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March 2023

Seed Starting – A Hobby that Grows!

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Seed Starting – A Hobby that Grows!

Starting plants from seed can be a rewarding experience. It allows you to be in control of the way plants are grown, the varieties that are grown, and the timing of plantings. If you are new to the process, start small, be successful and add more varieties next year!  

We like to think of gardening as a fun science experiment and encourage our neighbors to try new things, observe the changes with curiosity, and record data to compare the next time around. There is no ‘perfect ‘ way to start seeds, but there are a few basic best practices. These tips can get you started on the journey from a few small seeds to a full-time jungle of a hobby!

  • Don’t start too early. Vegetables and plants that you associate with summer need the soil temperature to be warm, not the air temperature. Check out the University of Maryland Extension’s handy chart for the perfect timing.
  • Use the right mix! Always use a potting mix or seed starting mix. These specialized blends hold moisture well and are lightweight enough for the tender roots to move through. The mixes are also weed and pest free. Never use garden soil as it is too heavy and can harbor weed seeds and insect and disease organisms. We love to use Espoma Organic Seed Starter, voted #1 by Better Homes & Gardens “because it is a fine, rich blend of natural ingredients and includes beneficial microbes to help promote root growth and encourage strong, healthy plants”.
  • Don’t dry out! Keep the soil moist, not wet, until seeds germinate. A spray bottle is a handy tool for misting delicate seedlings when the surface of the soil dries out, but the experts prefer to water from the bottom, allowing moisture to be drawn upwards to penetrate the tiny roots.
  • Light it up! A sunny window is sufficient, however, you will have more success and stronger plants if you invest in an artificial, full spectrum light source. There are lots of grow lights available on the market – pick something economical for your first experiment.
  • Use the data! Carefully read the seed packets for important details and special instructions like timing and spacing requirements. Use a gardening journal to record your own data – such as days to germination, growth over time, which varieties were more successful than others, and other variables that are important to your understanding of the process. It’s fun to review data and compare notes over years of gardening!
  • Toughen up! As seedlings grow, they may need to be transplanted from grow cells to larger peat pots to accommodate their size. Take care with delicate roots and stems when transplanting. Once your babies are big enough to be transplanted outside, they need to be toughened up to withstand wind and sun. This gradual process is called hardening off. On the first day, put your new plants outside for an hour or two, then bring them back in. Gradually leave the plants out longer every day until they are used to being outside all day and all night. This process should take about two weeks.

As always, the friendly and courteous staff at Himmel’s Landscape and Garden Center are happy to answer your questions, provide guidance, and give you a little extra help with your seed starting adventure. Stop by and pick up everything you need to get started!

Contact us today at 410-255-7730 or visit our location 7 days a week.

Get Outside Spring 2023

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Our slogan at Himmel’s is Get Outside – and we live in a great place for it!

As the weather warms and schedules become crammed with sports activities, concerts, picnics and other school and social events, it’s natural to long for some quiet space to relax and unwind. That space could be in your own backyard!

Check out the latest outdoor living trends for 2023 and gather inspiration for creating the tranquil backyard oasis of your dreams.

Go Big with Hardscaping

Outstanding outdoor kitchens on statement stone patios set the standard for modern outdoor living. Tuck in a few herb containers on the patio or install an elevated stone kitchen garden for easy access to fresh ingredients to throw on the grill. Carefully designed sitting areas bring the comfort of indoor living to the outdoors, whether it’s a book and coffee nook for two, an outdoor bar for a few, or a bench and firepit combo for your whole crew! Fire and water elements add a touch of Zen-like tranquility to your quiet space. Or – if you like the idea of neighborhood festivities in your backyard – get creative and add a life size chess board, horseshoe pitch, or bocce ball court!

Formal Gardens with Classically Inspired Architectural Elements

Carefully manicured landscapes in cool shades of green and white can bring a sense of peace and elegance to your surroundings, separating your space from the hectic outside world. Crisp hedges create privacy, while a few well-placed topiaries or carefully pruned trees add a three-dimensional quality that draws the eye. Stone paths and thoughtfully selected statuary add architectural interest. Columns, pillars, and urns in marble tones are timeless elements! The whole effect is enhanced by a few touches of whimsy – either with pops of perennial color in shades of purple and pink, a small water feature, or an ornate mirror or sundial as a focal point. Even the smallest spaces can benefit from the classic elements of a formal garden.

Native Plants to Attract Pollinators

The native trend is no longer a trend… It’s here to stay! Native plants benefit the environment by creating food and habitat for beautiful birds, precious pollinators, and local wildlife. The many varieties of native trees, shrubs, grasses and perennials create 4-season interest, featuring outstanding flowers and fragrance, evergreen interest, edible berries, gorgeous fall color, and more! Even a small patio planter full of flowering native perennials can benefit bees and butterflies. Enhance your outdoor space with a few native selections and draw nature in to your oasis!

Make it Happen

Wherever your daydreams take you… let the friendly experts at Himmel’s Landscape and Garden Center help you transform your yard into a uniquely beautiful habitat. Contact or call 410-255-7730 to schedule a free consultation.

Contact us today at 410-255-7730 or to schedule your free consultation.

Women’s History Month: Women in Horticulture, Beatrix Farrand

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Women’s History Month: Women in Horticulture, Beatrix Farrand

Because there were no formal schools for landscape architecture in the late 1890s, Beatrix Farrand taught herself. She was introduced to Charles Sprague Sargent who served as the director of the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University. Professor Sargent opened the facilities of the Arboretum to her and she became his apprentice. Farrand traveled abroad visiting and studying gardens to add to her self-taught education.

Farrand started a business in New York City out of her mother’s home. Over her career, she designed over 200 gardens for private estates, including those of John D. Rockefeller,  Mrs. Henry Cabot Lodge and even the White House, where she worked for Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt and Mrs. Woodrow Wilson. Her public commissions included The New York Botanic Gardens as well as some of the country’s most prestigious private universities and colleges. Her well-known campus work began with a commission from Princeton in 1913, and led to eventual projects for Yale, Harvard, Oberlin College, and the University of Chicago. The Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania recently restored and rededicated the gardens designed by Farrand.

Among the existing examples of her work are the terraced garden rooms of Dumbarton Oaks, the carriage roads of Acadia National Park, the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden, the old campus at Princeton University, Harkness Memorial State Park and The New York Botanic Garden. Now the headquarters of the Beatrix Farrand Society, Garland Farm is presently restoring her gardens as well as establishing an educational center with a library and archives.

In 1899, the American Society of Landscape Architects was established with Farrand being the only female among its eleven original members. She was instrumental in the concept of vertical gardening and selecting plants that would provide interest during the school terms at the colleges and universities. She was famous for her advocacy of native landscapes and using plans to fit the grounds, not the other way around. Her commitment to horticulture and to her profession inspired others to follow in her footsteps.

Dumbarton Oaks

Contact us today at 410-255-7730 or to schedule your free consultation.