The island is blooming with abundantly beautiful gardens this time of year. A stroll down the streets of Edgartown or Vineyard Haven you will see many of these plants in their full glory. Stop by Vineyard Gardens nursery to learn which plants will work best in your garden!
CONGRATULATIONS to CHRISTINE WILEY for becoming the NORTHEAST REGION DIRECTOR of the PERENNIAL PLANT ASSOCIATION! Currently, Chris and Chuck are in Chicago at the 2019 Perennial Plant National Symposium where she is on the Board of Directors. There is a wonderful line up of speakers, vendors and tours that they will be attending.
On Aug 27 Chris will be attending and helping to run the NORTHEAST REGIONAL SYMPOSIUM in Wellesley, MA. This event is open to all levels of gardeners and professionals. This year's symposium includes four presentations led by some of the perennial industry's best as well as continental breakfast fare and a catered lunch. Attendees are encouraged to bring books authored by speakers if you'd like them signed!
To learn more about the Northeast Regional Symposium and to sign up for the event please visit their WEBSITE. There has been one change in the speaker line up for the North East Regional symposium, CL Fornari will be speaking instead of Bill Cullina. Chris is hoping to drive a van up to the event on the morning of Aug 27. Please contact her at Vineyard Gardens if you would like to carpool up to the event in Wellesley with her.
A GREAT LINE UP OF SPEAKERS AT THE SYMPOSIUM!
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
All the distractions in the sociopolitical world today has allowed for a benign neglect of remembrance for some of our most important historical landmarks, like the centennial of the end of hostilities with the signing of the Armistice, 11 November 1918. The First World War was a long, bloody affair that was most keenly felt on the eastern and western fronts of the European Continent. They couldn’t have known that it was “the First” and for most, at the time, it was not clear why they fought and what was won, or lost. Historical events are rarely cleanly fixed on a specific date or hour, they are spread out over months of best intentions and half measures until at a particular place and time a signature demarcates a new course.
Throughout the 20th century Armistice Day was a significant holiday, the First World War was closer to us and there were fewer other wars to celebrate the ends of. My grandfather fought and lost an eye in “The Great War”, its brutality was still felt in the pages of history books, it was still a visceral reality.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
So it has been a bit surprising to me that over these last few years there hasn’t been more attention paid to the nearly daily critical centennial events related to the playing out of the bloodiest war of our previous generation. We should be aware of events that led up to what caused it, how it played out and what brought it to a close, let alone what in retrospect was gained and what was lost.
The famous quote attributed to George Santayana, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” applies here. Much attention is paid these days to the fight against Fascism in “the Second” World War, for obvious and worthy reasons, but there are significant socioeconomic reasons for understanding the meltdown of the sprawling dynastic empires that dominated the end of the 19th Century at the peak of the Industrial Revolution. The battles against extreme inequality and balance of power were central to the causes and consequences of the First War and very much at play in our struggles today.
It is for this reason that I have planned and laid the seed, literally, for a memorial to the end of the First World War, the signing of the Armistice and ultimately the ratification of the Treaty of Versailles from June 28th, through the month of July, 1919. The process began with the signing of the Armistice on 11 November 1918 that marked the beginning of the end of actual fighting in the trenches of the Western Front that stretched through much of the largely agricultural lands of the Meuse River valley, across Belgium and deep into France. For nearly five years over hundreds of miles trenches, tanks, bombing, fires, blood, sickness and death ravaged the rich farmlands that had fed most of Europe. Then suddenly, it stopped. With all these soils, formally under cultivation, churned up and sub-grades left exposed, the spring rains brought the germination of long dormant weed seeds, predominantly a pesky little wildflower, Papaver rhoeas, or Corn Poppy. The plant brings little virtue to human needs other than to choke out intended, cultivated food crops. It does however produce a brilliant, richly saturated, deep red flower as frail as tissue and only lasting a day. So across the fields of Western Europe, mostly in the areas designated as “No Man’s Land” Corn Poppies germinated as thick as lawns and when in flower blanketed the battlegrounds in a sea of blood-red flowers. The event became a metaphor for the blood of the lives lost to a worthy cause however unclear at the time just what that cause was.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae
This last Fall we decided to renovate Vineyard Gardens’ display beds along State Road across from the West Tisbury Post Office. Over the years the soils there had become eroded and compacted to such an extent that they lacked one of the most critical components of fine gardening, good drainage. So we lifted nearly all of the shrubs and perennials habituated there and turned the soil several inches deep and added a thick berm of course sand. Then we topped it all off with organic fertilizer and several inches of VG planting mix. This left us with a pure open garden bed nearly 100 feet in length by about 20 feet at the deepest point. A perfect opportunity to make a temporary and timely statement. The timing was critical, I sourced bulk Papaver rhoeas seed and when the time was right, sometime towards the end of March, mixed nearly 200,000 of the tiny black seeds with sand and spread them evenly across the entire length of the sunny end of the bed. To my surprise and delight, and chagrin every single seed germinated creating a dense blanket of bright green. Since then I’ve been thinning and transplanting seedlings trying to allow some plants enough space, air and sun to fully flower and other areas that were missed or thin of plants to fill in. They’re all coming along and seem to be right on schedule to begin flowering towards the end of June to coincide with the ratification process of the Treaty of Versailles.
I hope the display will draw attention as Islanders and visitors alike speed by on their way up Island or down and raise a question about what will be a new sight along that stretch of State Road. If anyone asks, now you’ll know!
We are coming down to our last couple of garden workshops for the season. This coming Saturday we will be discussing Evergreens and the last Saturday of June we will be talking about Season Extenders. Please check out our Events page to learn more.
A couple of weeks ago Keith Kurman lead the discussion on Basic Landscape Design. The attendees got a different approach they may not have been expecting but all really seemed to appreciate the ideas.
Keith also lead the informative Herb Garden lecture. Below is the plant list hand out which he expanded upon during the talk.
Thank you so much to our guests for participating and being so interested and responsive! The talks have been well attended this year! Hopefully we’ll see you at the last two!
GARDEN TIPS OF THE WEEK : HYDRANGEAS
by Chris and Chuck Wiley
Now is the time to prune all dead stems from your Hydrangea macrophylla, sometimes referred to as blue mop head hydrangeas. Any inner stems that are dead as well as dead tips should be pruned off. This type of hydrangea blooms on the tips of last years growth. Do not prune the green living tips or you will cut off the flower buds. Do not prune them in early spring or you won’t get any flowers.
Panicle hydrangeas, the white ones that bloom later and into the fall, are the only ones that bloom at the tips of the new growth. Those should have been pruned in early spring when they first started growing. Too late to prune now.
Lace cap hydrangeas, oak leaf hydrangeas and climbing hydrangeas all bloom on last years growth so only prune out the dead stems.
Hydrangeas do really well on the Vineyard. The panicle hydrangeas can take the most sun. The others would rather be in some afternoon shade. Plant lots of hydrangeas. They are terrific!
In The Weeds There are several tried and true tricks that we have found helpful in controlling weeds in our gardens.
In the vegetable garden lay down 3 ft weed mats folded or cut in half and stapled down between rows to give you a 1.5 ft path to walk on. This keeps weeds off the path. Keep the weed mat as close to the row of stems of each veggie plant. We usually fold the weed mat back when we replant that row and then lay it back down again. Use rocks to weigh the weed mat work well if you don’t want to use staples.
Perennial gardens are a little more maintenance. Get the weeds while they are young for they are not as established and easier to pull. Or cultivate often lightly with your trowel to disturb the tiny weed seedlings. Cultivating also introduces some air into the soil, which is good. You can mulch if you like the look, but I recommend you put folded newspaper under the mulch for a more effective weed barrier. Another way too keep weeds down is to plant annuals or ground covers in a lot of the gaps. If plants take up the space there is no room for weeds .
We have a wonderful selection of Salvia at the nursery. We carry a wide variety of perennial and annual Salvias. Here is a listing of many of the ones we carry:
Salvia May Night
S. Blue Hill
S. Snow Hill
S. East Friesland
S. Violet Riot
S. Burgundy Candles
S. Blue Marvel
S. Rose Marvel
S. Playin The Blues
S. argéntea Artemis
NEW PERENNIAL SALVIAS
The Lyrical series
S. Lyrical Blues
S. Lyrical Rose
also the Bumble sky Series from Walters Gardens
S. Bumble Sky
S. Bumble Blue
S. Bumble Snow
Herb Salvias better known as sage are also perennials we carry:
We also carry a vast selection of Annual Salvias. These are fabulous because they bloom all summer and late into the fall. We always recommend them as season extenders in the garden. Plant them now and they will be gorgeous in the fall. Here are a few of the ones I recommend as season extenders:
S. cocc. Lady in Red
S. cocc. Forest Fire
S. farinacea Victoria
S. far. Blue Bedder taller than Victoria
S. far. White
S. horminium Blue Monday (one of VG favorites)
S. Sizzler Red
S. Sizzler purple
S. Faye Chapel very tall
S. Lighthouse Purple
S. Lighthouse Red
Pineapple Sage or Salvia elegans
Salvia guaranitica Black and Blue
Salvia Índigo Spires
Salvia leucantha or Mexican Sage
Salvia Wendys Wish
S. Love and Wishes( new this year)
S. Embers Wish (new this year)
S. Windwalker Royal Red (new)
Salvia patens Blue Ángel
S. patens Patio Blue and Patio Rose
Salvia coccinea Coral Nymph
S. cocc. Snow Nymph
HELPFUL TIPS ON GROWING SALVIA
There are over 900 species of Salvias, both annuals and perennials. They are easy to grow, easy to care for, deer resistant, bloom abundantly and have long lasting blooms. Salvia are a wonderful garden perennial for honey bees, hummingbirds and butterflies!
Salvias prefer full sun and well-drained soil.
Dig a hole twice the diameter of the container the plant is in
Mix in a 3-inch layer of compost
Place Salvia in the hole so the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface.
Space plants 1 to 3 feet apart, depending on the variety.
Carefully fill in around the plant and firm the soil gently.
Add a thin layer of mulch around the plant to retain moisture and control weeds.
Keep soil moist through the growing season.
Remove faded blooms to encourage continuous bloom.
Wait until new growth begins in early spring to remove old stems.
Divide perennial Salvias every 3 years. The best time to divide is in early spring, before new growth begins.
by Chris and Chuck Wiley of Vineyard Gardens
Plant your flower pots now! They are a welcoming splash of color at your entrance or on your deck or patio. Pots can vary in size and can be combinations of sizes and heights arranged together to make a dynamic display. Sometimes one kind of plant in several pots arranged together can be simple and elegant, such as one large hosta in a shade pot next to an impatiens pot. Or an acanthus plant in an urn. An advantage of utilizing planted containers allows you to be flexible with the arrangement.
In mixed containers the plants will be married together for the whole season so be sure they have similar requirements. Group full sun plants or shade plants together depending on your spot.
We usually recommend annuals for pots because they bloom all summer, perennials usually only bloom for 4 or 5 weeks. Although do consider perennials because some have beautiful foliage and do very well in pots, plus their flowers can be an extra bonus for a little while. Some examples are Heucheras(Coral Bells) or Brunnera Jack Frost (Forget me nots) or even one large Hosta in a pot can be very effective in shade.
Geraniums are an old time favorite. They are drought tolerant once established. Combine them with other drought tolerant sun lovers like euphorbia Diamond Frost instead of the traditional vinca major.
Great container plants for sun include; daisies(leucanthemums),Verbenas, million bells (calibracoa), petunias, zinnias, euphorbia Diamond Frost, salvias, sweet alyssum and sweet potato vine. A simple pot can just be Cosmos sonata, dwarf series. You could also try something new like Browallia americana, Cephalophora aromatica or a large acanthus.
Great container plants for shade include: impatiens, begonias, fuschias, four ocklocks, nicotiana, rudbeckia hurtas (Black eyed Susan’s), coleus, lobelia, and sweet potato vine.
Plant the taller plants in the center and the trailers around the outside.
An easy way to insure proper fertility is to put some osmocote fertilizer on the soil surface when you finish planting your pots and then water with the hose. Otherwise mix a few tablespoons of water soluble fertilizer into your watering can and water them with fertilizer about once a week.
It is still early in the season and annuals grow quickly so don’t overcrowd them.
Most importantly have fun designing and planting your pots and watching them grow.
Now is a great time to plant pretty much everything. We have even brought the basil and tomatoes from our production facility to the nursery. But don't push these it's still a little cool at night.
Time to fertilize last years new plantings by top dressing. Sprinkling handfuls of fertilizer around the drip line of the shrubs. Not too close to main stem. The roots grow outward. Organic fertilizers are slower release and contain a lot of secondary and micronutrients. We recommend them! The macronutrients are N,P and K (Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Pottasium) the 3 numbers represented on most fertilizer products. The secondary nutrients are calcium, magnesium and sulfur and there are quite a few micronutrients.
Learn to make your own compost out of your biodegradable waste and use that to feed your plants as well.
Water your lawns less often and deeper to promote deeper roots.
Mow your lawns a little higher and they won't brown out in the heat of summer.
Always think ahead when gardening. Timing is everything!
The spectrum of colors are popping out at the nursery! And Wednesday we have a Monrovia Georgia order coming in with a lot more beautiful plants! Here are a few of the many plants that will be arriving:
Mandevilla Vines in crimson, white and pink
Hibiscus plants in 1 gal, 5 gal and patio trees
Elephant ears (Colocasias)
Bougainvilleas in bush form and patio trees
Lantana patio trees in 2 sizes
Banana Trees Ornamental
Asparagus fern not hardy
Lots of different ferns all perennial
Ornamental Grasses in full splendor (Georgia is way ahead of us)
Hydrangeas (are also way ahead of us)
It’s a little early for the tropicals but a reminder that we do sell out!
(This is a post we wrote a few years ago but a good one to re-visit)
We get many questions about our bulk materials at Vineyard Gardens and thought it would be pertinent to bring all the information together in one place.
Good soil is critical to successful gardening. What we see above ground is really only half the picture. If a plant's leaves are turning yellow or if pests are suddenly present you can bet there’s a problem with the soil.
One of the most important ingredients in soil is its organic content. It is the organic content that, in the process of breaking down, enable the roots to access moisture and nutrients. Every year we have to build up the organic content of the soil to keep plants growing and healthy. Once we have added the organic material we need to keep it from drying out and prevent weed seeds from moving in, so we use mulches to protect the investment.
We have two groups of bulk materials; organically rich soil amendments and mulches. The main ingredient in our soil amendments is compost.
Gardener’s Choice is an organic leaf and yard compost. It has been heat treated to render it relatively weed free. It is the best choice for vegetable gardens but it is also ideal for top-dressing flower beds. $70/cu.yd.
Earthlife Compost is a heat treated Bio Solid compost. The heat-treating kills off most of the weed seed. This is a commercially produced material that has been thoroughly checked and approved for sale by our local Board of Health. It is an excellent choice as a soil amendment to bring up the organic content of our poorer Vineyard soils and to lighten heavy clay soil. $60/cu.yd.
Vineyard Gardens Loam is our own leaf and yard debris compost. It is very much like a compost you would make at home so it could have any number of weed seeds in it. It has been turned over several times a year and been thoroughly sifted to remove large sticks and rocks. Its benefits are that it is high in organic content and is relatively inexpensive. $45/cu.yd
Vineyard Gardens Planting Mix is our premium blend. It consists of:
3 parts Earthlife Compost
2 parts Peat Moss
1 part Sand
This product is super versatile and useful. It can be used as an amendment when planting trees and shrubs. It can be used to top-dress gardens that have particularly difficult components, like clay or sand. It can be lightened with perlite to use as a potting mix. $75/cu.yd.
We use our standard Pine Bark Mulch for most gardens, shrub boarders and tree wells. 60/cu.yd.
We also provide Wood Chips which is perfect for suppressing weeds in uncultivated areas like paths, parking spaces, construction areas. It's best not to use wood chips in planted areas because the fibrous material has not broken down yet and in the process of breaking down it burns Nitrogen. Nitrogen is an important nutrient for plants and without it growth will be weak and lacking in chlorophyll turning the leaves yellow. It is useful for suppressing weeds when its freshly put down. $25/cu.yd.
Click on this LINK for a handy calculator to help figure out how much of these materials you’ll need for your project.
Now is the time to plant your poppies. We have started them in 4packs at the nursery and it’s best to get them planted out before they become root-bound. We have some wonderful varieties to choose from but the trick is to plant now.
The most notorious member of the Poppy tribe is Papaver somniferum, the Opium Poppy. This plant has a cultural history going back millennia. Since earliest times its narcotic virtues have been known and used in medicines to cure pain and induce sleep. It was not until the 19th Century that doctors became fully aware that it was addictive. Aside from its narcotic attributes it is a particularly beautiful plant. Its baroque architecture and richly saturated colors have inspired craftsmen and artists to interpret its form into decorative schemes in everything from furniture, fabrics, china, jewelry to painting and book illustration.
The decorative Opium Poppy is a cottage garden favorite. Why it is not seen more often in flower gardens must have something to do with a question of timing. It is properly an annual plant, meaning that it’s seed germinates, grows, flowers and develops mature seeds in one season. It is however originally from a more temperate zone than our harsh New England climate. In order for the plant to fully develop it needs to set a deep root system. So in a way it behaves more like a biennial, germinating just after the Winter Solstice and setting a whorl of basil foliage to feed root development through the chill, winter months. Then, with the Spring Equinox, it begins to expand its lush, curled and fringed, pale gray- green foliage. It’s flowers finally begin to open in the warmth of late June into July. The flowers only last a day but are produced continuously. Once it has flowered it’s petals drop revealing the characteristic seed pod which it holds until it dries later in the summer.
The solution to this problem is to start the seeds early indoors, but caution must be exercised. The common caveat with poppies is that they resent root disturbance. And further, if left too long in the container they will quickly become root bound, from which they will not recover. This is where timing becomes critical. So to have beautiful flowers like these we must plant our poppies now so they can develop their root systems in the cool ground.
If you want more poppy information click here for an informative and interesting article.
Despite the dreary weather, we had a great turnout and lots of smiling faces at our annual Easter Egg Hunt! Thanks for all who came out and enjoyed the beauty of the garden center surrounded by spring blooms! Photo credits: Keith Kurman
LAWN & TURF MANAGEMENT
Saturday, April 20 at 11:00am
Chuck Wiley, owner of Vineyard Gardens and master horticulturist, and Todd Stempien, lead foreman and lawn specialist, will lead this weeks talk on caring for your lawn. They will discuss fertilization, liming, mowing, crab grass control, grub control and the importance of timing. The talk will be held at Vineyard Gardens 484 State Rd in West Tisbury
*Attendees will receive a 20% off coupon that can be used only that day when buying products related to lecture series.
CARING FOR YOUR LAWN WHILE CARING FOR THE ISLAND
by Chuck Wiley
Hopefully caring for your Vineyard lawn is as much about taking care of our local environment as it is about having a nice lawn. With a little knowledge you can do both. Our main concern is protecting our ponds, steams and aquifer by preventing fertilizer from getting into them. This can happen to a pond or stream by run off when the fertilizer washes into them over the ground or leaching when fertilizer is dissolved and rain or excessive irrigation carries the fertilizer past the roots into the ground. One of the best ways to prevent both of these is to have a dense healthy lawn which captures the fertilizer before it can runoff or leach. Using a slow release fertilizer is another way to make sure the nutrients are taken up by the grass and not lost.
Steps to achieve this healthy lawn in the spring:
1. Seed any bare spots starting in mid April using seed that matches the area, ie sun shade or a mix of the two. Keep the seed lightly moist for two weeks in order for it to germinate.
2. Don’t fertilize before Mid April. Use a slow release fertilizer and don’t over apply. I recommend using it below the recommended rate the bag shows and doing a second light application 6-8 weeks later if needed.
3. Make sure the ph of your soil is around 6.5, this improves the grasses ability to take up the fertilizer which reduces the chance of leaching.
4. Mow regularly at a minimum of 2 inches with a sharp blade
5. If you water, do so deeply to encourage the roots to go deep once or twice a week. Never water daily other than when your seeding.
6. Remember grass loves sun so if your area is too shady you may want to try a shade loving ground cover or let nature do its thing. If you have a lot of moss don’t fight it as it’s green and never needs fertilizer or mowing.
VINEYARD GARDENS WORKSHOPS 2019
Come join us every Saturday morning at 11am for our garden workshop series at the nursery. Attendees will receive a 20% off coupon that can be used only that day when buying products related to lecture series. Please visit our events page for more detailed information. This week’s lecture will be about Lawn and Turf Management.
EAT LOCAL, GROW IT IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD!
Saturday morning April 13th at 11am Chris and Chuck Wiley, owners of Vineyard Gardens, will lead a workshop on cultivating a successful vegetable garden. They will discuss which vegetables are best planted from seed and when to seed; and which vegetables are better planted as seedlings. This lecture will teach you how to grow your own salads and much more. The talk will be held at Vineyard Gardens 484 State Rd in West Tisbury
*Attendees will receive a 20% off coupon that can be used only that day when buying products related to lecture series.
THE SPRING VEGETABLE GARDEN
by Chuck Wiley
It's nearly springtime when a person’s thoughts should hopefully turn to ....... vegetables! That's right it's time to start our vegetable gardens. Even though our frost free date is technically May 1st, this is a great time of year to start our cool loving vegetables.
There are many vegetables that can handle the light frosts we get this time of year. If a colder night were to be predicted, in the high 20s, you can cover your freshly planted vegetables with Reemay, plastic or an old sheet to protect them from the frost. At this point, most greens can be planted and some, like spinach, do much better in cooler weather than in the summer. Broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage are known as cole crops, which sounds like cold crops, all do very well planted at this time a year too. While kids don't always like the spicy taste of radishes, they are a great vegetable for them to plant as they come up in a matter of days and are ready to pick in a few short weeks.
There are a few perennial vegetables which actually are some of the easiest ones to grow. My all-time favorite is asparagus which can live for 20 or more years. Asparagus continually get bigger and more productive with just a little bit of care. The most important way to care for them is to keep the weeds out in order for them to thrive. They are one of the first vegetables to come up every spring and are absolutely delicious and healthy. Chives are another easily grown perennial and are up this time of year. They are ready to pick in another week or so. The third perennial, one of our family favorites, is rhubarb. While most vegetables require a fence, rhubarb does not necessarily need one due to it’s toxic leaves therefore not favored by our local animals. When planting these perennials take extra care to enrich the soil, since they are long lived, and compost will help them thrive. A light top dressing of composted cow manure should take care of most of their nutritional needs each year. I grow all my vegetables organically which means I can walk out into the garden, pick them, give them a light rinse if needed and eat them. YUM! What could be better than fresh vegetables!
Wildflowers are some of the first flowers to emerge in the spring, sometimes overshadowed by the showier bulbs that dominate gardens in March and April. The wildflowers are demure cousins, shy and retiring, often hiding in the shade of overarching trees and shrubs.
Spring is the best time to purchase young starter wildflower plants. Although wildflowers are notoriously challenging to grow, they can be slow to establish and may not survive through the winter, but once established they can spread into a respectable and beautiful patch, rewarding your efforts for years to come.
The hardest part about growing wildflowers is taking that first bold step. As you would with any plant the first step is to prepare the ground floor. Choose a spot where you often pass in the spring so you can monitor their growth and enjoy their diminutive blooms. Most New England wildflowers prefer a woodland soil with a thick layer, called “leaf mold”. That is the layer of decomposing leaves of the deciduous canopy overhead. The best, and most common are oak leaves. You can easily make starter oak leaf mold by raking up a pile of leaves and mowing it with the collection bag attached. This can be done in the fall when fresh leaves are plentiful. You can leave the pile until spring and it will be the perfect material to work with. The next step is to clear your planting area and break up the top layer of soil, a few inches. You can work in some compost but you don’t need to make your mix too rich, remember that most wildflowers grow in poor woodland soils. Then plant out your young wildflowers covering with only a few inches of soil. On top of this you can spread a nice thick layer of your leaf mold. You may need to do some supplemental watering for the first couple of years to help get them established.
We have some wonderful selections of wildflowers at the nursery. It is difficult for growers to keep wildflowers alive in containers because they either tend to get over watered or dried out. Their special needs are hard to meet when contained in a pot. Now is the best time to plant them so come by the nursery and help spread native beauty.
Here are a few of the types we have available:
Trillium is one of the most familiar of our New England wildflowers and one of the easier ones to grow. They will spread by reseeding so it can take several years to develop a substantial stand of them but well worth the wait!
Bloodroot is another of the easier wildflowers to grow. They are in the Poppy family and produce the latex that characterizes the tribe. You can guess what color the latex in Bloodroot is and it is copiously produced when any part of the plant is broken or damaged, so care should be be taken in handling them while planting. A nice thing about this appealing plant is that, while the flowering is ephemeral in the spring, the foliage remains strong and ornamental through the rest of the summer.
With the unfortunate common name of ‘Liverwort’, coined apparently due to the similarity in the shape of its leaves to a liver, Hepatica is a charming, diminutive wild flower, closely related to Anemones, with nearly true blue flowers. It is known to grow well under Beech trees where most plants cannot. Its natural inclination is towards calcareous soils, though a challenge for our naturally acidic soils on the Island. The plant would therefore benefit from regular addition of lime to promote healthy growth.
Mertensia or Virginia Bluebells, is another wonderful blue flowered wild flower. It’s not native to the Island but we’ve had very good luck growing it here in just about any soil or exposure, though it does prefer some protection and light shade. Perhaps the only challenge in growing Mertensia is that it almost completely disappears after flowering so it can be easy to forgotten and unearthed when planting something else. But while it is flowering there’s nothing like it. It’s quite floriferous over a long period in late spring and it’s intensely blue flowers draw the eye from a far distance.
We have a number of other wonderful shady woodland wildflowers, some we carry just as standard perennials like Cyclamen and Arisaema triphyllum (Jack in the Pulpit). You can find them in House 9 at the Nursery with the other perennials and ground covers.
For further information about the plants and their cultivation check out the New England Wildflower Society.
Gorgeous pictures of our beautiful in-house spring production taken by our talented in-house photographer, Keith Kurman.