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Plant of the Week:

CHILI EARLY BIRD DIANTHUS

With a bitter winter behind us, we welcome a new season with one of our favorite spring-blooming perennials! These re-blooming flowers give us that color we've been waiting for each spring. Early Bird begins it's show just as the weather starts to warm and keeps on blooming through autumn, if deadheaded regularly. Blooms all stand tall above its grassy, blue-green foliage with sturdy stems. These bold, coral double blossoms will simply sparkle in borders, beds, patio pots and window boxes. Its fragrant blooms are also ideal for cut flower bouquets so you can enjoy spring indoors as well as out. Early Bird prefers full sun and well drained soil. So get your spring started in style with this beloved plant!

The Winter Pick-Me-Up

HELLEBORES

This hardy perennial offers beautiful blooms all through the dreary days of winter and into early spring. Also called the Christmas Rose or Lenten Rose, bloom time often coincides with the Christmas holidays. This evergreen, features blooms with five petals, cup-shaped flowers. The foliage is dark green, offering a beautiful back drop. Available in a variety of colors from white to pastel yellow to pink and purple, this intriguing perennial is without a doubt the star of the winter landscape. And, throughout the summer the deep green foliage creates visual depth and interest in the landscape too. This low maintenance plant is drought tolerance although it thrives in moist but well-drained soil. And did we mention hellebore are deer resistant! Not only will they grace your table with beautiful cut flowers, they'll provide color in your landscape at a time when there virtually is none. What a treat to walk through your garden in February or March and be greeted with beautiful Hellebore flowers in white, pastel yellow, pink, or purple.

Out of the Ordinary

CHINESE LANTERN, Physalis Alkekengi

An out of the ordinary plant you'll love! This popular ornamental plant is largely grown for its vivid orange-red lantern shaped fruits which are perfect for fall decorating. Chinese Lantern is an herbaceous perennial that offers white flowers and green leaves. The lantern-shaped pods that encase fruit from the plant emerge from the white flowers that appear in summer. These lanterns can be dried or used fresh in arrangements as they hold their shape and color. Simply snip a few off of the plant and use in Thanksgiving and Halloween décor. We suggest keeping the plant it in a container and then once you have enjoyed indoors for the winter you can plant it outdoors. It can be planted in either full sun or partial shade. It is best to plant them on the sunniest side of your home but in an area that isn’t exposed to full sun for more than 8 hours a day.

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