ShadyGardens Blog

February 22, 2014

Arbor Day in Georgia

Filed under: arbor, day, food, Georgia, native, plants, trees, wildlife — shadygardens @ 7:40 pm
The day Arbor Day is celebrated differs from state to state due to climate differences. Georgia celebrates Arbor Day on the 3rd Friday in February. I’m running a day late, since that was yesterday. 


If you know me at all, you know I preach planting native plants, and it’s no different with trees. However, we need to take it a step further. Preserving our native birds and insects depends on planting what they need, and they need diversity.






When choosing a tree for your yard this Arbor Day, look around you. There’s no need to plant another of what you already have. Oaks are popular and they are a good tree to plant, with all those acorns for the mammals. But if you are like us, you probably have oak trees all around you. Take note of not only what you have but also what’s growing in your neighbor’s yard. Try to find something different. But native, of course. You might have to do a little research. Try doing a google search for “georgia native tree.” You could stay on the internet all day if you click every link you find.




The University of Georgia has an excellent publication on Native Plants for Georgia

There are some beautiful native trees you might not have considered. If you don’t already have one, I recommend you pick from these:

Sourwood in Fall



Sourwood, 
Oxydendrum arboreum
White fragrant summer blooms with vibrant red fall foliage. A much better choice than Burning Bush.







American Chestnut – Almost extinct, so if you find one for sale, buy it and plant it.

Red Buckeye in March



Red Buckeye
Aesculus pavia
Red panicle blooms in early Spring   develop large buckeye nuts that are food for wildlife. This tree might bloom as early as February when our Winter is mild. Looks like it will be March this year.





3 Grancy Graybeard Trees massed, Shawmut, AL







Grancy Graybeard
Chionanthus virginicus
Fragrant fluffy white blooms in early Spring with blackish drupes on female plants. Unfortunately the trees shown here were cut down to make way for the new burger joint.
We love wildlife of all kinds, pollinators, birds, and even deer and squirrels, so I consider them when I choose a new plant for our garden. We enjoy the blooms as much as the bees do, but I like to see berries, nuts, or some other kind of fruit develop later on that is not only beautiful, but food for wildlife. I hope you will also think of the birds and the bees along with furry friends when you choose what to plant for Arbor Day.

March 8, 2010

Grow Your Own Food

Filed under: Berries, blueberry, food, garden, Grow, home, vegetables — shadygardens @ 2:45 pm
In recent years I have become increasingly concerned about what’s in the food I feed my children. Everywhere I turn, I am reading or hearing news of preservatives, pesticides, and various other unknown food additives. Additionally, how many times have we heard in the news of food recalls due to salmonella or e. coli contamination? Many! It’s very frightening.
I have tried purchasing more organic or kosher foods, but they are expensive. I do think it’s worth it, but sometimes it seems I just can’t afford those more costly choices. So what’s the solution?
Grow your own, of course.
One of the most important foods to grow at home I think is leafy greens. I remember numerous recalls on spinach due to salmonella contamination. Lettuce is difficult to grow here in Georgia, but we can grow other salad greens. At various times of the year, we’re growing cabbage, collards, kale, mustard, turnip greens, spinach, and swiss chard.
Berries are a special concern since they absorb whatever is sprayed on or around them. I worry that pesticides won’t completely wash off. And I do remember more than one recall on strawberries due to contamination. Strawberries are difficult to grow at home, although it is worth the trouble. Blueberries are easy to grow and have few if any pests. Really the only difficult thing about growing blueberries is keeping the birds from eating them before you do. For more information on growing blueberries, read Blueberry Growing Tips for a Georgia Garden.
Many vegetables can be grown in a small garden. Just a few squash plants can yield more squash than our family of four can eat. This year, we have a freezer, so extra food will not go to waste. A favorite of my children is the sugar snap pea. Pods can be picked right off the plant and eaten whole, making them a great snack for small children. Sugar peas, as my babies call them, can be planted in March here in Georgia. Look for the seeds at home improvement stores or even your local dollar store.
I did read that it’s unnecessary to pay more for organic citrus, since citrus requires no preservatives. That’s good news, since we don’t live in South Florida.

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