ShadyGardens Blog

March 28, 2014

Attracting Hummingbirds the Natural Way

Filed under: Aesculus, attracts, buckeye, gardens, hummingbirds, nursery, red, Shady, shrub, tree — shadygardens @ 12:34 pm
Many of you put out hummingbird feeders every Spring, having to remember to keep them clean and filled all summer long and into early Fall. I prefer to provide food for hummingbirds the natural way–with plants.

By the way, did you know that because of the high energy of the hummingbird, he eats up to 3 times his body weight every single day?
Hummingbirds can visit as many as 20 flowers in just one minute. In order to have enough food, they must visit hundreds of flowers every day. Woa! That’s a lot of flowers!
Quite a few native plants can provide nectar for the voracious appetite of the energetic hummingbird. We have planted Red Salvia, Turk’s cap Hibiscus, and Red Trumpet Honeysuckle in our garden. But one of my favorite native plants is very important for the early arriving hummingbirds.
The Red Buckeye Tree, Aesculus pavia, blooms in March, or even late February when the Winter is mild. Since the Red buckeye naturally occurs in the edge of a woodland surrounded by large trees, it usually looks more like a bushy shrub. When planted out in the open, it can become a specimen tree up to 25 feet tall. Like most plants, the Buckeye Tree will produce many more blooms when grown in full sun.
March is a great time to plant the Red Buckeye. You won’t see it at the big box stores. Look for it at your local nursery that sells native plants. Young seedlings will begin blooming when less than 3 feet tall.
Your Red Buckeye Tree will become quite a focal point when covered with the large red panicles that come in early Spring. Plant it where all can see and enjoy it.
Source for this plant: Shady Gardens Nursery.

February 17, 2014

Plants for Pollination: Helping the Bees Year Round

Filed under: bees, gardens, Georgia, Honeysuckle, jasmine, list, plants, pollination, privet, university — shadygardens @ 3:22 pm
Interested in providing plants for bees year round? I just found a list and thought I’d share it with you. Although the list claims to be “incomplete,” it certainly is a great starting point. Perhaps you will find that you have a great number of these plants already in your garden or growing nearby. This list is for Georgia gardeners, but if you live in another state, you might find a similar list on your state’s university website. I found my list on the website for the University of Georgia College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences.
Unfortunately, some of the plants on this list are very invasive and I would never recommend you plant them. Privet should not be planted in Georgia, but I bet you either have it in your yard or as in my case, on a nearby neighbors property. Privet has escaped into the wild all over the Southeast. Although my neighbor probably did not plant this invasive shrub, it is everywhere.

Also, bloom times on this list might not be the same for you. According to the list Lonicera fragrantissima (Winter Honeysuckle) blooms in April, but it blooms here in January or February, depending on the winter we get.  Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina Honeysuckle) is listed for March and April, but this native vine also blooms in Winter here, and has usually finished blooming by March in our area.  These differences are probably because UGA is in North Georgia.

February 5, 2014

Elderberries: Nature’s Remedy for the Flu

Filed under: elderberry, flu, gardens, jelly, native, nursery, pie, remedy, sambucus, Shady, syrup, wine — shadygardens @ 3:21 pm
If you live in the Southeastern United States, you’ve probably seen an Elderberry Bush, but you might not have known what it was. Elderberry plants grow in moist ditches and creek banks all over Alabama and Georgia but is native to almost every state. It’s a beautiful plant with a graceful habit. Elderberry shrubs will grow up to 10 feet tall in one season, even after being cut to the ground.

The large deciduous plant has soft stems with lovely pinnately compound leaves that are bright green. 


In summer, flat white flower clusters form which develop into purplish black berries in late summer.

Elderberry is very easy to grow. The plant likes moist soil in full sun, but it is very drought tolerant. It spreads by suckers, so give it plenty of room. To control its size, you can cut it down in late winter, but it will still get very tall.

My favorite setting for Elderberry is beside a creek or a pond, but we don’t have one. Our first plant was a gift from the birds, after we built our greenhouse and opened the nursery. I like to think they were showing their appreciation to us for growing native plants for them. Now elderberry shrubs keep popping up in the moist soil all around the greenhouse. You can order one from us at Shady Gardens Nursery .

Elderberry is a great shrub for attracting wildlife to your garden. The large showy flowers attract pollinators, and birds love the delicious berries.

Elderberries make excellent jelly, pies, and even wine.

Recently I learned that Elderberries have medicinal value as well. Do not confuse Elderberry with American Elder or Elder Flower. When ingesting plants or their parts, it is important to know the botanical name and not just the common name. American Black Elderberry is Sambucus nigra or you might see it sold as Elderberry canadensis which is a common sub-species.

Dr. Oz recommends Elderberry Syrup for inflammation. And recent studies show that Elderberry Syrup can greatly reduce the length and severity of colds and flu. One study even revealed that Elderberry Syrup works better than Tamiflu, cutting sick days drastically, and without nasty side effects. Additionally, Elderberry syrup might also help with sinus infections, sciatica, chronic fatigue, cancer, and even aids. Elderberry sounds like a miracle cure to me. For verification of this remedy, check out Web MD

Natural Elderberry Syrup can be purchased from health food stores, but you can make your own. I got my recipe from Kelly the Kitchen Kop. If you don’t have an Elderberry Bush or are reading this when the berries are not in season, you can order Elderberry Syrup from Amazon

My husband has always said he believes God put a natural cure out there for every ailment we can have. And I think he is right!


January 15, 2014

Edgeworthia, Rice Paper Plant: Fragrant Blooms for the Winter Garden

Edgeworthia chrysantha buds beginning to open
If you’ve been searching for something new, exciting, or unusual for your Winter garden, consider Edgeworthia. First of all, what could be more exciting than a plant that blooms in winter? No matter how cold it is outside, Edgeworthia will bloom in the middle of Winter. Plant it near a window so you can view the beautiful blooms from the comfort of your home. 

Edgeworthia’s Winter blooms are not only beautiful, but are also fragrant. Scent is often described as being similar to that of the paperwhite narcissus. However, I find the fragrance to be more similar to cloves. On second thought, plant Edgeworthia near the entrance of your home, so you can enjoy the fragrance of the flowers when you come and go. Or perhaps you could do as I did and get more than one.

Edgeworthia grows wild in China and is related to Daphne odora, and has even been called Yellow Daphne. Also known as Rice Paper Plant, Chinese Paper Plant, and Japanese Paper Plant, Edgeworthia is used to make rice paper. 

There are several species of Edgeworthia, but the most desirable is Edgeworthia chrysantha, since it is more winter-hardy and easier to grow. Edgeworthia chrysantha is a deciduous shrub with very fragrant spherical bloom clusters in late January into February. A large specimen of Edgeworthia chrysantha can be seen growing at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

Large elongated leaves are more than 3 inches wide and can be up to 11 inches long. The leaves which resemble plumeria, lend a tropical look to the garden in summer. Thus, edgeworthia contributes beauty and interest even when not in bloom. 

Silver buds form in late summer and early fall, growing larger and larger through the Fall, encouraging my anticipation and excitement. When the leaves are gone, the plant appears to be already in bloom. Then in early Winter, the buds begin to swell and resemble upside down sunflowers about 2 inches across. In mid- to late-Winter, the flower clusters begin opening from the outside in. Deep yellow tubular flowers attract pollinators who happen to be out on warmer days. In Georgia, Edgeworthia blooms in January or February, depending on the conditions for that particular Winter. Blooms last up to 6 weeks.

Edgeworthia chrysantha grows to about 6 feet tall and just as wide.

In China, Edgeworthia grows in full sun, but here in Alabama and Georgia, Edgeworthia chrysantha grows best in partial shade or filtered light. No hot afternoon sun.

Edgeworthia is hardy in USDA Zones 7-10, but Edgeworthia chrysantha tolerates colder temperatures and grows just fine in zone 6. 

Rich well-drained soil and regular water will keep your Edgeworthia plant happy. Be sure to water once or twice weekly during periods of summer heat and drought. Like hydrangeas, Edgeworthia will let you know when it is thirsty – the large leaves will droop and hang limp. With a good soaking of water, your plant will promptly perk up.

Edgeworthia grows rather quickly, and tends to send up new shoots from the base, forming a rounded shrub up to 6 feet tall. In Fall, leaves do turn yellow and fall off, but that just makes the plant ready to show off those extravagant Winter blooms. Attract attention and make your neighbors envious with this unusual and beautiful plant, Edgeworthia chrysantha.

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.


March 28, 2013

Selling Plants Online: How to Do It

Filed under: amazon, ebay, gardens, nursery, online, plants, sell, Shady, ship, walmart, website — shadygardens @ 1:18 pm
Sample of Plants shipped
 from Shady Gardens Nursery
These days, almost everyone is looking for a way to make money online. And if you are a gardener, you might have considered selling plants online.

I’ve done just that for several years. Since I frequently am asked how I ship shrubs, I thought I’d reveal some of my secrets. I don’t fear competition, and I enjoy helping someone who might need their own way to make money as much as I did when I started.

It takes quite awhile to receive traffic to your own website. You might consider trying to sell your plants on an established site first, like ebay. I started out by selling my plants at auction on ebay. Later I opened my own ebay store. Selling plants on ebay was surprisingly lucrative for me at first. This went on for a couple of years, until a few sellers ruined it for everyone else by selling their shrubs too cheap. Don’t undervalue your merchandise. You will never make any money if you sell everything at far less than it is worth. That’s why those sellers are no longer selling their plants on ebay. They put themselves out of business right after they ran everyone else off ebay with their undercut prices. Set your items at a fair price that is not only reasonable for interested buyers, but fair to you. Consider the total cost of growing the plant, the time involved in packaging the plant, and also the cost of supplies and actual shipping. Your time is worth some money too.

I sell plants on Amazon also, from time to time. But there again we must compete with the sellers who are out to undercut everyone else. Also, selling on Amazon is not quite as easy as ebay for a first-time online seller.

Although you might end up building your own website as I did, selling your plants on other established sites can give you the experience you need. Ebay will advertise, and they will help bring buyers to your listings, so you won’t have to.  If you’ve never bought anything on ebay before, I recommend you log on and do that now. That way you’ll learn how ebay and paypal both work. Before doing that though, think about a unique user name related to your new business idea. My user name is ShadyGardens, but you should make yours say something about you or more importantly what you sell. Something catchy or cute is always nice.

Don’t offer a guarantee on your plants beyond delivery. You are not Walmart and you cannot replace plants because the gardener who purchased from you did not properly care for the plants. And while we’re on the subject of Walmart, if the plants you want to sell can be bought at Walmart, there’s no need to even start. No one can compete with Walmart on price. They sell items much cheaper than you can, because they deal with huge volume. Grow and sell plants that aren’t easily found somewhere else, and you will make money.

Check back soon to learn how I package plants for safe shipping. In the mean time, check out our feedback on ebay and Shady Gardens Nursery online store.



October 26, 2012

Drought Damage in my Georgia Garden

Filed under: Beautyberry, drought, dry, garden, gardens, Georgia, lady banks, mahonia, nursery, Shady, shrubs, tolerant, trees — shadygardens @ 3:31 pm
I took a walk in the garden today to assess the damage the drought has caused thus far. Many of the plants believed to be drought-tolerant have actually suffered quite a bit. I did find a few surprises when I noticed plants that still look great in spite of absolutely no water, so I thought I’d share them with you. 


Lady Banks Rose has not wilted, although she’s been in the ground only one year. I can’t reach her with the hose, so I was a little worried. 

Other shrubs and trees with no wilt are: American Beautyberry, Holly, Paw Paw, Spirea, Arizona Cypress, and Rosemary. 



Established camellias and viburnums look fine, while newly planted ones wilt again every few days and recover only after a deep soaking. 

Mahonia from Shady Gardens Nursery
Although it will plant itself in your garden wherever it likes, Leatherleaf Mahonia never wilts. It provides a rough texture in the garden with its tough evergreen spiny leaves and bright yellow winter bloom sprays followed by dark purple berries that are loved by songbirds. It requires shade. Although it does reseed freely, I do not consider it to be an invasive plant. 

Perennials that still look great are Hosta, Rohdea, sedums, and succulents. Hardy Ice Plant is great for dry sun—rewarding you with flowers that open in full sun even with no rainfall. 

If you decide to add any of these recommended plants to your garden during this drought, remember that no plant is completely drought tolerant the first year, so water weekly in the absence of rain. In other words, water weekly, because obviously, there is no rain!

October 7, 2012

Plants In the Office: Why You Need Them

Filed under: gardens, indoor, interior, landscaping, maintenance, office, plants, service, Shady — shadygardens @ 1:06 pm
Anyone can see that nice green plants in the office make the space more attractive. But can indoor plants actually improve your health? Can plants help to boost your productivity? 


Recent research proves this to be true. Interior plants contribute to a pleasant and healthy work environment. Plants help to relieve stress. We feel more calm and at ease with our surroundings when we are surrounded by green plants.


When the office contains healthy green plants, workers make fewer mistakes, take less sick days, and get more work done.



Certain plants help to clean the air by filtering out pollutants. Living plants regulate  humidity, reduce airborne dust, and cool the indoor air temperatures.


Additionally, interior plants help to reduce background noise, making it easier for employees to get their work done with less distraction.


Make your office more appealing to your employees by surrounding them with large green plants. 


Weeping Ficus with Braided Trunk  

Planters such as this are inexpensive, yet provide a worthwhile benefit to your office environment. Let us help you with your interior landscaping.

September 28, 2012

Callicarpa Americana: American Beautyberry

If you like berries, American Beautyberry belongs in your garden. Callicarpa Americana, the American Beautyberry, is a deciduous shrub native to the Southeastern United States.

In early summer, tiny lilac flowers appear in clusters close to the stem. By autumn the flowers turn into bright magenta-violet purple berries. The beautyberries are ¼ inch drupes and packed tightly together in clusters that encircle the stem. Leaves usually turn a pale yellow shade in September and begin falling off the shrub soon after. Once the leaves are gone, the shrub is left with vividly purple berries encircling the bare naked stems until birds eat the berries sometime during the winter.

Callicarpa American Beautyberry
Shady Gardens Nursery

Callicarpa Americana is sometimes referred to as French Mulberry, although I cannot figure out why. I think the name American Beautyberry says it all. 

The Beautyberry is very easy to grow, thriving in any well-drained soil and even adapting to very poor soil. Plant in dappled shade beneath large oaks and pines. The edge of the woodland is ideal. 
Beautyberry is very drought tolerant once established, but water once or twice weekly the first year or two. After that, supplemental water is unnecessary, except perhaps in extreme drought. If the plant gets full sun, it will need more water.

Beautyberry can be grown in most areas of the United States, since it is hardy in USDA Zones 6-10.
Beautyberry is eye-catching either when massed or when planted as a single specimen in a woodland garden or shade garden. Callicarpa is great for a low maintenance natural garden where it contributes year round beauty and food for wildlife. Spring flowers and beautiful fall fruit make this an attractive landscape plant. Use it in semi-shade under tall pines or in full sun where foliage will take on a not unattractive yellow-green color that combines interestingly with the brilliant violet fruits.
Prune back severely in late winter for best berry production. I just cut back branches so all are about the same size and let my bushes grow large. However, Beautyberry can be kept small with an annual pruning in late winter or early spring. This shrub can be cut back as short as 4-6 inches tall every winter with no harm to the plant and without sacrifice of the berries.
To be sure your shrubs are loaded with berries, plant more than one of these beautiful plants.
And if purple is not your color, you might want to try one of the more rare forms.
Callicarpa Lactea has white berries instead of purple. I have encountered many a gardener requesting this shrub for their night garden. Plants with white berries or white blossoms really stand out at night while most other colors are barely visible. Additionally, white reflects the light from the moon. Can you imagine how lovely White Beautyberry would be in the floral arrangements for a Fall wedding? 


If you are partial to pink, you are in luck, because a rare pink-berried form has been discovered. Known as Callicarpa Sautee, it is named for the area in Florida where it was found. The Pink Beautyberry is perhaps the most rare form of all beautyberries. 

Once you see Callicarpa Americana loaded with berries, you will want one for your own garden.

September 27, 2012

American Euonymus: Strawberry Bush, Hearts a Bustin

Filed under: American, Bush, bustin, euonymus, fruits, gardens, hearts, native, nursery, orange, red, seedpod, seeds, shade, Shady, strawberry, woodland — shadygardens @ 4:15 pm
Eunonymus Americanus Strawberry Bush
Shady Gardens Nursery
It would be hard to find a more unusual and interesting shrub than the American Strawberry Bush. A native plant of the Eastern US, Euonymus Americanus is a thin little shrub with
narrow, opposite leaves, green stems and tiny, inconspicuous flowers that give
way to peculiar crimson red fruits that look like strawberries. As the fruits mature, they burst to reveal bright orange seeds, which is the reason for the common name Hearts a Bustin.

The Strawberry Bush usually
reaches about 6 feet tall, and has a loose, sprawling habit with thin,
wiry, spreading branches and an open, airy form. There are usually several main
upright stems arising in a stoloniferous clump. The twigs are distinctive green stems that stay green in the winter too.   The springtime flowers are very inconspicuous,
with five greenish yellow petals.

The fruit is a
warty red capsule about 1 inch across that resembles a strawberry. When ripe,
the capsule splits open to reveal four or five bright orange seeds that really
stand out against the deep red capsule. Strawberry Bush is an important food source for
white-tailed deer, turkeys, many songbirds, and other wildlife.

Strawberry bush prefers a rich, well-drained soil that is slightly acidic. This shrub does well in shady situations, even tolerating deep shade. Drought tolerant once established.

Euonymus Americanus can be grown in most of the United States, since it is hardy in USDA Zones 5-9.

American strawberry bush is best
used in naturalistic settings, in the shade of larger shrubs and trees. But be
sure it’s close to the path where the interesting (and beautiful) fruits can be
appreciated! 

A specimen covered with hundreds of bursting red hearts is a
remarkable sight. In autumn, the leaves turn shades of orange and red before
falling. In the winter, the leafless green twigs and stems are structurally
interesting. Strawberry bush will naturalize under ideal conditions, forming
loose, open clumps of sprawling green stems, but it would never be considered
invasive or even moderately aggressive.

You might want to plant more than one, since deer will graze not only on the fruits and leaves but also the green stems.
Older Posts »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.