Fall Weekend Gardening Guide


Here’s a quick gardening guide for the weekend…

1. Plant! You can plant until the ground freezes. We have a long way to go!

2. Tuck In! Plant spring blooming bulbs: Crocus, daffodils and hyacinths… Think of the colorful bouquets in March!

3. Clean-Up! Clear away debris and cut back plants that are done blooming.

4. Fertilize! Feed your trees, shrubs and perennials

5. Decorate! Think about fall touches that will carry through to Thanksgiving. Fun, festive and great curb appeal! Include regular and specialty pumpkins, gourds, cornstalks, straw bales and a wide variety of plants. All available at Hillermann’s!

Garden Solutions - October 2018

I am going to focus on trees and pumpkins for this month’s article. Quite a different combination, but both need attention this time of year.


There are Many Benefits of Planting Trees. Consider all the benefits listed below, and remember fall is the perfect time to plant trees for an increased success rate next spring.

·    Trees are perfect for planting as living memorials, or to commemorate significant events in our lives.

·    Tree lined streets have a traffic calming effect, moving more slowly and safely.

·    Trees can be placed to screen unwanted views or noise from busy highways.

·    Trees improve our air quality by filtering ozone, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide from the air we breathe.

·    Trees give off oxygen that we need to breathe.

·    Trees reduce erosion and pollution in our waterways and may reduce the effects of flooding.

·    Trees provide food, protection, and homes for many birds and mammals.

·    Trees can reduce cooling costs in the summer by shading the south and west sides of your home.


·    Evergreen trees on the north side of your home can act as a windbreak for winter warmth.

·    The value of a well landscaped home with trees and shrubs can be as much as 10% higher than a similar home with no landscaping.

            Now let’s change the focus to HALLOWEEN!!! What a great time to decorate and enjoy the season. Here are “Tips for Selecting and Preserving Your Pumpkin.”

            When selecting a pumpkin choose one that does not have any bruises. Check for discoloration and soft spots. The size will not matter, however, to most children and some adults, bigger is better.

Look for pumpkins with a sturdy stem.  Check the bottom of the pumpkin to see if the base is damaged. If the pumpkin feels heavy and sloshes, put it back

            If you place a pumpkin in a washtub of cold water, it will absorb the water and become very firm. Cut open the top of the pumpkin and clean out the seeds. If you have fine detail work to do, you may want to let your pumpkin soak overnight. This will firm up the pumpkin flesh and allow you to do intricate carving. You can add a small amount of bleach in the water to prevent mold and bacteria growth.

            Once you have carved your pumpkin add a thin amount of petroleum jelly on the exposed cut edges. This will help seal moisture. If the pumpkin dries out you can try to revive it by soaking it in a bath of cold water for one to eight hours.

            You can prepare your pumpkins ahead of time and keep them fresh for a future party or gathering. Wrap them in plastic wrap to hold and store them in the refrigerator.  They will stay fresh  for a very long time.

            Once you remove a wet pumpkin for display, dry it off. This prevents mold from having a chance to grow.


Now, enjoy all that the month of October has to offer and I will…

See you in the garden.
Sandi Hillermann McDonald



Garden Solutions - September 2018

By Sandi Hillermann McDonald

Fall Annual Color Plants at Hillermanns

            There is no better time of year than this abundant season to catch your bearings, reevaluate the year, enjoy the harvest and relax. It is also the best time to take a few moments to invest in your home. There are many simple tasks you can do now, that will save time in the spring when you are twice as busy.

            The kids are back in school and off to college. That makes it a good time to get back to work in the yard and garden. Especially if you have put your outdoor living projects off this summer because of bonding, vacations and sports programs…...or hot, dry weather.

            Our yards definitely DID suffer this summer. Thank goodness, the hottest month of the year is now behind us. Well, there is no better time to renovate and reseed than during this month of September. In fact, the perfect window of opportunity for lawn growth is August 15 - October 15. Even though it may be hot and dry, it is the perfect time of year to aerate and over seed established yards.

Blades of grass

            The process should be done as follows: Cut the lawn a little shorter than normal (2-3 inches). Then run over the yard with a core aerator (this machine pulls plugs out of the ground about the size of your little finger). This whole process works best after a good rain or a deep watering. The core aeration process helps with the soil aeration, lessens soil compaction and makes for better, stronger grass root systems. Now, run a renovator over the area. This machine slices the ground with many little teeth and will break down the dirt clods from the core aeration process and bring up any dead thatch in the area.

            You are ready to sow your grass seed and add fertilizer.  For a 50% stand of grass or less, you will not need additional cover such as straw. If you are over seeding bare areas or new lawn areas, you will need to straw these areas to hold moisture for seed protection. For the specific grass seed type, shop for seed specific to your area of need: shade, sun, part-shade and sun, etc

            Add a Winterizer fertilizer to the entire area in late October or November. This whole process will “promise” you a beautiful strong lawn for spring of next year. Water is, of course, essential for this growth if Mother Nature does not cooperate. New lawn installations are also best at this time of year as well. 


Trees and Shrubs at Hillermanns

            Fall in Missouri is the ideal time of year to plant all kinds of things from cool-season vegetables to turf grasses, and especially shrubs, evergreens or deciduous trees. Yet, when it comes to planting, many gardeners only think of the spring. Why is fall such an ideal time to plant? First, the warm soil in the fall helps encourage root growth. The roots continue to grow through our mild winters becoming well established by the spring. This makes fall plantings much better equipped to handle our heat and drought once summer finally arrives. Plus, our fall and spring rains help do the work in establishing your plants, so you don’t have to do as much. During this time, there is also fewer pests and disease problems to attack your plant while it is young.

            Planting trees in the fall of the year is perfect timing to get better results. Choosing varieties for that special spot should be given some thought.  You will help the environment, lower your electric bills, and enhance your property value.

Fall Home Color Gardens

            Now turn your focus to Fall Decorations….and change the Curb Appeal of your yard by giving it a face-lift for fall. Change out those summer containers and flowerbeds with fall bedding plants that work long into the fall season, which in our case here in Missouri can be thru mid November. You should be able to find such plants as pansies, ornamental cabbage, kale, ornamental grasses, hardy garden mums and MUCH more. Don’t forget to add in straw, corn stalks, pumpkins and gourds to give it a complete look. Extend the look of your outdoor room and enjoy the extended season.

            Fall bulbs are available now and should be considered for spring color in your garden! So start thinking ahead to next year and get in on the action now.

            *For additional information about fall gardening and tips, check out the following website: www.hillermann.com.

Time to go………..See you in the Garden
Sandi Hillermann McDonald



Garden Solutions - July 2018

            Even though the weather outside isn’t as enticing or enjoyable as it is in the spring of the year, you can still enjoy time outdoors and there are still things that need to be done….


            The most important item to consider this time of year, naturally, is water…. provide water in the garden, not only for the perennials, annuals, trees and shrubs, but also for the wildlife such as birds, rabbits, squirrels, and the such.  And this can be done in several different ways. One would be a simple drip irrigation system to take care of your plant life. These systems can be installed with tools as simple as a scissors or knife. Timers are also available to take even the guess work out of the project for you, and it continues to work even when you are on vacation. This will be extremely important this summer season, even more so then others, because of the dry spring season we have just experienced.

Birds continue to give us enjoyment with new fledglings arriving as well as their daily antics. Water can be supplied in the form of birdbaths, water fountains, or water garden displays. Moving water is a bigger draw for this wildlife activity than still water, and it is safer, too. With moving water, you do not need to worry about mosquitoes.

            Let me give you some other tips for the garden….

            *Keep deadheading spent annual flowers for continued blooming.
            *Keep an eye out for powdery mildew and red spider mites this month in the garden. Treat with Copper Fungicide or Malathion insecticide respectively.
            *Bearded irises can be divided at the end of the month. Discard old center sections. Replant so that the tops of the rhizomes are just above the ground level.
            *Remember to deep root water established trees and shrubs, as well as new plantings, during drought conditions.
            *Dig potatoes when the tops die back.
            *Sweet corn is ripe when the silks turn brown.

            For additional information about garden tips for summer, check out our website at www.hillermann.com.

Time to go…. See you in the Garden….
Sandi Hillermann McDonald

Mother's Day Gift Guide

Mother's Day is coming up fast on May 13, 2018! This is the day all moms want to feel special and appreciated. Plan ahead this year and find a perfect gift that will show Mom just how special she is to you. Here are some great ideas to help you find a gift that will be just perfect.

Fresh Flowers

All moms love to receive a bouquet of Fresh Flowers. Have us create an arrangement of here favorite flowers or choose from many great arrangements online at http://www.hillermannflorist.com/.


From easy care succulents, to beautiful bloomers, to foliage of all types, there are many options of indoor plants that will remind mom of your thoughtfulness each time she sees them.

Décor and Giftware

Many types of Giftware and Décor for inside and outside are available to fit the personality of all moms.

Hanging Baskets, Container Gardens, Bedding Plants & Tropical Plants

Moms love to dress up their, porch, patio and flower beds. Pick up her favorite plants and colors and help her create colorful accents in these areas.

Trees, Shrubs & Rose Bushes

Find a perfect tree or shrub for Mom's yard or landscape beds. She will remember your thoughtfulness each time she sees your gift!

Wine, Wine Gift Baskets, Wine Accessories & Décor

Send mom wine and flowers or a wine gift basket to help her enjoy her down time. Visit us and check out our great selection of accessories and décor to find the gift that fits Mom perfectly.


Hillermann Gift Cards

Let Mom pick out her gift with a Hillermann Gift Card. Since they are good in all our departments, Mom can find exactly what she wants! She can even apply the gift amount to Landscape Services or New Landscaping.

Click here to order Hillermann Gift Cards online.

Bird & Wildlife Items

Does your Mom like to watch the birds and wildlife? Browse our large bird and wildlife department for bird houses, feeders, seed, suet, birdbaths and more. Help bring more activity to Mom's yard and give her hours of enjoyment.


Garden Tools and Amendments

If your Mom gardens, she may need some new tools to help her enjoy it even more. A great selection of gardening tools, fertilizers and more are available.








Outdoor Lighting

Mom might be wishing for Solar Landscape Lights for her landscape beds or even string lighting for her patio. We have a great selection including decorative solar lanterns and decorative hanging and stake solar light up pieces. Stop by and see all the options we have available!


Online Store

Can't make it to the store to shop?

Click here to check out the selection on our online store.

Have a Happy Mother's Day from the Hillermann Team! 





Eight Shrubs for Clay Soil

From Proven Winners

Clay soil is much maligned by gardeners and homeowners everywhere, and no wonder: it’s heavy, sticky, and difficult to work in. But the simple fact is that clay soil gets its bad rap because it’s hard on people - from a plant’s point of view, clay soil is usually not problematic at all. In fact, clay soils offer plants two major advantages over other soil types: they hold water well, minimizing drought stress, and are abundant in nutrients essential for plant growth.  So, if you’ve been struggling to achieve your dream garden or landscape in clay soil, cheer up! Here are ten beautiful shrubs that will thrive in clay.




Sometimes known by the unfortunate name of chokeberry (thanks to its edible but astringent fruit), aronia is a beautiful North American native with multi-season appeal. Spring brings a blanket of white flowers, each dotted with bright pink pollen in the center. As summer wears on, purple-black fruits develop. Finally, come autumn, the whole plant blazes with brilliant orange, red, and yellow color. Previously, aronia was only available as a large shrub or small tree, but Low Scape® aronias make this versatile, durable species available to all with new, smaller habits. Low Scape® Mound aronia naturally grows as a tidy little tuffet, making it the perfect groundcover or edging. Low Scape® Hedger aronia has a taller but narrow habit, so it makes the perfect low hedge for landscaping or screening off air conditioners and the like. This tough species can grow in most any soil and even tolerates shade well.




Most people know the tree-like white flowering dogwoods that burst into bloom each spring. Those can be a bit fussy about where they are planted, but their close cousins, the shrub dogwoods, are some of the most widely adaptable landscape plants on the market. They grow in sun or shade, in all types of soils, in wet and dry conditions, and are resistant to both deer and rabbits. Their best feature in the landscape is their colorful winter stems – red for Arctic Fire® and yellow and coral for Arctic Sun®, or, in the case of Pucker Up®, its unique “quilted” foliage. Red Rover® combines brilliant fall color, blue berries, and deep mahogany-red stems. All can be planted anywhere and relied upon for beautiful, practically effortless coverage.


Flowering Quince


Flowering quince is an old-fashioned favorite for its very vivid spring blooms. It fell out of favor, however, due to its prominent thorns. Fortunately, Dr. Tom Ranney from NCSU developed the Double Take™ series, which has the same super saturated flower colors but in big, doubled versions and without thorns. Take your pick of four glorious shades: Double Take Scarlet™, Double Take Orange™, Double Take Pink™, and Double Take Peach™. They bloom for several weeks and often rebloom in fall. We’ve heard reports of over a month of bloom in areas as hot as Dallas, Texas, which shows how tough and durable these springtime beauties are.




Everyone loves lilacs, and it must be because their fragrance is so delicate that people tend to think they are hard to grow. Surprise! Lilacs are actually extremely durable. They love – nay, need – cold temperatures, making them one of the most cold-tolerant landscape plants. Plus, they are typically untouched by deer and rabbits. All one really has to do is plant them in a sunny spot and enjoy. To get the very most out of a lilac planting, look for Bloomerang® reblooming lilacs – they bloom alongside other lilacs in spring, but after a brief rest, bloom mid-summer through fall for more color and fragrance. They are also highly resistant to diseases that can plague conventional lilacs, too.




Happy Face® potentillas are about as close as you can get to a shrub that blooms non-stop. The show begins in late spring and goes, and goes, and goes, right up until the first hard frost. We selected the Happy Face series for extra-large, very bright blooms. They are nestled into a neat, mounded shrub of emerald green foliage that emerges with a snowy white coating of fine, soft hairs. Not only does clay soil pose no problems for these durable, hard-working shrubs, they are also extremely deer and rabbit resistant, too.


Rose of Sharon


Whether you call it rose of Sharon or althea, everyone agrees that this old-fashioned favorite is hard to beat for easy-care summer color. With large, saucer-like blooms for months every summer in beautiful shades perfectly suited to sunny days, its prettiness belies an extremely tough plant. It can grow in nearly any soil and needs no pruning to grow into a landscape-worthy accent or hedge. Many varieties have the liability of setting a lot of seed that spread all over the place and makes it kind of a maintenance nightmare, but our low to no seed varieties, the Chiffon® series, the Satin® series, and the Sugar Tip® series eliminate this problem, adding outstanding, pure colors and graceful habits to boot. If you’re looking for something smaller, the dwarf Lil’ Kim® series is just the ticket.


Smooth Hydrangea


Yes, you can grow hydrangeas even in clay soil! In fact, smooth hydrangeas, also known as Annabelle hydrangeas, are native to North America and grow naturally in very heavy clay soils without a problem. In addition to their ability to withstand challenging conditions, smooth hydrangeas like the Incrediball® series and Invincibelle® series bring all-new colors to this landscape standard. Better still, they all have strong, sturdy stems that won’t flop, even after summer rains, like ‘Annabelle’ notoriously does. Whether you live in the frigid North or the steamy South, you can grow these easy-care, practically fool-proof hydrangeas.




With their trumpet-like flowers and late spring bloom time, weigela seem to announce the transition into summer. They do so with good-natured aplomb and the ability to take most anything nature throws at them, including tough soils. They love a good, sunny spot, which ensures best color on dark-leaf varieties like the Wine series as well as abundant blooms. For the longest bloom period, look to reblooming varieties like Sonic Bloom® or the Snippet™ series. Just pick your favorite colors, plant, and enjoy – you won’t have to worry about deer or rabbits spoiling the show.


Garden Solutions - April 2018

            Oh my goodness……………..have we had some early spring moisture!!  We believe our aquafers should be close to full.  Sooooo now let Spring begin!!          

April is the “opener” of spring. Grass greens up, trees leaf out, shrubs begin to bloom, perennials come back, and the birds continue to sing. This is truly my favorite time of year; the time of rebirth! The seasons move so fast, this is one that you really need to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n and enjoy every day.


            One of the bigger movements across the country remains “Protecting the Pollinators”. Last year a huge push to “Save the Monarch Butterfly” was seen everywhere. A few years ago, the Honey Bee had been known as declining. Well, the decline of these most important Pollinators is still a strong concern. Therefore, we need to make ourselves aware of the push to save ALL pollinators. We can help with this push by being aware of your surroundings and eliminating the use of insecticide products, especially on blooming plants that are visited by pollinators. It you have an insect issue, talk to a representative at your local garden center about methods of controlling pests without harming pollinators. Our food supply depends on it.

            There is so much to talk about in April, I have made a short list of some of the more common, timely items that will need attention or guide you as we begin this most wonderful season of Spring!

  • When Crabapples are in bloom, hardy annuals can be planted.

  • Transplant trees, shrubs and perennials early in the month for best success.

  • Spots and bare patches in the lawn can still be over seeded if you did not apply a Crabgrass Preventer. During spring there are more issues to be aware of when seeding a lawn rather than in the fall.

  • Liquid weed control should be applied this month to control dandelions, henbit and other broadleaf weeds. New grass from seed MUST be mowed 3 times to make it strong enough to withstand weed chemicals.

  • Prune spring flowering shrubs after they finish blooming.

  • Start cucumber, squash, cantaloupe and watermelon seeds indoors this month.

  • Termites begin swarming. Termites can be distinguished from ants by their thick waists and straight antennae.

  • Ants have slender waists and elbowed antennae.

  • Mole young are born in chambers deep underground.

  • Hang out hummingbird feeders the first of this month. Use a solution of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. Change the solution frequently to keep if from fermenting. Food coloring is not needed nor is it recommended for the birds.

  • The last week of April is a good time to try an early sowing of warm season crops such as green beans, sweet corn, etc. Transplants of tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and sweet potatoes can also start being planted outdoors.

  • Container gardening is good choice for flower and vegetable gardening if space is in short supply. It can be done by anyone, anywhere, check it out!!

  • “Natural Gardening” is here to stay………..keep your family safe and check out what organic/natural options are available to you when gardening this year. There are many.

    Well, time is running short…see you in the garden
    Sandi Hillermann McDonald

Garden Solutions - March 2018


            March welcomes ‘Spring’, and it will be met with open arms this year!! This is the month to open up the gardens and get things in shape for the new growing season, which means there is plenty that can be done. To name a few; mowing time is upon us; have you sharpened those mower blades? To keep that lawn looking fantastic, it is time to add Fertilizer with Crabgrass Prevention. Make sure to follow directions and do not try to skimp on the amount of product used, so you get great coverage from the Crabgrass Prevention. If you feel you need to over-seed the lawn, check with the professionals on proper steps for spring treatments.

            Clean up those perennial beds and cut down all Liriope and Ornamental Grasses to about 3-5” above the ground. Once this has been done, it is time to re-mulch your shrub and flower beds. Top-dress these areas with a slow release fertilizer as well, such as Osmocote.


            Nesting boxes for Bluebirds and Purple Martin houses should be put out early this month. Purple Martins return to our area between St. Patrick’s Day and the end of the month. So now is the time to be prepared. And I would like to encourage to continue feeding the birds through May because fledglings will be hatching, and it may be too early for nature to have grown enough of a food source for the baby birds.


            Are you considering doing some vegetable gardening this year? Well there is no better time than now to start those preparations. You can start seed in the house for plants such as tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. Plant or sow seed for peas, lettuce, radish, kohlrabi, collards, turnips, potatoes, spinach, onion sets, beets, carrots, and parsley outside this month. Set out broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and pansy transplants now. This month is also good to set out strawberries, blueberries, blackberries grapes and other fruiting plants. It is likely we will see an influx of home gardening this year. It can be done in containers on the patio, as square foot gardens, or large plot gardening. There is nothing better than a home-grown tomato!!  And it is always good to know where your food came from.  Get the kids involved, nature is awesome!!      

            Now it is time to go, so we will “See you in the garden!”
            Sandi Hillermann McDonald

Houseplant of the Week - 2/20/18

Mini Garden Plants

       Mini plants and mini gardens have become very popular. They have a cuteness factor that is hard to resist. Miniature plants can be used in a variety of ways. They work great in cute little containers, terrariums, and of course in miniature/fairy gardens.

       The joy of miniature gardening is combining crafting and gardening together to create a living masterpiece. There are so many options for creating mini gardens from fairy gardens to miniature landscape scenes. You can create a mini world containing plants and mini decor that reminds you of a favorite place or a place you'd like to be, or you can create a whimsical fantasy scene.

       The crafting part is attaining an idea, and then putting it into a mini garden. The gardening part is choosing the plants that suit your idea and will grow well together in the location you have available. The same golden rule applies here as in landscape areas - choose the right plant for the right place. The associates at Hillermann Nursery & Florist are here to help you with design, selection and care tips.



Bird of the Week - 2/20/18

White Breasted Nuthatch


Basics: The Upside-down bird! This species often climbs upside down on tree trunks and branches. These birds have clean black, gray, and white markings. Song is a rapid series of low-pitched nasal sounds: “whe-whe-whe-whe-whe.” The call is nasal yank or “yank-yank” and is lower-pitched than the red-breasted nuthatch. They can be found in mature deciduous trees, in forests, woodlands, parks, and suburban areas.

Housing: These birds typically nest in a natural tree cavity or in an old woodpecker hole, although they may use a birdhouse. Leaving some dead tree trunks in wooded areas can be helpful for nesting.

Food: In our backyards, Nuthatches will eat sunflower seeds, peanuts and peanut butter, and suet.

How to attract: Offer the foods mentioned above, water, shelter and nesting sites.

Fact: With a little patience, you can get nuthatches to eat from your hand.  Let them get used to you by a feeder, then hold out your hand with sunflower seeds in it.

Tip: They can be quite aggressive at feeders.  With wings spread, they will swing from side to side to keep other birds away.