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Dig. Drop. Done.

Flowering bulbs bursting with color are a sight unlike any other. And who knew they could be so incredibly easy – just dig, drop and you're done! Bulbs are a surprisingly simple way to beautify your life.

What's a Bulb?
A flower bulb is really a self-contained flower factory. Within this marvelous little package is nearly everything the flower needs to come to life! Split a tulip open, for instance, and you'll see its baby flower bud, leaves, roots, stem and food supply. All bulbs need from you is to be placed in the ground at the appropriate season of the year, given a liberal drink of water then left to work their magic. Simply "dig, drop, done" in one season then "delight" in the next.

Variety
Flower bulbs come in a seemingly limitless variety which makes them perfectly suitable for any garden design you can dream up. Planting just a few can easily provide beautiful color in your garden for several months. Daffodils are the first sign of spring and dahlias will bloom until frost hits the pumpkins. The three most important factors to keep in mind are color, of course, but also plant height and flowering period.

When to Plant
In general, there are two seasons for bulb planting:
Fall ~ After soil temperatures are below 50ºF/10ºC. These bulbs bloom the following spring and require the cold winter temperatures for development. But let's say winter arrives and your bulbs are still in their bag. Not to worry! Bulbs are pre-programmed to grow so even if you have to plant through snow, plant your bulbs!

Spring ~ After the danger of frost has passed (tender bulbs love soil that is at least 60ºF/15ºC). These bulbs bloom in summer/fall.

How to Plant: It really is as easy as "dig, drop, done."
Most bulbs thrive in either full or partial sun and in almost any location with good drainage. Avoid planting at the base of hills or under drainpipes where water collects and will rot the bulbs.

  1. Good soil preparation is the very first step. Make sure it is loose and porous to make the planting easier (and because good drainage is necessary for all types of bulbs). Adding peat moss to the soil is a good trick to improve drainage.
  2. The planting depth of bulbs depends on their size: a good rule of thumb is that the depth should be 3x the diameter of the bulb. However, planting depths vary by variety. For more specific planting depths, check the label on your bulb package.
  3. The spacing of the bulbs depends largely on the effect you are trying to achieve. For best results plant in clumps of large groups rather than in single rows.
  4. After loosening the soil gently press the bulbs (with pointed ends up) in the bed, cover them with the removed soil and tap it down slightly.
  5. Water thoroughly.
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Fill fall containers with...

PLECTRANTHUS 'Mona Lavender'

A great plant for fall in Hampton Roads, Plectranthus offers lavender blooms from late summer well into the autumn. This annual offers ornamental foliage of deep green leaves with dark purple undersides that compliment the oranges, yellows and reds of fall. In addition to its stunning leaves, Plectranthus spikes tubular lavender flowers that last for a long period of time ~ making deadheading almost unnecessary. The slender blooms grow about 6-inches long giving you beautiful fall color.

Belonging to the mint family, this plant does not spread but forms a neat low, upright form. We especially love 'Mona Lavender' in fall container combos. You can even mix this fall favorite in bedding areas and in fall hanging baskets. Growing this annual is fairly easy and virtually trouble free, just be sure it gets full sun to light shade. When it receives more sun, Plectranthus tends to stay more compact and the leaves exhibit a more intense purple color on the undersides. And, for those of you who are always warding off deer, this one considered deer resistant.

Now don't get us wrong, we love mums. In fact, we adore them. But for those of you thinking that your only option for fall flowers is mums - here's an alternative, Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender'

Grow What You Eat.

Fall Veggie Gardening

Did you know fall is the perfect time get a delicious veggie garden going? In fact, cooler temperatures make this a great time to plant these crops -- many are even tastier and sweeter harvested after a light frost. If you've never grown fall veggies before, we recommend a crop of leaf lettuce, kale, swiss chard and spinach. These easy to grow plants are great for small spaces like a pallet garden and can often be harvested over many weeks.

The secret to having a great fall veggie garden is getting the timing right and that means thinking a little differently because you have to plan backward if starting with seed. To do this, start with your area's average first fall frost date, which for Hampton Roads is October 15. Then look at the number of days to harvest for each vegetable you wish to plant. You should be able to find that number on the seed packet. Use that number to count back from the first frost date. Then add two weeks; many plants grow more slowly as days shorten in fall.

Lettuce
Lettuce is one of those versatile veggies that looks as good in the garden as it does on the table. It does best in cool, sunny weather. Plant a gourmet blend of lettuce from seed or purchase lettuce plants. Snip the lettuce leaves for a tasty salad and more leaves will grow for meals to come.

Spinach
Spinach is a nutrient powerhouse and is simple to grow. It prefers full sun, but it can tolerate partial sun and still produce delicious dark green leaves. Either cook it or use in a salad.

Kale
This cold hardy veggie is a member of the cabbage family. It can be grown for eating but also for its texture that it will add to container plantings or the garden. Kale has a unique nutty flavor and has grown in popularity over the past few years. Use kale in fall soups, stews and try making kale chips.

Cabbage
Tasty and diet-friendly, cabbage only has 15 calories per cup. Plant green or red cabbage in the garden for great round bundles of goodness and harvest when the cabbage head is nice and firm.

Broccoli
Broccoli has earned its place as a staple in southern meals. It’s versatile and can be used as a healthy snack, used in soups, salads or even used in pesto. For garden success, keep your broccoli evenly watered.

Brussel Spouts
These are a slow growing vegetable that are frost resistant and provide a good crop over the winter months.

Collards
Another leafy green similar to kale, has strong flavored leaves. The leaves contain lots of calcium and potassium and are rich in the Vitamins A and C.

Beets
Might be best known for their bright red root that can be pickled. They provide tons of nutrients to a meal and are a southern favorite. The leaves of beets can be cooked or simply tossed in a salad.

Learn more about what to plant now by checking out our planting guide. PLANTING GUIDE >>

Refresh for a New Season

MULCH

Mulching is one of the easiest and most beneficial practices you can use in the garden. We define mulch as a protective layer of material that is spread on top of the soil. It can either be organic -- such as grass clippings, pine straw, bark chips, and similar materials -- or inorganic -- such as stones, brick chips, and plastic. Organic mulches improve the condition of the soil. As these mulches slowly decompose, they provide organic matter which helps keep the soil loose. This improves root growth, increases the infiltration of water, and also improves the water-holding ability of the soil. Organic matter is also a source of plant nutrients and provides an ideal environment for beneficial soil organisms. Our horticulturists have identified some of the most important benefits for mulch.

Benefits:

  • controls weeds
  • prevents soil errosion
  • provides insulation in winter
  • conserves moisture
  • adds texture, color, & contrast to the landscape
  • provides a finished look to your garden and reduces maintenance costs

Tip: We recommend keeping approximately a 3-inch layer of mulch on your flower beds year round.

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Pleasing Purple Color!

CELOSIA INTENZ

We just love the extreme color of Celosia Intenz! This annual features showy, purple plumes which bloom throughout the summer and transition right into fall offering you amazing color. This versatile plant does well both indoors and out. It looks great on a patio table, in mixed baskets, clustered in the landscape or in a large pot as a filler plant. These also make a great cut flower for indoor arrangements. Celosia will grow to about 14 inches tall at maturity with a spread of 12 inches. It is considered to be drought-tolerant and prefers sunny spot. And did we mention that butterflies love it too! So consider these pleasing, purple plumes to add and ‘intenz’ pop of color both indoors and out.