Monday, February 10, 2020

Are Houseplants the New Black?



By Emily Weglein
February 3rd, 2020

Hello fellow plant lovers! It’s Emily, your soon to be 25-year-old here to discuss why millennials like myself are into purchasing and tending to houseplants over traditional home gardening. I have been working at Valley View Farms Garden Center and Nursery for a year now, and with working here comes a vast knowledge of how to care for plants along with which plants are best suited for your lifestyle.
These 3 plants that were purchased as terrarium plants flourish in this south-facing window

Many college students and recent college graduates live in smaller enclosed spaces such as apartments or dorm rooms. Urban living has also become a popular “home” destination among those who have completed university. The appeal of living within walking distance to any food joint or bar of your preference lures the younger generation in. The downside to apartment life is the lack of yard space that many who live in a single-family home have at their disposal. Because young adults do not have the space for a flower or vegetable garden, houseplants ring in as their only option for the chance of acquiring a green thumb.
Euphorbia trigona, a succulent houseplant, is showcased here

Many millennials use houseplants to decorate and bring natural color into their living areas. Houseplants are said to improve overall wellbeing by enhancing mood and promoting creativity. If anyone needs a boost of serotonin, it would be recent college graduates drowning in student debt. What better way to reduce stress than buying that cute little succulent you just saw your best friend post on their Instagram? With technology on the rise and the active use of mobile phones, trends tend to seemingly occur overnight. The houseplant trend has skyrocketed over the past couple of years thanks to social media platforms such as Instagram. Instagram is a public video and picture-sharing social network. From big magazine corporations like Better Homes and Gardens to local businesses such as Valley View Farms posting and promoting unique houseplants, no wonder college kids are interested in adding plant life to their space. If houseplants are the rage all over the internet, of course millennials will then follow by getting their hands on some.
Asparagus fern thrives on this windowsill
Some houseplants are harder to tend to than others. I like to stick to the basics, the ones that require as little care as possible but still look beautiful in your home. One of my favorites, and most popular among houseplant owners would be the Pothos plant. Pothos is a trailing vine with leaves that look like spades. Pothos requires a moderate amount of watering and can even grow in low light conditions. It is the perfect houseplant for people constantly on the go.
The pothos pictured above is starting to trail beautifully
Another great easy-to-care-for houseplant would be the Snake Plant! Snake Plants have a vibrant yellow outline along the leaves making the plant pop out in any room. Snake Plants are one of those plants that do best when you just leave them alone.
With its striking yellow edges. the Snake Plant shows off its vigor in the picture above
By placing them in indirect sunlight and watering once the soil has completely dried out, you will have a happy Snake Plant last for years.
Are you interested in purchasing some bright and colorful houseplants for your home? Check out Valley View Farms Garden Center and Nursery in Cockeysville, MD. We have a variety of houseplants in our Greenhouse that I’m sure will dress up your home in the happiest way possible! Check out and follow our Instagram page on the link below for updates on new plant arrivals!
Happy Planting,


Emily








               

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Seminars and Workshops 2020 Winter Edition

Learn and play with lots of houseplants as our workshops move indoors. Here is a list of events coming up in January and February. No need to sign up just yet. The classes are free to attend; if creating a planter, attendees will be charged for materials. Classes are on Saturdays unless noted otherwise.
Orchids and other houseplants will be featured this winter

January 25, 9 am Plant a Pot of Succulents Our locally grown plants are available in many shapes, textures and shades of blue and green. Plant up your own pot with Cindi's guidance. The average project price includes pot, soil and 5 succulents---$30.

January 25, 11 am Plant a Kokodama Ball  Plant a moss ball with a houseplant of your choosing, following Jen and Cindi's guidelines. We will place the plants in muck or soil, then wrap them in moss. The average price ---$15-$20.

February 1, 9 am Bonsai Care and Feeding is the subject of this month's bonsai class. Our leader, Martha, will also discuss propagation and our featured plant, Chamaecyparis.

February 1, 11 am Orchid Care and Repotting will be demonstrated by Eric. Bring in your own orchid and we will lend a helping hand. (one per attendee) A small fee will be charged for orchid potting mix.

February 8, 9 am Potted Gardens and Terrariums for Valentine's Day is a fun project for children and adults. We'll use heart-shaped leaves and red and pink flowers to create a themed planter. The average cost should be under $30.

February 8, 11 am  Mini Dish Gardens Workshop Cindi hosts this class on making a dish garden, sharing tips on designs and planting. Choose plants, moss, and containers for under $30.


February 15, 9 am Tillandsia Workshop Airplants have landed! Join Eric and Jen for some great project ideas using tillandsias. Then, make your own! Most tillandsias cost $3.99.

February 15, 11 am Steps to Repot a Houseplant Why, when, where and how to repot a houseplant are subjects covered in today's class. Bring in 1 plant that you'd like to have repotted, or watch as we re-home other plants.

February 22, 9 am What's New in Houseplants and Tropicals? Houseplants and tropicals plants are HOT! Learn about the new varieties coming to us from our Florida growers this year. Eric and Suzanne have returned from Florida with some fabulous information.

February 22, 11 am Fiddle-leaved Figs and other Fabulous Ficus Ficus continue to be popular with houseplant enthusiasts. Learn more about how to care from them from ficus expert Eric.

February 29, 9 am Monstera Mash-up Monsteras and other philodendrons are all the rage. Learn about this easy-to-grow group of plants. Eric will include tips on care and pruning.

February 29, 11 am Seed Starting Donna will teach us how and when to start seeds as we get ready for our vegetable and flower gardens. She will also direct us to our large seed selection to discuss how best to choose varieties perfect for our gardens.







Friday, December 27, 2019

New Year's Resolutions for Gardeners




Thank you to all of our customers, and all of the people who worked at Valley View Farms, for a successful and memorable 2019.
 The New Year is upon us and gardeners are busy plying through stacks of seed catalogs that have already arrived. We have a little time to sit and think about our gardens too. What should we resolve to do this year? Here is a suggested list garnered from friends and coworkers for 2020.

Winter
  • Visit Longwood Gardens. They're open all year, and, while spring and Christmas are the favorite times to visit, the quiet of winter in the gardens and in the conservatory allow us to slow down and look closely at individual plants and displays. Its the perfect stress reliever. 
  • Buy seeds for heirloom plants. 
  • Ask parents and grandparents what they planted in the garden. 
  • Visit your favorite garden center before the spring rush. 
  • Learn. Take in some seminars. Look for them here, Ladew Gardens, local Master Garden classes, Longwood Gardens, Cylburn Arboretum, and Horticulture Society of Maryland.
  • Invite a garden speaker to lunch at your business. 
  • Start a gardening journal. 
  • Join (or start) a garden club.  Reach out to Federated Garden Club of Maryland for clubs in your area. 
  • Add a compost bin to collect kitchen scraps to add to an outdoor compost pile later.
  • Exercise. Getting ready now will make gardening more enjoyable.

Spring
  • Plant one native plant. The National Wildlife Federation has a downloadable list for our region. 
  • Design and plant a container garden for vegetables. 
  • Buy one good pair of pruners and/or loppers. 
  • Plant blueberries for the fruit and fall color.
  • Have extra space? Plant perennial edibles like asparagus, horseradish, and rhubarb.
  • Try summer bulbs, like dahlias, gladiolus, and calla lilies.
  • Plant disease-resistant Beacon Impatiens and Imara impatiens in shady areas.
  • Try organic weed controls in the lawn and garden. 
  • Plant milkweed and other butterfly-attracting plants.
  • Plant some flowers for cutting. 
  • Get the GrowIt! app for sharing plant information on social media.

Summer
  • Install a rain barrel or two.
  • Water vegetable beds with drip irrigation.
  • Take some photos of your garden and those of your friends.
  • Try organic weed control in the lawn and garden.
  • Have a picnic out near your garden...vow to eat outside once a week. 
  • Manage the garden with a walk around it before or after work each day.
  • Cut flowers and put some in a vase.
  • Throw a garden party!
  • Plant some annuals for late summer and fall color.
  • Plant cool-weather vegetables in late summer for fall harvest. 

Fall
  • Seed and feed the lawn. The combination of warm soil temperatures and cool air temperatures make fall the perfect time to work on the lawn.
  • Compost the leaves or use the mower to shred them and leave them on the lawn. 
  • Plant trees and shrubs now. Consider plants to attract birds and other wildlife. 
  • Wait until the first frost, then plant bulbs like daffodils, hyacinths, alliums, frittalarias, and others that are deer resistant. 
  • Get the soil tested for pH (free at our store).
  • Put away shovels and other tools after cleaning them.
  • Evaluate your garden to see where improvements may be made. 
  • Rework the container plants with mums, pansies, ornamental cabbage and kale for fall color.
  • Add a birdfeeder to the garden.
  • Collect seed from flowers and vegetables for next year's garden. 
Okay, those are some resolutions for this year. We also resolve to have the best plants, from the best growers, with the best information available, for all of our customers. 
We at Valley View Farms wish everyone a Happy New Year. Thank you for allowing us to provide the products and advice to make gardening fun!


Sunday, December 8, 2019

Gifts for Gardeners 2019 Edition



We're gardeners at Valley View Farms. All ages, types, interests; some of us like container gardening, others have beautiful landscapes, some shaded, some not. A few do mash-ups of potted plants, fun sculptures, water gardens, and traditional landscaping. What we all have in common is that we love tools, gadgets, apparel, more plants and cool stuff for our garden. We're easy to shop for, but we've put a few things together that might make the perfect gift for your gardening friend.

  • Christmas ornaments----personalized. We love these! Plants, wheelbarrows, greenhouses, you name it!
  • Pruners and gloves; I'm always leaving them somewhere. Gloves have such cute patterns! Buying for a man?
    Every gardener needs pruners and gloves

  • Birding things, like feeders, cool birdbaths, and bat houses, are great add-ins to the garden to attract pollinators.
How about a bat house? Natures own insect control 

  • Gardening aids are used by this blogger who has bad knees, to say the least. Kneelers, seats, and ergonomic tools are very useful as we age.
Flip it over and it's a garden seat!
  • Bulbs, like amaryllis, are fun and a great way to instill confidence in a new gardener. Huge bulbs yield huge, gorgeous blooms in 4-8 weeks. Pair with a container for a lovely gift. 
  • Lights to grow all year long are wonderful gifts. Seed starting, propagating plants, and keeping existing plants happy are some useful ways to use lights!
Houseplant enthusiasts need these!
  • Garden apparel is always welcome. Keeping healthy by shielding oneself from the hot, summer sun is always a good idea. Pair with some Sloggers gardening shoes. Just hose them off after a day of gardening. 
  • Garden art, including fountains, statuary and wall hangings, are fun add-ons to the garden. Some are quirky, others, like the Japanese style pagoda, are classics. 
    Classic garden art
  • I love books about gardening. Timber Press offers a wide variety of gardening publications. 
  • Last, but certainly not least, gardeners love plants. This time of year, houseplants and holiday plants are the stars of the greenhouse. Our crew can help with selection, potting and customizing the perfect plant for a home or office. Or, consider a Valley View Farms Gift Card to give your favorite gardener one more reason to anticipate spring. 

Enjoy gift-giving this holiday season. And stop in to browse our Christmas Shop and all of our other departments for a fun, relaxing outing. We're open every day from 7am-9pm. 






















T

Friday, November 29, 2019

A Gift of Bonsai



 love watching bonsai go out the door as gifts during the Christmas season. It is so gratifying to see them grow, that the joy that I find in gardening, especially bonsai, is going to be shared and encouraged in another.
I also end up talking to many people in January who were given bonsai as gifts and have no idea how to care for them. So, let’s go over bonsai gift giving 101.

In this climate, there are indoor trees and outdoor trees. Bonsai is a growing style, not the name of the plant. Trees such as pines, junipers, and maples are outdoor trees. They need cold temperatures and will not thrive indoors, though they may live for a time.
Indoor trees, such as portulacaria, ficus, and bougainvillea, will not survive Maryland winter temperatures and must remain inside throughout the winter and early spring.

The best way to determine the light and water requirements of your tree is to know the plant material. Knowing the variety of trees will give you an idea of the amount of water and light the tree needs for optimal growth. Your tree may need more, or less than recommended, but you will learn that as you learn your tree. A little research, or a trip to your garden center, can help you identify the tree if you don’t already know.

A few other tips:

Place the tree and leave it. Every time you move it, the tree is forced to adapt to a new environment. The only way a tree can adapt is by growing new leaves, which means it will shed the old leaves.

Water thoroughly. You can water from the bottom: allow the pot to sit in water that comes about halfway up the side of the pot until the top of the soil is moist to the touch. Or, you can water slowly and gently from the top until water comes out the bottom.
               
Check before you water. Though the top of the soil is dry, underneath the soil may still be moist. Don’t be afraid to stick your finger in to check, or pick up a water meter to go with your tree.
               
Humidity is key to indoor plants. With the cold temperatures, we are turning up our heat and drying out the air. A humidity tray beneath the tree will increase the moisture in the air around the pot. Place small pebbles in a saucer and set your tree on the pebbles. Keep water in the pebbles but not touching the pot.

Finally, If you are not sure, why not try a gift card and make an outing of it. Attend a bonsai class, Valley View Farms has a free class every month except May, and then head out to our greenhouse and check out the stock. Spending more time together is always a great gift!
Jen Kostick, pictured below, is an avid bonsai enthusiast and today's guest blogger. 


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Thankful!

Thanksgiving is around the corner, and, like many, we find ourselves grateful for so much of what we have today. Following are the Top Ten Reasons We are Thankful!
Founders Billy and Punkey Foard, and Andy Foard, owner
Our founders, Punkey and Bill Foard  Fifty-seven years ago, the brothers opened the doors of a roadside market where they were able to sell produce grown at their family farm directly to the consumer. Today, Billy's son, Andy, is at the helm, extending their legacies

Spring aerial view of Valley View Farms
Our Cockeysville location This property seemed so far out in the country all those years ago. We love that it is the world headquarters of McCormick, Sinclair Broadcasting Group, and AAI. Gaming companies,  software corporations, and even small breweries call Cockeysville home. And scores of independent small businesses like us have settled in the area. It's no wonder that Wegman's, Proctor and Gamble and others saw the opportunities and moved branches of their businesses here to Cockeysville.

One of 12 greenhouses at the farm was rebuilt a few years ago
The Foard family farm Just 12.5 miles away, our farm greenhouses grow and deliver hundreds of thousands of plants here through the season.



Mason, Lisa' and Mark Hecklinger with our grower John Miller, and General Manager, Tim McQuaid
Our network of independent wholesale growers Mostly family-run, like us, our growers are the best! Many, like Hillcrest Nursery, Radebaugh Greenhouses, Babikow, Quality Greenhouses, Meehan's Miniatures, and Cavano's, are nearby. Others, like Hecklinger's Greenhouses, ship from Ohio, Still more from Florida, Ontario, and neighboring states. Some are first-generation, others have been in business for three or more, and all are committed to growing beautiful plants.


Beth Tfiloh Preschool presented us with this beautiful banner for our water garden area
Community support and involvement Whether it's local Girl Scout Troops, high school horticulture classes, or our partners in local media like WBAL, we are part of a larger Cockeysville, Baltimore County, and Maryland community that we are lucky to serve.


German Smokers; just add incense
Unique suppliers from around the globe Our Christmas Shop, Garden Center, Pottery department and other parts of our store are able to work with manufacturers, importers, and brokers worldwide.


Every Saturday in spring, these two have our 8 dozen donuts ready to pick-up at 5:30 am
Community services that keep our business running Our computer services, plumbers, greenhouse builders, electricians, truck painters, parking lot pavers, waste removal services, and others, keep our business moving ahead smoothly.

Our relationships Our local government, trade organizations like the MNLGA (Maryland Nursery, Landscape and Greenhouse Association), friends and mentors that we've learned from over the years, have helped us keep our focus.


Brian, Andy (owner) and Tim

Carrie, Andy, Sue, Kathy, and Scott
Long-time managers and employees Like second-generation owner Andy Foard, many of our managers have been here for DECADES! Some started while still in high school, others after college or after having gained experience with other companies.

The arrival of the Giant Pumpkin 2018.
Don't know who the little guy is...future employee?)
Ruth, Yelena, Nina, Joann and Cynthia of our Plant Dept.
The best employees anywhere! We have been lucky to have multi-generational employees from single families, retirees from other careers, high school and college 'kids', and people who want to learn and work at something they enjoy be a part of our team for years. And, what's really great is that they stay in touch and visit Valley View Farms with their families year after year.

We love our customers taking part in our seminars! Nice bonsai tree!

Snow on the trees...so festive!
Our customers The reason we still exist is thanks to our loyal customers, who, over the years have trusted us to bring them the goods and services we offer. Some people's names we know, others we know by sight. We've been a part of each other's lives for a long, long time. Thank you!

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Finding the Right Plants with Valley View Farms' Plant Finder


Do you know about the new feature on our website that will help gardeners find the right plant for the right place in their landscape? Take a tour through our Plant Finder, a fantastic tool and resource that gives gardeners one more great way to find that perfect plant.
Six of the 20 categories on Plant Finder
Look up, research, view photos and browse through pictures and descriptions of thousands of plants in over 20 categories. Know the common name, but not the botanical one? Plant Finder is here to help. Have an idea of the plant characteristics that will fit into the landscape? Enter them to create a list of suitable plants. Print a custom list and stop by our store in season to see, touch, feel and smell the plants. We will not have all the plants all the time; a phone call or visit will confirm if we have what you're looking for on a particular day. And, we get new plants all the time that may have not been updated on our Plant Finder.
We're crazy about signs. Every variety of annual, perennial, herb, houseplant, tree, shrub, vegetable, tropical plant, and water plant has a custom-made sign at Valley View Farms. 
Take a look at our fantastic signage in-store to get even more information and talk to our very knowledgeable staff to put it all together.
Ben is here to help, rain or shine
The gardening season may be ending, but the next several months is the perfect time to use Valley View Farms' Plant Finder to browse, learn and be inspired to plan and plant the landscape in Spring 2020! Try Plant Finder and tell us what you think.