Tips for Attracting Butterflies and Hummingbirds to your Garden:

The number one tip: Diversity of flowering plants!

Flowers with tasty nectar such as lotus vine (beautiful pink or white tubular flowers on long vines) can be found in our greenhouse, in a hanging basket, and are currently on sale for $25!

Butterfly weed is another fantastic choice, and is a perennial with orange flowers. We have many in stock currently for $7.50 or $12.50 depending on the pot size.

Bee Balm is a favorite of all the pollinators! With colors from lilac to wine to fiery red! We have them in 12″ tall to 4 feet tall, depending on the cultivar.

Coneflowers! We have all colors, and our purple Magnus Coneflowers are phenomenal, and currently on sale for $5 each!

Ornamental Grasses: use a grass like the Feather Reed or the Northwind Switch Grass to provide a living wind buffer for your visiting pollinators.

Fabulous Foliage to Brighten Your Garden

Our Grower, Karen, has favorites among the thousands of plants growing at Shady Lane. This week she is loving four plants, prized for their beautiful and dramatic foliage. Foliage plants are fabulous for creating contrast and filling in space with additional shape, color, and texture.

Add GOLD to warm up your garden, and provide a bright background:

Duranta erectaGold Eagle’


Gold Eagle has a rich color to brighten your garden! Sometimes called golden dew drops or skyflower, the bright green leaves with golden yellow margins of ‘Gold Eagle’ is a wonderful addition to the garden.

Cordyline australis ‘Torbay Dazzler’


Create a tropical look in your garden with the bright gold and pink colors of the ‘Torbay Dazzler’. The sharply liner leaves point skywards and radiate out in mesmerizing spiral.

Add SILVER to cool your garden, and add contrast for your hot flower colors:

Senecio candicans ‘Angel Wings’


You cannot resist touching the velvety, succulent leaves of Angel Wings Senecio. The stunning silver plant is a perfect complement to both foliage and flowering plants.

Artemesia maurensis ‘MAKANA Silver’


This beauty starts off pale green with silver highlights, then turns true silver as the days get brighter and warmer. Looks amazing in containers and mass planted in flower beds. Or, consider training it as a weeping tree of silver – perfect for your Dr. Seuss garden!

Fall is the time for Seeding Early

Fall is such a great time for gardening – seed now for the BEST flavors and sweet taste: Peas, Lettuce, Radishes, Arugula, Spinach!

No room in your garden? All the above can be grown well in containers. Indoors, too! Well lit rooms, away from a draft, and you’ll see progress in those pots.

LETTUCE: Lettuce comes up quickly and is easy to seed. Grow this in containers or in your garden. Try Renee’s Monet Mix, Baby Romaine, or Red Deer Tongue. They’re so beautiful and delicious!

BEETS: Also easy, and healthy as well. Choose from a variety of gorgeous, vivid colors, and enjoy! Great for beet greens as well!

PEAS: Peas are a pleasure to seed. They’re great producers, and they *love* cool nights. They’re ideal for freezing if you want that garden-fresh flavor in the winter. And a bonus – the flowers and shoot tips are edible, too! Try that in your next fresh salad!

ARUGULA: My favorite! Fast germination to table time, this peppery flavor is great with a mix of lettuces. Just add a little goat cheese and sunflower seeds, drizzle on your favorite dressing and, voila!

RADISHES: Full of crunchy kick – radishes love the upcoming fall weather. Cool temperatures make them taste great, too. Delicious as snacks (don’t forget the beer and pretzels!). Seed now for best results!

Start herb seeds now for a windowsill herb garden.

  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Chives
  • Cilantro

Move inside to your brightest window when night temperatures approach 40 degrees.

Enjoy the cooling weather everyone!

Keeping Flowers Looking Great All Season

algoflashjack'sWelcome to July! Let’s not forget to fertilize our flowers in a way that will keep them looking amazing all Summer long. Normally, we’re dealing with a lot more humid and hot weather here in Wisconsin, but even with less than typical temperatures, we can still give our plants summertime help to keep them blooming and healthy.

Shady Lane sells a variety of fertilizers and plant foods in our gift shop. And, just like people, each plant likes things just a little bit different.

Fertilize every 2 weeks (Try AlgoFlash!)

Fertilize every 10 days to 2 weeks (Try AlgoFlash!)

Petunia, Lantana & Million Bells:
Fertilize every time you water, as they love food! (Try Jack’s Petunia Food!)

Hibiscus, Mandevilla & Fuchsia:
Fertilize every 10 – 14 days

Impatiens – New Guinea and Bounce:
Fertilize these low maintenance plants every 3 weeks

Veggies & Citrus:
Try fertilizing with Organic Fish Emulsion, which is also available in our shop!

Inspiration For Your Spring Garden

Budding TulipsThe groundhog said winter will remain, but I keep dreaming of spring. I encourage all of you to do the same. After all, the days are getting longer and the sun is warm—despite the cold winds.

As long as I’ve got you thinking of spring, why not start planning for your yard? Dig into all those beautiful magazines you see while in line at the grocery-store. Look at those eye-popping photos filled with new color combinations and great garden ideas. They’re all a great form of inspiration.

Think, too, about growing your own vegetables. If you’ve never done so, let me just say there’s something special about picking your own fresh peppers, tomatos and cucumbers. The plot needn’t be big. In fact, try growing vegetables in pots, boxes and crates. Or, for starters, plant a few edibles between your annuals. What a delightful surprise to see tulips, daffodils and veggies growing side-by-side. I, myself, plant peppers between my roses.

To get you pumped for spring, here are some Pinterest boards and a beautiful website with unique ideas from one of our suppliers, Monrovia.

We’ve got some great events and seminars coming up within months. Details will be on our website as soon as they’re finalized. Talk to you soon!

photo of work bench

Command Center

Here it is. One of the busiest holiday hubs at the greenhouse. It’s the workbench where I create most of the season’s indoor and outdoor arrangements. I have great fun putting it all together and am always looking for new ideas. You know, special touches to make every wreath and every arrangement as beautiful as can be. The orders are beginning to pile up and I’m thinking we’re in for a very busy Christmas. Couldn’t be happier about that!

What To Do?

photo of mumsDecisions, decisions. Now’s the time we need to make a few tough ones for our gardens. While some annuals remain vibrant and blooming, the threat of frost is looming. (Honest, I didn’t intend the rhyme!).

How do we keep the color going? What should we cut down and clean up? What do we plant in fall? Well, I’ve got some answers for you.

Mums, of course, not only add color, but body, as well, to gardens and planters. White, yellow, dark red, pink…they’re beautiful mixed together or planted as a solid mass of one color. Mums, along with those hardy geraniums most of us, no doubt, still have growing, are real workhorses in extending the life of our autumn gardens.

When it comes to prepping for future seasons, I believe that it’s easier to clean in the fall than it is in the spring. So, start cutting down spent perennials such as Black-eyed Susans, tall phlox and shasta daisies. I suggest a cut 4”-8” above ground level.

Keep in mind that some perennials offer visual interest over the winter. I’m thinking, for instance, of autumn joy sedum, cone flowers and different grasses. Before cutting them, think how they’ll look all snow-covered and how they’ll add height and texture next to evergreens and shrubs.

It’s my passion, so excuse me on this next part…I’m already looking forward to Spring 2015! That means I’m planting tulip and daffodil bulbs right now. I encourage you to do the same, ‘cause they’re a must for sharp color in spring. Just remember to protect them from nibbling bunnies.


Start Planting

Photograph of PeonyWhile our weather has been so unpredictable and disappointing, you can do more than think about all the fabulous things you want blooming in your yard. Start planting now. What are some of the standards I suggest? Tough-as-nails geraniums, dahlias, petunias, cone flowers and, of course, one of my absolute favorites, peonies.

While you’re at it, prep your planters. Add some soilless mix and make sure your pots have proper drainage.

Here’s a link that newbie gardeners might enjoy: Bailey Nurseries Gardening Basics. Scroll down to the bottom of this page and you’ll see advice for beginners and experts alike: Relax and have fun in your garden!

Morning Blend Appearance

Photo of Heidi with MandevillaBold color combinations, the year of the begonia, tropical hibiscus, getting kids interested in gardening…I covered quite a bit on today’s Morning Blend. Click and let me clue you in. There’s a lot that’s new this spring in the world of gardening and at Shady Lane.

It’s Not About What You Can Do

Photo of purple and red tulipsSome estimates have the frost line down to 4’ here in Wisconsin. That means it’ll take many warm days and nights before we see new life in our gardens. And, no doubt, the first greens to appear will be weeds. I mention these fun facts for several reasons.

First, I want to emphasize that there’s nothing you can do for your garden at this point except be patient. I know I’ve got clients out there who’ll soon be poking at the soil, looking for anything that shows possibility. It’ll all pop when it’s ready, perhaps more than you imagine. The thick blanket of snow we had insulated plants quite nicely and our perennials will show their gratitude this spring.

Second, with the weeds showing first as I mentioned earlier, you’re given a golden opportunity for their quick removal. The ground will be soft, the weeds tender and their root systems shallow. As you work in the wet soil, though, be careful not to pack it so hard that seedlings can’t break through.

If you absolutely can’t wait for your hands to be in soil, then I suggest a few things: start growing herbs and bulbs indoors or visit us on Transplanting Day, Saturday, April 26, anytime between 10am and 4pm.