The Mini Meadow Is A Gardening Trend Worth Keeping

With attention paid to the plight of diminishing wildlife, especially populations of pollinators such as native bees and butterflies, people have responded with an interest in ways they can help keep what pollinators are left and even help increase populations. This has resulted in a heavy interest in native plants as alternative choices in landscapes, and has changed much of the approaches we take when designing landscapes, as to make benefitting wildlife a priority in design. Ultimately, creating gardens and landscapes that resemble a healthy, established native ecosystem is the Holy Grail, but doing so takes a lot of space, money, and time. So what’s the typical eco-conscious gardener living in the urban jungle to do?

We’ve fallen in love with the ideas of mini-meadows. While it’s not acres of native restored prairie, it’s still a beautiful way to enjoy wonderful, healthy plants in the landscape while helping out the bees and butterflies (and birds and a plethora of other native wildlife). Mini Meadow

Native prairie plants have evolved over hundreds of thousands of years in tough climate conditions. They can handle a wide range of weather- from heavy rain, to drought conditions, to heavy wind and high humidity. They do well covered in feet of snow, or in dry cold with no protective snow at all in the winter. In a varied prairie plant community, plants are blooming and going to seed throughout the entire year, so something interesting is always happening. And, animals that depend on the food and cover these plant communities provide can rely on a season-long home, which makes them extremely important.

In this garden design by Julie Farris, you can see how beautiful pairing formal lines and modern materials with the informal plantings of native prairie plants can look beautiful together. Mixing flowering plants (often referred to as “forbs” when talking about prairie and meadow settings) and grasses makes for a very beautiful and natural backbone for your perennial choices. Best of all, once established, these plants are all absolutely care free if you start with good soil and mulch each fall with natural mulch materials that feed the soil. Every 3-4 years, some division of perennials might be necessary, but sharing divisions with friends is a fun thing to do! Consider adding some native shrubs too, such as prairie roses and small trees like native dogwoods if you have the space.

A specific plant list of plants ideal for the mini-meadow or small prairie garden include:

And many, many more! Also check out our seed mixes for an easy meadow fast, from economical seed! Combine seed with sand or peat moss and rake out into bare areas ready for plants now, and they will germinate and grow well in the spring.

For further learning check out this article on perennial plants for wildflower meadows, as there are plenty more ideas for wonderful plants that would do beautifully in a mini meadow.

8 Reasons Why You Should Have a Container Garden

Even if you don’t have a generous room for gardening plants, you can certainly grow a container garden. You can make your patio look green and fresh with beautiful potted plants. Also, the tiniest porch at your place can vaunt with beautiful hanging basket of pretty flowers or a crop of vegetables.

8 reasons encouraging the practice of container gardening:

Gardening plants in pots are easy –

For those who are a freshman in gardening field, a container garden is one good way to create a jump-start. A small soil potted plant with seed or plant is all what is required and even a complete beginner can create an impressive container garden in very little time.

 

  •  An economical way to adding green to areas –

The best thing about gardening plants using containers is that, you can make use anything from a cement pot to old bucket. You will be surprised to see that you can transform a plastic bin, old bucket into beautiful potted plants with a little effort.

 

  • Not restricted to just the Garden area –

Even the smallest space can be enhanced by a container garden by effectively fighting the space limitations. Well, even the sun restrictions can be solved:

  • Too much sun – make a beautiful sun filled garden by filling a basket with succulents.
  • Shade only – make a container garden with potting varied colors of shade loving plants in a Terra Cotta plant.

 

  • The kids love it –

Though kids often don’t appreciate the beauty of greenery as an adult mind would but they certainly enjoy its presence. Here’s an activity, you want your kids to develop a habit of eating vegetables, try a container garden for them.

 

  • Change your geography –

Wanting to grow plants that are outside your geographical area? Start by planting exotic plant types. Container gardening can provide relief and help you grow a Johnny Jump-ups in Arizona or a Cactus plant in Alaska.

 

  • Kitchen Gardening –

Enjoy fresh dishes by growing herbs (perennial and annual varieties) and vegetables in containers. Plant only similar growing plants in the same containers. Most herbs don’t have the same needs as most vegetables and shouldn’t be planted in the same containers. Grow in full sun.

 

  • Instant satisfaction –

There are few things that can bring instant satisfaction as brought by potted garden plants. Planting container grown plants in your new pots creates instant gardens. You will surely feel satisfied with a remarkable and impressive looking garden.

 

  • Anything to everything –

Unlike the conventional method of gardening where you are limited to use earthen or cement pots, with container gardening you can use anything to everything to match the theme and color style of your home. Get creative with throw a ways such as old shoes, boots, pans, bags, and basically anything that will hold some soil.

 

Visit GreenwoodNursery.com for a great selection of small shrubs, groundcovers, ornamental grasses, herbs and perennial plants for your container gardening projects.

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Greenwood Nursery Adds New Lavender Varieties for Spring

Greenwood Nursery announces the addition of 3 new lavender varieties to their spring inventory: Phenomenal Lavender, Pink Perfume Lavender and Blue River Lavender.

Lavender plants have become more popular in home gardens over the past few years. Characteristics such as drought tolerance, low water requirements, low maintenance, grows in poor soil, long summer blooms, great for cut flowers, and soothing garden fragrance put them on the list for the best garden plants.

Phenomenal Lavender Plants
Phenomenal Lavender Plants

Hardy as far north as zone 4, the Phenomenal Lavender has proven to be cold hardy and experiences little winter die back. The Phenomenal Lavender is mounded shaped and shown to resist root rot and powdery mildews.

The Pink Perfume Lavender is smaller growing lavender that is just right for small yards. This drought tolerant plant produces rosy pink flowers from May through September that are sure to attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden.

The small growing Blue River Lavender is perfect for growing in containers that can be placed throughout your garden or patio for splashes of dark purple during the summer season.

Many garden plants do lend themselves to growing indoors. “Smaller growing lavender varieties, such as the Blue River, can be grown indoors. A spot with 5 to 6 hours of sunlight and limited drafts works best place for this type of plant.” Notes Cheryl Jones, owner of Greenwood Nursery. “Use a sandy soil mix so that water drains through without standing.”

Greenwood Nursery ships plants from their online plant catalog throughout the continental United States. Visit the Greenwood Nursery Online Garden Center for a wide selection of lavender plants, herbs, ornamental grasses, shrubs, trees and other perennial plants for the home garden.

Steve and Cheryl Jones founded Greenwood Nursery, an Online Plant Nursery and Garden Center, McMinnville, TN, in 1978 as a wholesale and propagation nursery. In 1998, they took their plant catalog online and, today; continue offering a wide selection of gardening plants to the home gardener.

For further information or to place an order for lavender plants, please visit http://www.greenwoodnursery.com. Questions can be answered by email or by phone during office hours, Monday through Friday, 8am to 4pm central time.

 

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Must-Do Garden and Yard Reminders for November

Greenwood’s Must-Do Garden and Yard Reminders for November are:

  • Drain and roll up all garden hoses
  • Cover/insulate outside faucets that are not frost proof
  • Clean and store outdoor furniture, summer lights, seasonal fountains and decorations
  • Check oil and gas in mower and other equipment – How To
  • Clean and oil (light coat) garden tools to prevent rust
  • Pull weeds so they don’t go to seed (weed seed can lie in the soil for 3 to 5 years before germinating)
  • Prune Knockout Roses (in northern climates wait for them to drop their leaves – then remove leaves from base and wrap with burlap or place protective cones over)
  • Cut back (or use a weed eater) flowering perennials including butterfly bushes
  • Place a fresh layer of mulch (shredded bark, aged compost or aged manure mix) around tender perennials and shrubs for winter insulation
  • Remove dead annuals

When you’re ready to refresh your garden plants, visit our Online Garden Center for a wide variety of perennials, ground covers, flowering and evergreen plants for your gardening projects.

English: Perennials border in Summer.
English: Perennials border in Summer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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What to do in Your Yard Before and After Hurricanes, Storms and Tornadoes

After these natural disasters, I always receive emails from our members who are concerned about how to go about saving their trees or what to do about their lawn. In addition to preparing your dwelling for a hurricane or tropical storm, be sure to store lawn ornaments and all lawn furniture. Stake all young trees. Mow the lawn. Short grass doesn’t accumulate as much debris as tall grass lawns. With regular care and maintenance on landscape trees, shrubs and perennials, there should not be much to do to prepare them for a hurricane or tropical storm.

hurricane damage
hurricane damage (Photo credit: Lauren PM)

 

When ready to deal with your outside area after any of these situations, the first thing you should do is to carefully check your lawn for all debris. Everything from nails to glass, branches and metal scraps can end up hiding in your lawn and landscape. Your next scheduled mowing could pick up more than you bargain for. With your garden hose, wash as much of the silt as possible from the remaining leaves on trees, shrubs, perennials, vegetables and lawn.

Broken branches, defoliation, leaning trees, and cracked trunks are normal. So, let’s discuss how to deal with them. One single piece of advice on caring for plants after such an event is that you should not apply fertilizer or other chemicals to trees, shrubs, grasses or perennials until they begin to come out of stress by putting on new growth.

Broken branches:

Get your pruners and small saws out. Prune all damaged branches back to the main trunk. Rather than clipping it flush with the trunk, clip the branch back to the point where you are leaving a one fourth to one half inch nub on the trunk. Cutting the branch flush leaves a larger wound and the plant is already stressed as it is. Most wounds will heal on their own and not need to be painted or wrapped.

Defoliation:

With temperature changes, wind, rain, and hail, expect leaves to be torn from the plants. It if is early enough in the growing season, the plants may generate new growth. In the late summer to early fall period, don’t expect to see any new leaves unless you are in zone 9 and warmer. Just like people, plants experience stress and they may not produce new growth until the following year. On plants, which set their bloom buds in summer for the following year, you can expect those plants to be limited in their blooming the following spring as the bloom buds may have been knocked off during the storm.

Leaning trees:

Young trees and shrubs can be easily straightened and secured to grow straight. Older, larger trees may require heavy machinery to straighten. You might consider calling in an arborist to see if the tree has a good chance for survival if straightened.

Cracked trees:

If the (main) trunk of a tree is cracked, it is likely that the tree will not survive.

Young trees, shrubs, perennials, gardens and lawns are most affected by the saline dropped by rainfall from hurricanes and tropical storms.

Let’s address lawns first. The dried sediment accumulation on your lawn and around your landscape should not be tilled into the soil until you are certain that it does not contain high levels of saline. For large accumulations (more than a couple of inches) of sediment, scrape or otherwise remove it. High levels of salt in the soil will kill plants. Initially, the plants will appear as though they have been burned, but when replanting in the same spot, future plants will react the same way. If you are near the coast, you may want to have your soil tested for salinity.

Remove all trees, shrubs, perennials and grasses that appear to be dead. If the sediment doesn’t have saline, you can now till the sediment into the soil. At this time, it would be a good idea to also add in aged compost or other organic matter and if your soil compacts easily, add in coarse sand. Till well, level and reseed.

With a light layer of silt, it may be necessary to aerate several times to break up the hardened sediment, while lawns that have been completely eroded may find it easier to completely re-establish their lawns.

Fruits and vegetables aren’t always at the top of the list to be concerned about. However, if your area experienced a hurricane, tropical storm or heavy flooding be cautious in eating from your garden as well as any locally grown produce as it could be contaminated with bacteria. Fruits and vegetables that were mature at the time of the disaster, should be disinfected, peeled and thoroughly cooked before eating. Leafy vegetables and fruits, such as berries, tomatoes, squash, are highly susceptible to bacteria contamination, while root crops such as beets, onions, and potatoes, are less susceptible but still should be disinfected, peeled and cooked.

Immerse produce for 15 to 20 minutes in a chlorine solution, rise thoroughly with safe drinking water, peel and cook before eating.

Household bleach contains 2 to 6% chlorine. One chart that I came across breaks it down as this:

If your bleach contains 2% chlorine bleach, add three fourths tablespoon to one quart/water If your bleach contains 4% chlorine bleach, add 1 teaspoon to one quart/water If your bleach contains 6% chlorine bleach, add one half teaspoon to one quart/water

Again, rinse thoroughly with safe drinking water, peel and cook before eating.

For more information on landscape care for pre and post hurricane, tropical storms and tornado weather read the Hurricane Information Series on the Louisiana State University Agricultural Extension Site.

After Storm Check List on Trees and Structures.

Trees that withstand hurricane winds and salt damage.

Basic tree care after storms.

How do you decide if a tree can be saved.

How to save small uprooted trees.

 

Article supplied by Greenwood Nursery Online Plant Nursery.

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Gardening Tips for Beginning Gardeners

If you are a beginning gardener, don’t be afraid to delve right in, as it isn’t meant to be difficult. Once you feel the connection, you’ll be hooked on gardening. If you don’t know how to start, there is always an avenue of knowledge for you: gardening neighbors or friends, gardening books and gardening magazines to read, watch for new gardening trends, and the Internet to browse for more information.

English: old books in Château de Breteuil, France
English: old books in Château de Breteuil, France (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At one time, it seemed gardening only appealed to the older folks. But nowadays, people of all ages, children, young adults, adults, and older folks alike enjoy gardening. They see gardening as a refreshing and rewarding hobby. With all the benefits that you get, being a busy, working person should never be used as a hindrance to start growing your own plants indoors or outdoors. You will see the big difference when you get to reap your own fruits of labor.

Would you enjoy a bed of beautiful, colorful flowers, a country garden full of wild flowers and shrubs, manicured lawn strategically placed with shrubs and trees, or just a simple backyard with lots of pots and containers filled with amazing plants? It’s all within your reach to have.  Learn the basics of landscape design.

For a starter, you will need these basic tools: trowel, spade, lawnmower, rake, and plants of your choice to grow. It would help a lot if you have a garden plan based on the space that is available. It will not be difficult to place flowerbeds, lawns, or paths.

The kinds of garden plants that you will grow will depend on what you want, the availability, and the climate of your location. There are plants that grow only for the season, called annuals, and there are others that can be cultivated to grow year after year, often referred to as perennial. If you consider yourself a hobby gardener, then you would want to have plants that do not grow more than a few seasons. These are perennial plants that allow you to tend to things other than gardening.

If you don’t know what plants to start growing, you can always ask assistance from your online plant nursery. The expert staff will know what plants will thrive specifically considering the climate in your area. Also, you can use the Greenwood Nursery Plant Finder online to narrow down your plant search.

The small young plants are great choice if you want to have an automatic decorative display on your garden. Smaller, younger plants are easier to plant and require less watering and care to get growing than larger container plants do.

Gardening should be this fun and exciting, and, of course, rewarding, even if you are a beginner. Ready for more? Here is a free online gardening course courtesy of BBC Gardener’s World. Learn at your own pace.

Learn the basics of landscape design to understand placement of plants and how they are used.

Gardening Tips for Beginning Gardeners by Greenwood Nursery.

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

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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Ground Cover Plants and More as Lawn Substitutes

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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Tips for Saving Money in Your Landscape

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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Color in The Summer Landscape

Spread color throughout the growing season with the right perennials. So many of the shrubs and trees that we use as foundation plants and the rest of our landscaping are limiting in providing the spectacular colors we crave during the growing season. But…you can spice it up with summer blooming perennials. With a little planning, your landscape can provide continual punches of color all the way up to frost.

 

The plants that provide the ‘best bang for the buck’ are those that begin blooming in late spring or early summer and continue on to fall or frost. You will find this in plants such as:

 

Colorful long period summer bloomers are:

 

Perennials that put on their color show only during late summer to frost are found in such plants as:

 

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