19 Mar March 23rd, 2018
Spring is Nature’s Way of saying Let’s Dance- and we OPEN!
It’s been a long, cold, snowy winter and we are happy to announce the Garden Center in Lunenburg is open for the season! Watch for Winchendon to open in just a few weeks. While the snow was falling this March, everyone here at Lakeview was hard at work thinking of ways to make this upcoming season an unforgettable one. From finding and ordering new plant varieties and creating exciting displays, to growing pansies and greenhouses full of spring blooms, we’ve had a busy winter! We are thrilled to share some of the excitement with you this spring!
Looking to get out and into the garden as soon as possible? We are too! Alec and Angela has been busy growing pansies, viola, perennials and cold crop vegetables in our greenhouses. Very soon you’ll be able to liven up your beds and planters with the bright shades of purple, yellow, orange and ruffled magenta pansies we are growing. Catch up with Alec, Angela and Rick and they introduce new varieties and selections in our videos on Facebook. It’s going to be an exciting year with lots of new items in stock and we are really looking forward to sharing them with you.
Now for our favorite part of a new season, plants! This weeks blog is all about spring flowering bulbs and Easter plants. We’ve got lots of Easter Baskets filled with flowers (not calories!).
The flower that most often comes to mind when we think of Easter is, of course, the Easter lily! But there are so many flowers appropriate for this time of year as well, all with rather interesting origins. Bet you didn’t know I was a bit of a botany historian! My grandmother was an amazing story teller and as I child I would associate plants based on her stories about them. For example, she used pussy willows at Easter. She’d cut the branches off the enormous (in my child’s memory that shrub was as big as a skyscraper!) and bring them indoors to force the pussy willow flowers early. She told me that when my grandfather served in Europe during WW2 he wrote home to her about how pussy willows were used as Easter flowers there.
In the Middle East, it is wild tulips, while in Mexico, tropical flowers fill the churches during this spring holiday season. The early Germans decorated with red flowers and red fruited plants such as English holly, believing the red color represented the blood of Christ.
Do you know the Bermuda lily? You probably do, as this is the true name of the Easter lily, deriving from its origin. It is a pure white flower, believed to symbolize purity. Some Christians say that coming from one bulb, the flower is said to represent the tomb of Jesus with the blossoms symbolizing his life after death.
Choose a well-proportioned plant, one that’s about two to three times as high as the pot. Check the buds, flowers, and leaves–especially the undersides–for signs of insect pests and disease.
To keep your lily healthy at home, remove the decorative foil or paper covering the pot, or make a hole in the bottom, to allow better drainage. Leaving the foil on can cause overwatering and root disease which cause the loss of leaves from the bottom up.
Put your plant where it will get plenty of bright, indirect light and cool temperatures. To extend the life of the individual flowers, remove the yellow, pollen-bearing pods or anthers found in the center of each flower as it opens. Nothing in worse than smelling a lily flower and then walking around with yellow pollen on your nose for the rest of the day!
If you plan to replant your lily outdoors, remove the flowers as they fade. Put the plant on a sunny windowsill for four to six weeks until all the foliage turns yellow. This care after flowering is necessary because the plant needs to produce enough energy to store in the bulb to flower again next year. It’s the same reason you wouldn’t want to cut the foliage off of your tulips and daffodils after they have finished blooming (This is usually where I would roll my eyes at my grandmother and say – “Bulbs are hard and have sooooo many rules!”). Continue to water just like you would any other houseplant. When the leaves turn brown, cut the stem off at the soil line. Then in late May, plant the bulb four to six inches deep in a sunny, well-drained location. Fertilize twice during the summer. With luck, your lily will bloom this fall. Just don’t count on it – see note about bulbs being hard and having lots of rules!
Other appropriate flowers for Easter, and spring in general, are other bulbs such as tulips and hyacinths, and azaleas. The bulbs can be purchased as cut flowers, or in pots. If potted, the hyacinths can be planted outside in warmer weather, and may survive to future years. Most tulips, however, will not come back next spring. If giving the hyacinth as a gift, make sure the recipient isn’t allergic to the strong odor of the flowers.
Azaleas come in reds, white, and pinks. Most are tender, so they won’t survive our winters outdoors. Still, they are a good value based on how long they flower and how easily they can be kept indoors as a houseplant. Keep them moist (not wet), and cool with plenty of light, and you should get many weeks of blooms.
Michelle and Team Lakeview!