planting Bulbs for Spring Color

By: Sue McConnell – Retail Team – Bloch’s Farm – Green Lake, WI

One of the most welcome sights in spring are masses of beautiful, brightly colored tulips and other spring bulbs. Red, yellow, pink, and shades of purple, along with white, brightens our yards and landscapes after a cold, dreary winter.

            Consider planting tulips, daffodils, crocus, and allium bulbs before the ground freezes in late fall, between mid-October to mid-November. Bulbs planted too early in the season tend to sprout and may begin their growth process if placed in the ground while there are still sunny, mild days and before it has cooled down.

            Bulbs are easy to plant! Dig a small depression in the soil in a rounded or oval shape. Bulbs need to be between 4 to 6 inches deep, so make your ‘bed’ big enough for 5, 7, or 9 bulbs. When your bed is ready, arrange the bulbs inside, tall ones to the back, shorter to the front. You can arrange by color or type. Bulbs come in early, mid, or late season varieties. By planting some of each you can expand their bloom time from early spring until early summer.

            Once your bulbs are in place, sprinkle each with bone meal or a special ‘bulb booster’ that will help them thrive, then cover with soil. When all your bulbs are in place, gently tamp down the soil, then water.

            You can also plant bulbs singly. Follow the same procedure, selectively digging down 6 inches for each bulb. This planting method will allow you to scatter the bulbs across a larger area for a more naturalized look. The round or oval depression method creates more of a bed producing a bigger color bang.

            Either planting method you choose, you will be rewarded next spring with beautiful flowers to cut and bring indoors for bouquets or to enjoy while looking through your windows.

Bloch’s Farm spring bulbs have arrived! Stop in to purchase your own spring garden. We have a nice selection of single root bearded Iris, packages of Hyacinth, two varieties of large cupped Narcissus, Globe Master and Gladiator Giant Allium, and six different selections of mid to late season tulips in gorgeous color combinations. Find bulb booster and digging tools as well… everything you need to create a beautiful spring garden that will last for years to come.

  Many trees, shrubs, perennials, and colorful mums are also available at Bloch’s Farm! Call 920-294-6000 or e-mail jlamontagne@blochsfarm.com with any questions. Visit our website online at www.blochsfarm.com and our Facebook page.  

Don’t miss out on this weekend’s sale! September 25th – September 27th: 50% Off Our Entire Selection Of Muck Boots!

Fall Colors For Your Garden

By: Jennifer LaMontagne – Horticulturist – Bloch’s Farm – Green Lake, WI

            The weather is beginning to turn cooler, and fall offers the perfect opportunity to display an explosion of colors and textures in your garden.  A vibrant backdrop of trees and shrubs can surely add to your landscape’s aesthetics.  Fall is the perfect time for planting many kinds of perennials, trees, and shrubs because the roots have time to establish themselves before spring.  If you’re searching for a splash of color, you may want to plant one or more of the following:

American Cranberrybush Viburnum (Viburnum trilobum) is a rounded shrub growing up to 5 feet high and 4 feet wide.  Large white flat-topped clusters of flowers bloom in late May and June.  The flowers are then followed by fruit, varying in color from blue to bright red, and serve as a source of food for birds during the winter.  The berries are also edible for humans and are sometimes used for making jams and jellies.  Striking foliage changes red to purple in fall.  Native to our area, this shrub is tolerant of full sun to partial shade and prefers moist, well-drained soil.  American Cranberrybush benefits from regular renewal pruning. 

The Amur Maple (Acer ginnala) is a real eye catcher!  Growing up to 9 feet tall and 8 feet wide, it is a dense, compact, small tree or large shrub (depending how you prune it) that bears bright orange to red leaves in fall.  Small fragrant white flowers are produced in early spring.  Amur maples can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions and will grow best in full sun or partial shade.     

Ornamental pear trees, such as the Chanticleer  Pear and Javelin Pear (Pyrus calleryana) make valuable additions to the landscape.  Because of their upright-pyramidal form that is more narrow than other ornamental pear trees, they are a good choice where lateral space to spread is limited.  The crown is also less prone to branch breakage with heavy winter snow because of their shape.  Growing up to 40 feet tall and 15 feet wide, these trees produce attractive white flowers in early spring.  Their foliage turns a brilliant glossy maroon color in the fall.  These ornamental pear trees are adaptable to many different soils and tolerate drought, heat, and pollution. 

Many trees, shrubs, perennials, and colorful mums are available at Bloch’s Farm to complete your fall look!  Call 920-294-6000 or e-mail jlamontagne@blochsfarm.com with any questions. Visit our website online at www.blochsfarm.com and our Facebook page.  

September 18th – September 20th : 30% Off Fruit Trees and Fruit Shrubs!

Evergreen Shrubs

By: Jennifer LaMontagne – Horticulturist – Bloch’s Farm – Green Lake, WI

Many evergreen shrubs offer year-round interest.  Their blue, green, or yellow tones make a bold statement in your garden throughout the spring, summer, and fall months.  In winter, their bright colors keep the garden looking alive and beautiful against the snowy backdrop of a winter landscape.   

Most evergreen shrubs are easy to maintain, with little to no pruning necessary.  They can be used in many aspects of the landscape; plant as a single specimen, in a group along a border, or even as a background plant in an ornamental garden.  They also provide a nice backdrop for blooming perennials.  

Here are a few outstanding evergreen shrubs that would be great additions to your garden:

Dwarf Globe Blue Spruce (Picea pungens) is a slow growing, round shaped evergreen growing up to 5 feet tall and wide.  Stunning blue needles provide year-round interest, even in the dull of winter.  This shrub prefers full sun, rich, moist soil and is somewhat drought tolerant once established.  

Bird’s Nest Spruce (Picea abies) grows slowly to 3 feet tall and 6 feet wide.  It is flat-topped, wider than high.  With an indented center, this spruce looks like its common name describes – a bird’s nest.  It needs full sun or minimal shade and adapts to many types of soil.

Golden Mops Threadleaf Falsecypress (Thuja occidentalis) is also a slow growing rounded, evergreen shrub reaching heights of up to 5 feet tall and 7 feet wide, depending on the variety.  There are smaller varieties that stay only 3-4 feet tall and wide.  Golden Mops gets its name from the slightly weeping, scale-like foliage that remains bright yellow all four seasons.  It can grow in full sun to partial shade but will become brighter yellow in full sun.

These evergreen shrubs and others are available at Bloch’s Farm.  Many trees, perennials, fall annuals, and cool-season vegetable seeds are available as well!  Get some colorful mums to complete your fall look!  Call 920-294-6000 or e-mail jlamontagne@blochsfarm.com with any questions. Visit our website online at www.blochsfarm.com and our Facebook page.  

Don’t miss out on this weekend’s sale! September 11th – September 13th: 20% Off Perennial Grasses!

Fall Garden Tips

By: Jennifer LaMontagne – Horticulturist – Bloch’s Farm – Green Lake, WI

September is a great time to spruce up your landscape.  By completing a few early autumn tasks, you can shape up your garden, add some fall color, and begin to prepare for winter.  Early September is also a great time to plan ahead for spring by planting some spring blooming perennials.  

 Sunny, mild temperatures in September keep the soil warm and plants actively growing, but during this time, they are exposed to less extreme heat and drought.  Perennials, trees, and shrubs can be planted now to allow their roots to grow into place well before the soil freezes.  Large bulbs can be planted 6-8 inches deep, and a depth of 4 inches is adequate for smaller bulbs.  Plant them singly or dig a larger hole for a handful of bulbs.  Spring flowering bulbs such as crocuses, tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths can be planted up to six weeks after the first fall frost and will provide a burst of welcomed color after a snowy winter.  Add compost and other organic material to enrich the soil, so it’s ready for spring. 

Established spring and summer flowering perennials can be divided and transplanted in the fall.  These include herbaceous peonies, daylilies, irises, and hostas.  Summer bulbs, such as callas and caladiums, can be dug up to store in a cool dark area for winter. 

Replace the spent spring and summer annuals with fall plants such as ornamental kale, peppers, and grasses to spruce up your potted containers.  Plant mums (hardiness zones 5-9) to add brilliant fall colors to your garden.  

Sow cool-season vegetable crops such as kale, spinach, lettuce greens, beets, radishes, and turnips.  These vegetables have fast germination time and love the cooler weather.  

Make sure to water plants, especially evergreens, a few times a week into late fall.  This will protect plants and encourage maximum growth.  Also, it is not recommended to fertilize existing landscape plants in the fall.

The cooler weather is a great time to remove all the weeds and plant debris in your garden as they can harbor diseases and insects.  Remove new growth on vegetables, such as tomatoes and peppers, that won’t have enough time to mature before the first frost.

Many trees, shrubs, perennials, and cool-season vegetable seeds are available at Bloch’s Farm!  A plethora of colorful mums are available to complete your fall look, as well!  Call 920-294-6000 or e-mail jlamontagne@blochsfarm.com with any questions. Visit our website online at www.blochsfarm.com and our Facebook page.  Don’t miss out on this weekend’s Labor Day sale! September 4th – September 7th: 25% – 75% Off Remaining Pottery!

Unique Trees

By: Jennifer LaMontagne – Horticulturist – Bloch’s Farm – Green Lake, WI

            Trees can add value to your home, provide shade, windbreaks, and a cleaner environment.  You can plant a single tree to be used as a focal point or plant multiple trees to create your own beautiful woodland.  Here are a few unique trees that would be great additions to your yard: 

Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) is an eye-catching ornamental tree.  Known for its unique leaf and flower shapes, this tree also turns a magnificent yellow color in the fall.  The tulip tree gets its name for the tulip-shaped cream, green, or orange flowers that bloom in the spring.  Reaching heights of up to 90 feet tall and 50 feet wide, the tulip tree has a rapid growth rate at first and then slows down with age.  It prefers full sun and well-drained soil.  This tree is hardy to Zone 5 but can grow very well in the Green Lake area if given some slight protection.

‘Pink Chimes’ Japanese Snowbell (Styrax japonicus) is a charming ornamental tree, growing up to 25 feet tall and wide.  It is a great tree to use for shade cover with its slightly weeping canopy.  Pink flowers bloom in May and then turn into gray-brown drupes that last until the fall.  This tree prefers full sun to part shade and grows best in organically rich, well-drained soil.  As the tree gets older, the gray bark naturally forms slight cracks unveiling a beautiful orange inner layer creating aesthetic value during the winter months. 

‘Persian Spire’ Persian Ironwood (Parrotia persica)is a beautiful specimen with its foliage that emerges purple and matures to green with purple tinted edges that linger into the summer months.  The leaves then turn stunning colors of yellow, orange, and red in the fall.  The attractive flaky bark adds beauty, even in the winter months.  This tree prefers partial to full sun and well-drained soils with constant moisture.  Persian spire reaches heights of up to 25 feet tall and 15 feet wide. 

These trees and other stunning trees are available at Bloch’s Farm.  Many shrubs and perennials are available as well!  Call 920-294-6000 or e-mail jlamontagne@blochsfarm.com with any questions. Visit our website online at www.blochsfarm.com and our Facebook page.  

Don’t miss out on this weekend’s sale! August 28th – August 30th: 30% Off Sand Zen Gardens and Terrarium Kits!  

Shade Tolerant Perennials

By: Jennifer LaMontagne – Horticulturist – Bloch’s Farm – Green Lake, WI

Do you have a shaded area in your garden that needs a splash of color?  Many varieties of plants can tolerate shade, even though they may prefer sun if provided with adequate moisture.  Other plants are shade-loving such as the bleeding heart which will bloom in spring but die back during the summer if planted in a sunny area.  Here are a few ideas for shade tolerant flowering perennials:

Astilbe (Astilbe) has lacey fern-like foliage with soft feathery flowers that attract butterflies.  Blooming spring to summer, flower colors range from purple, pink, red, and white.  Reaching heights of up to 5 feet and 30 inches wide, astilbe prefers well-drained, consistently moist soil with lots of organic matter.

Ligularia (Ligularia) is a long-living, deer resistant perennial.  Producing long yellow flower spikes atop large, lustrous foliage, this perennial is a real stunner.  Birds are attracted to its blooms which form from summer to fall, depending on the variety.   Growing up to 6 feet high and 4 feet wide, ligularia prefers rich, consistently moist soil.  With the long, deep roots it produces, ligularia does better with deep watering.  It doesn’t like to dry out, and may wilt in the heat, but bounces back once given a thorough watering and when the heat of the day passes.   

Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla mollis)is a hardy, old-fashioned perennial that grows well in partial shade.  Although tolerant of most soil conditions, it does best in average, well-drained soil with adequate moisture.  Stalks of dainty yellow flowers sit atop a mound of velvety foliage.  Blooming late spring to early summer, the flowers attract butterflies.  Lady’s mantle can grow up to 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide.  It is usually left alone by deer and rabbits.

Goat’s Beard (Aruncus) resembles astilbe with the fern-like foliage and light feathery cream-colored flowers, which bloom late spring to summer.  Goat’s beard grows best in moist, rich soil mixed with organic matter.  This low maintenance perennial can grow up to 6 feet tall and wide in sun to partial shade.

Other shade tolerant perennials include coral bell, cimicifuga, and hosta.  For more ideas stop in at Bloch’s Farm and ask one of our knowledgeable staff members.      

Bloch’s Farm has many trees, shrubs, and perennials available!  Call 920-294-6000 or e-mail jlamontagne@blochsfarm.com with any questions. Visit our website online at www.blochsfarm.com and our Facebook page.  Don’t miss out on this weekend’s sale! August 21st – August 23rd : 30% Off Native Plants!

Deer Resistant Perennials

By: Jennifer LaMontagne – Horticulturist – Bloch’s Farm – Green Lake, WI

Do you have problems with those pesky deer nibbling at the beautiful flowers you worked so hard to grow?  While plants are not typically considered “deer-proof,” here are a few perennials that deer may find less tasty than others:  

Blue False Indigo (Baptisia) is a long-living, shrub-like, hardy perennial that provides interest all four seasons.  Growing up to 4 feet tall and 6 feet wide, this plant produces long stalks of blue-green foliage with stunning spikes of flowers at the crown.  Blooming in late spring to early summer, flower colors range from blue, violet, white, or yellow attracting bees and butterflies.  Once done blooming, showy green seed pods emerge, which turn charcoal black as they ripen, and last into the winter months.  Baptisia grows best in full sun with average to poor, well-drained soil.  Once established, it is moderately drought tolerant.  Plant this eye-catching specimen alone or in small groupings with annuals or other perennials.  

‘Hummelo’ Stachys (Stachys monieri) was voted perennial plant of the year for 2019.  It has low-growing, mounded, dark green, ruffled-edge foliage with long elegant lavender-pink spiked flower heads that attract pollinators.  Blooming early to late summer, it is best to deadhead spent flowers to keep this plant looking exquisite.  Growing up to 2 feet tall and 1 foot wide, this perennial prefers full sun and moist, but well-drained soil.  ‘Hummelo’ looks stunning by itself or in mass plantings paired with ornamental grasses or other perennials.  

Salvia (Salvia) comes in many different sizes and colors.  In our region there are annual and perennial varieties.  The perennial varieties can grow up to 30 inches tall and 24 inches wide.  Fragrant foliage gives way to beautiful flower spikes, which bloom late spring to mid-summer, and attract pollinators.  Cutting back the plant after flowering will encourage reblooming, which can last until the fall in some varieties.  Preferring full sun and well-drained soil, this perennial can be drought tolerant but with average moisture will bloom better.  

Other perennials that are deer resistant include: bleeding heart, globe thistle, Russian sage, and yarrow.  For more ideas stop in at Bloch’s Farm and ask one of our knowledgeable staff members.  Bloch’s Farm also sells 100% organic Green Screen Deer and Rabbit Repellent in pouches or loose powder.  

Bloch’s Farm has many trees, shrubs, and perennials available!  Call 920-294-6000 or e-mail jlamontagne@blochsfarm.com with any questions. Visit our website online at www.blochsfarm.com and our Facebook page.  

Don’t miss out on this weekend’s sale! August 14th – August 16th: Take An Additional 30% Off Already Reduced Sale Items Located In The Barn Shop!

Drought Tolerant Plants

By: Jennifer LaMontagne – Horticulturist – Bloch’s Farm – Green Lake, WI

During this time of year, many varieties of plants are likely to require more water.  However, some flowers, shrubs, and trees can be quite tolerant of hot, dry conditions. 

Drought tolerant plants need a healthy combination of well-drained soil and the right amount of sunlight.  They often require little to no fertilization.  Stop in at Bloch’s Farm to stock up on drought-resistant perennials, shrubs, and trees!  Here are a few suggestions:  

Russian Sage (Perevoskia) is a woody-based plant that grows 3-5 feet tall and 2-3 feet wide in full sun.  The beautiful silvery-gray foliage and attractive lavender flowers, which bloom from mid- to late summer, make this perennial a real stunner.  The large root system it develops makes it able to thrive in even the toughest conditions, and it would look great planted in a mixed border.  

Sedums (Sedum) come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors.  The creeping sedums are an excellent choice for eye-catching, low growing ground cover.  These sedums have fleshy, light green leaves, and produce small star-shaped flowers that show white, yellow, and pinkish to burgundy tones.  The taller varieties can reach 3 feet in height, have green and purple succulent foliage, and produce heavy flat-topped flower heads that bloom in late summer and fall.  Sedums grow best planted in full sun but there are some varieties that can tolerate part shade.

Dwarf Bush Honeysuckle (Diervilla) is a small 2-3 feet shrub that will grow almost anywhere.  Preferring sun or shade, this shrub has glossy bronze-green foliage that turns orange-red in the fall.  Flower colors ranging from yellow, orange, or red bloom in the summer.  This shrub is great for planting on hedges or on slopes to control erosion because of its spreading growth habit.

Tiger Eyes Cutleaf Sumac (Rhus Typhina) is a larger shrub reaching 6-8 ft tall and wide.  With its bright yellow foliage that slightly turns orange and scarlet in the fall, it makes a beautiful specimen plant in any landscape.

American Elm (Ulmus)is a moderately fast growing, long living, hardy tree.  Reaching heights of 70 feet tall and 60 feet wide, this tree prefers full sun to part shade.  Elms are tolerant of poor soil conditions, poor drainage, and air pollution, among several other things.  These trees are popular for their large leafy canopies that provide excellent shade. 

Bloch’s Farm has a great selection of trees, shrubs, and perennials available!  Call 920-294-6000 or e-mail jlamontagne@blochsfarm.com with any questions.  Visit our website online at www.blochsfarm.com and our Facebook page.  Don’t miss out on this weekend’s sale! August 7th – August 9th: Buy 3 Daylilies, Get One On Us!

Caring for Plants During Heat and Drought

By: Jennifer LaMontagne – Horticulturist – Bloch’s Farm – Green Lake, WI

            Even though the length of the summer growing season in our region can be shorter than in other locations, heat and dry conditions can still stress our plants.  Besides choosing drought-tolerant perennials and refraining from the use of fertilizers during the hottest periods, there are a few watering strategies that can assist plants through the summer heat.   

Proper watering is essential during hot, dry conditions.  There are many convenient watering methods available.  A hand watering wand allows you to water near the base of the plant.  You can also use soaker hoses, garden sprinklers, or a drip irrigation system.  Make sure that the water is applied slowly, so it soaks in rather than running off. 

Water early in the morning, before the heat of the day, to minimize evaporation.  To ensure more efficient root systems, water thoroughly, making sure the water sinks deep into the roots.  Try to avoid watering in the late evening.  Without the sun to dry off the leaves, the plants become more susceptible to diseases.  

During periods of dry summer heat, most trees and shrubs benefit from receiving 1 to 2 inches of water every week.  Water-loving trees such as willows, birches, alders, poplars, and fruit trees may need at least 3 inches of water per week when temperatures climb above 90 degrees.  Small shrubs and perennials should receive at least 1 inch of water over their entire root area 2-3 times a week.  Newly transplanted plants may need to be watered daily.  

It’s best to apply water in one slow application.  A useful tip for measuring water is to place a 1-inch deep can, such as a tuna fish or cat food can, near the drip-line of the plants you are watering.  As soon as the can is filled, you have one inch of water.  For plants that need 2-3 inches of water, simply empty the can, and allow it to refill once or twice more.  

Mulching around the base of trees, shrubs, and flowers helps them retain water, and removing weeds prevents plants from having to compete for water and nutrients.  If you notice a plant that is wilting, a little investigation may be necessary.  Wilting can be a sign of heat-stress, and a bit of shade may need to be offered to plants such as hydrangeas and ligularias.  Too much or too little water can also cause wilting, so dig down about six inches to see if the soil is too moist or too dry.  If none of these seems to be the problem, check to see if the plant may be suffering from an insect or disease problem.        

Bloch’s Farm has a great selection of trees, shrubs, and perennials available!  We also have watering wands and mulch available!  Call 920-294-6000 or e-mail jlamontagne@blochsfarm.com with any questions.  Visit our website online at www.blochsfarm.com and our Facebook page.  Don’t miss out on this weekend’s sale! July 31st – August 2nd: 75% Off Tropical Plants!

Rain Gardens

By: Jennifer LaMontagne – Horticulturist – Bloch’s Farm – Green Lake, WI

                A rain garden can add beauty to your yard, provide habitat for beneficial insects and wildlife, and help protect water resources.  A rain garden is a shallow depression where native shrubs, flowers and grasses can grow and soak up rainwater and melted snow from your home’s downspouts, driveway, or lawn.  Managing water runoff improves the overall health of the environment.  

When designing a rain garden there are some key components to consider such as the location of the garden placement, the type of soil you have, and the size of garden you would like. Do you have a place in your yard that is a naturally occurring low area where roof runoff collects or into which downspouts empty?   Position your rain garden at least 10 feet from any foundation.  

The type of soil you have will determine the kinds of plants that will thrive in your space. Sandy soils will drain more quickly while heavy clay-enriched soil will retain moisture longer.  

As far as the size of your garden, a good rule of thumb is for it to be one-third as large as the roof area that drains into it.  If your primary goal is to replenish the groundwater, then you will want to dig a deeper, smaller garden.  If the soil is sandy, a smaller area may suffice, but if you have an abundance of clay-enriched soils, you will need a larger rain garden. 

Many perennials native to Wisconsin will thrive in your rain garden due to their long roots which support them during spells of extreme weather, both wet and dry.  The native plants will act as filters to clean the water before it enters back into the ecosystem. 

Remember to consider your soil and light conditions when choosing plants. Here are a few suggestions for your garden: 

Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) – height: 2-4 feet; requires full sun to partial shade; white flowers bloom July- October.

Sweet Joe-Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum) – height: 3-7 feet; full sun to partial shade; purple flowers bloom July- September.

Nodding Pink Onion (Allium cernuum) – height: 1-2 feet; full to partial sun; light pink flowers bloom July- August.

Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum) – height: 4 – 8 feet; full to partial sun; yellow flowers bloom early to mid-summer. 

Stop in today to get native plants for your rain garden!  Bloch’s Farm has many tree, shrub, and perennials available!  Call 920-294-6000 or e-mail jlamontagne@blochsfarm.com with any questions. Visit our website online at www.blochsfarm.com and our Facebook page.  Don’t miss out on this weekend’s sale! July 24th – 26th: 20% Off Evergreen Trees and Evergreen Shrubs!