Rick’s multiple season interest plant list

By on May 26, 2016 in Kick in the Plants! |

Rick Vuyst’s favorite “3 to 4 season” plants With our busy lifestyles I believe your landscape should work as hard as you do. I also believe that mono-cultures are not a good idea in the landscape and that as in life, diversity is better. Each plant has its season in the sun when it takes center stage. Within a diverse group problems do not spread like wildfire and the diversity presents continual visual interest as each plant plays its role. All these things said there are some plants that step up and deliver a long season, in some cases, multiple seasons of interest in the landscape. A good landscape uses approximately 30% of its foundation in evergreens providing the gravitas and back drop of interest. In some cases the evergreens can serve as a focal point for 4 seasons of interest such as a Weeping Spruce or a conifer that looks like an evergreen but is deciduous with fall color...

Relax…..you’re among “fronds”

By on Dec 3, 2013 in Kick in the Plants! |

I love foliage houseplants. Sure there is the practical side to them, from aesthetically filling space to cleaning indoor air. They are nature’s oxygen generating and filtration system for our indoor living spaces. When our windows and homes are sealed tight for the frigid winter months they improve the quality of our air as well as our visual landscape. January is a long month and if you’re not into winter sports or shoveling the driveway you’re going to be spending a lot of time indoors. You’ve got a friend in foliage. With some light and a little bit of care foliage is the gift that keeps giving year around. I like to talk to my plants. For some that might feel strange but remember the carbon dioxide from your breath can be converted into oxygen by these nature’s miracles. An understanding is needed to successfully grow foliage in our Michigan homes in winter. First of all remember...

Rolling Stone

By on Jan 11, 2013 in Kick in the Plants! |

A rolling stone gathers no moss…..or so they say. So why is it that a stationary rock can provide such a great habitat for its green growth? The other day during our January mid-winter thaw I took a walk through the woods and admired the eccentric shades of green moss growing on the forest floor. At a time of year when there is little else growing or green I found the moss a welcome friend in the landscape. During the growing season many people contact me for methods of ridding themselves of moss in their lawn, landscape, on tree trunks or landscape structures. I happen to like moss and admire it’s ability to survive and locate. So why does moss grow seem to grow so well in some areas? Moss is a survivor. It is often said that moss likes nutrient poor soils or acidic soils and surfaces. I don’t necessarily agree although this can certainly be the case. The truth is...

Shear Madness

By on Apr 7, 2011 in Kick in the Plants! |

An issue that creates a lot of confusion is pruning. The list of rules that vary from plant to plant and time of the year can create “shear madness”. Many times I’m asked to arbitrate between arguing spouses which creates a very delicate spot to be in………a “Dr Phil Dirt” so to speak in trying to keep peace in the household. If you want to spend an evening talking pruning, grab your spouse and join us for our seminar as MSU extension agent Rebecca Finneran and myself tag team on the issue to give you a “hedge-u-cation”. Tickets are $5 and there are still some seats available. Visit myflowerland.com and look for “Events”. Here is the link to sign up and we’ll see you there!...

I’ve got Ants in my Plants

By on May 24, 2010 in General, Kick in the Plants! |

First time I’ve ever had this happen to me….after years of working in a garden center today for the first time I had a lady ask me if she could buy some ants. I asked her if she was starting an ant farm. She said no, she needed the ants for her peony buds so they would open. I assured her that the ants visit peonies due to a sweet secretion on the buds but were not needed to open the buds. This old wives tale has been passed on through the ages. Not a bad situation however to have “ants in your plants” because they can be beneficial in helping deal with damaging insects. Not unusual for ants to hang out and live around your peony for a few weeks understanding it’s a “suite” living arrangement. Take a look at this picture of a container planting I put together in my yard. I cut out the center fabric of an old chair and call this arrangement...

Earth Day 2010

By on Apr 22, 2010 in Kick in the Plants! |

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If a flower is an educated weed, then these daffodils are a glorious choir. I took this picture the morning of Earth Day 2010. Maybe I have a runaway imagination but these flowers look to me like they’re singing to the heavens.