National Squirrel Appreciation Day is January 21!

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SQUIRRELS! Whether you love them or loathe them, National Squirrel Appreciation Day, January 21st,  is a great time to take a few moments and learn about these nutty animals. We found some great articles on the National Wildlife Federation's website:

10 Nutty Facts to Make You Appreciate Squirrels
Dani Tinker, NWF.org

Nutty Ways to Celebrate Squirrel Appreciation Day This Year
Danielle Brigida, NWF.org

 

Visit us for this special offer in honor of Squirrel Appreciation Day:
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20% OFF
Peanuts and Squirrel Food

Good through 1/22/18. Not good with any other sale, coupon or discount or on previous purchases. Print coupon or mention at checkout counter.

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Houseplant of the Week - 1/16/17

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Succulents

       In botany, succulent plants, also known as succulents, are plants that have some parts that are more than normally thickened and fleshy, usually to retain water in arid climates or soil conditions. They have the ability to thrive on limited water sources, such as mist and dew, which makes them equipped to survive in an ecosystem which contains scarce water sources. Succulents  are often grown as ornamental plants because of their striking and unusual appearance.

       Many desert-adapted succulent plants thrive and flower well on a sunny window ledge, tolerating the dry atmosphere in centrally-heated homes and offices. They have become widely popular in recent years due to their unique appearance and hardiness. They work great in combination plantings and miniature gardens because of their slow growing nature.

       When growing succulents, use a cactus and succulent potting mix that will drain well and a container that will drain excess water at the bottom. Place succulent plants in an area that receives bright light from a window. Some varieties will do well with direct sunlight. However, some varieties need indirect light to avoid sun scorch on the leaves. These will do best with the use of a sheer curtain to filter direct sunlight.

       Be sure not to over-water your succulents. Let the soil dry out between waterings. They do not need much fertilizer. A light treatment in spring or summer is sufficient.

 

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Houseplant of the Week Special:

 

20% OFF
Succulent Plants

Good through 1/22/18. Not good with any other sale, coupon or discount or on previous purchases. Print this coupon or mention this offer at the checkout counter.

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Because Who Doesn't Love a Nice, Warm Bath?

Because who doesn't love a nice, warm bath? (Or for the wild birds, any water that is not frozen in winter).

 

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All-Seasons decorative Heated Birdbath with deck mount - $97.99. Optional pedestal - $51.99. Heated Rock De-icer (safe for all birdbaths) - $60.99. Allied Four Seasons Heated Birdbath with tilt to clean deck mount - $80.99. Allied Heated Birdbath with sturdy weatherproof metal stand - $113.99.

Winter Drought Alert from MoGIA

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EXTREME Winter Drought Alert – Supplement Water Essential

Industry professionals from the MoGIA membership have been expressing concern and dealing with the consequences of the current extreme drought conditions coupled with the extended mild fall planting season. Read on for some background plus experiences and suggestions from a few of those professionals.


While drought conditions during the hot summer months are quite evident as lawns turn brown and seasonal color plantings show signs of stress, the results of a winter drought will not become apparent until the spring season returns.  For plantings installed during this past and recent previous growing seasons, waiting to water until spring will be too late for many plants, particularly evergreen trees and shrubs as well as perennials and ground covers.
 
According to Patrick Guinan, Extension/State Climatologist for the University of Missouri, many Missourians went into the New Year experiencing the longest period of consecutive days with sub-freezing temperatures in decades. But, despite the recent cold spell, 2017 will likely rank as Missouri’s 6th warmest year on record.  The first 4-months of 2017 were unusually mild, and we also experienced a warm fall. The warmth of 2017 outweighed the cold by far.
 
Additionally, 2017 will likely produce the driest Nov.-Dec. period in nearly 3 decades, or since 1989. Preliminary precipitation data indicate the statewide Nov.-Dec. average this year is just under 2-inches, according to Guinan. In 1989, the Nov.-Dec. average was 1.28 inches. The statewide average precipitation for the Sept.-Dec. period this year was 6.5 inches, less than half the average. This year was also the driest Sept.-Dec. period since 1989. In 1989, the Sept.-Dec. average was 6.27 inches.
 
By the end of 2017, abnormal dryness to extreme drought was impacting nearly all of Missouri, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
 
Of course, the extended warm weather of the fall was a welcomed invitation by homeowners and commercial and residential landscape installers to plant more plants! Vic Jost, proprietor of Jost Greenhouses, a wholesale grower of herbaceous perennials and woody trees and shrubs in the St. Louis area, is particularly concerned about the projected well being of the volume of plants installed during this time.

“Many plants installed this fall, along with established plants in the landscape, were already under heavy stress due to our local drought conditions,” said Jost.  “Add to that the extreme cold temperatures we have experienced, and we’ll likely see severe damage in many plants, both evergreen and deciduous, where irrigation was shut off early in the fall."

Dan Christie, President, Metropolitan Forestry Services, a professional tree care service company in Ballwin, MO, concurs.
“In over 40 years in the business, I can’t remember witnessing a late summer, fall and early winter drought such as we are currently experiencing.  My concern is that an extensive amount of our plant material is not going to pull though due to the stress the drought is placing on the root system as the trees and shrubs were going into dormancy.”

Matt Keeven, owner and manager of Emerald View Turf Farms, a commercial grower of turfgrass sod in O'Fallon, Missouri, notes the drought issue, but also sees a related concern as the drought affects nutrition. "The extended warm temperatures into late fall has allowed lawns to continue feeding using stored nutrients, while the drought has caused desiccation in most fescue, bluegrass and zoysia lawns. Moving forward to the spring of 2018, it will be critical to feed our fescue and bluegrass lawns early (Mid-February) to ensure proper nutrition for root development and spring green up." 
 
Mike Rood, arborist, nurseryman and owner of his family's Pea Ridge Forest nursery near Hermann, Missouri, says "Extreme dry and cold temperatures in the fall and winter months quickly stress plants leading to an unnatural susceptibility to insects, disease and possible premature death. The greatest concern would be 2017 plantings, as well as conifers and broadleaf evergreens. To mitigate problems, we are irrigating later than ever. Homeowners are encouraged to drag out the hoses and start watering."


Victoria Hatfield, principle and owner of Wallflower Design, a landscape design, install and maintenance business serving homeowners in the St. Louis region, sent a note to customers in December,  expressing concern about the “lack of precipitation, which is troubling for your new plants. In addition, the low angle of the sun and gustier winds may result in even dryer soils than normal. Newly planted trees, shrubs, and perennials are all susceptible to winter drought injury. The new plants outside do need water/moisture during the dormant season, and most do not want their roots to “dry freeze” as they face more frigid temperatures in January and February. This root damage can certainly affect the long-term health of the plant.”
 
Since most landscape irrigation systems are shut off for the winter season, application of water during the winter months is a bit more challenging, requiring the use of water obtained from freeze proof water outlets. 
 
Finally, of course, a warning is prudent, when colder weather returns, to once again drain hoses and irrigation systems, and in extreme cold conditions, turn off spigots and re-winterize systems. It’s a pain, but much better than losing hundreds or even thousands of dollars of plants and lost labor costs, or risking damaged plumbing.
 
Content and editing assistance provided by Robert Weaver, The Gateway Gardener Magazine.

Missouri Green Industry Alliance (MoGIA) - Industry Update, http://mailchi.mp/f84f36b0ed6f/mogia-newsletter-quarter-2-548663?e=167d54c535

Houseplant of the Week - 1/9/18

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Orchid

       Orchids are a diverse and widespread family of flowering plants with blooms that are often colorful, showy and fragrant. The showy orchids favored by most people are usually either phalaenopsis hybrids or dendrobium hybrids. Phalaenopsis (Moth Orchid) is the most common of the Orchid family. The golden rule for orchid success is to duplicate the plant's natural conditions as closely as possible.

       Orchids prefer bright light, but no direct sun. Water them thoroughly once or twice a week - more when it's warmer, less when it's cooler. A pencil or a wooden skewer inserted into the soil will come out almost dry, indicating it’s time to water again. Make sure the water drains completely out of the holes at the bottom of the pot. Never leave the plant sitting in water! Placing ice cubes on the soil surface, to provide slow even watering as they melt, works great for watering. Provide some humidity for the plant; most do not like very dry environments. Gentle air circulation is also good for orchids.

       Keep the daytime temperature between 65°- 75°F /18°- 24°C with a nighttime temperature drop of just a few degrees. In nature, most orchids are epiphytes, meaning they grow on other objects, clinging to rough bark or even stone. With that in mind, the growing media can be made up largely of bark chunks. Most garden centers offer Orchid soil mix that will work well. Orchids also tend to prefer smaller pots. If a pot is too large, the orchid will expend most of its energy rooting, and show no real new growth or foliage for months, so keep the containers small. They prefer being somewhat root-bound with their roots protruding from the top of the media (or aerial roots should simply hang free). However, as plants produce more new canes or spikes, they can eventually outgrow their pot.

       Orchids can be fertilized once a month - or when they are blooming only. Look for fertilizers that contain nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K), plus trace elements like iron (Fe). Do not overfeed orchids - this can damage them. If you're growing your orchid on bark, use a fertilizer that's significantly higher in nitrogen (in a ratio of 30(N)-10(P)-10(K)). The bacteria in the decomposing bark will consume a lot of nitrogen. Water your orchid thoroughly before feeding.

 

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Houseplant of the Week Special:

 

20% OFF
Orchid Plants

Good through 1/15/18. Not good with any other sale, coupon or discount or on previous purchases. Mention this offer at the checkout counter.

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Bird of the Week - 1/9/18

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American Goldfinch

Basics: The American Goldfinch is also known as the “Yellow finch” and can be identified by it’s bright yellow coloring, nicely trimmed in black. These birds are a social flock that travel usually in large numbers. The bright coloring is most evident in early spring, as their winter color is a very dull version of the above. 

Housing: Most yellow finches will not nest in a bird house, but may use a basket-style house with a fairly open top as a base for building a nest. They will sometimes also use a regular birdhouse for temporary shelter.

Food: Finches like smaller seeds such as aster, sunflower, dandelion and especially thistle.

How to attract: The easiest way to attract these birds is with a mesh bag feeder or a nyjer tube feeder full of Nyjer Thistle Seeds.

Fact: A group of these birds are called a charm of goldfinches. Primarily, this species is monogamous!

 

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Bird of the Week Special:

 

20% OFF
Nyjer Thistle Birdseed

 

Good through 1/15/18. Not good with any other sale, coupon or discount or on previous purchases. Print this coupon or mention offer at the checkout counter.

Code: HNF-NL

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Garden Solutions - January 2018

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            January can be a dreary time of year for the gardener, yet it can be exciting as well.  We have had a very trying season this past year with warmer temps and drought.  Now is the time to dream and redesign your flowerbeds for the upcoming spring season.  Now is a good time to beat the spring rush if you would require assistance or guidance from landscape designers.

            Remember our wildlife!  Birding is a favored hobby among American people. Your yard can be a natural magnet for all kinds of birds by supplying special treats of food, water, safe places to nest and a few other necessities this season.  Enjoy their antics and activity during snowy days.  This can give you a real feel good sensation.

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            Feed the birds hi-energy foods like black oil sunflower seeds and suet, which give birds more energy per ounce consumed. One need of wild birds often overlooked by consumers in cold weather is the need for ‘open water.’ The main reason they need water is to help keep warm. Birds fluff out their feathers so they can better capture a ‘layer of air’ that acts as heated insulation. Matted, dirty feathers can’t be fluffed out. Therefore, by offering food and water, dozens of your feathered friends will soon add brilliant flashes of red and blue, gray and white, across the snow, and you’ll hear their melodious songs as the sing “Thanks” to you for helping them survive.     

            Let’s turn thoughts to the indoors as there are many things that can be done there.  Houseplants should have the dust washed off their leaves on a regular basis during winter.  This allows the leaves to gather light more efficiently which will result in better growth, especially since there is less light available this time of year. 

            Indoor plant insect population is a problem that needs to be checked on regularly during the winter as well.  Dry home conditions are perfect for insect incubation cycles.  Washing the plants regularly will greatly cut down on this problem.  Organic remedies, such as Insecticidal Soap, for controlling insects are readily available and safe for indoor use.

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            If you can tolerate the cold weather, there are a number of things that you can do this month in your landscape that will lighten your workload for the rest of the season. The main item is pruning or thinning of your woody ornamentals. Interior, broken, or crossing branches should be removed now while you can see exactly what you are removing. The general rule of thumb is that you should not touch spring flowering trees and shrubs at this time of year.

            If the weather is extremely bad this month, then snow and/or ice removal are going to be the big tasks. Heavy accumulations of snow or ice can easily damage plants. Dump a snow shovel full of wet snow on top of some of your shrubs and you may end up replacing the broken mass next spring. Snow plows can also do quite a bit of damage to plantings and lawn areas. Use location stakes with flags to show where your driveways and walkways are as well as where to “dump” excess snow. If you have to deal with ice, be extremely careful with the melting compound you use        

            Time flies fast, so enjoy this winter preparing for spring and we will “See you in the garden”.

Sandi Hillermann McDonald

Bird of the Week - 1-3-18

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The Northern Cardinal

Basics: Male Cardinals are easily spotted by their red plumage while female cardinals have lovely red highlights in their fawn colored feathers.

Housing: Enclosed housing may not be appealing to this species. Platform housing is best for Cardinals. The planting of thick berry producing plants and evergreens are also very beneficial for this species to roost and nest in.

Food: Black Oil Sunflower seeds, and safflower seeds are two of their favorite foods!

How to attract: Provide food, water, shelter, and nesting sites!

Fact: Keeping warm bodies is a number one priority during winter, a snug place to roost overnight is just as important as a full belly.

Tip: Choose larger, heavier feeders that will not sway, or placing feeders on sturdy poles rather than hanging them to provide more stability when cardinals are feeding.

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Bird of the Week Special:

Black Oil Sunflower Seed
50# Bag, Regular $24.99
Just $18.99

Good through 1/8/18. Not good with any other sale, coupon or discount or on previous purchases. Print this coupon or mention offer at the checkout counter.

Code: HNF-NL

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Houseplant of the Week - 1/3/17

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Cyclamen

       These houseplants are valued for the up-swept petals and variably patterned leaves. The florist Cyclamen is the best know species in this genus. The small flowers of this plant are very sweet smelling. These are tuberous plants with the common heart shaped leaves. Cyclamen have a good transpiration rate, and therefore will add to the humidity in your home. The plants prefer a cool location with good air circulation! Cyclamen are great flowering plants to add interest to the home in winter, as they do best in our area from December through March.

 

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Houseplant of the Week Special:

20% OFF
Cyclamen Plants

Good through 1/8/18. Not good with any other sale, coupon or discount or on previous purchases. Print this coupon or mention offer at the checkout counter.

Code: HNF-NL

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