WESTON — Early flower planting has begun and a few well-timed tips can make it a success, even if there is another late freeze.
Joanne McKenzie and her husband John, owners of McKenzie’s Flowers and Greenhouse, gave some advice for getting those flower gardens planted early.
“Start usually around Mother’s Day, or the middle of May. Hopefully, the frost will stay away after that,” Joanne McKenzie said. “Make sure the ground is warm enough not to shock them. Normally that time of year it’s warmed up a little bit.”
Less well known are some of the advantages bred into the new perennial hybrids.
“Annuals is what I’m talking about. With perennials, it depends, some of them are better planted in the fall and some of them in the spring,” Joanne said.
Joanne said John is the expert on perennials and he put in their first you-pick flower market last year. It has been expanded for this season, because of the popularity.
“Petunias will take a light frost, but with most annuals, you want to wait,” John said. “A lot of annuals are really tender, but there are hardier ones too.”
He is a fan of the newer hybrid perennials, because of the speed at which they bloom.
“A lot of the newer hybrids, they bloom the first year from seed,” John said.
He pointed out that many people get excited by an early warm spell and want to get that flower garden going. Additionally, there are some deals to be had on annuals and they don’t have to be passed up, just because timing seems to be bad.
“A lot of big-box stores have had things out for three weeks,” John said. “When you are talking about planting in the fall, you are talking about tulip bulbs, and that kind of thing. They have to be planted in the fall in order to bloom, because it requires so many hours of temperature below 32 degrees. Most of your perennials you could plant this year. They may not bloom this year and then bloom the second year.”
John had some examples of the newer hybridized perennials.
“For instance, some of the newer perennials, from the daisy family and the echinacea family, they’ve got them hybridized to bloom the first year. Right now is actually an ideal time to plant them. It’s cooler and they’d be getting the rains. Just like planting a shrub, you have to keep them watered. But in most cases they are not going to be bothered by a freeze.”
He had some recommendations for a workaround, if annuals are desired.
Part of the trick is to stay on top of the weather reports, if a gardener wants to take advantage of the trick used by many of the garden centers, including McKenzie’s.
“Hanging baskets and pots, you could put those out earlier. If there’s a frost, you just bring them inside. A garage will be warm enough, in most cases,” John said.
The McKenzies now have three locations. There is the original spot with the greenhouses in Weston, the Bowling Green flower shop and the new You-Pick Flower Market located at 20990 Euler Road. There are limited hours from 5-8 p.m. Monday through Friday.