Posts Tagged ‘perennials’

Must-Do Garden and Yard Reminders for November

November 17th, 2013

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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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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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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Earning My Green Thumbs

February 13th, 2011

Public Flower Garden in downtown Seattle

Image by FallenPegasus via Flickr

Post by guest blogger Cydney Langford:

I am the firstborn child of nursery owner parents. Plants, not babies. I can attest firsthand that green thumbs are born, not made. I had all the qualifications and knowledge, and yet, I can’t keep a peace lily alive for peat’s sake! (peat, as in organic humor) On the way to school most kids were quizzed on their spelling words for the day. I was quizzed on trees and shrubs that we passed along the way.  As previously stated, I had ALL the qualifications and even interest but still, houseplants browned around me. This was the norm until my first house. It had no landscaping whatsoever; a clean slate. This was my time to shine! I could show my parents and prove to myself that I was just a green thumb in waiting.

First up was the placement of beds. An herb garden was a must, as was a vegetable plot or two.  Also not to be forgotten was a cutting garden. My mom always had fresh flowers in the house and my nightstand is never without a small bouquet. It’s quite the homey touch. Now,,,, all this might seem like a daunting task for a new homeowner who hasn’t even unpacked, but I was determined. My thumb was going to be green.

Starting out, money was an object so I wanted hardy perennials and evergreens that would give me presence in the garden. For the herb plot I knew that patience was a virtue if I didn’t want to spend much money so I began with 3 in. pots. I found a great creeping Rosemary which blew me away with how fast it grew and thyme which, to my surprise, was an evergreen in my region. Two super easy starter herbs. Next was 2 varieties of lavender, lavender du Provence and lavender munstead, to which I dug the holes much bigger and added sand before planting. This reminds them of the Mediterranean of where they originated and they’ll thank you for it by growing better and faster than in clay soil. Other herbs such as oregano, chives,sage and annuals like dill, which goes to seed quickly and basil rounded it out. Quick tip: pinching off the blooms on the herbs promotes growth. That way all the energy it would have expended on the blooms gets redirected to the base plant.

For some year round color, evergreens were in order. I chose the fast growing Green Giant. These gave the perimeter of my yard a quick and easy hedge. Dwarf Sungold Cypress adds a pretty yellow green splash of color.  So, I put several of those together for a sunny grouping. My backyard is shaping up quite nicely by now.

Next up was the vegetable plot. I’ve always admired how neat and tidy raised beds look. They also give the garden an English cottage look which I love. I built my own using three 6” x 8’ boards per bed. One on each side with the third board cut in half. Then I secured them to the ground with stakes attached on the inside.  It’s so easy! I painted them white to complete the cottage look.  Our local farmer’s market has some great venders that grow organic vegetable seedlings. I ended up getting all my veggie plants there as well as some local honey and baked goodies. I love the farmer’s market! After planting all my vegetables I mulched them in with some black cow and gave a good watering. Next up, my flowers!

Now with the cutting garden, I absolutely had to have roses. I love roses! However, anything I’ve ever read about roses talks about maintenance and upkeep and fertilizing and so on, etc. Ugh! How can I develop a green thumb when all I’ll be doing is researching rose growing tips and rose trimming tips, how to cover them for the winter & snore, snore, snore! I want to have a life as well. What’s a girl to do? Dum, da, dum dum! Knockout roses to the rescue! You can’t kill these things and they look amazing! I started with two 1 gallon containers and they’ve quadrupled in size in just three years. Beautiful blossom filled bushes with the roses just begging to be put on display in my house. They’re fantastic plants. When we entertain in the summer, no one can believe that I am the one responsible for the growth of these magnificent flowers! They also ask for the name of my gardener or how often my parents “stop by”.  I just reply that it may have taken a while, but I have earned my stripes in gardening and I now am the proud owner of not one, but two green thumbs.

By guest blogger Cydney Langford

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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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How to Add Curb Appeal with Foundation Plants

September 11th, 2010

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:
– Size- Style/Color

– 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) 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 evergreens, both conifers and broadleafs, 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.

Visit with us at Greenwood Nursery. We’re here. Just let us know if you need any help.

 

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