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.


May 2, 2013

Selling Plants Online: How to Package Plants for Shipping

Filed under: how to, nursery, online, package, plants, sell, ship — shadygardens @ 5:38 pm

In our previous post, we explored your options for selling plants online. If you missed that post, you might first want to read Selling Plants Online: How to Do It.

Once you have decided what plants to sell online and where you will sell them, you must figure out how to best package the plants so they can reach their destination safely.

We have found the United States Postal Service to be the best fit for our shipping needs, but you might prefer UPS or FedEx. No matter which carrier you choose, every package carrier is harsh on packages sometimes. It is your responsibility as the seller to package your plants safely to protect the plant.

When shipping perishable items such as live plants, it is imperative to use a quick shipping method such as USPS Priority Mail or UPS ground which both take about 3 days to reach their destination. By the way, if you choose to ship with USPS, they offer free shipping materials for shipping with Priority Mail.

Shipping plants bare root is fine during the dormant season, but I prefer to ship plants with the soil ball intact. This means less transplant shock for the plant, and it is important that mail order plants arrive healthy and still moist to insure the plant will adjust quickly to its new home. Shipping the plant with soil ball enables shipping year round, so I am not limited to shipping only during the dormant season.

The plants you decide to sell will be up to you. Once you’ve settled on what to offer, the following steps will help to insure your success as an online seller:

  1. Prepare the plant for shipping by watering it thoroughly and allowing it to drain. 
  2. Prune away any unsightly stems prior to shipping. 
  3. Make sure all plants are labeled, especially if your customer has purchased more than one plant. 
  4. Remove plant from the pot carefully to avoid damage to the plant and its root system. 
  5. Shake off any loose soil but leave soil around the roots. This will cushion the roots and help roots stay moist during shipping.
  6. Wrap soil ball with a few sheets of newspaper and then with plastic or just do what I do and insert the paper-wrapped soil ball into a recycled plastic bag and tie it up completely.
  7. Include in the package growing instructions for the plants you are shipping, whether it is a general planting instruction sheet or detailed to fit the individual plant. By doing this you will save the buyer some time and they will appreciate the way you do business. Also, it will cut down on phone calls and emails asking you questions about growing preferences for the plant. 
  8. If the plant has tall stems wrap the topgrowth in a few sheets of newspaper to cushion them and also to protect them from tangling with the other plants in the package. 
  9. Securely attach the plant to the box by taping the rootball into the box. This will prevent slipping around and breaking of the stems. Taping the rootballs to each other as well as to the inside of the box will help to keep any sliding from occurring. 
  10. Enclose any shipping papers you intend to include – I include a cover letter thanking the customer for their order. This makes sure they have our information so they can purchase from us again. Any personal information about your company just helps the customer feel connected to you.
  11. Securely tape the package closed using package tape. 
You are now ready to ship the plants to their new home.

Check back soon for our next installment of the series on Selling Plants Online: Shipping Methods.

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.



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!

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.

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.

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