Green & Growing FROM THE PROS

By Linda Wiggen Kraft


Greenhouses Growing Green

Many local greenhouses are planting environmentally friendly plants and using eco-friendly practices.  Here’s what some of the local garden centers that grow their own plants and wholesale growers are doing.


Local Garden Centers That Grow Their Own

Greenscape Gardens grows over 25,000 perennials each year with the largest quantity and variety grown in St. Louis. Over 20,000 square feet is dedicated to perennials including native, adaptives and specialty cultivars.  www.greenspacegardens.com, 314 821-2440, 2832 Barrett Station Road, Manchester, MO 63021.

Hillermann Nursery & Florist grows 80% of their perennials and the majority of their vegetables and hanging baskets, all combination planters (this year includes compact edible gardens), lots of 4” novelty annuals. Vegetables include tomato kabob & tumbler, pepper tasty hot wing, cucumber bush pickle, pepper tasty green bell, okra tasty Betty Jo, and many heirloom tomatoes.  www.hillermann.com, 636 239-6729, 2601 E. 5th St. Washington, MO 63090.

Bowood Farms grows an assortment of 4″ greens including mesclun, an extensive herb selection including Superdukat and Vierling dill, also grown for cut flowers. Lots of vegetables including tomatoes, pepper fat-n-sassy. Spring annuals lobelia, nemesia and linaria will be ready in April.  www.bowoodfarms.com, 314 454-6868, 4605 Olive St, Saint Louis, MO 63108.

Bayers Garden Shop grows the hottest pepper in the world Ghost Pepper (Bhut Jolokia), along with chocolate habanero, white habanero, yellow scotch bonnetts, and thai peppers. Moon and Stars watermelons, tigger melons, zebra stripe green tomatoes and black cherry tomatoes.   www.bayergardenshops.com, 314 781-2314, 3401 Hampton, St. Louis, MO 63139.

Sugar Creek Gardens grows many of the newest shrubs and perennials including ‘Bloomerang’ everblooming lilac, ‘Invincibell Spirit’ hydrangea – the first pink smooth hydrangea, tall double white phlox garden phlox ‘Tiara’, a six inch short Echinacea ‘Little Annie’ and blue false indigo, the perennial plant of 2010. 314-965-3070, www.sugarcreekgardens.com.

Fahr Greenhouses is known for its integrated pest management practices and using biomass fuels to heat the greenhouse. Fahr’s uses many organic and sustainable products in their greenhouse growing. This year they are growing the Burpee line of vegetables and annuals. www.fahrgreenhouse.com, 636 458-3991, 18944 St. Albans Rd, Wildwood, MO 63038.


Local Wholesale Growers

Jost Greenhouses grow green roofs for large installations all over the U.S. They are growing plants for the 23,000 square foot green roof to be installed on the Centenne building in Clayton.  This will be the largest green roof in MO.  Jost’s also grows perennials in recycled paper pots called Ellepots that can be planted directly in the soil and reduce plastic pot waste. 12348 Eckelmann Lane,

(314) 821-2834.

Ritter Perennials is owned and run by a third generation plant grower.  Specializing in perennials that thrive in our climate including native, rain, deer and rabbit resistant garden plants. Left over rice hulls and pine bark are part of the over 45% recycled materials used in the potting mix.  Check the website for local retailers, www.ritterperennials.com.

Buckley Greenhouses in Illinois moved to a new 4 acre greenhouse after a fire destroyed the old greenhouses.  The new greenhouse is heated by hot water created in the burning of methane in the adjacent landfill. The heating bill was reduced to one-tenth of what it was in the old greenhouses. 217-287-2464.



Classes, Workshops & Events

Rain Gardening

3-2 (Tue, 6-8 pm, free, registration required)  Explore new concepts of rain gardening, sustainability and conservation of our precious resources. Receive tips to improve water conservation, using ornamentals and native plants. Hillermann Nursery & Florist, Washington 636-239-6729 www.hillermann.com

Ensuring a Bountiful Harvest

3-4 (Thur, 6-8 pm, free, registration required) Learn proper plant selection and care, methods of planting, seed vs. plants, fertilizing, staking, mulching, pest control, and more. Hillermann Nursery & Florist, Washington 636-239-6729 www.hillermann.com.

Beginning Perennial Gardening

3-6 (Sat, 9-11 am) & 3-13 (Sat. 10 am & 1 pm) Learn steps needed to create a successful perennial garden.  The fundamentals of soil, plant selection, light requirements, and color schemes will be discussed.  Call 314-965-3070 for reservations. Sugar Creek Gardens, Kirkwood www.sugarcreekgardens.com.

Success with Seeds

3-6 (Sat,1 pm, free) Growing plants from seeds is an inexpensive and easy way to get plants.  Learn the best techniques for good seed germination, along with proven tips to give seedlings a healthy start. Call 314-965-3070 for reservations. Sugar Creek Gardens, Kirkwood. 314-965-3070 www.sugarcreekgardens.com.

Pest Management:  Chemical vs. Natural

3-9 (Tues, 6-8 pm, free, registration required) Deer, rabbits, and beetles, OH MY!  Discover the safest approaches to these and many more garden pests.   Hillermann Nursery & Florist, Washington 636-239-6729 www.hillermann.com.

Rain Water Harvesting

3-9 (Tues, 6-8 pm, $12-$15) Capturing rain water for re-use is good for the environment and saves money.  Local experts will explain the history of water use and treatment in St. Louis and introduce simple tools such as rain barrels and rain gardens. Earthways Center, St. Louis, 314 577-0220 www.earthwayscenter.org.

Best Fruits for Your Home Garden

3-10 (Wed. 6 pm, free) Alan Branhagen, horticulture director at 12-acre Heartland Harvest Garden at Powell Gardens will show images of all manner of fruit plants and talk about how to grow them in MO. Bowood Farms, St. Louis 314 454-6868 www.bowoodfarms.com

Go Nuts With Fruits and Berries

3-11 (Thur, 6-8 pm, free, registration required) From fruit trees to blueberries to strawberries, learn what it takes to bring these scrumptious goodies to their dinner table. Topics will also include plant selection and plant care. Hillermann Nursery & Florist, Washington 636-239-6729 www.hillermann.com.

Dirt! The Movie

3-11 (Thur. 6 pm, free) The amazing and little known story of the relationship between humans and living soil. The film offers a vision of the critical connection between humans and the six inches of topsoil that sustains us.  Missouri History Museum, St. Louis. www.mohistory.org/education-and-events/events/3959.

Homegrown (Movie)

3-15 (Mon, 7:30 pm, free-donations appreciated) The inspiring true story of a family that lives off the grid in urban Pasadena, California. They raise chickens, milk goats and harvest over 6,000 pounds of produce on a tiny suburban plot. Schlafly Bottleworks, www.schlafly.com  7260 Southwest Ave. Maplewood, MO 63143, 314 241-2337.

Ready-Set-Mow: Lawn Care Thru The Season

3-16 (Tues, 6-8 pm, free, registration required) Learn how to grow a healthier and greener lawn…Check out the electric battery Neutron lawn mowers and Stihl less polluting garden tools. Hillermann Nursery & Florist, Washington 636-239-6729 www.hillermann.com.

Organic Vegetable Basics

3-16 (Tues. 7-9 pm, $25-$30) Learn the theory and practice of vegetable gardening using organic methods. Topics include garden planning, soil preparation, mulching, composting, insect control, and seed selection. MO Botanical Garden, St. Louis 314 577-5100 www.mobot.org.


“Green”-scape Festival

3-20 (Sat. 10am -4pm, free) Celebrate the first day of spring with Greenscape Gardens, Ameren UE Pure Power and other green-minded businesses and organizations.   Learn easy ways to make your home more eco-friendly and energy-efficient. Get a sneak preview of this year’s best plants for native and habitat gardens, learn how to make good use of rainwater and yard waste and find out what other homeowners and businesses are doing to make our world a greener place to live and work.  Featuring St. Louis Composting, Missouri Botanical Garden Plastic Pot Recycling Program, Earthways Center, Habitat for Humanity ReStore and more. Greenscape Gardens, Manchester, MO 314 821-2440 www.greenspacegardens.com.

New Trends in Gardening

3-20 (Sat, 10 am & 1pm, reservations required) Hear about the trends that have the gardening world all abuzz, along with the most exciting new plants to date.  Sugar Creek Gardens, Kirkwood. 314-965-3070 www.sugarcreekgardens.com.

Best Flowering Plants for Your Cutting Garden

3-20 (Sat. 2 pm, free) Cut-flower grower, “Mimo” Davis, shares the best perennials and annuals to grow for bouquets. Bowood Farms, St. Louis. 314 454-6868 www.bowoodfarms.com.

No-till Vegetable Gardening

3-20 (Sat, 9-12, $45) How to grow a garden using labor-saving, no-till methods that prepare and fertilize the soil simply by adding mulch and compost to the surface.  This modern, organic approach has many advantages. Schlafly Bottleworks, 7260 Southwest Avenue, Maplewood. To register call Sue 314 630-5910 or email brickcitygardens@yahoo.com.

Let’s Make a Terrarium

3-27 (Sat, 9 am, $30, reservations required) Traditional designs, fairy garden terrariums or more modern looks. Get the inspiration to help you make a one-of-kind work of art. Sugar Creek Gardens, Kirkwood. 314-965-3070 or www.sugarcreekgardens.com.

Mad City Chickens (Movie)

3-29 (Mon, 7:30 pm, free-donations appreciated) This film documents the return of the urban backyard chicken in Madison, Wisconsin. A sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical look at the people who keep chickens in their backyards. Schlafly Bottleworks, www.schlafly.com  7260 Southwest Ave. Maplewood 314 241-2337.

Best New Perennials and Shrubs

3-30 (Tue, 6 pm, reservations required) Talented hybridizers have concocted truly remarkable plants for 2010. Learn about the exciting creations that have the garden world amazed, awed, and just plain star struck.  Sugar Creek Gardens, Kirkwood. 314-965-3070 or www.sugarcreekgardens.com.