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Ideas & Inspiration

Join Us for Sunnyside Gardens Annual Summer Party!

We invite you to our annual end-of-summer party to celebrate: Rock the Sunnyside Gardens!

Summer is starting to wrap up and fall transitions are happening — from kids preparing to go back to school and leaves starting to change. Some folks are not ready for vacation and cabin season to end, but others are ready to embrace the cool weather and spicy fall flavors.

Save the date and join us for our annual summer event: Sunday, September 17 from 2-5PM. Enjoy live music from local band The Disappointments, grab some dinner and drinks and browse the garden center. Free to join; drinks (France 44 Wine & Spirits) and food (Tin Fish food truck) available for purchase. RSVP here.

Rock the Sunnyside Gardens annual summer party 2023
Rock the Sunnyside Gardens annual summer party 2023

Echinacea is a Fan Favorite

Echinacea, or the coneflower, is a fan-favorite perennial around here! Here is a short list of reasons why we love this flower and tips for how to grow and care for it in your own garden.

4 Reasons why we love Echinacea:

Pollinator friendly coneflowers
Pollinator friendly coneflowers
  • It’s beautiful! This flower can be grown in so many different colors, from pinks to purples, oranges to yellows. It’s a lovely garden flower for cutting and adding to bouquets or vases for display.
  • It’s a MN native (some varieties). Echinacea angustifolia (Narrow-leaved Purple Coneflower) is native to Minnesota, but Echinacea pallida (Pale Purple Coneflower) and E. purpurea (Eastern Purple Coneflower) grow well here and are commonly available in the native plant trade.
  • It is a popular flower for pollinators. As a native flower, echinacea is an excellent food source for native insects including butterflies & bees.
  • It’s a hardy perennial. Echinacea hold their blooms for almost 2 months during the summer with little to no care and will slowly self-sow to spread on their own over the years. They also have an extensive root systems, which makes them incredibly drought tolerant. For those with busy summer plans and the hot, hot sun… this perennial is a perfect option!
pink & orange echinacea varieties
We love these shades of pink & orange!

How to grow & care for Echinacea: 

  • Soil: Any well-draining soil, but they can handle sandy or gravelly soils that would typically be considered tough to grow in.
  • Light: Full sun; at least 6 hours of full sun a day.
  • Water: Water regularly during the first season to encourage root growth. Though they can handle the heat well, they’re going to appreciate regular watering just like the next flower.
  • Fertilizing: Little fertilizer is required, so once in the spring is usually sufficient.
  • Winterizing: We encourage you to leave foliage and old flowers standing for winter as birds enjoy the seed heads, then trim back or remove spent foliage in early spring before new growth emerges.
  • Maintenance & Pruning: Deadheading (removing spent blooms) is not necessary, but does increase new flower production.

Echinacea varieties available at Sunnyside Gardens:

Tequila sunrise echinacea
Tequila Sunrise variety
  • Tequila Sunrise
  • Ember Sparks
  • Wild Berry
  • Double Scoop Mandarin
  • Sunny Days Lemon
  • Sweet Sandia
  • Pow Wow White
  • Fresco Apricot
  • Cheyenne Spirit

 

The best way to RESTORE your soil after Jumping Worms

The migration of asian Jumping Worms into the midwest is causing headaches for homeowners. No worm is native to the area, but his latest wiggly introduction is proving to be a real nutrient sucker.

Invasion of Jumping Worms is affecting residential gardening by depleting soil nutrient content and pulverizing soil and mulch structure to a powder. Tea Seed Meal is the organic fertilizer solution that may help to restore your lawn and gardens to their glory.

In addition to the fertilizer component of this product, research indicates that tea seed meal, a natural by‐product of tea oil manufacture, and containing natural surfactants called saponins, is effective for expelling jumping worms. We have not solidified the best rate of application, but would suggest a biannual treatment program at this time (possibly up to three treatments-spring, summer and early fall).

Apply at the rate of 6-12 lbs per 1000 square feet. Apply 0.25 – 0.50″ of water within 24 -48 hrs after applying. This product is a granulated crumb of tea seed meal , composed of organic matter and will dissolve slowly after rainfall, or irrigation, to activate the breakdown of the granule. Subsequent irrigation, or rain, several days after application can continue to dissolve the granule, moving the saponin ingredient deeper into the soil profile.

Tillandsia Xerographica

Tillandsia xerographica

The biggest of the Tillandsia, airplant family. These beauties are structural with big curly silver leaves. Xerographica, pronounced zero-graphic-a, are sold without soil and have no visible roots. These amazing plants grow in humid, dry forests, collecting moisture from the air around them.

At home, keep your Tillandsia in a dish or decorative plate. To water, soak completely under water for 30 minutes two times a week. When done soaking, remove from the water and turn upside down on a towel to dry before returning to its dish.

Xerographica

Bromeliad

Bromeliad guzmania

The Bromeliad is the most commonly used tropical plant in indoor spaces and office buildings. They are tropical plants with a unique flower that lasts for months. In nature the Bromeliad is an epiphyte, growing in tree canopies and collecting water in the rosette of its leaves when it rains. The low light requirements and showy flowers of the Bromeliad make it the go-to plant for indoor or shady location arrangements.

During hot summer months, water the Bromeliad often, filling the rosette with water several times a week. During winter, the plant slows its growth and will need less water. Once the main flower is done showing off, the Bromeliad will begin to grow secondary flowers, or pups, at the base of the parent plant. The secondary flowers then put on a show when the time is right. Remove pups and plant singly for the best flower show.

 

Herb Gardening Spotlight

Summer Herb Gardening

Successful herb gardening goes a little like this: you need full hot sun, water often (daily in summer sun), feed with an organic fertilizer weekly, harvest (or trim) often to encourage fresh growth and plant what you like to use.

This 5 plant Herb pot is one we make often. It is a 14″ terra cotta pot and contains a single basil, thyme, oregano, chive plant and a parsley or cilantro.

*Mint should be planted alone in a pot as it tends to grow crazy.

 

Snip and enjoy!

Herb Pot

 

Alocasia Polly

Alocasia Polly

The Alocasia Polly is a fan favorite around here. It gets its nickname of African Mask from the strong veins running though its large, arrow shaped leaves. The Alocasia Polly is tropical in origin, loving high heat and humidity. The light requirements include medium light to very bright, indirect light. These plants will survive in shade, but not put on much growth, so buy big if you are going for summer planters in the shade. We LOVE these for summer arrangements in MN!

Try to water often and be certain to keep these plants fed weekly in the stronger growing seasons (June-August in Minnesota).

Pairs well with blue star ferns and hot pink or white impatiens.

alocasia polly

Earth Day 2023: How the Sunnyside Team Invests in our Planet

Sunnyside Gardens Earth Day Bingo card

Happy Earth Day 2023! Today is a reminder to both appreciate this earth that we’ve been given, but also of our responsibility to care for and protect it. The Sunnyside Gardens team is passionate about caring for our planet both in our personal lives, as well as through the gardening lifestyle and products we love at the garden center.

So much so, that we participate in an Earth Day BINGO challenge created by one of our own team members. If you’re interested in seeing how our team participates in Earth Day or would like to follow along for fun, access & download the full Sunnyside Gardens Earth Day BINGO card here!

DOWNLOAD THE SSG EARTH DAY BINGO CARD >

Additionally, here are a few ways you can personally use your own gardening hobby and lifestyle to help #investinourplanet:

  • Focus on pollinator-friendly plants & landscapes
  • Grow you own veggies, herbs and fruits
  • Plant a tree to improve air quality, create habitat and potentially even reduce summer cooling costs
  • Opt for a lawn alternative like Dutch White Clover that’s both heat tolerant & pollinator-friendly

Native Plant Weekend (May 6-7): Climate Change Solutions in Your Own Back Yard

Come celebrate Native Plant Weekend with Sunnyside Gardens!

On Saturday May 6th, Minneapolis Community Ed is sponsoring an event on the Christmas tree lot across from Café Ceres with keynote speaker Heather Holm, a well-known biologist and award winning author. (Check out her book  Bee and Pollinator Books by Heather Holm – Attract, Observe and Identify Pollinators and Beneficial Insects with Native Plants (pollinatorsnativeplants.com) )

The event is called and will focus on “Climate Change Solutions in Your Own Back Yard” which are related to gardens/trees/soil/urban heat island and biodiversity. Leighton Whitney (11), co-steward of the pollinator garden in Waveland Triangle Park, and Felix Malcolm Manzoni (12), who has been on a regenerative land management journey for the past three years, are also participating in the event.

Sunnyside Gardens proudly supports plants, products and gardening actions that encourage climate change solutions. All weekend long (May 6-7), Sunnyside Gardens will be offering our native plant selections at 20% off to help encourage everyone to get a native plant in their landscape.

Improvements to our Native Plant Selection at Sunnyside Gardens: Based on customer interest & feedback, we are expanding our selection of native plants at Sunnyside, with 20 new varieties this season. Our team has also worked on improved signage on our perennial lot to help our customers locate and learn about the native plant selection.