Posts Tagged ‘flowering perennials’

How to Attract Butterflies to Your Garden with Shrubs, Herbs and Perennial Plants

March 5th, 2013

 

What could be more enjoyable than sitting in your garden with lots of beautiful butterflies fluttering about? Gardeners are planting butterfly gardens, which not only have become a popular hobby, but, also, make for very beautiful gardens. While many gardeners plant amazing flower gardens with hopes of attracting butterflies, however, the butterflies don’t come because the wrong shrubs and perennial plants have been planted.

English: Français : Papillon monarque (Danaus ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes butterflies will not come to a garden because of pesticide use. The first thing you should do in planning for your butterfly garden is to rid the area of unwanted pests without using chemicals.

There are a few other things you can do to ensure that butterflies will come to your garden. Choose an area in your garden that is sunny with about 5 to 6 hours of sunlight per day, as adult butterflies only feed in the sun. The area needs to, also, be sheltered from heavy winds. As much as butterfly need to eat, they also do not want to fight harsh winds while trying to feed.

Another important aspect to a good butterfly garden is water. Like humans, butterflies need water. A couple of shallow bird baths where you can keep clean water will not only allow butterflies a drink, it will give them a place to rest.

There are two types of plants that butterfly use, those that provide food for the offspring and those that provide nectar for the adults. In a quote from the National Wildlife Federation, “Attracting butterflies involves incorporating plants that serve the needs of all life stages of the butterfly.” They go on to say, “The insects need places to lay eggs, food plants for their larvae (caterpillars), places to form chrysalides and nectar sources for adults.”

Most butterflies, including the Monarch butterfly, feed on buddleia, commonly called butterfly bushes, for nectar and milkweed to feed the caterpillars. Other ways to make the area more butterfly friendly are using flat stones or other large flat surfaces where butterflies can rest and spread their wings. Because butterflies are such delicate creatures, they will also need shelter and a little shade.

Plants that attract butterflies are buddleia or butterfly bushes, lavender, monarda or bee balm, veronica, salvia, rosemary, thyme, sage, roses, yarrow, lamb’s ear, hydrangea, weigela, rudbeckia, echinacea, Shasta daisy and yucca are excellent selections for a beginners butterfly garden.

Recap of How to Attract Butterflies to Your Garden:

  • Limit pesticide use
  • Place your garden in a sunny area protected from heavy winds
  • Plant fragrant, summer flowering butterfly plants
  • Use flat surfaces for the butterflies to rest
  • Have a shallow water source

By adding some of these suggestions into your garden, you can attract butterflies all summer long.

 

Greenwood Nursery Your Online Garden Center

 

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Tips for Curing a Dull Landscape

June 3rd, 2012

 

Spring is almost ready to pass the torch onto summer. Garden plants are flourishing, but something’s missing. Adding a few colorful and fun plants to the landscape or garden plantings will spice things up and make the neighbors a little jealous that they didn’t think of it first.

English: Layers of waterwise plants create a l...

English: Layers of waterwise plants create a lush, high mountain landscape. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are many ways to add excitement to a dull garden, but the best ways to add color are small shrubs, perennials and colorful ground covers. Many of these plant varieties are available at Greenwood Nursery Online Plant Nursery.

Most perennials are fast growing and will begin to show their form within the first season. With the right pruning and dead heading, they will push their growth and quickly become a garden staple. Proper care is the way to get the best results in any garden for that matter.

Blue flowering plants against red, yellow or purple flowering plants are quite striking. The soft blue of the Blue Star Creepers, Russian Sage Little Spire, Emerald Blue Phlox or lavenders make the red of the Monarda Fire Ball even more brilliant. Fill in some larger gaps with Nanho Blue Butterfly Bush for sunny areas.

Plants like the Jeepers Creepers Trailing Tiarella are spreading but safe, as they don’t attach to the ground. This is an excellent substitute for English Ivy.

With lots of green in the garden, a couple of red or pink flowering plants are all that’s needed. Autumn Leaves Heuchera, drift roses, strawberry seduction yarrow, Double Red Knockout Roses, Fairy Rose, or pineapple sage.

Strategically placed yellow leafed or yellow flowering plants will warm up any landscape giving it a finished touch. Yellow leafed plants such as Golden Tiara Hosta, Yucca Color Guard, Heuchera Electric Lime, Golden Japanese Ogon Sedum, Sedum Angelina, and the Autumn Brilliance Ferns are subtle but make a huge impact. Yellow flowering plants such as the Autumn Colors Rudbeckia, Black-eyed Susan’s and Heliopsis Summer Sun.

Just a few plant additions in a single color scheme can pull together any landscape. Go from a dull landscape to a landscape full of surprise with blooms popping out of previously vacant spaces. Flowering garden plants will be your landscape secret weapons.

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Greenwood’s Favorite Sun Garden Plants

April 20th, 2012

Our Favorite Sun Garden Plants:

Composite image to illustrate the diversity of...

Composite image to illustrate the diversity of plants. See below for image and species list. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  1. Yucca Color Guard
  2. Elijah Blue Fescue
  3. Hen and Chicks
  4. The Fairy Rose
  5. Miss Ruby Buddleia
  6. Apricot Drift Rose
  7. Adagio Ornamental Grass
  8. Blue Scent Lavender

This selection of sun garden plants is our choices for beginning a colorful long blooming sun garden in most zones. Check out more plant selections for sun garden plants.

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How to Design and Plant a Small Yard or Small Garden

May 15th, 2011

Design and Plant a Small Yard or Small Garden when you only have limited space for outdoor livingWhen you have a limited budget or inclination to do the landscaping projects you really should do, downsize. Downsize with smaller landscapes and smaller plants. Small yards can be used effectively to enhance bland foundations, corners, and entrances as well as add color, fragrance and interest to patios and other sitting areas.

 

Small gardens use small scale trees, shrubs and perennials. Anchoring shrubs should mature around 3 to 4 feet tall and are typically placed in the back 1/3 of the area. Planting one or two evergreen shrubs makes a good base. Colorful small flowering shrubs and shrub-like perennials are other good choices.

 

Small garden anchor plants:

 

Karley Rose, Prairie Dropseed, Karl Foerster and Adagio are some of the more striking ornamental grassesthat are attractive as single specimens and can be used in lieu shrubs as anchor plants.

 

Plant perennials of varied heights keeping within 12 to 40 inches tall for added interest. Some of the friendliest and brightest varieties are:

 

Small scale ground cover plants are the last touch for small gardens.

Select from:

 

Use spreading plants that have a spreading habit to fill in over several years such as:

 

How to plan a small sized garden for your enjoyment:

  • Select at least one small scale shrub to anchor the garden
  • Choose 3 or more perennials in varied heights
  • Use one variety of groundcover for the front most part
  • For even more interest add a butterfly house, bird house or whirligig just off the center point

For more ideas on small sized gardens, visit Greenwood Nursery.

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Landscaping around Decks, Patios and Porches

May 1st, 2011

Lakeside Patio

Image by Kansas Explorer 3128 via Flickr

Once the weather warms and decks, patios and porches are back in use, queries begin coming in requesting assistance in landscaping these areas. So, I thought it would be a good idea to offer these suggestions to all of our readers. The first task is to sit on your patio, porch or deck and actually look out (away from the exterior walls). What do you see? Do you see an open never ending lawn or, maybe it’s a small enclosed area? What could you see as a focal point in your view? How do you feel about your deck? Is it quiet and cozy or more of an open space where you would prefer more privacy? The answers to these questions will dictate how you landscape around your outdoor living area.

Let’s discuss patios and low level decks and porches first. Your point of view from sitting in your chair should give you looking into (not onto) the lawn area. Basically, the lawn becomes an extension of that outdoor space. Low level sitting areas take more advantage of the opening. Colors and textures can be used effectively from the immediate areas on to the outlying regions. The view will be complete from the tree tops all the way down to ground cover. So, be sure to add in lots of colorful perennials and shrubs into the outlying landscape.

Now, in landscaping around the perimeter of your low level deck (patio or porch), you will want to select plants with that in mind. If your outside living space is large and extends out considerably from the house, consider placing ornamental trees or other decorative plants. The following is a great listing of plants for this purpose.

Japanese red maple
Sky rocket juniper
Blue point juniper
Emerald green arborvitae
Crape myrtle trees
Kousa dogwood
Kwanzan cherry
Sourwood trees
Red bud
Sweetbay magnolia
Clumping bamboo
Nishiki willow

Remember to allow for stepping stones or other access to the outlying areas. In planting along the edges, select low growing plants so as to not block the outward view. Staying in the 3 ½ foot range and below should work quite well, especially with taller plants in that range that are airy at the tops such as ornamental grasses.
The following list you will find excellent plants for bordering gardens.

Barberry crimson pygmy
Crape myrtle Chickasaw
Crape myrtle Pocomoke
Coreopsis
Astilbe
Gaillardia
Heucheras
Lemon princess spiraea
Hydrangeas (Cityline series)
Hostas
Chamaecyparis pisifera compacta
Nandina dwarf firepower
Nandina dwarf harbor
Saliva
Russian sage little spire
Weigela
Liriope
Grass, Acorus Ogon
Grass, Sporobolus h. Prairie Dropseed
Grass, pennisetum Karley Rose
Grass, Pennisetum Hameln
Grass, Phalaris a. Strawberries and Cream
Verbena-low growing
Lantana-low growing
Rosemary
Lavender
Sage

When planning your landscape around high level decks and balconies, remember that you will be looking down onto the plants immediately around the perimeter and only seeing the top portions of the plants in the outlying areas. High level areas truly take on a different view of the lawn than low level areas and should be landscaped accordingly. High level decks are considered to be (roughly) 5 and 6 feet and higher off the ground. Plant for fragrance, long blooming periods, lots of texture and slightly away from the deck so you are fully able to enjoy the plants. This list of plants works nicely in such situations.

White birch
Dogwoods
Serviceberry
Magnolias
Tulip poplar
Lilacs
Crape myrtles-tall growing varieties
Heptacodium, Seven son
Oakleaf hydrangeas
Magnolia Jane
Red bud
Flowering cherry
Flowering peach
Flowering pear
Sourwood
Laurels
Rhododendrons
Holly

Armed with this information, you can now confidently plan the landscape around your multi leveled outdoor living spaces.

Cheryl D. Jones, co-owner of Greenwood Nursery, McMinnville, TN, shares tips and information on gardening and landscaping through her blog, newsletters and nursery website. Visit Greenwood Nursery for a full line of trees, shrubs, perennials, ornamental grasses and ground covers. Join the Greenwood Gardeners Club free to receive the nursery’s weekly newsletter, access to the members sales page, seasonal promotions and 10% off your first order.

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Selecting Plants for Borders and Edging

October 25th, 2010


Selecting plants for bordering or edging a garden or path can be just as frustrating as accessorizing a room or an outfit. You want the overall picture to look pulled together with your choices. I like to divide plants for this purpose into two divisions: compact and spreaders. These plants grow in the 3 foot and under height range. Compact plants are just that. They will grow within a defined space only getting slightly larger over the following years. If the area needs a strong barrier, consider a low growing shrub or grass such as Hameln Grass, Spiraea Magic Carpet, Cotoneaster Coral Beauty, Hypericum Blue Velvet or the dwarf Nandina Firepower as they will work hard year round to keep the garden defined.

Spreaders and drapers will creep into the garden mixing with the other plants or spill over the edge of the garden bed. They will work well in any garden, but can really show their talents when planted along the edge of a multi level garden. Along the edge or border of a garden is a key spot to introduce additional colors and textures. If the primary color of the garden or landscape is green, for example, edge the bed with contrasting color plants such as Heuchera Plum Pudding or Black Mondo Grass. If the garden is alive with lots of color, then going low key would be more effective with something like an ornamental grass, liriope, thyme, lavender plants or dwarf boxwoods.

Here’s a listing of plants that I have complied for these 2 divisions:

Compact plants for borders and edging:

Grass Hameln, Chives, Heucheras, Aster, Hostas, Ferns-such as Autumn Brilliance, Spiraea Magic Carpet, Lavenders, City Line Hydrangeas, Liriope, Armeria Dusseldorf Pride, Veronica Royal Candles, Cotoneaster Coral Beauty, Barberry Crimson Pygmy, Hypericum Blue Velvet, Nandina Dwarf Firepower, Daylilies, Sedums, Grass Black Mondo, Grass Acorus Minimus, Grass Acorus Gramineus Ogon, Potentilla Gold Drop,

Spreaders and Drapers:

Wooly Thyme, Red Creeping Thyme, Creeping Phlox, Creeping Rosemary, Elfin Thyme, Hypericum Calycinum, Drift Roses

This listing of plants should give you many ideas of what size, colors, and type of plants you can use for edging your garden or bordering your landscape. Don’t feel limited to these varieties.

Be creative with plants. They offer so much color and texture. That’s part of the fun and the learning experience of gardening.

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How to Make the Garden Safe for Pets and Children

September 21st, 2010

When designing a new landscape or re-evaluating an older landscape, don’t forget to work in spaces especially for children such as: a sandbox, jungle gym, and/or open grassy areas for football or net games like volleyball and badminton (not just for children). A sandbox or jungle gym can be tucked into a corner or other small area. For jungle gym or other physical activities a thick layer of shredded bark mulch on the ground will help to reduce the impact of falls.

Introduce children to gardening and yard maintenance early on so that as they develop, they gain an appreciation and respect for plants and the landscape. These learning sessions are the perfect opportunity for teaching them about plants and how they grow. This reduces the chances of children ingesting any poisonous parts of plants.

For those with pets, work into your garden or landscape an area for them to run and play. Gravel can be irritating to their paws and hot in summer, so use shredded bark mulch for this area which also works great for their potty areas as well. Place dog houses in protected areas such as nearer the house/garage or tucked into corners (great where there is a fence for additional protection). Sun and wind protection are other points to keep in mind.

Be flexible. Some dogs just like to dig and no matter what, you can’t keep some plants. I’ve experienced this with my dogs. I replaced a couple of small trees damaged by a freeze a few years ago with dynamite crape myrtles. The next day, I came home to the plants dug up and dried out. I had to replace with 2 more new plants. The following day, I came home to them dug up and dried out, again. The dogs were scolded, of course, but we didn’t want to waste, yet, 2 more plants. So, I planted the newest crape myrtles in large containers with a few annuals. It isn’t what I really wanted for the landscape, but, this is a spot on the outside of my garden gate, so the container thing works fine. Planting in containers and raised beds can be a good solution for keeping plants off the ground so that they aren’t dug up, time and time again.

Both young and small plants are at risk of having dogs urinate on them, which if allowed to continue, will eventually kill the plants. Sprinkle cayenne pepper over the area and around the base of the plants.

Neighborhood cats can be a big problem. Two successful ways of keeping them out of landscapes and gardens is to lay pine cones around the area or lay sections of chicken wire, secure to ground and cover ever so lightly with mulch. The pine cones, chicken wire or anything prickly will help to keep them at bay.

Here is a short listing of plants that are generally safe to use around pets and children:

  • Bamboo
  • Ornamental grasses
  • Crape Myrtles
  • Forsythia
  • Cat Mint
  • Chives
  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Heucheras
  • Sage
  • Herbs (many other varieties including annual varieties)
  • Sedum
  • Tulip poplar

This is just a short list of plants that can be planted safely in the garden. The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) has a great site with information on a listing of the 17 top toxic plants to pets, great articles on pet care (dogs, cats and horses), and animal poison control hotlines.

Poisonous Plants

Pawprints and Purrs, Inc is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating pet owners, preventing animal cruelty and pet abuse. Check out their website and you will find articles on everything from pet ownership to traveling with your pet to alternative medicines for pets.

If you have a question about whether or not a specific plant is toxic or safe, always ask your pet’s veterinarian.

The following link is to a short article on backyard safety for kids. It offers some good advice to keeping children safe and happy at play.

Backyard Safety for Kids

 

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Tips for the Perfect Fall Garden Party

September 21st, 2010

Fall has to be the most perfect time for an outdoor get together. Invite a few friends over and celebrate. Just like when you entertain indoors, entertaining outdoors requires some sprucing up as well. Take an objective walk through your garden area and decide where you want everyone to gather.

Pick a focal point as your backdrop and you’re ready to begin.

  • Pull out the tallest or widest spreading weeds
  • Clip out dead branches (be sure to save any larger dead shrub or tree branches and “plant” them in a bucket with sand or gravel, spray paint it and add fun lights – voila! a decoration)
  • Remove any dead plants
  • Prune and dead head those plants with spent blooms
  • Add a few well placed splashes of color (such as newly planted containers, mums that you just found at the farmer’s market or sunflowers in tall containers or baskets will make a huge difference and they can cover up any imperfections)
  • If you can’t find fresh cut sunflowers, pick up some silk ones from your local craft store. They work great in a pinch. The newer silk ones look amazingly real now and it’s the color and atmosphere that you’re going for anyway
  • Remember, after the sun sets, add some candlelight and the atmosphere becomes magical
  • Sweep or hose off any stone, wood or concrete walkways, patios or decks the day of the gathering
  • Put down a new layer of mulch, or if you haven’t the time pick up a large bag of aged compost from the hardware store a day or two before the event and put a scoop of it here and there in spaces where the ground is visible. This limited effort will still give your garden a fresh, well kept appearance and really makes the plants pop.

A folding table or two will be perfect. No tablecloth? Use an old sheet or burlap and tie off the corners at the table legs or use hair bands to secure it by bunching the fabric immediately underneath the table at the corners and tying it off with the band. Quilts work nicely too and have better weight. Some potted herbs on the table make for interesting and wonderfully fragrant mini-centerpiece.

What to serve. Keep it simple and quick. Fall is a great time for singe pot dishes such as chili, hardy soups, coq au vin, lasagne or beef daube. Most of these dishes are perfect for the slow cooker, leaving you more time for other projects or just looking good. A few garnishes, bakery bread, bowls and spoons will allow the guests to help themselves. And, what better way to end a hardy fall meal than with brownies, apple pie, pumpkin rolls or spice cake? And though, it’s optional, a good (not necessarily expensive) red wine. Yummmmmm……

Here are a few suggestions for bringing to life some of those empty flower pots. All you need to do is select one plant from the first group, one to two plants from the second group and one to two from the third group. Do be mindful of your selected colors when pairing though. Try to select plants with contrasting colors and textures for best results.

Group 1 (Spotlight Plant):

Group 2 (Filler Plants):

  • Hellebore Ivory Prince
  • Heuchera Plum Pudding
  • Heuchera Mystic Angel
  • Autumn Brilliance Fern
  • Japanese Painted Fern
  • Sungold Cypress
  • Dianthus
  • Liriope
  • Ogon Grass

 

Group 3 (Draping Groundcover):

Especially in Group 1, these suggestions are based on younger plants. After a couple of years in the container, they will be ready to be transplanted into a permanent location.

Add twinkle lights to trees, fence or frame. The clear ones with a golden tint are almost like candlelight and a few well placed candles are a great touch. Put some tiny gravel or sand in the bottom of old glass jars and then steady some chunky candles in them. If becomes a little breezy, they won’t blow out. The jars make excellent hurricanes and can safely double as walkway lights.

I hope this gives you a few ideas on making your garden and fall evening a special one. Why not share your favorite fall entertaining tips and ideas? I look forward to hearing from you.

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Drift Roses

September 20th, 2010

New from the Knockout Rose Family, are the Drift Roses. Drift Roses are gorgeous compact growing groundcover-like roses with miniature roses that will bloom continually from early spring to frost. Like their Knockout Relatives, the Drift Roses are tough, disease resistant and cold hardy as far north as zone 5.

They are sure to become a favorite for any type border. Prune back to 4″ in early spring (after the last hard frost) for best performance. Regular deadheading encourages re-blooming and helps maintain a tidy appearance.

Currently, we are booking our Drift Roses for shipping this spring. Click here to book your Red Drift Roses and Apricot Drift Roses.

P. Allen Smith talks about Drift Roses in a recent newsletter. It’s a good short article on these new landscape plants. For more information visit P. Allen Smith on Drift Roses

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Foundation Plants – Adding Curb Appeal to Your Home

September 11th, 2010

Drummond Castle and gardens.

Image via Wikipedia

Foundation plants are shrubs used for planting along homes and building to soften their look, enhance curb appeal and tie it to the surrounding landscape.

Some considerations to keep in mind when choosing these shrubs are:

– Style/Color

– Size

– Scale

– Seasons

The style of your house should be one of the biggest factors in selection foundation shrubs. For example, a colonial house should have different plants compared to a house that is of southwest style or modern style. The colonial would have more traditional, tight growing greenery such as boxwood whereas the southwest style home would have spiky type plants to give a desert feeling and the modern house having open, more free growing plants. Choose shrubs with colors that compliment the color of the house and don’t blend into it. A red brick would absorb shrubs such as the Cistena Plum Shrubs with deep red leaves, yet those same plants would appear striking along side a white frame house. The gorgeous blooms of the Nikko Blue Hydrangea would be wasted planted in front of a blue vinyl sided house.

Typical anchoring bushes are generally smaller growing (under 6 feet) and planted on the corners with somewhat larger growing plants. The length of the windows will usually dictate their height. If the windows on the house start at 3 feet above the ground, then select low growing shrubs that grow no taller than 3 1/2 feet. Placing taller greenery in front of windows is not good for security.

Scale is a consideration most forgotten. Small houses should have smaller growing plants to keep in its scale and not overwhelm the house as these plants mature. Large scale houses can comfortably accommodate larger growing shrubs and trees without the house seeming to disappear.

Anchor plants should offer color and texture for at least 3 seasons if not all 4. This is the reason that evergreen shrubs, both conifer and broadleaf, are often used for this purpose. Try to plant at least 50% of the foundation plants in evergreens to keep greenery around the house year around. Planting all deciduous anchor plants creates a bare house over the winter months. Select a few choice flowering shrubs or small trees, perennials and ornamental grasses to further extent color and texture in the other seasons.

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