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Forsythia are among the first plants of spring to burst forth in flower. While forsythia bushes are easy to care for, there are a few things you can do to help them perform their very best. With proper care, your forsythia plant will reward you with a brilliant display of yellow flowers.

close up of forsythia bloom
bag of Espoma Plant-tone
  • Forsythias enjoy full sun. Make sure your forsythia bush gets at least six hours of sunlight a day.
  • Grow in well draining soil.
  • Mulching will make sure that moisture is retained in the soil, and weeds are reduced.
  • Forsythias should receive at least 2 inches of water a week.
  • Use Espoma’s® Organic Plant Tone® All Purpose Plant Food once every month during the growing season. Do not fertilize them in the fall and winter.
  • Forsythia bushes should be pruned yearly. Without pruning, these fast growing shrubs can quickly get overgrown. The best time to prune shrubs is right after the forsythia has finished blooming.
full forsythia bush

Forsythia ‘Lynwood Gold’

‘Lynwood Gold’ Forsythias will produce an abundance of bright yellow flowers... signaling to everyone that spring has arrived. This shrub gives you it’s floral display first, and then its deep green foliage is nothing short of amazing especially in autumn. You get another showing of fabulous color in the fall, when its leaves turn bright yellow with a hint of orange and red.

Height 8’, Width 8’

Forsythia ‘Spring Glory’

Showy, rounded shrub that explodes in brilliant masses of yellow flowers. Use as a background shrub or as an accent in your perennial garden. Upright grower, excellent when used as a screen. Deciduous.

Height 8’, Width 8’


While we like her glossy green leaves and ornamental black berries – it’s the fragrance that keeps us coming back to Sarcococca. She is definitely a star in winter.

close-up of a sarcococca bloom

Also known as Sweet Box, she is ideal for planting near a doorway so her fragrant white flowers can great your visitors. This woodland shrub grows particularly well in shady areas under trees, and is very easy to grow. Saracococca tolerates a wide range of soil conditions, and is a slow grower with a tidy habit, making her a good choice for background foliage or hedges.

the dark blue berries of the sarcococca bush

Himalayan Sarcococca:

Sarcococoa hookerriana ‘Humilis’

  • Black berries with glossy green foliage
  • Fragrant white rounded flower clusters
  • AM Sun / Shade, no afternoon sun
  • Height 1’-2’, Width 3’
  • Hardy to 0 F

If you love roses or just wanted to try your hand at roses for the first time, now is the best time to purchase if you want to enjoy the biggest selection of the season.

a hedge of Knock Out Roses

Our Knock Out® Family of Roses are easy to grow and don't require special care. Plant them individually among shrubs, annuals and perennials in mixed beds and borders. Plant them in large groups to create a colorful hedge or along a foundation to provide a bright border. For best performance, we recommend cutting them back every year in early spring after the last threat of frost has passed.

  • Low maintenance
  • Blooms from spring to frost
  • Full sun
  • Zones: 5-11
  • Size: 3-4' w x 3-4' h

A very unusual Daphne relative that bears fragrant, bright yellow flowers on bare stems in winter. Sometimes called yellow Daphne, it’s definitely a collector plant. Each 1″ plus bud resembles an intricately designed tassel on the corner of an elegant Victorian pillow.

beautiful yellow blooms of the edgeworthia bush

Edgeworthia is native to China and was named for Michael Edgeworth, a plant collector for the East India Company. In China, its bark is used to produce very high quality paper and for various medicinal purposes. Here it is an unusual and elegant four seasons ornamental.

Also called the Paper Bush, The leaves cluster at the tips of the branches giving the shrub a decidedly lush and tropical appearance that really stands out in the garden. When the leaves drop, they reveal the slender and pliable reddish-brown bark.

My favorite season for edgeworthia is winter after the leaves have dropped, and the buds have formed. The falling leaves also reveal edgeworthia’s striking architectural habit. It is a multi-stemmed shrub that forms an almost perfectly rounded umbrella shape. Beautiful.

close up of an edgeworthia bloom

Care Instructions:

  • Full shade to partial sun (East side)
  • Regular watering until established
  • Perfect for a dappled shade garden
  • Grows to 6-10 feet tall, and 6-10 feet wide over 10 years

Spring is fast approaching and now is the time to start thinking about designing your vegetable garden. Not sure where to begin? Here are some simple tips to help get you started.

vegetables growing in a garden bed

1 Measure the area that you're going to use for your garden. Don't be afraid to think outside the "box" - vegetable gardens can be any shape you want: round, curved, L-shaped, as well as the traditional rectangular plot.

a sketch planning a garden layout

2 Make a simple sketch of your garden on some graph paper. Drawing it to scale will help you figure out how many plants you can actually fit in the space. Start at 1:50, where every inch of paper = 4 ft. of garden space. You can adjust the scale up or down depending on how big your garden is.

3 Make a list of what you'd like to grow and how many of each plant you'd like to have.

4 Calculate how much space the plants will take up. Each plant or seed packet will provide spacing information so you can determine how big they will get. One of the most common problems people experience in vegetable gardening is overcrowding, which diminishes yields and increases the risk of disease. Taking the time to figure out what will actually fit will make your garden more successful.

5 Start drawing vegetables on your garden sketch. Use circles to represent individual plants and rows to represent direct sown items like carrots, beets, and radishes. Remember, it doesn't have to be perfect! The goal is to get a rough idea of how many plants you can actually fit in your garden.

6 Place plants thoughtfully - put taller plants on the north or northwest side of the garden so they won't shade other plants. Medium height plants should go in the middle, and shorter plants should go on the south side of the garden. This will maximize sun exposure and air flow in the garden.

Main Garden Catagories

  • Cole Crops (Cabbage Family) Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kale
  • Cucurbits (Cucumber Family) Cucumbers, Gourds, Pumpkins, Squash, Watermelon
  • Solanaceous (Tobacco Family) Egglpant, Peppers, Tomatoes
  • Legumes (Pea Family) Beans, Peas

7 Crop rotation can prevent a buildup of soil-borne pests and diseases specific to one type of crop that can occur when the same type of plants are grown in the same spot year after year. Group plants by their category and rotate where you plant each category in the garden (see right).

8 Place perennial vegetables or herbs (artichoke, asparagus, rhubarb, etc.) in their own bed or in the corner of the garden so they are not disturbed when other vegetables are cultivated.

9 Vining plants like cucumbers and squash can take up a lot of space in the garden. Growing them on trellises or supports not only saves space, but also adds visual interest and makes harvesting easier.

10 Take notes! Keep a record of planting times, harvest times, successes and failures, so planning the garden next year becomes even easier.


Enjoy these unique snow white hydrangeas for the holidays!

shooting star hydrangea blooms
shooting star hydrangea blooms

Each of the ‘Shooting Star’ double flowers are shaped like a bright white star within a star. The white flowers continue to bloom for 4 to 6 weeks. They are wonderful companion plants at Christmas, along with your poinsettias or other holiday greens. As they mature, the flowers often develop a greenish hue. While indoors, keep plants in a cool spot where they’ll receive plenty of light. Under good conditions 'shooting star' hydrangeas will stay in flower well into May.

  • Very bright light and cool to moderate temperatures
  • Water when the top ½ inch of soil dries out
  • As flowers fade, snip them off

Planting outside:

After enjoying the indoor display, these hydrangeas can be good garden shrubs that grow about 5 to 6 feet tall and wide. After the danger of frost has passed and temperatures begin to warm, plant in the ground or in a container. They like part shade, regular water and fertilizer when new growth stars.

To air-dry blooms:

Cut of several whole flower heads when blossoms are fully open and still fresh. Put the stems in a small vase with about 2 inches of water in the bottom. As the water evaporates, flowers will being to dry, turning pale lime green in the process. When fully dried (in several weeks), snip individual blossoms from flower heads.


a close up of a Yuletide Camellia bloom

Yuletide Camellia

Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide'

This compact evergreen shrub with an upright growing habit has single bright red flowers with yellow stamens and glossy leaves.

  • Prefers full sun in cool summer climate areas, part shade elsewhere.
  • Keep soil moist but well drained. Mulch to keep roots cool and promote moisture retention.
  • Feed in autumn with fertilizer for acid loving plants.
  • Prune after flowering or during summer. Remove dead or weak wood.
  • Will grow up to 10' tall and 10' wide.
red berries of the Creeping Wintergreen

Creeping Wintergreens

Gaultheria procumbens

This easy evergreen ground cover has small pale pink flowers in spring with bright scarlet berries by late summer.

  • Water thoroughly as needed during the growing season until established.
  • Fertilize lightly 1-3 times during the growing season.
  • Treat for diseases or insects as needed.
  • Will grow up to 6-12" tall and 2-3' wide.
  • The berries are edible - and they taste like wintergreen!

Sure, we love the look and aroma of the traditional Christmas Tree, but here are a few ideas that any gardener can appreciate. These would make great gift to go along side someone's traditional tree, or may be the perfect size to be the main tree in a limited space.

Rosemary Topiary decorated for Christmas

Rosemary Topiary

Aren’t these adorable! Christmas trees in Lavender or Rosemary are the perfect gift for the gardener. These would make a wonderful centerpiece for a holiday party, but for the longevity of the plant, add them to your outdoor decorations once your guests have left. These topiaries will look great on your front porch, and they smell so good!

Norfolk Island Pine decorated for Christmas

Norfolk Island Pine

Norfolk Island Pines are also a great alternative to a full size tree. Norfolk Island Pines are native to Norfolk Island, which is located between New Caledonia and Australia in the South Pacific. They can reach 80 feet in their natural habitat, but will maintain their size when grown in a container.

Lemon Cypress Topiary decorated for Christmas

Cypress Topiary

A beautiful lemon cypress topiary pruned and shaped into cone form works great as well. It’s foliage has a wonderful lemon scent when touched. Like a living Christmas Tree, A lemon cypress can brighten up your home, however, you will want to move it outdoors after a week or so to keep it growing for years to come.


Along with that bottle of wine you may be taking to Thanksgiving dinner, why not include a hostess gift that will last long after the last piece of pumpkin pie. With a little thought, you can bring color into your host or hostess’ home during the winter months.

Cyclamen and Anthuriums
light purple cyclamen in bloom

Cyclamen

  • Place in indirect light or bright indirect light.
  • Cyclamen like to be a little on the cooler side, with temperatures around 61˚F.
  • While in bloom, keep the root ball moist and feed the plant every 2 weeks.
  • Water Cylamen in a tray allowing the roots to take up the water, instead of watering from above the plant.
  • Remove yellow leaves and spent flowers.
fuchsia Christmas Cactus in bloom

Christmas Cactus

  • Treat your cactus as a regular houseplant for most of the year.
  • Keep it in a bright location and let it dry out between watering.
  • To promote bloom at holiday time, give your cactus long uninterrupted dark periods, about 12 hours each night.
  • For timely blooms, begin the dark treatments in mid-October. You can place the plants in a dark closet from about 8PM to 8AM each night for 6-8 weeks or until you see buds forming.
  • Alternately, cacti can be encouraged to bloom if they are subjected to cool temperatures of about 50-55° F for about 6 weeks. This will eliminate the need for dark treatments.
  • Remember to water less during this time of bud formation.
red Anthurium bloom

Anthurium

  • Grows best in bright, indirect light.
  • Soil should be free draining but hold some water.
  • Only water when the soil is dry to the touch.
  • Fertilized with a one-quarter strength fertilizer once every three to four months.

Tree spraying can be as easy as 1-2-3 when you follow these simple guidelines:

an orchard of apple trees
Liqui-Cop RTS fruit tree sprayMonterey ®Ligui-Cop controls many diseases that can attack dormant fruit trees. Available at Al's in a 32 oz. ready-to-spray bottle and 1 pint concentrate.

1) Fall

As soon as all the leaves have fallen off, use Monterey ®Ligui-Cop. Spraying your tree will help control bacterial blights, leaf curls, and other fungal diseases. Usually between November – December.

2) Winter

When trees are dormant, use Monterey ® Liqui-Cop again. Proper application requires a second coating to ensure that all bacteria and fungus have been controlled. Usually in January.

3) Spring

Use Monterey ® Liqui-Cop when buds have started to swell, and then again 7 days after the 1st Spring application. This spray is usually in late February.

These basic applications should control the most common diseases and insects and have you enjoying better fruit yields.