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Who says they won’t eat their veggies?

Looking for a way to get your kids to eat their fruits & veggies? Well, there’s bribery and there’s trickery... not to mention all out war! Statistics show kids aren't getting nearly enough fruits and veggies. Only 22% of children ages 2 to 5 meet government recommendations for vegetables consumption, according to a recent study by researchers at Ohio State University. It only gets worse as children get older. Only 16% of children ages 6 to 11 meet the government's guidelines and just 11% of those ages 12 to 18.

It’s a fact that kids love to be involved and learn through hands-on projects, so why not get your kids in the garden with our NEW line of Chef Jeff Kid Veggies. Not only will your kids get involved, but it’s a great way to spend time with your little gardeners too. So get your little ones and make memories in the garden that you can bring to the table!

Scrumptious fruit & veggie plants for your little sprouts:

Tommy the Tomato - tasty fruit that produces delicious, large 1 to 2 pound tomatoes. The perfect addition to sandwiches salads, or use to make fresh salsa or pizza sauce. Requires the support of a stake or cage. Plant in a sunny spot, 24-30" apart (70 days to maturity).

Beansy the Coolbean - produces beautiful white flowers that turn into tender green beans that can be picked all season long! Beans are best picked when they are 7-8" long. Be sure to provide them with a fence, trellis, or pole to climb up. Plant in a sunny spot, 12-18" apart (90 days to maturity).

Luke the Cuke - kids can watch as each yellow flower turns into a tasty dark green cucumber. Pick and eat these cuks straight out of the garden or use in your favorite sandwiches or salads. Plant in ground or containers in a sunny spot and pick often to keep new cucumbers coming all season long. Plant 12-18" apart (55 Days to maturity).

Sherry the Berry - sweet strawberry that produces fruit all summer long! Plant in a sunny location and water frequently, and you’ll be rewarded with fruit year after year! Also great when grown in containers. Use in fruit or green salads or dip in fresh cream for a special treat! Plant 12" apart (height 6-8").

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Old World Sophistication

PRIMEVERE PEONY

The traditional floral symbol of China, the state flower of Indiana, and the 12th wedding anniversary flower, peonies are known as the flower of riches and honor. With their lavish, full, rounded bloom, peonies symbolize romance and prosperity and are regarded as a symbol of good fortune and even a happy marriage.

Peonies are perennial favorites in the flower garden and there are few herbaceous plants that can compete with their floral display and foliage. Their exquisite, large blossoms, frequently fragrant, not only make for excellent cut flowers but their foliage also offers the perfect background for both annuals and other perennials.

Primevere, this week's "Plant of the Week", offers flowers with one of the most unique color combinations of any peony around. This double peony variety features creamy white petals punctuated with a lemony-yellow center. It blooms late spring to early summer and does best in full sun to light shade. Primevere is a relatively low maintenance perennial, and should be cut back in late fall in preparation for winter. This beauty is great choice for attracting butterflies and bees, but is not particularly attractive to deer. Plant this in in beds, borders and use for foundation plantings. The possibilities are endless... so add a little old world charm to your landscape with Peony Primevere!

Plant a Peony Paradise

Enhance the beauty and structure of your garden with peonies. These woody perennial plants are low-maintenance and their beauty just can't be beat. Check out the three main types of peonies...

Herbaceous Peonies
These are the most well known type of peony and produce beautiful cut flowers. These perennial peonies die back to the ground every winter and will reemerge each spring. They grow in full sun but can benefit from some afternoon shade here in Hampton Roads. Most prefer neutral to slightly alkaline soil and good drainage is essential. The flower stems may not be strong enough to keep the often heavy flamboyant flowers upright and staking is recommended. These low maintenance shrubs are deer proof.

Choose from these varieties: Hawaiian Coral, Pink Parfait, Primevere, Sea Shell, Shirley Temple, Paul Wild, Miss America, Do Tell, Bowl of Beauty Karl Rosenfield, and Velvet Splendor.

Tree Peonies
Are not exactly trees, in fact they are long-lived, hardy deciduous shrubs. The best spot to plant these are in a sunny place. They can tolerate some light shade but the plants may begin to grow towards the light. Their woody structure allows them to support beautiful dinner sized plate blooms. The colorful and exotic flowers are available in orange, red and yellow blooms. After blooming, they provide structure in the garden with deep green leaves in summer and bronze-purple foliage in fall. These peonies grow between 3-7 feet tall.

Choose from orange, red and yellow varieties.

Itoh Peonies
Are a cross of the green foliage and exotic blooms of the tree peony and the seasonal growing habit of herbaceous peonies. Itoh peonies are grown for their huge, beautiful blooms and lush green foliage. Historically, Itohs were challenging to grow and thus hard to find and rather expensive. But that’s all changed. A mature plant may produce 50 or more dinner plate size flowers on strong, short stems that do not requiring staking. With Dinner plate sized flowers, a nicely shaped plant, deer resistant and easy to grow. What’s not to love about these beauties? These peonies are more compact in size and grow 2.5 feet tall - 3 feet wide.

Choose from these varieties: Bartzella, Kopper Kettle, Dandy Keiko and Takara.

(selection varies per location)

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Got Weeds? Say Goodbye with Killzall.

Killzall by Hi-Yield does what it says... it will kill any plant you spray it on. So be careful and make sure it is something you definitely want to kill. This is not a selective herbicide, meaning you can not spray it over your desirable lawn or plants and kill weeds. It will kill or seriously hurt any plant it touches. This is a traditional method of removing any vegetation. This product kills to the roots by absorption of the liquid through the leaf through the process of drying on the leaf of the vegetation by the sun.

Killzall is a great solution for those troublesome weeds around your home. We recommend using it to kill weeds in cracks, in concrete or between pavers. You can also use Killzall on weeds in flowerbeds ~ being careful not to spray on desirable plants. The best time to spray is when the sun is out and the vegetation being sprayed is in the sunlight, no wind at time of spraying, and no rain in the forecast for three hours. The warmer the weather the quicker the results.

Best of all, you can plant after seven days of spraying Killzall. So, that means you can kill an area of vegetation to form a new bed and plant the very next week. It is safe for pets and humans to have contact with the area sprayed after it has dried. This product does not harm root systems. It only works when sprayed on the leaves of plants and then it kills to the roots. You may spray around the base of trees to control weeds, as long as you don’t spray the tree it self.

Our three year-round locations carry the complete line of Killzall products including 8-32oz concentrates and Extended Control Killzall. Visit us today and find out all the weed control products available.

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Annual Packs – Fast Growing & Carefree!

CELOSIA and POLKA DOT PLANTS

Annual packs add BIG color to seasonal containers and flowerbeds. With four, yes FOUR, plants in one pack... this surely is an economical way to landscape. There are a multitude of varieties when choosing annual pack color. Here’s our top pick for shade and sun:

CELOSIA – loves the sun.
This super tough, drought-resistant annual is adored for its unusual style and texture. It comes in an array of luscious colors including red, yellow, cream, orange, rose, deep magenta and pink. Use as flowerbed borders and in containers, inside or out. Celosia is an excellent choice as a cut flower and loves it warm and sunny.

POLKA DOT PLANTS, or Hypoestes – love the shade.
Available in white with green dots and pink with green dots, this little plant lives right up to its name. This beauty really shines when paired with ferns, impatiens, hostas and ivy. Polka dot plants are easy to grow and prefer a fast draining potting soil. They love humid environments, so our Hampton Roads summers are just perfect.

Other annuals available in packs (on sale now, 4 for $5):
Dianthus, Coleus, Verbena, Petunia. Marigolds, Begonia, Salvia, Impatiens, Dusty Miller

Is this a weed?

We at McDonald Garden Center are often asked "Do you know what this is?"... and in this case, the answer is poa annua, or more commonly known as bluegrass ~ and yep, this little plant is in fact considered a weed in this area.

Here's what you do to get rid of it:

Bluegrass is a desirable lawn grass in some states, but not here in Virginia. It seeds at a very early age and can spread quite aggressively. In our summer heat, it will die and turn brown, but the seed will germinate in the fall and it will come back. Unfortunately, there is not a selective herbicide that kills only bluegrass and not your desirable lawn, since bluegrass itself can be a desirable lawn in some areas. You can use Killz-all (our form of Round-Up) to kill it, but it will kill anything it touches. The best solution is to use Dimension Weed & Grass Stopper, as this will prevent the seed from spreading. It basically kills seed. Therefore no new bluegrass will germinate, however what is up will remain unless you hand weed or spray it with Killz-all. The more consistent you are with using the Dimension, the less bluegrass you will see.

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The 411 on Petunias

With so many petunias out there, finding your favorites can seem overwhelming. Never fear... we've simplified it for you with answers to all your petunia questions!

  1. How do you prefer your petunias to grow?
    Petunias fall into two categories: Mounding Growth Habit and Trailing/Spreading Growth Habit
  2. TRAILING/SPREADING (cascading growth habit)
    Use as a spiller in containers, window boxes or hanging baskets.

    • Supertunia: great colors, vigorous grower; self-cleaning & no dead heading required
    • Wave: low growing and tolerates heat well
    • Shockwave: smaller flowers and more weather resistant; tolerates heat
    • Easy Wave: fast-growing and blooms early spring to late summer; doesn’t require cutting back
    • Plush: mid-size blooms with show of color all summer long
    • Suncatcher: large flowers in a wide range of colors that bloom repeatedly

    MOUNDING HABIT(grow in a clump)
    Use in the landscape, in containers and in combination planters.

    • Potunia: early spring bloomer in bold colors
    • Sophistica: one-of-a-kind flowers that bloom early spring - late summer

  3. Are you looking for a petunia to plant in the landscape or to fill a garden bed?
    We recommend Vista Supertunias or the original Wave petunias for this use. They are vigorous growers and will trail and cascade.
  4. Are you looking for smaller flowers?
    Shockwave petunias are the best choice. They are less sensitive to high light demands and are the earliest of the Wave petunias to bloom.
  5. Love Wave petunias, but do they get too big for you?
    Easy Wave is a great choice for this instance.
  6. Are you looking to create a solid color, petunia only display?
    Create an eye catching display by using Potunias. These are made specifically for containers. They are not as happy planted in the garden and they will not spread like a Wave petunia, making them ideal for containers.
  7. Do you want to create a combination planter using petunias?
    Supertunias are ideal as they will weave in and out with other plants to create a great combo. We recommend not using Vista petunias, they don't play well with their neighbors and need their own place to expand and grow.
  8. What petunias are best for hanging baskets?
    Supertunias and Wave varieties are great for this as they have a cascading growth habit.
  9. Are you looking for cool and trendy colors?
    • Sophistica Lime Green offers a solid, saturated color with no veining or fading.
    • Sun Spun Purple Star has a unique bicolor look with purple and white stripes.
    • White Russian is a unique color, kind of a love it or hate thing!
    • We also really love Suncatcher Vintage Rose which gives a ruffled antiqued heirloom look.
  10. Where are you planning on planting petunias?
    For the most part, all petunias are sun loving annuals. They will perform best in the sunshine!
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The Vintage Petunia

VINTAGE ROSE SUNCATCHER PETUNIA

This is the perfect bloom for a sunny spot! Antique pink rose petals bloom early to create lush flower filled containers from top to tip. Compact and controlled this beauty won’t overtake other plants. With a beautiful ruffled edge this bloom shows all the shades of pink. The shell pink edges deepen to a deeper shade of pink fading into a plum center. Plant in full sun for lots of blooms and good draining soil. Grows 8-12 inches high with 12-14 inch spread. This ‘tunia is perfect for mixed combos, hanging baskets, border edgings and mass landscape plantings.

For best performance, this annual will require occasional upkeep. Simply trim off the flower heads as they fade to encourage more blooms all season long. It’s a good choice for attracting hummingbirds, but isn’t particularly attractive to deer (and, that’s a good thing).

Wake Up Your Garden

It’s time to get things in full spring! Here's some of our top picks to wake up your garden.

Raspberry Blast Petunia
This new, breakthrough color in Petunias with pink blooms edged in deep cerise violet will make you say 'Wow'. Its trailing habit and low maintenance makes it a winner for both baskets and beds. Attracting butterflies and hummingbirds, this bubblegum pink bloom is a must have.

Royale Iced Cherry Verbena
In all shades of bright cherry pink, this Superbena is a vigorous, heat tolerant, and mildew tolerant beauty. Great in containers this Verbena is also fantastic in landscape beds. While naturally well branched, trimming them back will encourage additional branching, fuller plants, and ultimately more flowers.

Royale Chambray Verbena
Just like the light blue fabric, this verbena is a beautiful color and offers scent. As a superbena, is a vigorous, heat tolerant, and mildew tolerant beauty. Great in containers this Verbena is also fantastic in landscape beds. While naturally well branched, trimming them back will encourage additional branching, fuller plants, and ultimately more flowers.

Lemon Slice Milion Bells
Looking like little Petunias, the unique bicolor pattern of white and bright yellow make these million bells a sunny choice for your containers. Covered with hundreds of flowers in yellow and white from early spring all the way through those first light frosts. With long, trailing branches these blooms cascade over the sides of hanging baskets and other containers, and spread over flower beds. Plant in full sun and tolerates the heat well.

Caliente Hot Coral Geranium
With exceptional heat tolerance this coral geranium is certainly hot in the garden this spring. Thriving in full to part sun, it is pretty drought tolerant once established. This bold eye catching color gives new color to this traditional flower. In a container these geraniums really provide the wow factor.

Goldalia Dahlia
Produces an unusual orange bloom with white tips and large orangey yellow centers. As a prolific bloomer, this petite dahlia is short and compact but well branched. These blooms look great in the garden or as cut flowers on your dining room table.

Photos courtesy of Proven Winners

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