ShadyGardens Blog

May 28, 2014

Rare White Spider Lilies: Hymenocallis coronaria

Filed under: Uncategorized — shadygardens @ 1:32 pm
Hymenocallis coronaria Shoal Lilies at Flat Shoals Creek

Hymenocallis coronaria Shoal Lilies at Flat Shoals Creek

This weekend we had the opportunity to visit a local property that is blessed with the very rare Hymenocallis coronaria. We call them Shoal Spider Lilies, because they are growing in Flat Shoals Creek, but this same plant is called Cahaba Lilies in Alabama, since they are growing there in the Cahaba River.

These Flat Shoals Lilies, as I call them, bloom only once a year. The blooms last 2 or 3 weeks, depending on the weather. This year, they bloomed a little later than normal because our winter was so reluctant to leave.

Hymenocallis coronaria resembles an amaryllis and is in the same family. Large white blooms about 3 inches wide are quite showy and held above tall stems. Foliage is strappy, like a lily.


The Shoal Lilies grow in full sun in the fast-moving water of rivers and large creeks.

The flowers attract a variety of pollinators but are especially enjoyed by the Pipevine Swallowtail.

Hymenocallis coronaria is found in only 3 Southern states: Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. This lily species is threatened due to several practices caused by us humans. The damming of rivers has caused the greatest threat, but pollution of the rivers caused by development, logging, and mining as well as poaching have also played a part in the reduction of Shoal Lily populations. Poaching is when an individual takes a plant or animal and sells it or uses it to his own advantage without consideration for the actual animal or plant itself. When a plant is listed on the threatened or endangered list, one should not dig it to take to his own garden or sell to others. This is practice is wrong and I believe punishable by law.

January 12, 2014

Gardening in the South: Deer Country

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Azaleas are a favorite snack for Deer 
As lovers of animals, we welcome all wildlife into our garden, even deer and squirrels. We enjoy seeing the squirrels run and play among the oak trees and we like it when we awake to watch deer eating fallen acorns early in the morning fog. What we do not like, though, is taking a walk in our woodland garden to find that the deer have apparently enjoyed an all night buffet in our hosta bed, or enjoyed the tender buds of our blueberry bushes holding bloom buds that would have become juicy berries for our children.

We would like to enjoy the investments we’ve made in our garden. Plants can get expensive. So what do we do about it? Getting rid of the deer is not an option for us. Fencing must be at least 10 feet tall and surround the whole garden to be effective. Deer deterrant sprays are too expensive and are just temporary, having to be resprayed after every rain or watering.

The best option we’ve come up with is to plant things deer do not eat. Many of the plants disliked by deer come with a strong fragrance which will fool the deer into thinking there’s nothing there they want. For every plant they like, we try to plant one they don’t.

Unfortunately, many of our native plants are tasty to deer. Afterall, God created a food source for the animals when he made the animals. If you have the space, you might just want to plant plenty of the plant, hoping when they eat, they’ll leave some for you to enjoy.

But there are a few easy to find native plants deer don’t like, and here’s a list to give you some ideas:
  • Buckeye
  • Butterfly Weed
  • Coreopsis
  • Iris
  • Native Ferns
  • Magnolia
  • Mountain Laurel
  • Sedums
  • Verbena
  • Witch Hazel
  • Yarrow

The deer-resistant plant list can be lengthened if you consider adding some non-native, yet non-invasive, plants to your garden. Herbs are great, since their scent is not a favorite of deer. Rosemary has helped us much, making a great companion plant for our native dry roadside garden.

January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

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December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

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September 11, 2013

Remembering Those We Lost on September 11, 2001

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April 6, 2013

Shadow: Beloved Dog, Best Friend

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Our Beloved Shadow, a few years ago
Shadow, our beloved lab, has left this world. She was our loyal friend to the end. 

Lately, it has been hard for her to walk. Arthritis in her hip made walking painful for her. Yesterday, she had a stroke. Her doctor was kind enough to come out to the house to check on her for us, so that we didn’t have to move her and risk hurting her. 

We were lucky that we were all able to be with her. She died peacefully. Her final resting place is in our shade garden. 

Today our hearts are broken. She will be missed. Rest in Peace, beautiful girl. We will see you again one day, in Heaven, because I know you are there.

December 19, 2012

Merry Christmas

Filed under: Uncategorized — shadygardens @ 1:23 pm
Merry Christmas, from our Family at Shady Gardens

October 14, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — shadygardens @ 1:26 pm

is my favorite time of the year.  I just
love the cool, crisp air which makes walking in the garden so much more
enjoyable. I enjoy Fall gardening for the same reason—it’s cooler. 

I am a
sucker for a fall-blooming plant.  I’m
always on the lookout for something new, so I thought I’d share with you some
of my findings. 

Pink Muhly Grass, Muhlenbergia Capillaris

Pink Muhly Grass is hard to find, but when you see it, you’ll love the pink fluffy plumes that arise from the foliage in September. This plant is beautiful when planted in mass, but also makes a great specimen. Muhlenbergia capillaris is it’s botanical name, and this plant looks great with fall blooming asters. 

Mistflower, Hardy Ageratum
Eupatorium coelestinum

Perennial Ageratum is another eye-catcher with its bright lavender blooms that return each year in September. Also known as Mistflower, this perennial is a member of the Eupatorium family. You might find it labeled Eupatorium Coelestinum. The blooms look just like the annual ageratum, but this plant returns reliably each year, as long as you can water it during dry periods. All plants in the Eupatorium family require moisture to thrive. Which might make you wonder why I included this plant in my list, but I couldn’t help showing you these wonderful flowers behind the greenhouse. This spot does receive regular water from our sprinklers.

Berries tickle me as well, because I know they’ll bring birds into the garden. One of my favorites is American Beautyberry with its deep magenta berries that are in clusters wrapped around the stem. The berries hang onto the stems even after the leaves have dropped, providing interest on into the winter. If purple isn’t your thing, a rare white form and a pink form can be found in specialty nurseries. 

American Beautyberry, Shady Gardens Nursery
Tiny Flowers on Tea Olive perfume the Garden

Tea Olive
is a large evergreen shrub that blooms later in the fall with tiny but very
fragrant blooms that smell like fresh apricots. A single plant can fragrance a
whole garden! It’s hard to believe these tiny flowers pack such a punch.  

Well, I know it does not feel like fall outside here in Georgia today, but this is as much of a fall as we’re likely to get. So while the weather is nice, get out there and plant something. That’s where I’m headed right now!

June 2, 2012

Oakleaf Hydrangea: Easy to Grow Native Plant

Filed under: Uncategorized — shadygardens @ 12:18 pm
Hydrangea quercifolia Alice already taking on her rosey glow
Oakleaf Hydrangea is my favorite hydrangea, because it’s beautiful in every season! 

In winter, the branches exhibit lovely cinnamon colored exfoliating bark, and the large flower buds already forming are attractive. 

In spring, the new leaves are a reddish purple. 

In summer, there are the very large panicles of white blooms that turn purplish by summer’s end, hanging on into fall. 

In fall, the leaves turn a rich mahogany red, contrasting beautifully with the then dried rosy brown flower stalks used by many in floral arrangements. 

Oakleaf hydrangea is one of our most beautiful American native shrubs, and should be in every garden, especially native plant gardens! 

Hydrangea quercifolia is much easier to grow than other hydrangeas. The fact that it is native to the southeastern United States is probably the reason for that. It’s accustomed to our summer droughts, making it more drought-tolerant than other hydrangeas. It isn’t picky about soil. And oakleaf hydrangea can take more sun than most other hydrangeas. 

And I believe it really is true that you learn something every day, because, although you might already know this, I didn’t realize until this year as I passed our largest shrub that the Oakleaf Hydrangea is fragrant!

April 8, 2012

Happy Easter from Shady Gardens Nursery

Filed under: Uncategorized — shadygardens @ 12:23 pm
Easter: A Celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus, Our Saviour

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