Posts Tagged ‘gardening’

Greenwood’s 8 Favorite Flowering Shrubs

April 6th, 2012

Greenwood’s Favorite 8 Flowering Shrubs:     

Hydrangea macrophylla - Hortensia hydrangea, p...

Hydrangea macrophylla - Hortensia hydrangea, picture from Longwood Gardens (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  1. The Fairy Rose
  2. Pink Velour Crape Myrtle
  3. Bloomerang Reblooming Lilac
  4. Knockout Double Pink Rose
  5. Nishiki Dappled Willow
  6. Nikko Blue Hydrangea
  7. Spilled Wine Weigela
  8. Pinky Winky Hydrangea

These flowering plants were chosen for their blooming length as well as the other special qualities that they bring to the garden. Check out our other flowering plants.

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Best Winter Gardening Tips to Get a Start on Spring and Summer Yard Care

January 15th, 2012

Apply these best winter gardening tips and you will get a head start on your spring and summer yard care. There are moments when you look outside during winter and wish desperately for the warmth of summer. Don’t fret. Make winter the season of preparing for a long relaxing summer.

These winter gardening chores are the first steps to making a relaxing summer possible is to prepare your garden and what better time than mid to late winter.

  • Turn the shrubbery and tree lines into something of beauty with light pruning
  • Mulch your perennials and win the fight against weeds before they have the chance to infiltrate
  • Sketch your new garden ideas for the landscape and start building.
evergreen perennials in a shade garden under w...

Image via Wikipedia

It sounds easy when you really think about it, and it is. Gardening can be very time consuming in the spring and summer and most everyone wants to enjoy the beautiful warm weather doing other activities not worry about the landscape.  A little planning ahead and a few days of clean up work and prepping can make gardening and yard care so much easier for the growing season.

A few planning tips for your garden can be as simple as:

  • Building a raised bed for annuals or vegetable planting.
  • Drawing out a new plan for plant placement.
  • Jotting down ideas for new plants to add in.
  • Start your own compost.
  • Protect animal attracting plants with wire cages.
  • Wrap thin bark trees that are susceptible to cold weather damage.

After making your garden plans, start doing a few things that will help will upkeep that would otherwise be difficult in the spring and summer.

After you have protected delicate plants for the worse part of winter and the early spring temperature fluctuations and, then have a plan for your garden design, it’s time to put everything into action. This will definitely be an achievement you will certainly be proud of and, when spring hits, you can relax knowing that your garden is in great shape.

Visit us at Greenwood Nursery Online Nursery and Garden Center for a great selection of flowering shrubs, nut trees, evergreen ground covers and more!

We’d love to hear from you about how you prepare your yard and garden for late winter weather. Leave us a comment or email us.

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Spring Garden Maintenance to Start Your Garden Growing

December 31st, 2011

A garden bed before spring cleanup

Image via Wikipedia

Follow these easy spring garden maintenance tips and you will be enjoying your yard. Even after one weekend of spring garden cleaning you can have leaves raked, trees and shrubs pruned and ground ready for planting new plants. A little spring garden maintenance means less yard work in summer.

Arm yourself with a rake, weed eater or heavy shears, a tool belt, apron with pockets, basket, or pail, filled with clippers, gardening scissors, gardening gloves, old cloths, trash bags and, if available, a small garden saw. Start on one side of your property or garden and work across the yard and then clockwise around your house and other out buildings beginning with the front/main entrance. The point is to be able to go over all areas of your landscape so that you don’t miss plants.

Always begin an area by tackling the larger growing plants, whether trees or shrubs. First cut or saw out all branches that are dead, broken, touching or crossing. Then, if necessary, trim for shape. From the larger trees and shrubs, move onto smaller growing plants, such as ornamental grasses (which you will be cutting to the ground with either the weed eater or heavy shears), roses, evergreen herbs, perennials, ground covers, etc. Remember, if you haven’t pulled out the annuals that were planted last year, it is time to remove them now.

Once all plants have been pruned, shaped and otherwise cleaned up in an area, rake the clippings into the trash bag and move onto the next. By cleaning up an area completely, if you have to stop that day before finishing, you can begin with a new area the next time and you don’t have to back track. I find it easier to make sandwiches the night before to lunch on so I don’t have to completely stop my gardening. This way I am only taking a break and don’t lose focus on what I’m doing.

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Tips for Strawberries and Strawberry Plants

November 6th, 2011

Just the thought of strawberries brings to mind summer, shortcake, jelly and chocolate. Bite into a strawberry and it explodes in your mouth making your tongue tingle with delight. With the red heart shape of the strawberry, no wonder it’s the symbol for Venus, the goddess of love. Maybe that’s why strawberries go so perfectly with chocolate and champagne.

A member of the rose family, it is documented that strawberries have been enjoyed as a domesticated fruit as early as the 1400’s. Now, we know the nutritional value of strawberries. They contain amino acids and beta-carotene as well as A, C, E, K, B-complex vitamins.  An excellent source of calcium, iron, potassium, manganese, copper and zinc, strawberries are high in sugar so should be eaten in moderation.

Some of my favorite ways to enjoy the fruits of strawberry plants are serving on waffles (Yummy!), in a spinach salad with walnuts, in a cucumber & strawberry salad, or served with only a splash of balsamic vinegar. Harvest strawberries in early summer and freeze to preserve them for future use.

Tips for strawberries:

  • Do not wash berries until ready to eat
  • Remove caps after washing
  • Store in colander (or vented container) in refrigerator for air circulation
  • Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before serving
  • To whiten teeth – mash one strawberry and mix with baking soda, brush on teeth and leave on for 5 minutes then rinse
Links:

Greenwood Nursery will begin shipping strawberry plants in mid November. Recommended zones are lower 6, 7, 8 and 9. Mid zone 6 and north will schedule to ship in spring.

Choose from our All Star StrawberriesCardinal StrawberriesOzark Beauty Strawberries and Sweet Charlie Strawberries.

A strawberry

Image via Wikipedia

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Best Plants for Fall Color

November 6th, 2011

My first visit to Paris was the fall of 2000. I took my daughter there to celebrate her 21st birthday and our visit was perfect. Each day we walked for miles and miles taking in all that is Paris. The colors were vibrant and the air crisp.

Taking the train to the countryside brought even more wonders of autumn. Chartres, Versailles and Bruges were ablaze with even more reds, oranges and browns. Walking through parks and peeping into courtyards, we could see many plant varieties that are common to most areas of the U.S.

France’s positioning, much like that of New England, is perfect for experiencing the colors of fall foliage. The most popular flowering shrubs and trees, along with some of their favorite smaller growing evergreen plants, used in French gardens are listed here.

Herbs were everywhere, planted in landscapes, huge pots in the courtyards, window boxes. Most days we could see apartment windows open. I would stop and take in the air imagining how wonderful it must be with slight breezes brushing over the thyme, rosemary and mint carrying the fragrances throughout the living spaces.

It is ironic that we travel to exotic destinations for new experiences and scenery, but, once there, we find certain familiarity which is probably what most of us enjoy most. Whether you are in Paris or Nashville, autumn is in full swing in the Northern Hemisphere. Time to plant, time to enjoy!

Fall in the Place de la Concorde

Image by Bruno Monginoux / landscape-photo.net via Flickr

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Planting Window Boxes for Year Around Beauty

September 24th, 2011

Window boxes and other plant containers can be enjoyable year round.

Just because it might not be summer any longer does not mean those pots have lost their use until next year. Create some texture and color for winter box use. Below are a few ideas on what I mean. Remember: You are only limited by your imagination. I like the idea of finishing a window box off with moss for a more professional look, but is not necessary. Most all of these items can be picked up at your local market, greenhouse, garden center, or ordered from Greenwood Nursery.

Keep it simple and use what is available. For point of reference in my examples, I am planting a 30 inch window box liner.

In spring, swap out the box liner with another liner filled with spring/summer blooming annuals or perennials. Your winter collection can be kept as is for several years. After a year some of the larger growing plant varieties may need to be relocated to your landscape so their root systems can expand.

Example 1: 2 rosemary trees in gallon containers (one on each end), 2 blue rug junipers in center, and sprays of evergreens, boxwood and bittersweet from walking in the woods.

Example 2: 3 heuchera plum puddings centered in gallon containers, and 4 sedum Angelina on the ends to provide wonderful contrast. These colors would look gorgeous against a house with white or other lighter color siding.

Ornamental grasses are so versatile to work with. The smaller sizes are just perfect for containers.

Example 3: 2 hameln grasses in gallon containers in the center, one blue glow fescue grass in a gallon container on each end, with 4 pachysandra green sheen plants planted between the grasses.

Sweet and simple is this look. On each end plant one gallon size emerald green arborvitae, in the center plant two of the one gallon size acorus ogon grass adding 3 wooly thymes draping over the front.

Although the growth on most plants will have slowed during winter, without any regular rainfall, you may need to water every few weeks to keep all of the plants from drying out. Make certain that your planting container has several drainage holes. A few rocks, piece of tile or foam peanuts are good for placing over the drainage holes to keep them from getting blocked. Top the container off with moss or excelsior for a wonderful finished look.

Below is a listing of a few plants that in their young state, gallon containers and smaller, that work perfectly in window boxes and other containers. Don’t limit yourself to just these varieties. Use what is available in your area.

Junipers – Ornamental Cabbage – Rosemary – Arborvitae – Creeping Thyme and other herb plants

Pines – BoxwoodsPachysandra – Holly – Cool Season Ornamental Grasses

Small mum’s – Evergreen Ferns – Heucheras – Ivy – Miniature Roses

Hens & Chicks – Winter Heather

Remember to have fun with gardening projects and be creative. Bring out some of those old decorations from the attic or basement and put them into use again outside in the containers, such as a tiny artificial tree or those wooden spirally trees. They would look very festive and give them a new purpose.

Visit the Greenwood Nursery Online Garden Center for a great selection of plants for window box and container planting.

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Tips for Saving Money in Your Landscape

June 4th, 2011

Mulch made from shredded yard waste in a munic...

Image via Wikipedia

Ways to save $$$ in your landscape:

  • Plant quick growing shade trees for future summers (poplar hybrids, willow hybrids & lombardy poplar for examples)
  • Choose younger bare root shrubs and trees (saves money and water)
  • Mulch with shredded bark mulch or aged compost/manure mix (keeps the ground cool over the roots reducing water needs)
  • Select perennials over annuals (plant once and grow for years – also perennials require less water than annuals)
  • Plant spreading perennials and ground covers in bare areas (their shade limits weed growth)
  • Watering lawns every 4 to 5 days saves water and allows the roots of the grass to grow deeper
  • Incorporate herbs into your landscape for cooking
  • Raise the setting on your lawn mower
  • Use drip hoses for most gardens and landscaped areas
  • Select the proper plants for difficult areas such as full sun or full shade
  • Remove dead plants immediately
  • Deadheading many shrubs and perennials encourages new blooms

 

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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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Groundcovers to Walk on!

May 1st, 2011

groundcover #6

Image by jacki-dee via Flickr

The most frequently asked question this week has been what ground covers are good for high traffic areas such as walk ways and around stepping stones. For areas like this, tough ground covers are definitely required such as:

Laurentia Blue Star Creeper is a soft tiny leafed ground cover that is a good spreader most anywhere as well as is Corsican Mint. The creeping thymes perform best in areas that are well drained and on the sandy side. Clay soil just seems to stunt their development. This works quite well especially when the path contains sand between the stepping stones or bricks.

While there are many other ground covers, such as the sedum Angelina orvinca, that are tough, yet they are not soft for stepping on with bare feet. Low growing, creeping ground covers with tight tiny leaves seem to work best and grow thicker.

Need more plant ideas? Check out our Landscaping Ideas Department. I have broken down plants by their many different uses such as Allergy Free LandscapesAccent PlantsBorder PlantsDeer Resistant PlantsNook and Cranny PlantsRock GardensShade GardensWater GardensXeriscape Landscapes and, don’t forget, Landscape Design 101 with home/landscape maintenance help.

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Plants for the Pool Area

April 23rd, 2011

backyard swimming pool

Image via Wikipedia

Looking for more ideas on what to plant around the fence (perimeter) of your pool area to create more privacy or in the poolside landscape?

Plants that can be used for landscapes and hedges around the perimeter of the pool area (20 to 30 feet away from the pool) are:

 

Plants that are safe to use in the poolside landscape or in containers are:

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