This is an exciting time of year in the garden center. Trucks roll in daily with new stock, and the plants are breaking dormancy, in our nursery and in our customers’ yards and gardens. We are all filled with the excitement that a new season with fresh possibilities brings. Those of us who work in the garden center know the ebb and flow of plants and how they are sold, but we recognize that the average shopper may not know what we take for granted. So, here are a few hints that will make your visits to the garden center more productive and pleasurable.
This is the time to shop for spring-flowering plants. Be they perennials, like these creeping phlox, or early-to-bloom shrubs, you’ll find the best selection early in the season. Some spring perennials, for example, aren’t in stock from June on, so now is the time to get them.
Edible plants that are harvested early are often only available in the spring. This is the time to find Rhubarb, and get it established in a sunny place on your property. Rhubarb is an ornamental plant that can be placed in perennial gardens as well as on the side of an herb or vegetable bed. Note: Only the stalks of the Rhubarb plant are edible.
Some shrubs and trees that arrive in the garden center are in containers, and some are what is called “B&B.” B&B stands for Balled and Burlaped. If you purchase a B&B plant, know that you’ll need to remove all the cording, burlap and wire baskets when you plant them. You can move the plant into the hole as is, and then cut away the wire, burlap and twine, leaving only a small bit underneath the plant. Any shrub or tree that is planted with the twine, burlap and basket left in place is likely to die.
If you see annuals or vegetables displayed outside, it’s generally safe to plant these in your gardens right now. They have been “hardened off” (acclimated to the out of doors) by being outside at the garden center.
Plants that we have inside on our patio or in the greenhouses are there for a reason. If you see tomatoes, peppers, and other warm-weather veggies inside, it’s too early to plant them in your gardens. A good rule of thumb is that the night time temperatures need to be reliably ABOVE 50° in order to plant warm-weather veggies and annuals outside.
Years ago it was hard to find orchids for sale. Now, we get frequent shipments that are sent overnight, so we always have a good selection of these long-flowering, and easy to grow plants.
Do you have a small yard or garden? Fortunately, the growers and plant breeders have your back. Many plants are available in smaller sizes now, so that you can include something like a blueberry bush in a pot on your deck, or in a small condo-garden.
Be sure to check out our Tiny Gardening Library by the sliding-doors entrance to the patio. Share a garden or plant book, or borrow a book on gardening. Thanks to Obie O’Brian for making the Tiny Library and to all of those who are sharing books. (Plant or garden-related books only. Please only bring in two or three at a time as we don’t have space to store excess books.)