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Summer's Flowering Vine


A star in the summer garden, Mandevilla loves it hot and sunny. This flowering vine, boosts beautiful flowers and dark green foliage. The hotter it is, the more this plant thrives. Once planted in full sun, Mandevilla is easy to grow and needs little more than training to grow on any type of support you choose. Whether you want to grow it up a trellis, porch post or even a mailbox this easy to care for plant adds tropical summer color wherever it is placed. We love Alice Dupont, with its trumpet-like flowers in ice pink. Each flower lasts for several days. And, looks great on an arbor, trellis or fence. Follow a regular watering schedule and feed with a general purpose fertilizer like McDonald Greenleaf.

TIP: Try this EASY trick to train the plant upward to add pizzazz to your deck or patio.

  1. Choose a sunny spot on your deck or patio that needs visual enhancement.
  2. Gather twine, cup hooks and a Mandevilla plant.
    (The above photo features the Alice Dupont variety)
  3. Use one cup hook at the base of the plant to anchor the twine. Use 3-4 pieces of twine arching out in a fan pattern and using a cup hook to secure at the top.
  4. Dig a hole deep enough to accommodate the size of your Mandevilla, so that its main stem sits slightly above the soil line. This holds true whether you're planting in a container, hanging basket or in the ground.
  5. Train your Mandevilla to climb the supporting structure. Tie stems initially with plant ties and let it twine naturally from there.

Garden Classic


Geraniums are a truly a garden classic. Did you know that two types of geraniums exist? Seed geraniums and zonal geraniums. Choosing the right type for the garden depends on several factors and there are reasons to grow both depending on personal preference and where you are going to be using them.

Garden geraniums are ideally suited for use in flower beds, where you may need many plants to fill the space. Zonal geraniums are most often used in pots and combination planters where you are looking for a “star” in the container. Here are the differences between the two:

Garden Geraniums

  • Grown from seed
  • Limited selection of colors including red, pink or white
  • Grown in a 4-inch square pot making 18 plants per tray

Zonal Geraniums

  • Grown from cuttings, allowing for consistency in the variety
  • Wide range of vibrant colors including dark red, hot pink, violet, white, tangerine and many more
  • Grown in a round pot, with 8 to 15 plants per tray
  • The name zonal comes from the dark eye zone in the leaf

Is it warm enough yet?

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 those bulbs and perennials. A few early-blooming annuals that are safe to plant now include petunias, marigolds, snapdragons, geraniums, million bells, dianthus and verbena. Some annuals do not handle frost very well and we recommend waiting until after the last average frost date to plant them outside. These include favorites like hibiscus, mandevilla, coleus, gomphrena, iceplant and portulaca.

Average Last Frost Dates for Hampton Roads:
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.

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