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A Kiss with a Twist

STRAWBERRY KISS: The National Combo of the Year

Creating successful combinations can be puzzling. Will the plants grow well together? What are the most popular colors? Will they look good together? Take the guesswork out of containers and try the Proven Winners National combination of the year – Strawberry Kiss.

This bright and colorful combination is available in almost every configuration possible. From hanging baskets to container plants Strawberry Kiss is perfect for your outdoor décor. From hot pink hues to bright white, this combination will bloom all spring summer. Each combo contains:

Supertunia® Mini Appleblossom – This bell shaped Petunia in light pink is a vigorous grower. It will offer an explosion of color all season long and best of all it is low maintenance.

Superbells® Pink – A hot pink mini bell shaped flower is fills in this container will abundant blooms. With a cascading growth habit, this bold beauty is low maintenance.

Superbena Royale Whitecap – A bold white verbena, this continuous bloomer is low maintenance and will standout out in the combination.

Proven Plants from Proven Winners

It’s time to get your garden growing! Take your pick from these proven performers.

Sweet Potato Vine
This great foliage plant in chartreuse is the perfect addition to combinations. It has excellent heat tolerance and is a vigorous grower. This trailing plant tolerates full to part sun.

Lemon Slice Million 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.

Bermuda Beach Petunias
This salmon, coral petunia will make you think of the beaches in Bermuda. With tons of blooms this low maintenance beauty will be the star in any container or hanging basket. Attracting butterflies and hummingbirds, this bloom is a must have.

Blue Sky Lobelia
Soft blue flowers will bloom all season. This annual offers cascading, well-branched plants and is the perfect trailer in a combination planter or hanging basket. A great summer performer and wow maintenance these blues will make you happy.

Pomegranate Punch Million Bells
This million bell offers rich deep red blooms with a black-red center. It offers a long blooming season and it is a continuous bloomer offering color all season long. The bold, bright color of this mounding plant never fades. It is a winner for both baskets and beds.

Bloomerang Lilac
This reblooming lilac blooms from spring and again from mid-summer to frost. With its small growth habit it fits into any garden. Super fragrant, this is a great shrub for cutting. Best of all it is deer resistant and attracts butterflies.

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.

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.

Images provided by Proven Winners

Classic Color that Reblooms


Azaleas are the quintessential southern flower. Speckled along the foundation of houses, in beds marked with pine trees and magnolias, these classics are a staple in the garden. But, did you know that all azaleas are not created equal? We love reblooming azaleas because as the name implies they flower for up to FIVE months... much more than the traditional azaleas.

You'll definitely want to make room for the our new Proven Winner variety, the Bloom-a-Thon Pink Double Azalea. This rebloomer boasts large, double flowers that appear in April, then rebloom in early July, and continue through fall until hard frost. This medium-sized evergreen shrub will grow between 42 - 54 Inches. For best performance, we recommend planting it in shade to part shade in moist, well-drained soil that is slightly acidic. The high summer temperatures won’t stop this great shrub from producing loads of late summer and fall flowers.

Plant in borders, woodland gardens or in containers. We love pairing azaleas with Crepe Myrtles and Magnolias for a classic southern look. Or, pair with other evergreen shrubs to create a hedge. You can also plant azaleas in containers for a stunning thriller plant. This enchantress of an azalea will charm your garden with months of colorful flowers!

Get this look!


This drought tolerant container will offer non stop interest all season long and for seasons to come. By using perennials in containers, you can create a style that offers more look for less bucks and returns year after year. This container recipe is easy and grows in full sun. Try this recipe.

Here's what you need:

  • Low Container
  • Natural and Organic Potting Soil
  • Sedum Dragon's Blood
  • Hens and Chicks
  • Ice Plant
  • Ascot Rainbow Euphorbia
  • Stonecrop
  • McDonald Green Leaf Fertilizer


  1. To get started, choose a low container so that the texture of the succulents will be seen. We like using this cross hatch square container, but a terra cotta bulb pan or umbrella pot would work great too.
  2. Fill the pot with potting soil about ¾ of the way full. We recommend using McDonald Natural & Organic Potting Mix. We suggest mixing a handful of McDonald Greenleaf fertilizer into the soil.
  3. We used Ascot Rainbow Euphorbia as the thriller in this container. Place towards the back of the pot to add height. Euphorbia is a tough performing perennial with unique variegated foliage.
  4. For the filler, we used Stonecrop and Hens & Chicks. By placing these asymmetrically on the sides, you can create a unique composition. Stonecrop has water storing leaves and is a vivid green. Hens and Chicks will offer a structured rosette to the container.
  5. For the spillers, we used Ice Plant and Sedums. The Ice Plant will boast small yellow blooms all through the summer and trail out of the container with its tiny succulent leaves. The Sedum we used was Dragons Blood, which offers deep red flowers in contrast with the green leaves during warm weather.

McDonald TIP: This container is a succulent garden - remember not too over water this container combo.

Celebrate Earth Day


Shopping and selecting plants can make putting the garden together a creative endeavor. But what do you do with all the plastic pots your plants came in? Yes, with Earth Day coming up tomorrow, we're all looking for ways to make a difference. And, recycling is one of the best ways to do it.

We are committed to benefiting the environment by offering plant pot recycling. Recycling turns materials that would otherwise become waste into valuable resources. By collecting used plant pots and nursery trays and bringing them to the McDonald Garden Center collection site, you are participating in a series of steps that generates a host of financial, environmental, and social returns. Since many recycling services will not take these pots, we are asking that you consider bringing them back to any of our three year-round locations in Chesapeake, Hampton and Virginia Beach. We ask that you empty the pots of their contents, such as potting mix, leaves or trash. You do not need to rinse them; just dump any contents that are left inside. We also ask that you remove all metal hangers from baskets, as well as metal rings and staples. Stack the pots as best you can by nesting together those of the same or similar size regardless off style or color. When you get to McDonald Garden Center, bring the pots to the Trees & Shrub nursery yard and place them in our designated Pot Recycle Bin.

The three categories of plastic pots will be accepted, #2, #5 and #6. This number can be found on the underside of the pot, inside the small triangle. Number 2 pots are HDPE, High Density Polyethylene. These are usually ribbed and have a hole in the center of the bottom of the pot. Number 5 pots are PP, polypropylene. This includes pots and some trays with mesh bottoms. In a wide variety of sizes, shapes and colors, they are usually marked on the bottom with the symbol. Number 6 pots are PS, polystyrene. Most trays and cell packs are polystyrene.

We are asking you to help us provide a greener future and REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE! Simply drop off your empty garden pots at any of our three year-round locations.

It's all about the color


Set a spring scene inside and out. From the graceful to the bold, these blooms are perfect center stage on your table or to add a springy warm welcome to your entrance or patio. These bunny-approved blooms in all the colors of the rainbow will make your Easter “egg-tra” special.

Shades of White
• Calla Lily
• Peace Lily
• Candytuft
• Orchids

Pretty Pinks
• Orchids
• Pink Dianthus
• Geraniums
• Mini Roses
• Camellias
• Candytuft

Sunwashed Yellows
• Pink Lemonade Petunias
• Gerbera Daisies
• Daffodils
• Orchids
• Bush Daisies
• Forsythia

Vibrant Violets
• Scabiosa
• Purple Alyssum
• Pericallis
• Petunias

Gorgeous Greens
• Mexican Feather Grass
• Ferns
• Tillandsia
• Green Spike

TIP: Remember any outside plant can be brought indoors to add a burst of color, and don’t be afraid to try something a little out of the ordinary. We love our Spring Herb Planter too that’s not only a real departure from the usual spring blooms but is aromatic as well. And best all, the herbs can be harvested for months to come!

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Fragrant and Yummy Too


The Easter holiday is just around the corner, and if you’re looking to steer clear of the traditional sugar laden Easter basket, then we have just what you’re looking for. Why not try a more natural approach to the traditional Easter basket this year? A living basket overflowing with fresh English Thyme, French Tarragon and Tuscan Blue Rosemary brings the convenience of the herb garden to your outdoor patio or a sunny window indoors. And best of all, these herbs can be harvested for months to come - and did we mention that herbs are delightfully aromatic and beautiful too? So this Easter, consider the perfect sugar-free option for that cook or gardener in your life! Here are a few ways to use these edible and fragrant beauties:

Thyme – A low growing evergreen, this herb is extensively used in French cuisine. Thyme is the perfect compliment to veal, lamb, beef, poultry, fish, stuffing, stews, soups, sauces, stock, herb butters, flavored vinegars, beans, lentils, potatoes, tomatoes, cheese, onions, cucumbers, carrots, eggplant, leeks, mushrooms, eggs, and rice.

French Tarragon – This leafy green is also widely used in French cuisine. It's distinctive yet delicate herbal flavor is particularly well suited when paired with fish and chicken. Tarragon is also delicious in salad dressings and in sauces.

Rosemary - One of the oldest herbs known to man, this evergreen perennial is a real treat to cook with. Rosemary is ideal for spicing up pork and poultry dishes and is also used to flavored butter, oil and vinegar.

Little Plants, BIG Impact!


It's time to plant those warm weather annuals we've all been waiting for! Annual packs are the easiest way to instant add color to containers and flowerbeds. And, with ith four plants in one pack, this is surely an economical way to landscape large spaces. There are a multitude of options when choosing annual pack color.

These plants need six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day. Remember that with all the sunshine these plants will require water often. We recommend watering these every other day. Soak thoroughly until water runs from drainage holes.

  • Dianthus - grass-like foliage and star shaped blooms in pink, red and white.
  • Verbena - the perfect plant to spill over a container in a combination with large clusters of flowers.
  • Petunias - trumpet shaped flowers and branching foliage are easy to grow.
  • Marigolds - Ruffly orange yellow blooms all through the summer. Perfect companion plant for edibles to keep the pests away.
  • Begonias - The fancy leaf of the bronze leaf begonia if perfect for bright sun with blooms in red, pink and white.
  • Salvia - Spikes with loads of small densely packed flowers. Easy to care for with aromatic foliage.
  • Celosia - Eye catching blooms in a flame shape offer bold summer color. Celosia loves the sun and the heat.
  • Portulaca - Heat and drought tolerant make this is a winner in the garden. Beautiful double blooms sit atop the needle-shaped foliage.
  • Zinnias - Daisy like flowers on a single stem love the heat of summer. Perfect for a cutting garden.

These plants need less than 4 hours of direct sun. They should also be planted to avoid hot, afternoon sun. We recommend watering every other day. Soak thoroughly until water runs from drainage holes.

  • Coleus - Fancy and colorful foliage in shades of pink, green, yellow, red and maroon.
  • Impatiens - Excellent bedding plant that thrives in shade. Bright colored blooms in orange, pink, white and purple.
  • Dusty Miller - Silvery white foliage that pairs with just about everything. Easy to grow and easy to love.
  • Polka Dot Plants - This little plant packs a punch when paired with other plants. The standout polka dot pattern in either white or pink makes the leaves of this plant a showcase.
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Is it warm enough yet?


Do you find yourself asking, "is it warm enough yet to put my favorite spring plants outside"? We hear this question a lot this time of year and we know that means you are eager to get that garden going! Here’s a few tips to make sure you get the most from your garden this spring.

Annuals provide color from the time of planting into early fall. Inexpensive, easy-to-grow and gorgeous - annuals are great for changing the look of your garden from year-to-year and filling in around bulbs, perennials and trees & shrubs. A few early-blooming annuals that are safe to plant now include petunias, dusty miller, snapdragons, geraniums, million bells, dianthus and verbena.

However, some annuals can't handle frosts that occasionally occur in early spring. We suggest waiting to plant them outside until after the average last frost date. These include favorites like tropical hibiscus, mandevilla, coleus, gomphrena, portulaca, vinca and most veggies like peppers, cucumbers, squash, and eggplant. These plants thrive in the long, warm days of later spring.


• Virginia Beach & Norfolk: April 1
• Hampton & Chesapeake: April 10
• Newport News, lower York County and Poquoson: April 15
• Upper York Co. and Williamsburg: April 25

TIP: Hardening Off Helps
If your annuals are straight out of the greenhouse and tender, you may need to acclimate them to the outdoors in the sun and wind conditions, before you plant them in the garden. This process is called "hardening off". If you don't take the time to do this, your plants may be stressed when you transplant them into the ground.

Get this look!


A living wreath is fresh and easy way to decorate for spring. Try a blooming wreath on a fence panel, front porch or even use laying flat on your holiday table. Live wreaths are not difficult to care for, just a little water and sunshine. We suggest using this 11-inch square wreath form constructed of sphagnum moss and adorned with petunias or million bells. These plants are great trailers and will grow to cover the wreath and offer vibrant color.

Here's what you need:

  • Two annual packs of petunias or million bells
  • 11-inch wreath form and sphagnum moss
  • Small garden stake or pencil to make the holes in the wreath
  • McDonald Green Leaf Fertilizer


  • Soak wreath in water for about 5 minutes on each side to get the moss wet and easy to work with.
  • Using a pencil or a short piece of a plant stake, start in the top right corner and poke a hole about the length from the tip of your finger to your knuckle.
  • Loosen the roots slightly from around the plants and gently place the plant in the hole in your wreath form.
  • Push the moss up around the roots.
  • Continue this around the wreath form with three plants on each side of the wreath.
  • We suggest leaving the the wreath laying down for 24 hours.

McDonald TIP: Be sure to keep the wreath from drying out in between waterings with a spray bottle.

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