ShadyGardens Blog

November 22, 2013

Confederate Rose is Really a Hibiscus

Filed under: blooms, buy, Confederate, flowers, gardens, hibiscus, large, Mutabilis, nursery, October, order, pink, rose, September, Shady, ship — shadygardens @ 2:39 pm
Confederate Rose is a very tall perennial
that grows like a shrub in most of the South. Near the coast it will leaf out on old stems, but in most areas, the tops will die back, and the
plant will regrow each spring from the base.

Despite their popularity and
ability to thrive in the Southeastern United States, Confederate roses are not native to
the United States but come from China. They thrive in the South anywhere that they have
time to open their very late flowers before fall frost. This species is a
popular passalong plant not usually available in your local nursery
.

Height varies from about 8 feet in the northern parts of Georgia and Alabama to about 15 feet on the coast.

Confederate Rose is an eye-catching foliage plant even before bloom, with large, soft, gray-green maple shaped leaves. Large blooms four to six inches wide open in September or October. Both double and single flowering forms are available. It is the changing of the bloom color that gives the plant its botanical name, Hibiscus mutabilis. The blooms open as a very soft pink and darken gradually to a deep pink the third day after opening. When in full bloom, the plant appears to have 3 different colored flowers all on the same bush.

Confederate Rose grows best in full sun or part shade. Although average garden soil is fine, the plant will grow larger and bloom more in good fertile soil.  As with all plants in the hibiscus family, Hibiscus mutabilis needs regular water to grow and
perform well, but can withstand drought. Water whenever you see the large leaves droop.

Once winter frosts burn back
the foliage, the entire plant can be cut back to make the garden more tidy.
This can be done any time during the winter or early spring. Near the coast,
you can let the stems stay if you don’t mind the plant becoming very large,
since Confederate Rose will resprout from current branches where winters are
mild. Even when the plant is cut to the ground, it will become 10 feet tall by summer’s end. You cannot make this plant stay small and compact, no matter what you do. Confederate Rose is meant to be a flamboyant, voluptuous focal point in the garden. Make sure you plant it where the large size can be appreciated.


Sources for this plant: Shady Gardens Nursery.


February 1, 2010

Blueberry Growing Tips for a Georgia Garden

Filed under: Becky Blue, Blueberries, blueberry, buy, Climax, Georgia, Premier, rabbiteye, sale, Woodard — shadygardens @ 3:11 pm
Blueberry Bushes often sold in our local garden center stores will not grow well here in Georgia, because they are not able to tolerate our summer heat and humidity. 
“Rabbiteye” varieties are better for the Southeast. Highbush blueberries grow fairly well in cooler areas of the state, but they will not thrive in our area like Rabbiteye varieties do. When selecting blueberry plants for your garden, look for Becky Blue, Climax, Premier, Tifblue, or Woodard. For a good crop of berries, you will need 2 or more different varieties for cross-pollination. 
Although blueberry bushes normally occur in the woods, more berries will develop when the plants receive at least half a day of sun and plenty of water. 
The planting hole is important for getting the plant off to a good start. An effective planting method is to dig the hole twice as wide as the rootball and the same depth. Mix the soil with plenty of organic matter such as compost, manure, and peat moss. Place the plant in the planting hole and fill the hole completely with water before filling in with soil. After filling in around the roots with the amended soil, water again, and apply a thick layer of organic mulch to conserve moisture and keep the soil cool. 
Water weekly. You’ll be eating blueberries every year, as long as you get to them before the birds do!

January 4, 2010

Fragrance in the Winter Garden

Lonicera fragrantissima is an American Native Honeysuckle Shrub that blooms in winter, hence the common name, Winter Honeysuckle. Another nickname for this shrub is Kiss Me at the Gate. I’m not sure how that name came about, but I’m sure it’s an interesting story!

The blooms of Winter Honeysuckle are small but very fragrant, and they simply cover the shrub in January and February, making walks in the garden eagerly anticipated on those warm winter days we often have here in Georgia. My shrubs are already covered with flower buds and I can’t wait to enjoy the aroma! Drought-tolerant and easy to grow, this native shrub should be in any garden if you have the space for it. Lonicera fragrantissima will ultimately reach a height of about 10 feet with an equal spread.

Winter Honeysuckle is hardy in USDA Zones 5-9 and is mostly evergreen. This shrub is also very drought tolerant, making it perfect for Georgia gardens.

Red berries form in summer, but they’re so well-hidden behind the leaves that they usually go unnoticed by all but the birds who seem to know where to look.

October 16, 2009

Aesculus pavia: Red Buckeye Bloom in October!

Filed under: Aesculus, buckeye, buy, gardens, nursery, online, pavia, red, sale, Shady, ship — shadygardens @ 3:37 pm

Speaking of climate change, this crazy weather causes unusual phenomenon in the garden!

Take a look at the photo of our Red Buckeye Tree blooming today–October 16, 2009.

The Red Buckeye normally blooms in March here. This particular tree has a few other bloom buds getting ready to open within the next few days. I hope that doesn’t mean it won’t bloom in March, when I will be searching for signs of spring.

October 13, 2009

Saxifrage: Saxifraga, Strawberry Geranium, Strawberry Begonia

Saxifrage possibly has more common names than any other plant I know. Perhaps that’s because this plant is also one of the most versatile plants one can grow. 
Whether you know Saxifrage as saxifraga stolonifera, strawberry begonia, strawberry geranium, mother of thousands, or one of the many other names, you must agree that this is a wonderful little plant. 
Often grown as a houseplant by our grandmothers, Saxifrage is hardy in the garden all over the southeastern United States. When grown outdoors, saxifrage could not be any easier! Provide shade and soft moist soil, and she will reward you with many little plants. Saxifrage multiplies by sending out little plantlets on runners just as strawberry plants do. 

Saxifrage forms an evergreen mat of ground-hugging foliage about 4 inches tall. Foliage is very attractive–scalloped deep green leaves are mottled with a silver veining and can have purplish undersides.
Flowers look like little soft pink butterflies fluttering well above the foliage. 
Saxifrage prefers moist, rich soil in full shade. Grow it with ferns and other moisture loving shade plants in the woodland garden. 

Lovely as an easy care houseplant. Especially nice in hanging baskets. Hardy outdoors in USDA Zones 6-9. For more information on this and other easy to grow shade plants, visit us as Shady Gardens Nursery


Native Azaleas: Plant Now for Spring Blooms & Fragrance

Filed under: American, azalea, buy, garden, gardens, native, nursery, online, plant, plants, rhododendron, sale, shade, Shady, ship, shrub, species — shadygardens @ 2:27 pm
Native Azaleas are definitely a spectacular show in spring, but don’t wait till Spring to plant them! Shrubs planted in Fall have a much better chance to get established and become healthy plants by next summer. 

The American Native Azaleas, species Rhododendrons, are deciduous, meaning they lose their leaves for the winter. This defoliation begins quite early in fall, depending on the climate conditions and the variety. Usually the earlier the bloom time in spring, the earlier leaf loss occurs in Fall.  
Fall is the best time to transplant shrubs because they are then dormant. Fall planted shrubs have all winter to become established before time to bloom and grow next year. This is especially important when your plants are received by mail, as is most often true with rare plants like native azaleas.
When planting native azaleas, soil preparation is key. All azaleas prefer well-drained soil. Amend the soil for drainage, especially if your soil is clay.  Prior to planting your native azalea, work in some compost or composted manure and shredded bark to the planting hole. To help insure good drainage, mound up the soil so your azalea is planted high. Be sure that the root collar is slightly higher than soil level so water will drain away when those heavy downpours occur.
 
When planning your native azalea garden, consider the site. Native azaleas naturally occur in the filtered light beneath large trees near stream banks, but will grow in full sun when water is adequate.  They perhaps will bloom more profusely in full sun, but need more water with more sun. 
Make sure you can get water to the plant if drought occurs. Native azaleas are quite drought tolerant once established, however, water weekly the first year or two, as the plant grows in to its new environment.  Also, the blooms buds are formed during late summer on the early blooming varieties, and if your area is prone to a late summer-early fall drought, pay attention to those weekly waterings, so you won’t miss out on your fragrant spring blooms! 
Finally, obtain some good organic mulch. Azaleas have a shallow root system. Apply a thick layer of any organic mulch such as shredded bark, leaves, or straw to conserve moisture and keep the roots cool. Never cultivate around your native azaleas, since this can damage those shallow roots. 

Once planted, your native azaleas will need water at least once weekly to insure good root development and beautiful blooms for years to come. 
For more information on the beautiful and fragrant native azaleas, visit us at Shady Gardens Nursery.

 

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!

August 4, 2009

Rhododendron colemanii: Red Hills Azalea Discovered Growing Wild in Alabama

Recently I learned of a newly discovered deciduous azalea native to Georgia and Alabama called the Red Hills Azalea. Rhododendron colemanii ‘Red Hills’ is a wild azalea that grows in the Red Hills region of South Alabama and eastward barely into Georgia along the Chattahoochee River. This newly discovered species is one of the tallest, most richly colored, and most fragrant of all the native azaleas. The late blooming flowers (usually May) can be any color from pure white to deep pink or even yellow or orange.

Red Hills azalea seems to prefer cooler bottomlands near creeks and streams. I’d suggest siting this plant in the shade of tall hardwoods and providing regular water.

If you’re looking to add to your collection of rare native azaleas, you’ll want to check out this one. To purchase this plant, click here.

July 30, 2009

Hibiscus Moscheutos: Hard to Believe it’s a Native Plant!

We really do have some fabulous plants native to the Southeastern United States. Shown in the above photo is Hibiscus moscheutos ‘Lord Baltimore’ growing in our garden. Flowers are 8-10 inches across and look great with Black Eyed Susan, another native.

Hibiscus moscheutos is so spectacular that it’s very hard for me to believe it’s native to our area and not some tropical island. When I see it in full bloom, I wonder why some gardeners continue to add foreign plants to their gardens.


If red is not for you, these large-blooming hibiscus come in other colors as well. Lady Baltimore has pink blooms with a red eye. Her blooms might be even larger than Lord Baltimore.

Kopper King has smaller blooms, although still large, and reddish foliage which makes it appealing even when not in bloom.

Hibiscus enjoys moist, rich soil. You can grow it on the bank of a pond or stream, but these hibiscus grow equally well in a regular garden border. We water ours about once weekly.

Hibiscus moscheutos is available during the summer months from Shady Gardens Nursery.


July 18, 2009

Four Oclock: Fragrant Blooms for the Evening Garden

If you like fragrant plants, the old-fashioned Four Oclock will be one of your favorites. Small pink blooms scent the garden with their sweet perfume every evening during summer. Mirabilis jalapa is a shrub-like multibranched perennial plant that emerges each spring from a large carrot-shaped tuber. The common name Four Oclock comes from its fascinating habit of opening its blooms around 4 oclock in the afternoon. That alone is enough to intrigue me, since I have a natural interest in plants with unusual traits. Although it’s called Four Oclock, in our garden Mirabilis actually opens her blooms around 5:30 pm, perfuming the air right about the time it begins to cool off enough to sit in the shade on the patio.

Four Oclock is very easy to grow. Easy to please, four oclock can be grown in sun or shade. Our plants get morning sun and afternoon shade, but four oclock grows equally well in full shade with a reasonable amount of water. She’s not a water hog, but good soil with regular water will keep the plant looking healthy and green with plenty of those fragrant blooms. Just so you’ll know, plants in our shade garden get very little water, yet still bloom and multiply with profusion. Plants in the sun that receive occasional water perform just about as well as those in dry shade. The few Four Oclocks we have in dry sun are just surviving.

I can’t really describe the fragrance–it’s just a sweet, pleasant scent that invites me to relax outdoors. You might not notice the scent until your plant gets large with many blooms. And if you’re never outdoors in the evening, well…you’ll just miss out entirely.

Another important feature of the fragrant Four Oclock is that hummingbirds just adore it! The hot pink blooms are tubular and full of nectar for both butterflies and hummingbirds. You’ll further enjoy sitting on the patio observing the tiny creatures flitting about around the plants.

Four Oclock dies to the ground with the onset of winter in colder zones, but re-emerges again in late spring. Hardy in USDA Zones 7-11, mirabilis can be grown anywhere in the southern half of the United States.

I must tell you also that Four Oclock is definitely a reseeder. Toward the end of summer you’ll notice small black cannonballs on the plants and the ground beneath. Those are very viable seeds. If you’ve had no luck growing Four Oclock from seed, that’s because these very hard seeds need a cold treatment to break them. It’s best to plant them in fall, but most gardeners don’t think about it then and seeds often are not available in the big box stores at that time of year. You’ll have nearly instant gratification if you go ahead and purchase a tuber instead. Heavy black carrot-shaped tubers will send up a stem very quickly after planting in warm summer soil. Four Oclock tubers are available for summer shipping from Shady Gardens Nursery.
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