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Archive for April 2012

The Most Amazing Shipment Of Live Plants

April 28th, 2012

I just got my big box of plants and this is the most amazing shipment of live plants I have ever received! I have ordered from a few other nurseries, but it’s always a gamble and they don’t pack anything like the way you guys do. I’m ordering from you exclusively from now on! Thank you, thank you! Marina E.

Answer: Marina, we’re very proud of our methods of growing, packing and shipping our plants, and we do put a little extra care into each package.  We’re excited to know you’re happy with your recent orders, and we look forward to helping you with all your plant growing and home beautification needs in the future.  Thanks for writing, and we hope your plants continue to bring you joy!

Hydrangea Problem

April 21st, 2012

incrediball hydrangea plantNot sure what happened to my Incrediball hydrangea. I am in Zone 7. Planted the baby last July, I believe. Originally had 3 stems growing. Two got broken in the hurricane last August but the other one did well until frost, then died off like the other hydrangeas did. It started to come back to life last month but suddenly last week, all the leaves on the only remaining 2′ sprout all wilted. I cut it down a little in hopes of other shoots growing out but nothing yet. This one gets mostly direct sun with just a tad of shade in the p.m. Soil is just regular soil. When I plant babies I put a little peat moss and mix it in. Hope that helps. I want to order another one with my order this weekend, so if there is something ‘not right’ with what I did, please let me know.

Answer:

A newly planted hydrangea takes a little while to settle in. It sounds like you’ve not done anything wrong. Annabelles might like a bit more afternoon shade; morning sun is always the best, especially in a Zone 7 setting. Regular garden soil is just fine. They need nothing special except for even moisture. As to why the first one did not survive, I can only guess that possibly the roots were damaged in the storm. Sometimes plants will put forth every effort to survive after damage but just give up. Just try one again. I don’t think you’ve done anything “wrong.”

Good luck with the Incrediball. I have one, and it’s a great plant.

Karen
Master Gardener

Spring is Here!

April 16th, 2012

hummingbird drinking from a purple flowerThough it was an unusually mild winter, all of us welcome springtime, especially when we can get past that projected last frost date and start getting our vegetables in the ground and our landscaping projects done.

But, for many of us, there is one more thing to do even before putting seedlings out into the garden. We have to inspect our hummingbird feeders and make sure we’ve stocked plenty of food, for they are about to arrive in droves. And we can’t wait!

There are many species of hummingbirds, but the one that most people immediately recognize—and you have probably have seen them in your yard—is the ruby-throated hummingbird. The male of the species has an iridescent green body, head and wings, with a sparkling ruby throat. The female is not quite as striking, but you can be sure that where there are males, there will also be females. You can go here to look at photographs of hummingbird species, as well as to look at the migration maps for the current and past years. This is one of the most comprehensive sites we’ve found for information about hummingbirds, even having a listing by state or province for those species that are common to your particular area.

The arrival of the hummingbirds is something that everyone here at Garden Harvest Supply looks forward to. There is just something so rewarding about providing food and habitat for these little aerialists that provide excitement and entertainment in exchange for a little sugar water or to thank you for planting flowers that are hummingbird friendly. Every year we all report on our success with these little guys and compare notes. The enjoyment and fulfillment we experience from this simple little connection with one of God’s most amazing creations is extremely rewarding.

Before getting started, there are a couple of things you might want to know, both for the hummers’ and for your own sake. First, there is every good reason in the world to feed the hummers! As we humans have continued to build, we have encroached on the hummingbird’s habitat, just as we have on that of the deer, the raccoons, the mountain lions, quail…you name it, and our civilization has impacted a wild critter’s life. So, why not give back? We’re not suggesting you encourage wolves or mountain lions to share your back yard, of course, but hummingbirds are easy to accommodate; they won’t eat your children or your pets and they are one of the most amusing, engaging, compelling and gratifying backyard visitors.

Secondly, hummingbirds are extremely territorial. As a rule, if you have one feeder, you will have up to 10 hummers that will frequent it. Hummingbirds are pretty smart, considering their tiny brains, and they will not overcrowd one habitat. If only one feeder is available, only a few hummingbirds will claim it as their own, though the battles for dominance over that single feeder will be something to behold. At times you will wonder how any of them manage to eat, for all the flitting and aggressive dive-bombing going on. We recommend having two or more feeders, separated by at least 20 feet, and for most of us here at GHS, “the more the merrier!”

Your choice of feeders is quite extensive. We have window-mounted feeders that will allow you and your children to watch these miracles up close and personal. It is absolutely amazing how long a youngster will sit still and how quiet they can be when watching hummingbirds at a feeder. We have a number of hanging feeders of all different sizes and designs. You can prepare your own food to fill your feeders, or choose from our selection of hummingbird nectar.

Finally, a complete hummingbird habitat will include both feeders and hummingbird-friendly plants. Hummingbirds have no sense of smell, so fragrance is not as important to them as it might be to you. The brighter the better when it comes to color, though! There are any number of blossoms that will attract hummingbirds; those same flowering plants also draw in butterflies and bees, pollinators that perform the same functions as a hummingbird. This mutually beneficial relationship has the flower providing nectar while the hummingbird, butterfly or bee transfers pollen from one flower to the next.

hummingbird drinking from a butterfly bushOne of the most widely planted hummingbird plants is the Monarda, which is also called Bee Balm. In addition to being simply beautiful, Monarda is fragrant and will also attract some of the predatory insects that will help to control damaging pests in your gardens, like aphids. A perennial, Monarda is easy to grow and will provide hummingbird nectar for years to come. Another perennial, and also a hummingbird favorite, is the Buddleia, usually called the Butterfly Bush. Planting Lantana or Fuchsia will also practically guarantee the arrival of hummingbirds in your own environment.

If you have never had the pleasure of hosting hummingbirds to your back yard, you are in for a real treat! Just ask anyone who plants for the hummers or provides nectar in feeders. And if you are really fortunate, the hummingbirds will be happy enough to nest in your yard. They look for sheltered areas that are protected from the weather and safe from predators. To encourage nesting, you can hang our Hummer Helper Cage with Nesting Material. The world will always welcome more hummingbirds! Though you will rarely see a nest, (they are incredibly small), one of the oh-so-special-rewards of creating a hummingbird habitat is watching for the fledglings to visit your feeders or flowers!

To see a live hummingbird on her nest and raising her young, you can watch Phoebe the Hummingbird on a Live Nest Cam. She is a Channel Island hummingbird that has nested in the same place for several years now. This is amazing to see! If this doesn’t inspire you to feed the hummingbirds….

Happy Spring and Happy Gardening from all of us here at Garden Harvest Supply!

Wow, such great plants!

April 10th, 2012

bandana lemon zest lantana plantI received my Bandana Lemon Zest Lantana today.  Wow, such great packaging and the plants looked great.  Not one leaf broken!  Thanks so much.  I got them planted this evening and look forward to growth and bloom time!!!!  Thanks for a great transaction.

RESPONSE: Thanks, Annette!  We hope you enjoy cheerful blooms all season long.  We love lantanas, too, for their profuse flowers and the immense variety of colors to choose from.

Reaping the Benefits of Container Gardening

April 2nd, 2012

gardening in containersContainer gardening is a great boon for people who would otherwise have no place to plant. It’s also great for providing children with their first garden to tend, and it’s wonderful for elders for whom an outdoor garden has become too much work. But did you know that container gardening offers advantages for all gardeners? In this newsletter we’ll discuss those advantages, and also give you tips so that whatever containers you start will be sure to do well.

Why Plant in Containers?

The major advantages of container gardening are all the things you don’t have to deal with: no weed infestations, no struggles with less-than-ideal soil, no soil-borne diseases, no nematodes, and no knocking yourself out digging new beds. What’s more, containers can be much more productive than traditional gardens, and what a great thing to have a supply of fresh veggies and herbs right at arm’s reach, all year ’round! Finally, container gardening can be a wonderful way to beautify your home. For example, you can easily grow lavender indoors, and your guests will not only enjoy its beautiful blue flowers but will also delight in its sweet fragrance.

Getting Started

So what do you need to get started with container gardening? Well, of course, containers. We sell some free-standing beauties, such as the Carolina Planter, the Charleston Planter, and the Chelsea Two-Tier Planter. Our nicest mounted planter is the Carolina Hanging Deck Planter, although the York Planter Baskets are also fine, and they come in either side-mounted or top-mounted versions. If you have vinyl siding, York also makes a model that will mount right onto your siding.  Another way to go is to use box planters such as the Bloom Master: you can place these next to each other and extend them to whatever length is ideal for your purposes. They’re very durable and will last forever.

We realize that the cost of buying planters can add up, but we hope a tight budget won’t deter you from trying your hand at container gardening. It’s easy to build planters yourself for the cost of the wood, and even easier to use things you have around the house as planters. Some people go to auctions or garage sales and find items like old barrels that they take home and turn into planters. Some people even make planters from such unlikely objects as old tires.

What to Plant

If a plant will do well outdoors in your area, it will probably do well in a container, providing it gets adequate sunlight. Some people do not venture beyond growing tomatoes, but more adventurous gardeners discover that peppers, eggplant, green onions, beans, lettuce, squash, radishes parsley, and many other vegetables will thrive in containers. To learn the details about what to plant, which varieties grow best, how deep to plant, etc., a good place to start is this fine article from the AgriLife Extension at Texas A&M University. However, if you want all the information you need in one very-well-organized and convenient place, we highly recommend The Bountiful Container, a book widely celebrated as being the best available on the subject of growing edible cotton candy flowering combinationplants in containers. One thing that will surprise you when you read this book is that in addition to its coverage of veggies, it includes instructions for growing lemons, strawberries, gooseberries, figs, and even apples, peaches, and grapes in containers. There’s also a section on growing edible flowers such as tart begonias, pepper nasturtiums, clove-spicy dianthus, and sweet daylilies.

Flowering Combos

Talking about flowers, we want to tell you about an exciting new option for those of you who like to buy flowering plants from us: we call it Flowering Combos and what it consists of are expertly chosen combinations of flowering plants grown together in the same tray.

We offer twelve different combos that range from the patriotic red, white, and blue of Bunker Hill, to the exotic, pastel tones of Bermuda Skies. By ordering a combo, you no longer have to figure out what plants look good together and grow well together, because the master gardeners who came up with these flower combos already have. Just take a look at the photos and choose the combos you like the most. It’s never been easier to have a beautiful mix of flowers to grace the inside or outside of your home!

Premium Organic Fertilizer On Sale

Lastly, we’d like to sing the praises of the type of fertilizer that Rosemarie McGee and Maggie Stuckey most highly recommend for container gardening, and one that we can vouch for as being an excellent all-round soil amendment: liquid seaweed fertilizer.

We are pleased to be currently offering a 40% discount on the one-quart size of Neptune’s Harvest Organic Liquid Seaweed Fertilizer, the best brand of liquid seaweed fertilizer we know of, and one that has become famous for its use by those who grow giant pumpkins and other outsize vegetables. We think you’ll be very pleased with the results you get from the superior nutrition this organic fertilizer imparts to your plants.

Until next time, happy gardening from all of us at Garden Harvest Supply!

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