Planning & Planting Container Gardens

With so many choices, deciding on the right plants for your containers can be intimidating.  It’s easy to find advice at your local garden center as they’ve probably been designing container gardens for years.  Once you’ve settled on your plants, creating your container garden and enjoying the final product can be exhilarating!

Let your plants be an expression of your taste.  Walk around the garden center, see which plants speak to you based on bloom color, foliage, size, and growth habit.  Here are a few tips:

Gather Your Plants

Make sure they’re sun/shade compatible.  Add a few accent plants such as vinca vine, sweet potato vine, or creeping jenny to add contrast and pop!


Try the Thriller, Spiller, and Filler method.  Steal ideas from other arrangements.  Find some PIN-spiration from our Pinterest page.

What’s Your Drainage Situation?

Plants don’t preform their best without good drainage.  If possible find a container with built in drainage holes.  If there aren’t drainage holes already, you can often drill a few fairly easily, especially if the container is made of a lightweight material.  If it’s just not possible to create holes yourself, you might consider planting in a removable pot with drainage holes and dropping it into your decorative container.  You can remove the drop in pot to water it, let the water run through, and then set it back in the decorative pot.  Hanging baskets work well.  Just snap off the hanger and plop the basket in the container.  Easy peasy.

Mix It Up

Don’t go looking for the least expensive potting soil.  An economic, lightweight potting soil or soiless mix will work fine.  Then add some beneficial ingredients.  Starter fertilizers, slow release fertilizer, peat moss,  and even a dash of nutrient rich compost are good additives to ensure your plants thrive.

Be Gentle

Carefully remove plants from their pots and give the roots a little rub. They like that, and they’ll root into their new home faster.

Fill In

Fill your container with soil to the root line, arrange the plants how you want them, then fill in between with the remaining soil. Be sure not to bury the crown, or the area where the plant meets the soil line. Slightly elevate the crown so the stem does not stay wet, and ultimately rot.

Looking Good

Enjoy your work. Brag to your friends. With our without our help, you take all the credit!

Grubbing For The Truth

From late March to early April white grubs which have wintered underground begin to  move up to the soil surface to feed on roots.  In May they will form shallow cells in the soil to pupate.

By June they will all have completed their metamorphosis & emerge as adult Japanese or Masked Chafer Beetles.  They begin feeding  on the leaves & flowers of over 300 different plants & trees (including popular Knockout Roses)

Thru July  they will feed, mate & lay eggs.  After a day or two of feeding & mating, females will lay small clutches of 1-5 eggs in the soil.  They then begin the feeding/mating/egg laying cycle again.  This continues until 40-60 eggs per female are laid.

In August the eggs hatch & the young feed vigorously on roots, especially those of grass.  This continues until late October when fully grown grubs burrow down for the winter.  Most significant lawn damage from grubs will be noticeable at this time.

A good grub killer, applied and watered as directed, in April-May & July-August  can reduce populations & subsequent damage.

A side effect to grub presence is the invasion by moles, raccoon & skunks – all of whom find the grubs a mainstay in their diets.  Most urban yards will not have problems with raccoon or skunk but moles can be a highly noticeable problem.  Despite the good moles do – eating grubs, aerating the soil, moving subsoil nutrients up and organic materials deeper –  they can destroy the smooth appearance of a lawn.  Other than removing the food source & sending them elsewhere, the only solution is setting traps or hiring an experienced exterminator to do so.

Weekend Warrior Checklist

It’s early March, time to take advantage of mild temperatures and sunshine when you can!


Overseed thin or bare spots in your lawn. As your lawn freezes and thaws seeds will bury into the soil and germinate when it’s time to sprout. Wait until  seeds germinate and grow a full 2 inches before applying weed killers. We recommend a turf type tall fescue.


Create a lush existing lawn that lasts with the Fertilome 3 step Lawn Program.

Step 1: Apply Fertilome For All Seasons Lawn Food Plus Crabgrass And Weed Preventer with Prodiamine in March/April. Prodiamine gives your lawn just the right amount of nutrition it needs for healthy growth this spring.

Step 2: Apply Fertilome Lawn Food Plus Iron in September and again in November for fast greening, strong roots, and long term stability.


Plant trees:  Trees make great focal points for yards. The period where trees lie dormant is actually the best for planting new trees. To find the right tree, stop in and talk with one of our Nursery professionals or browse our selection online at


Apply Fertilome Tree & Shrub Systemic Insect Drench with Imidacloprid on trees, shrubs, and roses for 12 months of protection from the worst insects!


Prune: Winter is at an end, meaning that it’s time to prune deciduous trees. Improve trees’ appearance and health by ridding them of unhealthy limbs and extra sprouts. When it comes to fruit trees and grapes, these plants could use a good pruning after the worst of winter weather seems to have passed but before blossoms begin to grow. As long as a variety tends to bloom after June 1, pruning now won’t be an issue.


Pre-order roses: For our full list of specialty varieties go to  Email our Nursery Manager at


Unsightly views are easier to spot before trees and shrubs fill in this spring. Take a good look around your yard and identify any trouble spots. If you need suggestions about how to replace your trouble spots with curb appeal, just stop by and we’ll happily make recommendations. Pictures are helpful.


March is also an excellent time for planting bed maintenance – edging, mulching, leaf clean-up, fertilizing, and applying weed preventer.


Cut back Ornamental Grasses:  If you haven’t, you’ll be very happy you did so before they begin to emerge.

Fall Container Refresher

It’s not you.  You’re spring/summer annuals have worked hard to be their best for almost a full growing season, so it’s normal that they start to look a little haggard come fall.  Fall is a new season, a new beginning.  It’s time to freshen those pots!

Why should you re-plant your containers for fall?  Because it will make you happy.  If you’re a container gardener, you know all to well how good you feel when your planters are full and thriving, and you still have 3 to 4 months to enjoy them before you’re ready for winter greens.

First note your assets.  Do you have a component that still looks healthy?  Maybe a large annual you bought later in the season that has some mileage left.  You don’t necessarily need to start from scratch.  You may have salvageable plants that you can utilize in a new arrangement.

What do you want your container to do for you?  Are you having a Labor Day gathering and you need instant gratification?  Do you want a fresh look that will last through frost?  How about a Halloween themed planter?

When you close your eyes and picture fall, you likely see Chrysanthe(mums).  Beautiful mounds of color and long blooming, mums are a great choice for most containers.  Unfortunately once blooms fade they then they begin to lose their appeal (although they do have a long, 4-6 week, bloom time).  You can always pull the plant from the pot and plant in the ground.  Mum’s are semi-perennial.  They’re likely to return the next year, but not guaranteed.  The type of winter we have determines a mum’s life span, as well as location.  They can be finicky.

There are many other choices for fall planters.  Pansy’s are wonderful when it comes to longevity.  A dainty but tough little plant.  It takes a lot of cold weather to knock it down.

Ornamental grasses are perfect for fall containers.  Though many annual varieties provide height and long term interest, perennial grasses do the same…and you can plant them in the landscape so they’ll return next year!

Cabbage and Kale are fall planter/landscape superstars.  Easy to grow, colorful, and very cold tolerant.  A fall must-have.

If you want a long lasting performer, give Marigolds a try.  They’ll fill in nicely and bloom until heavy frost.  Who’d have thought…marigolds in fall!  Their warm hues are perfect for fall planters.

Think outside the box.  Add pumpkins and gourds to fill space and add the ultimate seasonal touch.

Stop in and see some of our containers to get more ideas, or let us help you choose the best fillers for your unique porch pot.  Click here to view our fall Pinterest page for more PIN-speration!

10-Minute Impact for a Summer Party

Hosting summer parties can be very rewarding, but decorating can be more of an afterthought when there are so many other details to keep in mind.

Creating the right atmosphere for a great summer party doesn’t actually have to be especially time-consuming if you think outside the box. In ten minutes, you can easily kick your party up a notch. Whether or not you actually spend any time outside during your event, a well-executed outdoor living space elevates the atmosphere.

Container plants:

A few blooming containers really elevate the mood.  Hanging baskets add vertical dimension to the setup and add a touch of sophistication. If your summer party has a theme, choose blooms in coordinating colors.


Added greenery creates a lush atmosphere. For a sunny area, ‘Kimberley Queen’ ferns, Elephant Ears, and Ornamental Grasses in containers or the landscape work well. If your area is shaded, you’re in luck! A simple trick is to use houseplants to add this effect, and you can move your greenery around to cover problematic spots.


Plant a small centerpiece with low growing, flowering plants, succulents, ferns, or miniature plants. Use a fun container. Either drill a drainage hole or leave the plant in the pot, place it in the container, and add a little decorative moss around the mouth of the container for a finished look.

Cut flowers from your garden to place in a vase as your centerpiece. Cut Lavender blooms are wonderfully fragrant and calming, perfect for a laid back get together.

Float blooms from your garden in a vase or shallow container.


Use fresh herbs when cooking, in beverages, or in olive oil to dip bread. Rosemary for instance is a versatile summer staple, delicious when paired with chicken, pork, potatoes, and vegetables. Most mint varieties are a refreshing addition to iced tea and lemonade.

Finishing Touches:

Deadhead spent blooms, pull unsightly weeds, touch up your mulch, and add some string lights for ambiance.
With a little attention to detail your outdoor party will be summer inspired in just a few minutes.

Upgrading Your Daylily Bed

One of the easiest flowers to grow is the daylily. There are hundreds of varieties of this widely adapted perennial. Some have deciduous leaves, while others have evergreen leaves. The flowers come in a wide range of shapes, colors, and sizes. Some flowers are double, while others look like spiders. There are also everblooming varieties that bloom repeatedly throughout the growing season.

Offering so much variety and such a long track record of success, daylilies are popular choices for gardeners. But the benefits of daylilies also can be a detriment. Because daylilies live so long and can be divided so easily to make more plants, gardeners are rarely motivated to try out new varieties. That’s a shame because the new daylily varieties produce more flowers per plant than older varieties, feature better flowers that hold their color even in full sun, and offer foliage that remains attractive all season long. Some have a strong fragrance too. These new hybrids have thick, well-branched scapes with twenty to thirty buds per scape. While traditional daylilies may bloom for two to three weeks in summer, some of the new varieties bloom for two to three months. With these new types, there’s no need to try to hide daylilies that are past their prime, since the plants stay attractive for so long.

Daylilies are a perennial garden must-have.  After trying some of the new varieties available, you may decide that it’s time for the older varieties to take a backseat to modern hybrids.