Friday, December 18, 2009

Snow Storm Prep!

We've got what local meteorologists are calling a "historic winter storm" on the way tonight! Remember, these storms can cause loss of electricity, heat, and telephone service and can trap you in your home for a few days. It's important to have ample supplies on hand in your home:
  • Flashlight and extra batteries.
  • Battery-powered NOAA weather radio and portable radio to receive emergency information. These may be your only links to the outside.
  • Extra food and bottled water. High energy food, such as dried fruit or candy, and canned food requiring no cooking or refrigeration is best.
  • Manual can opener.
  • Extra medicine and baby items.
  • First-aid supplies.
  • Heating fuel. Fuel carriers may not reach you for days after a severe winter storm.
  • Back-up heating source, such as a fireplace, wood stove, space heater, etc.
  • Fire extinguisher and smoke detector.
Be sure to carry a survival kit in your car that contains:
  • Cell phone
  • Blankets/sleeping bags
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Knife
  • High calorie, non-perishable food
  • A can and waterproof matches to melt snow for drinking water
  • Sand or cat litter
  • Shovel
  • Windshield scraper
  • Tool kit
  • Tow rope
  • Jumper cables
  • Water container
  • Compass
  • Road maps
  • Extra winter clothes and boots
Also, keep your vehicle's gas tank full in case you get stranded and to keep the fuel line from freezing. We're going to have a White Christmas!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Fresh Christmas Tree Care

When a Christmas tree is cut, over half of its weight is water. With proper care, you can maintain the quality of your displayed trees. Below are a number of tips relating to the care of displayed trees:

  1. Displaying trees in water in a traditional reservoir type stand is the most effective way of maintaining their freshness and minimizing needle loss problems.

  2. Make a fresh cut to remove about a 1/2-inch thick disk of wood from the base of the trunk before putting the tree in the stand. Make the cut perpendicular to the stem axis. Don't cut the trunk at an angle, or into a v-shape, which makes it far more difficult to hold the tree in the stand and also reduces the amount of water available to the tree.

  3. Once home, place the tree in water as soon as possible. Most species can go 6 to 8 hours after cutting the trunk and still take up water. Don't bruise the cut surface or get it dirty.

  4. To display the trees indoors, use a stand with an adequate water holding capacity for the tree. As a general rule, stands should provide 1 quart of water per inch of stem diameter. Devices are available that help maintain a constant water level in the stand.

  5. Use a stand that fits your tree. Avoid whittling the sides of the trunk down to fit a stand. The outer layers of wood are the most efficient in taking up water and should not be removed.

  6. Check the stand daily to make sure that the level of water does not go below the base of the tree. With many stands, there can still be water in the stand even though the base of the tree is no longer submerged in water.

Prepared by Dr. Gary Chastagner and Dr. Eric HinesleyEdited by the Scientific Research Committee of the National Christmas Tree Association

Thursday, December 10, 2009

How To Preserve Your Holiday Greens

Preserving holiday greens for the month of December is a challenge, especially when we start decorating shortly after Thanksgiving. These products are safe and effective. Using them on your freshly cut branches, stems and Fir Trees will improve their staying power and keep these holiday classics fresh for your home decor.

Wilt-Pruf is an anti-transpirant product designed to protect plants from moisture loss through their foliage. Wilt-Pruf works by forming a clear, protective coating on foliage that helps plants to retain moisture. The coating is flexible and does not interfere with plant growth. Furthermore, Wilt-Pruf is organic and non-toxic, making it safe and favorable to use in many applications.

Prolong is America's most popular tree preservative. It's special formula is an easy, effective way to keep Christmas trees fresher, greener and safer. Prolong causes trees to absorb more water than usual, keeping them fresher, longer. Prolong is not harmful to children or pets and is also great for extending the lives of cut flowers.

Stop by your local Strange's Garden Center to pick up these fail-safe products to encourage healthy greens throughout the holiday season.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Poinsettia Alternative!

The cyclamen is a wonderful, colorful plant for the cooler months of the year. They have large heartshaped, fleshy leaves, and bright blooms, usually in shades of red, pink and white. Cyclamen are normally available in the fall and winter months, but you might occasionally find them in the springtime too. They like bright, indirect light and cooler temperatures, no higher than 65 to 70 degrees. Keep them evenly moist and allow the soil to dry out on top between waterings. Twist or pull off the yellowing leaves and spent blooms. Cyclamen like cool, well circulated air. Be sure not to overwater or let it sit in water, as this will rot the bulb. After the plant finishes blooming for the season, the foliage will die back. Place the plant in a cool location and allow the soil to dry. In midsummer, replant the corm with the upper half above the soil line. Choose new soil and a small pot, then put the pot in a warm place to encourage root growth. As the foliage returns, gradually move to a cool place to induce blooming. Cyclamen offer an easy alternative to traditional holiday plants, such as poinsettias. They are the perfect plant for the person who has everything but still wants something!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Care for Holiday Paperwhites

Paperwhites require little more than to be potted and watered to produce clusters of fragrant blooms. You can either pot the bulbs right away or store them at room temperature in a dark place for up to 4-6 weeks. Consider potting 6-12 bulbs at 2- to 4-week intervals for a staggered display. Bulbs generally bloom 4-6 weeks after potting. To pot the bulbs, begin by placing the potting mix in a plastic tub. Slowly add water and stir until the mix is moist but not soggy. Add moistened mix to the accompanying container until it is about 3/4 full. Set the bulbs, pointed end up, on top of the mix. Space the bulbs very closely; they should almost touch. Then add more mix, covering the bulbs up to their necks and leaving the tips exposed. Water throughly.
Set your container or vase in a cool (50-60°F is ideal) place away from direct sunlight. Check the bulbs frequently and water thoroughly when the potting mix is dry 1 inch below the surface (but not more than once a week until the bulbs begin active growth). If your bulbs are in a bowl (a pot without a drainage hole), water with extra care: Bulbs sitting in soggy potting mix soon rot. Once a week, tug gently on the bulbs to see if they have begun to produce roots. When your tug meets with firm resistance (usually about 3 weeks after potting), move the container to a sunny window. Keep a close eye on watering. Bulbs in active growth can dry out in just a day or two.

After Paperwhites finish blooming, we recommend that you throw the bulbs out or toss them on the compost pile. They won't bloom again indoors. If you don't want to start your Paperwhites right away or you want to hold some in reserve for a staggered display, store them in a cool (60-70°F), dark place. Open the bags or boxes to allow air to circulate around the bulbs.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Guide to Santa's Own Christmas Trees

There are many factors to consider when purchasing an artificial Christmas tree. This guide will give you a brief overview of the components, design methods and other considerations to help you make an informed decision in selecting a tree that fits your budget but most importantly will provide years of enjoyment.

How to start your search:

Consider the location. How tall are your ceilings? Most homes have 8’ ceilings which are actually 7’8”. This is the reason 7 1/2 foot trees are the number one selling size. However, many newer homes have 9’, 10’ and even higher vaulted or cathedral ceilings.

Pre-Lighted trees have become the most popular type of tree sold. With a commercial grade lightset, they offer convenience, balanced illumination with minimal wiring showing. Consider how many lights are on the tree. More lights does not always mean better lighting. The key is to match the light count to the construction style of the tree. Traditional, triangular shaped trees generally require less lights than irregular, indexed trees.

What kind of lights are on the tree? Regular incandescent miniature bulbs are still the most popular but LED lights and variety of styles that “promise” to never go out are becoming more popular. The advantages of LED lights are longer life and lower energy consumption. The disadvantages are most LED bulbs are not replaceable so when a bulb burns out its out forever, the colors are cold not warm like incandescent lighting and the sets are very expensive.

Most trees come with some kind of warranty, usually 10-15 years structural and 1-3 years on light sets. A lifelike Christmas tree should be treated as a long term investment. A premium, high quality tree will last for many years and more importantly, maintain its good looks over time. Considering a 10 year life span, just a few dollars per year could make all the difference in the level of enjoyment your tree provides.

Reprinted with permission from Santa's Own, Inc.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Which One is Your Favorite?

Growers at Strange’s Garden Center began planting new and unusual poinsettias in July that are now blooming rich and full. Beginning in December, customers are encouraged to visit Strange’s in the Shortpump area to vote for their favorite variety. Available in white, red, pink, and variegated, the majority of Strange’s trial poinsettias are available in six inch containers with a limited selection in four inch pots. In addition to forty traditional poinsettias, we planted fifteen new cultivars for the holiday season. The Winter Blush variety offers a delicate white petal show with slightly ruffled edging and a light dusting of pink in the center. Hollypoint is a new red with silver and green foliage while the Da Vinci dazzles the eyes with its orange-pink glow. Stop by to vote for your favorite and help us decide Richmond's Poinsettia of the year!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Protect Native Plants From Invasive Species

Invasive and aggressive plants are usually non-native plants that have been introduced into an area outside of their usual environment. Most of the plants on this list can be found in various places around Richmond. Some have actually been outlawed from sale. Invasive plants can kill and choke out more beneficial native plants and other cultivars. Make it a habit to not plant these, and to remove them if you do see them.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

How to Grow Amaryllis for the Holidays

These large bulbs will grow happily and bloom abundantly in nothing more than stones and water. To "plant" your bulb, begin by carefully placing river stones or pebbles to a depth of about 4 inches in a Vase or Bulb Vase or your own clear glass planter. With scissors, trim off any roots on the bulb that are brown and dried, but let the roots that are whitish and fleshy remain. Place the Amaryllis bulb, roots down, on top of the stones, then put the remaining stones around the bulb, leaving the top third of the bulb exposed. Finally, add water until the level reaches about 1 inch below the base of the bulb but no higher. If the base of the bulb sits in water, it will rot. After planting, set the container on a sunny windowsill in a room where the temperature remains above 60°F. The warmer the temperature (70-80°F night and day is ideal), the faster the bulb will sprout and grow. Check the water level daily. Add water as needed to keep the level below the base of the bulb. A shoot will emerge from the top of the bulb in 2-8 weeks; you may (or may not) see thick white roots pushing between the stones before then. Rotate the container frequently to prevent the flower stalks from leaning toward the light. After the last blooms fade, we recommend that you dispose of the bulb; Amaryllis grown in water may not perform well in subsequent years.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sale on Giftware!

Entire stock of Garden Shop Giftware is now on sale for 20% off.

We do not have the entire department on sale often.

Items include: Garden Flags, Concrete Statuary, Foam & Concrete Planters, Silk Plants, Bird Baths, Furniture, Benches, and Little Gifts in between.

Now is the time to buy the things you have been waiting for us to have on sale.
These are Perfect gifts for Gardeners and for you.

Sale prices good through Wednesday, Nov. 18th

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Burned out Christmas Lights? Light Keeper Pro To The Rescue!

Most holiday light set failures occur when an individual bulb "Shunt" fails to energize as a filament burns out. This incomplete circuit causes an entire section of lights to go out. The "Shunt" is designed into a bulb to kick in and act as a by-pass when a filament fails, thus completing the circuit and the rest of the bulbs stay lit. If the "Shunt" fails to activate, it is much like a clog in a pipe, blocking the electricity from flowing to and lighting all the bulbs in the section. Equipped with a quick fix trigger, the Light Keeper Pro sends a harmless pulse of electricity through the circuit and it finds and fixes the "Shunt" clearing the clog and lighting the unlit section.

Any interruption in the light set's electrical circuit can cause all or a section of a light set to go out. A partially lit light set is most common in a 100 light set which is two to fifty light sets wired together. The Light Keeper's new voltage detector allows you to easily scan and find the circuit interruption at a bulb, broken wire or poor contact where the voltage is blocked. Repairing the blockage will let the power flow, so all the bulbs in the section can light. The detector will beep before the location of the block and will not beep after, to pinpoint the problem. Stop by our West Broad location to pick up your easy solution to miniature light sets, icicle and net light sets, yard decorations, and pre-lit trees or wreaths.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Turn your backyard into Birdland.

We've made some big changes in our garden center at Strange's! Stop by to visit Birdland and the wide variety of feeders, food, and baths that our feathered friends need to survive this frigid season. Bluebirds, wrens, finches, and woodpeckers in particular require adequate shelter and water that become scarce in the winter. Lend a helping hand to your local wildlife and follow these tips to welcome native species to your yard.

Trees: This will be the penthouse of your backyard sanctuary. Try to plant a variety of canopy tree species in your backyard. While space will probably be a concern for most homeowners, proper planning should also take into consideration tree size at maturity and other concerns such as the provision of shade, litter accumulation and root interference.

Mid-Story/Understory Trees: A few stories down from the penthouse lies the understory. This layer is where many species like wood thrushes (Hylocichla mustelina), Swainson's thrushes (Catharus ustulatus) and rose-breasted grosbeaks (Pheucticus ludovicianus) will go to refuel during fall migration as they head to warmer climes south of the border.
Shrubs/Vines: These are the efficiency apartments in your backyard sanctuary. Shrubs will provide many species with nesting and escape cover, and food. Not only will species like northern cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis), gray catbirds (Dumatella carolinensis) and brown thrashers (Toxostoma rufum) nest there, these and many other shrub varieties will provide fruits as added benefits.
Open Ground/Lawns: This is the basement of your yard. Open ground and grass lawns are common components of suburbia. Unfortunately, they provide relatively little for songbirds. It is true that American robins (Turdus migratorius) and a few other species such as eastern bluebirds (Sialia sialis) require open habitats in suburban landscapes. But unless you are planning to farm the back forty for hay, why not give yourself a break time- and money-wise by reducing the size of your lawn? You will have more time to invest in watching birds instead of mowing, feeding and watering the lawn.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Container Gardening for Winter

The tips below are for creating containers with trees & shrubs, but can be modified for anything else you’d like to pot up! Our winter pansies and dwarf alberta spruce have been selling out! Stop by to pick up the perfect cool weather mix for your evergreen container.

  • Pick your container and your plants. Don’t feel like you have to stick to the same old thing. Don’t be afraid to mix it up or try something different. You can plant either just one tree, or a tree with perennials underneath, or even a shrub like a boxwood or a daphne or whatever you’d like!

  • Whatever kind of plant you pick, make sure the container you choose is large enough to handle the plant for at least 2 years. An average rule of thumb would make the container at least twice as large and deep as the pot that the plant is currently in. If you aren’t sure, ask us for our recommendation. There are some varieties of smaller, slower growing nursery stock that won’t require a pot quite so large.

  • Most evergreens and perennials should be planted in a combination of Black Velvet planting mix and a little peat moss. If the pot is extremely heavy to handle, consider putting a few inches of either large chunk mulch or Styrofoam packing peanuts in the bottom of it before planting, to both take up space and to make the pot lighter to move than just filling it with soil.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Winter Pansy's Worst Nightmare!

Winter pansies love this time of year. The cool temperatures and dry air cater to their every need. However, it is also prime season for the dreaded and dangerous pansy worm! If your pansies show signs of browsing damage, be sure to zoom in for a closer look. These caterpillar bugs are red and black; they chew on the tender leaves and blooms, making your pansies look more like swiss cheese than flowers. Fertilome's Dipel Dust is a biological worm killer that we carry here at Strange's.

One bite of treated foliage and within minutes worms stop feeding and eventually die. This granular applicant is easy to use for killing Tomato Hornworms, Bagworms, Armyworms, Webworms, Gypsy Moth Larvae, Cankerworms, Loopers, Tent Caterpillars, Tomato Fruitworms, Sod Webworms, Variegated Cutworms, Imported Cabbage Worms, Rindworms, Melonworms, and more! Simply dust this product on plants at the rates listed on the package. Dust to thoroughly cover all plant surfaces. Apply when pests appears and repeat as necessary. Available in a four pound bag, Fertilome's Dipel Dust will kill a wide variety of Leaf-eating caterpillars that can severely damage and kill vegetables, shrubs, lawns, and flowers, including your precious winter pansies!

Written by Ginny Gregory.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

For That Special Redneck In Your Life


Once again, by popular demand --> Strange's own Redneck Christmas Tree!

We've got everything to warm the heart of that special Redneck in your life!

Jingle Bells, Shotgun Shells and Duane Raver's String of Fish will light up the night of every chilly Christmas evening.

Stop in early to get your own Beer Belly Brew, Redneck Wedding Cake, Redneck Airlines and Redneck Windchime ornaments!

Believe it or not, these are some of our most popular Christmas items and they sell fast, so come in early to pick up yours today!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Protection for Potted Plants

These chill temperatures are encouragement enough to bring your potted plants in from the patio and screened porch. Your banana plant and hibiscus are probably peeping through the kitchen window hoping to be dug up and brought inside to more comfortable climates! This time of year it's also a good idea to use a liquid or granular insecticide and fungicide to rid these warm weather lovers of any outside critters that could potentially wreak havoc on your other indoor plants. Without taking the proper precautions to rid any tropicals of insects before bringing them inside, you're offering up a varietable buffet for hungry bugs hitching a ride into your home. With Fertilome's Triple Action Plus it's important to set up a weekly schedule to spray any house plants you may suspect have been infected by mites, insects or fungus. These problems can quickly be spread to other plants as you water when droplets splash from pot to pot. Be sure to keep any sickly specimens in an area separate from healthy plants until insecticidal chemicals have had time to take effect. Hi-Yield Systemic Insect Granules is also a highly effective treatment that should be applied to any plants that show signs of browsing damage. By working a tablespoon size amount into the top layer of soil and watering, the chemical is absorbed into the root system and becomes part of the plant: stems, leaves and blooms. This treatment tends to take a bit longer to take effect than the liquid application; however, it is effective as the insects chew on the plant and ingest the lethal chemicals. Instant fertilizer! Stop by Strange's to pick up Triple Action Plus and Hi-Yield Systemic Insect Granules and give your indoor plants what they need to combat creepy crawlies!

Written by Ginny Gregory.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

It's Pansy Planting Time!

I've been surprised to learn how many customers at Strange's don't know how important it is to use a specialized Pansy food when planting these winter wonders. Sure, Miracle Gro and Osmocote are great fertilizers for annuals, shrubs and perennials; however, Fertilome's Premium Pansy Food has the stamina to stand up to those freezing temperatures that prevent other plant food products from releasing nutrients. This 7-22-8 blend allows for a slow release of natural chemicals in small doses as opposed to the high nitrogen, phosphorus and potash mixed in with Miracle Gro that can sometimes burn Pansies or force them to grow too quickly and wilt after this initial burst of color. Fertilome Premium Pansy Food can also be used to fertilize bedding plants, perennials, hibiscus, bulbs, bougainvillea, crape myrtle and blooming shrubs. Stop in today to pick up a bag and give your Pansies what they need to survive this winter!

Written by Ginny Gregory.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Do Your Cole Crops Look Like This?!

This time of year is prime season for cole crops! For many varieties we recommend harvesting after the first hard frost, which tends to affect the taste and texture of leafy greens for the better. However, a very common and malicious pest also travels to your crop beds to munch on the tender shoots before we even have a chance to enjoy them in our own tummies! Even one lonely caterpillar can wreak havoc upon an entire garden, favoring cabbage, kale and collard greens much to the dismay of our green thumbs.

Thankfully the solution to this issue is simple to find and easy to use in the bacterial disease that quickly and effectively turns those wormie bugs into instant fertilizer. As a naturally occurring chemical in soil around the world, Bacillus thurigiensis is safe to spray on any vegetable crops and can be rinsed off of your future side orders with a heavy scrub from the kitchen faucet. This compound can be found in Safer Brand Caterpillar Killer available in an 8 ounce concentrate that should be mixed by the teaspoon into your gallon size sprayer. Caterpillars stop feeding shortly after eating foliage sprayed with Caterpillar Killer and die within a few days. Caterpillar Killer does not harm honey bees or beneficial anthropods and does not harm earthworms. It is the safest and most effective treatment, but be sure to apply at the first signs of damage as these creepy crawlies can quickly decimate your cole crops!

Written by Ginny Gregory.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Gazing Balls: More Than Meets The Eye

These colorful globes add more than just a pretty face to your potege garden. Since the 1700's, gazing balls have been superstitiously used to ward off evil spirits, witches and negative energy. Available in steel or glass, the color choices are endless. Decorative globes are most commonly placed on stands designed to accent the unique properties of these multifaceted design elements. However, with an artistic eye they can strategically compliment a mossy nook or koi pond. Made from 100% recycled glass, the gazing balls we carry at Strange's can beautifully be illuminated from within by a coiled strand of lights. By reflecting all of the surrounding wildlife in miniature, these garden ornaments prove that good things do come in small packages. While providing delicate ambiance, they also were commonly used for surveillance in the 18th and 19th centuries to detect unexpected visitors on the front garden walk. Friendship Balls also serve as intriguing conversation pieces; sculpted from blown glass, these delicate spheres glide across the surface of your koi pond as they reflect shafts of sunshine across your patio. Whether you're adding a bit of color to your front walk or warding off witches, these colorful globes add just a perfectly bright touch.

Written by Ginny Gregory.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Winter Prep Leads to Spring Success!

Those of us who are dedicated to lawn maintenance often make the unfortunate mistake of assuming that the onset of winter weather gives us permission to neglect our newly established seed. However, by taking the proper precautions early we can prevent tedious weeding and root damage in the spring. A simple granular winterizer containing high compounds of nitrogen and potash can provide the proper nutrients to encourage root growth and foliage stamina in shrubs and evergreens as well as simple grass seed. Fertilome Winterizer is available in a 20 pound bag that covers at least 2,000 square feet, the size of your average neighborhood lawn. This product is especially formulated to help put your lawns, trees, shrubs, ornamentals and evergreens in proper condition to withstand the hazards of a cold winter, because it encourages the hardening of late growth and helps build root systems, as growth continues through the fall and winter. It is very important to fertilize your trees; well-fed trees not only grow faster and develop better shade, but also are not normally damaged as extensively by Tree Borers and other insects in comparison to those that are left neglected and unfertilized. Fertilome Winterizer can also be used for the fall feeding of roses, azaleas, camellias and gardenias. When used as directed, Fertilome Winterizer aids in increasing winter hardiness, helps build better root systems, aids hardening of late fall growth, and promotes sturdiness in plants weakening by too rapid growth. It is an excellent product to give your lawn and garden the boost it needs to make it through those frigid January nights that seem right around the corner.

Follow some of these tips to prevent further spring damage and weed control:
  • Keep an eye out for cool weather weeds such as chickweed, clover, oxalis, wild geranium, and wild onion. A weed left to produce seeds in the fall will return hundred-fold next spring.
  • Rake leaves, lest the leaves smother your grass over the winter. Consider composting them for use in the spring.
  • Besides raking leaves up, you want to rake deep into the soil to remove thatch. You do not want thatch to grow into the soil because during the fall when the grass seems to stop growing, the roots actually grow deeper to prepare for the winter.
  • After the lawn has stopped growing, and before the snow flies, give your lawn one more cutting to prevent snowmold from developing.

Written by Ginny Gregory.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Winterizing Perennial Beds

A couple of good, hard frosts makes a big difference in the garden. Some perennials immediately begin to go dormant, while others seem to want to hang on into late fall. To those new gardeners out there, we encourage you to consider leaving most perennials alone in the fall if you are unsure of what winter interest they might provide. Winter interest is entirely subjective, and only you can decide what is attractive to your eye, or what looks tired and messy. Here are a few tips and ideas:

  • fall-blooming ornamental grasses usually remain gorgeous well into the winter. It seems a real shame to cut them back to the ground before late winter or early spring. Some gardeners are now waiting even beyond THAT, and enjoying the effect of wheat-colored grass clumps contrasting with spring-flowering bulbs!

  • seed-heads of certain perennials provide food for finches and other birds, and they look great against a blanket of snow. Most late-flowering daisy-type perennials are on this list (like Rudbeckia and Purple Coneflower), but others with nice seed-heads and sturdy stems include: Achillea, Agastache, Aster, Astilbe, Baptisia, Buddleia, Chelone, Cimicifuga, Eryngium, Eupatorium, taller Sedum, and a few others.

  • there is a common theory that the dead tops of perennials help to trap the snow, which is the very best insulation against cold temperatures. In regions with erratic snowcover and mid-winter thaws, the tiny bit of extra snow that is actually trapped may in fact be of little benefit.

  • many perennials have very little winter interest. Cutting these types back in the fall effectively "clears the clutter" and makes the ones you leave look even better. Consider cutting these down in late fall: Alchemilla, Anemone, Campanula, Centaurea, Coreopsis, Delphinium, Dicentra, Euphorbia, Geranium, Hemerocallis, Hosta, Lychnis, Monarda, Nepeta, Oenothera, Phlox (tall types), Trollius, Veronica.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Give Your Garbage Disposal A Break!

Although composting meat or dairy products is a definite no-no, I plan on giving my garbage disposal a break this fall. I'm taking measures to learn the best materials for natural and organic compost. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides a wealth of information on their website to get me started. Composting is the biological decomposition of organic matter into a product beneficial for plant growth and soil conditioning. Organic matter added to the soil as a compost, improves plant growth and vigor, soil structure, drainage, holds plant nutrients and releases nitrogen for plant and soil micro-organisms. University studies have proven that composting organic matter into a soil conditioner can be enhanced by using Hi-Yield Compost Maker to speed up the composting process and insure that the finished compost will provide the proper nutrients to plants and improve soil tilth. Compost Activator and Energizer is also a product proven beneficial for jump starting the compost pile. Manufactured by Gardener's Supply Company, this twin pack comes with a 5 lb. bag of energizer (a high-nitrogen blend of vegetable protein, including peanut meal, and natural nitrate of soda) and a 3 lb. bag of activator (a nutrient-rich blend of alfalfa, cocoa meal, kelp, fish meal, and yeast). With these products at my disposal I will no longer be feeding egg shells and coffee grounds to that drain in my sink; instead I'll be brewing my own organic soil conditioner and keeping chemical fertilizers out of my backyard!

Written by Ginny Gregory.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Care for Autumn Perennial Beds

If colour in your garden seems to have languished after September rolls around, consider putting in some late-blooming perennials to spruce things up. Garden Mums are very popular for fall display, but many other perennials can provide much-needed colour at this time of year. Here are a few to consider: Rudbeckia, Echinacea, Russian Sage, Bugbane, Fall Asters, Toad Lilies and Autumn Monkshood.

Early Fall is a good time to do these jobs:

  • Edge your perennial beds.

  • Continue dead-heading any daisy-flowered perennials, especially ones like Echinacea, Rudbeckia and False Sunflower (Heliopsis). These will continue flowering for weeks if you prevent the flowers from forming seeds.

  • Remove any perennial weeds that have invaded the garden. A non-selective herbicide is a good way to remove the spreading types, applied carefully while the weather is still warm and the weeds are actively growing.

  • Remove any annual weeds that are going to seed. Throw these in the garbage, not in the compost pile or next year there will be ten times as many.

  • Empty your compost bin. Early fall is a great time for this, since it makes room for all those leaves, dead plant tops, etc. that you will have on hand in another few weeks. If your compost is not quite ready, maybe there is some corner it can be stockpiled to finish rotting before spring.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Audobon Conservation and Rehabilitation Group to Visit Strange's!

On Saturday, Oct. 17th join us for a morning of birding!

Members from the Richmond Audubon Society will be visiting us and they're bringing along their feathered friends! Stop in at 10AM to learn what species of birds will visit your feeders and what other non-seed-eating birds are looking for in real estate. We will be providing you with a few handy tips and tricks to attract non-see-eating birds with feeders and bird baths. Don't miss this opportunity to learn from Kim Harrel of Phoenix and her local wildlife rehabilitation group --> she will be bringing a variety of predatory and native birds for show and tell! Learn about birds, their calls and their nesting habits. We will have wild birds here for you to see. Learn about bird seeds, feeders and baths. By working together we can all help preserve our natural wildlife and become involved in bird conservation!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Turn Your Fall Leaves into Rich Spring Fertilizer!

"I'm so tired of bagging leaves!" "When is leaf pick up this month?" "I can't park in front of my house because of this huge pile of leaves!"

Does this sound familiar to you? Our neighbors and friends chime in all through the fall season; we're all doing the best we can to properly dispose of these natural autumn colors as they cover the lawn. Well most of us do anyway... "Hey! Stop blowing those leaves into my yard!" "I don't even have any trees in my landscape, but my lawn must be a magnet for my neighbors' leaves!"

Save a little on the expense of conditioning your soil for spring planting and brew your own compost from those clippings! On Saturday, Oct. 10th at 11AM, our Virginia Certified Horticulturists will be ready and willing with excellent advice on compost starters and proper containers. We're also offering 20% off composting products all day! Stop by our Composting Seminar for some 101 skills, tips, and tricks to create your own personal concoction and effectively condition your soil for spring planting.

Written by Ginny Gregory.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Don't forget the Fall Folk Festival kicks off on Friday, Oct. 9th and runs through Sunday, Oct. 11th!

We will be joining the Children's Museum of Richmond to plant seeds with the kids
at the Genworth Financial Family Area.

Family fun at the festival also includes aspects of local farm life and agriculture, performances, green art activities, themed exhibits from the museum
and, of course, a petting zoo.

Mark your calendars for these family fun events and bring the kids along to join our Pea Pod Club.
We're giving you permission to get down and dirty together!

Join us on Saturday, Oct. 3rd for a fun filled morning with our Pea Pod Club.
We will be planting pansies in pumpkins
and making mud pies --> 9am-11am
We've invited some special guests with fuzzy faces too!
Fireweed Farm Alpacas will be visiting us
and these furry friends are ready for some hugs!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Attract Gold, Purple, and House Finches!

Nyjer is a new trademark name for the familiar small black seed that is the favorite food for American Goldfinches, Pine Siskins, and other colorful finches. Small birds love the abundant food value and high oil content of this seed. Nyjer Seed is produced from a cultivated crop of yellow flowers that grow four to seven inches high. You may have heard people incorrectly call it "thistle" seed but it should not be confused with the thistle weed that has pink to purple flowers. Nyjer Seed comes from a plant native to Africa. It is the only major wild bird food ingredient imported from overseas. Due to concern by the US Department of Agriculture that foreign weed seeds could be imported with the Nyjer Seed, all Nyjer imported since 1985 is heat treated to devitalize any weed seeds that might be present. That is why plants will not grow from these seeds. With over 150 thousand seeds per pound it provides an exceptional value and many visits by colorful birds to your feeder.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Overwatering? Dehydrated plants? Problem solved!

Overwatering is a common and detrimental mistake made by novice gardeners. Landscaping expert and entrepreneur, Ray Padula suggests that longer waterings at less frequent intervals allows water to penetrate more deeply, encouraging longer root growth, which creates healthier plants. Gardening experts world-wide agree that one inch of water every three to four days is adequate for most loam soil landscapes. With Ray Padula Time It! Deluxe electronic sprinkler timers, it's now possible to bring sophisticated automatic sprinkler controls to your hose end sprinklers. Designed for water conscious consumers, Time It! Deluxe allows you to set up to four automatic start times per day, includes manual and automatic operation, every day, 2 days, 3 days, or custom watering schedules, and run time intervals from 1 minute to 24 hours. With Time It! Deluxe you can fully water without wasting a drop! Stop in at our Strange's West Broad location to pick up yours today.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Insecticides Found Safe for Pets and Children!

I've got a brand new puppy running around my backyard and she's chewing on everything! My other two dogs do enough damage to the lawn on their own, but now almost all my shrubs have teeth marks! Aside from this canine cosmetic damage, I'm also worried about how insecticides and pesticides can affect my domesticated critters. It is comforting to know that I can come into Strange's and pick up the latest, most effective and safe treatments, which are also natural and organic. Manufactured by Organica, K+Neem comes from the seeds of the Indian Neem Tree. It is an effective alternative to chemically based insecticides and fungicides. K+Neem controls a wide range of mites and insects in all stages, and is effective against powerdy mildew. K+Neem is OMRI certified--so you know it's safe. It is the natural choice for flowers, vegetables, herbs, trees, shrubs, lawns, roses and houseplants.

Bonide also produces a natural dust product, Rotenone which can be mixed into a spray to control insects on fruit, flowers and vegetables. It can be used as a dust on dogs and cats to control fleas, ticks and lice as well. Capsaicin, the active ingredient in Hot Pepper Wax Insect Repellent, is derived from hot Cayenne Peppers and is proven very effective in deterring aphids, cabbage loopers, beet armyworms, spider mites, and whiteflies. An environmentally conscious company, Pharm Solutions has developed multiple products to combat garden pests and fertilize organically. Flower Pharm and Garlic Pharm help to repel aphids, thrips, white fly, cucumber beetles, spider mites, and aid in the control of rust, mildews, and fungi. Many of the natural ingredients within Espoma's Earth-tone Insect Control are also used to produce animal feeds and hence, are safe to use around animals and children while also controlling a wide range of insect pests. With these products on the market, I feel confident using them on my plants and my dogs. I know whenever the neighborhood kids come around, my insecticides will not harm them as they run and play in my yard. Although the hot pepper wax and Garlic Pharm will likely cause a mild upset tummy for my puppy if she ingests a large amount, at least I know I can combat those garden pests without subjecting my pets to any lethal toxins.

Written by Ginny Gregory.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Rub People the Right Way!

Sure, you've heard of Burt and Jason. Maybe you've even tried saying Yes to Carrots. However, if you are truly an "Active Badger" then we recommend Badger Body Care products. For Badgers, healing is really an art, filled with awe and appreciation for nature. It shows in the ingredients: real naturally processed botanicals brimming with life force. Certainly, no chemicals, synthetics or strange sounding additives. Only celebrations of color, texture and soothing aroma. At Strange's, keeping it organic and natural is always on our minds. Badger products feel and smell "right" and natural. That's because they are. And the results are what you would expect from nature: gentle, bringing you back into balance. Stop in at our West Broad location to pick up some of these USDA certified organic products to soothe your senses and share with the ones you love: Winter Wonder Balm Aromatic Chest Rub, Night-Night Balm for Kids, Bali Balm Soothing After Sun Care, Chamomile Baby Balm for Sensitive Skin, or Lip and Body Balm in Ginger & Lemon, Tangerine Breeze, Highland Mint, Lavendar & Orange, and Cinnamon Bay. We also recommend Badger's certified organic Lip Balm in Highland Mint and Unscented.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Orchids and Perennials and Shrubs... Oh My!

Having trouble getting that once beautiful orchid to bloom?
Are your annual beds in need of some proper TLC?
Is your container garden looking a bit worn out?

Stop by our Strange's West Broad location this Saturday, September 26th for free seminars to solve these everyday dilemmas.

At 10am our Virginia Certified Horticulturists will be conducting a seminar on Four-Season Border landscaping. This class is designed to help you develop a colorful garden bed that continues to draw interest and inspire your green thumb through the months typically most challenging in our area. Our experts will be on hand to answer questions and offer advice on the best flowering shrubs and perennials for Fall!

Bring in your orchids from home to be analysed and repotted from 11am-12pm. Orchids 101 will provide information for novice handlers as well as seasoned pros. Whether you're cultivating dendrobium, phalaenopsis, or the more rare varieties, our educated staff will help unlock the secrets to these tricky beauties. Arrive early and prepared with questions!

If making adjustments to your summer container gardens has been challenging this season then visit us from 1pm-2pm for some instruction and advice on incorporating some of our Fall Magic. Our professional container designers will be available to encourage the use of any particular perennial from the Proven Winners collection. Bred to encourage a frost tolerance down to 28F, these tough little plants can withstand lots of those cold fall nights or days. If you can't make it to our Saturday session, this seminar will also be presenting an encore from 1pm-2pm on Sunday, September 27th.

Written by Ginny Gregory.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Biltmore Bulbs Exclusively Available At Strange's

Bring a century of gardening expertise to your landscape with plants and furniture inspired by Biltmore Estate’s 8,000 acres. Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, is renowned for it’s 75 acres of gardens landscaped by Frederick Law Olmsted, and now folks can take a little bit of those gardens home with them. The idea of offering Biltmore Estate plants to consumers is not a new one for the estate. Even before Biltmore House was completed in 1895, the Biltmore Nursery was thriving. In 1898, the nursery distributed its first catalog to the public. Because of the estate’s widespread reputation, landscape architects and park superintendents around the country ordered Biltmore plants. As a result, estate-raised plants, shrubs and trees are still found today in many public parks, university grounds and large private gardens.

Here at Strange's we offer a select variety of Biltmore Bulbs that are exclusively available to privately owned local retail stores such as ours. These unique blooms include Camassia (caerulea), Persian Lily (fritillaria), Allium (schubertii), Scilla (amethystina), Arum (italicum) and English Bluebells. We also provide distinct Biltmore blends of Tulip and Crocus; pick yours up today and transform your bulb garden into a Biltmore classic!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Organic Pest Control by I Must Garden

Started in 2004 I Must Garden was formed by a Master Gardener unhappy with the repellents on the market. Having a vast experience using all sorts of products and remedies to keep her garden thriving she knew there was something better. After years of experimenting and testing I Must Garden sprouted. Here at Strange's we carry a wide variety of organic pest control products. I Must Garden Snake Repellent is a granular product that is safe to use on lawns and vegetation. This organic repellent contains a complex blend of botanical oils and other all natural ingredients that will safely and effectively repel snakes from your yard, garden, flower beds, sheds, crawl spaces, woodpiles, under porches, decks and more. Snakes gather information about their surroundings by collecting particles on their tongues and then passing their tongues over sensory organs inside their mouth, called the Jacobson's Organ. The ingredients in this repellent interfere with this sensory organ causing discomfort and confusion. Snakes are repelled by this formula and will avoid treated areas.

If more than one specific pest is wreaking havoc upon your tranquil garden beds then the I Must Garden Animal Repellent will safely protect plants against browsing damage. Deer, rabbits and other herbivores (plant-eating animals) are instinctively repelled from areas treated with this granular and organic formula since it represents the presence of carnivores (meat-eating animals). Containing granules infused with botanical oils, this product is stronger, more effective and longer lasting than plain blood meal.

I Must Garden takes pride in providing safer alternatives for gardening and pest control; as such their all natural products are safer around children and pets.

Written by Ginny Gregory.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

#1 Bulb Fertilizer!

Espoma Bulb-tone is our #1 recommended product for fertilizing newly planted and established bulbs. Bulb-tone is a premium granular plant food formulated specifically for bulbs and tubers. It contains bone meal and other natural organics to meet the special nutritional needs of these plants. Bulb-tone's all natural formula contains Bio-tone, a patented blend of beneficial microbes. Bio-tone biologically enhances this natural food to ensure superior plant growth. Bulb-tone feeds slowly, safely, and will provide a long lasting food reservoir to ensure superior results. Use Bulb-tone with the confidence that you have chosen the very best. Stop in at our West Broad location to pick up yours today.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

If the grass really IS greener on your neighbor’s side of the fence, we’ve got just the solution!
Saturday, September 19thCome on down to Strange’s Garden Center
at 12111 West Broad!
Participate in a variety of free seminars.

It’s a BLOCK PARTY with free donuts and coffee.
This ongoing demonstration is designed to educate the Richmond homeowner on
Do It Yourself Green Lawn Care.

Topics will include proper mowing, applying grass seed, using fertilizer, aerating and lawn preparation. There will also be demonstrations
on sprayers and spreaders.
Be sure to arrive armed with samples of weeds for identification and solutions as well as a soil sample for FREE pH testing.

Exciting Exhibits: weed identification and control, proper grass seed selection and application, irrigation recommendations and expert research on lawn care best suited
for Goochland, Hanover and Glen Allen.

Vendors: Representatives and our own Virginia Certified Horticulturists will be available for advice and information on Fertilome products, Jonathan Green, and Gold Standard Grass Seed.

Voted Best Plant Selection for 2009 by Richmond Magazine, we here at Strange’s provide the knowledge and answers you need to make your neighbors with green thumbs, fingers and toes even greener with envy!

Visit our website for more info!

Invigorate Your Winter Pansies!

During the Fall 2003 season Green Light Company, a primary manufacturer of lawn & garden products, introduced a slow release, non-burning 19-6-12 Pansy Food. With an overwhelmingly positive response from our customers we continue to recommend this fertilizer which contains nitrates and works great in cooler temperatures when pansies are usually grown as one of the most popular Fall and Winter ornamental plants. Each 1 lb. bag can treat up to 50 square feet of planting area or use just one teaspoon of fertilizer per plant. The granulated formulation makes it easy to apply allowing for continuous feeding of pansies as well as other plants such as begonias, geraniums and many others. With its simple, safe and effective combination of essential nutrients derived from Ammonium Sulfate, Potassium Nitrate, and Muriate of Potash, Green Light Pansy Food is the perfect fertilizer boost for any container garden or outdoor garden bed.

Written by Ginny Gregory.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Organic Nitrogen-Rich Fertilizer

Dr. Earth's Bat Guano was designed for today's gardeners who care not only for the environment in their own backyard, but for that of the entire planet. Sourced to meet the highest standard of fertility needs, this product is proven beneficial for all flowers, vegetables, annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs. Dr. Earth's Bat Guano is a superior raw material that actually invigorates and improves the biological life in your soil. Bat guano does this by supplying Pro-biotic Beneficial Soil Microbes, which feed the fiber of a living soil by releasing natural organic matter. All you add is water and light. Stop in at our Strange's West Broad location for a free Dr. Earth Gardening Guide!

Written by Ginny Gregory.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dirt Don't Hurt

Indeed, no matter who you believe made "dirt," it certainly does not hurt. Although many novice gardeners begin planting with fair to middling results, they soon find out that the best final crop starts within the dirt. The soil in which your perennials, annuals, vegetables, trees and shrubs reside provides the proper and essential nutrients for healthy growth and cultivation. Here at Strange's, we offer a variety of Black Kow and Miracle Gro products; however, we use Fafard brand planting soil.
"Fafard potting soils give your garden the proper balance of water, air, and pH. Using only weed- and disease-free materials, our soils undergo testing before and after production to ensure a consistent formulation and texture. It's what has made us the choice of professional growers since 1926. Fafard is committed to sustainable peat harvesting and bog restoration. An active member in good standing with the Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association (CSPMA), Fafard has been recognized for our efforts in returning harvested bogs to wetlands to preserve an area's ecological balance."
While the Fafard company not only provides an excellent product with which to restore, nourish, and revitalize your garden beds, we also commend their continued support for environmentally conscious business decisions.

Written by Ginny Gregory

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Form and Function, Meet the Future

Many small, privately owned businesses begin with an ingenious solution to a simple problem. Beverly Schor did just that when she redesigned her first pair of gloves having no idea that she was laying the foundation for her own environmentally conscious organization, West County Gloves. West County Gloves come in a variety of designs to fit the needs of the everyday gardener as well as contracted landscaper. They’re even available in children’s sizes! Visit their website to learn more and read about her innovative green techniques!

Written by Ginny Gregory.

Monday, September 7, 2009

“Useful, with a Pleasant Degree of Humor”

The calendar pages are the heart of The Old Farmer’s Almanac. They present sky sightings and astronomical data for the entire year and are what make this book a true almanac, a “calendar of the heavens.” In essence, these pages are unchanged since 1792, when Robert B. Thomas published his first edition. The long columns of numbers and symbols reveal all of nature’s precision, rhythm, and glory, providing an astronomical look at the year 2010. While this reliable trademark's website provides a wealth of information which can be personalized depending on a specific location, we also offer the tried and true paperback edition here at Strange's West Broad.

Written by Ginny Gregory.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

It's Alive! IT'S ALIVE!!!!!!

Although not holding quite the same mystery as Frankenstein, the Living Stone Plants we carry in our Foliage House are just as creepy and fascinating. Belonging to the genus "Lithops," this small cactus-like succulent is known to survive in extremely harsh conditions and thrive in areas with little to no moisture. Should the Living Stone Plant be forced to absorb a great deal of water, a sudden and terrifying explosion will rupture its rough exterior! Any soil that retains too much water will cause the plants to burst their skins as they over-expand. Plants grown in strong light will develop hard darkly coloured skins which are resistant to damage and rot, although persistent over watering will still be fatal. The most startling adaptation of Lithops is the colouring of the leaves. Not green as in almost all higher plants, but various shades of cream, grey, and brown, patterned with darker windowed areas, dots, and red lines. The markings on the top surface disguise the plant in its surroundings. They are often known as pebble plants or living stones which avoid being eaten by blending in with surrounding rocks. Yellow or white flowers emerge from the fissure between the leaves after a new leaf pair has fully matured, one per leaf pair usually occurring in autumn. These strange and unusual specimens of plant life make a unique addition to any cactus planter or dish garden. Visit Alison Cyrus in our Foliage House here at Strange's West Broad to learn more!

Written by Ginny Gregory.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Got Mosquitoes? Tell Them to Buzz Off!

Mosquitoes are a constant worry for everyone no matter how little time you spend outdoors! They are a menace to household pets and children as they carry numerous diseases. However, many products have hit the market in the last few years to aide in these efforts. Bayer, Ortho and Bonide all manufacture mosquito control products in granular and liquid form, including a propane fog applicator. The Citrosa, or Scented Geranium, is also a safe and natural method of mosquito control, an annual species which we carry in the spring. Visit us at Strange’s West Broad for these products and more to help with your everyday critter control. For information on non-beneficial insect control, please go to our website.

Written by Ginny Gregory.

Ewwwwww!!! What is that thing on my plant?

That funky new ornamentation on your shrubs that seemingly sprung up over night is not a hot new style of plant jewelry. Those oval shaped bags festooned all over your Arborvitae or Juniper are called Bag worms. These nasty little guys are easily visible once they have formed their spindle shaped bags. Large populations of bag worm larvae can strip plants of their needles and leaves. While deciduous shrubs and trees are able to produce new leaves within a 4-6 week period, evergreens are much slower to recuperate and the damage may be severe enough to cause eventual death. Plant damage is most noticeable in June, July and August. The bags are made up of silk and the vegetation the bag worm is feeding upon. On evergreens the bags can resemble a small pine cone, making it difficult to detect until the damage is done and the plant is partially defoliated. During this stage the bag is attached to the larvae which is dragged around as the nasty critter munches on your unsuspecting plant. The bag continues to grow as the larvae grow. When disturbed, the larvae will pull their head and upper body back into their bag and hold the top opening closed. Gross!! In early fall, when the bags are one to two inches long, the bags are suspended from branches and the larvae change into pupae before becoming adults. The adult male emerge as a moth and start their search for females. The female emits a scent to attract the male to her while remaining in her silken home. The male Bag worm inserts his abdomen into a hole at the bottom of the sack to mate, he will die shortly thereafter. The female lays up to a thousand eggs in her sack and then she will drop to the ground from the bottom of the sack to die. The eggs overwinter in their bag until May through June and emerge from the bottom of the bag. They spin a fine silk and either attach themselves to the same plant as their parents or are picked up on the wind and blown to the next plant over. There is one generation per year.

Bag worms are not that food specific but seems to prefer juniper, arborvitae, pine, spruce, and an array of deciduous plants. To control Bag worms use cultural and or chemical cultural control. Pick off by hand as many of the nasty bags as you can and destroy or burn them. If you choose not to go this route, (there could just be too many to pull off) then use a chemical spray. Sprays are most effective while larvae are in their newly emerged state or while feeding so apply May through August. Bacillus thuringiensis or Bt, Sevin, Neem Oil, Hi-Yield 38+ or Permethrin are good choices. There you go and good luck!!!

Ruth Whiter

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Don't Watch Football---Get Out in the Garden!

Fall is the perfect time to get outside and work in the yard. It's cooler, plants are starting to change color, and there's usually minimal work to be done, compared to what you have to go thru in the springtime! Did I mention it's cooler too?

There are a couple of easy jobs that really should be done in the fall. All your evergreens could use a shot of fertilizer to help them make it thru the winter, and catch the perennials too, while you're at it. Use Hollytone on most of your evergreens (just not on boxwood), and put some Plant-tone on your perennials. If you decide to plant some tulips or daffodils, remember to hit them with a good bulb food like Bulbtone.

A rule of thumb for fall is this --- if it blooms in the spring, now is the time to pay attention to it. Pruning is probably the only thing you DON'T want to do, because you might end up cutting off buds that will be blooming in March & April.

Remember also, if you want lots of color next spring, plant your bulbs this fall! We've got a great selection of dafs, tulips, hyacinths, allium and more in the store right now. Hurry up and get em while they're fresh..........

Plant Nanny To The Rescue!

Worrying about poor potted plants while you're supposed to be relaxing at the beach or vacationing in a mountain cabin is a gardener's constant dilemma. With so many new products on the market, houseplants and window planters need not suffer while you are away from home for weeks at a time. Whether you prefer Aqua Globes, Plant Nanny, or the DirectRoot GelSpike and whatever your vacation length, our moisture control products are just what you need. Visit our website for more detailed information on these and other products and come in to our Strange’s West Broad location for more information.
Written by Ginny Gregory.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's Finally That Time Again! Fall Bulb Time, That Is....

The cool autumn months of September & October are the best times to plant spring bulbs. A small selection of fall-planted bulbs surprise us by blooming this autumn, rather than with the daffodils or tulips. For these select few, mostly fall blooming crocus, the foliage appears in the spring, then the bulbs go dormant until the bright flowers emerge at summer's end. After these pink and purple crocus bulbs brave the fall frost, spring-blooming crocus and scilla flower early, generally in March or early April. Hyacinths arrive a bit later, spanning the mid-April through mid-May period. April also sees the arrival of grape hyacinths (Muscari). In May, or sometimes early June, the spring bulb show presents allium (purple and white, star-shaped flowers). The dwarf iris surfaces in early spring while dutch iris blooms in the late spring/early summer. Most bearded iris have one bloom period, lasting about a month, but some newer introductions have the capacity to bloom a second time. Reblooming iris are extra-vigorous growers. They bloom in spring, earlier than normal, then again in summer or early fall. The colorful parade of anemone bulbs we have in stock surface for their spring debut in early to mid-spring. And of course our wide selection of narcissus, daffodil and tulip bulbs have also arrived, whose bloom periods are many and varied. This season we also offer variety bags with a selection of variegated tulip and daffodils as well as a deer resistant blend. This collection of 35 bulbs includes trumpet narcissus and glory of the snow, a proven winner at beating the winter doldrums as it often peeks through drifts of snow in late February. Please visit us at Strange's West Broad to view our wide selection of colorful and eye-catching bulbs and begin planting for a glorious spring and summer show!

Written by Ginny Gregory.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Turn your Birdbath into a Hot Tub!

All bird lovers place feeders out for the birds in winter, and more experienced bird watchers offer more than one kind of seed. But very few understand the importance and results of adding a heated bird bath during winter. The Nelson Bird Bath Heater works in sub-zero temperatures and is designed for all types of bird baths: plastic, pottery, and concrete. Equipped with a thermostat to conserve energy, the heater easily plugs into any outdoor outlet. Chipped and cracked concrete baths are a common winter problem should the basin full of water freeze. However, aside from the benefit of attracting a variety of winter birds, a warm bath also prevents the water which is absorbed into the concrete, from freezing and fracturing the porous material. Many wild birds will neglect to migrate away from an available food source in the fall, such as a readily stocked feeder; unfortunately this also means few survive through a winter when a previously reliable buffet closes for the cold season. So do not simply turn your basin upside down or hide it in the garage for the winter. Turn your birdbath into a hot tub and watch as your winter friends flock outside of your frosty kitchen window.
Written by Ginny Gregory.

Taking it back to the Stone Age with American-made garden d├ęcor.

Humbly begun by two brothers in Ohio, Stone Age Creations is a privately-owned corporation that has been producing hand-crafted birdbaths, benches, and statuary for nine years. Although their business has grown significantly in a short timespan, they maintain a solid commitment to American-made products. All are hand-carved from real stone as created by Mother Nature. These stones have endured harsh outdoor environments for thousands of years and will continue to do so long after you purchase them. “As a family-owned business located in a small town, our focus is to support the independent retailers and small business owners that distribute our products and support us. We don't offer any of our products through 'big box' stores. We also don't compete with our distributors by marketing and selling directly to retail customers within their market.” To this day the brothers take pride in the production of the items manufactured on their 50-acre site in New London, OH. Going to quarries to hand-select the finest stones available, co-owner, Kevin White, uses a hammer and chisel to handcraft these stones into a work of art for your garden. Please visit us at Strange's to view our selection of Stone Age Creations products.
Written by Ginny Gregory.