ShadyGardens Blog

April 12, 2014

Gardening Help for this Unpredictable Georgia Weather

Filed under: date, frost, Georgia, Rain, seeds, sow, weather, when — shadygardens @ 2:33 pm
Have you ever wished that you had made a record of how much rain you received over the past month? Have you ever wondered if your soil is warm enough in your garden to sow seeds?  And before planting peppers and tomatoes, we all need to know the date of our last expected frost.


If you live in Georgia, there is a way you can find out all that and more. Just go to the Georgia Automated Environmental Monitoring Network. Follow the link and you will find this map which is clickable so you can select the weather station closest to you.

October 15, 2012

Georgia Drought Monitor

Filed under: county, drought, Georgia, Rain, tolerant, troup — shadygardens @ 2:31 pm
I don’t yet know what I can do with this information, but my despair prompted me to get online to find out if the drought is as serious as I think it is. I found this site which confirms my suspicions:
Georgia Drought Monitor.


Troup County is where we attempt to garden. And sure enough there we are, right there in a section labeled extreme/exceptional. And the “exceptional” section fills up most of Troup County, so I can be sure that includes us. Upon closer examination, I found that yes, of course, we are in that spot. I didn’t really need to see this, because I know when I look at the ground outside that we are suffering.

October 15, 2009

Climate Change: What Can You Do About It?

Climate change–there’s a lot of talk about climate change these days. And there are many skeptics out there. I’m not a scientist, and in this post I will not pretend to know a lot of facts to either promote or disprove the idea of global warming.
I will say this: we’re having some crazy weather! Two and three years ago, Georgia was under a severe drought. Farmers lost their livelihood, garden centers went out of business, and I personally lost most of my bigleaf hydrangeas–shrubs that had been established for several years. Record breaking heat waves and no rain for several weeks at a time is more than many shrubs can tolerate.
This year, on the other hand, Georgia has had more rain than we want! Severe flood damage occurred just a few weeks ago and threatens us again. (Actually, prior to the drought we had a few years ago, we received too much rain. I remember we received so much rain that area creeks and the Chattahoochee River swelled, washing away roads and bridges.) Yes, it’s a fact–Weather patterns do change.
And it’s that thought that brings me to my favorite topic: native plants! I’ve written many posts advocating the use of native plants. If you’ve followed my writings for long, you know that I love native plants for their tolerance to adverse weather conditions including excessive heat, humidity, and drought.
It is for Blog Action Day that I write my thoughts today. Whether you believe our climate is really changing or not, and whether or not you believe Global Warming is a fact or a myth, the right thing for you and me to do is whatever we can to protect our environment. We must protect the environment for our children and for our grandchildren.
These are simple suggestions, and this is what we do here at Shady Gardens:
  • Plant native plants instead of invasive exotics. In a nutshell, native plants will survive drought causing you to use less water when watering plants is restricted. Please read my previous posts on this topic.
  • Use organic pest control methods instead of poisons which can kill more than just the pest you wish to remove. Biological insect control can be something as simple as attracting ladybugs into the garden. ‘No kill’ rodent traps are available providing good results without the use of dangerous chemicals.
  • Use organic fertilizers instead of synthetic ones. Chemical fertilizers can be poisonous, and they really are junk food for the plants. Compost and other organic soil amendments make plants healthier and stronger. Some organic fertilizers like compost tea even help to ward off plant disease.
We are stewards of this great country we live in: caretakers of all that is around us. As gardeners, we must do our part to protect and preserve nature. I hope you will join me in planting native plants that provide homes, habitat, and food for wildlife. And then do nothing to poison the little creatures!
As always, I welcome any questions or comments.

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.

May 23, 2009

Spring Rain is Great for the Garden!

Filed under: aspidistra, azalea, drought, Hellebore, Hellebores, Hydrangea, juniper, native, Oakleaf, Rain, rohdea, spirea, tolerant — shadygardens @ 2:22 pm

Here in Georgia we have enjoyed lots of spring rain! It has been nice to be able to plant so many additions to our garden this year. You see, for the last few years, we have been under severe drought. Summer before last, we lost every single bigleaf hydrangea we had, and they were well-established shrubs we’d had for about 10 years!

Needless to say, we’ve been planting only drought tolerant plants since then. But even drought tolerant plants need water at first to get off to a good start. And water from rain is the best! So each time rain is in the forecast, I’m out there planting again.

Our new plantings consist of the following drought tolerant plants:

  • Oakleaf Hydrangea
  • Evergreen Azaleas
  • Native Azaleas
  • Hellebores
  • Rohdea
  • Aspidistra
  • Spirea
  • Juniper

We’ve also planted a number of Camellias, since we’re getting all this rain. They’ll be drought tolerant too, once established. The photo shown was taken at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia. A lake is one thing we lack here at Shady Gardens. Perhaps one day we can install one of those manmade lakes…

January 24, 2008

Rain Barrel: Save Water for Future Drought!

Well, we went from no rain in sight with creeks drying up all over the place to large amounts of rain every few days! Wow! It just goes to show you we can never underestimate the power of prayer! The fact that rain is sometimes plentiful and then scarce again has prompted many gardeners to devise methods of saving that precious water for hard times. One method of rain collection that is becoming more popular is the rain barrel. I’ve seen numerous methods of building such a collection system, some quite expensive. One thing we in Georgia must consider is mosquito control, but safety is an important concern as well—it must be impossible for children and small animals to get into the barrel which would contain perhaps several feet of water. In addition to holding down costs on your water bill, it is wise to conserve and protect our most important resource—water. Ready made Rain Barrels can be purchased, or you can build one yourself. The photo above shows how attractive a rain barrel can look, while conserving water at the same time. Walter Reeves has 2 different methods of building a rain barrel online at http://www.walterreeves.com/how_to/article.phtml?cat=26&id=1005. If building a rain barrel is a matter that interests you, and you live near Troup County, Georgia, you’ll want to attend the upcoming Watersmart Program sponsored by the Troup County Extension Service in February. The Watersmart Program is an instructional program presenting many different water smart ideas for homeowners. During this program, Jennifer Davidson will demonstrate how to build a rainbarrel. A very small fee will be charged for the program which will be at the Troup County Agricultural Center at 10 am on February 8, 2008. To register, please call the Troup County Extension Service at 706-883-1675.

January 22, 2008

Rain Collection Barrel is an Important Method of Water Conservation

Filed under: Barrel, Conservation, drought, Georgia, Rain, Water — shadygardens @ 2:35 pm

Well, we went from no rain in sight with creeks drying up all over the place to large amounts of rain every few days! Wow! It just goes to show you we can never underestimate the power of prayer!

The fact that rain is sometimes plentiful and then scarce again has prompted many gardeners to devise methods of saving that precious rain water for hard times. One method of rain collection that is becoming more popular is the rain barrel. I’ve seen numerous methods of building such a collection system, some quite expensive. One thing we in Georgia must consider is mosquito control, but safety is an important concern as well—it must be impossible for children and small animals to get into the barrel which would contain perhaps several feet of water.
In addition to holding down costs on your water bill, conserving and protecting our most important resource is good for the environment.

Ready made Rain Barrels can be purchased, or you can build one yourself. The photo above shows how attractive a rain barrel can look, while conserving water at the same time. You can find online instructions for making two different types of rain barrels at http://www.walterreeves.com/how_to/article.phtml?cat=26&id=1005.

If building a rain barrel is a matter that interests you, and you live near Troup County, Georgia, you’ll want to attend the upcoming Watersmart Program sponsored by the Troup County Extension Service in February. The Watersmart Program is an instructional program presenting many different water smart ideas for homeowners. During this program, Jennifer Davidson will demonstrate how to build a rain barrel. A very small fee will be charged for the program which will be at the Troup County Agricultural Center at 10 am on February 8, 2008. To register, please call the Troup County Extension Service at 706-883-1675.

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