Have you heard the phrase “Fall is for Planting”? You may wonder why that is the case! While most plants in our area of the Mid-Atlantic can be very successfully planted in the spring, summer or fall, autumn truly is the best time. The cooler temperatures mean less heat stress and less watering needs for new plantings. In fall, the ground retains its heat much longer than the air, allowing roots to grow and become established until the ground actually freezes. This is why seeding grass in the fall is recommended. Planting in fall also allows you to get a jump on the spring season, as you will be rewarded with a larger tree, shrub or perennial!
Their shining iridescent colors and ‘humming of wings’ make hummingbirds among the most beautiful and fascinating birds to attract. The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the only species of hummingbird found in northern New Jersey. Male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have a brilliant, metallic-red throat that can appear black in the shade, while females have a white throat. Both have bright iridescent green backs and wings.
The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird is the only Hummingbird that breeds in the eastern US. Hummingbirds migrate seasonally and are attracted to woodland edges and openings near streams where their favorite nectar producing plants grow. The nectar provides the necessary energy for the Hummingbird’s rapid flight movement – a Hummingbird may beat its wings up to 75 times per second.
Although Hummingbirds feed from nectar-bearing flowers of all colors, they are mainly attracted to bright red, pink, and orange tubular flowers. The most important thing you can do to attract these birds to your garden is to plant flowering annuals, perennials, shrubs & trees.
Also, these birds will eagerly come to special feeders that are stocked with sugar water. There are several models of Hummingbird feeders available to suit your budget and taste. It’s recommended to fill the feeders daily, with fresh “nectar solution”. Every four to five days clean the feeder thoroughly with hot water and a little vinegar to prevent mold establishment. Scrub the feeder with a bottle brush and rinse thoroughly before refilling.
The following garden plants provide color and nectar that can help attract Hummingbirds to your garden:
- Red Columbine
- Scarlet Sage
- Trumpet Vine
- Four O’clock
- Bee Balm
A garden with a combination of these flowers (and a nectar feeder!) can assist in attracting these unique birds to your garden.
All of these annuals and perennials are available at Rutgers Nursery and Landscape in their respective seasons. Our staff is always willing to assist in all of your gardening projects.
One of the great joys of the garden is lush, flowering perennials. New gardeners may find the thought of planning and planting a perennial bed intimidating, but it’s really easy! Long-term success with perennials is a direct result of good planning and some simple prep work. Here’s what you need to know:
First, pick the spot for your perennial bed. If necessary, use a garden hose or string and stakes to visualize the bed lines. If the bed is already cut, so much the better. Either way, be sure the space is the size and shape you want. Remove any vegetation in the bed. Lift sod and/or remove any weeds.
Healthy soil promotes healthy plants, which are more insect and disease resistant. We can’t over-emphasize the long-term value of adding organics, like peat moss, compost and manure to the garden. One part peat moss to two parts existing soil, or one part each garden soil, peat moss, and compost (or dehydrated manure) will give you great soil in which to start your new garden. Also add a handful per plant of an organic, balanced fertilizer like Plant-Tone. Mix or till these materials into the soil prior to planting. Grade the soil so the final desired contour is achieved.
The hole you dig for each perennial should be twice the size of the container the perennial comes in. The wider the hole, the better, since plant’s roots grow out more easily into loosened, enriched soil. Remove the perennial from the container and lightly loosen the roots so the plant will grow out of its tightly wrapped ball and settle in more quickly.
Refill the hole with enriched soil, setting plants into holes at their original growing level. Never bury a plant deeper than its crown (where the roots and the stems meet) Buried crowns mean suffocated plants! Plant 2 inches higher than ground level if you are going to mulch. Backfill the rest of the hole with enriched soil. Tamp down the soil to remove any large air pockets. Water well, with a soft trickle of water that lasts long enough to saturate the root ball deep into the soil. Perennials prefer one inch of water a week, in one application. However, different soil types may need slightly more or less water. Use your fingers to poke into the soil to test the dampness of the soil. In order to conserve precious moisture and to keep weeds down, mulch your perennials with a 2-3 inch layer of organic mulch (not stones!)
A well-planned, well-planted perennial garden will be a joy for many years. Let us help you make the choices that will give you the garden you’ve dreamed of.
Have you wondered how to plant those wonderful little marvels that are terrariums (terraria?) Wonder no more and join us on Sunday, May 5th at 11 am for a FREE hands-on workshop. Floral designer Jeneen Hover will demonstrate and you will go home with a lovely little terrarium of your own. Call 800-422-6008 (or email at info@rutgersLN.com) to reserve a spot!