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.

February 3, 2014

February Pruning Tips for Alabama & Georgia Gardeners

Filed under: crepe myrtles, February, hydrangeas, prune, pruning, right, roses, shrubs, spireas, time, trees, when to, winter — shadygardens @ 5:41 pm
When to prune is a question I am asked almost every day. The best time to prune a flowering shrub is usually determined by when it blooms. Typically, a plant that blooms in Spring should not be pruned in Winter. The rule is, if it blooms before May, wait and prune after it blooms. If it blooms after May, that usually means it blooms on new wood, so if it needs pruning, do it in Winter.

Here’s a list of plants to prune in February:
  • Crepe Myrtle
  • Lilac Chaste Tree (Vitex)
  • Pomegranate
  • Summer-blooming Hydrangeas such as Annabelle and Peegee
  • Abelia
  • Holly
  • Summer Flowering Spireas like Anthony Waterer and Little Princess
  • Grapes and Muscadines
  • Roses, except the ones that bloom only once in Spring. Examples of roses that should not be pruned in Winter are Lady Banks and Caldwell Pink Climber.

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!

September 18, 2012

Fall: The Perfect Time for Planting Shrubs

Filed under: azaleas, Blueberries, fall, fothergilla, gardens, hydrangeas, nursery, plant, planting, Shady, shrubs, trees — shadygardens @ 1:25 pm

Fothergilla Mt Airy
In Fall at Shady Gardens Nursery

I cannot say this enough: 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!


(Reprinted with permission from Plant Native)

November 23, 2011

Filed under: autumn, azaleas, Blueberries, fall, gardens, Hydrangea, nursery, planting, Shady, shrubs, trees — shadygardens @ 1:21 pm
Fall is the best time to plant shrubs and trees. Autumn weather is cool, making gardening easier on us. In Fall, rain is more dependable, making planting easier on both the plant and the gardener. Here in Georgia, daytime temperatures can still be hot, but our nights are cooler. 

Fall is the best 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 a garden as beautiful as that shown in the photo above, 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 receiving more regular rainfall, you won’t have to water as often, but you should water your newly planted trees and shrubs anytime it hasn’t rained that week, especially as long as days continue to be hot and sunny. 

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!

To order unusual shrubs and trees for fall planting, visit Shady Gardens Nursery.

December 3, 2007

Arizona Cypress Loves the Georgia Drought

As rain continues to remain scarce, we are constantly seeking out drought tolerant plants that will beautify our garden. A couple of years ago, we discovered the stately yet durable Arizona Cypress. We’ve had 2 years of drought here in West Central Georgia. The Arizona Cypress trees are planted in the hottest, driest part of our garden where the soil is nothing but hard clay bricks. The columnar Arizona Cypress ‘Blue Ice’ has continued to grow taller and taller while maintaining its narrow form. We just love it. The blue color of the foliage is just as beautiful as the Colorado Blue Spruce, yet grows much better in our hot Georgia climate. Our Arizona Cypress Trees receive no supplemental water at all. Last year, in the middle of our summer drought, we added two more trees, and they have responded so well to the drought that we think they actually enjoy it! The Arizona Cypress does love the heat—as its name implies, it is a native of Arizona. The Arizona Cypress makes a great hedge or screen, and it is available in both a pyramidal form and a columnar form. Both are equally beautiful and they also make a great living Christmas Tree. Hardy in USDA Zones 7-10, the Arizona Cypress Tree will make a beautiful addition to your garden.

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