ShadyGardens Blog

August 27, 2008

Native Plants for Georgia Publication Released by University of Georgia is a Valuable Resource!

I’ve just been made aware of a new very valuable resource on Georgia native plants, and I think you should take a look!

‘Native Plants for Georgia, Part I: Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines’ is the newest publication released by the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension and the UGA Department of Horticulture.
This free publication includes photographs and is available in a printer-friendly version for free download. The images take awhile to download, but they’re definitely worth waiting for.
I’m sure I’ll be referring to this publication often, whether I’m searching for new native plants for our garden, needing help growing something we already have, trying to identify a mystery plant, or writing plant descriptions for my articles and mail order nursery website.

If you love native plants as I do, take a moment to download this publication or at least save it in your favorites for future reference:

August 24, 2008

Gordonia – Loblolly Bay: Evergreen Native Tree for Wet Soil

Filed under: Gordonia, Loblolly Bay, native, native plant, native tree white bloom, tree — shadygardens @ 1:23 pm

Loblolly bay, an American native plant, is an attractive evergreen tree with large white flowers about 3 inches across, appearing late spring into early fall!
Much easier to grow than its cousin, the Franklinia Tree, Gordonia is long-lived, as long as regular water is received.
The white blossoms begin as a white ball-shaped bud and open into a lovely 5-petaled bloom with a golden yellow center. The fragrant blooms attract many insect species.

Gordonia lasianthus will reach up to 60 feet tall at maturity. It is native to the Southeastern United States and is found in swamps, bogs, and wet woods. Loblolly Bay is the common name for this tree. It will grow well in any garden as long as regular water can be given.

Hardy in USDA Zones 7-9, Gordonia withstands temperatures down into the teens for short periods of time.
The white fragrant blooms resembling camellia blossoms appear sporadically all summer, attracting many pollinators to the garden.
The Gordonia or Loblolly Bay Tree cannot survive drought so water well in the absence of rainfall.
This rare native tree can be purchased directly from Shady Gardens Nursery.

August 9, 2008

Our Native Hibiscus is easier to grow than Tropical Hibiscus!

Filed under: coccineus, hardy, hibiscus, mallow, moscheutos, native, perennial, rose mallow, Swamp mallow, Texas star — shadygardens @ 2:03 pm

Every summer many, many people purchase the Tropical Hibiscus to place on their patio, porch, or around their pool. While it is true that the Tropical Hibiscus is beautiful and really does lend a tropical look to the garden, it will die to the ground with the first frost unless you live in the sub-tropical states. And if you’ve ever tried overwintering one indoors, you know how difficult that can be!

Instead, consider our American Native Hibiscus varieties. There are several, and in my opinion they are much more beautiful than the Tropical Hibiscus. Our native hibiscus is an herbaceous perennial plant that grows to shrub size each summer.

Hibiscus coccineus has bright red star-shaped blooms all summer on tall stems. This native hibiscus is known by many common names, among which are Texas Star Hibiscus, Swamp Hibiscus, and Swamp Mallow. The Swamp Hibiscus loves consistently moist soil but grows well in my garden with only weekly waterings. Hibiscus coccineus is beautiful even when not in bloom, having reddish-tinged green leaves shaped like maple leaves. (Some visitors have claimed it looks like marijuana, but I can’t say for sure, since I’ve never seen a marijuana plant. Perhaps they’re telling on themselves!)

‘Very spectacular’ is the best description for Hibiscus moscheutos or Swamp Mallow. Blooms are the size of a dinnerplate! (See the photo above, one of the plants in our garden!) Hybridizers have developed many types and colors, but all are beautiful and any one would be a show piece in your garden.

The native hibiscus is so easy to grow that it would be a shame not to have some. H. coccineus is hardy as cold as USDA Zone 6 and H. moscheutos is happy as cold as USDA Zone 4! Wow! They are deciduous plants but will return in May each year with no special care.

For more information on availability of the hardy native hibiscus, contact us anytime at

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