What do one of the most recognizable names in plants and fast cars have in common? More business for Garden Crossings of Zeeland, Michigan.
Rod Grasman took advantage of a summer contest sponsored by Proven Winners®, one of the most recognized names in the gardening world. The contest, “Store-Within-A-Store”, challenged garden centers to use Proven Winners® brand plant material creatively and effectively. Garden Crossings was one of three talented garden centers that won one of the coveted national-level $1,000 prizes.
"Each year we keep trying to improve the store. Our biggest challenge is pulling customers in from a 55 mph road--getting them to check our store. This year we planted a mass planting with some of the Proven Winners® plants that work so well in the landscape." Rod said that definitely caught people's eye...and he is going to use his $1000 to promote fall plants and seasonal items.
Rod and his wife, Heidi, are fall planting enthusiasts. “Fall’s a great time to plant. Most people think of spring as the best time to plant, but here in the Midwest, that’s not always the case,” said Heidi.
One main reason is fall’s still warm soil, which encourages root growth. The roots of a fall planting continue to grow through the winter until the ground freezes. When a Midwest winter is mild, those roots may keep on developing when soil temperature is as low as 40 degrees. And this growth occurs during a time when roots don’t have to support growing stems, leaves and new flowers. Then, in early spring, root growth accelerates and top growth begins. Along with gentle fall rain, cool days and fewer pests, it’s easy to see why Garden Crossings’ encourages their customers to plant in fall.
The ideal period for fall planting in the Midwest is from late September until about six weeks before the first hard frost, typically the end of October or early November. Remember to follow the established rules to use a quality, slow-release fertilizer to minimize transplant shock, keep all new plantings watered during dry spells—even during the winter--and stake larger trees. Throughout winter, check new plantings for frost heave, and gently press any lifted plants back in place. Come spring, you’ll be glad you slowed down to enjoy and experience fall gardening with Garden Crossings.