When Picking Out a Mother’s Day Plant – This Is The Only Thing You Need to Know


Many people will be stopping into their favorite nurseries either tonight on their drive home from work, tomorrow, or perhaps on the morning of Mother’s Day on Sunday in search of the perfect gift for Mom.

In fact, Sunday may be the busiest day here in Connecticut because the temperatures are predicted to be in the high 70’s.  We may even reach 80 degrees.  A great day to shop for Mom, or with Mom at a garden center.

I remember my early days working at The Garden Barn Nursery in Vernon, Connecticut on Mother’s Day.  It was just incredible how many people came in to get plants for their mothers.  Especially popular is their big full huge hanging baskets of annuals.

And believe me, you Moms out there, your children take their time selecting just the right one for you.  All heads are up looking them over.  Shoppers will carefully look all around the plant too.

Sometimes they will ask the nursery staff to take one down from the rafters so they can inspect it better, and often they ask to put it back up so they can look over another hanger they spotted nearby.

I took down and put up so many hanging baskets during a Mother’s Day weekend one year, I had to go see a chiropractor the following week because I strained my neck.

The funny part is, the customer always goes back to the original one they spotted to take it home for Mom.

The hanging baskets will look just magnificent inside the greenhouses right now. I know from prior experience of working in nurseries, and because I just got one for myself the other day when I went to Meadow View Farms in Southwick, Massachusettes when I was in the area earlier this week.  It is a bit of a drive, but I figured, why not stop in.

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It is a Fuschia with purple and pink flowers.  I cannot resist getting one of these every year – mother, or not!  The hummingbirds love them and so do I.  And when I spotted a full one flush with dangling blooms, I had to – just had to – put it on my cart and take it home for me.

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There are many things you want to consider as you look up to the top of the greenhouse to select a hanging basket for your Mom, but probably the only thing you really need to know is Mom’s favorite color.

I can not imagine any mother not being thoroughly pleased with a full hanging basket from their child on Mother’s Day – no matter what type of plants it contains – but when it is delivered in her favorite color, this puts the icing on the cake.  Trust me.

Wagon Load at Meadow View Farms

Wagon Load at Meadow View Farms

Additionally, of course, you want to look the plant over a bit to make sure it has good form and no bugs are stuck to the undersides of the leaves, but to be honest, I don’t think you will typically find this scenario this early in the season – especially this year due to our cool temperatures.  Most of the plants have been taken care of inside the greenhouse and they are freshly awaiting you.

We are having such a cool spring, almost all of the annual hanging baskets will be housed in the greenhouses where they have been kept warm, protected from the outdoor elements, and tended to by the nursery staff.  They will probably move some out now with the weather being fine over the weekend.

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Another thing you have to remember is to check the hanger for plant tags if you don’t know what the plant are – after all, Mom will want to know – and you do want to impress her, don’t you?

I have to give kudos to Meadow View Farms because when I checked out with my hanging basket of gorgeous Fuschia plants, they handed me and every customer in line a pamphlet with good instructions on care, including a friendly warning about how the early spring days are still a bit cool to put out “some type of plants.”

Plants such as tropicals, annuals, and some vegetables require warmer temperatures and will get damaged by frost – but most perennials are just fine.  Perhaps why I put one of these in my cart too – a pretty purple blooming Pulsatilla vulgaris.  This perennial was irresistible in bloom.

A perennial Pulsatilla vulgaris 'Blue Velvet' at the nursery (does not need to be covered)

A perennial Pulsatilla vulgaris ‘Blue Velvet’ at the nursery (does not need to be covered)

I especially liked this tip on their instructions:

“A good rule of thumb is to cover plants by 8 pm the night before a forecasted frost and uncover them by 8 am the next morning.”

This might be too cumbersome to do with hanging baskets however, so my suggestion is you just take it in for the evening and put it back outside the next morning.  Tell Mom the same.

When you spot the right one for your Mom this Mother’s Day, don’t hesitate to grab it and remember, pick her favorite color.  If you don’t know what it is, I suggest you call Dad.

Written by Cathy Testa


Display at Meadow View Farms - Cute! Tea Thyme.

Display at Meadow View Farms – Cute! Tea Thyme.




A Nursery in the Country has a Big Draw

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Decor ideas at Meadow View Farms in Southwick, MA

Decor ideas at Meadow View Farms in Southwick, MA

As I mentioned earlier this year, I am making a commitment to visit nurseries this season.  I kind of miss walking a nursery and enjoying it just for me.  As a person in the bz, many times shopping is about the customer, which is also fun – but it was some ‘me’ time.

So today’s post is about Meadow View Farms in Southwick, Massachusettes.  My sister enjoys going to this place and took me there last year, and I remembered liking their herbs and veggies section so my goal was to pick up some of those.

When I arrived to the nursery, there were so many cars and people, I couldn’t believe my eyes – on a Wednesday!  It was a challenge finding an available parking space, especially with my big truck.  When I backed it into the spot, a woman applauded saying she was impressed, and I responded, “Yes, I had people and carts moving around me as I was trying to make it in there.”

As soon as I put the truck into park, a familiar face walked up – a friend by the name of Brian.  I met him at a bar – not what you think – he’s the bartender – and he showed me a book of his garden photos. He is an impressive gardener and has a beautiful greenhouse, so we just started talking plants as my husband sipped his cold brew that day we met.  Brian has a great personality and walked up with a big smile on his face.

Spanish bluebell

Spanish bluebell

Brian told me he went to several nurseries in search of a plant he saw in the gardens at Meadow View and later discovered he was calling it by the wrong plant name!  So that was a chuckle – especially because he knows plants.

“So show me which plant,” I said.

We walked over to a display area, and there it was –  beautiful blue flowers on sturdy little stems above strap like leaves.

“I don’t know off the top of my head but it is a bulb type plant,” I told Brian.  It looks familiar.

Brian thought it looked a bit like the perennial, Campanula.  “Yes, it does,” I responded.

Of course, of all the plants in the garden displays, this one was not labeled (nor was it for sale at this nursery – at least not on this shopping day).  But a staff person was quick to identify it for us.  However, before we found her, I grabbed my iPhone and said, I’ll just take a photo and post the question on Facebook: “Who knows the name of this plant?”

Garden displays

Garden displays

It took literally seconds to get the name, and comments from gardening friends growing this plant in their gardens.  By the way, after coming home, and looking it up, it is called Hyacinthoides hispanica (Spanish bluebell). It was formerly called Scilla campanulata (there you go Brian!), or Scilla hispanica.  This plant blooms from April to May, and goes dormant in summer.  And it grows well under trees, which is where it was located and repeated in the Meadow View display garden.

My cart filled

My cart filled

After a quick discussion with Brian on more plants, off he went – and so did I to the veggies section.  I already bought some herbs but I wanted more, and so I looked around, then I spotted a lemon tree.  Ironically, at the last two garden centers I visited, the “male” staff both told me they like lemon trees after we talked about plants like fig trees.  Guys like lemons, I thought.

So spotting one here, I decided I want one too, and to see a variegated form sitting there along side other healthy lemon tree plants, I thought – this is it.  On the cart you go, and the other was for a friend who found my idea of a lemon tree interesting – because lemons with summer cocktails is a good thing. So I texted her the price, and she said yes – get it for me.

The variegated one for me is actually a pink lemon everbearing variety.  These can be placed in the basement to go dormant from what I was told, or even in the garage over the winter.  It appears my theme this year for my container gardens is falling into the herb, fruit, and veggie category because I picked up a pineapple plant and fig tree recently too.  Hope all bear fruit.

Meadow View Farms in Southwick, MA has some nice small display gardens where you can view plants they have for sale.  They also put containers in various places and decor like wagon wheels as trellises for vine plants.  They have a little sitting cafe area, which I didn’t go into to, but I believe they offer water and coffee there.  And they do not have bathrooms, but outhouses which will do for any excited gardener shopping too long requiring a p-break.

They are stocked with great looking perennials, lots of big hanging baskets, annuals, and great veggies and herbs, with shrubs and vine plants too.  I didn’t notice any trees, and the facility is mostly an outdoor place.  There was no “garden decor” for sale, but lots and lots of plants with many enthusiastic shoppers.  A place where you can easily strike up a conversation with a fellow gardener – many would stop to ask about something in my cart, and then comments flourished from there.  My new lemon tree was a hot topic.

A stunning peony in the garden displays

A stunning peony in the garden displays

And it is very important to know – they do not take credit cards.  So go there with cash or a check with license in hand.  One would be very disappointed indeed if they made the travel there only to discover you can’t use a credit card – especially if you didn’t know while you waiting in the checkout line.  It was at least 12-15 people long at times, but moved very quickly because they have a line of registers with very competent and fast moving staff.

But one guy behind me was just a bit too excited.  As I waited in line, I spotted a bougainvillea plant and passion flower in hangers to my left.  I wondered how much they were, so I quickly ran over looking for the price tag.  Would you believe, he banged the back of my cart as the people in-front of me started moving forward to cash out.  Guess I forgive him for being so impatient cause he had some huge hanging baskets on his cart – I think he just couldn’t wait to get them home.

Cash out line - moves quickly

Cash out line – moves quickly

Meadow View may be out in the country, and a bit of a drive for some folks, but this place has a big draw.  My friend, Brian, told me it is “always like this” when I commented on how busy it was for a week day.  I filled my cart with other plants, checked out, and enjoyed the sandwich I was glad I packed in my truck for lunch.  And off I went anxiously to pot up my new lemon tree for my deck.

By the way, for you locals here thinking about going, I went through Suffield, CT and took Rt 168 for about 8 miles, past Lake Congamond.  It is a beautiful country road, so I enjoyed the ride very much – and thought about how I have to go to that lake for kayaking some day soon too.

Cathy Testa
Container Crazy Cathy T
(860) 977-9473 cell

Trucks constantly deliver restocks from the greenhouses to the retail area

Trucks constantly deliver restocks from the greenhouses to the retail area