Hello again friends,
By this point, you've probably picked up some plants for the garden, be they annuals, perennials, veggies, &c. So, let's talk about how to get those comfortably into the ground and keep them happy all season long.
Hopefully, the first thing you considered when buying your plants was light. Here's a quick breakdown of different light levels and how they translate to necessary hours of sun.
Shade: Speaking generally, shade translates to three to four hours of sun, preferably morning sun. Three hours is the minimum amount needed for flowering plants. Any less than that can only really sustain foliage. Fortunately, we also carry annuals with vibrant foliage, which can provide vivid color in the absence of flowers.
Part sun, part shade: Plants described thusly will thrive in four to six hours of sun, and it's important to heed by this instruction. Certain plants, like Endless Summer Bloomstruck Hydrangea (one of our most popular items) will experience serious stress and wilt if they get more than 6 hours of direct sun.
Full Sun: Plants that need full sun will do their best in six or more hours of direct sun. Often tropical plants like Mandevilla and Hibiscus love bright, sunny enviroments.
It's also good to keep in mind that afternoon sun is stronger than morning sun, so sun from 7:00 AM to 11:00 AM is very different than sun from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM. Of course, our Garden Center team is always on hand to help your figure out what will thrive in your garden, but it's good to take note of what kind of light you have when shopping for plant material.
Depth & Spacing:
As far as getting the plants into the ground, it's best to dig a hole twice as wide as the container in which the plant comes, but only as deep. Sinking a plant too deep into the ground will cause problems with its development. Then you want to apply our Coast of Maine Quoddy compost blend liberally when filling the hole. You can then mulch around the plant to keep moisture in and suppress weeds.
Be sure to give plants room to breathe, and grow as well. Heed the grower's tags, or consult with one of our team to see how large a plant will become, and plant accordingly. If, for example, a plant will grow to three feet tall by three feet wide, you can figure that the plant will probably extend one and a half feet from its center on any side. So, that imaginary plant would need two to three feet of space between itself and other plants. Often, grower's tags will also have spacing requirements printed, but in the case that they do not, it's a simple calculation.
Food & Water:
By way of feeding, you want to take that on a case by case basis. I know that when I planted my David Austin Garden Roses, I fed them with Rosetone immediately, because they were new to my garden, and the soil needed some enriching anyway. Shrubs generally require feeding with a product like Biotone every six weeks until August, and then feeding has to stop so no new growth crops up before frost. Otherwise, it's best to consult with our garden center experts so that you know exactly what organic Espoma product to apply, and when to apply it. We've mentioned this before, but organic fertilizers are preferable to synthetic, because they nourish and condition the soil in the long term, as opposed to working as a quick fix.
Of course, all life demands water, and that includes our gardens. Newly situated plants will always require a good deal more water than older plants, in order to help them establish themselves. In the words of Noel, the director of our Outdoor Garden Center, "Nothing is drought-resistant in the first year." As the days get warmer, it will be very important to check in daily with any new plantings. Check the soil for moisture, and water well as needed.
So, thanks for reading, friends! and good luck in the garden! We wish you all green thumbs and bounty. If anything goes awry, just give us a call, or stop in. We'll do our best to help you out, and keep your garden gorgeous.
Justin Lievano works in the Flower Shop at McArdle's, but he loves a garden party, which can't really happen without a beautiful garden.
PS, Congratulations to all graduating High School seniors! We've seen a number of you come in for Corsages and Boutonnieres for prom, or for bouquets to be given at graduation. To those we've gotten to see in person and those we have not, we wish you the best. The world before you is rich with opportunity, so reach out and grab hold. Good luck to you all!