Mother’s Day weekend is the traditional start of the plant shopping season. While this weekend’s weather may be unsettled, it won’t be cold. (And, we can all be grateful for that!) That means eager shoppers will be out selecting hanging baskets, pansies, petunias and other annuals to give as gifts to mom or just to plant in your own garden.
In addition to the retailers who will be open and eager to help gardeners, many garden clubs have plant sales this weekend. MSHS has a complete list of sales on its website. Here are a couple of tips for you as you plan your weekend shopping.
- Look for perennials that are NOT in bloom. It’s easy to be distracted by the gorgeous bleeding heart or the sweet rose that has been forced into bloom. And, if you want a spring blooming plant, go for it. But if you are looking for something to be in bloom in June, July, August or even September, look at the perennials that are not in bloom. Plan for season-long bloom and ask nursery personnel which plants will look pretty during the times you need more bloom.
- Don’t forget about shrubs and trees for bloom. The current issue of Northern Gardener has a great article by Eric Johnson about creating a parade of bloom from mid-April through the end of June using shrubs and small trees. Whether its a mass of old-fashioned lilacs or purple-foliaged ninebark, shrubs and trees have long-lasting impact in the garden. While they may be more expensive, shrubs and trees are investments in your landscape. They will continue to provide beauty for years and years with only minimal care.
- Read the watering instructions. This is especially important with trees and shrubs, but all plants will perform much better if you follow the instructions for watering and fertilizer. Once a perennial, shrub or tree is established, you can be less vigilant about watering.
- Give annuals the light they like. Most annuals — petunias, calibrachoas, geraniums — like fairly bright conditions. Again, check the plant tag to ensure you are giving annuals the light they need to thrive.
- MSHS members: Bring your membership card! More than 100 nurseries and garden centers around Minnesota are discount partners with MSHS. If you are a member, be sure to bring your membership card (or take a picture of it with your smartphone) and save some money!