ShadyGardens Blog

April 26, 2009

Alabama Azalea

Filed under: Alabama, alabamense, azalea, buy, drought tolerant, native, nursery, online, rhododendron — shadygardens @ 2:06 pm

Lovely white blooms in April have a spicy lemon scent. The Alabama Azalea is native to East Alabama. A native plant rarely found in the wild, Alabama Azalea is is usually found growing in poor, rocky soil. The Rhododendron Alabamense is a hardy, drought tolerant native azalea that will grow well anywhere in the Southeastern United States.

Blooms are white with a yellow blotch. Too bad computers don’t have ‘scratch & sniff’, because the blooms smell so good–kind of lemony and spicy!

Alabama Azalea is hardy in USDA Zones 7-9.

April 16, 2009

Plant Sale Benefit for the East Alabama Foodbank

Filed under: Alabama, Auburn, Food Bank, plant, sale — shadygardens @ 4:07 pm


If you’re anywhere close to the Auburn, Alabama, area, you won’t want to miss this plant sale! It’s for a good cause–all proceeds go directly to feeding those in need. Red Bee Balm (monarda didyma) shown in the above photo is one of many plants for a hummingbird garden that are for sale at the Gardener’s Plant Sale.

More than 250 plant varieties will be offered. Most of the plants were grown from seed and cannot be found anywhere else!

The plant sale will be held Sunday afternoon, April 19, 2009. For complete information as well as a map to help you find the sale, please visit http://gardenersplantsale.org/.

Florida Azalea: Rhododendron Austrinum

One of the brightest and showiest of all native plants in the spring garden is definitely the Florida Azalea.

Blooms appear in early spring and can be anywhere from bright yellow to a dark reddish orange. Rhododendron austrinum is deciduous so plant it among your evergreen azaleas and it will really stand out!

Blooms are very sweetly frarant, so you might want to plant one near your garden bench to enjoy as you relax.

As the name implies, Florida Azalea is native to Florida, but grows well anywhere in the Southern US and in zones as cold as USDA Zone 6.

Rhododendron Austrinum in on the endangered species list, so do not dig it up for planting in your garden if you find a specimen in the woods. Florida Azalea is propagated and sold by native plant nurseries, so you can purchase container grown plants for your garden.

Florida Azalea will eventually grow into a large tree-like shrub up to 10 feet tall. When found in the wild, it naturally occurs in woods beneath large deciduous trees, but flowers much more profusely when grown in full sun. Drought tolerant once established, but needs regular water to become established. Bloom buds on this spring blooming shrub are formed in late summer, right when we have our yearly drought, so water regularly during August and September to ensure good flowering in spring.

Let me know if you have trouble finding this plant in your area, because we have plenty! You can purchase them in our online store Shady Gardens Nursery.

April 11, 2009

Plant Sale Benefit for East Alabama Food Bank Sunday April 19, 2009

Filed under: Alabama, Auburn, benefit, East Alabama, Food Bank, plant, sale — shadygardens @ 1:17 pm

If you’re anywhere close to the Auburn, Alabama, area, you won’t want to miss this plant sale! It’s for a good cause–all proceeds go directly to feeding those in need. Red Bee Balm (monarda didyma) shown in the above photo is one of many plants for a hummingbird garden that are for sale at the Gardener’s Plant Sale.

More than 250 plant varieties will be offered. Most of the plants were grown from seed and cannot be found anywhere else!
The plant sale will be held Sunday afternoon, April 19, 2009. For complete information as well as a map to help you find the sale, please visit http://gardenersplantsale.org/.

April 5, 2009

Florida Anise: Evergreen, Drought Tolerant, Deer Resistant!

Filed under: Anise, bloom, blooms, Deer, evergreen, Florida, garden, native, nursery, proof, red, resistant, shade, Shady, shrub, tree — shadygardens @ 3:04 pm


One of my favorite native shrubs is Florida Anise. Illicium floridanum actually makes a tree about 10 feet tall.

The evergreen leaves are dark and shiny. Very unusual red flowers appear in spring and have star-like petals. Once flowers fade, large star-shaped seed pods develop–very unusual.

Drought tolerant once established, Florida Anise is a good choice for the southern garden. Native to Florida and Louisiana, Illicium Floridanum is too tender for northern gardens as it is hardy in USDA Zones 7-10 only.

Plant in partial shade. Enjoys wet soil, if you have some, and can take more sun if planted in a boggy area.

If you find one growing in the wild, do not dig it up to move it to your garden since Florida Anise is a threatened native species.

Illicium floridanum is not the culinary Anise used as a spice–Florida Anise is poisonous if ingested, which is why deer won’t eat it.

Enjoying the same growing conditions as azaleas, camellias, and gardenias, Florida Anise is a good companion for them.If you’ve been searching for something a little less common than a camellia or gardenia, Florida Anise is perfect.

April 4, 2009

Hellebores: Deer Proof Groundcover for Shade

Filed under: buy, Deer, evergreen, gardens, groundcover, Hellebore, Hellebores, Helleborus, nursery, online, proof, resistant, shade, Shady — shadygardens @ 2:51 pm

Hellebore, Helleborus, commonly referred to as Lenten Rose, is what I call a perfect garden plant! Rich green palmate leaves look lush even on the coldest days of winter. Blooms begin opening right after Christmas and can be enjoyed right up until the beginning of spring. And if the fact that Hellebores are evergreen and winter blooming isn’t enough for you, would you believe that deer won’t eat it?


Hellebores are very easy to grow. They do enjoy a rich soil, but are very drought tolerant plants. Our modest patch of hellebores is located in an area of the shade garden that we cannot reach with the hose.

Blooms which appear in winter and very early spring are varied in color. They can be white, green, pink, maroon, or even speckled! When the blooms begin to fade, seeds develop. Within a few years your hellebore patch can double in size.

Once the blooms are gone, new bright green new growth emerges. The palmate deep green leaves make a very attractive groundcover up to 18 inches tall.

Hellebores can be grown almost anywhere in the United States, since it’s hardy in USDA Zones 4-8.

Well-drained soil is best, so amend with compost to make your plants happy.

Try some hellebores in your garden, and they’ll make you happy as well!

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