Celebrating 38 years and still growing  . . .

 Sabo's Woodside Nursery  

& Garden Center, Inc.

Retail Hours: 

9 a.m - 5:30 p.m.  Monday - Saturday

Closed  Sundays 

7800 North Ridge Road E
Madison OH 44057

phone: 440-466-9523   


"Earth laughs with flowers."  

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Creeping phlox is a great evergreen ground cover for the sun. It blooms profusely every spring, creating a blanket of color.
Flowering Cabbage thrives in cool weather and looks great all winter - as does Flowering Kale!

Giant Flowering Alliums 'Globemaster' in front of Scarlet Orange Poppies. Alliums are available in the fall when tulips and crocus are ready to plant. 

Coreopsis 'Early Sunrise'
FLOWERS for FALL: Anemones bloom in September and October
Toad Lily
If possible, wait until November or December to shape up your holly and evergreens so they may be used for holiday decorating.


Tips - Tips and more Tips!

As Garden Center Manager for Sabo's Woodside Nursery, I bring decades of horticultural experience. My background is art and biology.  I love creating our unique combos, advising customers on garden design, vegetable gardens, troubleshooting problems, plant ID, or finding creative solutions for growing challenges.  

I'm delighted to work with fellow garden lovers like Joanna, Steve, Kelly, Alana, my daughter Lysa and the Sabo's, Brian, Barb, Caroline and Becky who equally enjoy sharing their experience and garden know-how with our wonderful customers.

Listen to Sabo's Garden Chats on  WKKY 104.7 FM, Digital Country at about 4:07 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday April through June and Friday mornings on Mix 97.1 FM 

My husband, Ron, and I have a small garden in Madison, and maximize every square inch of our property - we even plant on top of our compost bin.  We love to garden and frequently field questions from neighbors, family and friends. 

This page is dedicated to sharing what we have done with very little space and what and how you can too! And by little, I mean less than 1/4 acre and that includes the house, garage and driveway! Get inspired - be creative!

 Email your gardening questions to:


or follow me on Facebook.

The 2020 growing season is here!
It's great to have the Garden Center open again,  learn how all my garden friends are doing, and share what's new and exciting. 
 Due to C-19, we have added some safety protocols and are asking shoppers to respect everyone's personal space. 
It's time to grow your own food and we are here to help. 
Hopefully this is the last snowfall of spring and we get back some serious GARDEN THERAPY!  This is certainly the year for  recognizing the therapeutic value of gardening. Shelter in place has certainly made us take a good look at our home landscapes and plan to improve them. The only thing contagious at Sabo's are smiles. 

Speaking of smiles, Sabo's has added a new knowledgeable sales associate and gardener, Joanna, who learned the ropes working at Martin's Nursery for 20 years. Her smile and enthusiasm is infectious. 

It's time to plant cole crops (they like cool weather) select seeds, onion sets, perennials, and of course Nursery Stock. 


The weather has been great for getting outside to work and play. Gardens are in . . .mostly, and flowers are adding color to the landscapes and patios.

But what do you see when you look around the house? Are your house plants suffering from Cabin Fever? Mine sure are. They are longing for fresh air and sunshine, not to mention a good shower.

Most houseplants do very well with a summer outdoors, after all, they are just captive tropical plants. Even my orchids enjoy the summer break, returning in the fall with lush leaves and sturdy stems sporting new buds for winter blooms.

Remember this – just like us, plants can get a sunburn too! If they are moved from the house to direct sun the leaves can be damaged and do not recover. Sunburn doesn’t kill the plant – just the leaves which will have large brown areas that you’ll want to remove.

But that will not happen if you follow this advice. Put your plants in the shade, indirect sunlight is brighter than house light and may be all some plants need, others can be moved gradually into more light over the course of a couple weeks.

This is also a good time to repot, prune and feed as they are entering a growth spurt. Keep an eye on the rain and water as needed. If plants are in a pot that does not have drainage holes, be sure to dump the excess water out after rain or watering.

Here's my Garden Tip from the May 2 broadcast:

After making it through another, long, dark, Ohio winter everyone is chomping at the bit to get out and start gardening. Not everything can handle our unpredictable weather, so garden smart!

Sabo’s is celebrating the first weekend in May with special deals, food, and helpful tips like planting trees and shrubs now.

They love the cooler temperatures for getting their roots established before things heat up. That’s when their flowers and foliage demand a lion’s share of water. 

Spring rains cut the workload of watering, but remember, it sounds like a lot when it’s hitting the roof, but it may not be enough to soak the root ball, so check your rain gauge . . . and we do sell them – and all your gardening needs at Sabo’s.

The Best Harvest of 2018 
This is the furry reason why you didn't see me posting about the garden this year. We've been playing with kittens. 

However, we are still harvesting peppers and carrots at the end of October, tomatoes got overgrown, our fault for over planting. But we had four black raspberry pies plus a few quarts in the freezer for a mid- winter treat. Also froze some peaches when we tied of Peach-blueberry cobblers. Still working our way through last year's abundance of tomatoes in the freezer. 

About the cats: Ron and I had been caring for a couple feral cats for the past four years. Patch is a neutered male and Princess (pictured)  blessed us with quite a surprise in July, apparently she was not spayed before being dumped in the neighborhood.  That has been corrected and she and the little black kitten, Precious,  are now part of our indoor feline family.
JULY 20: First tomato and more turning - Big Beef of course. 
It's that time again. We have been harvesting our Paris Island Romaine and Red Salad Bowl Lettuce all month and there's plenty to come. Pulled the first few radishes June 21.  
Tomatoes are forming on Big Beef , and bell peppers are also setting their first fruits.  Kentucky Blue Pole beans and Bush Beans are growing well, as are the Diva cucumbers, once again climbing the fence. Peas were planted late, but are starting to climb. Dill, Basil and Rosemary add fragrance to our garden walks. 


With the 2017 growing season in progress, I thought I'd summarize last year's harvest numbers to compare as this year's harvest. The actual tally is on the right - if you're curious. 

Our little  6' x 14' plot pictured above  plus 10' of our neighbor's chain link fence proves you do not need a big garden to yield a big harvest.

Choose varieties wisely, prep the soil, water and 
fertilize consistently.

 4 BIG BEEF tomato plants = 199 tomatoes
 5 BELL PEPPERS = 123  peppers
Red Baron, Red Knight, Orange Blaze, 2 Early Summer (yellow)
10' row of DIVA CUCUMBERS climbing a fence = 189 cukes
KENTUCKY BLUE POLE BEANS 4x8' trellis = 14 quarts

We also had 2 bushels of PARIS ISLAND ROMAINE LETTUCE
from 4 plants, plus assorted additional greens.

Cherry tomatoes are hard to tally because we graze on our garden walks.  we grow 1 each of Sweet Gold, Grape and Sweet 100 in a 20" patio pot with a tomato cage and keep the top trimmed to encourage lower ripening and to keep them under 6' tall. 

We also had a plentiful supply of dill, basil, cilantro, parsley and rosemary. Herbs are easy to pop into flower gardens. 

I jumped the gun for an early start when the weather was so warm.
 planting began April 26 with 4 BIG BEEF TOMATOES, 5 BELL PEPPERS, lettuce, parsley, and spinach in a window box that will later hold flowers.  More details later. 
ADULT SPHINX MOTH Snowberry clearwing, Hemaris diffinis.
This is the mature Sphinx Moth - AKA - Hummingbird Moth.
In its immature stage it was a Tomato Hornworm. 
Have you seen this Baby Hummingbird Moth on your tomatoes?  Also known at the Tomato Hornworm, it does have a veracious appetite, but once grown, it will become one of the most anticipated garden visitors.
 It is very approachable in flight and is often mistaken for a young hummingbird, hence the common name - Hummingbird moth. 

PLEASE research your caterpillars before you choose to destroy them. 
This is the quickest, easiest, and tastiest way to preserve your harvest!
Convenient to do in small batches.
  • Dip tomatoes into boiling water for a few seconds, then into cold water. 
  • Strip off skins. 
  • Cut out stem ends and cores. 
  • Pack whole, if being frozen raw. 
  • Cut into halves or quarters for either the raw or the cooked pack. 
  • For precooked tomatoes, cook quartered tomatoes, covered, over medium heat just until soft. 
  • Then cool rapidly and pack.

Tips for Freezing Tomatoes

  • Scalding or blanching time for preparing tomatoes for freezing, is a few seconds only,just enough  to loosen skins for peeling.
  • When packing, allow 1 inch head space. 
  • Pack raw tomatoes down firmly to eliminate air pockets. 
  • One bushel or 55 pounds of tomatoes yields 30 to 40 pints. But this method is so easy; I just do a few bags whenever I have a surplus. 
Freezing Whole Tomatoes
  • For whole tomatoes, cut out stems and wrap whole in plastic wrap or small freezer bags. 
  • Freeze raw. 
  • For use after freezing, hold under hot water for a few seconds to loosen skin. 
  • Peel and add to cooked dishes.
Freezing Stewed Tomatoes
  • For stewed tomatoes, blanch for 30 seconds to 1 minute to loosen skins; peel and core. 
  • Cut into chunks and simmer 10 to 20 minutes. Cook just until heated through.

Freezer Storage Life: Ten months to a year is a reasonable time period during which you can expect quality to remain high, so long as the freezer temperature remains low. Some freezers are equipped with special quick-freezing sections or extra cold surfaces, if your freezer has one of these, be certain to use it.


Quick lesson on FERTILIZER: There is always 3 numbers listed (i.e. 10-10-10) they refer to Nitrogen - Phosphorus -Potash in that order.


Lawn fertilizers are high in nitrogen 40-5-8, for example, because grass needs a lot of nitrogen which helps keep it green; it aids with photosynthesis. 


Phosphorus aids the root system and flower set; this number is highest on Bloom Booster types of fertilizers.


Potash is the third number and is important for the overall vigor of the plant; it helps to keep it healthy and facilitates development of fruits and flowers.


Trace elements are also needed to round out a healthy diet for your plants; these can be a little trickier to find. However, Sabo’s has you covered here as well. We carry Jack’s Classic fertilizer which, was better known for years as Peters. When they changed the formula to include trace elements, Jack Peters felt the new formula was important enough to require a new name. Hence Peters became Jack’s. Sabo’s carries a wide selection of Jack’s fertilizers – from bloom booster’s, to orchid food, to acid lovers and more.


Also important when talking about fertilizers is the soil pH. It’s a quick and easy test and critical if your plant is not doing well. If the pH is askew, your plants cannot absorb fertilizer – don’t waste your money. Do the test first – it’s cheap and easy.


Rhododendrons & evergreens like a pH around 4.5 to 6.0; roses are happy with 6.0 to 6.5; Google and specific requirements.

Tip aired June 17, 2014


How to plant bare root Bearded Iris:

1. Select firm health rhisomes - the adapted root of an iris, a few new roots and perhaps the tips of new growth can be seen. Bare roots can be soaked from a few hours to overnight before planting - NO longer!

2. Choose a mostly sunny site - 6-8 hours of direct sun per day.

3. Dig a shallow hole big enough to accomodate the roots to be spread out, and mound soil for setting the rhisome on.

4. Place the rhisome on the mound so it be exposed to the air after to roots are covered with soil.

5. Firm soil in place with your hands, water, label, and make sure the rhisome remains visible - do not cover it with mulch. Sand makes a good mulch for iris beds.


August is also a good time to divide daylilies as well as iris. Once the plants are dug and devided, cut the tops back to about 6 inches, this will help the roots hold more of the energy



Check your tomatoes for the viracious eater - TOMATO HORNWORM - also known to consume pepper, eggplant and potato, in fact any member of the solanaceous family.


Hand picking is reccomended as they are usually small in number. They can be relocated to the woodland where additional food sources - horsenettle, jimsonweed, and nightshade are availble.


As an adult these garden pests are a delight in the butterfly garden when they become the HUMMINGBIRD or SPHINX MOTH.


Go to: www.vegedge.umn.edu/vegpest/hornworm.htm for a very informative handout.


When to pick: Early morning is best, the flowers, fruits and veggies retain water overnight making them fresher and flowers longer lasting.


Pick green beans before they start to buldge, that means the seeds inside are swelling to mature and will soon become wood and far less tender. Unless you are growing zuccini to be the giant entry at the fair, they should be picked when they are  to 8 inches long. They will be more tender at this stage. larger ones can be shreded and used for pancakes or zuccini bread.


See it. Know it. Treat it.

This is a picture of botrytis on the stems of lilies. Unacceptable. It starts at the ground and works its way up the stem. Our wet spring and summer weather contributed greatly to this situation. I am pretty much an organic garden - bugs are bird food so I just cope and let nature take its course. Plant disease  requires action. What to do?


These stems and all infected are about to be cut off at the ground and burned. They may also be bagged and trashed. The MOST important thing to note is do NOT compost them. Botrytis is a disease and will spread throughout your garden plants.


Stop the flow by removing the source and treating the remaining plants and soil. PLEASE!


These pictures are from my home garden where we grow hundreds of lilies, so the need to deal with the threat is huge.


I am using a product from Bonide called Fung-onil  (from SABO'S) available in a ready to spray bottle for small applications or a larger attach to the hose form. I will be using the later.


After removing the diseased foliage, I will spray the rest of my garden to protect them from the spread of botrytis . . . and pray. 


Although it will not kill the lily bulbs, I will have smaller and fewer blooms next year because the bulbs are will not have the needed nourishment from the foliage to feed themselves. After they bloom, it is important (just as in daffodils and tulips) to allow the leaves to remain attached and healthy as long as possible to grow great flowers for the following year.

This is the lily bed in our front yard. It was sprayed with Fung-0nil and all the lilies thrived!   FYI - they are Orienpet lilies, get 6-7' tall and carry 2 -3 DOZEN blooms per stem without staking!  It's a cross between oriental and trumpet.

The pictures of botrytis (above) were taken in the bed to the left. Too close for comfort so we had to act quickly!

Yes, it is real - and you can make it happen in your yard.
The concept is as simple as planting the right plant in the right place.
Sun lovers go in the sun; shade lovers in the shade; drought tolerant plants in your hard to water locations, moisture lovers in your damp spots or wet areas. 
Consider the height at maturity - especially in shrubs - and use tall plants in the back; shorter ones to the front. It takes a lot of time and effort to keep a tall shrub short.
So much to know - where do you find all this information? 
We all love to garden at home and enjoy sharing our experience with Sabo's shoppers.

The low maintenance shade garden pictured above is from Garden Center manager, Cathee Thomas' back yard.
Holly berries begin with the flowers - both male and female, blooming on separate plants. The female flower (above) clearly shows the center of the bloom where the ovary - which will become the berry, is already defined and waiting for pollination, geneally accomplished by bees
Notice the difference in the male holly flower - there is NO berry in the center, instead the center is surrounded by pollen producing stamens. Only one male plant is needed per group of female holly plants. The bees will indeed be busy. Make sure they are of similiar varieties blooming at the same time. These pictured are 'Blue Princess' and 'Blue Prince.'
Only female holly plants produce berries
This is what BLEEDING HEARTS are suppose to look like in August. They go dormant in mid-summer. They are NOT dying, simply going to bed early for the season so they will be well rested and ready to grow and bloom in early spring. Many spring perennials, Trillium, Squirrel Corn/Dutchman's Britches, Virginia Bluebells, also go dormant in the summer - do not remove them!
Do Not Prune Spring Blooming Shrubs in Summer or Fall!
Trees and shrubs that bloom in the spring set their buds for next year within a month of blooming. Pruning later will remove these future flowers. Some, like dogwood, rhododendron or viburnum,  have very obvious buds that you can see. Others, like forsythia, flowering almond, lilac, azaleas, and many more are less obvious.
Hydrangeas bloom on OLD WOOD - do not prune other than removing dead wood or you will also be removing future blooms. 

What is a Garden Mum?

  • Most mums sold today are grown for their color, form, and size – these decorative, or garden  mums are not bred for their hardiness
  • They are sold for the beauty they provide this season – following year should be considered a bonus. Generally speaking just over half of today's hybrid mums tend to winter over making a promise of hardiness insincere, so don't feel like it's your fault - it's the plant breeders' who have not considered hardiness important.


Planting Garden Mums:

  • Plant in at least ½ day sun light
  • Add peat to a sandy soil or sand to a clay soil
  • Be sure the soil is well drained
  • Remove plant from pot and gently break up the root ball a little to encourage roots to branch out
  • Water thoroughly, fertilizing has already been done to establish roots and blooms


Winter protection:

  • Do not prune
  • Keep soil moist as winter nears
  • After several hard frosts, mulch with straw, leaves, etc.


Next spring – if they survive:

  • Remove old mulch
  • Prune off dead stems
  • Apply a general all purpose fertilizer such as Jack’s as directed
  • When new growth is 4 to 6,” pinch back by half, continuing pinching whenever new growth is 3 to 5” until early July for bushy fall blooming plants
  • Water thoroughly as needed and fertilize monthly

The first red pepper from my garden - picked (and eaten) August 14, 2015. YUM! Red Baron, definitely growing this and Golden Summer again!

This is the nasty little Viburnum Beelte. it is about half the size of  a Japanese beelte but can eat twice a much in half the time. Deal with them  right away.   Learn more at:


Recommended treatment: Bonide's EIGHT Insect Control - it kills over 100 species of problem pests including Japanese Beetles! Whatever you choose to use - READ and FOLLOW the directions!

After the flowers fade on rhododendrons it is time to deadhead. The best method is to reach in and grasp the stem just below the flower truss and above the tips of new branches and bend. This action should snap the seed head cleanly off. If the plant is soft and bends rather than snap it probably needs water. Soak the soil and try again later - or use pruners.

This is also a good time to do any pruning or shaping of the plant.

Plan for spring as you clean!
As you clean up your gardens look carefully and review your garden - look at what worked and what did not; can you improve the growing conditions for those that didn't? Make a note what to do when or what would be a better plant for those problem areas. Fall is a good time to plant - go ahead and add some perennials - and tuck some spring blooming bulbs between them!
Do this NOW while it is fresh on your mind!
There will be plenty of distractions before its time to plant again.


Have you planted ALL your spring blooming bulbs yet? It's OK if you haven't. They can safely be planted whenever the ground is workable - as in not frozen.  They will fare far better with a late planting  - even the January thaw (I know this from experience) rather than being held for spring planting.


So get out there and just DO IT!

Take advantage of the end of the season specials and get them in the ground. Bulbs will not survive in the bag in your garage.

Tulips, narcisus and grape hyacinths make a memorable display come spring. Just check out this Madison home.


June is Perennial Gardening Month


"What is the difference between a perennial and an annual ?" Garth asked.


The quick answer:

Annuals are planted every year, hence, always planting annuals.

Perennials are a permanent garden addition.


The explaination:

ANNUALS are rapid growers, progressing through their entire life cycle - germinate, bloom and set seed -  in just one season, providing the biggest color bang for your buck in the garden.  Anuals will continue to bloom until the cool temperatures and frost of fall.

Annuals are also a great way to overplant spring blooming bulbs.


PERENNIALS are in the garden for the long term, attention to foliage form and texture is important because they provide interest even when they are not in bloom. Depending on the variety and weather, perennials will bloom from a feww weeks to several months.

When planting perennials, remember "sleep - creep - leap." This refers to their tendancy to remain the size planted for the first year, creep a little larger the second year (most of the growth at this stage in underground)  and then explode to thier mature size the third year.

Many will need dividing by the fifth and sixth year.


These plant families work very well together: perennials filling in between shrubs as they mature, annuals filling in between perennials as the mature; giving your garden a completed look even at an immature stage.

These sturdy MADE in the USA tomato cages will last for years and fold flat for easy storage.  Three sizes are available.
Cages are also great for Perennials like Peony 
Plant tomato plants a couple inches deeper than they are growing in the pots when you buy them. They will root all along the buried stem making it stronger and better anchored. 
Adding some lime to the soil also improves the calcium content and will help prevent blossom end rot.

Peppers should also be planted an little deeper than they are growing in their original pot.
I use Jack's Bloom Booster on my veggies as well ass my flowers - the more blooms on your tomatoes, the more fruits you will pick - I average 50 large tomatoes per Big Beef plant in my little garden. 
It's 90+ degrees, but that doesn't stop the harvest. Even a small garden can produce a heavy crop. YES I am standing up! Tomatoes to my right, peppers to my left, melons climbing to the sky behind me and herbs in front. The spring harvest yielded radish, peas, onions, kohl rabi, lettuce and spinach in this very same space.
My new favorite Daylily 'Ruby Star' with my 4 year old flower-loving niece, Evlyn .
Mix PERENNIALS and ANNUALS Persian Shield with Autumn Fern
These repeat bloomers are getting ready for a second show in August - first bloom was in June and the second blooms added color to the garden into November!
Repeat Blooming Iris flower well into the fall as this picture from my Madison garden with the mums in full glory shows.


Choose heathy rhisomes that are firm and show some signs new growth
Soak roots of bare root perennials a few hours before planting
When planting two different colors in a bed aim the fans (new growth) in oposite directions, later when time to divide you will be able to tell which color is which.