Monday, June 28, 2010

PLANT OF THE WEEK: Panama Pacific Tropical Water Lily


Tropical water lilies offer fragrance and beauty to the water garden all summer long. Varieties like Panama Pacific, introduced in the United States in 1914, bloom in a reddish-purple color not available in hardy lilies. Their stems extend up from the water's surface. The flower's yellow stamens contrast nicely with the purplish petals. The Panama Pacific's bronze-green leaves float on the pond, showing off it's saw-toothed edges.
The Panama Pacific is just one of the many water lilies blooming now in our ponds at Valley View Farms. Our large, informal pond has a gorgeous lotus just starting to open. The display ponds are located at the end of our entrance and are surrounded by an incredible butterfly garden.
We offer seminars in the spring and fall for water garden enthusiasts. Check our seminar schedule for more information.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

PLANT OF THE WEEK: Tropical Hibiscus


Sizzling hot hibiscus colors mirror the temperatures outside this June in Maryland. Shipped to us from southern Florida, hibiscus thrive in our hazy, hot and humid summer environment. Treated as annuals or overwintered indoors as tropical houseplants, hibiscus put us in a Caribbean state of mind. It's no wonder it is often calls 'The Queen of the Tropics'.
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is the perfect companion to patio pots, poolside containers and sidewalk cafes. The flowers are everblooming with proper care. They'd love to have four or more hours of sun, although on extraordinarily hot days, hibiscus would enjoy an afternoon respite. Flowers last a day or two, but are quickly replaced with new ones. Hibiscus will bloom less in the winter with reduced light availability,
Hibiscus do well with regular watering. They do not like to dry to the point of wilt as the leaves will yellow and buds may drop off. In pots, make sure the soil drains well and do not allow the pot to sit in a saucer of water for more that several minutes. Outside, use pot feet to keep pots elevated from solid concrete and stone patios to allow for good drainage.
Fertilize during the growing season. Let hibiscus rest and discontinue feeding from late November to early March. Bring plants indoors before the first frost and treat them like houseplants.
Hibiscus are available in several shapes and sizes. Small plants are great for tabletops and windowsills. Larger tree-like standards make superb focal points at entrance ways.
Can't get away this summer? Bring the tropics to you with a gorgeous, blooming hibiscus.

Friday, June 11, 2010

GROWING GARDEN READY PLANTS





We look forward to new plants arriving everyday at Valley View Farms. Many of our plants, including annuals, hanging baskets and vegetables, are grown in our own greenhouses at the Foard family farm in Hydes, MD. We are lucky to have a facility and dedicated growers working year round to bring great plants to our store.
Each season, we meet to adjust our growing schedule and variety offerings. The order will be tweaked as we visit plant trials in our region to see how plants grow in real world conditions.
"Growing our own" is just one of the many ways we strive to offer the best plants for area gardeners. Our managers and buyers visit growers weekly to keep our greenhouse,water gardens, perennial area and nursery full of healthy plants chosen with care for gardens throughout our region. Gardeners can continue to grow all of the plants knowing that they will perform well in their yards, patio pots and landscapes.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

PLANT OF THE WEEK: Black & Blue Salvia



Pictured above: Salvia guaranitica 'Black & Blue'

Black & Blue salvia has rapidly become a favorite among area gardeners. This annual plant sports large, cobalt blue flowers above dark green velvety leaves that bloom all summer long. Its growth is vigorous and the Black & Blue is extraordinarily heat tolerant. The flowers grow upright on well-branched plants,allowing hummingbirds easy access to the nectar. Hummingbirds LOVE this salvia! I've enjoyed watching them dodge one another other to gain an advantage in reaching the flowers.
In addition to attracting hummingbirds, Black & Blue, like most salvias, also attracts butterflies. As an added bonus, salvias are deer resistant.
Plant Black & Blue salvias in full sun. Space plants about 12-18" apart, closer in pots and window boxes. They will grow to 24-30" tall in a terrific mounding habit.
Valley View Farms grows the Black & Blue Salvia in two pot sizes for spring and summer planting. It is just one of many beautiful and fragrant salvias, both annual and perennial,to grow in the garden.
Stop by Valley View Farms to pick up our informative handouts on gardening to attract hummingbirds and butterflies as well as our list of deer resistant plants.