Tag Archives: flowers

Preparing Your Winter and Spring Gardens

Big news – we’re all set with fall and winter seeds at Oak Street Garden Shop. With the recent heat wave, I’m sure we’re all longing for the cooler weather of fall. I’m here to tell you that now is the perfect time to be thinking of your fall garden!
The real key is getting fresh seeds to get your garden off to a strong start. That’s why I like to buy my seeds in the late summer/early fall and hold on to them until the right time to sow.
First we want to consider what plants we want growing in our gardens. Whether you’re looking for flowers like poppies and bachelor buttons, or crops like kale and spinach we have a large variety here to choose from.
Seeds

Check out our video on preparing for your Winter and Spring gardens.

Veggies
If I want vegetables to harvest in the fall, I sow those in September and October. This ensures that our vegetables are ready for a fall harvest in November. Seeds that do well in this season include kale, lettuce, carrots, mustard, spinach, and more. It’s a perfect excuse to incorporate more greens into your diet leading into Thanksgiving.
Spring Flowers
For blossoming flowers in early spring, I like to plant them around November-January depending on when I have the most time to dedicate to my garden. Flowers like bachelor buttons, poppies, larkspur, orlaya, and sea holly are what we can see blooming in the spring. We sow these seeds in the winter so that by the time spring rolls around the plants already have a strong start and are ready to bloom.
So there you have it, gang. Fresh seeds and a game plan – we’re all set to make our winter and spring gardens bloom with beauty.
– Kris

Cosmos & Marigolds: My Go-To Fall Blooms

Colorful Cosmo flowers in a field

Cosmo flowers in a field

Ready to give your garden a fall facelift? Well, you’re in luck. The crew and I recently did a video on these fall beauties, as I am totally smitten with cosmos and marigolds, and I think you will be too! These guys are not only super easy to care of – but are absolute CHAMPS in pots and garden beds alike. I’m going to give you a little more information here and a few tips to jazz up your garden this season.

Cosmos: Bringing Mexico’s Magic Right to My Backyard

Okay, so let’s talk cosmos. These beauties are native to the meadows and scrubs of Mexico, but they’re now flaunting their vibrant colors all over South and Central America. The colors range from sunny yellows and oranges to dreamy pinks, whites, and even a deep maroon – they’ve got it all.

My pro-tip? Get them some good sunshine and make sure the soil drains well. And DO NOT FORGET to snip off those old blooms. It keeps them looking fresh and encourages more of those lovely petals to pop up. I know it’s a little bit of work, but trust me; you’ll thank me later.

Marigolds: The Jack of All Trades in My Garden

And then, it’s over to the marigolds. These little sunbursts come in all sorts of shades – we’re talking orange, red, gold, and even white. And they really do light up just about any space they’re in. Whether in pots or planted in the ground, these guys aren’t fussy, just make sure they don’t sit in waterlogged soil.

It’s a divided world on this, but most of us in the industry prefer that you DO deadhead your marigolds, like with cosmos. When you remove spent blooms, the plant oftentimes will produce more buds, and boom – more color.

If you don’t want to deadhead your marigolds, it’s fine – it doesn’t necessarily hurt anything, but I don’t believe you’re getting as much out of the plant that you could. Up to you. (But I tell everyone to do it, so there you go.)

CHECK OUT OUR VIDEO ON COSMOS & MARIGOLDS!

Why I’m All About Cosmos and Marigolds This Fall

As summer waves goodbye and fall starts to roll in, I can’t help but fall head over heels for the warmth and color that cosmos and marigolds bring to my garden. Whether you are newbie gardener or a seasoned pro, marigolds and cosmos won’t let you down. Cheers to a colorful fall! 🍂🌼

– Kris

Need a Valentine? We Can Help!

Mixed Planting with Téte a Téte NarcissusJust a quick post to point out the many beautiful flowers in the greenhouse. Our baskets and containers  are one of a kind…special creations custom made for each order.

Orchid Arrangements

 

 

 

 

If you have a basket, bowl, or other container you’d like us to fill with beautiful plants, just bring it in and we’ll take it from there, or choose one of ours.  Valentine’s Day is this Saturday, so get your order in soon!Orchid Arrangement

 

 

Some of the many blooming plants we have in now, or will be getting in this week, include cyclamen, campanula, primroses, rieger begonias, narcissus, violets,  orchids, hydrangeas, hyacinths, freesias, azaleas, and more. Stop in to browse or give us a call to place an order for pick up or delivery.

 

Pretty Plantings…A Dough Bowl, Glazed Pots and More

Pinkie filled this dough bowl with pansies, diascia, sweet allysum, lettuce and more...

Pinkie filled this dough bowl with pansies, diascia, sweet allysum, lettuce and more…

Look at all the different flowers Jamie used here...and not any of them cut!

Look at all the different flowers Jamie used here…and not any of them cut!

This time of year is a transition period in the nursery and the greenhouse, and, quite honestly, we’re ready for the change of seasons.

What goes into pretty plantings for parties and gifts is changing too. We’re nearing the end of the late winter primroses, forced bulbs, and pansies and looking forward to all the spring flowers to work with next.

Lauren put this pretty planter together...

Lauren put this pretty planter together…

 

 

Before we move on, though,  I wanted to bring you some of the things we’ve been doing – from a dough bowl filled with flowers and herbs to glazed pots with pretty blooms, a simple green  pot with beautiful foliage, and one made with lichen branches wired together to create a container. There’s always something to create, and what fun it is!

I loved this begonia in this pot...

I loved this begonia in this pot…

 

 

None of the flowers we use are cut. We work with live plants, so the longevity is much better than a fresh flower arrangement, and, as an added bonus, many of the plants can be used outside, either in containers or in the ground when it’s time to take the whole thing apart.  Think lettuce, herbs and forced bulbs planted in the garden!

 

 

This container fashioned out of lichen branches has a woodsy feel...

This container fashioned out of lichen branches has a woodsy feel…

A planting that will continue to grow, either in the house or on a bright porch once the weather warms, is this green glazed bowl, filled with a rhizomatous begonia, an aluminum plant and some selaginella. It would be a pretty addition for Saint Patrick’s Day!

 

 

 

And here are the lichen branches I wired and glued together to make a container. When the primrose is played out, another plant can easily be slipped into its spot with the frosted selaginella and creeping jenny…or an entirely new planting could be created! We have quite a few of these lichen branches that Jamie found and that we’re playing with. If you’d like us to incorporate something like this into one of your planters, let us know.

spring blooms...

spring blooms…

 

 

 

Finally, here’s a teal pot, filled completely with pretty blooms. Soon these flowers won’t be available,  but by then we’ll be ready to move on to a new season and more creative possibilities.  For now, though, it’s enough to have spring in a pretty bowl – and who wouldn’t like that?

 

More Arrangement Inspiration – What We’ve Been Creating This Summer!

photo (2)This summer’s wet, cool weather might have kept many of you out of your gardens, but we’ve managed to stay busy in the greenhouse putting together arrangements filled with orchids, succulents, houseplants, and so much more…here’s a peek at some of them. We regularly have folks who stop in just to see what we’ve been working on! All of these arrangements are composed of live plants, no cut flowers here.

Orchids add elegance to any container, and  we love working with them. Here, the beautifully patterned leaves of a calathea contrast with the dark selaginella trailing over the edge. The houseplants shown with the orchid are actually planted in the container to make the care easier – our advice is always to feel where the plant is in the arrangement and water a bit when dry. Of course, some plants will need more or less water than others. For example, orchids last longest when they’re not overwatered!

glass, pebbles, orchid and succulents...

glass, pebbles, orchid and succulents…

The terrarium arrangement shown here was presented as a going away gift and was planted using pebbles, larger stones as accents, soil  and aquarium charcoal to keep the potting soil fresh. Here the care will again be to monitor the soil moisture carefully and water when it’s completely dry. The various leaf textures and colors of the succulents in the glass container make this arrangement interesting.

Yes, that's Thai basil with the orchid...

Yes, that’s Thai basil with the orchid…

As you can see, we’ll put orchids in just about any container and with just about any plant! In fact, the next arrangement shown uses a combination of houseplants, herbs, annuals and perennials with orchids. It was one of a pair used for a wedding anniversary celebration. So the celebrants were able to continue to enjoy the arrangement even after it was taken apart. Hopefully the Thai basil went in containers or the herb garden, and the perennial miniature grass-like acorus and purple leaf trailing annual irisene found new homes in the garden as well.

photo (3)Finally, the silver container was given in  memory of someone…the longlasting and low maintenance  houseplants of trailiing pepperomia and cryptanthus make excellent companions. It’s gratifying, also, to know that whoever is on the receiving end will be able to enjoy this longer than a fresh flower arrangement could ever hope to last.

We’re looking forward now to a new season, with fall right around the corner, and a whole new world of possibilities for creative arrangements – we’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile, if you’re in Birmingham, stop in – there’s always something going on in our design area!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summertime is day lily time!

imageThis ‘Siloam Double Classic’ daylily’s first bloom in my garden marks the beginning of summer for me. Blooming right around Memorial Day, it is also a reliable rebloomer and the last to bloom at the end of summer – August 22nd last year, to be exact!

Blooms aside, daylilies also add another important element to a garden, particularly in a mixed perennial/annual bed – foliage form.
We talked about the importance of foliage in the garden in an earlier post on perennials…the fountain like leaves of large daylilies can break up the monotony of masses of other plants, and the lily bloom can be placed in contrast to other flower shapes as well.image

Summer is the season for these lovely plants, and the best selection will be available in the coming days and weeks.

After you’ve chosen and placed your daylilies, don’t forget about them. They benefit from an (at least) weekly walk through the garden, to pick off faded blooms. If any leaves are yellow, pull them out as well, to keep plants looking well tended.
imageOnce the bloom period ends, cut the old bloomscapes completely to the ground, tidying the plant. If the leaves begin to look tattered at all, don’t hesitate to take the entire plant and cut all the foliage back by half. Your daylilies will reward you with fresh foliage the rest of the season, and, if they’re rebloomers, you’ll have another round of flowers!image

Divide your daylily when it becomes too large for its spot. This is best done on a pleasant fall day after the heat of summer has finally passed…this chore will be the subject of a future post.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

 

What A Great Coreopsis!!! ‘Full Moon’ Is One You Should Try…

A mainstay of perennial gardens, many of us have a love/hate relationship with coreopsis. Other than the native species, many seem to be difficult for folks here. The taller, earlier ones need constant deadheading to look their best,  and the smaller flowered, wispy foliaged (verticillatas)  need cutting back as soon as their initial bloom is done to keep them looking neat.

Coreopsis 'Full Moon'

Coreopsis ‘Full Moon’

A couple of years ago I bought this coreopsis for the shop, hoping the flower color and the plant would work well here. I’m happy to say it  has been an absolutely wonderful addition to my hot, sunny front bed, consorting quite happily with roses, daylilies, Mexican sage, rosemary, yucca (Yes, it’s very hot!), gaura, green santolina, mecardonia, Mexican heather, and various other heat loving plants.

 

With annual red gomphrena, ornamental blueberry,  yucca, and hypericum shrubs -  Kris' front bed

With annual red gomphrena, ornamental blueberry,
yucca, and hypericum shrubs – Kris’ front bed

In fact, I sent pictures of it in various stages through the summer to one of my local growers, and, with each picture, a note saying, “Please grow this so I can pass it along to other Birmingham gardeners!” Well, I’m very happy to say she did, and we have Coreopsis ‘Full Moon’ available from our local wholesaler  right down the road in Alabaster!

Coreopsis 'Full Moon' in Kris' front bed with annual purple angelonia

Coreopsis ‘Full Moon’ in Kris’ front bed with annual purple angelonia

 

 

I honestly can say this Coreopsis ‘Full Moon’ bloomed in my garden from June through the hottest part of summer and only started to wane in August – an unbelievable bloom time for a perennial. The color is a soft, buttery yellow like ‘Moonbeam’ coreopsis, but the foliage is more substantial and the flowers themselves are much larger.These are available now if you’d like to try one or more!

Coreopsis 'Full Moon' is a winner!

Coreopsis ‘Full Moon’ is a winner!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tip:  A great way to get even longer bloom from a perennial like this is to cut it back by half early in the season, and even better is to cut half of your plants back by half. That way the stems that haven’t been cut back bloom first. Those you cut back will bloom a bit later, thus extending your bloom period. Look at this post for more information on this technique – happy gardening!

 

 

 

Arrangements – Happiness On A Rainy Day In The Greenhouse

 

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Recently, on a rainy day, with extra baskets on our hands and plenty of pretty plants at our disposal, these arrangements were the happy result. Rainy days in the greenhouse are the best. When the wind blows and the poly whips across the roof like the sails on a ship, and then the rain starts…there’s nothing like it. That’s when it feels good to work in a greenhouse, the rain rat-tatting on the roof, sometimes so loud it’s hard to hear the phone ring…

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But of course there is still work to be done – plants to be tended, orders to be filled, and customers braving the rain to be taken care of. But, between work, there is, shall we say, creative play…

imageAnd there are such pretty things to play with! This time of year, with spring in the air but not quite yet here – this is the time of hydrangeas, calla lilies and sweet alyssum –  the soft colors of Easter mingling and overlapping with the brightness of other, more exuberant blooms of gerbera daisies, ranunculus and the first of the geraniums. So much to work with! So we begin to gather flowers and foliage and perhaps  a few herbs to add their scent, color and texture to the mix.

imageThis post isn’t going to be about design rules, because quite frankly, we sometimes break them. (Maybe we’re just rebels at heart!) No, this is about what feels and looks right to you. And, perhaps it’s more about not being afraid of making a “mistake” – with arrangements, container plantings or your own garden.image

 

So, here are some of our gifts to you, a few creations on a rainy day in March…while the rain rat-tatts on the roof and the poly whips like the sails on a ship…

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Easter Flowers – Lilies and More!

The ultimate Easter flower...

The ultimate Easter flower…

We love the colors, blooms and scents of the Easter holiday…from pure white Easter lilies to the soft purples and pinks of hydrangeas, and the fragrance of stephanotis…this season speaks of new beginnings..

With the upcoming holiday and family and friends gathering for Easter, we have the plants, flowers and arrangements for your table or gifts for loved ones at this special time.

Easter lilies are the traditional Easter plant – enjoy their blooms and scent, and if you have a spot in the garden, plant your lily as soon as danger of frost is past. (Easter is late this year, but please wait until at least the end of April to early May to plant your lily outside.)

hydrangeas in the colors of Easter...

hydrangeas in the colors of Easter…

We also have beautiful hydrangeas…while these are considered florist hydrangeas, for you folks that want to try planting them out in your landscape find a spot with filtered sun, rich soil and a bit of protection. Keep them well watered their first summer in the ground.

The fragrant stephanotis wreaths are beautiful annual vines…they will bloom now and sporadically through the summer – they’re very nice in planters with other blooming summer annuals. They aren’t winter hardy though, so if you’d like to keep them be sure to bring them in for the winter.

Pastel pink orchids float above campanula, violets and selaginella in this Easter arrangement

Pastel pink orchids float above campanula, violets and selaginella in this Easter arrangement

Of course we also have long lasting and elegant orchids – let us arrange a grouping in one of your containers or ours. In addition to gorgeous orchids we also offer kalanchoes, violets, freesia, campanula, calla lilies and more!image

We always have the most beautiful orchids!

We always have the most beautiful orchids!

If you’d rather have an Easter arrangement or basket made up of plants that you can use later in your garden and seasonal planters, we have that as well! Just let us know and we’ll offer appropriate suggestions for you.

From all of us, we hope all of you have a wonderful Easter !

Orchids: These Arrangements Add Drama!

What a nice surprise to have our work recognized by garden writer Steve Asbell of   The Rain Forest Garden in his latest blog. We know many of you come to us for creative and unique arrangements, and  here is a sampling of some of what we do with orchids and other flowers every day – we offer the photos from his website here as well, and urge you to go to his blog to read the nice piece about us in addition to other great posts and information – thanks for the recognition Steve!

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He also posted pictures of these arrangements!


So, you say you need to add some drama to your life? We’ll be happy to oblige!

Promise In A Packet…Seeds!

If you’ve been in recently you may have noticed the colorful seed display behind the counters.


Oh the promise of seeds – those tantalizing pictures and mouthwatering descriptions of vegetables, flowers and herbs…all in a magical seed packet.

Maybe you’ve never tried to grow anything from seed. That’s ok, there’s a first time for everything!  Here are some easy flowers to grow by direct sowing them right where you want them to come up  in your garden: zinnias, sunflowers, cosmos, marigolds, tithonia (Mexican sunflower) and gomphrena are a few.

It's planted with lots of help but...

Seed planting is a fun project for the little ones!

Since you will be sowing these directly into the ground, you need to be sure the soil is warm enough for them, May is the perfect month to plant these. Here you can see Billy planting seeds in the garden with some little helpers in the community garden across the street last spring. Below you can see we have veggie seeds too – and plenty to choose from as you plan your summer garden!

Warm season vegetable seeds...eggplant, peppers, melons and more!

Warm season vegetable seeds…eggplant, peppers, melons and more!

A Valentine’s Day Teaser

Red and white for Valentine's...

Red and white for Valentine’s…

Just had to post one more Valentine’s Day teaser because there are so many beautiful flowers in the greenhouse….the baskets and containers we’ve done are one of a kind – we don’t do any cookie cutter arrangements – ever.

tulips, cyclamen, heather and a fragrant hyacinth mix here...

tulips, cyclamen, heather and a fragrant hyacinth mix here…

Remember too, if you have a basket, bowl or other container you’d like us to fill with beautiful plants, just bring it in and we’ll take it from there.

Some of the blooming plants we have in now include tulips, cyclamen, campanula, primroses, rieger begonias, narcissus, roses, violets, amaryllis, orchids, hydrangeas, pansies, hyacinths, heather, bromeliads and more! So much color and such beauty surrounds us!

Add Some Color With Rieger Begonias!

Rieger begonias add color and beauty to containers, or are wonderful on their own too!

Rieger begonias add color and beauty to containers, or are wonderful on their own too!

It’s so nice to be able to add some long lasting color to our homes during the winter months.


Rieger begonias do just that, and are long lasting houseplants as well. Give them a bright spot in your home and let them go a bit dry between watering. Get more than one and make yourself a beautiful arrangement like the one above, or come in and let us do it for you! Rieger begonias are available year around, and can be purchased in 4″ and 6″ pots.

Make Someone Happy With A Blooming Basket!

We’ve had recent posts showing pictures of gerbera daisies – well, here they are in action as the focal point of a pretty combination basket – this one went out to someone as part of a birthday celebration…

Pretty gerbera daisies in a mixed basket

Pretty gerbera daisies in a mixed basket

We added a sweet primrose with a touch of foliage – using maidenhair fern and pink fittonia to round out the composition. Add a bow and voila! a lovely gift for some lucky someone! The primroses are also a bright  and seasonal addition to arrangements, but keep in mind they  are available only for a short time early in the year since it will get too hot for them as we get into spring and the warmer months. (Primroses are native to cool, moist climates – while we might have the moist part covered, we certainly aren’t cool!)

Forced bulbs, add bright blooms in this container...

Forced bulbs, add bright blooms in this container…

Here’s another example of some of the seasonal flowers available now – this container shows forced bulbs of tulips, hyacinths, and narcissus, as well as a pure white hydrangea and willow branches to add even more drama…these forced bulbs are, like the primroses, usually available in the early portion of the year. You can plant the narcissus in your garden once they’re done blooming – we’ll talk about that in a later post.

 

More Blooms (and some herbs) for February!

These gerbera daisies could brighten anyone’s day!  They are the  perfect addition to  mixed baskets and centerpieces for a lively pop of color and also make for lovely thinking of you gifts.  Remember also that plants like this will last longer than cut flowers and you can try planting them in your garden come spring – they need a sunny, quite well drained spot if you want to give it a shot.

Cheerful blooms of gerbera daisies

Cheerful blooms of gerbera daisies

We also have a few herbs in stock now – always a fun addition to mixed containers. This basket shows some silvery lavender and a trailing thyme adding their foliage color, texture and scent to this arrangement. Our baskets are still on sale, by the way – buy one get one free. Stop in and take a look!

mixed basket with lavender, thyme and blooms

This mixed basket combines herbs and flowers…

We’ve Got The Sweets (And More) For Your Sweetie!

Once again the ladies from Seven Winds Kitchen have outdone themselves, providing delectable Valentine’s Day sweets for your sweetheart!

Sweet treats for your sweetheart!

Sweet treats for your sweetheart!

Pretty rieger begonias are lovely in mixed baskets...

Pretty rieger begonias are lovely in mixed baskets…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here you can see their heart shaped mini tea cakes, chocolate covered peanut clusters and to die for toffee…there’s really something for any kind of sweet tooth – and we can tell you, because of course we had to sample them ;-) they are delicious – the toffee is a new offering this year and we pronounce it amazingly good!!! If you know your love would prefer a flowering orchid or an arrangement of mixed flowering plants like those shown here, of course you know we can take care of you on that front too…place your order soon, and we’ll either have it ready for you to pick up or we can deliver it to your sweetie.  Yes, we deliver in the area – you just need to make a purchase of $35 or more, and delivery is $10. So, we have it all for you this Valentine’s Day, sweets and flowers for your honey with our best wishes too!

Beautiful Winter Arrangements!

This cheerful basket arrangement contains flowers available in January and February.

 

This pretty winter basket was a gift delivered to one of our customers on a dreary day in January. We hope it made them smile!

The happy flowers in this arrangement include tete a tete narcissus, cyclamen, primroses and blue campanula, blooming plants that are readily available in January and February.

Come in and put your own arrangement together or take a pot of primrose to a neighbor and make them smile too!

Valentine’s Day is Approaching!

Orchid arrangementsIt’s almost February and that means Valentine’s Day is just about two weeks away! We have lots of live arrangements that will last far longer than cut flowers. Or you can choose something from the variety of flowering plants that we have in the greenhouse and we’ll dress it up for you! Let us know what you need now so we can have it ready for you when you need it! And have a Happy Valentine’s Day!