WE’RE BACK!

We are officially opening for our 23rd season on Tuesday, April 4th! We are excited to finally see some color in the greenhouses, but we are even more excited to see our friends and customers!

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BAD BUGS, BAD BUGS, WHATCHU GONNA DO WHEN THEY COME FOR YOU?

Good guys vs. Bad guys.

No, I’m not talking about a western movie or some NCAA tournament, though we are in the crazy days of March madness. This is the time of year when we have to be very diligent about controlling insect pests that might like to take advantage of the nice tender new growth on the plants in our greenhouses! This year at Sprucedale Gardens we have begun a program of releasing beneficial insects in the greenhouses to help us keep the “bad bugs” off our plants.

Aphids are a common pest in greenhouses and in the garden. We have started releasing a parasitic wasp called Aphidius colemani that will fly around the greenhouse searching for any aphids that might be on our plants. When the wasp finds an aphid, it lays an egg inside the aphid’s body. The larva that hatches from that egg then consumes the aphid from the inside! When it is fully grown, it turns into an adult wasp and crawls out of the host aphid to mate and then find more aphids to parasitize! We have also purchased predatory mites called Amblyseius cucumeris. These tiny little guys crawl around the soil in our containers and the leaves of our plants and search for other pest mites and thrips that feed on our plants. Once discovered, these pest species become lunch for the good guys. A third method we’re using is to apply tiny little worms called nematodes to the soil in our containers. These crafty little insects crawl through the soil searching for fungus gnat larva (another common pest in greenhouses)  and thrips pupae, which they then crawl into and live inside. After several days, the pest dies and the nematodes reproduce inside the host insect. A few days later, hundreds new nematodes emerge and continue to process.

We’re very excited to implement this eco-friendly method of controlling the pests that we commonly encounter in the greenhouses. Although these beneficial insects are not cheap, (the cost is certainly more than just using conventional pesticide sprays), the bottom line is that we hope to be able to use far less pesticides and still provide you with high quality plants. It’s safer for us and our workers, and a lot more fun to apply than putting on a respirator and spraying the plants! Check out the photos of Paul and Joyce distributing the beneficial insects in the greenhouses last week. As we progress through the growing season, we need to deal with different pest insects, so we’ll be releasing more of these beneficial insects to help us combat those pests as well. May the good guys win!

Larson’s Geraniums Update

Hello!

After another seriously cold spell this past weekend, our temperatures in Connecticut are getting back to normal and we’re looking forward to more spring-like weather. The Red-wing Blackbirds have returned, and the daffodils are starting to push through the mulch! Many of you have already placed your Alpine Ivy Geranium order for this season, and if you have, rest assured we’re growing those plants for you now and getting them ready to ship out when you requested them. To those who haven’t had the time to go online and place your order, we encourage you to do that soon so you can to be assured of getting the colors and varieties you want.

We’ve added a new series of plants this season; the Calliope geraniums. We have them in four flower colors, and these hybrid plants will put on a great display of non-stop flowers all summer on vigorous, mounding plants. They are not an ivy geranium, and are much more mounding than trailing in their growth habit, so they won’t replace the cascading beauty of our Alpine Ivy Geraniums. They are however, an excellent choice for those places where you want lots of color without the trailing habit.

Looking ahead, sometime in July or August we’ll be sending out a call for photos of your planters, hanging baskets, and window boxes, or however you’re using our Alpine Ivy Geraniums, for consideration in our 2017 Photo Contest. Show us what you’ve done with our plants, and we’ll select the nicest displays as winners of FREE PLANTS for next year!

As always, we thank you for your order.

From the greenhouses,

Paul and Joyce Larson and the Larson’s Geraniums team

Visit OUR WEBSITE to check place an order!

PAUL’S BEES

Not many people think of bees during the fall and winter, unless you’re a bee keeper like Paul. Unscripted and unprepared, check out a video below that Paul and Joyce’s children put together, showing Paul preparing his beehives for the long winter months.

“It’s interesting to see this process. During this time of year we are focused on getting the bees ready for winter. That means making sure that there are enough bees in the hive to keep themselves warm. I also pour in sugar solution, giving them something to eat so they’ll have energy to keep warm during the winter. Even during the fall and winter, I continue to enjoy taking care of my bees.” – Paul Larson.

Honey from Paul’s bees are still available at the nursery! 

WINTERBERRY HOLLY BUSHES

We have an amazing selection of winterberry holly bushes available, which feature spectacular berry displays in the fall and early winter. The berries are not only liked by birds – including robins and bluebirds – but are often cut off to use in holiday arrangements. Very easy to grow, the winterberry is the perfect plant for the season.

FALL IS FOR PLANTING: A LETTER FROM JOYCE

“It’s been a long, hot summer but now the cooler weather is finally here and plants are getting ready for their winter ‘rest.’ In the fall, plants are not growing leaves, allowing them to put more energy into root production. This makes fall the perfect time to get trees, shrubs and perennials established!” – Joyce Larson