Embracing Summer: Gardening Success Starts at Wolf Hill

Embracing Summer: Gardening Success Starts at Wolf Hill

Written by Jackie Panek, Annuals & Perennials Manager

Happy unofficial start to summer and thank you for shopping at Wolf Hill!

We have been delighted to welcome back many returning customers over the years. We enjoy catching up and hearing about your new gardening ventures.

We've also been fortunate to meet many new people who have never shopped at Wolf Hill before. I often hear, "I drive by all the time, but have never stopped in until now. This place is HUGE!" I always respond with a warm, "Welcome to Wolf Hill!" making a new friend and encouraging them to experiment and find success in their garden.

At Wolf Hill, we have been busy as our customers have eagerly awaited the arrival of spring and summer—a safe time to venture into their yards for planting and other projects.

I wanted to talk a bit about plant care. Many of our customers have been gardening since childhood with their parents, grandparents, or neighbors. Others come in claiming to have a "Black Thumb," fearing that they kill everything. I firmly believe that anyone can succeed with plants if they follow a few basic steps in their care.

Firstly, it's important to note that plants are very much like us! They need food, water, protection, and LOVE! Whether you're planning a perennial bed, a privacy screen with trees or shrubs, setting up a large vegetable garden, or simply placing annuals on your balcony, the majority of plants will need ongoing care throughout the season. Even hardy plants like succulents, marigolds, and geraniums aren't "Set it and forget it."

Understanding the conditions in the area you plan to plant can greatly enhance your gardening success. As avid gardeners ourselves, Wolf Hill employees can help you choose something beautiful that will thrive in your garden if you know a few key factors, such as sun, shade, moisture, wind, animal exposure, and specific wants like color preference, pollinator attraction, or deer resistance.

When you get your plants home, they will need continuous watering. We thoroughly water our stock at least once a day. Unless there's a heavy rainstorm forecasted, light rain will not provide enough moisture for potted planters, hanging baskets, or newly planted shrubs. You should deeply water potted annuals, shrubs, and perennials until water runs through the drainage holes, and sometimes even more for pot-bound plants not yet in the ground.

Keep in mind that spring in New England is always quite windy. Dry, windy, and hot conditions can be stressful on plants, but they can fend off issues with proper moisture. Plants will usually survive quite well in a pot until you're able to plant them in the ground or a larger pot, as long as they get enough water.

Landscape plants like trees, shrubs, and perennials enjoy an early season and sometimes later season feeding. This can be done with products like Espoma Plant Tone, Holly Tone, or a top dressing of compost.

Potted plants that provide season-long color, such as annuals in window boxes, patio pots, and hanging baskets, are extremely heavy feeders and will need fertilizer once a week. I recommend using a slow-release fertilizer like Osmocote at the time of planting, but also encourage weekly feeding with a product like Jack's Bloom Booster.

For your herb and vegetable garden, using Espoma Bone Meal or Espoma Tomato Tone at the time of planting will help your plants get a strong start so they can be healthy and fight off fungal/pest problems once the heat of summer arrives. I also encourage using compost to amend the soil in your bed as last year's veggies used up all the nutrients. I am very excited to use the Fish Fertilizer from Neptune's Harvest after seeing lots of online videos of award-winning pumpkins, tomatoes, and squash that have been fed Neptune's Harvest. Our customers swear by it, too!

Thanks for reading my tips and tricks for simple plant care. Getting into gardening might seem intimidating at first, but you can do it! Gardening is all about finding what works for you, trying new things each year, and sticking to favorites that you know and love and work well at your home.

Happy planting! See you at Wolf Hill.