Fine Gardeners Blog

Garden Center Impulse Buying, Resist The Temptation

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Monday, October 22, 2018
Fine Gardeners, Brookline, Newton, Needham, MA

Have you ever gone to a garden center with a specific plant in mind that would look perfect in your garden only to come home with a bunch of pretty plants that were not on your list? To quote Andy Rooney, “Well, I have!” It’s important to know that garden centers are no different than any other retail store in that they market to the vulnerable shopper who cannot possibly pass by that pretty flowering plant which is at the peak of the season. This type of eye candy is usually displayed prominently at the entrance to the retail area or near the cash register where it will definitely be noticed and hopefully purchased.

The problem with buying these little gems is that they don’t always have a very long shelf life, or they may be annuals mistaken for perennials. A perfect example of this is a beautiful ornamental grass named Pennisetum ‘Rubrum’, common name Purple Fountain Grass. This is an annual grass which will not hold up to a frost in the Northeast. If I only had a dollar for every client I had to disappoint by telling them they purchased an annual grass and not a perennial. Beware of this plant for it is likely on display at a garden center near you this Fall. Pennisetum ‘Rubrum’ is a great plant to purchase in late Spring/Early Summer where you can enjoy it all season, but if you purchase it now, it may only last a few weeks.

The same is true for many other annuals sold in the summer where the consumer hopes the plants will come back the following year only to be disappointed when they don’t reappear the next season. Always read the labels carefully and don’t be afraid to ask a salesperson at the garden center. The Spring season is the most popular time of year for impulse buying. Look for our next blog where we will discuss Spring impulse buying.

For more information on fall gardening, contact Paul at Fine Gardeners.

Fall Container Gardens: Creating Season Containers

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Fine Gardeners, Brookline, Newton, Needham, MAContainer gardens offer four seasons of pleasure, fun and creativity. Fall is here and the holidays are fast approaching. Make use of this opportunity to be creative and plan on changing out the plants in your containers. Gorgeous containers bursting with colorful arrangements are a focal point and should always look their best.

The amount of time and money you want to spend on your containers will determine how many times each year you want to change the plantings or add additional plants. It may mean completely changing some pots with each season or just changing a few plants in each pot.


Fall color schemes revolve around oranges, deep golds and rich reds. Mums are the classic standby, but calendulas, pansies, ornamental kales, diascias, snapdragons and edibles such as beets and Swiss chard make great fall containers.


In winter, seasonal container gardens can be filled with boughs of evergreens. Some foliage plants, such as springerii, can be left to dry in the containers making a decorative display all winter. Hardy trailing plants including vinca and ivy can remain in the container all winter. Woody plants offer interesting textures in winter and broadleaf evergreens such as holly, daphnes, boxwood, ivy topiaries and small conifers offer interest all winter. Arrangements of red twig dogwood and evergreen branches make a delightful seasonal display in urns near entrances.

Containers with Foliage Plants

Foliage plants and woody plants will work best for containers and planters used as screens and space dividers.

For more information on seasonal containers for your home or business, contact Paul at Fine Gardeners.

horticulturally savvy gardeners
Fine Gardeners