It’s that time of year when gardeners start feeling as if winter will never end. What’s a gardener to do? Why not start a few seeds indoors and watch them grow! There are many household items that make great containers for young seedlings and are biodegradable. Toilet paper rolls can be cut in half, eggshells or egg cartons can be filled with planting soil and seeded. Just line them up on cookie sheet, plant your seeds, water slightly, cover with a plastic bag and place near a sunny window. Remove the bag every few days to check for germination and if they need water. It really makes the last of these winter days go fast and puts a smile on your face when they start growing. It will also give you a head start on your garden! You can shop our selection of seeds to get inspired. Each seed packet tells you if and when you can start indoors.
Another favorite winter activity is to plant the sliced off top of a fresh pineapple in a pot of soil on your window sill. Cut the top off about one inch below the greens. Place on your kitchen counter for a few days or up to a week which will allow the cut side to dry a bit to prevent rotting. Then place in potting soil near a bright window. This is a fun project with your kids, they will be amazed when it starts growing.
The rooms in your home are made better and healthier by adding houseplants to add interest and beauty. There is something extra special about adding living potted plants to a room. Grouping them together in a room creates visual impact.
Vary the height and shape of your plants to add interest on a coffee table, end table or display shelves. Maybe a tall rubber plant on the floor and smaller pothos that will trail over the edges of tables and shelves. Grouping different leaf shapes and heights is pleasant to the eye as well.
An equally important consideration is the container that you place the plants into. You could go for a consistent unified look by using all terra cotta pots in a room. You could go with a “bohemian look” by mixing shapes, sizes and colors of the containers as well as your plant selections – a real conversation piece!
If you ever feel something is missing from your living space, add a few plants to the mix and see the difference it makes. It is healthier too since many plants take toxins out of the air and make for a healthier living space.
If you need some plant suggestions or help growing indoor plants, stop in our store or attend one of our February hands-on workshops. Make a reservation and enjoy the fun and creativity of planting an indoor container garden of your own. Of course, your children or grandchildren will enjoy “fun in the dirt” too. Bring them along!
This is the time of year to create a timely, lovely holiday centerpiece for all to enjoy. Here are a few helpful suggestions. Start with a theme, maybe the twelve days of Christmas or all the winter and summer sports that different members of the family enjoy. It could be whimsical and fun for your children or grandchildren.
Add the unexpected (like Dad’s favorite fishing lure) and other fun items enjoyed by the family all year. Use some vintage pieces to remember those of previous generations, like Grandma’s crochet hook or knitting needles. Mix the rustic with the new for added interest using a bit of nature with fresh evergreens and holly.
You can choose a color scheme that coordinates with the colors of your home or use the traditional holiday colors of red, green, gold, copper or silver. Layer the items in a tiered formation creating a winding walkway effect. You will be praised by friends and family when they come to see your holiday decorations and enjoy the good tidings of the season with you and your family.
Don’t forget the option of using poinsettias as centerpieces for your holiday table. Adding glitter to their bright blossoms will make them extra special and festive. Wagners is offering complimentary glitter through the holidays. You can even custom paint your poinsettia centerpieces in purple, blue or Viking colors if you wish for a small fee.
As we move indoors for the winter months it’s time to give a nod to those hardworking indoor plants that are more than just a “pretty face” in the living room or kitchen. They work hard to clean indoor air from volatile organic compounds. From health benefits to improving concentration, indoor houseplants are easy on the eyes, mind, body and spirit. Orchids, ferns, succulents, palms, spider plants and many more remove harmful compounds frequently found in homes and offices.
As indoor technology becomes more sophisticated, it’s more important than ever to stay connected with nature and the outdoors. Mixing indoor planted containers with blooms, foliage, and edibles are so encouraged. Imagine cutting some salad greens for your evening dinner from that floral mix container in the kitchen window! Containers brimming with fragrant herbs like basil, rosemary, or thyme are attractive and can’t be beat for an aromatic addition. For indoor blooms, orchids can’t be beat. These colorful and exotic plants blend with any décor. What a conversation piece too!
Now is the time to plan and create your outdoor fresh evergreen containers to grace your entry way or garage doors. If you want some help with creating your planters, be sure to register for our hands-on workshops. These containers add such a welcome touch to your outdoor entry way and last all winter.
Pumpkin season and bulb planting seem to go together every fall right along with mums. Why not plant a few spring blooming bulbs in the same hole with a mum? You’ll have fall color now and a pleasant surprise in the spring too.
Here’s a fall decoration I recently observed. Stack an assortment of pumpkins and gourds inside a tomato cage or topiary frame that was used this past summer. Finish the look with a few branches of fall leaves around the base. The effect is unusual and a real eye catcher. I might do this in my whiskey barrel.
It’s also a great time to go to an apple orchard and enjoy some local Minnesota grown apples. Don’t forget to take some pictures while you’re there, the background is pleasing and the kids are a happy bunch and always smiling.
Now is a good time to transplant herbs to use in the kitchen all winter long. Basil is my favorite choice followed by parsley and rosemary. You can dig up part of your chives, pot them up, and use all winter too. Place them in shady area outside for few days after transplanting, then bring indoors and place in front of a south or west facing window.
Hints for using herbs: Add a bay leaf or two to your cup of tea. Add mint leaves to hot chocolate or to an “adult beverage”. Add some lemon or mint to the bottom of a cake pan before pouring in batter. Use your imagination!
August is when your garden is in a “blaze of glory”! The blooms light up the landscape for your summertime enjoyment. Dahlias have gorgeous flowers in bright colors, yellow and orange sunflowers and celosia have spiky blooms. Lantana is showy too with their delicate orange and yellow blossoms which the butterflies love. Don’t forget the zinnias that always bring a happy smile and the colorful coleus foliage with bold orange and yellow splashes.
Take a minute and pat yourselves on the back for planting and nurturing such a happy scene for you and your neighbors to enjoy. This is a good time to take note of what you want to add or change for next year. Take some pictures of your yard and garden now so you have a record of what you did.
If you feel you would like to view a bigger display of gardens in bloom, take a ride and view the displays at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen. Don’t miss viewing the displays of “treehouses”. The kids will be fascinated!
The Minnesota State Fair will soon be here. There is a floral design contest by professionals on August 30 and 31 in the Agrictulture/Horticulture Building . The theme this year is to create a fresh flower arrangement that expresses their favorite song. Can you imagine what the “Beer Barrel Polka” flower arrangement would look like? While at the State Fair, don’t miss the display by the Minnesota State Horticultural Society and get a great tote bag! By the way, the MSHS is 150 years “young” this year!
Summer is the season to enjoy the fruits and beauty of your spring gardening projects. The summer months go by so fast. While it’s time to enjoy the beauty of the season, there are still things to do in the yard and garden. Here is my summer check list of things to do.
You can keep sowing seeds for autumn crops such as peas, beans, and carrots. The youngsters like that duty – another reason for them to play in the dirt. Don’t forget to pick and dry herbs from your garden to use next winter!
Tomatoes are best picked when fully colored and green peppers may be picked at any stage but will turn red if left on the plant for several weeks. Pick your veggies at optimal size and color.
If you are not growing your own vegetables be sure to visit a farmers market for fresh locally grown produce. Untiedt’s Farm Market is now open in the parking lot of our Minneapolis location.
Keep deadheading faded blossoms. Plants with large blooms like geraniums, roses, and dahlia will particularly benefit from that.
Watch for black spot on roses and remove affected leaves. Spray with fungicide in early morning while it is cooler to avoid stressing the plants.
Don’t be afraid to cut flowers for indoor bouquets. Cutting annual flowers encourages more blooms.
Mulch will help control weeds and increase moisture which means you will have to water less. As the mulch slowly breaks down, it improves the soil too.
We’ve started receiving reports of Japanese beetles in the area. They most often will eat apple, linden and birch trees, roses and canna but can be found on a wide range of plants. The best thing to do is set traps at distance away from your garden.
Planters and Containers
Get more flowers on your container and hanging basket annuals by applying liquid fertilizer once every 10-14 days. A little feed will give the plants and flowers a much-needed summer boost. Remember to never fertilize very dry plants.
Raise your lawn mower so that after the grass is cut it’s about 4” long. Longer grass shades the ground, which keeps it cooler and means you will have to water less to keep it green.
Lawns and flower beds need at least one inch of water per week. Ideally it is delivered during one watering and not multiple short waterings. Deep watering encourages root growth.
If you have out of town visitors or are looking for something to do this summer, visit the MN Arboretum in Chanhassen. It will inspire you with all the beautiful flowers and plants.
A beautiful home deserves a beautiful garden and landscape. Maybe you feel very confident about decorating your living room or bedroom, but a little shy in planning your garden and landscape. Vision your landscape and garden just as you would an indoor project, go online to watch landscaping videos, look at photos on Pinterest or drive around your neighborhood and find yards you admire.
The most successful landscapes use a mix of shrubs, perennials and annuals to present a tapestry of color, shapes, and forms. The trend in new plants has been all about the foliage in addition to the flowers. The flower and foliage color should complement the outside color of your home too.
Also consider the view from indoors as well as from the street, positioning plants so you see their beauty from inside your home. It’s always good to plant varieties in three or more to make a statement. Of course, consider the ultimate size and shape of shrubs and perennials since they will change from year to year as they grow. Almost any plant can be moved if it doesn’t suit your fancy. Well landscaped homes are more valuable and are the talk of the neighborhood.
If you need help or suggestions, remember we are here to help!
Don’t forget the kids that like to garden or need a rewarding hobby. Maybe they want an area of their own to grow those tasty veggies and blooming snapdragons or petunias. A special planter box just for their garden is a great idea too.
Have you looked at your rhubarb lately? Mine is growing like crazy this year. I just found a recipe for Rhubarb Chutney. It can be used as a topping for meats or even an ice cream.
4 cups diced rhubarb
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup cider vinegar or dry red wine
1 cup raisins
1 T ginger
½ t black pepper
¼ t cloves
¼ t cinnamon
May add 2 T chopped chili pepper (jalapeno)
You may add garlic and green onions if wanted.
Boil and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring often until thickened. It can be stored in the refrigerator for months. If you have extra rhubarb, be sure to share it with neighbors, friends, family or co-workers. Rhubarb can be harvested until the end of June and as a reminder, don’t eat the leaves.
Don’t forget to sow some milkweed seed for the monarchs! Wagners has free packets of milkweed seed for you. The monarch population has dropped by 90% and it is time for gardeners to act.
I recently noticed a new idea for garden edging. Turn beer or wine bottles (empty of course) upside down along the garden edge with just two inches of the bottle showing above the earth line. Place them close together to form a neat edge. It’s sure to be a conversation starter with your neighbors.
Spring! It is here! It’s a wonderful time to enjoy the warm days and cool mornings and evenings. You may have to do some clean-up in the yard and garden but think of all the exercise and fresh air you will be getting. Working outdoors gives your brain a boost too. Gardening is a positive, natural therapy that reduces stress and anxiety. Besides all the physical benefits of being outside and active in nature, it’s satisfying to eat what you grow. Clean up the vegetable garden now and prepare the soil for planting by mixing compost into the beds. This will help ensure that you will grow all those delicious tomatoes and peppers. Peppers come in all colors and every level of heat with new varieties arriving every season. Be sure to check them out this spring!
If your lawn is not looking good or maybe has a few bare spots now is a good time to get it reseeded. Lightly rake to remove dead grass and sow with grass seed mix for sun or shade. A pre-emergent herbicide like a crabgrass preventer should be put down in mid to late April (when forsythias are blooming). Remember you cannot overseed and apply pre-emergent at the same time. Choose one or the other depending on the condition of your lawn.
Pansies are lovers of cooler temps and there are plenty to choose from at Wagners. The bright colors look great in planter boxes or pots. They love our cool nights.
If you really want to celebrate spring, take a driving or walking tour of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. All of their beautiful spring bulbs will soon be in bloom. Speaking of the arboretum, did you see it was voted best in the nation and we can take advantage of it right here in Minnesota! How lucky we are!