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Crape Myrtles deliver showy summer flowers, attractive bark, and in many cases brilliant fall color, making them a year-round garden performer.

A Sioux Crape Myrtle with a honey beeSioux Crape Myrtle

This premier summer-flowering tree tolerates heat, humidity, drought, and does well in most soils as long as they are well drained. All crape myrtles bloom on new wood and should be pruned in winter or early spring. Crinkled, paper-like flowers in white or shades of pink, red, or purple are carried in dense clusters.

Tuscarora Crape Myrtle in bloom


Deciduous large shrub or small tree with profuse coral-pink flowers. Exquisite orange-red foliage color in the fall. Smooth, mottled, light cinnamon brown bark adds year-round interest. Use for accent or background, or the focal point of your front garden.

Catawba Crape Myrtle in bloom


Displays large, long lasting clusters of dark purple flowers. Handsome foliage has bronze cast in spring, bright green in summer, orange-red fall color. Mildew resistant.

Pink Velour Crape Myrtle in bloom

Pink Velour

Deep wine red leaves emerge in spring and age to dark purplish green, providing a striking contrast to vibrant pink summer flowers. Compact, multi-stemmed form is ideal for use as an accent shrub or small tree, in flowering borders or containers. Highly resistant to powdery mildew. Deciduous.

Sioux Crape Myrtle in bloom


With cold hardy Sioux Crape Myrtles your landscape will never have to be without color, especially with their dark pink flowers which enter a continuous blooming cycle that lasts into the fall. Sioux Crape Myrtles have very dark green leaves that create a radiant show of contrasting colors. Then in the fall the leaves turn unique shades of purple and red. The older brown bark peels away to reveal bright beige bark underneath. The older and younger barks intertwine on the trunk together to create a marbled look. Sioux Crape Myrtles are one of the toughest varieties available. Along with the ability to survive freezing temperatures they are also drought and heat tolerant. They also have a high level of resistance against pests and diseases. Not even poor soil can stop the Sioux Crape Myrtle from flourishing with tons of color and over 100 days of blooms.

Dynamite Crape Myrtle in bloom


Attractive ornamental shrub or small tree with smooth, peeling bark. Showy, ruffled, fiery red flowers followed by vibrant orange-red fall foliage. Excellent specimen or plant in groups for an explosion of color in the landscape and year-round interest. Deciduous.

Crape Myrtle Pruning Tips

Encourage the natural form of the Crape Myrtle. Aggressive pruning only encourages the growth of spindly, whip-like branches that are too weak to hold their bloom. So instead, use hand pruners and loppers, and shorten the topmost branches by 2-3 feet in late winter, always cutting back to a side branch or bud, and you can enjoy this beauty for years to come.

If you are looking to attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden, the following perennials are a perfect additions. With a little deadheading of spent blooms, these will continue to flower throughout the summer.

June 20-26 is National Pollinator Week, and what a better way to celebrate than adding flowers that welcome our pollinator friends to your garden. Whether it’s Phlox or Coreopsis, there is pollinator-friendly plant that’s perfect for your style and taste. Here are a few of our favorites.

'Funfare Orange' Cape Fuchsia'Funfare Orange' Cape Fuchsia

Cape Fuchsia

  • Tubular Flowers are nectar sources for Hummingbirds & bees
  • Flowers available in orange, coral, red & yellow
  • Plant in full sun or a little shade in late afternoon
Tall Phlox'Flame Coral' Tall Phlox

Tall Phlox

  • Clusters of flowers in pink, coral, blue and purple
  • Loved by butterflies, bees and Hummingbirds
  • Nice for fresh Bouquets too
  • Plant in full sun or a little shade in the afternoon
Coreopsis'Sienna Sunset' Coreopsis


  • Daisy shaped flowers in array of colors from solid pink to burgundy and white, lemon yellow, golden yellow and apricot
  • Flowers loved by bees and butterflies
  • Leave last of the flowers heads on for seeds for fall feed for the birds.
  • Birds will seek out the seedheads
  • Coreopsis Common name is Tickseed.
Poker Plant'Lemon Popsicle' Poker Plant

Poker Plant

  • Spikes of flowers in Shades of yellow, peach and red
  • Flowers loved by Hummingbirds
  • Plant in full sun
  • Drought tolerant after planted 1 year
  • Grassy-like foliage is a nice garden texture even when flowers are not in bloom
Crocosmia'Lucifer' Crocosmia


  • Flowers are Hummingbird Magnets
  • Plant Crocosmia in many parts of your garden so the Hummers don't get too territorial!
  • Tubular shaped flowers in deep orange, red or gold
  • Leave seedheads on for Fall Interest
  • Plant in full sun

With a warm summer predicted, every gardener starts to think about watering and water consumption. Depending on your watering habits and your choice of plants, your actual water usage can vary greatly. Some great water wise options come from the Perennial family.

June is Perennials Gardening Month

Perennials are drought tolerant after at least 1 year of being planted in the ground. For perennials planted now, make sure they get ample irrigation this summer and next, and add compost when planting to ensure good drainage.

Here are a few of our favorite water-wise perennials:

blooming lavender


Lavender fills the early-summer garden with sensory delights: beautiful purple-tone blooms atop foliage that oozes fragrance on a sunny afternoon. Every part of the plant is infused with aromatic oil, making this a choice herb to place along pathways or near outdoor seating areas so you can savor the fragrance. The darker the flower, the more intense the aroma -- and the flavor in cooking. Drought, heat, and wind-tolerant, lavender doesn't like poor drainage, waterlogged soil, or high humidity. After flowering, trim back plants to induce bushiness and subsequent bloom. Avoid cutting plants back to the ground. Dried blooms retain fragrance for a long time; crush dried flowers to release aromatic oils anew.

  • Loves the sun
  • Butterflies & hummingbirds drink the nectar
  • English lavender is great for culinary uses
  • Use in fresh or dried flower bouquets
  • Deer resistant!
close-up photo of Hens and Chicks

Hens & Chicks

From dark burgundy, to green with burgundy tips, to grey-blue, Hens & Chicks come in many colors. They are great for stone walls and crevices because they only require a small amount of soil volume. You’ll have many chicks which can be propagated by removing these offsets and potting them. Individual Sempervivum grows a star-shape flower, but there are cobweb varieties also. Allow them to dry slightly between waterings, as overwatering can cause rotting. Water very little during winter dormancy.

  • Perfect for small hot and dry areas in your garden
  • Assortment of shapes and colors and sizes
  • Great for containers and wall art too!

Groundcover Sedums

Tall Sedum & Groundcover Sedum

Sedum is a perennial with thick, succulent leaves, fleshy stems, and clusters of star-shaped flowers. There are many types of sedums, such as low–growing varieties for ground covers and tall varieties for back borders. There are few plants more forgiving of sun and bad soil than sedum plants. When growing sedum, keep in mind that sedum plants need very little attention or care. They will thrive in conditions that many other plants thrive in, but will do just as well in less hospitable areas. They are ideal for that part of your yard that gets too much sun or too little water to grow anything else. A common name for sedum is stonecrop, due to the fact that many gardeners joke that only stones need less care!

Tall Sedum

  • Assortment of foliage and late season flower colors
  • Flowers are loved by butterflies and bees
  • Leave faded flowers on for fall interest
  • Nice for fresh bouquets

Groundcover Sedums

  • Perfect for filler plants for hot and dry areas in your garden
  • Assortment of shapes and colors and sizes
  • Great for containers too
beautiful red Yarrow blooms


While often sold as a flowering perennial, yarrow plant is actually an herb. Whether you decide to grow yarrow in your flower beds or in your herb garden, it’s still a lovely addition to your yard. Yarrow care is so easy that the plant is virtually care-free. Yarrow has many uses as an herb. It is commonly used as a medicinal herb that can treat the bleeding of minor wounds, swollen or cramping muscles, reducing fever, or to help with relaxation. On the non-medicinal side, yarrow herb is an astringent and makes a good facial wash or shampoo. Whether you grow yarrow as a decorative plant or an herb, you can be sure that it will add beauty and interest to your garden.

  • Sturdy plants for sunny gardens
  • Assortment of flower colors, Red, Violet, Yellow & Terra Cotta
  • Deer resistant!

Butterflies love the flowers, birds love the seeds, and we love the generous long lasting bouquets.

Pink Echinacea for Perennial Gardening Month

It's hard to imagine a sunny perennial border without Echinacea! It is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants in the daisy family - Asteraceae. It is also known as the American coneflower, and it’s easy to grow in almost any sunny location.

Echinacea was commonly used for its medicinal properties by Native Americans for hundreds of years before the arrival of European explorers. It is endemic to eastern and central North America and thrives in moist to dry prairies and open woodlands.


  • Produces big, bright flowers from late June until frost
  • They love the heat and sunshine of summer
  • Great pollinators -- Birds and Butterflies love Echinacea
  • Blooms work well both cut and/or dried
  • Equally at home in formal borders or cottage gardens
  • Large assortment of flower color and flower shapes

Here are a few of our favorites, available now at Al's!

Pow Wow White Echinacea bloomsPow Wow® White

Pow Wow® White

Big, pure white flowers with yellow-gold centers brighten the garden from early summer to fall. Forms a neat, compact mound with sturdy upright stems that need no deadheading. Perfect for beds, mixed borders and containers. Drought tolerant once established.

Pow Wow Wild Berry bloomPow Wow® Wild Berry

Pow Wow® Wild Berry

Wild Berry is enjoyed for its long season of bloom, compact habit and bright rose-pink, non-fading flowers. This unique Echinacea produces showy, blooms that last throughout the summer, even without deadheading. Pow Wow® Wild Berry puts out more flowers than any other Coneflower variety.

Double Scoop Bubble Gum Echinacea bloomsDouble Scoop™ Bubble Gum

Double Scoop™ Bubble Gum

These echinaceas are absolutely unbeatable for flower power! They are well branched, which means more flowers all season. They do not need to be deadheaded to set new buds, so the flowers just keep coming! They have a compact habit, so they are perfect in containers. What more could you want?

Double Scoop Cranberry Echinacea bloomDouble Scoop™ Cranberry

Double Scoop™ Cranberry

Double flower forms in a rich cranberry red color. This variety has very strong stems.

This beautiful flower is also known as the Princess lily or the dwarf Peruvian lily.

Alstoemerias for Perennial Gardening Month

These throaty tufts of flowers are long bloomers, and provide Hawaii-like intense color that attracts bumble bees and hummingbirds alike. There is a unique way to harvest flowers or deadhead once your alstoemerias has bloomed. Simply snap the flower stalk off at the base of the plant. Alstoemerias send up flower stems quicker than if you just trimmed it back with scissors.


  • Flowers bloom late May to September
  • Full sun to a little afternoon shade
  • Unique way to harvest flowers or deadhead for more blooms
  • Makes a beautiful cut flowers
Red Inca Bandit Alstoemeria bloom

Inca Bandit

Inca Bandit is well named... Take care or he will steal your heart! Valentine red blooms with enticing black whiskers are plentiful all spring and summer, and keep going right into fall. Don't forget the lush emerald foliage, so handsome even without blooms. Be sure to pull rather than cut the stems you bring into your vase. Pulling alstroemeria stems gets them reblooming much faster than when the stems are cut.

Purple Inca Nobel Alstoemeria bloom

Inca Noble

A purple blooming dwarf alstroemeria that performs just as well as any pink! If you love rich shades of purple and violet, but only have time or patience for plants that produce a lot of blooms with little care - Alstroemeria noble is the one for you! Velvety purple petals shade nearly to black, with a white spotlight and a spray of black whiskers. Expect months of blooms in return for good growing conditions. Perfect for containers, window boxes, patios and balconies.

White Inca Lucky Alstoemeria bloom

Inca Lucky

This vivacious alstroemeria makes you fall in love all over again! Lush, tropical foliage forms a handsome mound, with plentiful stems rising just 8-12", loaded with magenta buds. The blooms open to petals of clearest white, with throats of luscious salmon pink, and fetching green brushes at their tips. Just the barest freckling and you will feel lucky with these blooms gracing your garden or your vase.

We've had a long love affair with Star Jasmine. This vine is covered with small white, star or pinwheel shaped flowers, that make your garden smell absolutely heavenly.

Staked Star Jasmine Vine
Close-up of a Star Jasmine bloom

Whether you know it by its common name Star Jasmine, Chinese Jasmine, Trader's Compass, Chinese Ivy or Confederate Jasmine, the result is the same. I have an involuntary need to take in a deep breath, in hopes of capturing the memory of that sweet smell forever.

Hardy and robust, this flowering beauty appreciates full sun to partial shade and will tolerate high heat as well as temperatures as low as -10 degrees. Adaptable to most soil types, Star Jasmine is moderately drought-tolerant and practically maintenance-free.

Star Jasmine is considered a night-bloomer, with blossoms opening up in the early evening when temperatures cool down. Plant the jasmine in containers where trailing vines can gently spill over the side. Since this vine is very versatile it can be trained to grow up a trellis or similar structure. Star Jasmine are especially nice near your front door, to great your visitors.

Consider planting this vine on an open pergola to create an irresistible, shaded retreat. With Star Jasmine, you can transform your outdoor living space into an exotic vacation destination.


  • Average water needs, water regularly
  • Prefers full sun, or sun to partial shade
  • 15’ – 20’ feet in height
  • Bloom time is mid spring, or late spring/early summer
  • Hardy to -10 degrees

This showy shrub will have your neighbors stopping and asking “What is that?”

Peppermint Mountain Laurel bloomsPeppermint Mountain Laurel
Nipmuck Mountain Laurel

Their pentagonal-shaped blossoms have a unique architectural structure. Their buds almost look like berries until they bloom, and then become little origami-like blossoms.

The Mountain laurel is closely related to azaleas and rhododendrons. It grows in a large, rounded mound and has dark green foliage that remains all year. In late spring, it bears huge clusters of flowers in combinations of pink, red and white.


  • Mountain laurel needs soil with an acidic pH.
  • It prefers ground that's moist, well-drained, and high in organic matter.
  • Amend average soil with compost, before planting.
  • Mountain laurel tolerates full sun in moist soil
  • It does better in partial shade if the soil tends to get dry.

Because it likes acidic soil, we recommend fertilizing with Espoma’s® Holly-tone. Just mix the granular fertilizer into the soil to encourage healthy growth. This slow-release fertilizer is perfect for extended feeding.

Stop into any Al's to see a great selection of Mountain laurel varieties - blooming now!

Pink Charm Mt. Laurel bloomsPink Charm
Minuet Mt. Laurel bloomsMinuet
Keepsake Mt. Laurel bloomsKeepsake
Heart's Desire Mt Laurel bloomsHeart's Desire
Freckles Mt. Laurel bloomsFreckles
Carousel Mt. Laurel bloomsCarousel
Peppermint Mt. Laurel bloomsPeppermint
Bullseye Mt. Laurel bloomsBullseye
Big Boy Mt. Laurel bloomsBig Boy

Whether it’s blue or pink, or somewhere in between, there is nothing like a Hydrangea to get your attention in the garden.

pink and blue 'LA Dreamin Hydrangea bloomsThese 'LA Dreamin" Hydrangeas offer a beautiful mix of the pink and blue hues.

Here are four of our favorite Hydrangeas - available now at Al's!

blue 'Rhythmic Blue' Hydrangea bloomLet's Dance 'Rhythmic Blue'

Hydrangea Let's Dance ‘Rhythmic Blue’

From the popular reblooming, mophead Let's Dance series, ‘Rhythmic Blue' has an attractive habit of wilt-resistant foliage that forms a tidy, 2- to 3-foot-high and wide mound. The flowers are held on strong, sturdy stems that are perfect for both fresh and dried arrangements. It blooms on both old and new wood, and is a wonderful choice for containers or along borders to bring intense summer color to your landscape!

  • Garden Height: 24 - 36 inches
  • Spread: 24 - 36 inches
'Blue Jangles' Hydrangea bloomHydrangea Let's Dance 'Blue Jangles'

Hydrangea Let's Dance ‘Blue Jangles’

Also from the Let's Dance series, ‘Blue Jangles’ is a new color for this series with rich blue mophead flowers on compact plants. Its sturdy structure is great for containers or your garden bed. It’s blue color will be most intense in acidic soils.

  • Garden Height: 24 - 36 inches
  • Spread: 24 - 36 inches
deep blue 'LA Dreamin' Hydrangea bloomHydrangea 'LA Dreamin'

Hydrangea ‘LA Dreamin’

Summer through fall, ‘L.A. Dreamin' will delight gardeners and onlookers with three gorgeous shades of blooms in deep pink, deep blue, and a lovely mauve combination of the two. Huge blooms are set off against shiny, bright green foliage that is nearly translucent when back lit by sunlight.

  • Garden Height: 24 - 30 inches
  • Spread: 30 - 36 inches
Pink 'Oregon Pride' Hydrangea bloomHydrangea 'Oregon Pride'

Hydrangea ‘Oregon Pride’

‘Oregon Pride' bears mophead-type clusters of large raspberry pink flowers on showy burgundy-red stems. The flowers age to grayish mauve.

  • Garden Height: 5 - 6 feet
  • Spread: 5- 6 feet

Hydrangeas prefer well-drained soil, and like to be fed a general all-purpose fertilizer like Al’s All Natural and Organic Slow Release 8-2-4 Fertilizer before spring growth.

When it comes to growing tomatoes, deciding which variety to grow can often be the hardest part. There are thousands of varieties of tomatoes out there, and many different ways to enjoy them. Whether you are canning, making sauce or eating your tomatoes fresh by the slice, there is a tomato variety out there that is suited to your needs.

a ripe Big Beef tomatoBig Beef Tomato

Best Canning Varieties

Big Beef

It is extra meaty with a real ''homegrown'' flavor and just the right balance of sugars and acids. Produces extra large ''beefy'' fruit.


Most are pink or red with numerous small seed compartments distributed throughout the fruit, sometimes displaying pronounced ribbing similar to ancient pre-Columbian tomato cultivars.

two Roma Tomatoes on the vineRoma Tomato

Best Sauce and Paste Varieties

Heirloom San Marzano

These tomatoes are perfect for canning due to their firm texture, dark red color and sweet flavor. They also don't produce many seeds, making them perfect for making sauces and pastes. They are a very high yielding variety, and they love the heat.


Roma tomatoes are very common and perfect for canning and making tomato paste. They are slender, firm, meaty and have few seeds. They are easy to grow, produce tons of fruit and won't take up too much space in your garden.

Best Slicing Varieties

a large Dorothy's Delight Tomato on the vineDorothy's Delight Tomato

Dorothy’s Delight

There are only two things money can’t buy, the first is true love and the second is a homegrown tomato. Dorothy’s Delight is a nice meaty tomato that doesn’t run all over your plate when you slice it. The only way to eat it is fresh. They are named after Jack’s neighbor Dorothy - her family had been handing the seeds down for 90 years.

Early Girl

A tasty, dependable tomato for short growing seasons, because it ripens earlier than most other tomatoes. It grows indeterminate (tall) vines that will benefit from some type of staking or caging.

Heirloom Brandywine

two ripe Heirloom Brandywine TomatoesHeirloom Brandywine Tomato

The Brandywine tomato is a popular Amish heirloom tomato known for its rich "tomatoey" flavor. This widely grown variety has a cult following even though it is one of the slowest growing with a maturity of 80 to 90 days. It is an indeterminate that needs to be staked or caged. Its reddish-pink fruit are large.

Best Snacking Varieties

small yellow Sun Sugar Tomatoes on the vineSun Sugar Tomato

Sweet Million

This variety produces huge clusters of sweet bite-sized fruit all summer long. They are easy to grow and are very resistant to diseases and cracking on the vine.

Sun Sugar

Possibly the ultimate in cherry tomatoes! Superb flavor and texture with a tangy TRUE tomato taste with a new level of sugary sweetness. Weighing in only at 1/2 oz per fruit with thin skins that are crack resistant, even in heavy rains. Very vigorous!


Pearly round or plum-shaped, tangy or sweet, red or gold, cherry tomatoes top off summer salads, sweeten party trays, and make great treats for healthy kids.


Early - even earlier than Early Girl. And in Jack’s opinion, the best tasting!

Yellow Pear

Great for snacking and culinary use due to its unique yellow color

It's hard to narrow down your favorite tomato varieties; the only way to find out is to grow them yourself! Growing tomatoes isn't always a picnic, but with a little luck and some proper care, your tomatoes will thrive!

If you want to maximize your yields with any variety of tomato, it's important to fertilize. Espoma's® Tomato Tone is an organic tomato fertilizer that contains all the nutrients your tomatoes needs including calcium, which prevents blossom end rot.

There's nothing better than adding perennials to your garden. With a little planning you'll have color all summer long! Here are a few of our favorites, in bloom now at Al's.

a field of Spanish LavenderSpanish Lavender

Spanish Lavender (Assorted Varieties)

Flower colors in shades lavender and pink. The flower spikes with distinctive top petals. Spanish lavenders bloom on and off from spring to late summer. Makes a nice cut flower and butterflies love Lavender.

  • Full Sun
  • Heights vary, please check the plant tag
  • Drought tolerant after planted in the ground for 1 year
  • Needs good drainage.
  • Remove spent flowers as needed.
  • Trim foliage to a neat mounding shape.
  • If trimming foliage, don’t shear back to the ground.
  • Hardy to 10° F
pink Erysimum bloom

‘Bowles Mauve’ Wallflower (Erysimum)

Mauve-purple flower spikes bloom from late April through Fall. This perennial blooms its little heart out even in mild winters! Butterflies love this flower.

  • Full sun or PM shade
  • Height 18-24 inches
  • Regular irrigation
  • Drought tolerant after planted in the ground for 1 year.
  • Needs good drainage.
  • Trim back blooms as needed.
  • If trimming foliage, don’t shear back to the ground.
  • Hardy to 0° F
pink Foxglove blooms

‘Dalmatian Mix’ Foxglove Digitalis

Spikes of flower colors in shades of cream, peach, lavender and pink. Butterflies and hummingbirds love Foxglove, and it’s deer resistant.

  • Sun or PM Shade
  • Height 16-20 inches
  • Bloom time is mid to late spring.
  • Trim back spent flowers and second small flower spikes will bloom.
  • Hardy to -20° F