You!

Hydrangeas are a wonderful garden shrub that are easy to grow and bloom through a long season. They're elegant, colorful, and versatile, suitable in the landscape, garden beds, flowerpots, and even that tricky spot right by the front door. Hydrangeas come in a variety of colors ranging from white to blue, pink, red, purple and shades in between. Hydrangeas are best known for their chameleon-like ability to change the color of its flowers, and, you don't have to be a magician to make this happen. With a few easy products you can be on your way to creating the color that is perfect for your landscape. Remember, you can't change the color of the white hydrangeas - they will stay white.

To get started, we suggest bringing us a soil sample to get a base reading of where you acidity and pH levels. Bring them to any of our three year-round locations. From there, we can recommend one of these specific products to jump start your color changing.

To Make Your Hydrangea Blue
You will need to lower the pH in the soil. This is done with a soil acidifier. We like Espoma Soil Acidifier (with the blue hydrangea on the bag). It is an effective way to acidify soil. It is all natural and non-hazardous and non-toxic. This is also a great product for blueberries! To lower the soil pH, apply this product in the spring and every 6 months thereafter. We recommend using 1 and ¼ cup for new plants and 2 and ½ cups for established plants.

To Make Your Hydrangea Pink
You will need to increase the pH of the acidic soil. We recommend Espoma Garden Lime (which features a pink hydrangea on the front of the bag). It is pelletized for easy application and is all natural. We again recommend applying this in the spring and every 6 months thereafter.

If you want to make a rapid change in color, we suggest planting the Hydrangea in a pot. This will give you a bit more control to adjust the color. Hydrangeas can flourish in large pots, and a container gives you more control over the soil quality.

TIP: Keep in mind that you will need to adjust the soil before the bloom season or at the very latest when you see buds forming in order to change the bloom color.

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Love at First Blush

BLUSHING BRIDE HYDRANGEA

With June being peak wedding season, we thought it fitting to showcase the Blushing Bride Hydrangea. Endless Summer® Blushing Bride will add life and love to your garden and home virtually all summer long. Reliably blooming on both old and new growth, you can experience the beauty of Blushing Bride again and again, all summer long. This garden standout boasts pure white mopheads of showy, semi-double florets that gradually mature to a sweet, subtle pink. The brilliant blooms are showcased against the stunning foliage in deep, dark green. Strong stems and branches keep the plant sturdy and upright in the garden, and make the flowers perfect for cutting.

Blushing Bride is very forgiving and will not suffer if left unpruned, or if it's pruned at the wrong time. In fact, young, recently planted shrubs are best left alone. Unlike other Hydrangeas, your Endless Summer varieties will bloom on both old and new wood. Its ability to rebloom all summer long make this a favorite among Hampton Roads gardeners. These shrubs make an excellent wedding present or anniversary gift.

TIP: To encourage reblooming, remove spent flowers. Because Blushing Bride blooms on new growth, you don’t have to wait until the next season to see baskets full of new blooms.

Now Featuring: The Summer Garden

When summer arrives, you may turn on your TV for entertainment, but there could be an equally entertaining show going on right in your own garden with "the plants of summer." When the sun is high and the temperatures soar, these plants display beautiful blooms and foliage, often attracting bees, butterflies and birds in the process. Add these beauties to your garden for a great summertime show!

Agapanthus, also known as Lily of the Nile is an ideal, easy-to-grow perennial that produces colorful globes of blue or white trumpet-shape flowers in summer and fall. Its evergreen leaves add texture to beds, borders, and containers all year long. Prefers full sun.

Miss Molly Butterfly Bush is nice & neat shrub with compact branching and beautiful rich Sangria-red flowers. Its distinctive flower color makes late summer gardens pop and attracts tons of butterflies to the garden! This one prefers full sun and is perfect in the landscape or in a container on a porch or patio.

Blue Chiffon Rose of Sharon is a stunning shrub featuring huge double blue flowers with a lacy center. This summer-blooming shrub grows 8-12 feet, is drought tolerant and loves the sun. Plant and prune into a hedge or simply place it in sunny spot in the landscape for a profusion of beautiful blooms!

Madison Jasmine Vine is an easy-to-grow climber that produces beautiful clusters of starry flowers you can smell from feet away! The butter cream blooms are what makes this evergreen vine stand out in a crowd. 'Madison' is a cold hardy variety with glossy, dark green leaves that change to a rich bronze-red in winter. Grow it on a trellis or arbor, or along a fence. It prefers full to partial sun and rich soil well-drainage soil.

Windmill Palm has an upright, single trunk covered with dense, brown, hair-like fibers, with fan-shaped fronds that extend 1.5-foot-long. A very slow-growing palm, Windmill Palm can reach 40 feet in height, but is typically seen much smaller at between 10 to 20 feet tall. This particular tree works well as an accent tree or while still small, can placed in a container.

Bountiful Blueberry is an tasty evergreen shrub offering lots of large, super-sweet berries and boasts dramatic foliage with white bell-shaped flowers in the summer. This plant adores the sun ~ the more sun, the more berries! Plant in the garden or in a container with other edibles or flowers for a truly unique planter.

Zinnias in the Limelight

QUEEN ZINNIA LIME RED

Where would summer be without beloved zinnias? These easy-to-grow annual flowers really put a pop of color & structure in the summer landscape. They are super easy to grow and available in a rainbow of colors. One zinnia variety we just can't get enough of this season is the Queen Zinnia Lime Red. This unique, statuesque flower is sure to take center stage as the 'queen' of the garden this summer!

These boast large fluffy blooms in shades of lime sprinkled with a subtle maroon that stand above well-branched, bushy, dark green leaves. The bi-colored flowers can even span 3 inches across! These warm weather favorites feature a long bloom time and drought resistance for fabulous garden performance. These beauties will bloom from early summer into fall. And, standing at 24-30 inches tall, they are great in borders or as an accent, and of course, look amazing in pots. These flowers are also a perfect addition to any cutting garden, as you’ll have fresh blooms to bring indoors all summer long!

Tip: Be sure to pinch these plants so that they will continue to profusely flower all throughout the summer.

Gardening Sea Side

Gardening in Hampton Roads presents special opportunities when it comes to seaside gardening. With all of the water, there are a few considerations that you should take into account when gardening near the water.

Salt – When placing plants, you should consider both salt spray and actual flooding. Salt competes with the plant for moisture and should be washed off periodically. Generally, fine thin leaf plants are more tolerant of salt.

Wind – Gardens that are designed to block the wind perform better. Wind will dehydrate foliage, thus the need for a thick skin to perform better. It is also important to use strong plants that are not fragile and susceptible to break up in storms. Strong trees such as Live Oak, Pine and sturdy deciduous trees tolerate wind better. Grasses are also a great option.

Heat – The heat and humidity can wreck havoc on plants. The ocean breeze can cool the summer sun, but if you block the wind, the heat will increase. Look to summer heat survivors like Crepe Myrtle, Cannas and Rudbeckia.

Here are some of our seaside suggestions:

Shrubs:
Cotoneaster • Forsythia • Viburnum • Lilac Spirea • Althea • Hydrangea • Roses

Vines:
Trumpet Vine • Clematis • Carolina Jasmine • Wisteria • Hydrangea • Roses • Coral Honeysuckle

Trees:
Black Pine • Live Oak • Vitex • Crepe Myrtle • Cedars • Crabapple • Styrax

Evergreens:
Russian Olive • Euonymus Holly • Junipers • Yucca • Wax Myrtle • Mugho Pine • Ligustrum • Palm

Groundcovers:
Hypericum • Candy Tuft • Liriope • Bermuda Grass • St. Augustine • Zoysia

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