Saturday, October 30, 2010

Golden Autumn Slide Show

Beautiful slide show from Margaret Roach on her blog A Way to Garden that features some really gorgeous plant pics, especially Lindera benzion (Native Spicebush).

Two slide shows that beautifully bookend the garden season:


And spring:

(We have unbelievable yellow Magnolias in stock, on sale now for 50% off!)

(Image above from Morton Arboretum feature on fabulous fall color:

Friday, October 29, 2010

Reminder: Start Paper Whites Inside Now For Thanksgiving

Start paper whites inside now to have blooms for Thanksgiving.

"A surefire way to chase away the winter blues is to fill your home with fragrant flowers. And nothing is easier to grow than the sweet smelling paperwhite (Narcissus papyraceus), a bulb plant that can be coaxed into bloom with very little effort.

The correct term is actually "forcing" as you are forcing the spring-flowering bulbs to fast-forward their natural growth cycles and bloom in winter instead. Many bulbs can be forced--grape hyacinths, tulips, daffodils, and crocuses, for example--but paperwhites are probably the easiest as they don't require a long cold storage period to root.

Paperwhites produce small, star-shaped flowers that will last for several weeks. Some varieties have pure white flowers, others have white perianths (outer petals) with pale yellow "cups" in the center. Paperwhites, which come from the Mediterranean, are tender bulbs and not suitable for outdoor growing in Vermont. However, most garden centers and seed catalogs sell bulbs for indoor forcing.

If purchasing locally, choose healthy bulbs with no soft spots or signs of discoloration. Store in a cool, dry place until time to plant.

Paperwhites will bloom about four to six weeks after planting, so plan accordingly if you want flowers for the holidays or other special occasions. For continuous bloom throughout the winter, plant bulbs every two weeks from late fall through February.

Use shallow containers, about three to four inches deep, without drainage holes. You can find these specially designed containers for forcing at many garden centers. Add about two inches of washed pebbles in the bottom of the container. Gently place the bulbs, pointed side up on the gravel. They should be close, but not touching. (Five bulbs will fit nicely in a six-inch pot.) Then add enough pebbles around the bulbs to hold them in place. You can also use decorative marbles or stones if you prefer.

The tricky part is watering the bulbs. You want to add just enough water so it reaches the base of the bulbs. You don't want the bulbs to sit in water as this will cause rot. Maintain this level of water throughout the growing period. You'll probably need to replenish the water every two or three days. Don't fertilize.

Place the container in a cool, dark place (about 50 degrees F) for a few weeks until green shoots appear. Then move to full, bright light (generally, a window with southern exposure). Too little light, and the plants will grow leggy as they stretch to reach the light. Initially, room temperature should be 60 to 65 degrees F.

To prolong bloom, after the plants begin to flower, remove them from direct sunlight and place in a cooler, less sunny part of your home. Since paperwhites require zone 8 to 11 conditions, they can't be planted successfully outdoors. Discard the bulbs after flowering.

Prepotted paperwhites can be purchased at many garden stores. All you do is add water! These potted bulbs also make a nice gift, or a fun activity for your kids."

-By Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension Professor
University of Vermont

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bulb planning and planting: bulbs for the middle of your border

These taller bulbs can hold their own in the middle of your perennial border.

Daffodils 'Thalia'

Daffodils 'Thalia'
Height: 14"
Blooms very late spring.

When gardeners ask for a white daffodil, this is the one we recommend. The exquisite narcissus is the snowiest white of all the white daffodils. It produces 2-3 fragrant blossoms per stem.

Daffodils 'Fragrant Rose'

Daffodils 'Fragrant Rose'
Height: 16"
Blooms late spring.

Large-cupped Daffodils are the workhorses of the Daffodil world. The beauty of this flower is in its peachy pink, goblet-shaped cup and its exceptional fragrance, which reminds some folks of old garden Roses.

Daffodils 'Parisienne'

Daffodils 'Parisienne'
Height: 16"
Blooms mid-spring.

'Parisienne' is a delightful bi-color daffodil that has white petals and a deep orange cup.

Daffodils 'Delnashaugh'

Daffodils 'Delnashaugh'
Height: 18"
Blooms Late spring.

I don't know that the picture does these ruffley beauties justice. 'Delnashaugh' produces large and lovely double white flowers with a delicate salmon heart.

Daffodils 'Petit Four'

Daffodils 'Petit Four'
Height: 18"
Blooms early spring.

A unique daffodil voted the Number 2 Show Flower at the 1983 Narcissus Show at Keukenhof, Holland. Beautiful contrast between the white petals and the apricot-rose crown.

Allium 'Purple Sensation'

Shown here in a lovely combo with Hesperus.

Allium 'Purple Sensation'
Height: 30"
Blooms very late spring.

Big bang for your buck, and look how great they look in big numbers. The photo above shows a grouping of 25. The 'Purple Sensation' are so affordable, you can do that too!

Fritillaria 'Ivory Bells'

Fritillaria 'Ivory Bells'
Height: 32"
Blooms mid-spring.

Also known as Fritillaria of Persia, Ivory Bells is a rare and unusual variety. It bears white bell flowers on tall spikes that grow up to 3 feet high. The mid-Spring flowers are deliciously fragrant and exude a natural old-fashioned charm. Matte green foliage creates a base that showcases the flowers.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bulb planning and planting: bulbs for the front of your border

Obviously our favorite shorty for the front of your perennial bed:

Allium 'Ivory Queen'

Allium 'Ivory Queen'
Height: 8"
Blooms very late Spring.

Why do we love them so much: the low, shapely leaves and the compact, long lasting white flowers.

Muscari armeniacum

Muscari armeniacum
Height: 6"
Blooms Mid-spring

Why do we love them: bright blue flowers edged with a very thin line of white. (They are inexpensive and they naturalize.)

Scilla siberica

Scilla siberica
Height: 6"
Blooms in early spring

Why we love them: naturalizing and delicate downward facing flowers wave in the early spring breeze.

Daffodils 'February Gold'

Daffodils 'February Gold'
Height: 10"
Blooms early-spring

Why we love them: they naturalize and spread effortlessly.

Daffodils 'Tete a Tete'

Daffodils 'Tete a Tete'
Height: 10"
Blooms early-spring

Why we love them: sooo fragrant!

Daffodils 'Jack Snipe'

Daffodils 'Jack Snipe'
Height: 10"
Blooms Mid-spring

Why we love them: they are rock garden rock stars.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Victoria Gardens' Gift Guide: Adorable Raccoon Ornament

Now that the road is open, we hope you all will stop by for birthday presents and holiday gifts (maybe even a gift or two for yourself)!

We have a wide selection of these adorable animal ornaments in stock now.

More gift ideas.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bulb Planting: Top 3 Bulb Planting Tips!

#1 Bulb Planting tip: Mix Bulb-tone in with your soil when you plant your bulbs and sprinkle established bulbs with Bulb-tone in the fall! (See Bulb-tone note below*)

#2 Bulb Planting tip: It is easiest to plant bulbs after you cut your perennial garden back. Squeeze bulbs into the spaces in between all your perennials (remember that your bulbs are up and over before your perennials have filled in.)

#3 Bulb Planting tip: Plant in groupings of seven and nine for dramatic impact.

*Bulb-tone info:

Espoma Bulb-tone 3-5-3 fertilizer for flowering bulbs.
A Complete Plant Food with All 15 Essential Nutrients

Perfect for all bulbs including tulips, daffodils, crocus and hyacinths
Complex blend of natural organics provide complete & balanced feeding of all 15 nutrients.

Environmentally safe. No sludges, hazardous or toxic ingredients.
Long lasting, slow release. Won’t burn or leach away.
Contains organic matter rich in vitamins and beneficial microbes to improve soil.

1 pound equals approx. 3 cupfuls

New Plantings

Row Plantings: Apply Bulb-tone at the rate of 1 lb (or 3 cupfuls). for each 25 ft. of row. Mix Bulb-tone well into the soil. Place bulbs at proper depth and cover with soil.

Individual Bulb Planting: Dig hole to proper depth. Mix 1 heaping teaspoonful of Bulb-tone in bottom of hole with soil. Cover this mixture with a small amount of soil. Insert bulb at correct depth and cover with soil.

Bed Plantings: Spade the soil deeply and mix 5 lbs. of Bulb-tone into 100 sq. ft. of soil (or 1 cup for every 7 sq. ft.) of soil. Plant bulbs at proper depth and spacing and cover with soil.

When spring or summer plantings reach a height of 6 inches, a side dressing of 1 lb. (or 3 cups) to each 25 feet of row or 5 lbs. to each 100 square feet of bed. Individual plants may be fed by applying a heaping teaspoonful around and 2 to 3 inches away from each plant. Dahlias and gladioli may be fed monthly.

Established Fall Plantings

Apply Bulb-tone at the rate of 5 lbs. to each 100 square feet (or 1 cup per 7 sq. ft.) after plants have bloomed. This will provide plant food for strengthening the bulbs for the following years growth.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Victoria Gardens' Gift Guide: "That'll do Pig."

Too early to be thinking of the holidays?
Fair enough, but we will be adding a Gift Guide Section to our website, and this is only a preview.

Now that the road is opening, we hope you all will stop by for birthday presents and holiday gifts (maybe even a gift or two for yourself)!

We have a wide selection of these adorable animal ornaments in stock now.

More gift ideas.

Fab, Fab, Fall Foliage: Deutzia gracilis 'Duncan' (Chardonnay Pearls)

Summer foliage of lime-yellow offers outstanding color and brightens shady spots in your garden, and then in autumn turns a striking burgundy. (Super fab.)

Pearl-like buds explode into a shower of white flowers in the spring. Can tolerate full sun to partial shade. Compact growing habit (20" by 20") is the perfect small shrub for perennial borders.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fab, Fab, Fall Foliage: Azalea viscosum 'Pink Mist' (Swamp Azalea)

Swamp Azalea: Can anyone really appreciate how fabulous this shrub is when its name makes it sound like a B-movie creature from the depths?

When in reality, Azalea 'Pink Mist' is a fragrant, long-blooming azalea (late May through early August) that also has fab, fab, fall foliage!

Mature size 4' to 6' tall and wide. This deciduous shrub can tolerate full sun to part shade, normal to wet soil conditions (its tolerance for wet feet and flooding being the source of its unfortunate common name.)


Not this:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Victoria on the Garden Show with Sally Spillane

If you missed it this Sunday morning, you can listen to the podcast now:

Victoria and Sally discuss fall favorites like Washington Hawthorns, Witch Hazel, PJM Rhodies, Toadlilies, Turtleheads, Monkshood, planting bulbs and more!

Victoria will also be on next Sunday too! (On WKZE at 8am.)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fab, Fab, Fall Foliage: Hypericum kalmianum Ames (Dwarf St. John's Wort)

What is more fabulous... the delicate leaves of the dwarf Hypericum changing colors in a splendid gradation from green to peach to red or the dried seed pods adding even more fall interest to this compact shrub?

Ames is one of the hardiest of all the St. John's Wort varieties. Our grower says he has had reliable success even in Zone 4! This variety also gets big, bright yellow flowers July through August. Prefers full sun, and can take it a little bit wet. (We also noticed this year that it held up well even in very dry conditions too.)

Mature size: 3' tall by 3' wide. (So fab!)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fab, Fab, Fall Foliage: Cornus Kousa 'Wolf Eyes'

What other fall foliage is looking fab-fab-fabulous?

Cornus kousa ‘Wolf Eyes’ is a broad spreading kousa dogwood. And as you can see, in the fall it blushes pink. The creamy white margined leaves hold up well in sun or shade.

Late spring blooms of four, pointed white bracts last for several weeks. In late summer, the plant is covered with raspberry-shaped fruit (for the birds - not for humans). 'Wolf Eyes' makes an excellent small specimen tree in just about any soil except very wet or very dry.

This is a specimen planted in full sun:

And here are the late summer fruit:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fab, Fab, Fall Foliage: Rhododendron 'P.J.M.'

Three to six feet tall and wide, spring flowers, a second bloom in fall, minty scented leaves, and stunning fall color... too good to be true? No: Rhododendron 'P.J.M.'!

This is what it will look like in a couple weeks:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fab, Fab, Fall Foliage! 'Green Cascade' Japanese Maple

As you can see, anything BUT plain old green now.

Our number one, top fall foliage pick in the nursery right now is 'Green Cascade' Japanese Maple! And the pictures don't do it justice. The variations and intensity of the color - reds, oranges and golds - are blowing our minds. With a mature size of only 6' tall by 10' wide, this small tree packs some serious autumn wow into a very diminutive form.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Watch Out For Frost Warnings!

Watch out for frost warnings. It will soon be time to bring houseplants back inside.

If your house plants' are rootbound when you pull them from their pots, they need to be stepped-up to a larger size pot with fresh soil. Victoria Gardens has everything you need to step-up any root-bound plants – planters, potting soil, plant stands, and plant caddies, as well as organic, pet-safe/ kid-safe, indoor fertilizers and pest controls to battle aphids and white fly.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fall Bulbs: Plant into Fall, Spring into Color

When we choose which spring-blooming bulbs to bring into stock, we choose the flowers that have performed the best year after year here in Ulster county. We have the benefit of field-testing new varieties and watching some varieties naturalize and bloom again and again for the past twenty years. Here are just a few of our favorites:

For those of you with gardens in the middle of deer territory, not to fear, we have a wide assortment of deer resistant bulbs. One of the most under-used (but awesome) deer resistant bulbs is Allium ‘Ivory Queen.’ Every May when they bloom at the nursery, everyone asks, What’s that plant? We planted three bulbs in this spot three years ago in full sun, and every year they have multiplied and the foliage and flowers have gotten bigger. Read more about Allium 'Ivory Queen'.

Allium ‘Purple Sensation’, ‘Gladiator’, and ‘Globe Master’ stand as tall as their masculine names imply. Plant in groups of five or seven and the spherical clusters of blooms will be a focal point in your garden late spring to early summer.

Fritillaria persica (also deer resistant!) is very sculptural with tufts of green pineapple-like leaves on top of the large (2’ to 4’ tall) hanging bell-shaped flowers. A stunning companion to white tulips, hellebore or the coveted, greenish-white Fritillaria persica ‘Ivory Bells.’

Another deer resistant beauty, Camassia 'caerulea' which put up lovely spikes of lavender blue flowers. Ideal for heavy clay to loamy soils! Camassia can tolerate full sun to part shade and can grow pond side or stream side. The flowers are very long lasting making them ideal for cut flowers to be used in flower arrangements. Camassia 'Semiplena' produces tall spikes of large, white, semi-double flowers.

Both naturalizing and deer resistant, Daffodils are the reliable gold standard. Diminutive varieties like Tete a tete and Jet Fire can planted at the front of beds while taller varieties like Dutch Master and Hawera can be used throughout your perennial border. And not all Daffodils are gold in color, white, peach and and soft pink are also available.

Banja Luka is a wonderful tulip for cutting. The flower is incredibly, enchantingly big. Last year Victoria was stunned when the blooms opened even bigger as they sat in a vase on her desk. If you like cutting from your garden, you will love this tulip. Fantasy, Green Wave and Texas Gold are all exotic feather-edged, multi-colored tulips that will dress up your garden or your table. Tulips, unfortunately need to be protected from critters (see sidebar) and deer, so if you don’t have a fence you will have to diligently spray deer repellent.

Not all bulbs bloom at the same time, so you can choose a variety and have a constantly blooming show of bulbs from early spring to early summer. Stop by the nursery and we’ll help you plan your spring blooms.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Ten simple ways to stop wild animals from digging, eating or stealing your newly planted tulips & crocus.

Ten simple ways to stop wild animals from digging, eating or stealing your newly planted tulips & crocus. Save your bulbs from hungry wildlife or destructive critters!

Here are some suggestions for how to prevent wild animals such as mice, voles, moles, woodchucks, chipmunks, skunks, and deer from digging up or eating or otherwise destroying your newly planted bulbs (without the benefit of Ewoks to stand guard of course).

1. Dip your bulbs in animal repellent before planting. We carry an organic animal repellent liquid that smells like peppermint, so it will keep the critters away, but it won’t make you gag.

2. Plant pellets of mole and vole repellent in the hole with your bulbs. The organic pellets contain castor bean oil, which keeps the critters at bay.

3. Water well to firm in the soil around newly planted bulbs. Nothing calls to chipmunks like soft, freshly dug ground.

4. Another strategy to guard your bulbs from scavenging chipmunks is to trim the stakes of a gridded peony support and push the shorted plant support into the dirt over your bulbs, so the metal grid is flush with the soil. You can leave it in the ground all year long, and your bulbs will grow up in between the grid.

5. Line your planting hole with old window screen or chicken wire, cover with a layer of soil, and plant your bulbs within the protected hole.

6. Plant sticks with your bulbs, criss-crossed and pointing in all directions to discourage tunneling moles and voles.

7. Get rid of moles and voles permanently by killing the grubs they feed on. Use Milky Spore (organic, kid-safe, pet-safe) on your lawn. The spores kill the grubs, and as the grubs decompose, the spores multiply. One application of Milky Spore will stay active in your soil for years to come. This has the added benefit of reducing the Japanese Beetle population.

8. Plant your bulbs in a pot in your garden. By sinking a plastic pot into your garden soil, you can deter moles and voles from getting at them them from below.

9. Plant sharp shards of broken terracotta pots in the hole with your bulbs.

10. Plant Daffodils instead. Daffodils are toxic (when ingested) and that’s why the deer also leave them alone.

In the spring, as soon as you see green breaking through the soil, spray deer repellent and enjoy your spring blooms!

Try one or all of theses organic, kid-safe/pet-safe techniques to guard your precious spring color from the wild animals and hungry critters!

For more Star Wars vs. Chipmunk images:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Hudson Valley Magazine

This was a nice little blurb about the green wall in the Hudson Valley Magazine "Best of 2010" issue. (Double click on the picture to enlarge).

If you haven't stopped by yet, the sedum planted vertically on the front of our building will be changing colors in the cooler weather. Varieties like 'Sexangulare' and 'Orange Ice' will turn from a lime green to orange in fall weather, while Sedum 'Dasyphyllum Major'takes on a mauve cast during cool weather. (So cool!)

Other Rosendale businesses featured in HVM's "best of" issue were The Postage Inn, The Alternative Baker, and The Rosendale Cafe. Pick up an issue, and visit us all in Rosendale!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fall Color: Fruiting Shrubs - Ilex x meserveae (Holly)

Meserve Hybrid Holly
Ilex x meserveae
Hardiness Zone: 5 - 8
Mature Height: 6-8 Feet
Mature Width: 6-8 Feet
Lustrous, blue-green, evergreen foliage all year; stems are reddish purple; bright red fruit on female plants.Prefers full sun to partial shade; moist, well-drained soil is best.

* 'Blue Boy' - 10-15 feet tall; dark green leaves (male).
* 'Blue Girl' - 8-10 feet tall, dark green foliage and bright red fruit (female).
* 'Blue Prince' - 8 inches-2 feet tall, and very dense, with dark green foliage, very cold hardy, (male).
* 'Blue Princess' - 15 feet tall, dark blue green foliage and an abundance of red fruit (female).
* 'Mesdob' (China Boy®)- 10 feet tall, good cold hardiness, (male).
* 'Mesid' (Blue Maid®)- 15 feet tall, red fruits (female).
* 'Mesog' (China Girl®)- 10 feet tall , green foliage and abundant red fruit (female).

Mature Form: Rounded
Native To: Of hybrid origin
Soil condition: Moist Well-Drained

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fall Color: Fruiting Shrubs - Pyracantha coccinea ( Scarlet Firethorn)

Scarlet Firethorn
Pyracantha coccinea
Hardiness Zone: 5 - 9
Mature Height: 6-12 Feet
Mature Width: 6-12 Feet
Clusters of small white flowers bloom in early summer (flowers have a mildly unpleasant fragrance); shiny green leaves are semi-evergreen in zones 5,6 and 7 and evergreen in zones 8 and 9; bright red-orange fruits are borne in clusters from late summer into early winter.Prefers full sun to partial shade; moist, well-drained soil is best, but will tolerate dry soil; tolerates alkaline soils.

* 'Kasan' - Hardy to zone 5, orange-red fruit, 10 feet tall, susceptible to scab
* 'Lalandei' - Hardy to zone 5, orange-red fruit, 10-15 feet tall, susceptible to scab

Mature Form: Upright and open to rounded
Native To: Europe and Asia
Soil condition: Dry, Moist Well-Drained
Tolerance: Alkaline Soil, Dry Sites
Additional Notes: Stems are thorny.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Fall Color: Fruiting Shrubs - Cotoneaster dammeri 'Tom Thumb'

Changing foliage is not the only option for color in your fall garden – callicarpa, winterberry, cotoneaster, pyracanthus and holly all show off with colorful berries in autumn.

Tom Thumb cotoneaster
Cotoneaster dammeri 'Tom Thumb'
Hardiness Zone: 5 - 7
Mature Height: .5 -1 Feet
Mature Width: 3 Feet
Small, pale pink flowers in spring; summer leaves are lustrous; small, bright red fruit in late summer and autumn; autumn color is red.
Full sun; prefers a moist, well-drained soil, but can tolerate dryness; tolerates alkaline soil, somewhat tolerant of salt.
Mature Form: Rounded shrub with slightly arching branches.
Native To: China
Soil condition: Dry,Moist, Well-Drained Moist, Wet
Tolerance: Alkaline Soil, Dry Sites, Salt,Wind