Invite Spring Indoors this Easter

easter_cg_03_13Invite spring indoors this year with Easter bulbs and beautiful bulb gardens. Whether you choose a more formal theme with understated color or a garden with the all the shades of the rainbow, we have just what you are looking for. Our expert designers have been busy creating dish gardens in many sizes with different types of containers and spring accents. Bulb gardens are a thoughtful addition to an Easter table or any Easter décor, bringing fresh color and amazing fragrance into your home.

Please come in today and throughout the weekend. Visit our gift department as well as the greenhouse for the perfect gift for family and friends that entertain. You will also find the perfect ingredients for a fabulous Easter basket sure to delight the little ones in your life!

Don’t forget to mark your calendar for April 6th at 2:00 p.m. when our own ‘Plant Doctor’ Bob will give you all the information you need to move your bulbs and other Easter plants from indoors and incorporate them outside in your garden. Spring plants can be “the gift that keeps on giving” if you know how and Bob will share his knowledge with you.

Enjoy the celebration of rebirth and a fresh beginning this weekend!

Now is the Time to Transplant Plants

wilt-pruf13If you need to move any shrubs, trees, evergreens, or summer and fall blooming perennials, do it now while they are still dormant. It is less stressful for them while they are dormant. A thorough application of Wilt-Pruf prior to digging will also help reduce transplant shock. Carefully tie the branches up so they are not in your way while digging. The general rule of thumb for digging is to allow at least one foot of ball diameter for each inch of trunk diameter. – ‘Plant Doctor’ Bob

Early Spring Color

pansy_lavender_12smThe long, cold, and dreary winter seems to be hanging on as our desire for spring color grows. Fortunately there are spring interest annuals and perennials available now to satisfy our need for a glimpse of things to come. Pansies and violas are among the happiest of flowers in an amazing array of colors. Primroses in Crayola crayon shades are in their prime. English daisies in hues of red and pink brighten any garden bed or container, and spring blooming bulbs are putting on a show.

As long as you are prepared to cover your plants when the temperatures dip below freezing, you can safely plant them in your beds or containers. At Waterloo Gardens we specialize in creating beautiful container gardens for all seasons so stop by this week and brighten your outdoor entrances for the coming holiday and talk to one of our gardening experts if you have any questions at all!

Gardening in March

Gardening in March is a guessing game. Will it warm up and will it stay warm? Will the rains start and when will they let up? About the only sure thing is that March comes and March ends. That we can count on.

Without the heavy snowfalls of the past few years and with much warmer temperatures you can go ahead and push the envelope. Just be certain to keep something on hand to cover up your early spring plantings if the night-time temperatures drop below thirty degrees.

We are all tempted to take advantage of the warm days. Be prepared and remember that spring always gets the last word in the garden.

Mulch: A Tree’s Best Friend

Spring is just around the corner, which means many of us will soon be planting small trees and shrubs to beautify our landscapes. Once the job of planting is over, don’t forget one very mulch_ruler_08_11smimportant step… mulching! Mulch is a young tree’s best friend. It holds down competing weeds or grass, retains moisture (especially beneficial once the hot weather rolls around), prevents soil cracking that can damage new roots, protects the trunk from lawnmower damage, and helps prevent soil compaction.

Common mulches include bark, wood chips, licorice root, pine needles, decorative gravel, and crushed lava. Organic mulches such as licorice root, bark, or pine needles also contribute to better soil structure and aeration as they decompose. If using stone, avoid limestone rock. Spread the mulch to a diameter of at least 3 feet with about a 2” thickness. Don’t pile any higher than 3” and most importantly, do not allow the mulch to touch the tree’s trunk. Over the next few years of the tree’s life, this can create many problems, one of the most common being that the bark tissue begins to stress and decay, allowing plant diseases and insects to gain entry into the trunk.

How to Force Spring Branches

February and March are great times to bring branches of some flowering trees and shrubs indoors to force into bloom. One of the easiest to force, and most cheerful when in bloom, is forsythia.
forsythia_golden_bell
Cutting branches close to their normal bloom cycle will result in faster forcing time. With forsythia buds swelling now, your success is all but guaranteed.

When the temperatures are above freezing, cut branches that are 2-3 feet long and heavily laden with flower buds. Branches toward the top of your plants tend to have more flower buds than the lower branches. Identify the flower buds from leaf buds by looking for the largest and fattest buds. When pruning the branches, be certain to cut to a bud or side shoot and make the cut about 1/4″ above the bud.

Once you get the branches indoors, hold them under water and cut off about an inch off the stem. Then split the bottom of the stem with a knife. Keep the cut ends under water as much as possible. Stand the branches in a vase of water and place in a cool location with low to medium light. Leave them there until they are just about to bloom. Change the water every few days and to keep the buds from drying out, lightly mist the branches with water. If you have a packet of floral preservative or cut flower food you can add it to the water. As soon as the flower buds start to open (1-3 weeks), move the vase to a brighter location where you can enjoy the beauty of spring color. The buds will last longer if they are not placed in direct sunlight or near too much heat.

Other branches including flowering quince, pear, cherry, dogwood, and crabapple can be successfully forced.