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Flat White Boer
One Too Many
Polar White

Heirloom Madness

Looking for a unique addition to your pumpkin patch, front porch or dinner table? Nowadays you are more likely to encounter unique pumpkin varieties that until recently were impossible to find unless found at a farmer’s market or your own veggie patch. From the slate-gray jarrahdale heirloom from Australia and New Zealand, to the warty peanut variety, many of today’s pumpkins are works of art even without being carved. And, most of these distinctive pumpkins are good for eating as well as good looking. So, before you pick up yet another round, orange orb, consider some of these fantastic heirloom pumpkin varieties:

Flat White Boer – a flat pumpkin with a creamy, white rind and thick, orange flesh. Flat white grows wider than tall and adds a distinctive look to any fall displayed. The sweet-tasting orange flesh is perfect in pies and for baking. This pumpkin keeps well and should last throughout the fall season.

Crunchkin - the hard shell version of the popular Munchkin, Crunchkin is flat-shaped with prominent ribs and a medium-orange color and slight flecking. Its hard shell gives it extended storage ability, making it a perfect choice for incorporating into tablescapes, fall floral arrangements, and outdoor displays.

One Too Many – the pumpkin that looks like a bloodshot eyeball, hence the name ‘one too many’. This 20 pound, round to oblong pumpkin has a white background accented with midribs and stippled veins of red. A truly distinctive ornamental pumpkin that has great decorative potential.

Jarradale – a medium to large (12-18 pounds), drum-shaped variety with heavy, rounded ribs and a distinctive slate-gray skin. The fine-textured flesh is golden-orange and sweet. Stunning in fall displays and great for eating too.

Peanut - a lightly ribbed, almost round pumpkin with a rich peach colored skin and a unique, bumpy covering that resembles peanut shells. The bumps are formed by sugars in the flesh, so, the more peanuts, the tastier the flesh is. Its flavorful, sweet-orange flesh lends good flavor to baked goods, soups and stews. Peanut pumpkins weigh about 10 to 20 pounds and make a real statement when added to fall displays.

Polar Bear – an extra-large, white pumpkin, lightly ribbed weighing 44 to 55 pounds with yellow-orange flesh. Great for carving, since their skin is not quite as thick as an orange pumpkin's. White pumpkins provide great contrast in fall gourd and pumpkin displays and its ghost-white exterior make it the perfect choice for Halloween.

Encore Azaleas
Rudbekia (Black-eyed Susan)
Russian Sage
Abelia Kaleidoscope
Fall-blooming Camellia, Pink-A-Boo
Fall-blooming Camellia, Hot Flash
Fall-blooming Camellia, Yuletide

Flower Your Fall Garden

Fall in Hampton Roads is one of the most beautiful times of the year offering vibrant colors and rich textures. And, there are plenty of dazzling annuals, perennials, and shrubs that provide colorful blooms that turn an otherwise boring yard into a flourishing fall garden. Here's a few of our top picks for the season to use in the landscape:

Encore Azaleas – if you love the colorful flowers that azaleas offer, then you'll love the Encore varieties. Encores bloom three times per year - summer, spring, and fall, yes, even fall! This repeat bloomer adds vibrant, multi-seasonal color unlike any other azalea and can grow to 2 feet tall and 2 feet wide or 5 feet by 5 feet, depending on the variety. Encores offer a wide selection of plant sizes and bloom colors from reds, to whites, to pinks and even corals. Perfect as a base plant, in container gardens, borders, as a foundation planting or in woodland gardens. Prefers well-drained soil and partial sun.

Rudbeckia - more commonly known as black-eyed Susan, this popular perennial is durable and easy to grow - a true sunshine worshiper that forgives neglect. Featuring 2 to 4 inch blooms with golden, yellow rays and a prominent purplish-black center cone, this long-blooming wildflower produces an abundance of blooms non-stop for most of the summer into early autumn. Rudbeckia is often massed together in borders and is also effective at erosion control. Flowers attract butterflies and the seed heads provide winter food for seed-eating songbirds. Thrives in most soils in full sun.

Asters - this perennial flower comes in all shapes and sizes from short and low-mounding to tall and willowy. Blooms appear in late summer into fall with charming, daisy-like flowers in pink, white, or blue and mostly bright orange or yellow centers. With a multitude of purposes, asters are a stunning addition to a wildflower garden, useful in a traditional border, or mingling in a rock garden. Grow in full to part sun in well-draining, moist soil with regular waterings, especially in the summer. Once established, asters are drought tolerant. A great choice for butterfly gardens.

Russian Sage - this tough, clumping perennial flaunts silvery foliage and sprays of small, lavender-blue flowers on up-right stems. Blooms appear continuously from late spring through summer. Its cool-colored flowers and foliage combine well with reds, oranges, and yellows, and its fine-textured foliage partners well with coneflowers, black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia), iris, asters, and sedums. Taller varieties are great for the back of borders. Both heat and drought resistant, this perennial prefers full sun locations.

Kaleidoscope Abelia - you'll love this evergreen shrub all year, especially during autumn. Features variegated, bright yellow and green foliage and petite, white flowers during the warm season. In winter, foiliage changes to brilliant shades of red and deep orange. This low, compact selection reaches 2 to 2 1/2 feet tall and 3 to 3 1/2 feet wide and works well as a foundation plant, low hedge, mass planting or in patio containers. Abelia prefers partial to full sun.

Camellias - another wonderful shrub for the fall landscape that tops our list every year for fall interest. Fall-blooming camellias bring a splash of color to the autumn landscape when you need it most. These flowering shrubs not only offer beautiful blooms but feature glossy, evergreen leaves that bring a welcome touch of color to your garden. The varying bloom times, color choices and diverse mature size options make these a must-have. Fall-blooming varieties include Hot Flash, Pink-a-Boo, Shishi Gashira, Yuletide and Autumn Rocket, just to name a few. Camellias prefer moist but well-drained acidic soil and light shade in the summer with protection from wind in the winter.

The Fall Lawn
McDonald Garden Center Fall Lawn Kit

Now's the Time for Fall Lawn Kits

Check out the video to learn more about fall lawn kits:

Everyone knows that a lush, green lawn is a labor of love. To help you on your road to lawn success, we've developed an easy-to-use lawn kit specifically formulated for Hampton Roads.

Fall is the best time in our area to establish and repair the fescue lawn. During fall, soil temperatures cool down, so you'll get better germination and quicker establishment. And, the fall season typically delivers more consistent rainfalls, which also aides in establishment of new seedlings. Summer is the hardest season on fescue lawns, so planting in the fall allows for the longest time period before summer comes around again. Root development also occurs in the fall, which is vital when starting a new lawn.

Be sure to attend one of our complimentary grass classes held every Saturday, at 11am, now through October 13, 2018, at both our Independence and Great Neck locations.