On a hot and sunny holiday like the Fourth of July there are few things more satisfying than a light and fresh cocktail. We love to mix our cocktails with fresh garden herbs and fruits to make the perfect red white and boozy cocktail. Here are two of our favorites with a special holiday twist!
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!
- 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!
Planting a tree involves more than just digging a hole and putting the tree in the ground. If you want a beautiful, healthy tree, there are a few guidelines you should follow when planting to ensure long-term success. Check out these helpful tips and tricks!
- Dig a hole about as deep as the root ball and twice as wide. Ensure that the plant is slightly above the existing grade (1-3”). You want a nice, undisturbed bottom to prevent settling.
- Prepare your planting mix for around the tree by combining the excavated soil with 1/3 leaf compost and any other soil amendments needed (noted below).
- Prepare your new trees for installation by removing any dead or disfigured branches. Inspect the root-ball for any circling roots. Gently open up and spread out the encircling roots.
- If the tree is B&B (balled and burlapped) lower into the hole and loosen the balling twine at the base of the tree to prevent the girding of the trunk. Peel back or remove as much of the burlap as possible. If the tree is potted, remove the pot and scar roots prior to lowering into the hole. Don’t forget to rotate the tree so the most attractive position is outward!
- Mix root stimulator and water and apply to the root ball. Backfill the hole with your planting mix, and gently firm in. Water to remove all air pockets. If it is a particularly large tree, it is also beneficial to fill the dirt halfway around the tree and then water. This will ensure that water gets all the way down to the roots and soaks them well! You can finish by filling in the rest of the hole.
- Proper watering is necessary for establishment and long-term plant health. Over or under-watering can be fatal for any plant. If rainfall has been adequate (1″ of rain per week), you may not need supplemental water. Otherwise, a deep watering of 1″ every 5-7 days (especially during the summer) is usually adequate for the first two years. Use a soaker hose to conserve water and get water to the root zone area where its needed. Also, keep in mind that organic mulch will decompose over time; reapply mulch as needed to maintain a 2″-3″ layer to help water conservation.
- Remember that newly planted trees (and shrubs, too, for that matter) may not always put forth significant new top growth during the first year or two because most of its energy goes toward root growth.
- Soil Amendments
- We recommend an additional soil amendment of com-peat or peat moss and soil sulfur or copperas for the following trees.
- American Hornbeam
- Red Maple
- English Oak
- White Pine
- Katsura Tree
Here at Vande Hey Company, we do not want to just give you a tree and send you on your way. We want to educate you on how to best plant and care for your tree so it has many years of looking beautiful and healthy. Following these simple steps will not only help your tree get acclimated to its new home but will lead to a long and happy life of growing. Your tree will look gorgeous for many years to come!
Every year we grow beautiful annuals perfect for containers or for annual beds. They provide extra color, texture, and also a variety of different heights. Check out our 2020 Top 10 Annuals to learn a little bit more about some of our favorites!
- Profusion Zinnia- Providing bright colorful flowers spring through fall, this sun-loving hybrid Zinnia is known for its durability: resisting disease, drought, and heat and even repelling deer and rabbits. Up to 18” tall and spreading 24”, it is the perfect choice for the front of borders or large containers. Their numerous 2” flowers are also loved by butterflies!
2) Verbena Meteor Shower– These dense clusters of small purple flowers are beautiful in combinations or planted as a mass. Growing 20-30” tall and 8-12” wide, this plant grows best in full sun or light shade. As a high nectar plant, butterflies and hummingbirds love it as well!
3) Australian Sword Fern– This fast-growing bright green evergreen tolerates both wind and even some sun making it perfect for hanging baskets or pots. Growing 24-46” tall, the sword-shaped fronds that characterize this Australian native are a fan favorite!
4) Euphorbia Diamond Mountain-Blooming with airy white flowers spring through fall, this low maintenance and drought tolerant plant adds great texture to combination plantings. Growing 24-36” in both height and spread, this plant-friend of ours does best in partial to full sun.
5) Gaura- Adding some height, movement, and color to combination plantings, this drought tolerant plant provides color spring through fall. Producing nectar-rich white, pink, and bi-colored flowers loved by butterflies this plant grows 24-36” tall.
6) Coprosma (Mirror Plant)– This woody plant with shiny variegated foliage offers year-round color and a range of colors from yellow or lime to pink and burgundy. It’s an instant impact plant that grows best in full sun to partial shade and reaches 48-60” tall and 36-48” wide.
7) Artemisia- Available in a variety of different growth habits, the silvery foliage looks beautiful whether it is planted alone or as an accent. FUN FACT: Artemisia is currently being tested as a ‘miracle cure’ herb for COVID-19.
8) Anigozanthos (Kangaroo Paw)- Known for its unique bird-attracting tubular flowers, the multiple long club-shaped blooms on this plant are coated with dense hairs that open up right at the tip. Coming in an assortment of colors, they are not only heat and drought tolerant, but are gorgeous as cut flowers. The plant typically grows 12-36” tall.
9) Annual Grasses- Annual grasses come in a variety of colors and heights. They provide a great accent or border adding both movement and texture. Stop by our retail center so we can tell you more about some of our favorites!
10) Strawberry Ruby Ann- Providing a continuous bloom of hot pink flowers and delicious berries all summer long, this fruit plant provides a unique addition to combination containers along with your other favorite annuals. They are also winter hardy when planted in the ground!
Looking for some help arranging containers or annual beds? Check out our Color 365 program or this video to learn more about how we can help bring extra beauty and color to your yard. We would love to help you design the perfect container to fit your style.
Stop by today to see our beautiful selection of annuals!
Looking for fun and unique ways to inspire outdoor living? Tired of looking at Pinterest ideas that seem unrealistic? Want to create your own backyard paradise, but not sure where to start? These ideas are for you!
With ideas like these, little things go a long way! Try a few things this year, add a few more next year, and before you know it your yard will be looking like that backyard eye candy everyone dreams about! Contemporary, modern, rustic, alfresco dining…Sign us up!
#1) Bar Carts – Nothing says alfresco dining like a mini-bar or a bar cart. Bringing your drinks outside not only makes your trip for a refill shorter, but also creates a nice display item that all your guests can enjoy!
2) Stylish Outdoor Rugs – A rug brings a warm and cozy feel that can also add flare. Choose something with some color to accent your color scheme, or something more neutral-colored to tie everything together!
3) Planters – Nothing brings a backyard to life like something living. Custom arrangements and planters can bring color and also be updated seasonally to reflect different color schemes. Add some trellises or vertical plantings to create height dimension and watch the way your backyard transforms. Ask us about our Color 365 program to learn more!
4) Swimming Pool – Need we say more? Nothing builds a backyard paradise like your own pool! Something the whole family can enjoy; a pool will lead to many lasting outdoor memories. Add some lounge chairs with bright throw pillows to accent with bold color and you will have a tropical destination right in your back yard. Did we mention we install pools?!
5) Vacation Vibes – Tropical feels are not just for the Caribbean! Paint your railings white, pick out some Ratana furniture, some tropical planters, and maybe even a seagrass rug. Before you know it, you will be able to hear the ocean in your backyard!
6) Fire – Firetables, fireplaces, firepits, and fire features leave endless opportunities for warmth and flare. Nothing creates a cozy atmosphere like the crackle of wood or the soft flicker of a gas flame. One of 2020’s Top Garden Trends, fire is sure to always bring the heat. Build a modern contemporary look with straight lines and a rectangular firetable or a free-flowing rustic look with a rounded firetable.
8) Create Cohesion and Flow – Take your indoor themes and extend them out! Whether it’s color scheme or even just a few accent colors, your indoor style does not have to end at the doorway.
9) Lighting – Low voltage lighting not only provides beauty and safety at night but also expands your ability to use your outdoor space later in the evening. Create a warm glow throughout your backyard as you up light some trees, add some path lights, or spotlight different highlights!
10) Add some color – Adding fresh paint to a deck or staircase is a great way to create an eye catcher that brings new life to older landscaping.
12) Make it multi-level- A multi-level landscape means a multi-purpose landscape. Levels create unique structural diversity that break up the landscape and provide little nooks for all sorts of different things whether it’s cocktails, open lounge areas, or a fire pit.
13) Frame it with a Bench or Seat Wall- Seat walls create visual intrigue and structure as they wrap the border of your patio or deck. They create more open space adding seating without filling your area with chairs.
14) Outdoor kitchen – Nothing inspires outdoor living quite like cooking and eating outside! Whether it is an expansive outdoor kitchen area, a pizza oven, or one of our favorite grills (Green Mountain and Green Egg), a kitchen adds a place to spend quality family time and enjoy good food together.
16) Make it comfy – Don’t just get furniture—class it up and make it comfy! Take a look at fabrics for outdoor pillows or throw cushions and create a seating area that you won’t want to leave! Express yourself with unique designs and colors and watch how it brings life and style to your space. We have extensive brochures of options for every taste.
17) Embellish with Little Things – Little details make big statements! Add lanterns throughout your yard, your favorite smelling candles, some of our favorite towels or napkins from June and December, and more! Stop by our retail center for fun ideas on how to create a space that fits your style!
18) Play Some Tunes – Every outdoor space needs some classy dinner music and late-night dance music. Whatever vibe you’re looking for, a nice Bluetooth speaker or an outdoor sound system takes your backyard party to the next level.
19) Add a Water Feature – When it comes to aesthetics, nothing quite relaxes like the soft trickle of a water feature in your backyard. Add lights to it and you have a whole new highlight to your outdoor oasis.
20) Build an Herb garden – Seems simple, but fresh herbs take every dish to the next level. They look cute in a small corner planter, highlight your green thumb, and make you look like an alfresco dining pro.
21) Get Active – Add a basketball hoop, a turf putting green, or maybe even a multipurpose court! Spending active time outside is great for your health and a great way to grow your outdoor living lifestyle.
Are you looking for creative ways to bring new life to your yard? Are you looking for a fun DIY project that saves you money? Look no further! Recycling is not just separating some plastic bottles from the rest of your garbage; it’s also about reusing and re-purposing old items! Check out these unique planter ideas and show off your go-green zeal!
Before we jump into the ideas, we want to share a couple of notes. When it comes to plants, you want to be strategic about the plants you choose for your new pots. Because many of these ideas are smaller in size, we recommend succulents! Succulents can thrive in just about any nook or cranny because of their shallow root system. They all bloom, come in different colors and textures, and are easy to propagate. Not to mention the stellar names like tiger jaws, Shrek ears, and baby toes. Choose some tall ones, some hanging ones, and combine them to make a visual masterpiece. Just ensure you add a hole to the bottom of your planter, so the water can drain out.
Now without further ado, here are 10 DIY Planters: Recycle, Re-purpose and Reuse!
#1) Bottles or Tin Cans- It seems like canned goods are making a comeback, so maybe they can come back in your yard, too! Paint them, wrap them in fabric, cluster them together, or even stack them!
2) Pots and Kettles– Grab old scratched up pots that just sit in your drawer, add some paint, drill a hole in the bottom and TA-DA: new planter.
3) Clothing– Hang some old boots on a fence, set them in your garden, or even add a pair of jeans to make these unique “lower-half” planters.
4) Legos– If you are sick of stepping barefoot on those Legos that never seem to make it in the closet, put them to good use! Build a planter of any size and color, and just make sure to skip some holes in the bottom.
5) Tires– Go BIG with some old tires. Stack them up, paint them, and create a new planter unlike anything in your neighbor’s yard.
6) Bikes- Not only do bike wheels make a great trellis for climbing plants, but an old rusty bike can add a nice accent piece to your garden!
7) Broken Pots– Just because a pot is broken doesn’t mean it’s useless. This has got to be one of the coolest ideas we have seen! Just be careful with sharp pieces!
8) Dresser– Looking for a big rustic looking planter? Just slap an old dresser down, cut some holes in the bottom for drainage, and decorate.
9) Sports Equipment-Make a hanging basket with half of a basketball, or use tennis rackets to build a trellis. You can even cut a smaller hole and place a pot in it as a centerpiece item! These make great gifts for sports team banquets!
10) Bird Cages– Not all of us may have one of these laying around, but this is one really unique way to add a hanging accent with some trailing plants!
While these suggestions are great, don’t be afraid to walk around the house and get creative! Once you have your new planter designed and decorated, we can provide the potting soil and some plants to fill it! Bring it in, show it off, and let us help you create a beautiful arrangement to fill your new planter.
For those of our less crafty friends, we also have our own succulent kits, custom arrangements, and even a full seasonal planter program with Color 365. We would love to help you create new centerpieces and accent containers that add fresh beauty and life to your yard. Call 920-788-6344 today with questions or to begin your journey.
Trendy. Hip. Modern. Everyone has that one friend who always seems to be one step ahead of the game. It’s like they are using iPhones and we are still waiting for our messenger pigeon to return from the ice age. Instead of letting that inward jealousy continue to fester, let’s take a step ahead this year. The roaring ‘20s are back and we want to tell you where all the best (figurative) speakeasies can be found. Prohibition no more, here’s 8 garden trends of 2020 from our team of experts to help you take your outdoor space to the next level.
In 2020, homeowners are looking to give some love back to Mother Nature through environmental sustainability. More and more people are composting to put valuable nutrients back into the soil while reducing their carbon footprint and waste. This also means people are planting wildlife friendly, au naturel landscapes. Seasonal blooming plants, layering of plant heights, and letting plants grow longer to return to their natural form, all protect wildlife, encourage beneficial insects, and attract pollinators. Perennials such as hollyhock, coral bells, bee balm, summer phlox, and especially berries will be this year’s go-tos.
Your friends may be using iPhones, but you now have an app for checking your houseplant sunlight and adjusting your grill temperature. Add in some self-watering pots, an outdoor tv, and Wi-Fi controlled irrigation and you are maximizing efficiency, saving water, grilling dinner, and doing it all while watching your favorite sports team on your new outdoor tv. Now who’s the jealous one?
#3 House Plants, Especially Succulents
It’s actually pretty simple; plants make people happy! In 2019, houseplant sales reached record highs with an increase in participation from younger generations. With apartments or smaller spaces, sometimes less expendable income, and longer time periods before marriage, “plant parenting” has provided an opportunity for people to nurture and care for something while connecting with nature. In addition to their trendy looks, house plants can also provide some health benefits such as deterring illnesses and cleaning the air.
This year variegated plants such as snake plants and colorful plants such as crotons are expected to grow in popularity while the general trend pushes for bigger and more exotic houseplants. Succulents also aren’t going away with their low maintenance and variety of appearances. The most popular succulents this year include string of dolphins, the hobbit/shrek ears, baby toes, and little zebras. Not only does VandeHey Company carry these numerous varieties of house plants and succulents, but we also offer classes to help you learn more while creating beautiful containers.
We can’t imagine food ever not trending, but more eco-friendly also means more organic and homegrown foods. Herbs, berries, and vegetables are not only environmentally friendly, but also extremely popular when used to complete your meal or drinks. No more messenger pigeons for you—you’re making mojitos with fresh raspberries and mint. Now that’s a statement!
#5 Low Maintenance
Time is money, and people want more leisure time when they return home after a long day’s work. That’s why native plants and dwarf hybrids continue to increase in popularity. Requiring less water, fertilizer, and pruning, these plants not only require less care time, but also are more friendly to the environment.
#6 Fire and Water
Earth’s elements are making a comeback. Whether it is the calming trickle of a water feature that can also attract birds, or the warmth and light provided by a fire table, these two elements are extremely underrated additions to your outdoor living space. You can even get them together with combined fire and water features. That’s like having the secret knock for the speakeasy.
#7 Cut Flowers
As the great American architect Frank Lloyd Wright said, “now the outside may come inside and the inside may and does go outside.” Not only will the outside be coming in with houseplants, but also with fresh cut flowers. Adorn your dining room table with the most popular Vande Hey flowers such as zinnia, celosia, and aster or novelties such as asclepias physocarpa and scabiosa starflower. Freshen up, brighten up, and loosen up your indoor living space with outdoor living specialties.
#8 Outdoor Living Spaces
With increased time indoors staring at screens, people are recognizing the need to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. Outdoor kitchens, shade structures, and lighting all increase value and usability. Even simple additions such as outdoor furniture provide a space for you, your family, and your friends to step outside and relax.
With no prohibition and these trending ideas, you can let the ‘20s roar right in your backyard! Call or stop by VandeHey Company today to learn how we can make these trends a reality!
Meet Tom, the lead Horticulturist at Vande Heys and a member of our ‘Green Team’. Tom has spent 35 years planting, growing, and finding ways to use all of our beautiful plants and landscapes. Tom finds joy in the usability aspect by taking the plants and helping people create ideas on how to use them.
“This is year two of our growing and it just keeps expanding We started with two growing houses last year and by the time we were ready to sell, we had six to eight houses of materials that we were growing at the time.”
The idea for this began because we want to control what we would be using in our landscapes. In Wisconsin, weather can be a headache, especially when a four-week time span has an April blizzard, and 90 degrees just weeks later! It really is a team effort with a variety of things that could go wrong, but with the knowledge and expertise of our growers, we are able to overcome the adversity by knowing when to start and heavily monitoring what is happening.
The ‘Green Team’ gets starts the process by meeting in the fall to map out the list of plants needed, to determine the exact varieties of plants and what’s available to grow. Preparation of the growing houses is next so they are ready by February and March when the real process starts. We then seed and create small plugs, while keeping a heavy eye on them by monitoring temperature, water intake, and food to produce the type of quality we can be proud of.
By being able to grow our own materials, we can absolutely control the quality that we are providing for our retail center, and have the freedom to determine exactly what we want to grow. Plus, it’s fun! During the winter months, it keeps people active and employed and involved instead of only pushing snow. These greenhouses create a beautiful stock, unique to the valley, that we love sharing with you. It gives us a step above when we’re able to deliver exact information to our customers on the growing process and materials so you can take them home and grow them yourselves.
Stop on by and ask for Tom, the ‘Green Team’ guy & let’s figure out what type of our plants will create the oasis you are looking for.