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June Gardening Tips

Adapted from The Farmer’s Almanac

Divide late-summer or autumn-flowering perennials. If necessary, go after phlox and artemisia with a sharp spade or even an ax. If delphiniums need to be divided, remove and replant the new little plants growing around the outside of the clump. Discard the hard old heart.

Trim climbing roses and attach securely to fences or trellises. Continue fertilization of your rosebushes; liquid fertilizers can be added every 2 weeks. Scatter crushed eggshells in a thick ring around roses to deter slugs.

Continue reading June Gardening Tips

FREE Seminars on Alternatives to Impatients

Since garden impatiens have been severely impacted by a new downy mildew disease we know you’ll be seeking alternatives to this past favorite garden plant. That’s why we’re free offering workshops Mon-Fri at 2pm to help conquer the challenge of finding suitable replacements.

UPDATE: Due to an overwhelming response we’ve extended the workshops until May 17! Stop in Mon-Fri at 2pm!

Alternatives to Garden Impatiens

Via the Floriculture Specialists of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County

Since garden impatiens, Impatiens walleriana, have been severely impacted by a new downy mildew disease (and will likely continue to be impacted in future years), growers, landscapers, and homeowners are seeking

alternatives to this ubiquitous garden plant. Impatiens have been a reliable garden plant for many years due to their color choice, growth habit, price point, and shade tolerance. While it might seem challenging to find plants that will be a suitable replacement, there are many great plant selections that are viable substitutions. The tables below list some options for shade tolerant plants, along with information on crop time and garden size. Don’t focus on the negative… use this opportunity to grow and promote different and exciting plants!



−It’s important to remember and to communicate that New Guinea impatiens are NOT susceptible to impatiens downy mildew.

−It is sometimes assumed by some that New Guinea impatiens is a sun plant. Yes, New Guinea impatiens perform better than garden impatiens in the sun, but New Guinea impatiens generally perform equally as well or better in the shade.

−Also consider hardy plants such as ajuga, heuchera, lamium, lysimachia, as well as various grass and grass-like plants.

−Don’t plant shade plants in the sun! For sunny sites recommend annual vinca, angelonia, petunia, geranium, marigold, zinnia, celosia, pentas, gazania, portulaca, and so on!

“What happened to my impatiens?”

The summer of 2012 will be known as the end of impatiens on Long Island — at mildew-300Bleast for a few years at best. As the airborne disease of “Downy Mildew” passed over our gardens, it decimated Long Island’s impatiens within a couple weeks. As homeowners stood in bewilderment as their beautiful gardens were diminished, they tried to find out what happened. Some blamed their spouses for watering too much or too little, some blamed their lawn maintenance service for “blowing the leaves” right off their flowers, some blamed their house sitters and swore never to go on vacation again, and some didn’t know who to blame. It was no one’s fault. It was just mother nature exercising her right to throw in these diseases once in awhile to keep us on our toes. Maybe we were getting too comfortable with the ease of impatiens. Well, that’s no longer the case. As this airborne disease has hit Long Island in 2012, it is time to find alternatives.

Your garden for 2013 will be even more beautiful with new varieties of other old time favorites that are very reliable, as well as magnificent. There are many choices of New Guinea Impatiens that are completely not affected by Downy Mildew. They can be planted in the same areas where you once planted your impatiens. And don’t think that you need only flowers to add color to your garden, the development of Coleus varieties has resulted in spectacular foliage that brings your garden to life. Another favorite of mine is begonias as they do wonderfully in sun or shade. They are very low maintenance and keep blooming until a hard frost — much longer than the regular impatiens. If you have lots of sun, the vinca flower has a petal formation that is practically identical to the impatiens, but can withstand much more drought. No need for overwatering Vincas.

As gardeners, we may have experienced a setback in our garden designs for 2012. But as gardeners, we know that our gardens are never stagnant. They are always ever-changing and growing — like we all should be. We are not discouraged by this disease. But more importantly, we hope that our customers and all gardeners are not discouraged. At Albert H. Schmitt Family Farms, we were known for having the best selection of impatiens on Long Island. Now, we will now be known for having the best alternative choices for impatiens on Long Island. We are excited for Spring 2013 as we plan our greenhouse planting schedule. Our customers will be pleasantly surprised of what awaits them beyond impatiens.

Click here:

Click here to read more on impatiens from Jessica Damiano at Newsday  (must subscribe to Newsday to be able to view full online article)

Another Impatiens Article by Jessica Damiano for Newsday (must subscribe to Newsday to be able to view full online article)

Pumpkin Picking

Fun for the entire family!

kids-on-pumpkins-300x225Make plans to bring the kids out to Albert H. Schmitt Family Farms for all the best that Autumn has to offer. We’ve got a lot of activities planned that are sure to bring a smile to the faces of kids of all ages.

  • FREE Admission to our Pumpkin Patch
  • Hayrides on Weekends and Holidays
  • Largest Selection of Halloween Decorations on Long Island
  • NEW! Enjoy Hot & Delicious Roasted Corn
  • NEW! Pumpkin Bouncy House
  • NEW! Animal Train Ride around the Farm
  • FREE Mini Scarecrow with $10 Purchase

Of course you’ll also find a great selection of all of your fall favorites:

  • Large Mums
  • Kales
  • Montauk Daisies

Only $5.99; 4 for $20

Winter Survivor Pansies

Click here for directions >

When to Prune Crepe Myrtle

Best Crepe Myrtle Pruning Time: When To Prune Crepe Myrtle

Though pruning a crepe myrtle tree is not necessary to the health of the plant, many people do like to prune crepe myrtle trees in order to neaten the look of the tree or to encourage new growth. After these people have decided to prune the crepe myrtle trees in their yard, their next question is normally “When to prune crepe myrtle trees?”

This question on crepe myrtle pruning time has a different answer depending on why you wish to prune a crepe myrtle tree. Most likely you are either pruning for general maintenance or to try to coax a second bloom out of the tree in one year.

Crepe Myrtle Pruning Time For General Maintenance
If you are just looking to perform general maintenance on your tree, the ideal crepe myrtle pruning time is either in the late winter or early spring when the tree is in its dormancy. This is the best time to prune if you are reshaping the tree, removing deep or weak branches, trying to encourage new growth or size maintenance.

Crepe Myrtle Pruning Time For Second Bloom
Like many plants, a crepe myrtle tree can be encouraged to put forth a second round of blossoms through a practice called deadheading. When to prune the crepe myrtle tree in this case is shortly after the tree’s first round of blossoms have faded. Prune the blossoms off.

This practice should not be done too late in the year as it may cause the tree to delay going into dormancy which in turn could kill it over the winter. It is not advisably to try this after the beginning of August. If the first round of blossoms is not finished by the beginning of August, you would probably not be able to get a second round of blooms before the winter comes anyway.

When to prune crepe myrtle is something that every crepe myrtle owner should know if they plan on taking the time to prune a crepe myrtle tree. Choosing the appropriate crepe myrtle pruning time will ensure that the tree stays healthy and beautiful for many years to come.

Perennial Hibiscus


Perennial hibiscus plants, those that come back for several years without replanting, are rapidly gaining favor with plant lovers across the nation. If you wish to enjoy a plant that is easy to care for, try the perennial hibiscus. If you reside in climatic zones 4 through 9, you can grow and enjoy a perennial hibiscus that will blow your doors off with color.
The perennial hibiscus should not be confused with the tropical hibiscus, which would be killed in winter freezes. As the name implies, perennial hibiscus are truly perennial and, once established, will provide years and years of brilliant landscape color. Actually, these plants are herbaceous perennials, meaning their tops die down to the ground each winter, but new shoots will come roaring back into lush growth when soils warm the following spring.

There are many varieties of perennial hibiscus to choose from. Plant heights range from 3 feet to 8 feet tall. They can be used in the garden as focal point or arranged in a manner to provide an informal hedge. Some perennial hibiscus plants are compact and rather formal looking compared with the more loosely arranged habit of taller hibiscus.

The stupendous flower colors and the sizes of the perennial hibiscus flowers provide hibiscus growers a long season of delightful blooms. Hibiscus plants produce flower sizes that range from 4 to 10 inches in diameter. Perennial hibiscus plants can be adorned with pinks, reds, lavenders, and many shades of the primary colors.