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Buy your spring flowers and summer vegetables directly from Parks Brothers Greenhouses, Arkansas's largest greenhouse grower!

Parks Brothers Greenhouses grows top quality annual bedding plants, garden vegetables, perennials, hanging baskets and patio containers in the spring. In fall and winter, our greenhouses are full of mums, pansies, kale, snapdragons and poinsettias.

Parks Brothers Retail
6733 Parks Road
Van Buren, AR 72956
(479) 410-2217

Please call us at 479-410-2217 for our hours which change during the season.

Posts Tagged ‘flower beds’

After the Frost…

PC010280 Old Man Winter really can be a nuisance sometimes.  Blowing in, making our hands all dry and our hair all brittle, forcing us to turn up the heat and drag out our winter clothes, and picking on poor defenseless flowers in our garden.  Of course, he also brings brilliant fall colors, the relaxing crackle of a cozy fire in the fireplace, the absolute need to make hot chocolate with extra marshmallows, and every kid’s dream….SNOW!  So, I can’t say I dislike Old Man Winter entirely.  And tho I can’t offer much help with dry hands or brittle hair, I can offer some advice for those poor flowers he’s been picking on.

Frostbitten plants aren’t pretty.  Black tips, mushy stems, curled leaves, wilted blooms.  Your first instinct is probably to rip them right out the ground, or at the very least trim away the dying parts of the plants.  But your mother was right when she said patience was a virtue.  Patience is exactly what you need to bring those plants back to life. 

So first things first, understand that some plants aren’t meant for cold weather.  If you still have begonias or impatiens in your garden for example, you really don’t need to try to save them.  They weren’t designed for the cold weather.  But if you have perennials, shrubs, or cold weather flowers like pansies and snapdragons, don’t give up on them.  They will most likely come back all on their own if you give them the time they need.

Second, resist the urge to prune.  Pruning will only lead to new plant growth.  New plant growth is tender and fragile.  It won’t survive the next frost and will result in even more frost damage to your already ailing plants and shrubs.  Don’t fertilize them either.  This will also lead to new plant growth.  So put the clippers away until around March or April, when the temperature is warmer and the chance of frost has passed.  Once you see new growth on the plant, you can fertilize them again.

And thirdly, keep watering your plants.  Even tho it looks like the plant is dead, it probably isn’t entirely a goner.  So just keep watering your plants just like you always do.  And when the weatherman predicts another frost, cover them up just like you always do.  Remember woven fabrics provide more protection from frost than sheets of plastic. 

Then just sit back and wait for Old Man Winter to take a nap and you will see happy blooms again in no time.  We also suggest stocking up on some cocoa and marshmallows as well.  It won’t help revive your plants, but it’s guaranteed to help YOU survive the winter…

Shoo Frost, Don’t Bite Me!!!

100_1665 Old Man Frost just purchased a first class ticket today, and with his bags packed full of ice, snow, freezing temperatures, and the occasional blizzard, he boarded his plane and is now headed our way.  Internal Winter Weather Alarms have been reported to be going off in the minds of thousands across the area as they diligently began dragging out coats, scarves, hats, gloves, thermals, fuzzy slippers, ear muffs, space heaters, electric blankets and Snuggies® all in preparation of his arrival.  No word yet on just when Old Man Frost’s plane is scheduled to land, but we can officially report that he is definitely in route.  The question is, are you ready to meet him???  Better yet, are your flower beds ready to meet him???

Now, I know he sounds scary.  Anyone carrying a blizzard in their suitcase has got to be a little scary.  But in reality, he’s not quite as terrifying as you might think.  And he does actually serve a purpose in that whole ‘world goes ‘round’ scheme of things.  Why if Old Man Frost didn’t make an appearance every now and then, those deer you hunters like to hunt probably wouldn’t be moving around quite as much, making it just a bit harder to obtain the legendary 12 point buck you’ve had your eye on all Summer.  But before you put on all your camo gear and head out into the woods, take a moment to help your flower beds prepare first.

The most obvious thing you can do to protect your precious blooms from frost is to cover them up.  Blankets, old sheets, burlap, even a heavy layer of mulch can keep your flowers snug as a bug when the temperature begins to drop.  Some people like to use a sheet of plastic, but woven fabrics will provide more protection than plastic.  Of course, whatever heating method you use will have to be removed when the sun reappears to prevent the plants from suffocating.

The least obvious thing you can do is to water them.  Yes I said water them.  I know it sounds crazy, but watering your flower beds thoroughly a day or two before a heavy frost can actually keep them warmer.  Wet soil holds more heat than dry soil.  And a plant that might suffer from cold stress doesn’t need the added stress of lack of water too.  So grab the hose and douse them.  Keep in mind, this is a day or two before the heavy frost, not the day of or the day after.  The water needs time to soak in.  Water on leaves or blooms during a freeze can cause the plants to suffer freeze damage.  You can however give them a light watering in the evening, before the temperature begins to plummet.  This will raise the humidity levels and reduce frost damage.  Watering before a frost works with fruit trees too.  And spraying the actual fruit before a freeze can shield the fruit from freeze damage.  After the frost, wait until the sun and temperature comes up before you water them again.

And with those two simple steps, your flower beds are ready for Old Man Frost!!!

So go ahead and put on your camo gear guys and find that legendary deer.  Don’t forget your safety orange.  And if you see Old Man Frost, tell him we’re ready for him!!!

Walking the Gardening Tight Rope

Sometimes Gardening can feel like a circus.  All your perfect little flowers lined up and ready to perform, and then suddenly they get performance anxiety and shy away from reaching their full potential while you’re stuck walking the tight rope and trying to make this year’s circus act the best act yet.  It can be exhausting to say the least.  And tho half the fun of gardening is overcoming these little obstacles, it’s kind of nice to have a few back-up plans just in case…

Welcome to Circus Acts 101 – Tips and Tricks and Quick Fixes Under the Big Top

1.  Location, Location, Location!!!
Flowers are picky.  They can’t help it.  They just are.  Some like sun, some hate it.  Some like acidic soil, some are allergic.  Some can’t decide what they like and can go either way.  So when you sign up new flowers for your three ring stunner, check out their background and make sure they will be a good fit for the location you’ve chosen.  If your flower bed is in the shade, you need shade plants.  If your flower bed is in the sun, you need sun plants.  If your flower bed is half and half, get flowers that need half sun/half shade.  Some flowers have special soil needs too, so be sure to look closely at your tags for special requirements.  And think about soil drainage.  Aside from water plants, not many flowers enjoy swimming, so make sure the location you’ve chosen is out of the flooding zone.

Quick Fix:  Flower Bed turning into a marsh land?   Dig up your plants and lay them on a tarp nearby.  Remove the soil and lay about a four inch layer of gravel in your bed.  Refill the bed with soil or organic compost and replant your flowers.

2. Violating the Maximum Capacity Rule

The Big Top may be big but it can only comfortably hold so many occupants, and overcrowding can lead to disgruntled flowers and riots.  Remember those little information tags that came with your flowers?  They also have spacing requirements.  And tho you might think that tiny little plant couldn’t possibly need as much space as its tag suggests, don’t forget that those little flowers grow up to be big flowers.  And big flowers take up more space.  By the same token, imposters can rob your flowers of their personal space, so get those weeds out of there.  After all, they didn’t even purchase a ticket to your circus did they?

Quick Fix:  Having trouble telling your flowers apart from an imposter?  It’s easy to tell a flower apart from a weed when a big beautiful bloom is sitting on top of it, but before it performs in front of the crowd, it can be kind of hard to tell the difference.  So, until your little flower is ready for its close-up, stick the flower tag in the soil in front of your star performer.  If you don’t like the look of the tag, you can label a popsicle stick and insert it instead of the nursery tag.

3.  Hiring a Camera Hog

Everybody in the Circus is a star, but some stars think they are the only ones entitled to the star-treatment and try to take over.  Your job as the Ring Leader is to quickly put them back in their place.  If you’ve chosen to hire an invasive plant, give it ample room to spread so it doesn’t trample your other flowers.  Plants like Sweet Potato, Vinca Major and Ivy grow quickly and spread like wild fire.  So if you see words like spreads quickly, prolific reseeder, or vigorous grower remember to keep them far away from your other stars.

Quick Fix:  Got a Star that’s out of control?  Cut it down to size!   Most invasive plants can take some pruning, so go ahead and cut them back to keep the shape and size that you want.  Remember you’re in control.  We recommend pinching the plants at a joint when cutting them back.  And a stern reprimand every so often probably wouldn’t hurt either.

4.  Have Fun!

A Circus without fun is like a week full of Mondays!  So bring on the clowns, the lions, the bears, and the magicians and dazzle the crowd with the Circus you create!!!

Water Confusion

If you were to Google ‘how to water your plants’, you would come up with over 29,800,000 results full of pages saying ‘this is the correct way to water your plants’, which can be an information-overload nightmare.  Every year, we are asked the age-old water question…how much should I water my plants?  And honestly, there really isn’t a simple cut and dry answer since every plant is a little different and has varying water requirements.  But rest assured, we do have some simple water tips and tricks for you that might take the headache out of your watering woes. 

P5260324

First, let’s separate your plants into two categories, containers/baskets/pots and flower beds.  Containers/baskets/pots have a tendency to dry out more than flowerbeds. This is because there is less soil which makes it harder for the plants to retain water.  So you have to water them just a little different.  We recommend the drenching method.  Completely saturate your containers/baskets/pots with water.  Give them a minute or so to soak up all the moisture and then saturate them again.  You want to do this at least 3 times.  The idea is to get the plant so wet that water runs out the bottom.  The soil in a container/basket/pot needs to be evenly moist.  And it’s very important that they are able to drain.  You don’t want your plants to be left sitting in water.  Plants love to play in the water, but they have yet to learn how to swim.  So leave the deep end for the kiddos and let the flowers play in the shallow end.   

As for Flower Beds, we recommend the ‘Second Knuckle Moisture Meter’ method, a phrase coined by one of our helpful Sales Reps, Ron.  You want to water your flower beds until the soil is moist.  You can check your moisture level with Ron’s ‘Second Knuckle Moisture Meter’ method.  Put one finger in the soil up to your second knuckle.  If you pull your finger up from the dirt and your finger is still dry, you need more water.  If you pull your finger up and you have moist dirt up to your second knuckle, you’ve successfully become a watering guru.  Keep in mind, you want the entire bed to have this moisture level.  Also, if you are watering your flower beds by hand with a hose or watering can, you need to direct the flow of water onto the soil, not the plants.  If you are watering by sprinkler, try to water as early in the morning as possible.  Tho there is great speculation on whether water on flower petals and leaves can actually cause the flowers to burn in the direct sunshine, we’ve found that plants just perform better if you water them in the morning.  Again, remember to think moisture, not puddles.

Lastly, we would like you to remember two rules of thumb.  One, water in the morning, not at night.  There is an old saying that says ‘never put your plants to bed wet’ that we tend to agree with.  And two, beware of windy days.  Wind is a water zapping monster to flowers.  So if it’s a particularly windy day, you might need to water your plants twice that day to avoid your plants drying out.

Now these tips won’t apply to every plant in the known universe, so be sure to read the tags on the plants you purchase before you plant and/or water them.  And as long as you’ve got the water on, go ahead and splash around a bit, because flowers shouldn’t be the only ones to get to play in the water.

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