Category Archives: Flowers


It’s planting time

Dave Thompson’s Healthy Grow

This time of year in Michigan we literally plant hundreds of annuals for our clients. We call it ‘flower day’! Our garden practices are strictly organic and sustainable, we never use harmful pesticides or herbicides so we fed the new plantings with Bulbs & Blooms by Dave Thompson’s Organic Healthy Grow. 

I like this product because it’s easy to apply to very large garden beds. We simply mixed it into the soil as we planted. But what I love most about Organic Healthy Grow is where it comes from and I think you will, too!

Here’s how it’s made:

“Every bag of Dave Thompson’s Organic Healthy Grow starts simply – with a chicken. The chickens we house at Pearl Valley Farms provide the eggs we sell under our Pearl Valley Eggs, Phil’s Fresh Eggs and Eggology liquid eggs brands, while the waste they produce is the main ingredient in our organic composted fertilizer.

We start with chicken litter from healthy, egg-laying chickens fed a calcium-rich diet. This litter is mixed with organic materials and left to air-dry and break down in our indoor composting facility. Our compost is regularly, and carefully, turned during the aerobic composting process to ensure complete aeration, a vital aspect behind promoting microbial growth. Once the composting process has been completed, we test and bag the finished product. Because we believe so much in the quality and effectiveness of Dave Thompson’s Organic Healthy Grow, we ensure that every bag of fertilizer we sell is of the utmost quality. To us, “The Way its Made Matters,” and we won’t have it any other way.”

I agree with Organic Healthy Grow, the way it’s made does matter! In a few months, we will give the plantings another feed with their Bone Meal AND update you on the results.

We are expecting big healthy flower blooms this year! We’ll post pictures of the beautiful flower beds and let you be the judge. Stay tuned!


2014 Color of the Year in the GARDEN!

The Pantone Color Institute (, the standard-keepers for color, selects a  ‘Color of the year’. This year the color is “Radiant Orchid,” the purple-pink color in the Phalaenopis orchids often seen at garden centers. Keep your eyes open while flower shopping this year – more than likely we will see a lot of this color! Thumbs up or thumbs down?

radiant orchidJAB Signature

Limelight Hydrangea

Light Up Your Gardens!

The ‘Amen!’ of Nature is always a flower.

~Oliver Wendell Holmes

I simply adore this time of year when hydrangeas make their stunning debut and steal the show in the garden!  This is exactly what I wait for all season long!  The beauty of all hydrangeas take my breath away…but the exciting and unique ‘Limelight’ Hydrangea paniculata brings out the giddy gardener in me!

‘Limelight’ hydrangea’s soft lime green blooms held above the dark green foliage resemble a triple scoop of soft-serve ice cream. To me, the luscious tapered blooms just scream “Summer time!” The impressive flower heads can get up to 12 inches long and stand upright on the shrub for an extraordinary and lovely display with no drooping! It’s a strong shrub with flower power! Another thriller with this beauty… as autumn approaches, the blooms gracefully change to a rich deep pink that lasts through late fall and offers wonderful winter interest.

Of all the hydrangeas, the ‘Limelight’ is the most adaptable to different soil types and prefers full sun to light shade. In fact, they are extremely hardy and very tricky to kill…oh yes, my kind of ornamental shrub! The beautiful ‘Limelight’ can be easily maintained as a small shrub or trained into a small tree. I prefer pruning my ‘Limelight’ hydrangeas in early spring by simply cutting off the spent flowers to make way for new ones! Bonus: the spent flowers add great winter interest and are a constant reminder of what’s to come. A hard pruning in spring will produce larger flowers…just cut the shrub back by 1/3 to 1/2. I will prune my ‘Limelights’ back very hard this spring and as a result the foliage will be much denser.

Interested in attracting attention to your landscape and gardens with an outrageously gorgeous effect? I recommend planting the ‘Limelight’ in groupings or masses. Hands down you’ll not be sorry and you, too, will wait for their coming out party each season like I do!


Botanical name: Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’
Common name: ‘Limelight’ hydrangea
Hardiness: USDA Zone 3 -8
Bloom Time: Begins in late July – early August. Blooms last through late fall.
Height: 6′-8′
May all  your gardens grow!



A Trip to the Garden Center

Visiting my favorite garden center and gushing over the vast selections of plants, the vibrate colors, and unique textures is better than riding the Blue Streak at Cedar Point!

Plant shopping is always a joyful experience for me, especially when I discover a new hydrangea (but that’s another story)! Once I stop spinning from excitement and settle down to business, I immediately shift into “proper plant choice” mode. It is critical!

Often people make similar mistakes while selecting plants because they did not do their homework. Like most of us, we get caught up in the beauty and forget about practicality and purpose. As we all know, plant purchases can be costly, so it’s extremely important to make good choices. My best suggestion is to design your gardens at home and take a shopping list to the nursery. Designing while shopping is not recommended and can be as dangerous as grocery shopping with hunger pangs – both should be avoided!

Below are things to ponder before your next shopping trip and plant purchase. Keep in mind that each item listed is as important as the next!

  • Growth habit
  • Height and width at maturity
  • Plant characteristics
  • Form
  • Texture
  • Seasonal interest and color
  • Light requirement
  • Sun, shade, partial sun, partial shade
  • Heat and wind tolerance
  • Soil preference
  • Moisture tolerance
  • Drought tolerance
  • Insect and disease resistance

Plant shopping and trips to the garden center can be so much fun and should never be overwhelming. If you do your homework first, the rewards are plentiful! Just don’t forget your shopping list!

I am obviously drawn to hydrangeas…big time! What plants are you most drawn to while shopping at your favorite garden center?

May all your gardens grow!