ShadyGardens Blog

September 30, 2009

Fall Planting: Shubs that Will Flourish!

Filed under: azalea, bloom, blueberry, buy, fall, garden, gardens, Hydrangea, nursery, online, plant, Rain, sale, Shady, ship, shrub — shadygardens @ 2:02 pm
Fall is the best time to plant shrubs and trees. Our weather usually begins cooling off in September, making gardening easier on both the plant and the gardener! Although daytime temperatures are still hot, our nights are cooler. 
October is a great time to plant Azaleas, Blueberries, and Hydrangeas. This time of year just brings better weather for shrubs to establish themselves without having to fight for their lives! So if you dream of beautiful blooms covering your yard on shrubs like azaleas, hydrangeas, snowball bushes, etc, do yourself and your plants a favor and plant them now, instead of waiting until spring. If your dream includes eating tasty blueberries from your own garden, plant those now too! 
Since we are now receiving regular rainfall here in Georgia, you can take advantage of that and be ready to plant when another shower is headed your way.
Shrubs planted in fall will have a head start over spring planted ones, and will have a greater chance of survival during our heat wave next summer. Even though the top growth of the plant will be dormant and might not even have any leaves, the roots will continue to grow through the winter. So get out there and enjoy the beautiful weather we’re having!

September 24, 2009

Xeriscape Gardening with Companion Plants

Filed under: drought, gardens, Georgia, low maintenance plant, moist, moisture. soil, nursery, plant, Rain, Shady, wet — shadygardens @ 5:51 pm

Georgia gardeners are becoming increasingly concerned about water conservation due to recent extreme droughts. But since lately we’ve received a little bit too much rain here in Georgia, I considered a practice we’ve tried to stick to here in our garden for a few years now: Companion Planting. Now I’m not talking about  what you might be thinking–companion planting as laid out in organic gardening books to promote heavy yields in the vegetable garden. What I’m talking about is simply planting moisture loving plants all together, to make watering easier with less waste. 

Shown in the photo above is Helianthus angustifolius Gold Lace, our native American Swamp Sunflower, with Colocasia Black Magic. What a striking contrast, and they both enjoy the soaking rains we’ve received lately.

Choose moisture lovers wisely and sparingly. Then place them in groups, preferably where the occasionally received rain water collects, but certainly where you can reach them easily with a hose.

For a list of plants that enjoy wet soil, visit Shady Gardens Nursery.

Deer: How to Keep Them from Eating Your Garden!

Filed under: Deer, deterrant, gardens, nursery, proof, resistent, Shadow, Shady — shadygardens @ 4:03 pm

Whenever visitors come to our nursery and garden they always ask, “How do you keep the deer from eating all your plants?” Well, we did have a problem years ago, but have found some things that worked for us—maybe they’ll work for you too! 

First, we planted things the deer don’t like. Deer love hosta, pansies, and daylilies–if it’s edible for people, deer like it too!  They don’t like plants with strong odor like herbs, except for basil. We planted lots of Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, and Oregano, Ageratum, Florida Anise, Daffodils, Holly, Iris, Barberry (they usually won’t eat anything with thorns), Buddleia, Mock Orange, Spirea, Lilacs, Dogwood, Magnolia, Boxwood, Leucothoe, Pieris, and Yucca. Remember though that when deer get hungry, they’ll taste of anything! I know you’ll still want hosta, daylilies, and pansies, so try surrounding the tasty plants with some of the plants deer do not like.  

Of course you can build a tall fence to keep out the deer, but since they can jump very high, your fence would need to be at least 10 feet tall. This can get pricey, especially if your garden is large. 

If you have visited us here at Shady Gardens, you have already met my most effective deer deterrent. Her name is Shadow—a big black lab who works hard to keep deer from eating my prized plants. That’s her in the above photo–taken a much needed rest break (we have many, many deer!) She also does her best to keep squirrels off the birdfeeders! Of course she does a little damage–she tramples plants sometimes, and she digs a hole when she believes a chipmunk would be tasty, or when she smells a rat. And when she was a puppy she chewed a little bit, but she never did as much damage as a family of deer can do in a single night! So probably the best thing you can do is run down to the animal shelter and ask them, “Who’s the friskiest dog you have?” (That’s the kind you need–a playful hunter with a loud bark!) Take him home and love him. By the way, the big dog will eat alot, but I believe feeding him will still be cheaper than buying all that Deer-repellant spray! 


For a complete list of deer-resistant plants, visit Shady Gardens Nursery.

September 23, 2009

Kittens by the Mailbox

Filed under: animal, cat, catch, cats, cruelty, gardens, kitten, kittens, litter, mice, mouse, neuter, neutered, nursery, Shady, spay, spayed, trap — shadygardens @ 3:22 pm

Gardens need animals, for various reasons. In our garden, we have a dog for chasing off critters that eat the plants, chickens for eating insects that eat our plants, and cats for keeping away mice (which also will eat plants.) Every garden needs a cat, but not too many.

We do have too many cats. Much too often, someone else decides we don’t have enough cats and another kitten is dropped off at our front gate. Most recently my husband found a cute little critter asleep right beside the road at our mailbox. Instead of doing the responsible thing and have their cats spayed or neutered, some irresponsible @$$#*!~ just allow their little cats to keep having litter after litter and they deposit the little babies on the side of the road when they no longer want them. This activity is one of the worst things a person can do, and it angers my family much more than I can say.
We are animal lovers here, and it’s difficult for us to get attached to a cute little baby and then give it away. That’s what we have to do every few months, because we can not possibly provide a home for every little baby animal we find up at the road. Leaving a baby kitten at someone’s mailbox on a busy highway should be a crime punishable by law. 

Each time this happens, we do the best we can to find a good home for the little thing. If unable to find the kitten a good home, we keep it. We now have 5 cats–3 toms and 2 females. We love them all. 

We gave away the most recent little baby to a wonderful girl who responded to our advertisement on the local Christian radio station. (We list the babies on that station only, praying that only good people would be listening.)

It ripped out my little girl’s heart to give away the kitten in the photo above. Children grow attached to cute little baby animals so fast. If I could catch the person who keeps doing this to us, I’d sock them in the nose. 

We all should do what we can to prevent the cruel neglect and abuse of allowing cats to have litter after litter of kittens to just deposit on highways all over town. We plan to install a video camera at our gate so that next time we can get a tag number!

September 14, 2009

Mice Cube: Humane Pest Control Safe to Use Around Children & Pets

Filed under: control, cube, easy, humane, mice, mouse, pest, rodent, safe, trap — shadygardens @ 4:08 pm
Our concern for animal welfare is apparent upon visiting our garden. Most of our pets were just dropped off here and we let them stay. Even critters often thought of as a nuisance are welcomed here to a degree. My husband, normally thought of as a tough guy policeman type, has been teased for being too tenderhearted toward mice and spiders, and has many times caught them indoors, carried them out to the briars, and let them go safely on their way.
Several months ago, mice became a problem in the greenhouse. Small little field mice can do much damage quickly, munching on simply everything! One would think mice would not be a problem here with Crisco the Cat, but it’s hard for him to catch mice during his sleep. (He sleeps about 23 of the 24 hours in his day, and the other hour is spent eating.)
That’s when I discovered the Mice Cube. I couldn’t believe how well it worked! The Mice Cube is a small clear plastic rectangular container with a trap door on one end. The mouse can enter to eat the bait, but cannot exit, since the door opens inward only. Our bait is a cheezit with peanut butter spread on one side. Within just a few hours we had caught a little guy who we safely deposited at the fence. The next morning we found 2 little mice inside.
The only problem we’ve seen with the Mice Cube is Crisco the Cat–If he gets to it before we do, he lets the mouse out, and then we have to catch it again!
To find out how you can purchase Mice Cube, click here.



September 7, 2009

Green Gardening

Going green in the garden is becoming more and more important to us as we learn additional dangers of pesticide use. To grow a good garden, we must preserve the life in the soil. Healthy soil is full of microorganisms which help to grow more vigorous plants. Too much fertilizer can kill microorganisms. To grow healthy plants, whether your passion is food crops or beautiful ornamentals, you must build up the soil.
  • Add compost–composted manure contains much more beneficial microorganisms than just regular compost.
  • Mulch with organic or plant based mulches (shredded bark or leaves).
  • Believe it or not, applications of horticultural molasses will feed the microorganisms.
  • Cornmeal added to the soil feeds a certain fungus that helps fight plant diseases. Isn’t that fascinating? Now I know what to do with that cornmeal I forgot about in the back of the cabinet.
  • While we are feeding our soil microorganisms, we must also remember to protect them.
  • Synthetic fertilizers harm the soil organisms and should be avoided.
  • Over tilling the soil breaks down the soil ecosystem, so add mulch instead. I know I mentioned mulch already, but application of good organic mulch is important enough to mention twice. Mulch attracts the soil critters like earthworms who will till the soil for you.

September 5, 2009

Green Gardening

Filed under: Uncategorized — shadygardens @ 2:21 pm

Going green in the garden is becoming more and more important to us as we learn additional dangers of pesticide use.  To grow a good garden, we must preserve the life in the soil. Healthy soil is full of microorganisms which help to grow more vigorous plants. Too much fertilizer can kill microorganisms.  To grow healthy plants, whether your passion is food crops or beautiful ornamentals, you must build up the soil.

  • Add compost–composted manure contains much more beneficial microorganisms than just regular compost.
  • Mulch with organic or plant based mulches (shredded bark or leaves).
  • Believe it or not, applications of horticultural molasses will feed the microorganisms.
  • Cornmeal added to the soil feeds a certain fungus that helps fight plant diseases. Isn’t that fascinating? Now I know what to do with that cornmeal I forgot about in the back of the cabinet.

While we are feeding our soil microorganisms, we must also remember to protect them.

  • Synthetic fertilizers harm the soil organisms and should be avoided.
  • Over tilling the soil breaks down the soil ecosystem, so add mulch instead. Mulch attracts the soil critters like earthworms who will till the soil for you.

September 4, 2009

Rhododendron My Mary: Fragrant Yellow Azalea

Filed under: azalea, deciduous, garden, George Beasley, My Mary, nursery, online, rhododendron, sale, Shady Gardens, ship, shrub — shadygardens @ 8:59 pm

Rhododendron ‘My Mary’ is a new plant for me. Aside from the large and very fragrant yellow blooms appearing in April, the romantic story behind the name compelled me to plant this one.‘My Mary’ is a deciduous hybrid azalea–a cross between Rhododendron Nacoochee and Rhododendron Austrinum (the native Florida Flame Azalea.) As written above, the blooms are large and very fragrant–a beautiful yellow funnel-shaped flower with an orange tube. The flowers are borne in clusters, or bouquets, as I like to call them. As you might imagine, pollinators of every sort just love them!

Rhododendron ‘My Mary’ was developed by the well-respected Mr. George Beasley of Lavonia, Georgia, who named this plant after his wife, Mary. She must indeed be lovely, to have such a plant named in her honor. I’m proud to have this shrub in my humble garden.

Hardy in USDA Zones 5-8, this deciduous rhododendron can be grown almost anywhere in the United States.

 
Culture is the same as for just about any other rhododendron or azalea: well-drained soil with a nice addition of humus, regular water (weekly is great), partial shade, and a thick layer of mulch to protect the roots.

 
For more information on this plant, you may contact us at
Shady Gardens Nursery or consult the Missouri Botanical Garden Plantfinder, who so graciously permitted us to use their lovely photos.

Native Plants for a Low Maintenance Garden

I am often asked why I focus so much on native plants. Many homeowners really just do not know what a native plant is, so I thought it best to clarify. A native plant is simply a plant type that occurs naturally in a particular area.

Often plants seen growing in abundance on roadsides are mistaken for native plants. The sight of kudzu and Japanese honeysuckle climbing and devouring trees and wooded areas cause new gardeners to turn up their noses at the suggestion to plant native plants. Those plants are invasive exotics and not native plants at all.

Native plants should be planted more often for several reasons:

  • Ease of growing. Native plants require less maintenance. No heavy pruning and no coddling.
  • Pest free, usually. Native plants have been growing with the same insects for years and usually will not die just because of a few bugs. A garden with no pesticides is a good thing!
  • Drought tolerant. Native plants have acclimated themselves to our changing environment and can tolerate whatever conditions a Georgia summer can dish out.
  • Deer-resistant. Yes, most native plants are deer-resistant. Deer will often walk right past a native plant to devour something from exotic lands, such as your prized hosta. Why eat something they see all the time in the woods, when they can try something new?
  • Beauty. A little known fact is that often the native plant is much more beautiful than it’s exotic counterpart. Some examples: Hibiscus coccineus, Hibiscus moscheutos, and Lonicera sempervirens. The image above is Hibiscus coccineus, native to the Southeastern United States. Isn’t it fabulous?

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