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Forget Me Not

Forget-Me-Nots

In a Greek legend, God named all the plants when a tiny unnamed one cried out, “Forget-me-not, O Lord!” God replied, “That shall be your name.” Another legend tells when the Creator thought he had finished giving the flowers their colors he heard one whisper “Forget me not!” There was nothing left but a very small amount of blue, but the forget-me-not was delighted to wear such a light blue shade

King Henry IV adopted the flower as his symbol during his exile in 1398, and kept the symbol when he returned to England the following year.

In 15th-century Germany, it was believed that the wearers of the flower would not be forgotten by their lovers. Legend has it that in medieval times, a knight and his lady were walking along the side of a river. He picked a bouquet of flowers, but because of the weight of his armor he fell into the river. As he was drowning he threw the bouquet to his loved one and shouted “forget me not.”

Forget-Me-Nots are easy to grow. The Latin name is Myosotis sylvatica. They will grow well in shady areas and give you a ton of flowers. They require very little attention from you once established. As with all your plantings, preparation of the soil is key. Incorporate rich compost into the soil 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. Make sure you keep them watered well. Follow up with a monthly feeding of Espoma Flower-Tone and don’t be shy to liquid feed them with Miracle-Gro*.
Mature height of Forget-Me-Nots is 6 to 12 inches. They flower in the spring and are perennial. The most popular color is the light blue with yellow center but they can also come in white and pink. They are drought tolerant and make a great ground cover. If you have an erosion problem this could be a perfect remedy as they can hold your soil in place. Plant them in garden beds, rock gardens, shade gardens or in containers.

Forget-me-Nots are an excellent symbol of love and friendship. Try one today.

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Columbine

Columbines will give a beautiful, bright color to a moist, and semi-shaded spot in your garden.

Columbine’s Latin name is “Aquilegia” which translates to “dove,” and just one look at the elegant, spurred wingtips of the columbine flower will tell you why.

Columbines come in a range of colors and is one of the biggest attractions for gardeners. You can find hybrids such as a scarlet and white ‘Crimson Star,’ the stunning sky blue and white Rocky Mountain Columbine (Aquilegia Caerulea), or even the Golden Longspur Columbine (Aquilegia Longissima). There are also a variety of clematis-flowered types (Aquilegia Vulgaris Stellata) such as ‘Nora Barlow’ and ‘Black Barlow.’

The hotter the weather, the more shade Columbines will require. They are great at attracting hummingbirds and they make beautiful cutting flowers.

When planting allow spacing of 1-2 feet. Incorporate into the soil a combination of peat moss, compost such as Bumper Crop and a good fertilizer like Espoma Plant-Tone. This will help establish a healthy root system. Weekly feeding with a water soluble food like Miracle Gro will help promote lush leaves and many blooms. Columbines thrive in a moist soil. Mulching after you plant will help the soil retain moisture as well as keep weeds down. You should do regular deadheading (pruning off dead blossoms) to not only keep the plants looking fresh but this also promotes extra blooming.

Very few pests bother Columbine but they can occasionally get leaf-miner insects. If this happens spray with Bonide Systemic Insecticide and this will clear up the problem.

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All About Pansies and Growing Them

Pansies – A Favorite Spring Bloom

I know spring has arrived when the first crop of pansies comes thru the door here at Dees’. Pansies have become one of the most popular early spring season flowers and for good reason. They have been breed to be able to better withstand the crazy temperature swings of March and April. The name pansy comes from the French word pensie, meaning deep thought or remembrance.

Pansies are compact and low growing which makes them ideal for almost any application such as along walkways, rock gardens, flower beds and borders. They also work very well in planters and are a great compliment to ranunculus. Their mature height is between 6-9 inches and they come in solid colors to striking mixes that will catch your eye in an instant.

Pansy Growing Tips

  • Soil: Pansies are not very picky when it comes to soil conditions, but they would like loose, nutrient rich soil.
  •  Light: Pansies would prefer full sun to partial shade.
  •  Bloom Time: Pansies will be in full bloom from early spring thru early summer. They usually will not flower in the hot summer months, but as it cools in the fall expect them to pick up where they left off in the spring.
  •  Maintenance: You should dead head your pansies as much as possible to promote stronger and longer bloom time. They also have a tendency to sometimes get leggy. If this happens do not be afraid to give them a haircut, sometimes as drastic as cutting them in half. They will look ugly for a short period of time but they will quickly become stocky plants again that produce blooms.
  • Fertilizer: Pansies like to be fed but do not overfeed. A good granular fertilizer like Espoma PlantTone at planting will help them off to a good start. Follow thru with a nice liquid feed like Miracle- Gro once a month.
  •  Water: As with most flowers, pansies do not like to dry out so make sure you keep the soil moist but not sopping wet.
  •  Pests: Luckily, pansies have few insect or disease problems. Occasionally they can be attacked by slugs. If this happens use Bonide Bug & Slug Bait. They can sometimes be attacked by aphids and in this case you would use Bonide Insecticidal Soap. They can get root rot disease if over watered.

When most people hear the word pansy they think of somebody weak or cowardly. Pansies are the farthest thing from that. They are quite hardy and can handle short periods of snow on top of them and very cool temperatures. Pansies are some of the toughest plants you will come across so don’t be a pansy and get out in your yard and jump start the spring season and plant pansies!

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The Becky Shasta Daisy Perennial

Shasta daisies have been a mainstay of a classic perennial or cut flower garden for years and the Becky is one of the best. The Becky Shasta Daisy gives you stunning great color summer into the fall, which is one of the reasons she was chosen as the 2003 Perennial of the Year.

The benefits of the Becky Shasta Daisy are that it is one of the best cut flowers for your garden, attracts butterflies, has amazing heat tolerance, and has a long bloom period.

Growing Beautiful Becky Shasta Daisies
The Becky Shasta Daisy will grow best in moist, well-drained soil that dries out between watering. It prefers a full sun area of the garden but can also tolerate a little shade.

Although there are many varieties of Shasta Daisies, Becky puts out… blooms that is. She will become a living bouquet of four inch diameter classic white flower heads with a yellow center on a plant that reaches three to four feet tall.

This winter-hardy perennial has dark green shiny leaves that also hold up well in the heat of summer with strong stems that don’t require staking. Remove spent flower heads to continue a prolonged flowering period. Mature width is anywhere from 36-48 inches. In your garden you should consider using these as a mass planting for a more impressive effect or use them as a border along a pathway. The Becky Shasta Daisy will also work great in container plantings as a result of their summer through fall bloom time.

Creating the Perfect Soil for the Becky Shasta Daisy
When first planting the Becky Shasta Daisy, incorporate into the soil a 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. Follow with a monthly feed of Espoma Flower-Tone. In late fall, cut the stems back to the ground. Every two to three years, divide the root clumps to help maintain the vigor of this great plant.

The Becky Shasta Daisy has proven to be a great dependable addition to any garden and once established. It will greet all who enter your garden for years to come. The Becky Shasta Daisy is super easy to grow and is great for the beginner or seasoned veteran gardener. Try one today!

*All products mentioned in this article are available at The Dees’ Nursery & Florist in Oceanside, NY.

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Echinacea Purpurea Purple Cone Flower

Echinacea Purpurea, also known as Purple Cone Flower, is one of the most popular perennials in the garden center today. Most of you know it as a dietary supplement that you purchase at the local health store, used to help fight off and prevent infection. And even though that is a great attribute of this plant, the best part is that it is an amazingly beautiful perennial that gives you great pink flowers in your garden.

The Purple Cone Flower’s Benefits
Beneficial characteristics of the Purple Cone Flower are that it attracts butterflies, honeybees and other beneficial insects plus is a great source of nectar for humming birds. It makes a great cutting flower and also has great heat tolerance once well established. It has very few pests or diseases but occasionally can get attacked by Japanese beetles. If that happens, a quick easy remedy will correct that.

Caring for the Purple Cone Flower
This flower  will grow best in a FULL SUN area of the garden with well drained soil. It does not like to be over watered nor having the soil sopping wet. Echinacea has dark green lance shaped leaves (long but wide in the middle) that have a rough sand paper texture. This great perennial produces daisy shaped purple flowers that have a spiny center with drooping pedals. Bloom time can be anywhere from April thru October. When in full bloom the plant stands 2 – 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. It will work well as a mass planting, as a border, or a welcomed addition to a cut flower garden. Consistent dead heading will keep the flowers coming.
When first planting Echinacea, 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 mycorrihizae. This will help establish a large healthy root system. Follow with a monthly feed of Espoma Flower-Tone. Every 2 – 3 years divide the root clumps to help maintain the vigor of this great plant.
If you want a plant that will brighten your garden in the dog days of summer, then Purple Cone Flower is the choice for you. Try one today! One more thing, don’t let the name purple fool you. This plant comes in a few different colors. We also have Milkshake (white), Marmalade (orange), and White Swan (white).

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Perennial of the week – Monarda ‘Marshall’s Delight’ Bee Balm

If you are in the market for a perennial that is loved by butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds then Bee Balm ‘Marshall’s Delight’ is the perfect choice for you. It makes a great addition to the cutting garden and has the outstanding bonus of a great fragrance.

Marshall’s Delight Bee Balm is a heavy blooming mid-sized bee balm that will grow best in evenly moist soil as this will help prevent powdery mildew. It would be best in a full sun location but can tolerate a little shade. It has beautiful deep green foliage and since it comes from the mint family, the foliage has a great fragrance. Marshall’s Delight produces striking tubular hot pink flowers June through September and when in full bloom can reach up to 3 feet tall. When planting ‘Marshall’s Delight’ Bee Balm be sure to give them a good one to two feet spacing as this plant grows fast. They work great in flower beds as a mass planting or in borders. Consistent dead heading will prolong the flowering period as well as keep the plant looking neat.

Beneficial characteristics of ‘Marshall’s Delight’ are that they attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees. They are a great addition to a cut flower garden and have great resistance to powdery mildew.

When first planting Monarda ‘Marshall’s Delight’ Bee Balm, incorporate into the soil a 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 mycorrihizae. This will help establish a large and healthy root system. Follow with a monthly feed of Espoma Flower-tone. In late fall cut the stems back to the ground. Every two to three years divide the root clumps to prevent the invasive nature of this great plant.

As its name suggests, Bee Balm attracts bees. Don’t be afraid of this. Remember, bees are GOOD! We as humans need bees. They are responsible for pollinating your garden and it is estimated that one third of the human food supply is pollinated by insects most of this is accomplished by bees. So do something good for our environment and ecosystem plant a Bee Balm today! Enjoy.