Posts Tagged ‘Gardens’

The Biggest Problem with Flowering Shrubs and How You Can Fix It

April 9th, 2014

Most people use flowering shrubs to enhance the appearance of their homes and along property lines and fences, but sometimes these shrubs will grow so exuberantly that they overgrow their allotted spot in your garden and must be cut back. Indeed, one of the biggest problems with these shrubs is knowing when and how to prune them. You don’t want to just start chopping at the plant; instead you want to be well informed about where and how to make your cuts in order not to discourage new growth and the blooming cycle. An article in the Colorado Master Gardener Notes presents excellent information on when and how to prune a shrub. Also published by Colorado State University is the very helpful and very specific “List of Common Flowering Shrubs and their Pruning Needs.” Pruning influences not only the size and shape of your plant, but also the flowering characteristics of a shrub, and may even protect the shrub from various diseases.


The Blooming Season

Since pruning can affect the development of blooms on your shrub, it is wise to know the blooming season for your shrub. If your flowering shrub is a spring

Forsythia Flowering Shrubs

Forsythia Flowering Shrubs

blooming plant, you do not want to prune it in the fall or winter because you would be removing the new growth on which the new buds will be forming. The time to prune a spring flowering shrub is right after it has bloomed and before the new buds are set. If your shrub were a summer flowering plant, you would want to prune it in the early spring before new growth begins. Pruning at the wrong time, and in a wrong pattern can result in fewer blooms and some hilariously misshapen plants – See Figure 2.


Pruning To Protect From Diseases

Pruning can also protect your shrubs from some diseases. Shrubs that are susceptible to powdery mildew can benefit from pruning to thin the plant and increase air circulation. Removing the affected shoots from the plant can reduce other plant diseases, such as scale, galls or borer diseases.

In order to minimize your need to prune your shrubs, you will want to balance taller shrubs at the corners of the home with lower plants along walls. You might consider dwarf varieties that will not outgrow other garden plants.


Where To Look For Garden Plants

A good place to start looking for affordable garden plants would be at an online plant nursery or your local garden center. You might consider selecting a variety of shrubs, some which bloom in the spring or summer, and some that have pretty fall foliage or are evergreen and bear berries to provide winter color. The use of ground cover plants can also add interest and design elements to your garden.

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Need Help with Deer Damage?

March 27th, 2014

Many homeowners are having problems with deer damage. Cities and towns are extending further into undeveloped regions and wildlife has no place to relocate. So…they begin to survive in new ways which includes eating your garden and landscape plants and deer seem to do the most damage.
Now…that being said, how can you as a homeowner control the deer damage and safely drive the deer away? Use a combination of the following tips as one won’t generally do the job.

Deer Control Tips:
  • Plant deer resistant plants
  • Deer repellents – direct repellents spray on the plants or are systemic while others are area repellents that emit a foul odor
  • Deer fencing – mesh type 6 to 7 feet tall
  • Tree shelters – use those at least 48 inches tall
  •  Homemade remedies
To read the complete article on controlling deer,click here.


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Learn How to Pick the Right Tree for Your Yard

November 17th, 2013

Picking the right tree for your yard can be daunting. Garden plants will come and go in your yard, but trees are there to stay. Follow these tips for picking the right tree for your yard and you will be the new plant expert for your neighborhood.

  1. Where will the tree be planted? Near the house, garage, garden, etc? Unlike shrubs that have narrower root growth, the root system for trees expands often as far as the canopy of what the mature size of the tree will be. If you want a maple tree near your house, you’d have to remember that maple trees mature in the 50 to 70 foot height range, which can develop a canopy of approximately a half to the same in width. You would need plant that tree no closer than at minimum 50 feet from any foundation due to potential damage in the long term. On the other hand, a Thuja Green Giant Arborvitae can mature in the 50 to 70 height range, too, but it’s mature spread is only as wide as 10 to 15 feet, which means that it can be planted closer to a foundation than it’s height. So…plant a tree as far away from a building/house/etc as it spread in width allowing for expansion of the root system.
  2. What is the purpose of the tree? Is this to be a shade tree, seasonal flowering, fall foliage, privacy, wildlife, or a specimen tree?
  3. What limitations are there to inhibit the tree’s growth? Is the area sunny or shady? Are there power lines in the planned site area? Septic field lines or other underground utilities? Many local utility companies have guidelines on planting around those areas. Many recommend not planting any trees within 50 to 70 feet of underground utilities. When planting near or under power or phone lines, most utilities require plants not grow over 12 feet in height.
  4. What type of growth rate do you want for this tree? A fast growing tree generally means a short lifespan, while a slow, stead growth rate, means a long-lived tree to be enjoyed by you and future generations.
  5. Maintenance? How much time do you want to spend in seasonal care for the tree? If you’re looking for maintenance free trees, then you will want to make sure that your tree choice doesn’t fruit, drop large seeds or require lots of shaping.

Once you can answer these questions, you will be able to quickly narrow down your search for the perfect tree for your yard. Visit Greenwood Nursery where you can easily and quickly search for your tree by height, light, growth rate, and more.


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California Privet Evergreen Shrubs

October 30th, 2013

California Privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium) is an evergreen flowering shrub that is commonly used for shrub borders and privacy hedges. The oval shaped dark green leaves of the fast growing shrub California Privet provide a great backdrop for the small white flowers that appear in late spring to early summer. These blooms give way to tiny black fruit that is enjoyed by birds.


This fast growing evergreen shrub creates a beautiful privacy hedge growing 10 to 15 feet tall. Deer, rabbit and drought resistant.


The fragrance emitted by the flowers of the California Privet is considered to be somewhat unpleasant. Pruning at this time will prevent this situation. All parts of this plant is poisonous to humans.


Ligustrum ovalifolium

Ligustrum ovalifolium (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Protect Your Garden Plants from Frost Damage

October 15th, 2012


frost on grass

frost on grass (Photo credit: johnsam)

Quick ways to protect your garden plants from frost damage.

1. Drape tender plants, potted plants or fruits and vegetable plants loosely with old sheets and blankets, bulap, towels or large scraps of fabric. Secure with string, twine, rocks, bricks or stones. Heavy covers may need support to prevent crushing the plants. Support these heavy fabrics with stakes or sturdy branches. The next morning early remove all covers to prevent suffocation.

2. Water the soil up to 2 days before the expected frost. Damp soil holds heat better than dry soil will. Generously misiting the plants thoroughly the night before frost, just before the temperature begins to drop, protects your plants from frost damage. The water helps the plant hold in warmth.

3. Lightly cover plants with straw, leaves, pine needles the night before frost and be sure to uncover the next morning. Heavily mulching tightly around the base of the plants will, also, help to keep the plants warm during frost and freeze.

Look up your first and last frost and freeze dates by zip code.

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Ground Cover Plants and More as Lawn Substitutes

July 14th, 2011

Front yard flowers

Image by nouveaustar via Flickr

This is the time of year, most of us become disillusioned with our lawns. Water, aerate, water, reseed, water, fertilize, then repeat and that doesn’t include the mowing. It’s a never ending cycle. Customers send emails wanting to know how they can forget the grass and have something that is just not as time consuming.

Well…there are lawn options and planning is a must or you will be the neighborhood poster yard for weeds. Ground cover plants, ornamental grasses and perennials are popular, but we have more ideas.

Here are a few ideas for lawn substitutes:

  • Cutting flower garden
  • Artificial grass (don’t laugh, it is being used quite often)
  • Spreading perennials
  • Clover
  • Landscape Pavers
  • Heavily chipped mulch
  • Pea gravel

Here are more ideas with pictures should you decide to go lawnless in the future. Lawn SubstitutesMore Lawn SubstitutesEven More Lawn Substitutes.

Check out Ground Cover Plants at Greenwood Nursery.

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Control Weeds in Your Garden

June 17th, 2011

Late spring is when most gardens get their first surge of weeds. I know mine has. But, there are ways to deal with these annoying unwelcome guests that will not get the best of you or your hands.
  • Carefully pull the weeds straight up
  • Mulching reduces weeds
  • For determined weeds, cut off the tops so they don’t go to seed
  • Plant shrubs and perennials closely to shade out weeds
  • Spray weeds with white vinegar and let the sun take them out
  • Watch this video clip from Fine Gardening on Controlling Weeds
Weeds #3


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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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9 ways to brighten up your front entrance

April 17th, 2011

Boston - Beacon Hill "Red door on a brown...

Image by David Paul Ohmer via Flickr

1)    A fresh coat of paint on the front door in a lively color such as red or yellow

2)    Add a potted plant with all season color or leaf variegation such as Patriot Hosta

3)    Plant a summer bloomer near the door such as Pee Gee Hydrangea or Morning Star Hibiscus

4)    Add solar spotlights or path lights

5)    Plant lavender or rosemary plants for a scented entrance

6)    Add a window box with perennials, ornamental grasses and vines

7)    A friendly “Welcome” mat or sign

8)    Adding a Natural looking wreath such as forsythia

9)    Placing a couple of chairs and table to encourage sitting and talking

Visit Greenwood Nursery’s Accent plants to see what plants will brighten up your entrance.

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Gardening with Allergies

May 17th, 2010

Gardening with allergies can be a wonderful experience with some planning.
The low allergy garden is full of beautiful plants that have one thing in
common. They are insect pollinated plants which eliminates wind blown
pollen. There are many, many trees, shrubs and perennials that are
pollinated by insects that the low allergy garden is well rounded.

All herbs, including
rosemary, lavender, thyme, oregano, sage, mint and
, are welcome here as well as vegetable and fruiting plants.

Ground covers are used most effectively here. Covering the soil with
creeping plants reduces the dust in the garden and landscape. Wise choices
are creeping thymes, Corsican mint, ajuga, pachysandra, phlox and vinca.

Eliminate damp areas and reduce the use of natural mulch (wood chips,
shredded bark, compost, manure mix, etc.) which produce wind borne mold
spores. Instead use creeping ground covers or gravel. Xeriscape gardening
is a great alternative.

Choose perennials and shrubs that produce brightly colored blooms used to
attract hummingbirds, butterflies, bees and other insects. Selections
include yarrow, dianthus, Echinacea, hypericum, Russian sage, daylilies,
tiarella, heuchera, veronica, salvia, hosta, monarda, roses, sambucus,
weigela, viburnum, hibiscus (rose of Sharon), and hydrangea.

Low allergy trees include apple, plum, magnolia, dogwood, crape myrtles, cistena plum and

Mow the lawn area frequently keeping it shorter than normally required.
Grass that is mowed to 2 inches is less likely to produce seed. It is
generally too short to catch wind blown pollen.

Walk your garden or landscape regularly to pull or spray out weeds. Weeds
are often the cause of more allergy issues than garden plants.

Hedges can pose a problem for allergy suffers as they collect dust, mold and
pollen. Keep them pruned and thinned out to reduce such as build up.

Some plants that will wreck havoc with allergy suffers are ornamental
grasses, most lawn grasses (mow frequently), conifers, aspen, oaks, ash,
elm, birch, walnut, and willow, evergreen varieties and broad leaf
evergreens. One exception to this is boxwood. As long as boxwoods are pruned
hard so that they don’t flower, they can be added as low allergy plants.

Visible pollen isn’t irritating as it comes from insect pollinating plants
and is too heavy to be carried by the wind. The lightweight, invisible
airborne pollen is the pollen that causes allergies.

When in doubt about selecting plants for low allergy gardening, go with
plants that produce brightly colored blooms so that they attract birds and
insects. When plants are noted as being female, choose it. Male sexed plants
produce airborne pollen.

Here is a link to the University of Vermont Extension site with an article
on Gardening with Allergies. It may be short, but this article is full of
useful information for the allergy suffer who wants to garden.

Gardening with Allergies

Visit us at Greenwood Nursery or our videos at the Greenwood Nursery YouTube Channel.

We’re here. Just let us know if you need any help.

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