Fall

OCTOBER
22
2014

Plant of the Week:

PELEE MUMS

As you fall into the autumn season, consider giving your home the warm seasonal color of Pelee mums. Updating your rooms with color is a quick and easy way to embrace this time of year, and will put you in the mood to enjoy all the bounties the fall months have to offer! Houseplants not only infuse the indoors with the fiery hues of autumn, but they can create a sense of coziness. The Pelee mum is one of our favorite fall plants that will bring the dazzling beauty of the outdoors inside your home.

'Pelee' is a garden mum which bears single flowers in russet-red. The name is derived from the warmth of the colors that come from their reflection of Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess; and hot glowing volcanic lava. The Pelee flower is very large with a dark middle. The brilliance of this mum will compliment any autumnal display.

OCTOBER
21
2014

FILED UNDER

Get This Look!

DO-IT-YOURSELF NATURE PUMPKINS

Adorn your pumpkins with a little bit of nature. Take a walk outside and find autumn inspiration nearly everywhere. With just a few clippings from your garden, you can transform ordinary pumpkins into a nature-inspired masterpiece.

What You'll Need:

  • Faux or Live Pumpkins in any color or size
  • Fine-leaf ferns, boxwood or other foliage
  • Pansies or Violas
  • Dusty Miller
  • Spray Adhesive
  • Modpodge
  1. Choose pumpkins you'd like to embellish.
  2. Collect a selection of cuttings. We recommend using fine foliage as it adheres to the pumpkin easily.
  3. Spray the back of your botanicals and working quickly arrange on pumpkin.
  4. Add several layers of modpodge over the botanicals and pumpkin letting each layer dry in between.
  5. Place your finished creation in an undisturbed location to let dry overnight.
  6. Scatter these beautifully embellished pumpkins throughout your home or even wire to a wreath and enjoy!
OCTOBER
17
2014

FILED UNDER

Think PINK

PINK POSSIBILITIES FOR THE AUTUMN GARDEN

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual initiative to increase awareness for the disease. While most people are aware of breast cancer, many forget to take the steps to detect the disease in its early stages and encourage others to do the same. Join us tomorrow, Saturday, October 18 for our annual PINK DAY event at all locations. We'll have the Sentara Pink Kiosk on hand and we'll donate 15% from select pink plant and pumpkin purchases to Sentara Cancer Network. So come check out all the pink possibilities for your autumn garden!

Here are just a few of our favorite PINK plants for fall:

Pink Shi-Shi Camellia - Sometimes called Shi-Shi Gashira, this pink, flowering evergreen shrub has a low, spreading form and slow grow habit. Shi-Shi’s main attraction is its flowering. Each October, this camellia will bloom beautiful pink flowers that last through December.

Pink Encore Azaleas - These easy-care shrubs offer three seasons of blooms and are ideal in any garden setting. The pink blooming Autumn Empress has rich, dark green leaves that provide the perfect backdrop for the pink semi-double flowers. Its upright habit makes it a nice focal point in any garden setting.

Pink Pansies - These charming and easy to care for annuals hav always been a cool season favorite. You may still have some pansies from last spring in your garden beds. Look around and see if they are perking up for fall. With color choices that span the rainbow, pansies bloom in white, yellow, purple, blue and yes, of course PINK!

Pink Mums - These divas of the garden are a must-have for fall. No other fall flower delivers as much color for as long as good old mums. With their tight, mounded habit and stunning bloom cover mums are perfect for mass plantings & work exceptionally well in container plantings and pots.

Join us Saturday, October 18th for PINK DAY >>

OCTOBER
10
2014

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Get This Look!

DO-IT-YOURSELF PUMPKIN FLOWER ARRANGEMENT

Who would have guessed it? The pumpkin shell isn’t just for peter, peter pumpkin eaters’ wife. Think outside of the box when decorating for fall this year. A hollowed out pumpkin makes a striking fall flower container. It’s a super quick and easy project that will add instant style to your home. Try grouping several arrangements together for a tablescape that is sure to impress. Use any size plant or pumpkin, but we recommend a medium-sized pumpkin in order to hold the arrangement snugly. We also recommend soaking your cut pumpkin in a quick bath of bleach before placing your plants there. This will prolong the pumpkin once it has been cut. You can add an empty can or jar inside of the cut pumpkin and add water for your arrangement. Next, take a trip through your yard in search of blooming flowers, foliage and branches. Once you collect your favorites, let the fun begin with arranging your cut treasures.

Try these plants from your own yard:

  • Zinnias
  • Ornamental Peppers
  • Ornamental Grasses
  • Pansies and Violas
  • Marigolds
  • Nandina Domestica (this shrub has great foliage and beautiful berries)
  • Flowering Trees & Shrubs
  • Optional: Add something vertical to add structure like twigs, sticks or or picks.

If you'd like your arrangement to stick around a bit longer, try potting rooted plants in the pumpkin using soil. Once the pumpkin is no longer fresh, simply pop your plants out and replace the pumpkin or simply use a pot. Try planting pansies, ornamental peppers, celosia, marigolds and succulents for a fresh fall look.

See more of our of our do-it-yourself ideas. GET THIS LOOK! >>

OCTOBER
9
2014

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Pansies for Every Taste

We have a pansy to compliment every taste. With so many colors and "flavors" to choose from, use this menu to select the perfect pansy for your decorating taste. And, don't forget, pansy flowers are even edible... although, we can't guarantee you'll want to eat these little beauties. But, you'll sure love looking at 'em!

Fizzy Frizzle Sizzle
A tantalizing bloom with ruffled edges in shades of blue, burgundy, and yellow. This unique, prolific bloomer will steal the show in any garden or container.

Fizzy Lemonberry
A frilly flower with lemony yellow blooms and ruffled berry-colored edges. A real show stopper by itself, or make a bold statement by pairing it with ornamental grass.

Blueberry Thrill
A berry perfect addition to any fall flower bed or container. This yellow or white flower etched in varying shades of blue will product tons of gorgeous blooms all season long.

Dynamite Strawberry
Scrumptious blooms that add a blast of vibrant summer like color to any deck or garden. Each bloom reveals its own unique pattern making them spectacular.

Matrix Sangria
This cool season thriver will remind you of a refreshing summertime treat. With deep, rich burgundy blooms this pansy is sure to steal the spotlight.

OCTOBER
8
2014

A New Twist on an Old Favorite.

BLUEBERRY SWIRL PANSIES

Pansies are one of the most popular fall and winter flowers. The name pansy is derived from the French word, pensée, meaning "thought", as the flower was regarded as a symbol of remembrance. Pansies are available in a huge array of colors, patterns and sizes. The best thing about these tough little beauties is that they'll keep their blooms all through winter and even give you an early spring show!

On of our favorite pansies this season is the Coolwave Blueberry Swirl. As its name suggests, this variety features beautiful swirls of blues, purples, lavenders and bright yellows. The cool wave series offers a trailing habit that makes it an excellent choice for containers, baskets and window boxes. With medium-size blooms, this cascading pansy will bounce back from rainy weather and fill your garden or patio with beautiful blooms throughout fall, winter and into spring.

Plant pansies in sun and feed regularly to promote lush, vigorous growth and continues blooming -- we recommend feeding your pansies with McDonald Greenleaf Fertilizer.

OCTOBER
6
2014

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5 Reasons Why Fall is the Best

We all love fall! Here's five reasons why we think this season is so special.

  1. Pansies and Violas. These quintessential fall and winter flowers brings the blooms from fall through early spring. Available in a multitude of shapes and sizes, pansies and violas are the perfect fall flower. Pansies offer a medium to large size bloom and will keep performing adding a burst of color when you need it. These tough little beauties pack a punch. Violas are the petite cousins of the pansy and are tougher in the face of cold and heat. No garden should be without them. The smaller flower will bloom all through the fall and winter. Because they are low growing plants, they are an excellent choice as flower bed borders. They are also perfect in seasonal pots and window boxes.
  2. Pumpkins and Gourds. From mini to large, to Cinderella pumpkins and apple gourds these fall favorites just scream fall. Whether you use them indoors or outdoors, pumpkins and gourds are a sure bet for fall decorating. Not just in the color orange, pumpkins and gourds can be anything from white, to green to even speckled.
  3. Jewel-tone Colors. These colors create the warm and cozy atmosphere in fall. From the bright red leaves to the bright purple mums, these saturated hues create the ambience of the season. Dynamic and bold, there is a place in every home for these colors. Choose from the deep purple amethyst mums to ruby red pansies, and you can experiment with pops of intense fall color.
  4. Halloween Décor. Spooky skeletons, whimsical pumpkins, lanterns and more set the stage for your trick-or-treaters. Decorating with the orange and the black, inside and out will add a festive fall flair to your home décor. It is simple just add a few Halloween touches and you can bring the spirit of fall alive.
  5. The Great Outdoors. Warm days and chilly nights, make being outdoors during the fall a must. Warm up by a fire pit or chimaneas or simply string festival lights to create cozy ambience. Whether you’re entertaining friends or just family, wearing a sweater and roasting marshmallows sets the stage for a perfect crisp autumn evening. Fire up the grill and enjoy an afternoon of football and fun.

Check out our new autumn arrivals in stores now NEW AUTUMN ARRIVALS >>

OCTOBER
2
2014

FILED UNDER

Decorating You'll Fall For

EASY FALL CURB APPEAL

We LOVE fall and everything that comes with it! Apple-picking, pumpkin patches, outdoor gatherings with family and friends, cooler temps, and of course… decorating! Looking for ways to spice up your front porch and celebrate autumn this year? Whether it's trick-or-treating, admiring the colorful leaves from a cozy chair or greeting family and friends, your front porch is a popular spot during fall. So as it takes center stage this season, here are a few porch-ready ideas to make your front stoop festive for guests or even passer-bys.

Pumpkins on the porch just say fall, and no porch is complete without them! Stack them in topiaries, paint them with faces or your initials to add a home-made touch or spray with metallic paint for a modern twist. Cluster small ones together and line larger ones up the steps to make a warm and welcoming entryway.

Mums in bright yellow, rustic red, deep orange, and even purple add a pop of color up steps or on your front porch. Pair with ornamental cabbage and grasses or succulents in your favorite containers and surround them with pumpkins and gourds to add interest.

Window boxes filled with the jeweled toned hues of the season make for a unique and interesting fall display. Add window boxes to one or more windows on the front of your home. Mix pumpkins and gourds in with mums and other fall blooms like ornamental cabbage and peppers, flowering kale or purple fountaingrass for a colorful and stunning fall display.

Classic metal or wooden lanterns are the perfect way to fill in those gaps on the porch during the day while providing a warm and inviting light source once the sun goes down. Remember to think outside the box when using lanterns. Fill them with flowers, gourds or petite pumpkins instead of a candle or light bulbs.

QUICK AND EASY TIP: Summer urns pull double-duty when filled with gourds, squash, and small pumpkins for a quick and easy front porch accent.

Check out our new autumn arrivals in stores now NEW AUTUMN ARRIVALS >>

SEPTEMBER
26
2014

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Scarecrows Historically Speaking

by Kathy Warnes

For thousands of years scarecrows have helped humans save their crops from crows and other hungry mouths and provided an outlet for human creativity. Scarecrows are as old and as mysterious as human nature and have been useful friends to humans since the mists of early time.

A Brief History of Scarecrows

Scarecrow genealogy is rooted in a rural life style. The Egyptians used the first scarecrows in recorded history to use to protect wheat fields along the Nile River from flocks of quail. Egyptian farmers installed wooden frames in their fields and covered them with nets. Then they hid in the fields, scared the quail into the nets and took them home to eat for dinner.

Greek farmers in 2,500 B.C. carved wooden scarecrows to look like Priapus, the son of the god Dionysus and the goddess Aphrodite, who supposedly was ugly enough to scare birds away from the vineyards and ensure good harvests. They painted their wooden scarecrows purple and put a club in one hand to scare away the birds and a sickle in the other for a good harvest.

The Romans copied the Greek scarecrow custom and when Roman armies marched through the Europe they introduced Priapus scarecrows to the people there. Almost simultaneously with the Greeks and Romans, Japanese farmers made scarecrows to protect their rice fields. They made scarecrows called kakashis, shaped like people. They dressed the kakashis in a raincoat and a round straw hat and often added bows and arrows to make them look more threatening. Kojiki, the oldest surviving Japanese book compiled in the year 712, features a scarecrow known as Kuebiko who appears as a deity who can’t walk yet knows everything about the world..

In Germany, scarecrows were wooden and shaped to look like witches. Witch scarecrows were supposed to hasten the coming of spring. In medieval Britain, young boys and girls were used as live scarecrows or “bird scarers.” They would patrol the fields of crops and scare away birds by waving their arms or throwing stones. In later times, farmers stuffed sacks of straw, made faces of gourds, and leaned the straw man against pole to scare away birds.

New World Scarecrows

In the United States, immigrant German farmers made human looking scarecrows called “bootzamon,” which later changed to bogeyman. They were dressed in old clothes with a large red handkerchief around their necks.

Native American tribes across North America used scarecrows or bird scarers, mostly adult men. In Georgia, Creek Indian families moved into huts in their corn fields to protect their crops during the growing season. In the Southwest, Zuni children had contests to see who could make the scariest scarecrow.

Pilgrim families took turns guarding their fields against birds and animals, but as Americans expanded west they invented new kinds of nonhuman scarecrows like wooden and straw figures. During the Great Depression, scarecrows could be found all across America, but in the agri-business era after World War II, farmers sprayed or dusted their crops with chemicals like DDT until scientists discovered their harmful effects. To substitute for chemicals, some farmers built scarecrows like whirligigs that revolved like windmills to scare away the birds.

Modern Scarecrows

Scarecrows still guard fields around the world during the growing season. Today some farmers use technological scarecrows instead of straw and wooden figures, technological scarecrows like reflective film ribbons tied to plants to create shimmers from the sun or automatic noise guns that are powered by propane gas. Other farmers in India and some Arab countries, station old men in chairs to throw stones at birds to keep them away from the crops just like the medieval bird scarers.

Just a Few Scarecrows of the Imagination

Even though Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, by American author L. Frank Baum, admonishes her dog Toto, “Don’t be silly Toto, scarecrows don’t talk,” the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz does talk. In his first appearance in the book, he reveals that he doesn’t have a brain and wants more than anything else to acquire one. The reality is that he already has a brain, but since he is only two days old it is largely unused. As the story unfolds, he demonstrates that he does use his brain and it keeps growing along with his experiences. The scarecrow is symbolic because even though he has the title, “the wisest man in all of Oz,” he is wise enough to know his limitations. He continues to credit the Wizard for his brains and he hands over the throne of Oz that the Wizard bequeaths him to Princess Ozma. He becomes one of her trusted advisors, but carves out enough time for himself to play games and enjoy life.

Paul Cornell focuses on the sinister aspect of scarecrow evolution in his 1995 Doctor Who novel Human Nature, when he has his villains, the Family of Blood, create an army of scarecrows to try to capture the Time Lord.

Tim Preston, in his children’s book, The Lonely Scarecrow, sees a winter future for the scarecrow. He imagines that instead of dying in the fall after the festivals and fun of Halloween are over, the scarecrow is covered with snow in the winter and becomes a useful friend until he resumes his guard duties in the spring.

Scarecrows of the Future

Scarecrows have evolved along with people and people sponsor scarecrow festivals every year in places as diverse as West Kilbride, Scotland, St. Charles, Illinois, and Alberta, Canada. After the scarecrow festivals are over, both scarecrows and people enjoy a long, friendly, restful winter before they resume their more strenuous duties in the spring.

References: Brown, Margaret Wise, The Little Scarecrow Boy, Harper Collins, 2005
Miller, Marcianne, Creative Scarecrows: 35 Fun Figures for Your Yard and Garden, Lark Books, 2004.
Preston, Tim, The Lonely Scarecrow, Dutton Juvenile, 1st Edition, 1999

SEPTEMBER
24
2014

FILED UNDER

White is the New Orange

CASPERITA MINI PUMPKINS

They say orange is the new black but when it comes to pumpkins, we say white is the new orange! White pumpkins, once a novelty, are becoming increasingly common, and these captivating white orbs are all the rage when it comes to stylish fall decorating. They provide great contrast in fall gourd and pumpkin displays and add elegance to seasonal tablescapes. Casperitas have strong green handles and hold their color both on and off the vine. They're especially great for painting and monogramming for a personal touch. Casperitas can also be substituted for orange pumpkins in many recipes. Whether you're baking pumpkin pie or making a pumpkin soup, try the Casperita. Natural or painted, the versatility of these little pumpkins make them a must-have accent for all your fall decorating.