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The History Of Mother’s Day

The earliest Mother’s Day celebrations we know of were ancient Greek spring celebrations in honor of Rhea, the mother of the gods. But those were in honor of one particular mother. England’s “Mothering Sunday,” begun in the 1600’s, is closer to what we think of as “Mother’s Day.” Celebrated on the 4th Sunday of Lent, “Mothering Sunday” honored the mothers of England.

In 1907 Anna Jarvis started a drive to establish a national Mother’s Day. In 1907 she passed out 500 white carnations at her mother’s church in West Virginia — one for each mother in the congregation. In 1908, her mother’s church held the first Mother’s Day service, on May 10th (the second Sunday in May). That same day a special service was held at the Wanamaker Auditorium in Philadelphia, where Anna was from, which could seat no more than a third of the 15,000 people who showed up.

By 1909, churches in 46 states, Canada and Mexico were holding Mother’s Day services. In the meantime, Ms. Jarvis had quit her job to campaign full time. She managed to get the World’s Sunday School Association to help; they were a big factor in convincing legislators to support the idea. In 1912, West Virginia was the first state to designate an official Mother’s Day. By 1914, the campaign had convinced Congress, which passed a joint resolution. President Woodrow Wilson signed the resolution, establishing an official national Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May.

Many countries of the world now have their own Mother’s Day at different times of the year, but Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Japan, and Turkey join the US in celebrating Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May. Britain still celebrates Mothering Day on the 4th Sunday of Lent — but they now call it Mother’s Day. By any name, and at any date, it’s a special day to honor a special person.

The most popular flower for Mother’s Day is the classic Rose. How classic a beauty is the Rose? It is delicate and fragrant like Mom, remember that sweet smell when she kissed those “boo-boos” or leaned over to hug you goodnight? Roses are tough too, just like Mom…don’t mess with her offspring! Most of all they are beautiful and admired for their strength and endurance. Maybe that is why the rose is the symbol of Mother’s Day! It exemplifies Mom in so many ways.

We are at the peak of our flowering season and what better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than presenting Mom with a beautiful blooming Rosebush!

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Growing Beautiful Annuals in Containers | The Dees’ Nursery

Growing Annuals in Containers

If you think annuals are only for flowerbeds, you’re missing out. Wherever you grow annuals, they will reward you with beautiful colors, bright foliage, and soothing fragrances all season long. But when you plant them in containers, they provide even more benefits.

 5 Reasons to Grow Annuals in Containers:

  •  Experiment with different types of plant combination.
  • Get creative with what you plant them in.
  •  Can move containers around to the ideal location.
  •  It’s easy to do—even for beginners & kids!
  •  Perfect for those with limited gardening time or space.

 Choosing the Right Annuals for Your Needs
Let your imagination flow with possibilities, but keep a few things in mind. Think about sun, wind and shade requirements and where you’re going to place your plants. Consider flower color, texture, height and how they look alone and in combination. Ask yourself, is the plant compatible with other plants together in the same pot? It’s best to combine plants with similar needs, but sun-loving plants that grow above shade-loving will sometimes work out. The list of annuals ideal for containers is very long. In case you’re stuck, we’ve named 5 of our favorites to get you started.

5 Flowering Favorite Annuals

Fuschia The name is also the color. This plant with lovely little bell-shaped flowers likes partial shade.

Gazania Or African daisy. Daisy-shaped flowers come in a vivid color range featuring red, orange, yellow, white and pink and close at night. This annual wants full sun.

Portulaca: Can you say “hot and dry”? Those are the perfect full-sun conditions for these small, but fast growing annuals with 1″ flowers in white, red, orange, pink and yellow.

Verbena – These plants reach a size of six to ten inches. But don’t over-pamper them with excesses of anything. Full to partial sun. Verbena blooms in clusters of small flowers in shades of blue, mauve, white, pink or purple.


Begonias From full sun to dense shade; flowers from spring to first frost in beautiful white, red or pink!

Choosing Containers for Your Annuals
There’s a lot of latitude when choosing a container for your annuals, but here are a few important things to think about:

  • Containers should complement the plant, not overwhelm or outshine it
  • Containers should be sturdy but not too heavy
  • They must have drainage holes.
  • In most cases, containers should be at least 6 inches deep.  Taller flowers need deeper containers.
  • Cascading plants and vines work well in hanging baskets.

Easy Come, Easy Grow
Follow these friendly tips – and grow with confidence.

  • Make a clean start: Always use a clean container. And use a superior potting mix that drains well and isn’t clumpy like Espoma’s Organic Potting Mix.
  • A different kind of deadhead: Keep annuals blooming throughout the season by “deadheading” them. When flowers begin to die, just pop off the seed head with your fingers to encourage new blooms.
  • Get closer with your plants: Just a side-note – remember, you can plant annual combinations closer together in containers (4″), because their roots won’t compete.
  • Feed ’em right: Feed plants regularly with high quality organic plant food, like Espoma’s Plant-tone or Flower-tone•. Follow the application rates on the package.
  • Hold your water: Watering needs vary by plant. In general, don’t flood, but thoroughly soak the soil. Excess water should exit through drainage holes in the pot. You shouldn’t see any puddles at top.
  • Get creative: Use old boots, wheelbarrows or something else that adds character to your garden.


Potting MixPlant-ToneFlower-Tone
We hope we’ve inspired you to fill your surroundings – and containers – with beautiful annuals. Choosing to grow annuals in containers is the easy part. Deciding on the combination you like best. Now that’s the real challenge!

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Planting and Growing Impatiens

Impatiens may be one of the best flowering annuals that exist today. Most of us have probably used them in our gardens at one point or another. The reason impatiens are so great is because they are super easy to grow, and are one of the few annuals that give you a full blast of color in shady areas. People ask me all the time, “Is there anything else that will grow as well as impatiens?” My answer, “Nothing grows like impatiens!”

Unlike most shade plants, impatiens will give you a huge amount of blossoms. As long as they are watered regularly and fertilized often, they will continue to bloom from the moment you plant them in the spring, right through summer into fall. They prefer filtered shade in a location that will give you 2 or 3 hours of sun in the morning then shaded in the afternoon when the sun is strongest.

Planting & Caring for Impatiens
The most common impatiens is the ‘Accent’ series, which will grow from 12 to 18 inches high. The next most common is the ‘Super Elfin’ series, which grows under 12 inches high. When you start planting them, a spacing of 4 to 6 inches will give you quick full coverage in the garden. Impatiens will grow excellently in flower beds, but are just as happy if you put them in planters or hanging baskets. Since they like shade, it is important you give them moist WELL-DRAINED soil, which does not stay sopping wet.

If you are using them in planters, make sure you use fresh potting soil and do not use the soil from last year. This will prevent root rot. If you start seeing some yellowing leaves, that means you may be giving them too much water, and you just need to water less frequently. Towards late summer impatiens can sometimes get tall and leggy. Occasional pruning or “pinching” back during the season will prevent this from happening and keep your plants healthy and full.

Prepping Soil for Impatiens
When first planting your impatiens, incorporate into the soil some nice compost such as Bumper Crop, along with some peat moss. This will provide a perfect soil foundation for new plants that can retain water and nutrients. Also, use Espoma Bio-Tone soil conditioner with beneficial mycorrihizae. This will help establish a healthy root system. Keep them watered well. Follow with a monthly feed of Espoma Flower-Tone and liquid feed them with Miracle-Gro water soluble fertilizer once a week.

Enjoy this great annual, as you won’t lose your patience with impatiens!

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Endless Summer Hydrangea

Hydrangeas – A Favorite Summer Annual
For years hydrangeas have been the sweetheart of the American garden, illuminating the summer landscape with huge masses of blooms that make everyone admire them. The same holds true today. Traditional hydrangeas usually bloom strong for about a month starting anywhere from June through July and into August. Today the new varieties such as the Endless Summer series will start in mid-June and continue blooming right through until the first frost!

Hydrangea Varieties
The hydrangea varieties available now in this great plant are the Original Endless Summer which produces blue or pink flowers depending on your soil. Alkaline soil will produce pink flowers, while acidic soil will produce blue flowers. Blushing Bride produces pure white flowers that mature to a pink blush. Twist-n-Shout is the first lace-cap re-blooming hydrangea that produces pink flowers, and finally new for 2011 Bella Anna which produces amazing magenta pink blooms. All varieties have strong sturdy stems and attractive dark foliage. Plant them in moist well drained soil. They do not like full hot sun but need at least 4-6 hours of sun to bloom well. This is why they work great in morning or filtered sunlight. Their mature height is anywhere from 4-5 feet high. Consistent deadheading will help the blooming period. Traditional Hydrangeas bloom off of new growth only. The Endless Summer Series blooms off of not only new growth but the previous year’s growth as well, which means they don’t have to be pruned as heavy.

Beneficial characteristics of the Endless Summer Series of hydrangeas are its very long bloom time, their ability to bloom off of not only new growth but last year’s old growth, they are great cutting flowers, and do amazing in containers.

Planting And Caring For Hydrangea
When first planting Hydrangea Endless Summer, incorporate into the soil rich compost such as Bumper Crop, along with some peat moss. This will provide a perfect soil foundation for new plants that can retain water and nutrients. To help in drought conditions use Espoma Bio-tone soil conditioner with beneficial mycorrhizae. This will help establish a large healthy root system. Hydrangeas are not heavy feeders so too much fertilizer with high nitrogen stimulates foliage at the expense of flowers. Use slow release organic fertilizer once in spring and again in August.

Even though most of us think of our sweet little old grandmothers when we think of hydrangea, don’t let these beauties fool you. Prepare yourself for a flowering shrub that will charge its way to the front of your “favorites” list.


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Ornamental Cabbage and Kale

As fall has arrived in our backyard and you admire your seasons work on your landscape canvas, it isn’t a time to get depressed as another growing season gone by. Instead paint a new picture in your gardens and planters.  Replace your flowering annuals with ornamental cabbage or kale.

Ornamental cabbage and kale are coming increasingly popular with gardeners looking for a cool weather decorative plant that can replace tired flowering annuals or mums. They also act as a great accent to fall mums and pansies.  They actually come from the same species of cabbage we grow to eat, and although they are edible, they aren’t as yummy as their relatives in the cabbage family.  I think that if a plant has the word “ornamental” in it, it would probably be best to use it just as that, an ornamental. You also don’t know what, if any, chemicals or fertilizers they used to grow it.  We prefer to grow our “edibles” organically.

The plant with the large smooth leaves is considered the ornamental cabbage while the plant with the fringed ruffled leaves is considered the ornamental kale. They are considered an annual which means they will not grow back the following season. They basically come in three colors, purple, white or pink. Cabbage and kale prefer the cool weather that can survive to temperatures as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit. You can start planting them in your garden but their bright colors will not show much until the frost starts and we have prolonged cool weather. Mature healthy plants can get as high and wide as 18 inches.  When choosing plants for your garden, size matters. Look for larger plants in decent size containers such as a 6 inch to 8 inch grower’s pot. This pretty much assures that you will not be getting a root bound specimen.  Large plants grown in small containers that are not in proportion, tend to get root bound (crowded overgrown root system). This usually leads to an unhealthy plant that is much smaller on top.

I feel the best show is to use these as a mass planting in the garden. The fact that they last very late into the fall and early winter, pretty much assures you will have color in your garden for a good chunk of the year.  They also work very well as a border up a pathway. If you only need one or two plants, this is where they work great in your containers as a compliment to fall mums. I can see it now. In the center of your planter a purple fountain grass as the center piece surrounded by some assorted fall mums in yellow and bronze. Mix in a purple cabbage along with a white kale and a dash or two of English ivy on the edge and even Martha will be jealous. Who knows, you could even do a guest spot on the show. Plant them in a sunny to part sun area with well-drained soil. The cool weather keeps the pests away but they are occasionally susceptible to aphids.

So as we get into those cool crisp days of autumn, break out the canvas and brush (aka garden bed and shovel) and paint your own Picasso using the wonderful cool weather plants of ornamental cabbage and kale.


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Tomato Alert! Blossom End Rot


Now that we are in the dog days of summer, all the little hiccups that can affect your flowers and veggies have shown up. One of the most common things we see this time of year on tomatoes is blossom end rot. Don’t worry; you don’t have a disease that is going to destroy your crop. This is nothing more than a nutrient deficiency.

Calcium is used in very large amounts by tomatoes and veggies as they develop fruit. Blossom end rot is caused by a calcium deficiency in your soil. It always happens during periods of high heat and frequent watering or lack of water. Although it is most commonly seen in tomatoes, blossom end rot can also develop on peppers, squash, and eggplant as well. It usually starts out as small water soaked areas at the bottom of the fruit eventually covering the entire bottom with a large blackish lesion.

Correcting calcium deficiency is simple. Spray the plants with Bonide Rot Stop. This is a liquid form of calcium that will get into the plants via the leaves. It will not cure the tomatoes that already have the problem. I would suggest you cut those tomatoes off and discard them.

We also suggest you add to the soil Jonathan Green Magical. This is a granular form of calcium that you will add to the soil which will help build the calcium levels back to normal. Continue to follow your normal watering and fertilizing schedule for the remainder of the summer. Next spring when you plant your tomatoes, peppers, or eggplants please make sure you add the J-Green Magical when you are doing your initial soil prep. Then add a small amount mid-season and this should prevent this problem from even happening.

Now that you are seeing your first tomatoes of the season, the last thing you need is a rotten end. Inspect your plants every few days for a sign of this problem. If none exists, follow some of the steps mentioned above as preventive maintenance. You have nurtured your crop along this far, don’t quit now. Keep up the good work.