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We are closed on Easter!

We are closed on Sunday, April 20 so our staff can celebrate Easter with their families. We hope you all have a blessed Easter.

Gardening is good for your health!

The evidence is piling up; there’s little doubt about it…gardening is good for you!

In his new book, A Short Guide to a Long Life, Dr. David Agus lists simple things anyone can do to improve their health. Among them are recommendations to grow a garden and to eat real food. While gardening in the vegetable garden, you burn calories while growing food of the highest nutritional value. The Institute for Weight Management  reports that general gardening burns up to 200 calories per half hour (for a 185-pound person). Weeding burns between 172 and 205 calories, and digging can burn 150 and 222 calories. And unlike other exercise programs that folks give up almost as quickly as they start them, gardening is rewarding and fun. People are likely to garden often and continue gardening for many years.

It’s not surprising that gardeners eat more fruits and vegetables. Children who garden with parents or are involved in school gardens are also more likely to eat more fruits and vegetables than their non-gardening peers.

Gardening also reduces stress. According to studies reported in Outside magazine, exercising in nature results in less fatigue, reduced anxiety, a reduction in hostility, happier thoughts and an overall feeling of invigoration. It also reported exposure to sunlight increases the production of white blood cells. These help our bodies fight off disease.

Gardening makes us all smarter. Studies have found that gardeners in their 60′s and 70′s have a 36 to 47% lower risk of developing dementia. And just walking in a garden was therapeutic to people already suffering from mental decline.

Gardening makes kids smarter, too. When learning gardens were put into more than 90 low-income elementary schools in Texas, test scores went up 12 to 15%. Teachers also reported increased student success in science, math and language arts.

Those of us who garden don’t need scientific research to tell us gardening is good for our health. We know it when our muscles are sore after an afternoon of spring clean up. We know it when we’re munching on a fresh kohlrabi from the garden instead of a bag of potato chips while watching TV. We know it when we stroll through our landscapes after a hard day at the office. We just know it…gardening is good for your health!

Do you want to join The Planter’s Palette team?

We have a few seasonal positions still available for the 2014 season. If you are interested in a cashier, office, loading or sales position in our Trees & Shrubs area, please click on the Employment link for further instructions.

How do you know if you are a good candidate? You may be qualified to join our talented staff if you: enjoy working as part of a team and making everyone around you happy; don’t mind getting wet when it rains, getting sweaty when it’s hot; working very hard; and LOVE HELPING CUSTOMERS!

Perennial Plant Association names 2014 Perennial of the Year!

The Perennial Plant Association has named Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’ its Perennial of the Year for 2014. Commonly called Northwind switchgrass, this warm-season grass stands straight as a 4 to 5-foot soldier in the landscape.

In late summer, fine textured golden orange flower panicles rise above the steel blue leaves. As summer turns to fall, flowers mature to beige and the foliage turns golden. Northwind continues to stand tall throughout the winter providing needed structure to the winter landscape.

Northwind switchgrass is easy to grow in sun to light shade. It is not fussy about soil and puts down deep roots making it drought tolerant once established.

It is a good neighbor to almost every other garden plant, but is especially effective when partnered with black-eyed Susans, coneflowers, and asters. One of my favorite perennial combinations includes Panicum ‘Northwind’, Eupatorium ‘Little Joe’ (Joe Pye weed), and Rudbeckia ‘Viette’s Little Suzy’ (black-eyed Susan).

Another reason we should all have this plant in our gardens:  it was discovered in our proverbial backyard! Roy Diblik, owner of Northwind Perennial Farm, discovered it along railroad tracks in South Elgin in July of 1983. He observed one plant with a very upright growth habit and wider leaves than the rest of a large group of Panicum virgatum. He collected seeds from this plant and gradually grew enough to be able to introduce it to the public in 1992.

Congratulations Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’ – you not only deserve this award, you deserve a spot in all of our landscapes.

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