Saturday, July 24, 2010

Perennial Container Gardening

Bright, beautiful container gardens are not just for annuals. Perennial container gardens are for you if you love adding color to your yard, porch, or deck with containers of annuals, but don't look forward to it every year. When spring arrives and the rest of your perennials are sending out shoots, so too will your containers start filling with new growth.

The Container

Perennials have a more robust root structure than annuals, so using a pot that is large enough is important. Be sure to select plants that fit your pot, specifically, don't plant a butterfly bush which grows much too large to safely be planted in all but a gigantic pot.

Give me Some Dirt

The next ingredient is the soil. We sell the potting mix that we've been using here at Woodbridge for many years. It provides plenty of the nutrients your plants need to thrive. If your pot is very large, plant it in the place where you want to keep it before you fill it with soil and plants.

Add Height

Start by selecting a taller plant for the back of the pot. Tall ornamental grasses will provide eye-catching height and movement. (Low-growing grasses planted near the rim will soften the edge.) Hostas come in all sorts of shapes, colors and sizes.


While the flowers are the focal point, they are short-lived, so be sure to select plants with attractive foliage. Start by selecting perennials with nice foliage and a variety of textures. Some of our favorites include: astilbe, coral-bells, day lilies, peonies, phlox and even dwarf evergreens. Also, herbs such as sweet basil and chives are tasty additions.

Bloom Time

By choosing plants that flower at different times, you will ensure that your container is a colorful accent to your yard all season. Be sure to avoid plants whose foliage die back after flowering, such as tulips, crocus, Bleeding Heart, primroses and Oriental poppies. Strawberry plants are a lovely (and delicious) addition.

Low Maintenance

Potted perennials don't need as much care as annuals. Since they are generally hardier, they require less watering and fertilizer. We do recommend dividing your potted perennials after a few years, to give their roots more room and refresh the soil. (Although, for the past 6 years I've had a large pot of garlic chives that never found a permanent home. I never divided it and seldom fertilize it, and it's doing just fine.)

First Frost

When I think of the first frost of the season, I recall the sickly appearance of my previously proud impatiens. Before the first frost arrives, protect your potted perennials from frost and dry winter winds by covering them with an old blanket or burlap. The fabric will block the wind, and allow precipitation through.

Freezing Temps

If you have the space and the muscle, you can relocate them indoors or move them into a garage. Avoid giving them too much warmth and sunlight which would deny them their annual dormant period.

A thick 5” layer of well-composted manure or pine bark mulch will protect potted perennials from freezing winter temperatures.


Once the chance of frost is passed, you can simply uncover and unmulch your potted perennials, give them a drink, watch for signs of new growth, and Enjoy!

Article compiled by Renee C. Brannigan

Thursday, July 1, 2010

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness.
God is the friend of silence.
See how nature - trees, flowers, grass - grows in silence;
see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence...
We need silence to be able to touch souls.

~ Mother Teresa

Powdery Mildew Plaguing your Bee Balm and Phlox?

If you've noticed that some leaves on your Phlox, BeeBalm or other plants look like they have a little powder on them, it could be Powdery Mildew. This whitish-gray powder can rub off, or blow off in the wind.

Since it's mildew, I thought it would happen more often in wet weather, but that's not the case. Powdery Mildew is caused by a variety of fungi. The powder you see are the spores of the fungus which a light breeze can spread.

Good news? Powdery mildew is not fatal and won't cause serious damage. It will weaken the plant, slow its growth, postpone blooms, and leave pucker-like scars on foliage. The foliage may also yellow and leaves may drop off. Promptly remove and dispose of foliage and stems that show the powdery substance. Neem Tree Oil (available at Woodbridge Greenhouses) is organic, safe and effective. It is also an excellent treatment for many other garden pests and problems.

Stop it from spreading: Should you have this problem, cut off to the ground all the moldy old foliage, stems and spent flowers. Don't contaminate your compost pile with this debris. Dispose of it in a sealed container or bag to prevent it from blowing onto other plants in your garden. For extra protection, wash garden tools with hot soapy water or a weak bleach solution and rinse well.

Article compiled by Renee C. Brannigan
What sunshine is to flowers,

smiles are to humanity.

These are but trifles, to be sure; but,

scattered along life's pathway,

the good they do is inconceivable.

~ Joseph Addison


In folklore, as a Rose is the symbol for Love, Hydrangeas represent Understanding, Devotion, and Friendship. In my dear grandmothers' nostalgic garden, Roses and Hydrangeas are a match made in heaven.

In your yard, whether you plant a neat row of Hydrangeas for a lovely hedge, sprinkle a variety of Hydrangeas throughout your garden for their diverse blooms, or fill a vase to overflowing, Hydrangeas will take your breath away. We have so many Hydrangeas, you're sure to find what you want.

"I want HUGE Hydrangea flowers."
Invincibelle Spirit™ has flowers that grow up to 12" across. Absolutely HUGE flowers that re-bloom on new growth until FROST. More reasons to grow an Invincibelle Spirit? They are Easy to Care for, Fast Growing, Heat Tolerant, Long Blooming, Moisture Tolerant, Multi-Seasonal Interest, Cut Flower, Dried Flower. Stop by to see this beauty!

"I want early Hydrangea blooms."
Quick Fire™ hydrangea blooms months earlier than traditional varieties, extending the blooms and beauty from early summer rigjt through autumn. Quick Fire™ blooms earlier than other varieties. As cooler weather arrives, Quick Fire™ blooms change from white to a lovely dark rosy-pink.

"I want summertime white flowers with a hint of pink in Autumn"
Pinky Winky has large white panicles open in mid to late summer, and as summer turns to fall the florets at the base of the panicles turn pink. The flower panicles continue to grow, producing new white florets at the tip. The result is spectacular two-toned flower panicles that can reach up to 16 inches in length! This is a real show-stopper that's also very easy to grow. Adaptable to most soils and both sun and shade, Pinky Winky will thrive in most gardens.

"I want to plant another of those large, white Hydrangeas that I bought from you years ago." That must be "Annabelle". Her large (over 10" in diameter), stunning white blooms have been a favorite Hydrangea for many years. Unlike the better known blue and pink hydrangeas (macrophyllas), Annabelle blooms profusely every year, even after severe pruning or intensely cold winters. Some people plant 'Annabelle' as a hedge.

"I want more of last years' favorite Hydrangeas."
Proven Winners' Endless Summer™ Collection including Twist-n-Shout™ continue to be popular. Twist-n-Shout™ is a reblooming lacecap hydrangea. Twist-n-Shout flowers on both old and new growth all summer long. Gorgeous blossoms of pink or periwinkle blue, depending upon your soil type*. In a large enough pot, the compact-rounded form of Twist-n-Shout suits container planting.

"I want pretty summer blooms now, and I want brilliant fall color later."
Plant Oakleaf Hydrangea, Limelight or Little Lamb. Oakleaf is a native species of Hydrangea that's available in a few varieties.

"Where should I plant my Hydrangeas?"

Hydrangeas grow well in shady gardens and even tolerate full sun. Ideally, they prefer have morning sun and afternoon shade. The grower, "Proven Winner", is known for high-quality plants. Choose from a really nice variety of these Hydrangeas at Woodbridge Greenhouses.

"How do I make my Hydrangeas blue?"
Simply adding sulphur to your soil will give you bluer blooms, but not every Hydrangea will turn blue. White or Creamy Hydrangeas, like Oakleaf and Annabelle, can't turn blue. Mophead and Lacecaps that are pink, blue or purple, can usually change color according to the pH of your soil. You will need to reapply the sulphur throughout the growing season to maintain the color change. Another tip: For sweeter (alkaline) soil that will turn some varieties more pink, work lime into your soil. For just a hint of blue, continually mulch your Hydrangeas with acidic pine needles that will slowly add acid to your soil.

The growing number of varieties ensures that one will suit your taste and your garden. Whether planted in a hedge or sprinkled throughout your garden or filling your favorite vase, Hydrangeas have been a favorite garden plant for generations.

Article Compiled by Renee C. Brannigan

A cool, perfect day for gardening, stop by TODAY and fill your garden with bright, colorful annuals!