Summer Garden Care

For avid gardeners, spring and summer are the high points of their year. These are the times when gardeners get to experiment with color, grow and nurture their outdoor plants and reap the rewards that can only come from caring for and tending to one’s own garden.

Gardening Tips for Weather Woes

From the time when those first tender new plants are planted to the end of summer, wild ranges of weather conditions can occur. These conditions can be particularly hard on flowers and outdoor plants. High winds, blistering heat, downpours and dry conditions can all affect how your garden thrives (or doesn’t thrive). Miles Kimball has some tips and gardening tricks for beginners — as well as for seasoned garden novices — that will help them get, and keep, their gardens in tip-top shape.

Pick the Right Plants and Flowers for Your Region

Although picking the right plants and flowers for your gardens, raised gardens, hanging baskets and planters may seem like no-brainers, these are quite often gardeners’ downfalls. It’s vitally important to take where you live into account. Have your Midwestern heart set on tropical plumeria, hibiscus or bromeliad? Planting tropical plants like these in places that don’t get enough humidity and sun is a surefire way to be disappointed. Instead, check out this USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. This is the standard by which many nurseries and plants are rated and will let you know where your plants will thrive. A plant’s zone is usually prominently displayed, either on its container or as an information note added to the pot’s soil. This will let you its zone, what type of water level the plant needs and what type of sun requirements are necessary. If you’re looking for easy flowers to grow, it may be as simple as finding the flowers that are native, or at least conducive, to your agricultural zone.

Sun or Shade

When you’re determining how to plant a garden that’s best suited for your home and its environment, it’s also important to take your home’s sun or shade levels into account. As a rule of thumb and as a gardening tip, you should always remember these four facts:

  1. The north side of your house receives the least amount sun;
  2. The south side is always the sunniest and is often the hottest;
  3. The east side of your home is a space where your flowers and plants will receive the gentle morning sun; and
  4. Your west-facing plants will likely face the brutal brunt of the afternoon setting sun, which can be very hot in the summer months.

Plan your garden by first learning which part of your home faces what direction. It is also vital to consider the microclimates in your yard. Microclimates are affected by large shade trees, unique angles and other structures.

Miles Kimball makes it super-simple to find easy flowers to grow. Consider our roll-out seed mats that were designed by a horticulturist and are created according to their sun-loving or shade-loving flower needs. Shop our shady annual tree ring, shady garden roll out seed mat or our sunny tree ring. If you want to attract butterflies and hummingbirds, check out our butterfly and hummingbird roll out seed mat. Love sunflowers? Planting them is easy as preparing your ground, rolling out our sunflower garden mat, watering and watching your sunflowers grow. Check out all of our plant and garden rolls for an easy garden to grow and to tend to.

Water Wisely

Everyone knows that all flowers and plants need water. However, watering your garden can be tricky. It’s often tough to know when to water and how much to water. Watering issues like watering too much, not watering enough and watering at the wrong time, can lead to poor plant progress. Experts all agree that watering in the morning is best for your plants. This is because the temperature is cooler: this gives the plants more time to absorb the moisture. Watering during the afternoon heat can cause water to evaporate quickly; alternately, watering at night can sometimes cause mildew. Remember that young seedlings and young tender plants need the most TLC, so plan on caring for your plants the most during their beginning stages.

Mulch

Mulch not only can make a garden look tidier, this extra layer of protection over the roots can help keep that summer heat at bay. A good layer of mulch also helps retain moisture, helps keep the soil cool, adds organic matter to the soil (mulch decomposes) and helps deter weeds. Garden tip: Adding three to five inches of organic mulch (pine needles, cardboard, wood chips, straw) will benefit your garden exponentially!

Crush the Competition: Weed and Dead Head

Weeds not only make a garden look untended, they rob your flowers’ and plants’ much-needed moisture. Keep weeds pulled. This, of course, is easier said than done. Weeds take advantage of the nutrients in the soil and often seem to grow hardier (and faster!) than your flowers or plants. A little weeding every day can greatly help your garden’s weed situation. While you’re weeding, this is also a good time to “dead-head.” This simply means snapping off the dried, spent or waning flowers, leaves or plants so your flowers can use their energy to produce new buds.

Miles Kimball has a great selection of lawn and gardening tools that will help you keep your lawn and your garden in top shape. Check out our folding garden seat, our three-in-one leaf race, our flexible fence edging and our extendable garden shovel.

Sit Back and Enjoy

Take time to enjoy your garden by adding some comfortable outdoor furniture, some bird baths and bird feeders and some spinners, chimes or windsocks, available at Miles Kimball. Gardens are hard work, but with our garden tips, you will see just how rewarding gardening can be!

Easy-to-Grow, ‘Just-Add-Water’ Flowers & Plants

Some of us seem to be endowed with the proverbial “green thumb,” naturally gifted from birth with the ability to fill our homes and gardens with lush, thriving foliage and blooms. Others of us — well, maybe we’ve had one or two past experiences where plants died on our watch, and now we’ve branded ourselves as “bad gardeners.” Fortunately, for people who think of themselves as gardening-disabled, Miles Kimball offers some solutions that might even have your plant-proficient neighbors getting a little green.

Pre-Seeded Flower Mats: Just Add Water

Shade-Tolerant Blooms. For easy-to-grow garden flowers, Miles Kimball offers a nice assortment of pre-seeded flower mats, rolls and bags, all with different flower mixes and sun requirements. Our selection includes many varieties that are shade tolerant. This way, even those of you who don’t get much direct sun exposure in your yard, can enjoy watching gorgeous beds of blooms pop up before your eyes. One shade-tolerant choice is the Hens & Chicks, which thrives in partial to full shade. After approximately three weeks, the mat yields 15 varieties of flowers and plants, including poppies and forget-me-nots.

Another option for shade environments is our lovely Bag o’ Blooms Shade-Loving Pansies, a bag pre-seeded with magnificent purple and yellow pansies. All you do is hang the bag wherever you’d like some floral fabulousness — like on an exterior wall of your porch, or a deck, trellis or fence — and water it. Within a few weeks, your friends will be “oohing and aahing” over the bounty of blooms.

Sunnier Spots. If you have areas of your yard that get more sun, Miles Kimball has several other fragrant and easy-care flower collections. Our Sunny Tree Ring, for example, is perfect for covering the ground beneath a tree with cheery blooms in multiple hues — including pink, orange, rose, mauve, blue-violet, purple, white, blue, yellow and red — throughout the summer. The best part is that these are perennials, which means they’ll continue to bloom year after year.

Or how about attracting some fascinating garden visitors to your yard with our Butterfly and Hummingbird Roll-Out Seed Mat? With partial sun and water, this mat produces an amazing array of vibrant flowers, selected especially for their attractiveness to butterflies and hummingbirds. If you know someone who’s particularly fond of these delicate creatures, this seed mat makes a perfect spring gift.

Other Special Picks. Miles Kimball’s Honeybee Garden Flower Mat serves a dual purpose by offering a summer medley of spectacular, aromatic flowers, specifically selected for their ability to attract honeybees. As you may know, honeybees and a great number of other insect populations are declining worldwide due to factors such as pesticide use, habitat destruction and climate change. By planting a honeybee garden, you can help support one species of these important pollinators.

Finally, if you love the look of a uniform cluster of one type of flower, check out our Sunflower Garden Mat or Merry Marigolds Mat.

Unique Plants for Extraordinary Gardens

All of Miles Kimball’s Garden Center plants are carefully chosen, with due consideration to their ease of planting and maintenance — according to their specified seasonal planting requirements and suggested type of soil, of course. Some of our plant varieties are quite exceptional-looking, and we encourage all beginning gardeners to challenge themselves by trying a couple in your own yard or house. We offer further help by pricing all our products reasonably, enabling more people to try something new. In the case of our Plant and Garden Department products, you have the opportunity to raise healthy plants with ease (as well as raise your gardening confidence).

One of our plants renowned for its heart-shaped, bluish-tinged leaves with dramatic ribbed veins is the Blue Angel Hosta. This member of the lily family is a large-leaved Hosta, which looks lush and tropical when used for groundcover. Although the Blue Angel Hosta may be exotic in appearance, it is still considered easy to grow.

Another easily cultivated, but distinctly striking and showy plant within any landscaping scheme, is our Nikko Blue Hydrangea. This versatile, fast-growing shrub produces large clusters of bright, indigo-blue flowers. Interestingly, the color of the flowers can vary according to the acidity of the soil; more alkaline soils, with a pH greater than 7, result in pinkish-colored hydrangea blooms. A nice advantage of the Nikko Blue Hydrangea is that it has an extended bloom during the summer — more than four weeks.

One other Miles Kimball favorite is the Peacock Jasmine, which blooms almost continuously once it’s mature. This delightful plant has delicate leaves and elegant, pure-white buds. When in bloom, it exudes a blissful fragrance, which is especially pleasurable when you grow this plant inside the house in a small pot. The Peacock Jasmine does not need much direct sunlight, so it makes a great indoor plant that will bring you joy every day with its exquisite appearance and sweet aroma.

Sowing the Soul

There are few things quite as natural and satisfying as sowing and raising plants and flowers. It can give you a fulfilling sense of creating something beautiful from what began as a plain-looking seed or bulb. We at Miles Kimball hope that even those of you who may think of yourselves as “plant-killers” will take advantage of our Garden Department selection and affordability to experiment with and be captivated by this simple, surprisingly rewarding experience of nurturing another living thing.

How to Start Your First Garden

Gardening can be an exciting new hobby. There’s no better feeling than watching as something you planted grows and matures into beautiful flowers or yummy vegetables. But for those who don’t have any experience, it can be hard to know how to start a garden.

What Will You Grow?

The very first thing you need to do is decide what kind of garden you want to grow. Are you going to go down the aesthetic path of a flower garden, or are you going to go a more functional route with a vegetable garden? Both types are wonderful options. With flowers, you can have a colorful, bright garden and gorgeous flowers to put around your home or gift to friends and family. With a vegetable garden, you get to eat the fruits of your labor, which can help you save money at the grocery store. Just pick which one appeals more to you, and if you’re feeling up to a challenge, you can grow a small garden of each. 

Getting the Right Tools

Before you can learn how to plant a garden, you need to make sure you’re armed with the right tools. A good pair of gardening gloves is going to be your new best friend. Gloves will help keep your hands clean and protect them from thorns, splinters and prickly plants or weeds. 

Another important tool to have is a garden shovel (to the right) or spade. This is a necessity if you want to be able to dig the holes to plant seeds or bulbs. In order to keep your garden tidy, you’ll want gardening shears to trim plants and a rake to collect leaves and debris.

Don’t forget about your water supply. Flowers and vegetables need to be well-watered in order to grow. Make sure to have a watering can or garden hose on hand. Consider getting a portable hose caddy so you can always have a hose nearby when you need it. 

Finding the Right Spot

Whether you want to know how to start a vegetable garden from scratch or how to begin a flower garden, you need to find the right spot to plant in. Most vegetables or flowers are going to require plenty of sunlight to grow, so take some time to figure out which areas of your yard get hit with the most sun. It’s also a good idea to find a spot that has some protection from the wind, such as near the side of a building or a hedge. 

Be sure to take foot traffic, by both humans and animals, into consideration. You don’t want to plant your garden in an area where people or dogs are likely to walk through it. Setting up garden fencing (on the right) is a good way to help with this.

Space and Plan

You can’t go around planting seeds all willy-nilly. You need to figure out how much space your flowers or vegetables will need to be able to grow and plan around it. If planted too close together, flowers and vegetables will compete for the sunlight and nutrients they need to flourish. Most seed packets will come with a guide on spacing, so make sure to follow this carefully. 

How to Plant a Flower Garden

If you’ve decided to start a flower garden, there are a few different directions you can go in. You can begin your garden with seed packets, flower mats or potted plants. 

Individual seeds from packets are going to require the most time and effort, but you might them the most rewarding. You’ll have to dig, plant and bury the seeds and wait weeks to months for them to bloom. A seed mat will still have the same growing time, but it involves less backend work. All you have to do is roll out the mat instead of hand-planting seeds. 

Another option is to take potted flowers and replant them into a garden. You’ll need to dig a hole big enough to fit the flower’s roots and carefully transport it from pot to ground. This allows you to have already bloomed flowers that you can nurture and watch grow even more.

No matter which planting method you choose, make sure to pick the flowers you would like to see around your garden and home. 

How to Plant a Vegetable Garden

Before starting your vegetable garden, take some time to consider what vegetables you will actually eat. There’s no point in growing the vegetables if they’re going to go to waste. As a beginner, you will also want to consider trying the easier vegetables to grow before moving on to more advanced ones. Some great vegetables for beginners are radishes, tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers. 

Once you’ve picked the vegetables you want to grow, it’s time to get to work. There are two ways you can get started: seed packets or transplanting seedlings. With seeds you start from scratch while transplanting allows you transfer an already started vegetable from pot to ground. Make sure to follow the planting instructions on either the seed packet or transplant container. 

Nurture and Love

After you’ve planted your seeds or transplant, you need to take care of your vegetables or flowers to help them grow. This means making sure they’re watered, removing weeds that grow near them and keeping any dangerous pests away. A garden is an investment that requires a lot of attention, so you can’t just plant the seeds and forget about them.

Garden Supplies and Decorations

For affordable garden supplies and cute decorations, make sure to visit Miles Kimball. We have gardening tools, plant pots, garden flags and more!

Gardening Tips for Success

Spring is just around the corner, which means it’s time to start thinking about your garden. Before the ground thaws and the weather warms, you need a plan to make this year’s garden your best yet. Follow these gardening tips and tricks to help you succeed and watch your garden flourish.

Using Raised Beds

Raised beds gardening tips are popular because raised beds offer many benefits when it comes to gardening. One of the main ones is that they allow you to start the season a little earlier. Because these beds aren’t dug into the ground, the soil is warmer, which means you can begin planting seeds earlier than you would with a traditional garden. 

The height of garden boxes and raised beds allows for better drainage to help keep plants and vegetables healthy. Plus, since the beds aren’t at ground level, tending your garden will involve less bending over and less back strain. If you want the benefits of height without investing in or building a raised bed, you can use pots for container gardening and place them on a garden stand.

Hand-Weeding like a Pro

Nobody likes weeding, but it’s necessary if you want to keep your garden healthy. Weeds can steal nutrients, sunlight and water from the plants and vegetables you’re trying to grow. Plus, they can be unsightly. 

A common mistake novice and experienced gardeners alike make is deep hoeing to cut down the time it takes to weed. However, hand-weeding is the way to go. Hoeing the soil can cause more harm than good by bringing weed seeds to the surface and spreading them, which results in more weeds. Hand-weeding allows you to have more control and causes less of a disturbance.

You don’t necessarily have to be on your hands and knees to hand-weed, though. You can still get the control you want with a no-bend weed grabber. This device allows you to easily pull weeds without disrupting the soil like you would with a hoe and without straining your back.

A New Use for Long-Handle Tools

Do you have a long-handle tool you use often? Maybe an extendable garden shovel (Pictured to the right) or a rake? If you do, we have a creative new use for that tool that will make your gardening life easier. All you need is a ruler and a permanent marker. 

This is one of our best gardening tips for beginners, experts and anybody in between. Take the ruler and mark off inches, feet, centimeters or whatever measurement you prefer on the handle of your tool using a dark permanent marker. Now, you have an easy-to-access measuring stick on hand. This will help when it comes to measuring the distance between seeds while planting or how deep a hole you’ve made is. 

A Comfortable Gardner is a Happy Gardner

We cannot stress enough how important it is to stay comfortable while gardening. If you’re straining joints, hurting your back or just feeling uncomfortable in general, you’re likely to rush through your work and risk making mistakes. That’s why we have some comfort-focused gardening tips for you. 

Gardening can involve a lot of bending over, sitting and kneeling. Whether you’re hand-pulling weeds, planting seeds or admiring what you’ve grown, you’re going to end up spending quite a bit of time close to the ground. Luckily, there are ways to make this easier and more comfortable.

A gardener’s knee rest is the perfect way to take some of the stress off your body while gardening. The padded rest is gentler on your knees than the hard ground and it will be easier for you to get up after spending time planting seeds. Another great option is a garden seat (Pictured to the right) that can be adjusted to your desired height. This lets you kneel or sit and helps take the strain off your back from bending over. 

Keep Your Tools Organized

An often-overlooked gardening tip is the importance of tool organization. There’s nothing worse than spending time searching through shelves and drawers in your shed or garage in an effort to find that spade you need. 

Keeping your gardening tools organized will make it easier to find the tool you need when you need it. Consider purchasing a corner garden tool rack (Pictured to the right). This rack fits perfectly into the corner of a shed or garage and can hold up to 20 tools, including rakes, shovels and shears. It’s the perfect way to keep your tools neat and easy to access.

Save Time with Seed Mats

When it comes to planting vegetables, you’ll definitely want to take the time to make sure your seeds are spaced out and buried in the right amount of dirt. When it comes to flowers, however, there are some shortcuts you can take. 

Pre-seeded flower rolls are a great way to save a little time and effort during your gardening adventures. Flower mats contain hundreds of seeds that you simply have to roll out. There’s no digging or hand planting. It’s quick and easy and gives you more time to focus on other gardening tasks. 

Finding the Right Tools and Supplies

A gardener is nothing without their tools. At Miles Kimball, we have a wide selection of affordable gardening supplies to help you kick the season off right. From planters to flower rolls, we’ve got what you need.