Ask The Experts

So many of you have met and worked directly with Heidi, our resident expert and Shop Manager. But, have you met Patti? Patti Nagai is a horticulture expert and educator, lifelong gardener, and generally just an all-around awesome person! If you have questions about what’s going on in your yard, or what you’d like to be going on in your yard seek out our Experts: Heidi & Patti!

Photo of Heidi with Mandevilla






October 28, 2022
Happy Halloween, 2022! Come visit us on Saturday & Sunday, October 29 & 30th for some fun Trick or Treating by the Trains!
Will Heidi dress up as a carrot this year?! You’ll have to stop by to find out!
September 16, 2021
What’s Up? With Dr. Patti Nagai
The Ins & Outs, Ups and Downs of Houseplant Care:
Saturday, October 2nd
Houseplants are beautiful additions to your home, and well known for their air purification qualities, but only if they are healthy and happy. How many houseplants have you watched wither and die? Don’t fret, you’re in good company…
I have learned a lot from my sad mistakes with houseplants. The good news is that we can help you cultivate a green thumb, and have great success growing plants inside.
Join me in a practical and fun discussion of easy-care houseplants. We will go through the selection process to choose the right plant for your home, then re-pot your new green beauty, while discussing appropriate soil mixes, container sizing, soil mixes, watering, fertilization, and pest control. No cost for discussion and Q&A, $30 for the newly repotted houseplant. ($25 for Shady Lane Greenhouse Garden Club Members!) Please call (262) 251-1660 to reserve your spot in the class.
Indoor Dish Garden with Tropicals and Succulents
Saturday, November 6th
10:00 – 11:00am
Focus your creative energy and green thumb to design and plant a beautiful dish garden. We will provide an array of interesting plants to choose from, including small tropical houseplants and succulents, along with a suitable container and additions of mosses, stones, and twigs, to enhance your design. Bring your ideas and questions to the class so you can go home with a fabulous garden, and all the knowledge needed for those plants to flourish!
This activity will cost $30, or $25 if you’re a Shady Lane Greenhouse Garden Club Member. Please call (262) 251-1660 to reserve your place in this class.

October 29, 2020

Tips for Fall Clean Up and Pruning
On a beautiful fall day, garden clean up can feel so rewarding…. on a cold, rainy day, perhaps it’s best to stay inside and just admire the fall colors. It’s not a good idea to prune when it’s wet, anyway, so you have a valid excuse!
Hydrangeas – so much mystery and confusion! Here are some explanations:
Big Leaf Hydrangeas – we grow only the varieties that are hardy here in zone 5, and these bloom primarily on current year’s new growth. You may have one of the ‘Endless Summer’ types like ‘BloomStruck’, ‘Blushing Bride’, or ‘Summer Crush’ , or you may have one or more of the hundreds of other varieties! They bloom on new and old wood, but they mostly die back to the ground with our up and down winter weather so we rely on new growth for blooms.
But if we do have old branches surviving our winter, we want those blooms, too – so don’t prune these until spring! Wait until you see green buds on the branches and/or at the very base of the plant. This might be late May depending on temperature. Prune dead branches back to the point of the new, green buds.
Smooth Hydrangeas – these are the ‘Annabelles’ of the world, or perhaps you have one of the new ‘Mini Mauvettes’. These also bloom on new wood, and benefit from pruning because it strengthens the branches and encourages new branches, which results in more blooms! Pruning can be done in fall, but spring pruning is best. Wait for buds to start showing green, then prune back by about 1/3 of the height.
Panicle Hydrangeas – these are the woody. shrubby hydrangeas like ‘Vanilla Strawberry’, ‘Diamond Rouge’, ‘Quick Fire’, ‘Limelight”, ‘Little Lime’, or ‘Bobo’, that do not need to be pruned at all if the height is good. Just remove the dead flowers either in fall or spring. If you have an extraordinarily tall variety, such as ‘Limelight’, prune back by as much as 1/2 of its height in the spring just before the leaves appear. Watch for those leaf buds to swell and start to turn green. Choose your place to cut just above an outward facing bud to make sure your new branches grow the “right” way (up and out, not in, down, or crossing)
Climbing Hydrangea – these bloom on old wood, so if you prune in the fall or spring you will be removing flower buds. Best to prune right after flowering in the summer if corrective pruning is needed. Otherwise, don’t prune except to remove old flower heads or dead branches.
Oakleaf Hydrangea – These are often used at the woodland edge, and can get quite large. They bloom on old wood (previous season’s growth), so don’t prune late fall or spring. If pruning is needed, prune no later that August after the blooms have appeared. If no pruning is needed, just remove the previous year’s blossoms.
Most are best left standing for winter interest. Birds will perch on them and eat the seeds, beneficial insects might be making a winter home there, and most of the grasses stand up well to the winter winds and snow providing a beautiful background for winter. Calamagrostis “Karl Foerster’ is one that I sometimes cut back in fall, but only because it emerges in spring so much earlier than the others and I am often busy in spring and forget to cut it back before the new growth starts.
Lavender, butterfly bush, beauty berry – leave them standing until spring. Some plants appreciate having extra branches to help them through the winter. If there is dieback, you can prune that out in spring after the new growth starts!
Please see our current November newsletter HERE for details and photos of plants to focus on for your fall clean up.


July 31, 2018

Welcome back! July is almost over, and we’re almost to Mum-Season. Just so you don’t feel like the summer fleets too quickly, here’s a delicious recipe for a Fresh or Frozen Cucumber Salad!

Mix together:
2 quarts of peeled cucumbers
2 large onions
2 tablespoons of salt

Let it stand for 1-2 hours. Drain into another bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix together:
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1/2 cups of white vinegar
1 heaping teaspoon of celery seed

Stir the drained cucumbers into the sugar/vinegar mix.
Eat fresh or freeze! (Remember to defrost before eating — but your glorious defrosted cucumber salad will taste fresh even in the middle of winter!)

Easy & Yummy!
Have any questions for us, or any recipes you’d like to suggest? Email Marianne or Katie and check back regularly. We may feature your question or recipe in our blog!

June 14, 2018

A Great Time to Plant!

Now is a wonderful time to work on planting in your garden. The soil is warm and rain is plentiful (but please do remember to water newly planted trees, shrubs and perennials).

Three things to remember when wondering about watering:
1) Water at transplanting
2) Water weekly
3) Water deeply

Shallow daily water is only good for seeds!

Plants for hot and dry areas:

  • Sedums
  • Coneflowers (echinacea)
  • Black Eyed Susan (rudbeckia)
  • Cushion Spurge (euphorbia)
  • Russian Sage (perovskia)
  • Coreopsis
  • Dayalilies – these are hardy, tough plants for a variety of soils!
  • Polentilla

Plants for Butterflies:

  • Butterfly Weed (aesclepias)
  • Butterfly Bush (buddleja)
  • Coneflowers


Salvia, Pachysandra and Hostas have been ordered and are scheduled to arrive at Shady Lane Greenhouse on Thursday (today!)

The Peach trees are loaded with fruit. Redhaven 6′ tall trees are $88

Apple trees are also loaded with fruit. We have Haralson and Zestar, 6′ tall, for $68 each.

Purple leaved trees:

  • Gladiator Crabapple 8′ $110
  • Red Obelisk Beech 5′ $98
  • Tricolor Beech 6′ $99
  • Prairiefire Crabapple 6′ $78
  • Rosita Filbert 6′ $180

June 12, 2018

Pollinator Friendly Perennials:

Perennial flowers offer habitat and food for butterflies, birds, bees and other insects. You can plant a diverse selection of plants for the best habitat and food source for your local pollinators!

Grasses will protect butterflies from wind. Plant tall grasses behind your flowers for a stunning effect in your garden. Colorful blooms in spring and summer, and even through the fall, will provide nectar for the pollinators in your yard. Choose natives, nativars and/or cultivars to create a beautiful space you can enjoy season after season.

Annual flowers attract pollinators, also – choose from our colorful selections in the greenhouses, with help from our staff!

Some Perennial Pollinator options:

  • Bee Balm (Monarda)
  • Beardtongue (Penstemon)
  • Betony (Stachys)
  • Butterfly Weed (Asclepias)
  • Butterfly Bush (Buddleia)
  • Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)
  • Blazing Star (Liatris)
  • Blue Eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium)
  • Coneflower (Echinacea)
  • Daylily (Hemerocallis)
  • False Sunflower (Heliopsis)
  • False Indigo (Baptista)
  • Geranium
  • Hosta
  • Joe-Pye Weed (Eupatorium)
  • Snakeroot (Cimicifuga)
  • Turtlehead (Chelone)
  • Yarrow (Achillea)

Care for your investment: Even “low maintenance” perennials require maintenance! The first year is critical – water immediately when planted, continue to water weekly. Clean up dead foliage in the fall, or first thing in the spring before new growth. For best growth and the most blooms, fertilize in the spring with “Blossom Booster”.

Questions? Call or stop by! We love helping make your space as beautiful as it can be! Whether you have acres to work with or a patio, we can help you from the beginning to the end of your project, and throughout the seasons.