Aug. 15, 2018

Roses are one of the most beloved flowers due to its beautiful bloom, fragrant scent and cultural significance. From coast to coast, these stunners can make a wonderful addition to your yard.

To help your roses thrive and get the most out of their colorful blooms, consider these tips from the Homestead Garden experts:

Watering: Roses are thirsty plants. Strive to keep the soil around roses moist, but not wet. Water deeply so that the dirt is moistened to about one foot. Do this every five to six days for moderate climates, and every two to three days for dry climates. Watering in the morning can help soil retain more moisture.

Lend a hand: Every day or two, check over your roses to pick off any pests or remove dead foliage. If big blooms become heavy and start to droop, tie supports (we love Peacock plant supports!) to help strengthen the plant so you can enjoy them as long as possible.

Mulch: A good 6 inches of high-quality mulch can make rose plants happy. It assists in retaining moisture so the plants don’t get too dry, plus it makes a nice visual element within your landscape design. Our experts recommend Homestead’s own Maryland Select Shredded Hardwood Mulch. It is 100% organic and made from a blend of hardwood trees and bark which is ideal for moisture and nutrient retention.

Food: A slow-release liquid food designed specifically for roses can help give plants a boost. Products with potash and magnesium can encourage more blooms. During summer months, feed every two weeks. Try Espoma Organic Rose-tone®. Rose-tone is a premium organic fertilizer designed to supply the necessary nutrients for growing prize winning roses. The organics in Rose-tone break down gradually providing a long lasting nutrient reservoir activated throughout the growing season.

Pruning: If you need to prune, cut at a 45-degree angle about 1/4 inch above a bud. Trim clear canes if bushes are getting too crowded, and remove leaves from under six inches above ground to avoid black spot.

Homestead Gardens recommends Fiskars Bypass Pruners – find them in our Lawn & Garden Department!

Winter care: In cold climates, winter can be tough for roses. When it’s time for them to hibernate, prune back to waist height (usually mid-autumn). Then add a bed of burlap to help protect plants all winter long.

Aug. 15, 2018
  • Planting your crapemyrtle in the proper site will promote flowering, control mildew, and avoid winter damage.
  • Thrives in sun and heat, provided adequate moisture is available
  • A slightly elevated position will ensure good air movement, which will alleviate any serious mildew
  • Well drained
  • Slightly elevated
  • Sunny exposure (6 hours)


  • Grows best in reasonably good soil comprised of heavy loam to clay.
  • Nutrient requirements are minimal but a light application of 5-10-5 fertilizer in early spring is beneficial
  • Using mulch made with manure or organic material in the fall will help to retain moisture and provide protection again root freezing


  • It is particularly important to thoroughly soak recently planted trees.
  • Maintain the moisture content of the soil throughout the first two seasons
  • Periodic deep watering with a hose is necessary during periods of growth, flowering and late summer
  • Do not use sprinklers; foliage should be kept dry
  • No excessive watering in the fall; too much water will encourage fall growth rather than beginning to harden off and get ready for winter
  • Very drought tolerant once established


    • Best in spring, just as they leaf out. Flowers are borne on the current season’s growth.
    • No autumn or late winter pruning
    • All crapemyrtles will produce recurrent blooms if the plants are not permitted to develop seed. This means removal of spent blooms. On very large trees, removal of very large clusters may be difficult; thus, pruning is restricted to thinning lower trunks and some heading back each year to promote new wood and flowers.


    • Crapemyrtles enhance the landscape throughout many seasons
    • Spectacular long-lasting summer blooms
    • Striking fall leaf color
    • Unique bark texture and color will add grace to your winter landscape
Aug. 15, 2018

Words are only one way to communicate. There is body language, sign language and, of course, hundreds of emojis we can use to express what we’re feeling.

Perhaps one of the more poetic ways to express your feelings for another person is through flowers. We all know that a bouquet of wildflowers or a bunch of roses is the perfect way to show affection, but few realize that an actual language of flowers was developed and used to convey feelings and ideas.

This language of flowers reached its height in the 19th century, during the Victorian era. Back then it was commonly understood that certain flowers had a symbolic meaning. For example, if, after a couple of dates, you sent that special someone lilacs, it would be understood that this was meant to express the first feelings of love.

  • A pink rose expresses love and gratitude.
  • Red roses are for romantic love.
  • Daisies convey innocence and are often given to new mothers and fathers upon the birth of a child.
  • Bluebells represent kindness.
  • Rosemary stands for remembrance.
  • Periwinkles symbolize tender recollections.
  • Daffodils are for new beginnings.
  • Myrtles symbolize luck and love in a marriage.
  • Peonies mean the sender is bashful, a cute way to flirt if ever there was one.
  • Rhododendron means “danger,” which goes to show not all flowers have pleasant meanings.
Aug. 15, 2018

There’s a common misconception that a shady garden means a dreary garden, but just because your garden doesn’t get full sun all day long doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful. Yes, the hosta is everyone’s go-to, but there are many other plants for shady areas that will add color, richness and vibrancy to your backyard landscape.

To find the best types of plants and flowers for your garden, first decide exactly how shady it is.

Here are some general guidelines:

Full sun: Six or more hours of sunlight
Partial sun: Five to six hours of sunlight
Partial shade: Three to four hours of sunlight
Full shade: Less than three hours of sunlight

You’ll also need to consider your zone.

Here’s a list of hardy plants that shade gardeners turn to again and again.

Astilbe (Astilbe arendsii): These tall, feathery plumes can be bronze, dark or pale green, or deep red. Choose different colors for an interesting array all season long.

Lenten rose (Helleborus orientalis): Also prized for their early blooms, the Lenten rose comes in purple, red, green, blue, yellow and pink, adding color and life as they bloom and rich foliage throughout the growing season.

Bleeding hearts (Dicentra spectabilis): The delicate and distinctive shape of these flowers, a heart with a little drop beneath it, gives it its name. Usually pink, white or red, the bleeding heart is part of the poppy family.

Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica): Known for its trumpet-shaped blue flowers, the bluebell blooms in early spring. It loves moist, shady areas and native plant gardens. But be aware, it goes dormant after blooming, so you’ll need to overplant with annuals.

Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica): Known for its trumpet-shaped blue flowers, the bluebell blooms in early spring. It loves moist, shady areas and native plant gardens. But be aware, it goes dormant after blooming, so you’ll need to overplant with annuals.

Pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis): An evergreen perennial also known as “spurge,” this deep green plant is a great ground cover. It has white blooms in the spring, but is primarily known for its rich foliage.

Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis): This hardy ground cover is a go-to favorite, especially for people who live in colder climates. Its green leaves, white bracts and scarlet berries give an air of winter and the holidays to your summer garden.

Jul. 11, 2018