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Bayside Garden Center’s Knowledge Center

At Bayside Garden Center our goal is to provide helpful advice to our customers. We hope our knowledge center will provide you with useful information that will make your yard more enjoyable throughout the year.

Green Thumb

Colorful FlowersIndoor and outdoor gardening can be fun and relaxing, but sorting through the information is often overwhelming. If you’re digging for concise gardening tips, you’ve come to the right place.

There are many benefits that houseplants provide from beautiful color to the clean air they generate by taking in the carbon dioxide we exhale and releasing pure oxygen. We have plants for everyone – from bonsai enthusiasts to the casual cultivator.

There are a few simple tips for growing healthy houseplants.

  • Read the information tag that comes with your plant so you know how much light and water your new houseplant needs.
  • The #1 killer of houseplants is over watering. Also make sure your plants aren’t sitting in water as it will cause root rot.
  • If your plant looks pale rather than a vibrant green it probably isn’t getting enough light.
  • Indoor pests also destroy plants so check often for these predators. A simple, safe insecticide can control pest problems and restore your plant’s health.

Perennial plants bloom year after year providing a relatively carefree way to cultivate a beautiful garden. Some perennials are planted in fall as bulbs while others can be planted in spring and summer as container grown plants.

For best results choose perennials that are suited to your garden’s sun exposure, soil type and moisture. Perennials cover a wide variety of popular plants including ferns and ornamental grasses, Irises and Lilies, Daisies and Black-eyed Susans as well as spring bloomers like Daffodils, Tulips, Hyacinths and Crocuses.

The basics of growing perennials are sufficient watering, pruning dead tops in late winter or early spring, and removing dead flowers regularly for repeat blooming. Consult our gardening experts for complete details about your plants.

Annuals are exactly what the name implies – their blooming cycle lasts for one season and then they go to seed. For that one season they add intensely vibrant color to your garden with little fuss. They are excellent for filling in garden gaps and accenting perennials. They make great cut flowers, add a dash of color to borders and always work well in containers.

Annuals include Geraniums and Wax Begonias, Petunias and Impatiens, Pansies and Snapdragons, Marigolds and Zinnias, Poppies and Cosmos and the gregarious Sunflower.

Annuals can be planted from seed or as container grown. Be sure to match your plants with the right location in your garden in order to give them the light, moisture and soil type they need. Monthly fertilization, adequate water and regular deadheading will keep your plants flowering all season!

Growing beautiful roses isn’t the easiest of gardening activities, especially in northern states, but the reward is satisfying. Roses are beautiful in the garden and as cut flowers in your home.

There are many varieties of rose bushes from miniature tea roses to climbing roses and shrub roses. They come in many colors, flower styles and fragrances.

Roses appreciate a sunny location and well-fertilized soil. They’ll need plenty of water at the base of the plant, but also require soil that drains well. Roses need to be pruned which not only maintains their shape and promotes bigger rose blooms, but helps avoid diseases. Roses are susceptible to insects and disease so you’ll want to keep a close watch and respond quickly if you see aphids, beetles or unhealthy leaves.

Shrubs & Bushes
Choosing the right bushes and shrubs for your location is vital to healthy growth. There are many types to choose from including evergreens, flowering shrubs, landscaping shrubs, burning bushes, lilac bushes, hydrangeas and rose bushes.

Bushes and shrubs are typically low in height and are used as accents or focal points in burms, lawns and gardens or to create a natural sort of fence. Many flowering shrubs attract birds with their berries and can provide visual interest in fall and winter. Evergreens are more commonly used as hedges or a privacy screen.

Spring is the ideal time to plant. Make sure you water your new plants adequately. Annual pruning of your bushes and shrubs is important for their health. The best time to prune is spring or summer depending on the variety. Please ask about care requirements when you purchase your bushes.

Trees are an investment and an asset as they can increase the value of your property. Trees add to our quality of life by reducing sound, producing oxygen, providing shade, reducing wind and erosion and simply offering beauty.

There are over 700 tree species growing in North America so you have a lot of choices. As with any plant you will want to match your tree with the area it is to be planted. Trees need room to grow so make sure you give them plenty of space. Make sure the light, moisture and soil needs of the tree variety can be met in the intended location. You may love a particular type of tree, but if its chances of surviving in the area you have available are slim you should reconsider. We are happy to work with you to find a tree that matches your desires with your location.


Birding Feeders Houses FoodBird watching is a wonderful way to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature. We have information on everything from feeders and seed, to houses and baths.

Choosing Your Bird Feeders
You will want to select a bird feeder based on the type of birds you hope to attract. We have feeders to hang from a tree branch and models to mount to a post and place in the ground.

Tube feeders, tray feeders and classic feeders can be used to attract a wide variety of birds depending on the seed you use. If you want to attract Cardinals make sure you have a roomy tray so they can perch comfortably. We also have feeders designed to specifically attract Hummingbirds, Baltimore Orioles, and Woodpeckers.

If squirrels and raccoons are a problem, we carry baffles to outsmart the little critters. We also have specially designed feeders that dispense seed only to birds – you have to see it to believe it!

Selecting Seed & Suet
Birds need high-energy food throughout the year, especially in seasons when their natural food sources are depleted. You can attract a certain species of bird simply by the food you offer.

Black-oil sunflower is a popular seed attracting a wide variety of birds with its high meat-to shell ratio and high fat content. The small size is also perfect for Black-capped Chickadees.

Safflower is a favorite of Cardinals, Grosbeaks and Sparrows.

Thistle seed (sometimes called Nyjer or Niger) attracts smaller birds like Goldfinches.

Peanuts attract Woodpeckers, Cardinals, Jays, Chickadees, Nuthatches and Sparrows.

Suet is a high-energy food and is ideal in winter. Suet attracts Woodpeckers, Chickadees, Nuthatches – even Cardinals.

Birdhouses or nest boxes are a great way to attract birds that prefer to nest in holes. There are about 85 species of North American birds that prefer a cavity style nest. Just like bird feeders and birdseed, selecting your birdhouse can influence the types of birds you attract.

Birdhouses should have slanted roofs to allow rainwater to run off. They need proper ventilation to allow sufficient airflow, but make sure the entrance holes are the proper diameter so unwanted species and animals are denied access.

Birdhouses add a beautiful element to your backyard and provide a comfortable home for your feathered friends. Whatever type of birdhouse you choose, be sure your house is well constructed, properly placed and try to make it predator proof.

Detailed information on birdhouses to attract specific bird species

Chickadees and Nuthatches will gravitate to nest boxes with a 1 1/8 inch hole – preferably placed at eye-level or slightly higher.

Sparrows prefer an entrance between 1 1/4 and 2 inches in diameter. Ideally the house will face east to avoid direct heat from the sun. They love nesting boxes mounted below the eaves.

Bluebirds prefer houses approximately 4 x 4 to 5 x 5 inches with a 1 9/16 inch entry hole and placed on a post between 3 and 5 feet high. Perches should not be used on Bluebird houses and a 5 inch roof overhang will discourage predators.

Finches will either nest in birdhouses or platforms in addition to their natural habitat. Finch houses should have a 1 1/2 inch entrance hole. Ideal materials are cedar, redwood or a good grade of plywood.

Hummingbirds, Cardinals, Northern Mockingbirds and Orioles prefer to use platforms placed in trees and shrubs.

Birds need a dependable supply of fresh water for drinking and bathing. We carry a variety of birdbaths that will provide this essential element while adding an attractive accent to your yard. Choose from a wide variety of birdbaths in a variety of materials, shapes and sizes.

It is important to keep the water fresh so you may want to add a dripper or mister. These simple devices mean less maintenance and happier birds.

In winter birdbaths are crucial to birds in the northern states as the natural waters freeze. A heated birdbath is the perfect answer. Whether you choose a bath with a built-in heater or choose to purchase an immersion heater, your birds will thank you!

Maintaining Bird Feeders & Baths
Keeping your feeders and baths clean keeps fungi and bacteria from developing and potentially harming your songbirds.

When adding seed to your feeders make it a habit of removing any leftover seed first. Periodic cleaning will keep your birds happy and healthy. Use 9 parts water to 1 part vinegar for a thorough cleaning every few weeks. A selection of feeder cleaning brushes is available to make this a quick and easy process.

While drippers and water circulators and misters can help keep your birdbath clean, a thorough cleaning should be done periodically to prevent the spread of disease. Simply drain the water, scrub the bath with a stiff brush and either fresh water or birdbath cleaner, rinse and refill. Changing your birdbath water frequently helps keep the water fresh and inviting.

Trends in Gardening

Vines and Vertical Growing

Vertical Gardening

If you don’t have a lot of space, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a lush garden. If you want to create a visual diversion without planting a hedge, this may be your answer. Or if you like vines, but don’t want them wrapping up your other plants, give vertical gardening a try.

Vertical gardening can take on many styles, from a wall of succulents to trellises covered with green ivy, colorful clematis, or even a Kiwi vine. You can even grow a vegetable garden vertically. So don’t let a lack of space cramp your inner gardener.

Vertical Gardening Basics

  • Determine the site for your garden
  • Decide what you want to grow
  • Assess the light exposure
  • Make a list of plants and tools you’ll need and start creating your own vertical garden

Good Plant Candidates for Vertical Gardens
Vines – great for trellises, walls, fences and most garden structures

Annual Vines

  • Nasturtium – bold multi-colored flowers. Bonus – edible leaves and flowers.
  • Morning Glory – blooms in the early morning hours.
  • Moon Flower – blooms at night.
  • Sweet Peas – blossoms are very fragrant

Perennial Vines

  • English Ivy – semi-evergreen for year-round color, prefers shade.
  • Boston Ivy – grows in sun or shade.
  • Clematis – colorful tropical look, prefers sun to partial shade.
  • Honeysuckle – attract hummingbirds and offers sweet aroma.
  • Wisteria – clusters of flowers similar to lilacs, prefers full sun.
  • Climbing Hydrangea – fragrant lacy clusters of flowers, partial sun to shade.


WildlifeBayside Garden Center’s knowledgeable staff offers great tips on attracting the wildlife you want and unwanted visitors. Visit our store for more detailed information on ways to reach your desired results.

Attracting wildlife to your yard can be fun and relaxing. You can plant specific flowers, bushes and trees that appeal to birds and butterflies in addition to providing food and shelter. Using sustainable gardening techniques also encourages wildlife appearances.

Wildlife seek areas for shelter from predators, inclement weather, and to raise offspring. Shrubs and plants offer cover for many birds and small animals. Birdhouses and nesting platforms also are a welcome addition for many varieties of birds. A water element (birdbath, pond, fountain) will also be a welcome addition for your feathered and furry friends.

If you want to encourage squirrels, rabbits and deer in the winter you can provide supplemental feeding options. But be aware that this can cause animals to change their natural movement patterns and increase the potential of road incidents.

As delightful as it is to watch wildlife, it can be equally aggravating when they eat your carefully planted flowers and bushes or leave calling cards in your lawn.

There are certain plants and flowers that are natural repellents to deer, rabbits and squirrels because of their aroma, taste or prickly growth. Here are just a few of the most popular varieties: Pines, Cedars, Hemlocks, Junipers, Willows, Lilacs, Hydrangeas, Ferns, Daffodils, Dusty Miller, Poppies, Zinnias and Sage.

If natural plantings don’t do the trick there are deer repellents like Liquid Fence that effectively discourage deer and rabbits, but are environmentally appropriate and pet friendly. You can also try motion sensor lights, wind chimes or a fence.

Attracting Butterflies

Orange Flowers and ButterfliesAttracting a beautiful assortment of butterflies to your backyard and garden can be easy and fun. Here are some tips on butterfly preferences.

Attracting Butterflies
Attracting beautifully colored butterflies to your backyard can be a fun and rewarding experience. There are more than 700 species of butterflies in North America and they live from 10 days to 6 months.

A few basic essentials will encourage a successful butterfly garden.

Butterfly Friendly Flowers
Butterflies need plants that provide nectar for the adults to eat and also those that provide food for their caterpillar offspring.
They are attracted to bright colored flowers – reds, oranges, Yellows, Purples and Vibrant Pinks.

Flowers and plants that attract butterflies include Asters, Black-eyed Susans, Cosmos, Cornflowers, Daisies, Day Lilies, Dianthus, Impatiens, Milkweed, Petunias, Purple Coneflowers, Salvia, Scarlet Sage, Snapdragons, Sweet Alyssum, Verbenas, and Zinnias. Caterpillars also like Queen Anne’s Lace, Snapdragons, Sunflowers and Violets. Ideally your garden will have staggered bloom times for a full season.

Sunny Location
Butterflies prefer sunny spots away from traffic. Ideally your butterfly garden will have 5 to 6 hours of sun a day.

Shelter From Wind
A windbreak or wind block will encourage butterflies into your garden. They don’t like to have to fight the wind to stay on plants.

Rest & Water
Butterflies like large flat rocks to sun themselves. They also need water and prefer sand filled puddles. You can either fill a shallow bowl with sand or dig a shallow hole (1-inch deep) and fill it with sand, and then just keep the sand moist. If there is room add a few small flat rocks in your butterfly beach.
On a final note, many insecticides are lethal to butterflies (particularly while caterpillars) so don’t use them anywhere near your butterfly garden. Use organic mulches and fertilizers for planting.

Green Gardening

Desert PlantThese days there’s more to gardening than a green thumb. As we strive to give our environment a little more respect gardeners are adopting green strategies.

Growing your vegetables, herbs and flowers right in your own backyard can lower your carbon footprint and your grocery bill. Even landscaping can take on a greener, less costly approach now. Here are a few tips on how you can make you yard and home garden just a little more green.

Grow Your Groceries
Get up close and personal with your herbs, fruits and vegetables. When you grow your own food you know it’s fresh and the flavor is extraordinary! And the savings on your grocery bill is a welcome bonus.

Some of the most commonly grown vegetables are Tomatoes, Peppers, Cucumbers, Beans, Radishes, Onions, Lettuce and Cabbage. You may also want to try Eggplant, Cauliflower, Rutabaga, Broccoli, Corn, Parsnips, Turnips, Potatoes, Garlic, Carrots, Spinach, Beets, Squash, Pumpkins and Melons.

There are many fruits that grow easily in Wisconsin. Fruit trees are a beautiful addition to your yard and have the added benefit of edible rewards. The Southeast corner of Wisconsin allows a wider choice of fruit bearing trees due to the more temperate climate. There are certain varieties of the following fruit trees that are able to withstand Wisconsin winters: Apple, Apricot, Cherry, Pear and Plum.

Growing small fruits can be fun and rewarding also. Blueberries are native to Wisconsin and are packed with antioxidants. Raspberries and Strawberries are a very popular choice for Wisconsin gardeners and are relatively easy to grow in our climate. You may also want to try your hand at planting Grapes. A well cared for grape arbor can last for 50 or 60 years!

Herbs are great to grow at home since you can easily grow them outside or right in your kitchen. There is nothing like fresh herbs and if you’ve checked the prices at your grocery store you know it’s a wonderful way to save money!

If you have questions about a particular herb, fruit or vegetable you want to grow, call or stop by Bayside Garden Center – we’ll be happy to help.

Grow Native Plants
Instead of asking can this plant or tree grow here, try asking yourself, “should it?” By choosing native species of plants you can cultivate a beautiful, low maintenance yard. Because these plants are born to grow in their native environment you will save time and money by reducing the water and maintenance required for non-indigenous varieties.

Here are just a few of Wisconsin’s native plants: Wild Ginger (Asarum species), Aster, Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia species), Butterfly Weed (Asclepias Tuberosa), Columbine (Aquilegia hybrids), Fern (Athyrium, Matteuccia, Osmunda et al), and Purple Coneflower (Echinacea Purpurea). Native grasses include Bluestem, Prairie Dropseed, Sedge and Switchgrass. Native shrubs include Chokeberry, Dogwood (Cornus species), Ninebark, Potentilla, Viburnum and Witchhazel. Trees that are native to Wisconsin include Ash (Fraxinus species), Beech (Fagus species), Birch (Betula species – also known as paper birch or canoe birch) Elm (Ulmus species and hybrids), Hawthorn (Crataegus species), Hemlock, Honey Locust, Ironwood, Kentucky Coffee Tree (oddly named for a Wisconsin native), Larch, Linden (Tilia species), Maple (Acer species), Musclewood, Oak (Quercus species), Pine (Pinus species), and Serviceberry (Amelanchier species).

Download PDF of UW list of Native Plants for Southern Wisconsin

Grow a Butterfly Friendly Garden
What’s green about a butterfly garden you wonder? The answer is butterflies and honeybees are pollinators, and they’re dying at an alarming rate. Pollinators are crucial to our food supply as they have a major affect the world’s crop production. Butterflies, bees and birds help spread pollen to fruits, vegetables, nuts and spices. Your garden can be a haven to our pollinating friends if you choose to grow a selection of butterfly friendly plants and provide a pesticide-free environment.

Butterflies are attracted to Lavender, Daisies, Black-eyed Susan, Cosmos, Purple Coneflowers, Cornflowers, Day Lilies, Dianthus, Impatiens, Milkweed, Petunias, Purple Coneflowers, Salvia, Scarlet Sage, Snapdragons, Sweet Alyssum, Verbenas, and Zinnias. As a general rule of thumb, butterflies are drawn to red, yellow, orange, pink or purple blossoms. Ideally your garden will have staggered bloom times for a full season.

Sunny gardens are the most attractive to butterflies so for optimal butterfly populations make sure your garden gets full sun mid-morning through mid-afternoon. A few well-placed flat rocks will give your butterflies a place to sun themselves too.


Fertilizing SoilWhat do those fertilizer numbers mean?
There are three numbers associated with fertilizers, for example 5-10-5. They represent the percentage by weight of the 3 nutritional ingredients required by plants, Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium (or N-P-K)

  • The first, Nitrogen helps promotes growth and greening
  • The second, Phosphorous contributes to rooting and setting flower buds
  • The third, Potassium contributes to overall health

Please consult your Bayside Garden Center expert to help you determine what combination of nutrients is best for your needs.

Why do I need a fertilizer spreader?
No matter what kind of lawn products you use, their performance depends in large measure on the quality of the spreader that you use to apply them.

A poor-quality spreader often leaves missed streaks or patches in the lawn where the material is either not applied, or is applied at the wrong rate. This causes unsatisfactory control of weeds, insects, and fungus disease as well as poor fertilizer performance.

Should I use a Drop Spreader or Rotary Spreader?
If both spreaders are of equal quality, a drop spreader usually will provide better accuracy. However, a high-quality rotary will be more accurate than a lower-quality drop spreader.
Drop spreaders meter out the fertilizer and drop it directly on the lawn. A drop spreader is best if:

  • You have a small lawn
  • Doing the job as precisely as possible is most important to you
  • You don’t mind taking a bit longer to apply products to your lawn

Rotary spreaders meter out the fertilizer and throw the granules in a swath up to several feet wide. A rotary spreader is best if:

  • You have a very large lawn
  • You like to get the job done as quickly as possible
  • You do not have flower beds or gardens in the middle of your lawn
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