#Springopenhouse at #Bayportflowerhouses

#Springopenhouse at #Bayportflowerhouses is this weekend! Saturday and Sunday, March 23-24 2013. We look forward to a beautiful day in the greenhouses even if the weather outside is still seasonally cool. Bring your friends and family! We have music, lectures, greenhouse tours, refreshments and LOTS of beautiful plant material and merchandise! We will be here to answer all of your gardening questions and would love to assist you with a beautiful floral arrangement! Don’t forget to add your name to our email list so that you will receive future newsletters! http://ow.ly/i/1I4V5

Impatient With #Impatiens Join us Saturd

Impatient With #Impatiens Join us Saturday, March 2 at 10 am and see what’s new this year! #Coffee&Donuts http://ow.ly/i/1BiHW

Porch Pots

Porch Pots are easy care plantings that “color pop” your patio, front porch, or garden. The combinations are endless and can showcase your personality through color, texture and scent.

It’s an adventure worth taking! Here’s some tips on an creating your own edible container garden. If you’ve got some free time, we are offering Edible Porch Pots, as a class this June. It’s $38 per person and we’ll guide you on your own porch pot adventure.

General Guidelines
When growing an edible garden container, there are a few rules that differ from decorative gardens. Caution is needed when treating plants for insects and diseases. These poisonous chemicals can enter the plants and wind up on your plate. It is best to choose natural solutions to remedy the problem. Try methods such as planting oregano in with your vegetables to get rid of insects. Pruning the affected areas or washing the plant with a mild soap and water solution will often eliminate a variety of bugs and diseases.
Managing the fertility of the container gardening needs a bit more management. You can use compost teas, fish emulsion and other earth friendly fertilizers. Because of the absence of microbial life in the container soil, we recommend that you use fertilizers that have a great proportion of water soluble nitrogen. One of the easiest and earth friendly ways of fertilizing is with Osmocote. This is a time release fertilizer that releases fertilizer every time it rains or you water…thereby maintaining a constant flow of nutrients and mitigating the leaching of excess nitrogen.
There also needs to be sufficient room in the pot for food production. Harvesting the produce at the right time is also important. Picking the vegetables or fruit as it matures will give you the best quality food while eliminating the chance of it dropping off the plant. Picking the produce at the right time also allows the plant to focus more on new food production rather than wasting nutrients and time on over-ripening.
If you have shied away from gardening because of a lack of space for poor soil in which to grow plants, an edible container garden is the perfect solution. Produce can be grown in any sunny spot in your home and all you need is a pot, plants, and some soil to get started.

Feel free to email me at karl@bayportflower.com for any questions or feedback.
Happy Gardening!!!

Geraniums! from the National Garden Bureau

In honor of 2012 being the Year of the Geranium, we bring you some quick facts about this much-loved garden plant:

1. The bedding plants gardeners plant in late spring and bring inside in autumn are commonly known as geraniums; but geraniums they are not. They are pelargoniums. 

2. True geraniums are the cranesbills, hardy North American and European herbaceous perennials; while pelargoniums are semi-tender or tender plants, mostly from South Africa, that have graced our gardens with their large flowers for decades. (It’s a rather lengthy story about why the difference and to read that, go to the NGB website here.) For this article, we will still refer to the annual bedding plants as geraniums.

3. Traditionally, plants were grown from cuttings (vegetatively propagated). However, in 1962, Dr. Richard Craig of Pennsylvania State University developed a technique for seed scarification (nicking) and bred the first commercially successful open-pollinated, seed propagated geranium, ‘Nittany Lion Red’. Four years later, the first F1 hybrid geranium from seed was developed. 

Four Basic Types of Annual Geraniums:

1. Common or Zonal Geraniums (Pelargonium x hortorum) – This is the classic bedding plant, which typically comes to mind when someone says “geranium.” Deriving its name from the “zoned” leaf markings, it thrives both in containers as floriferous single specimens as well as planted out in swaths awash with color in the landscape.

2. Regal and Angel Geraniums (Pelargonium domesticum) – The Regals, which are also known as Martha Washington geraniums, are bushy plants with large blossoms, single or double flowers in dramatic colors and patterns. Regals tend to be spring blooming, requiring cool nighttime temperatures to bud. Angels are smaller versions of Regals developed for their dazzling blooms which look somewhat like pansies.

3. Scented-Leaf Geranium (Pelargonium domesticum) – Scented-leaf geraniums are coveted heirloom plants, still grown today for their pleasing fragrance, unusual foliage, delicate flowers, essential oil and culinary use. The scent, created by oils in the leaves, is released when the leaves are rubbed or bruised. The fragrance of a scented-leaf geranium may remind you of roses, lemons, pineapple, chocolate and other spicy fragrances.

4. Ivy-Leaf Geranium (Pelargonium peltatum) – Plants with long, brittle stems full of sculptured, ivy shaped leaves and gracefully trailing habits are immensely popular for hanging baskets, window-boxes and containers. Flowering abundantly throughout the summer, they have smaller, looser flower umbels of single, semi-double or double blossoms in shades of deep maroon, red or pink.

Purchasing Plants

When shopping for geranium plants, choose plants based on their color and size. Look for healthy leaves, with no discolored spots above or underneath, fairly compact growth with no straggly stems that indicate it was grown in poor light, and no obvious pests. 

Geraniums as Bedding Plants

Geraniums are popular garden plants because of their long-lasting flower displays, even under adverse weather conditions. For maximum bloom, plant where they’ll get at least 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight daily and space them 8 – 12 inches apart. Geraniums need good air circulation, but should be protected from strong winds which can break their brittle branches.

Geraniums should be planted in moisture retentive, but well drained garden soils, at the same level as they were growing in pots. Mulch when possible to reduce soil temperature extremes and weed growth. Promptly deadhead spent flowering stems to promote additional flowering. Pinch stems to prevent legginess and promote bushiness.

Water geraniums regularly if there is no rain, preferably early in the day to allow leaves and flowers to dry before nightfall, which will help prevent disease problems.

Geraniums in Containers

Popular mainstays for containers, hanging baskets and window boxes, geraniums are well-behaved, low-maintenance, high-performaning garden divas. 

Use a container with drainage holes to prevent soggy soil, which can cause root rot. Fill the container with a good quality soil-less potting mix (not dirt) and position in full sun.

Water thoroughly, allow to dry out before watering again. Do not use a saucer under the container unless filled with pebbles. Fertilize every 2 weeks with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer at half strength.

In Conclusion

Few plants offer such variation in flower color, growth habit, leaf pattern, and scent. Lush growing geraniums are versatile plants perfect for any spot that calls for a splash of sparkling color throughout the season.

The National Garden Bureau recognizes Betty Earl as the author of the full version of this article, which can be found on the NGB website


Founded in 1920, the National Garden Bureau is a non-profit organization whose mission is to disseminate basic instructions for home gardeners. NGB publishes and sponsors “Year Of The” fact sheets annually featuring flowers and vegetables, including new introductions, which are especially suited to home gardens. 

Parsley! from the National Garden Bureau

Parsley, (Petroselinum crispum) a member of the carrot family, is a lot more than just a decorative green on of a plate. In fact, it is one of the most nutritious of all herbs. An excellent source of vitamins A and C, it also contains niacin, riboflavin and calcium. Rich in chlorophyll, parsley is also a breath freshener.

Parsley’s taste appeal is world-wide. The Japanese deep fry it, Greeks mix large amounts with tomato sauce to create moussaka flavoring and Spaniards use parsley as the prime ingredient in salsa verde. Both the common, (curly), and Italian (flat-leaved) parsleys are ideal for garnishes and for flavoring soups, stews, salad dressings, and sauces, but Italian parsley reportedly has the best flavor. 

 Parsley as Ornamental  Parsley is so attractive that it also integrates easily into ornamental plantings. Its fine-textured foliage is attractive as neat edging or foliage fillers in flower beds, its rich green color setting off the bright blooms of pansies, petunias and other annuals.

Recognizing Parsley  Parsley leaves are comprised of 3 leaflets on short stems, that branch in threes at the tips of 8 inch long bare stalks. Leaves of common parsley are dark green with divided tips which curl tightly. Those of Italian parsley are a lighter green and more deeply divided and feathery, resembling celery foliage. A common parsley plant typically grows 9 to 18 inches tall and spreads about 6 to 9 inches. An Italian type may grow to 3 feet tall.

 Although parsley is a biennial–its life spanning two seasons–it is usually treated as an annual and is pulled up at the end of the first season. That is why its flowers, which appear in early summer of its second year, are seldom seen. They are flat clusters composed of tiny, greenish yellow florets, and resemble Queen Anne’s lace. As with most herbs, flowering tends to make the foliage bitter and less useful for cooking. However, parsley flowers host many beneficial insects, including butterfly larvae, so it may be worth allowing some plants to overwinter and flower the next season.

 Starting Parsley Seedlings Indoors  Soak seeds overnight prior to planting to improve germination and use moistened seed starter mix or other sterile, soilless medium. Sow seeds about an inch apart and cover with a ¼-inch layer of the moist medium. Keep evenly moist and maintain soil temperature of about 70F. Expect sprouts in 14 to 21 days. Set fluorescent lights two inches above the newly opened leaves, adjusting them to maintain this distance above the top leaves of the seedlings as they grow for 4 to 6 weeks.


Growing Parsley  Parsley grows best in all day sun in cooler areas of the country, but appreciates some afternoon shade in warmer climates. The ideal soil is moderately rich, moist, and well-drained, although parsley plants tolerate poorer soils having less organic matter as long as drainage is adequate. Soil should be loose to accommodate parsley’s taproot and mildly acidic (pH 6.0 to 7.0).

To direct sow, dribble the seeds into indented rows ¼ to ½ an inch deep. After 3 or 4 weeks, when sprouts are a few inches tall and show their first true leaves, thin them to allow 8 to 10 inches of space between the remaining ones so they can grow freely. Depending on the variety, parsley plants will grow to maturity and set seed in about 70 to 90 days.

Plant seedlings on an overcast day or late in the day to minimize transplant stress. Dig holes about 10 to 12 inches apart and about the size of the containers the seedlings are growing in. Gently pop each seedling from its container and set each one in a hole. Firm the soil over the rootball and water immediately. If you have added granular slow-acting fertilizer to the soil, do not feed the plants further. Shield newly planted seedlings from bright sun the first day or so while they adjust to the shock of transplanting.

 Planting Parsley in Containers  Parsley grows happily in a container alone, with other herbs or with flowers, as long as it gets enough sun. Use one that is 12 inches or deeper. Fill with moistened soilless potting mix to within 2 inches of its top. Mix in some granular slow-acting fertilizer or plan to water plants once a month with a dilute general purpose liquid fertilizer. Water often to prevent container plants from drying out during hot summer days.

Harvesting & Storing Parsley  Begin harvesting parsley when it produces leaf stems with three segments. Harvest the larger leaves at the outside of the plant first, leaving the new, interior shoots to mature. To encourage bushier parsley plants pick only the middle leaf segment of each main leaf stem.

Store freshly picked, moistened sprigs in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for 2 weeks. Chop leaves and blend with water or stock then freeze in an ice cube tray for up to 6 months. Parsley also dries well in a regular or microwave oven, although it loses some flavor. Store dried parsley in an air-tight jar for up to a year.

Lastly, enjoy your freshly harvested parsley in any number of homemade culinary delights. Here are a few recipes from the Food Network to inspire some ideas!

Founded in 1920, the National Garden Bureau is a non-profit organization whose mission is to disseminate basic instructions for home gardeners. NGB publishes and sponsors “Year Of The” fact sheets annually featuring flowers and vegetables, including new introductions, which are especially suited to home gardens. 

Barefoot Ready Lawn Care

Would it not be great to have a lawn you can roll around in that’s safe for you and the environment. Below are the simple steps to take to achieve these results.

 #1- Philosophy- You must embrace the fact that you do not need a PGA level golf course lawn.

 #2- Soil- the foundation of it all. If your organic matter in the soil is thin then your lawn will be stressed…make sure when you start a new lawn that you have 4-6” of organic/top soil layer. If you have an established lawn you can rake in compost (1/4”+ each year).

 #3- To prevent weeds in the lawn naturally make sure that you overseed bare areas with grass seed to prevent weed seeds from germination. The best time to overseed is in the fall, but early spring is ok too. Seed once a week for 3 weeks to really boost the density of your lawn. Use perennial rye grass for rapid germination or if desired use fescue for a more drought tolerant lawn. You can apply Corn Gluten to help control weeds in your lawn. Be sure not to put it down when you are reseeding a lawn because it prevents germinating seeds from rooting in…apply when forsythias are blooming…water in and make sure there are 3-5 days of dry conditions thereafter. Corn gluten is also a good fertilizer so this will count as a feeding too.

 #4- Establish the healthy soil organisms necessary for a great lawn…apply Mychorrizhea and bacteria to bring your soil to life. Compost tea is also excellent.

 #5- Check your pH and make sure you are between 6-7. Get your soil tested if necessary. Add lime to increase soil pH.

 #6- A lawn with a great soil will only need one fertilization a year. If you lawn is high traffic or your soil doesn’t hold as much nutrients, than 2 applications may be necessary. Fertilize your lawn in May/June and September at a 1lb/1,000 nitrogen rate. Use a natural lawn fertilizer that is high in water insoluble nitrogen and potassium but low in phosphorus.

 #7- Make sure your lawn gets 1” of water a week. Use a rain gauge to measure. It is best to water your lawn longer, less frequently…this allows the roots of the lawn to extend down in search of water and nutrients….thus building a better root system. Water in the morning. If you lawn has lost its luster or holds onto your footprints than it needs to be watered.

 #8- Mow you lawn to about 2.5”-3” tall. This helps to shade out weed seeds and also keeps the soil system cooler thus reducing the need for water. Leave the clippings on the lawn. If you have a healthy microbial system in your lawn than those organisms will breakdown the clippings and return the nutrients to the soil.


In searching for some fun facts on birds I came upon the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and their fantastic library of recordings and videos…http://macaulaylibrary.org/    The home of the Lab at Sapsucker Woods is a favorite visit for our family when we visit Ithaca.   Their website is also a treasure of knowledge about birds, birding and our natural world – check them out at http://www.birds.cornell.edu

March Flowers

March Flowers

Spring Flowers

Celebrate spring and take a moment to brighten someone’s day with a surprise floral arrangement. The best reason to send a gift of flowers is Just Because.

Frequent Flowers: Explore the cheerful colors of spring favorites like tulips, hyacinth and daffodils.

It’s a Fact: 83% of people like to receive flowers when they are unexpected.

Did You Know? You can customize a gift of flowers to a friend’s personality. Check out the Floral Signature Quiz.

Tip: When ordering a floral gift, describe the recipient’s favorite colors or hobbies to us.




Have the seeds you started indoors begun to poke their heads up? When the first true set of leaves appears (technically the second set; the leaves look different from the first, lowest ones), use a small pair of sharp scissors to thin out smaller or weaker seedlings right at soil level.

Rose Trivia

ImageFor centuries, roses have inspired love and brought beauty to those who have received them. In fact, the rose’s rich heritage dates back thousands of years. The Society of American Florists compiled this list of interesting rose facts from a variety of sources:

  • People have been passionate about roses since the beginning of time. In fact, it is said that the floors of Cleopatra’s palace were carpeted with delicate rose petals, and that the wise and knowing Confucius had a 600 book library specifically on how to care for roses.
  • Wherefore art thou rose? In the readings of Shakespeare, of course. He refers to roses more than 50 times throughout his writings.
  • 1,000 years old. That’s the age the world’s oldest living rose is thought to be. Today it continues to flourish on the wall of the Hildesheim Cathedral of Germany.
  • Why white roses are so special is no mystery – it’s a myth. Perhaps it started with the Romans who believed white roses grew where the tears of Venus fell as she mourned the loss of her beloved Adonis. Myth also has it that Venus’ son Cupid accidentally shot arrows into the rose garden when a bee stung him, and it was the “sting” of the arrows that caused the roses to grow thorns. And when Venus walked through the garden and pricked her foot on a thorn, it was the droplets of her blood which turned the roses red.
  • It’s official – the rose is New York’s state flower.
  • The rose is a legend in it’s own. The story goes that during the Roman empire, there was an incredibly beautiful maiden named Rhodanthe. Her beauty drew many zealous suitors who pursued her relentlessly. Exhausted by their pursuit, Rhodanthe was forced to take refuge from her suitors in the temple of her friend Diana. Unfortunately, Diana became jealous. And when the suitors broke down her temple gates to get near their beloved Rhodanthe she also became angry, turning Rhodanthe into a rose and her suitors into thorns.
  • Dolly Parton may be known for her music and theme park. But rose lovers know her for the orange red variety bearing her name.
  • A rose by any other name… according to Greek Mythology, it was Aphrodite who gave the rose its name.
  • While the rose may bear no fruit, the rose hips (the part left on the plant after a rose is done blooming) contain more Vitamin C than almost any other fruit or vegetable.
  • The rose is a symbol of times. In fact, it’s the official National Floral Emblem of the United States.
  • Leave it to the romantic French to be the ones to first deliver roses. It was in the seventeenth century that French explorer Samuel deChamplain brought the first cultivated roses to North America.
  • Roses are truly ageless. Recently, archaeologists discovered the fossilized remains of wild roses over 40 million years old.
  • The people of ancient Greece used roses to accessorize. On festive occasions they would adorn themselves with garlands of roses, and splash themselves with rose-scented oil.
  • Napoleon’s wife Josephine so adored roses, she grew more than 250 varieties.
  • For the past 30 years and counting, June has been the National Rose Month in the United States.