Thanks to everyone who joined us for our annual Fairy Gardening Festival last Saturday. We love watching what you create, and how much imaginations differ. We hope you enjoyed the unicorn rides, crafts, face painting and fairy gardening making!
It may seem strange, but choosing a real Christmas tree is a good choice for the environment. Christmas trees are a renewable, biodegradable crop grown on land that isn't suitable for other crops. They help prevent soil erosion, absorb CO2, produce oxygen, and provide a home for wildlife in the 6-10 years before they're harvested. Each harvested tree is replaced with 1-3 more trees and the process starts over again. Buying a real tree supports an American farm, and nothing compares to the scent of a fresh cut tree!
The most eco-friendly choice is a live tree with roots, and we have many sizes and varieties in stock. Enjoy a live tree indoors for no more than a week so that it will stay dormant. Leave the tree in the container, dig a hole, and bury the container for the rest of winter. Water occasionally, and transplant to its permanent place in spring. (Evergreens are slow to root and grow, so we advise waiting until spring to transplant.)
In the end, Christmas isn't about the tree. It's about the people around it, so choose what makes you happy and enjoy the season!
Amaryllis bulbs produce huge blooms, each as big as your hand! They're very easy to grow, and with a few easy steps, you can make them rebloom each year.
Plant an Amaryllis bulb in a pot one or two inches larger in diameter than the bulb. Make sure the pot has drainage holes. Repot old bulbs in fresh potting soil each year. Plant a bulb so that 1/3 of the bulb (the nose) is exposed. Water the bulb thoroughly after planting and put it in a bright, cool room. Water only when the soil is dry. Too much moisture can cause the bulb to rot. As the roots begin to develop and fill the container, the soil will dry out more quickly.
Keep amaryllis away from cold drafts and hot spots. Once top growth begins, move the pot to a sunny window. Rotate the plant every day or two to prevent the stem from leaning toward the light. If the plant gets top heavy, tie the stem to a bamboo stake.
Flowers should appear in 7-10 weeks. To extend the flowering time, remove the long pollen-bearing stamens inside the flower with tweezers, and keep the plant in a cool spot. Once the flowers are finished, cut the flower stalk off with a sharp knife one inch above the bulb. Do not remove the leaves.
After cutting off the flower stalk, keep the amaryllis in a bright location and keep the soil moist. Treat it like any other houseplant, fertilizing and watering regularly. The goal is to keep the plant growing so it can store energy for the next year's flowers.
In early August, stop watering the plant and allow the leaves to dry off naturally. This starts a resting or dormant stage that the bulb needs in order to flower again. When the leaves have withered, remove the bulb from the pot, brush off the soil, and keep it in cool, dark storage. Then repeat the process, replanting the bulb 7-10 weeks before Christmas.
Bath is a donation drop-off site for Animal House, because we love dogs and we feel no home is complete without a four-legged friend. You can easily help Animal House by donating inexpensive, much needed everyday items. Some of the items they have requested include:
For grab a few extras the next time you're in the pet or grocery store and help a pup find his forever home. Check out Animal House's Amazon wishlist for a more complete list.
As much as we love colorful jewelry, we love it even more when it benefits a charity. New in the garden center this week are Chavez for Charity bracelets!
Created in 2013 by fashion jewelry designer Julie Marie Chavez, Chavez for Charity is a collection of colorful bracelets designed to help raise money and awareness for some of today's most important and necessary charitable initiatives. Each color represents a different cause. Chavez for Charity will donate 25% of the gross profit from the sale of each colored bracelet to its corresponding cause.
Fall weather makes people crave cleaning up their landscapes. But before you start hacking at your shrubs, heed our general advice: DON'T PRUNE ANYTHING DURING FALL. Nothing. Put your pruners away for another month or two and let plants go completely dormant.
You can prune trees and shrubs after all the leaves have dropped, the plant is dormant and winter has truly settled in. Right now focus your attention on raking, mulching, amending soil and planting cover crops.
For most trees, major pruning should be done late winter-early spring when the wound will heal faster.
The exception to the rule: prune dead, diseased or damaged wood as soon as possible, and anything that is hazardous to you or your home.
There are two main ways to improve your soil: incorporating soil amendments, and cover crops. If you are leaving your garden beds bare in the winter, you are missing your best chance to fix nitrogen, reduce weeds, prevent soil erosion, and bulk up the soil with organic matter.
A cover crop is a plant grown with the primary purpose of improving the soil. Our favorite cover crop is Hairy Vetch. It's a legume, and it's well-known that legumes have a symbiotic relationship with rhizobia bacteria that take nitrogen from the atmosphere and make it available to the plant. How cool is that?
Hairy Vetch grows long vines along the ground and creates a dense, 2ft. tall ground cover. It will continue to grow during the winter and produce beautiful little purple flowers. When winter is really severe, it may turn gray for a few weeks, but it is hardy to zone 4 and will come back.
How to Plant a Hairy Vetch Cover Crop:
Remember how happy you feel when you see crocus, daffodils and tulips after a long winter? Well now is the time to plant them in your landscape! Planting bulbs is one of the easiest gardening tasks there is, and come springtime you will be thrilled you took the time to dig a few holes, and drop in a few bulbs. There are many varieties and an endless array of colors that give you the freedom to let your imagination run wild!
Bulbs need a chilling period and should be planted six weeks before the ground freezes. A rule of thumb is to plant when the average night temperatures drop to 40-50 degrees - usually sometime in October.
Thank you to all who participated in the Fairy and Gnome Garden Tour last Saturday, July 26th. We had high hopes for the event, and we had no idea how many people to expect. The week of the event, only a few tickets were sold, but the day of the event we sold nearly 100 tickets! Thanks to you, Animal House and Sproutin' Up will have some extra funds to continue with their missions.
The tour featured six outdoor fairy gardens around Fort Collins, and it was a good day to drive around with the air conditioning on full blast. We hope you took away a little inspiration and will create your own miniature outdoor garden.
Thanks to Stephie Morton and several aspiring young artists, we have a beautiful new mural in the nursery! Stephie is a creative specialist and invites children to explore their own ideas and experiences through painting, sculpture, printmaking, drawing, collage and more. Stephie has designed several murals in Fort Collins, and we are so happy to have a mural of our own! Stephie hosts art parties for children, and many other artistic projects. Learn more at ideashappenhere.com.