Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Decorating for New Year's Eve

Love your Christmas decorations but have a New Years' Eve party to prepare for?  Good news - the hottest trend for this year's New Years' parties is silver and gold so the transition can be festive and fabulous!

Greens from pine roping can be used to make your own centerpiece.  Gold and silver decorations make perfect touches, especially in glassware.  Candles add elegance to any design and our flame-less candles make your creation party-safe.

Frosted branches can mark that transition from Christmas to Winter Wonderland fun.  Silver beads enhance that icy look but don't forget red candles for a pop of color to warm up your setting.

Have fun and have a very merry New Year!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Make your own Yule Log

Yule Logs are a fun and festive addition to any holiday decor.  With a history that goes back to the most traditional Christmas celebrations, the modern version is easy to create at home with your own personal touches and starts a family activity that embraces the spirit of the season.

Candles can be any color that suits your room but are typically green and red.  The candle on the left is in recognition of the gifts that have been given over the past year and the the candle on the right represents hopes for the upcoming year.  The candle in the center is in gratitude and love. The candles may be lit each day for a brief period during the week leading up to Christmas and on Christmas Eve they are allowed to burn themselves out.

The first step is to find a small section of wood with a sturdy flat bottom - you don't want your log to roll!  A little sanding can even the base and create a solid foundation.  Oak or birch are the most commonly used woods but you can use any kind that pleases you.

Once you feel comfortable with the base of your Yule Log you'll want to drill holes for candles.  Chime candles are the easiest to use and require less drilling.  Make three holes in the top of your log evenly spaced and just deep enough to hold the chime candles securely.  Please follow all appropriate safety measures when making the holes.

You are now ready for the fun part - decorating!  Use greens, holly, mistletoe, ribbons or any other touches that suit your taste.  Please do not leave candles unattended or place any decorations too close to the flames.

Have fun and have a wonderful holiday season!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Ever wondered how pine roping is made?

We did and recently we were fortunate enough to see General Manager, Tom Rush, making pine roping with greens that had just arrived.

It's a fascinating (and great smelling!) process as the best pieces of greens are selected and bundled to be wired.

The pieces are tied together in a bundling machine with a rotating arm.

Parcels of perfectly mixed pine are continually added to create a rope.

The final product is a secure, beautiful roping ready for any decorating ideas you had in mind.  Check out our Christmas board on Pinterest for fun ideas!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Richmond's Favorite Poinsettia

We've tallied all the votes; and the winner is

Polar Bear earned more votes than any other poinsettia, making it our overall winner as well as our winner for the Whites category.

In second place, and winner for our Pinks category, is Luv U Pink.

Coming in a close third is Ice Punch, the winner of our Novelties category.

Our most competitive category was our Reds, with tight voting until the end.  Dramatic Red earned the most votes and is our winner for the Reds category.
Thank you all for participating in our Poinsettia Trials.  We still have a gorgeous selection of poinsettias available; come on down and pick out the perfect one for your home!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Express your Christmas Creativity with a fresh cut Virginia grown wreath

The smell of a fresh wreath is irresistible.  The mix of greens bring spice and warmth to any location.

Making your own wreath enables you to utilize colors and smells that speak to you.  Our wreath makers use the freshest greens on frames of different sizes.

The result is the perfect canvas for your creation.

Be sure to spray the greens with Wilt-Pruf to maximize water-retention in the wreath and to prevent the needles from browning and falling off.

Have fun and add any items that speak to you, from holly to pine cones to ribbons!  If you have any questions be sure to stop by our wreath makers and see some of their beautiful pieces.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fall Decorating

Fall is such a FABULOUS time of year!

Here at Strange's we love the change of weather- the crisp, fresh season of Autumn brings such exciting new opportunities in the gardening world. But we don't just love the plants, we have SO much fun decorating for Fall! 

Finding beautiful combinations of Fall plants, ceramics and natural items is our idea of a good time:

And we love the vibrant colors of Fall:

Pumpkins and gourds are GREAT for decorating a space for the season! And the best part is, they're perfectly appropriate from September through November- talk about cost-effective decor!

And of course, a Mum will complete any Fall decoration!

Do you love decorating for Fall? 

We've found a few blogosphere friends that do:

If you'd like to check out some fun Fall Decorating ideas, like this one from The Lettered Cottage, click here to see how other people are decorating this year!

Happy Gardening Decorating!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Keys to Success: Fall Bulbs

It's Fall, Y'all! 
Since Fall is such an exciting time of year for gardening- festive plant colors and textures, ideal temperatures, increased rainfall, etc.- we thought we'd share a Fall-tastic series of posts for you on how to make sure your gardening efforts are successful this Autumn! We're calling it the 'Keys to Success' series, and we'll be posting on a new, Fall-specific topic each week. We hope you enjoy!

Up next in our series is Fall Bulbs!
Nothing says Spring like the perky yellow daffodils, graceful tulips & precious crocuses that add so much cheer to the tired, late-winter landscape! To introduce a few of these beauties to your garden, you'll need to start now! Fall is the time to plant those early-spring bulbs, so we've come up with some quick tips for easy, successful bulb planting. Enjoy!

1. Pick the right spot

Most bulbs do best when planted in a sunny, well-drained spot. Picking a good spot goes a long way in bulb success!

2. Use Bulb Tone

Applying a natural feeder product like Bulb Tone helps newly-planted bulbs establish more quickly and produce bigger blooms. Use Bulb Tone at the time of planting for best results.

3. Got Voles?

The best way to prevent voles from munching on your irresistibly fresh bulbs (short of investing in a cat) is to amend your bulb planting holes with some Permatil.

4. Got Squirrels?

Voles aren't the only critters tempted by your bulbs- squirrels are often the culprit of missing or moved bulbs (that's right- don't be alarmed if the clump of daffodils you plant this fall showcase a few hyacinths from another part of your garden come Spring!) The best way to keep squirrels from rearranging your bulb design is to soak your bulbs in I Must Garden's Squirrel Repellent for 5 minutes. Once they've dried, plant them as your normally would. This should deter the squirrel-sponsored landscape re-designing this winter. 

Thanks for dropping in for our tips on planting Fall Bulbs! We hope you're inspired to envision and plant a beautiful container or bed space for early spring with some beautiful Fall Bulbs!

Happy [bulb] gardening!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Keys to Success: Mums

It's Fall, Y'all! 
Since Fall is such an exciting time of year for gardening- festive plant colors and textures, ideal temperatures, increased rainfall, etc.- we thought we'd share a Fall-tastic series of posts for you on how to make sure your gardening efforts are successful this Autumn! We're calling it the 'Keys to Success' series, and we'll be posting on a new, Fall-specific topic each week. We hope you enjoy!

Let's talk about Mums this week! Mums are a quintessential element in Fall decor. Whether inside or out, Mums are perfect for adding vibrant color and soft texture to any Fall scene. And they're a great value-per-dollar plant, too! Not only do Fall Mums make a huge visual impact, they are perennials-- plant them in your beds after you put away your Fall decor, and you'll be able to enjoy them for years!

In case you're going to incorporate Mums into your Fall decor this year, we'd love to share some of the things we know about this beautiful Fall-blooming plant!

Here are our top tips for getting the most out of your Mums this fall:

1. Water a few times per week
Plants in containers need plenty of water. As the season gets cooler, though, your Mums will likely need less water; stick your finger in the soil to test if there's enough water- if the soil feels dry, give it a drink. Just be sure to avoid keeping the soil soggy.

2. Decorate
Pair Mums with pumpkins, gourds, straw bales and Indian corn for classic Fall decor.

3. Use good soil
If you're going to plant your Mums, use a good soil. For planting in containers, use our Strange's Soil to provide a well-draining, supportive planting media. If you're planting your Mums in a bed, incorporate some Perma-til into your soil to improve drainage.

4. Use mulch! 
If you plant your Mums in a bed to overwinter, make sure you use a 1.5-2.5" layer of mulch to provide insulation. The foliage of the Mum will die back after the first hard frost, but if the roots of the plant are well-insulated, your Mum will start growing again in the spring!

Thanks for stopping by to learn about our Mum tips-we hope your Fall plantings and decor are a beautiful way to welcome your friends and family to your home!

Happy [Mum] Gardening!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Keys to Success: Pansies!

It's Fall, Y'all! 
Since Fall is such an exciting time of year for gardening- festive plant colors and textures, ideal temperatures, increased rainfall, etc.- we thought we'd share a Fall-tastic series of posts for you on how to make sure your gardening efforts are successful this Autumn! We're calling it the 'Keys to Success' series, and we'll be posting on a new, Fall-specific topic each week. We hope you enjoy!

This week's topic is Pansies! And in honor of the completion of the first full week of this year's college football season, we'll be using a cheeky football metaphor throughout this whole post- hope you love football as much as pansies!

1. Use a good Soil

They say if you're going to have an undefeated football season, you've got to win the first game. Same goes for planting pansies! If you're going to have a champion (bloom) season, you've got to 'win the first game.' And in our little football metaphor, the first game is the soil, and winning is making sure your soil is in peak condition to support your winning pansy lineup. 
Here's what we recommend to help you win the first game:

If you're planting your pansies in a container:
Fill your containers with our professional Strange's Mix potting soil  Our potting soil will provide a good soil consistency to promote healthy root establishment as well as provide nutrients for your pansies.

If you're planting your pansies in a bed:
Mix some Perma-til with your existing bed soil to improve drainage. Pansies don't like to have 'wet feet' and your plants will be more likely to win if they're not bogged down in soggy soil.

2. Score the Root ball

Every winning coach has an exciting pre-game pep talk to pump up their players. As coach, you ought to take a moment to 'pump up' your pansies before the first game: 
When it comes time to plant your pansies, grab a trowel (or even use your fingernails) and break up the rootball a little. This is like the proverbial pre-game high five- it jazzes up the pansy's roots and encourages it to work quickly to establish itself on the field in its new container. 

3. Feed Your Pansies

Your pansies need nourishment! Like football players, pansies need a good 'water break' every so often to replenish the energy they're using to bloom and grow. Try a good fertilizer like Fertilome's Premium Bedding Plant Food, or Greenview's Pansy Food. 

4. Fight Pests

Think of your beautiful pansies as the goal line, and your pest defense tactics as the defensive line. A good defensive line is strong, has a coordinated plan of defense, is ready to make quick decisions to react to the unexpected, and is only used when the other team has the ball.
Similarly, you want a coordinated plan for fighting pests that you only use if you need to. The biggest pest challenge to pansies is the Pansy worm, and the best way to treat your pansies for Pansy worm is with Sevin or Thuricide. Remember, it's always a good idea to rotate products to prevent insects from building up an immunity to any one product. 

5. Apply Mulch
In the world of pansy football, if pest defense is your defensive line, mulching your beds is your offensive line.  Picture this: you've got your star quarterback in position, ready to throw the winning touchdown pass. He looks up to find his receiver and realizes he's got no line protecting him and the defenders are barreling down the field to sack him. Nobody wants that (well, no one rooting for the offense, anyway!)
And nobody wants that in their Fall pansy planting, either. So once you get your star pansies in place and ready to win the game, make sure you mulch them! All sorts of factors (water availability, weed competition, frost) will come to challenge your pansies, but if you provide the offensive protection of mulch, your pansies will be set up to do just fine!
When mulching, apply a 1.5-2.5" layer of mulch to improve water availability, reduce weed growth, and protect from frost damage. It will make all the difference. Plus, it looks tidy!

Thanks for stopping in to learn about the Keys to Pansy Success! We hope you have a beautiful pansy display this year, and that your favorite football team has a championship season!

Happy [Pansy] Gardening!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Fabulous Ground Covers

Who doesn't love a good ground cover? Anyone?
With so many benefits, it's hard not to appreciate all that ground covers do for your landscape and our environment. What benefits are we talking about? Why, we're glad you asked!

The 3 Best Benefits of Fabulous Ground Covers:

1. Their ability to cover ground- as simple as that may sound, one of the greatest benefits a ground cover provides is it's ground-covering abilities. By spreading its roots and leaves over the ground, a ground cover can dramatically help prevent the erosion of valuable topsoil in your landscape and in the environment!

2. Their Weed-Reduction Capability- not a fan of weeding? Plant a thickly-growing ground cover! Once the ground cover establishes itself, it helps to significantly reduce the weeds that grow in your beds. 

3. The color and texture they add- Ground covers come in all sorts of textures and colors and can add some great interest to your landscape! Plant a big swath of your favorite ground cover for a vast, carpeted effect, or mix a few varieties together for a mottled look!

Now that you know the great benefits ground covers provide, let's talk about a few Fabulous Ground Covers for the Central Virginia area:

English Ivy

If you've ever taken a stroll through a Gillette garden, you know the importance of this timeless ground cover. A tidy patch of ivy at the base of a tree lends a quintessentially 'Virginia' feel to any landscape. It does well in sun or shade, and is evergreen. Just be sure to keep an eye on this one- it's an aggressive spreader and will 'cover' you're whole landscape if you let it!

Green Liriope

This lush, evergreen ground cover is a 'tough as nails' option for covering ground. Easy to plant and establish, green liriope quickly defines a space with a soft, sweeping texture. It's great for planting in sun or shade and produces pretty purple or white flower stalks each summer.

Variegated Liriope

Cousin to the all-green variety, variegated liriope is a great way to add a little color and texture to your yard. The soft green and white blades look wonderful planted en mass. A little bit more sensitive than the green variety, it's best to give this liriope a little shade. Cut it back after each winter to get rid of any frost-burned blades.

Dwarf Mondo Grass

This beauty has a fun, spunky appearance! Its short, green blades fan out from the center, creating little green star-burst effects wherever it is planted! Dwarf Mondo Grass is a slow-growing ground cover that does well in the shade. Once you establish a stand of it, you've got a lush, carpet-like covering that is so fun to look at!


This high-texture, evergreen ground cover is a superb choice for shady spots. It's low-growing nature lends a fun layered effect to you yard when it's planted in a large swath. It's green, glossy leaves create a tidy appearance wherever it is planted!

Of course, these five examples of Fabulous Ground Covers are just a few of the really beautiful ground cover options available to you! What's your favorite ground cover? Do any of the above make your list? Have you planted a large swath of ground cover? We'd love to hear about your experience!