At A Glance: The Shop Garden

The gardens at the shop?  What fun!  Coming up on the middle of August, so much color.       


  1. Amazing! What is your fertilizing regime?

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Suzanne, I attribute 65% of my success with containers to my soil mix. Topsoil, compost, sand, worm castings, and osmocote. My soil, of my own making. I plant in soil-never soilless mix. Soilless mix is the preferred medium for professional growers, as it should be. Professional growers measure the light, water and fertility in parts per million-each grower has their own ideas about making plants grow to a saleable size. Not a professional grower? My advice is to grow your flowers in soil. Soil is a very complex and rich substance with all of those things that makes plants grow, and go on to make a gardener look good. Good dirt-every venture in a garden needs this. This discussion of soil aside, in late July I start liquid feeding. Liquid feed is like a shot of B-12- water soluble vitamins for plants. I use Miracle Gro bloom booster-once every week or ten days at 2/3 their recommended strength. That said, I fertilize heavy feeding plants like geraniums more-like 1.5 times the recommended strength, and ferns way way less. Petunias respond to a weak feed, every watering. I do not blanket feed-I spot feed. I hope this helps, Deborah

  2. Deborah,

    Good morning. To say that I am in love with the shop and all of the color is an understatement. Simply stunning, you and your gardening thumb are truly blessed by God. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Silvia Weber says

    Beautiful as always! Are those impatiens between the boxwood hedges?

  4. Thank you, Deborah, for your informative answer. I have a few more questions, if you don’t mind.

    Do you purchase the topsoil? Is it sterilized against weed seeds?

    You prefer the NPK of Miracle Gro Bloom Booster over the NPK of their Tomato Fertilizer?

    Do you need to dead-head at all?


    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Suzanne, I purchase the topsoil, and everything else in my formula, from a company that does custom soil mixes. They also arrange to have it bagged for me. To date this year, we have used 2200 bags. I originally did all of my liquid feed with Schultz products, but it does not seem to be available anymore. I have never tried their tomato fertilizer-do you like it? Deborah

  5. Deborah, I have always used the basic Miracle Gro, half strength once a week, for all my containers, plus Osmocote at planting, but this year they are not as floriferous as in past years. I thought I would try their Tomato Fertilizer, 18-18-21 if I remember correctly, for the next few months. I looked at the Blossom Booster which had a very high Phosphorous rating and thought it might be overkill. I’ll let you know. I do use the bales of ProMix and possibly they have changed their formula or it might have been the heavy rainfall we had early on in the season.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Suzanne, ProMix is for very sophisticated and savvy gardeners. As the label says-ProMix. Let me back up-I am dear friends with the Vice President Fiona Brinks and head grower Rick Brinks for a nursery local to me. Bordines is the tenth largest nursery in the country. All of my New Guinea impatiens went out of bloom, after the 4th of July. Rick’s take at dinner the other night? In spite of all of our knowledge and available materials, weather conditions can make for results that defy understanding. Heavy rains, really hot temperatures-so many variables. My New Guineas are budding up-who knows why for the first time in years they went out of bloom. Too much water? Too little water? As for the tomato fertilizer-experiments are always good. Since you are in an experimental mood, try full strength Miracle Gro for your shy plants. Sometimes I feed with a heaping tablespoon full of feed per gallon of water. This decision I make by instinct. I try not to second guess my instincts.
      Growing in ProMix requires spot on fertilization and perfect watering-this is my experience. From what I know of your garden, I am very sure you are on top of all of it. My only advice-follow your instincts. Work the room. Let me know what happens, thanks, Deborah

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