THE BLOG: let's talk gardening



Start from Seeds!

When to start your seeds is always a bit of a guess. First, you’ll need to know when your last expected frost date is. Then check your seed packet to see how many weeks growth are required before setting outdoors. Count back that many weeks from your last expected frost date to get an approximate date for starting those seeds. It’s approximate because weather does not always live up to predictions, but you’ll be in the ballpark. Different plants will require different timing, so use a calendar to write down when to start what items.

Plant at the proper depth. Seed packets tell you just how deep to plant; a rule of thumb is to plant seeds two or three times as deep as they are wide. Use either purchased pots or flats. You can even use containers that you’ve saved like egg cartons, however be sure to clean them thoroughly before use. These will trap warmth and humidity where the seeds need it. Grow plants by keeping the soil moist. Seeds need water to start growing and young seedlings need a consistent supply to grow healthy and strong. If you don't have a bright window, you will need some kind of florescent or high density plant light.

Enjoy! In no time at all you’ll enjoy an abundant harvest of fresh vegetables and beautiful blooms!

TIP: We recommend potting soil for seed starting. Potting soil very often has no soil in it, but is a mix of peat, vermiculite and other fluffy matter that has the wonderful properties of being both water retentive and well-draining, because it doesn't pack down like garden soil. It's also free of diseases and insects that may be over-wintering in your garden soil. Of course, it also doesn't have any nutrients, so you will need to add those.

{ Happy Gardening! Posted by McDonald Garden Center, February 20, 2012 }


A Beacon of Spring


The Yoshino Cherry is a beacon for spring. Each year, these celebrated trees shower us with beautiful blossoms promising warm weather is on the way. Now is the perfect time to plant your own cherry tree to ensure you don't miss the best show of the year!

These deciduous flowering trees have upright to horizontal branching, making them ideal for planting along walks and over patios. The white to pink flowers bloom in early spring, before the leaves develop making a spectacular show! The bloom time usually lasts for about two weeks, and then the leaves will appear. The Yoshino Cherry tree has been bred for its ornamental quality, as opposed to its fruit.

The slightly fragrant flowers will typically appear in mid-March. The trees flower every year, but may not always yield the same quantity of blooms as this relates to the amount of winter cold they receive. Plant the Yoshino Cherry in acidic soil with good drainage for best growth. Crowns can become one-sided unless they receive light from all around the plant, so locate in full sun.

In 1912, the Japanese government gave the U.S three-thousand Yoshino cherry trees. To this day, the Washington D.C area is famous for its cherry blossom season. And, people from all over the world visit Washington D.C. to see the spring spectacular of the cherry blossoms. This year’s festival will be held March 20 – April 27, 2012.



Pave the Way

Add distinctive flair to your backyard, patio, front walk, retaining wall or driveway with decorative and functional patio pavers. Pavers add value and beauty to your home for many years to come. Available in an array of textures, colors, shapes and sizes, patio pavers are a timeless and classic addition to any landscape.

There are many great reasons homeowners today are utilizing patio pavers in their outdoor spaces:

• Affordability
• Easy repair
• Durability
• Aesthetics
• Low maintenance
• Strength
• Easy installation
• Flexibility
• Increases value of home
• Additionally, the combination of slip resistance and attractive finishes has aided their popularity

Come in to our Virginia Beach location to see our wide selection of pavers, from classic brick to textured cottage stone all of which provide an innovative and unique finish to your outdoor oasis. By selecting one of our products for your next outdoor design project, we can provide guidance on what patio pavers and textures work best to create the finished look, how to install the pavers yourself, or how to work with our experts for design and installation.

Take a look at some of our recent paving projects here >>

{ Happy Gardening! Posted by McDonald Garden Center, February 7, 2012 }


Bring on the Blooms!

So the groundhogs says six more weeks of winter. Well if you can't wait that long to enjoy the sights of spring, don't fret! The cheerful promise of spring is not out of the question no matter what Punxsutawney Phil has to say.

Our Blooming Bulb Gardens are filled with vibrant tulips, daffodils, hyacinth and primrose adding a pop of color just when you need it the most! These portable gardens will infuse a splash of spring color at your front entrance, on your deck and patio, or bring them in just to enjoy fresh color and fragrance in your home.

Sorry Puxsutawney, when it comes to the arrival of spring, we just beg to differ.

{ Happy Gardening! Posted by McDonald Garden Center, February 3, 2012 }


No Soil Needed


There are about 500 different species of tillandsia and the best known is the Spanish moss that gracefully hangs from oak trees throughout the south. Tillandsia is part of the bromeliad family and is sometimes divided into grey-leaved air plants and green-leaved terrestrial plants. All tillandsia are naturally epiphytic air plants that grow by clinging to trees and extracting excess moisture from the air, yes, the air ~ so no soil is needed!

Tillandsias prefer to be mounted or placed on a solid surface that does not retain water. Try using chicken wire to display large amounts of tillandsia and keep it in place. Don't cover the base of the plant with moss or dirt as it may rot. Tillandsia can be grown anywhere imaginable including shells, rocks, slate, driftwood, etc. We like placing them in glass orbs and hanging them in windows to add a touch of green throughout the home.

To water, simply mist your tillandsia 2 to 3 times a week with a water bottle. Never leave them standing in water.

Find out ways to display tillandsia here >>

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