Tag Archives: home and garden

A Moment to Thank Our Honeybees

Let’s take a moment to thank our hardworking honeybees (Apis mellifera) and their dedication to pollinating our flowers! 

Bees are often considered the most important pollinators, with honeybees accounting for 84% of all insect pollination.  These flying golden beauties are particularly good pollinators due to pollen-collecting structures on their bodies: the scopa (or pollen basket) which holds pollen balls on their hind legs; the corbicula, a fuzzy mat of hair that gathers pollen when traveling from flower to flower; and the crop (or honey stomach) which holds nectar as they travel from flower to flower. 

Bee species also display floral constancy, staying within the same type of flower to collect pollen. This is important in orchards, where many farmers rely on bees to pollinate their fruit trees and vegetables’ flowers. 

If you are looking to promote our favorite pollinators, consider the most attractive flower traits in the eyes of a honeybee. Of all colors, honeybees can see shades of yellows and violets the best, making yellow and blue-purple flowers a great addition to any pollinator garden. Like us, honeybees enjoy fresh, mild, and pleasant floral aromas, and flowers with plenty of nectar. Purple bee balm, coneflower, and New England asters are common honeybee favorites.

Pollinator decline is a major concern for all species of insects, bats, and birds which pollinate our flowers. The causes of Colony Collapse Disorder in honeybees is a combination of pests and pathogens introduced to the hive, poor nutrition, pesticide use, and habitat fragmentation. The best way that homeowners and businesses can help honeybee populations is to plant more flowers and reduce pesticide use on your property. 

Luckily, the Vande Hey Company has plenty of perennials, annuals, and even flowering trees that your local honeybees will adore!

Landscaping Management 101: July

Things are heating up and summer is moving full force ahead. Along with the heat, keeping things hydrated and battling disease will be our biggest challenge. Don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated as well as you move forward with your July Landscape Management 101!

EARLY JULY

  • Stop harvesting asparagus and rhubarb.
  • Don’t neglect vegetable garden; continue weed control and watch leaves for signs of disease.
  • Water flower border once a week during dry periods.
  • Spray or dust tomatoes for blight control.
  • Spray or dust squashes, melons, and cucumbers to prevent bacterial wilt.
  • Deadhead annuals and perennials after flowering to encourage the plant to spend its energy producing more flowers or foliage and roots.
  • Fertilize flowering annuals to give an extra boost of energy.

MID JULY

  • Prune Yews, Junipers, and Arborvitae by mid-July.
  • Watch for rust on hollyhocks.
  • Renovate old strawberry plantings when bearing is finished.
  • Pick off dead flowers for attractive borders and blooms.
  • Keep an eye out for webs from webworm on woody plants. Cut out branches wrapped in webbing and spray with insecticide.
  • Keep plants, especially vegetables, evenly moist to promote good health as it gets warmer.
  • Harvest raspberries regularly to help discourage insects.

LATE JULY

  • Stop feeding roses and most perennials.
  • Tie Dahlias to stakes.
  • Keep lawn mown at 2 1/2” height.
  • Make last granular fertilizer applications on woody plants.
  • Alpine Currant shrubs infected with fungus will lose leaves and may defoliate completely. Fallen leaves should be removed and destroyed to reduce infection next year.
  • Watch for powdery mildew and leaf spot diseases on flowers and ornamentals.
  • Honeysuckles susceptible to aphids should be sprayed every 10-14 days with insecticidal soap.

As always, let us know if you have questions! We can give suggestions, recommend product, and help you create the beautiful backyard you’re striving toward. Call 920.788.6344 today!

Festive Fourth of July Cocktails & Appetizer

Rose Month Rundown- The Complete Guide To Roses

A whole month dedicated to a plant? You better believe it! Roses hold a special place in the hearts and minds of people everywhere. Their striking beauty and lovely fragrance not only elevate your garden but also have come to symbolize love, war, history, shows like The Bachelor, and even movies such as Beauty and the Beast. While some view roses as difficult, we are here to tell you that roses, just like relationships, just need just a little extra love and effort. Here are our tips for bringing the elegance of roses and all they stand for into your backyard.

FROM THE BEGINNING

Planning ahead will not only impact the success of your roses but also help you highlight their beauty. When choosing where your roses will be placed, you want to look for a location with at least 6 hours of sun and good drainage. Planting next to a South or West facing fence or wall will help minimize the damage of our harsh Wisconsin winters. You also want to plan how your roses will be used whether it is as focal points, border shrubs, climbing vines, etc. Determining the use will help you choose the variety in addition to looking for disease-resistant and locally-hardy varieties.

When planting roses, mixing in leaf compost and adding root stimulator will help the plant get established and also create more even soil conditions which will lead to greater health and longevity.

GENERAL CARE

Roses do their best when the soil moisture is uniform so regular watering on hot and humid days can make a big difference. When watering it is best to water in the morning at ground level or use soaker hoses. Wet leaves, especially at night, are much more prone to diseases such as powdery mildew and black spot.

Hard pruning is best done in early spring (March/April). In addition to removing dead and damaged canes, we recommend cutting back 1/3 to 1/2 of the previous year’s growth until you find a healthy white center inside the cane. We also recommend light pruning throughout the season to keep your roses looking pristine!

Deadheading roses will encourage reblooming if your varieties do not develop rose hips. Leaving as much foliage on the canes as you can, cut back just below the first leaflet to encourage the foliage to continue drawing up nutrients all the way to the top.

There are multiple options for fertilizing roses, so we encourage you to stop by and ask us about your options. Whether it is a slow-release granular product or a liquid fertilizer, your roses are working hard to look beautiful and need the extra boost! You can fertilize throughout the growing season, but we recommend you stop feeding late in the summer to allow growth to slow and enter the dormant stage before winter.

BATTLING DISEASE AND INSECTS

Powdery Mildew will cause leaves to curl and twist leaving white powdery spots on the leaves. This is best prevented by proper watering as described in the general care as well as pruning to allow for air circulation.

Black Spot will leave circular black or brown spots on the tops of the leaves, starting at the bottom and working their way up. Eventually it will cause defoliation but is best prevented the same way as powdery mildew. Some basic rose care products can also take care of black spot and powdery mildew.

Insects including aphids, Japanese beetles, spider mites, and sawflies are best controlled with basic rose care products such as neem oil or insecticidal soaps. Aphids can also sometimes be handled by blasting with water in the morning.

DISPLAYING

Roses can be the highlight of your garden, but also the highlight on your or your loved one’s counter. Roses cut for display are best cut right when the petals are opening using a sharp blade to ensure a clean cut and undamaged water channels. The best time is when they are well hydrated in the early morning or evening hours. To eliminate air bubbles and encourage water uptake, you should recut the stems at a 45-degree-angle just before putting them into the vase. Strip the leaves below the water line, add other flowers like baby’s breath if desired, and change water frequently to create a gorgeous and long-lasting display!

After all of this information you can probably see why roses need a whole month to be highlighted and celebrated! Show some extra love to your roses this month and they will continue to spread the love and beauty they manifest in your yard and in your home.

Landscaping Management 101: June

June is Rose Month, so let’s work hard, but don’t forget to stop and smell the roses! We are saying goodbye to the spring and hello to the start of summer! We will also be saying hello to gorgeous annual and perennial flowers and unfortunately the pests that come along with the warmer weather. Let’s get right to it with your June Landscape Management 101!

EARLY JUNE

  • Prune all spring flowering shrubs as they finish blooming.
  • Cut peony blooms when they are one-third open if you want to bring them in for cut flowers.
  • Plant late potatoes and cabbage.
  • Fertilize bulbs and most perennial flowers now. The bulbs will be forming for next year and the perennials will be actively producing flowers!
  • Prune and transplant houseplants experiencing vigorous growth due to increased light and warmer temperatures. Fertilize monthly.
  • Control heavy plant bug damage on honey locust and ash foliage with insecticides.
  • Inspect your vegetable garden for pests, covering and spraying as necessary. If you have specific questions check with a Vande Hey Company horticulturist.
  • Spray fruit trees.
  • Cut back late spring blooming perennials such as yarrow and salvia to encourage a second flush of blooms in summer.
  • Aphids can be treated with a strong jet of water or insecticidal soap. They are typically identified by curling foliage, sticky leaves, and black sooty mold.

MID JUNE

  • Cut back delphinium after blooming.
  • Allow only 1 dahlia shoot per clump
  • Mulch woody plants to control weeds, retain moisture, and modify soil temperature extremes.
  • Stake and mulch tomatoes; thin annual flowers and vegetables.
  • Sow perennial seeds and label all perennials.
  • Remove seed clusters from lilacs.
  • Check spruce and arborvitaes for spider mites. Thoroughly wet plants with hose if present.
  • If you have not mulched yet, 2-4” of fresh mulch will discourage weeds, hold moisture, and maintain even soil temperatures. Mulch rings around trees can also prevent mower damage.

LATE JUNE

  • Pinch out tips of black raspberry shoots when 3 feet tall.
  • Remove leaves of spring flowering bulbs after they turn yellow for best development and growth next year.
  • Set house plants on shaded patio as night temperature warms.
  • Fertilize roses after first full flush of blooms.
  • Keep an eye out for Japanese beetle adults and get ready to treat grubs.

As always, let us know if you have questions! We can give suggestions, recommend product, and help you create the beautiful backyard you’re striving toward. Call 920.788.6344 today!

Spice Up Your Summer with Fresh Herbs!

Nothing says “Summer” like the taste of a cool, freshly-muddled drink or the savory aroma of a crisp, garden dish on a hot night.  The use of herbs can enhance just about any meal or drink and growing your own will supply you with a bounty of flavorful ingredients, attractive plantings, and gorgeous patio aromas all season long! 

When it comes to summery dishes, you can’t go wrong with a classic Italian pesto, fresh-from-the-garden pizza sauce or an icy mojito, but the options don’t end there!  There’s a wealth of unique herbs to bring new flavors and colors to your herb bed; here are a few of our current favorites!

  1. Marjoram- Marjoram boasts a flavor of sweet pine and citrus, perfect for any Mediterranean-style dish, plus sauces, soups and meats.  For a pop of bright, chartreuse color in your planter bed, try Golden-Tip Marjoram (shown to the right). It’s delicious with tomatoes, pizza, and egg dishes!

2) Oregano Varieties– No Mediterranean dish is the same without oregano; it’s the go-to seasoning for the best sauces, salads, pizzas, and more!  If you like a little more pizazz with your dishes, try a Hot and Spicy variety; or if you prefer the mild side, try out a Variegated Oregano, perfect for use in salsa and vegetable dishes.  Oregano can bring more to the table, though!  Ornamental and Golden varieties provide a gorgeous pop of color and texture to your beds and planters all season long!

3) Pineapple Sage– For many of us, sage brings to mind hearty meat dishes, infused butters, and savory egg dishes.  Pineapple sage, on the other hand, is all about complimenting summer favorites!  With an aroma and flavor very similar to pineapple, this herb is a perfect addition to fruit salads, fresh garden salads and cocktails.  Growing 3-4’ height, it has gorgeous red blooms and is a fantastic pollinator!

4) Thyme Varieties-Thyme is a garden classic, and an excellent addition to both your culinary and ornamental planters.  Standard thyme is delicious in butters and spreads, meat marinades and rubs, and as a topping for roasted vegetables.  Some of the unique varieties that we love this year are:

  • Silver Thyme: A beautiful, variegated silver foliage that works great in mixed planters and gives off a lovely lemon scent, but can also be used in culinary dishes similar to traditional thyme.
  • Lime Thyme: a bright, eye-catching color and citrus scent make this variety a great pick for ornamental planers.
  • Lemon Thyme: Brings a fresh, citrus flavor to meat and vegetable dishes and is best added at the very end of cooking to maintain the most flavor.

5) Mint Varieties- Mint is a fast-spreading, easy to grow perennial that will be a garden staple year after year.  Adding it to your beds can even help deter ants and flies!  We’re all pretty familiar with mint as the flavor boost for fresh drinks and summery desserts, but there are plenty of varieties available besides just the standard:

  • Corsican mint:  A very low ground cover, this variety gives off an intense, refreshing peppermint aroma and flavor.  It’s a fantastic choice for beverages, especially tea.
  • Indian Mint:  This variety is perfect for hanging planters, and gives great flavor to tea, culinary dishes (especially lamb), and is known to relieve headache tension.
  • Apple Mint:  One of our absolute favorites, apple mint is a must-use for your summer beverages like lemonade, infused water, and cocktails!  Also try it out with peas, salad dressings, tomatoes and broccoli.

Whether you are a “seasoned” pro or new to the world of gardening, herbs are an incredible asset to your garden and an easy addition.  Most will thrive in containers as well as planter beds, and some can even be brought indoors through the winter months.  Note that plenty of sunlight and proper soil drainage are key in any herb planting.  Create a bed near your kitchen so that you can snip fresh herbs to add to meals as you are cooking; plus, you’ll enjoy their aromas all season!  

Stop in at our garden center to check out these outstanding herbs, plus plenty of others! Our knowledgeable staff is here to help you select the perfect plants for your needs and get you started on the right foot.  Also, keep an eye out for our herb classes coming up in July (click here to follow our events on Facebook).  Until next time, happy planting!

Landscaping Management 101: May

The weather is finally warming up, spring is in the air, and we cannot wait to get to work in our gardens! We survived the “April in Wisconsin Gauntlet” and all 5,236 different types of weather it threw at us. Now it is May! Everything is greener, brighter, and warmer! Let’s get to work!

EARLY MAY

  • Fertilize bush fruits, grapes, and ornamental shrubs.
  • Plant broccoli, early cabbage, cauliflower, and spinach.
  • Interplant annuals among spring flowering bulbs. Be gentle!
  • Scout for bare patches in your lawn, raking up dead plants and debris. Now is a great time to sow grass seed to ensure it beats out the crabgrass.
  • Treat lawn for control of broadleaf weeds.
  • Do not roll lawn. Instead aerate which will allow much needed oxygen and nutrients to get to your grass. This is especially beneficial for lawns on heavy clay soils that are compacted, lumpy, or thinning. You may need to aerate again in the fall for very lumpy lawns.
  • Prune Evergreens as new growth begins to expand.  Pinch off up to two-thirds the length of new growth “candles.”
  • Prune Forsythia after they have bloomed.
  • It is not too late to start seeds indoors, but beets, carrots, chard, kohlrabi, late cabbage, leaf lettuce, mustard, collards, turnips, radish, spinach, onion sets, onion seeds for bunching onions, peas, and potatoes can be sown directly into the garden.
  • Purchase and plant trees and shrubs now! Ask a Vande Hey Company representative for planting instructions to ensure healthy plants!
  • Examine fruit trees for Eastern tent caterpillars, being sure to remove limbs where they are nesting. You should also start your fruit tree spraying schedule. You do not want to spray when it is blooming because it can harm bees and other pollinating insects.
  • When leaves start to emerge from the buds, begin fungicide treatment. Be proactive! Apply every 14 days throughout cool season. Make sure to apply to crabapples, ninebarks, roses, and honeysuckles. Call Vande Hey Company to pick up your fungicide today!
  •  

MID MAY

  • Plant bush beans, snap beans, and sweet corn.
  • Plant muskmelon, squash, and cucumbers.
  • Work systemic insecticides into soil around roses.
  • Stake peonies and delphiniums.
  • Prune out winter-killed wood on trees and shrubs by cutting back to green wood after new growth begins.

LATE MAY

  • Plant geraniums and tuberous rooted begonias.
  • Set out peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants.
  • Start compost pile.

Staying on top of these tasks and being proactive will help keep your landscaping healthy and beautiful! Go get your hands dirty and enjoy the warming weather!

As always, let us know if you have questions! Also, stay tuned for our brand-new service “The Plant Doctor!” Ask all your plant and gardening questions and get answers!

Landscaping Management:101 April

April Showers bring May… Well, we sure hope for showers instead of snow this year! As things continue to warm up, we can all get more and more active in the backyard! Here’s our list of things you can do in April and don’t forget about Landscape Management 101: March if you are behind schedule!

EARLY APRIL

  • Finish pruning trees and evergreens. Avoid pruning maple, elm, birch, oak, and walnut trees at this time. Pruning these trees now will cause excess sap bleeding and increase the likelihood of contracting diseases such as oak wilt.
  • Once the ground has thawed, fertilize grapes, raspberries, and blueberries before growth resumes.
  • Rake the lawn when weather conditions permit. Raking when lawns are too wet will result in pulling out large amounts of roots and live grass parts.
  • Pull out last year’s dead annuals if you have not yet done so.
  • Dead flowers, stems, leaves, etc. can serve as protection for new plants and compost in place. There is no need to clean up too much this early in the season.
  • Prune summer flowering shrubs.
  • Plant fruit trees.
  • Graft apple trees when buds begin to swell.
  • Plant pansies in a pot and place outside. Pansies can handle some frost and cold temperatures.
  • Do not work in garden soil when it is wet.
  • Collect soil samples for testing. Test multiple areas separately.

MID APRIL

  • Uncover and prune roses if weather permits. You can vent rose cones (if you are still using them) during the day, but replace by sundown. Do not feed roses until mid-May.
  • Check out your indoor plants. More sun and higher intensity will lead to quicker growth and more need for fertilizer and water. You can also prune back hard now to stimulate new growth.
  • Seed or sod new lawns as soon as the soil can be worked. 
  • Vegetables that do well in cold temperatures such as broccoli, lettuce, and parsley can be transplanted outdoors after the average last frost date (May 21-31). In the meantime, you can slowly introduce plants to the outdoors by placing flats in shaded protected areas and gradually increasing exposure to sun and wind.
  • Sow seeds indoors for the following: tomatoes, asparagus, beets, carrots, chard, kohlrabi, leaf lettuce, mustard, onion sets, parsnips, peas, potatoes, radishes, spinach, and turnips.
  • Reseed or sod lawn areas injured by the winter.

LATE APRIL

  • Dig and divide fall-blooming perennials before top growth gets too tall.
  • Consider planting flowers which can be dried for winter arrangements.  Strawflower, statice, Chinese lantern, celosia, and globe amaranth are some of the best choices for successful drying.
  • Do not mow the lawn until it has grown at least 2 inches.  The roots are being renewed in the spring and grass needs vigorous initial top-growth.
  • Check birch leaves for birch leaf miner. Staying ahead of pests and treating trees early leads to greater health and success in the long run.
  • Plant onions, carrots, beets, chard, leaf lettuce, parsnips, peas, potatoes, radishes, spinach, and turnips.

If you are on top of all of these things and still chomping at the bit for more, check out our blog post Get Outside! 33 Outdoor Activities You Can Do Right Now!

Have questions? Call us. Need help? Call us. Our team of experts is here for you.

Landscaping Management:101 March

You’re sitting inside waiting for the snow to melt and the ground to thaw so you can finally get started on your garden and landscaping—it’s kind of like watching paint dry, but worse. Someone keeps adding paint (or in our case, snow). What’s the solution? Stop staring at the paint! Our horticultural experts at Vande Hey Company have a few practical things you can do right now. Let’s get up off the couch and get started!

EARLY MARCH

If you were still watching paint dry in early March and haven’t started yet, you can start these things now!

  • Early March is a good time to start making cuttings of fast-growing annuals such as lysimachia, coleus, and sweet potato vine.
  • Even though it can be tempting, be careful this time of year not to remove mulch or evergreen boughs from perennials too early. If we get cold temperatures, your plants could easily be harmed.
  • If you have been storing geraniums in cool dark places, you can pot them up, cut them back, and start watering again.
  • As always, here’s your friendly reminder to feed your house plants every 2-3 weeks. March’s longer days and shorter nights will result in more rapid growth, but if it is a cloudy month, plants will still use less water and fertilizer.

 MID MARCH

  • Start slow-growing annuals indoors if you have good light. Not sure if you have good light—there’s an app for that. Search your phone’s app store for a light meter app!
  • If you have dormant sprays to combat insect pests, be sure to use them before new growth starts. Make sure temperatures will be above freezing for 8-12 hours after spraying to avoid damaging stems and needles.
  • Divide and conquer. Dahlia clumps and cannas can be split and added to pots to get growing.
  • Clean up your garden as the weather warms. Be patient; using a blowdryer is not efficient, so wait for the snow to melt on its own then get after it!
  • Remove mulch from spring flowering bulbs such as daffodils and crocus.
  • Cultivate and fertilize asparagus beds if the ground is not frozen.
  • Get pruning! The end of the dormant season is the best time to prune almost all trees and shrubs. Pines are one of the only exceptions; let young pine needles expand to about half their full size before pruning.
  • Prune raspberries, thinning the canes so there is about six to eight per foot of row, and remove the upper 20% of the cane. This will promote new growth and more fruit for the berry season. Remember those raspberry mojitos we talked about in our 2020 Garden Trends? Mhmmm.

LATE MARCH

  • Remove winter protection from roses as soon as the danger of frost is past.
  • Sprinkle systemic insecticide granules within the dripline of birch trees to prevent birch leaf miner. We recommend doing this with a systemic drench just as the trees start to break bud.
  • Sow seeds indoors for vegetables including broccoli, cabbage cauliflower, celery, eggplant, and head lettuce. Lettuce know if you have questions…
  • Start thinking about lawn care. Check out your lawn as the snow clears to check for damage, especially from voles (mice), and think about what type of lawn care you want to do this year. April is National Lawn Care Month!

Even though these are just a few suggestions, we hope you can satisfy some of your gardening itch before spring fully opens up. These tips are definitely more exciting than watching paint dry!

Have questions? Call us. Need help? Call us. Our team of experts is here for you.