Tomato Tips!

June is a great time to grow tomatoes. With all the bright sunshine and warm soil, they will really thrive during this time if given proper attention. Here are some tips for growing the tastiest homegrown tomatoes. Before you plant, make sure that your soil is the right pH for tomatoes. Ideally it should test between 6.2 and 6.8. They also need plenty of room--most varieties thrive in about 18 inches to 3 feet of space. Add a little balanced fertilizer and your tomatoes will be happy. beautiful sliced tomatoes First, remember that tomatoes need a lot of light: at least eight hours or direct sunlight a day. To encourage the soil to stay warm, spread black plastic on the ground around your plants. This will also help control weeds and keep moisture in the soil. If you find that your plot isn’t getting enough sun, you can always work on ways to fix that. Hang white or reflective sheets to redirect the sunlight towards your tomatoes. On the other hand, your tomatoes can get overheated, so if they start to dry out under too much direct light, hang row covers where the sunlight is harshest. Tomatoes also need deep watering of 6 to 8 inches twice a week (more often in very dry environments or in times of low rainfall), and a space free of weeds. If you expect a sudden drop in temperature, cover your tomatoes with a lightweight fabric to protect them. Otherwise, you’re golden! Autumn Hill Nursery in Woodstock, GA has all the information, knowledge, and supplies you need to grow the best tomatoes possible. Contact us today and let’s get started!

Protect Your Plants from Heat Stress

There’s no denying that summer is here--temperatures are through the roof, and it’s only getting hotter! You know to take care of yourself in the heat, but did you know that your plants also need special care when it’s hot? Of course your succulents should be fine, but other, more delicate plants need extra attention. Here are some tips to help your plants deal with heat stress.
  • Water in the morning. You may have heard that it’s good for people start their day off with a glass of water. The same is true for plants! The earlier in the day you water, the more time roots have to absorb water before it evaporates from the soil. If you notice the leaves are still looking brittle, consider a secostick figure sweats under the hot sunnd watering later in the day.
  • Mulch (where appropriate). Obviously there are some plants that don’t like mulch, but in general, mulch is a great way to protect your plants’ roots from the summer sun. Mulch reflects heat away from the soil, which prevents evaporation and diffuses heat. At Autumn Hill Nursery in Woodstock, GA, we have a great selection of pre-made mulches, and can also give you tips on creating your own.
  • Shade cloths. Doctors recommend that people stay under shade during the hottest part of the day, when the sunlight is most direct, to avoid sunburn. This can also help your plants! Some plants will thrive even under the harshest sunlight, but for the rest, a shade cloth placed high enough to allow adequate airflow can be a great tool.
  • Bonus tip: make sure your indoor plants aren’t too close to the window. Glass conducts heat, and your poor potted plant can get cooked! Give them a few feet of space to really thrive.
Don’t forget to contact Autumn Hill Nursery with questions! With a little extra care, your garden can thrive this summer.

Fun with Terra Cotta Pots

Terra cotta planters are popular with gardeners, and with good reason: they’re versatile, sturdy, and provide a great living space for most plants. They can also be a great backdrop for your artistic leanings! Here are some ideas for fun projects to do with your terra cotta planters. terra cotta flower pots Paint them. Painting your pots can be as simple or as complicated as you’d like. The only thing you absolutely must do is make sure your pots are clean and dry--otherwise the only limit is your imagination! Any acrylic paint will work nicely, though you may want to dilute paint with a little bit of water to make it easier to spread evenly. Consider using stencils or decoupage for more complex designs. This is a great way to get children or grandchildren interested in gardening; give them their own pot to decorate and let them pick out a plant for it, and watch how quickly they become invested! Make things with them. Who says pots have to just be pots? From tiny pots on the top of a chandelier to several pots stacked into the shape of a lighthouse, there are so many ways to dress up your terra cotta planters. Put them all together. Several small pots filled with plants inside a large pot make a charming “mini-garden” to add to your porch, entryway, or backyard. At Autumn Hill Nursery in Woodstock, GA, we love to hear your ideas. Let us know what you’re thinking and we’d be happy to help! Come by our Woodstock location and let’s make your terra cotta planters into a summer project!

The Meaning of Roses

Giving flowers is a gift with a clear message: “I was thinking of you.” But did you know that flowers have a language all their own? Throughout history, different flowers have meant different things in different cultures. Roses in particular have developed a lot of symbolism.
  • wedgewood roseRed roses are most popular at Valentine’s Day, and with good reason--red symbolizes romantic love, desire, and passion. To avoid confusion, you probably only want to give red roses to your true love! In China red is a symbol of happiness and good luck, and worn at weddings the way many American brides wear white.
  • Yellow roses symbolize friendship and joy, which is why they are also used for “get well” bouquets. Yellow roses are great for children, friends, and family, as well as for sympathy.
  • Pink roses are a little more complicated. Dark pink roses are traditionally a symbol of gratitude. Light pink roses symbolize admiration and sweetness. Either way, the phrase “rose-colored glasses” feels very fitting.
  • White roses are much like white wedding dresses, in that they have come to symbolize purity over the last few hundred years. Before that, they actually symbolized true love, as red roses do now. Nowadays white roses are often used in bridal bouquets, and because they also represent remembrance, they can be used in funeral arrangements as well. 
Of course, these are only the most popular colors. Orange, purple, green, cream, and even multi-colored roses also exist! You can even find artificially colored black or blue roses (true black or blue doesn’t naturally occur in roses). Remember, the best rose to give to a person is whatever rose is their favorite. Come by Autumn Hill Nursery in Woodstock and see our spring 2017 roses today!

Gardening Don’ts

Summer is a great time for gardening! Long days and warm weather mean more time outside, especially with kids out of school. Autumn Hill Nursery in Woodstock wants your garden to be a success, so check out are some mistakes to avoid in your summer gardening!
  • butterflies on shrubDon’t over water. Especially if you live in a location that gets a lot of rainfall already, be careful about how often you water. Plants that are drowning in too much water can rot from the roots up.  
  • Don’t plant in the wrong place. Plants that need a lot of sunlight won’t do well on your covered patio, just as plants that like the shade won’t be happy next to your sunny mailbox. Make sure you know what each plant needs.
  • Don’t overuse pesticides. Be especially judicious with pesticides if you are trying to grow vegetables or attract butterflies and birds. You’ll want insects like bees around to pollinate your crop!
  • Don’t get sunburned. It’s easy to get caught up in the joy of gardening and not realize you’re being baked under the sun. Always wear sunscreen and reapply frequently. Make sure to cover exposed skin (long sleeves and pants will also protect against ticks), and avoid the sun when it’s the brightest, usually between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. Take care of yourself so you can take care of your garden!
  • Don’t get discouraged. You can do this! Gardening is as much about tenacity and passion as it is about in-depth knowledge.
Got a tricky situation you can’t figure out? Want to garden but don’t know where to start? Come chat with us at Autumn Hill Nursery--we’ve been doing this a long time, we have everything you need, and we would love to help you! Happy gardening!

Homegrown Eats for a Summer Barbecue

There’s nothing simpler, tastier, or more impressive to your guests than grilling up sides straight from the veggie garden. You can grow anything from tomatoes to cucumbers, or even herbs for summer cocktails! Dish up something delicious with these plants for a homegrown barbecue.

What to Plant for a Homegrown Barbecue

  1. Grow a veggie medley. What treats are growing in your summer veggie garden? If your barbecue has anything to say about it, a vegetable medley should include tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, shallots, squash, carrots, and anything else that makes your mouth water. Did you plant avocados in the summer garden? Slice one up to garnish a savory grilled veggie medley.
  2. grilled pineappleLet natural sweetness steal the show. Strawberries, blueberries, and other summer berries go perfectly with ice cream for dessert. Want to take your summer barbecue to the next level? Pick watermelon, peaches, apples, or strawberries from the summer garden, and plop them on the grill to create a caramelized sweetness that will get everyone talking.
  3. Add a pop of color. Not every plant you grow has to go on the grill. Pick an array of summer flowers to decorate the table for your barbecue. It’s the details that matter most!
  4. Garnish drinks from the herb garden. Before you serve up those cocktails, pick ginger, mint, or tomatoes (for Bloody Marys at a mid-morning cookout) from the garden. Fresh limes are a great garnish for anyone drinking beer. Homegrown fruit and herbs give your drinks a fresh twist, and your ingenuity will be the talk of the neighborhood!
For more tips on planting edible gardens for summer, visit Autumn Hill Nursery.

Mother’s Day Gifts to Make Smiles Bloom

Does your mom brighten over bulbs? Is a well-tended lawn the first thing on her weekend to do list? Does she love putting a personal touch on garden art? Autumn Hill Nursery has the best gifts for moms who love gardening. Just take a stroll through our gardening center!

Gardening Gifts for Mother’s Day

  1. boy hiding a roseManual labor. Does your mother love to chat about her “someday” garden bed? Put in the work so Mom can reap the rewards! Build her the raised bed of her dreams so she can plant a summer vegetable garden or a lush flowerbed.
  2. Beginner herb garden. Who doesn’t love using fresh herbs in the kitchen? Gift your mom with a starter kit that includes small ceramic containers or hanging planters, soil, and seeds. We can practically taste that fresh oregano!
  3. Landscape design. Has your wife talked about how outdated, overgrown, or lackluster the landscape is? Autumn Hill Nursery can help! Our landscape artists will redesign the front, back, or side garden for just $175. We’ll even give you a discount on purchasing plants that day!
  4. Gardening workshop. Is your wife, mother, or sister an amateur artist? Cover her materials fee at one of our gardening workshops like the Garden Art Party on May 13th or Ladies Night on May 24th.
  5. Does your mom lack a green thumb? That’s okay! You can give her the perfect garden by creating a fairy garden for her front porch or kitchen table. It’s a great project for kids who want to give Mom a homemade gift for Mother’s Day.
Find the perfect Mother's Day gift at Autumn Hill Nursery.

Keep Roses Flourishing All Summer

You’ve waited all year for the rose garden to bloom. You pre-ordered roses in January, waited at the garden center to nab the first batch off the truck, and tenderly planted them in an honored place in your garden. Now it’s time to dig into the nitty gritty of rose gardening: summer care.

Nutrition and Hydration

Are your roses wilting? You would too if you were stuck out in the heat all day! Roses grow a lot during the summer, which depletes their energy reserves. Keep your roses healthy by sticking to a feeding and watering schedule. Deep soak roses at least once a week while they’re flowering. Feed roses with an organic fertilizer or rose food compound. Add organic material like compost or mulch to the soil to keep it nutrient-rich.

Pretty and Pruned

cut roses in basketAre your roses looking a little bedraggled? After early summer flowers fade, rose bushes often need a boost. Lightly prune flowering stems in addition to deadheading spent blooms. Your rose bushes should flower again within 3-4 weeks. You can continue light pruning to encourage rose reblooming until about a month before the first frost.

Keep Roses Healthy

If you want to take a hands-off approach, choose a rose variety that’s resistant to disease. Regularly clean up lawn debris like twigs, weeds, and spent flowers and leaves from the base of your rose bush. Always prune with clean shears to prevent the spread of disease. Catch insect infestations early, and treat with organic aphid control whenever possible. Autumn Hill Nursery doesn’t just supply rose plants, we also supply expert advice on planting and maintaining rose bushes. If you're looking for rose bushes, gardening tools, or top-notch advice, visit our Woodstock gardening center.

Make Waves with Summer Annuals

For the non-gardeners in our lives, the sight of pollen dusting every surface indicates the arrival of spring. But for landscapers it’s a sign that spring is almost over. As pansies begin to wither and other spring flowers spend their blooms, it’s time to look towards the next season. How and when should you prepare flowerbeds for summer annuals? Autumn Hill Nursery has the answers.

Preparing to Plant Summer Annuals

Before stocking up on your favorite annuals at Autumn Hill Nursery, prepare your soil for planting. Georgia summers have harsh conditions, so your beds should be rich and full of nutrients. Add organic matter to the soil. This will help retain moisture, which your flowers will need in the heat of summer. Buy quality plants that show no signs of wilt or disease. And don’t forget to invest in mulch, which suppresses weeds and helps plant roots retain moisture.

When to Plant Summer Annuals

begonia flower on blue backgroundSummer annuals should be planted in late spring, when the ground temperature reaches the mid-60’s. Keep an eye on your pansies to determine when it’s time. When they start to fade, it’s time to plan summer annuals. This usually occurs around the last week of April. Plant seeds for summer annuals like marigold, zinnia, cosmos, and celosia. This is also the ideal time to plant dahlias, caladiums, elephant ear, and gladiolus. Wait a week or two before planting begonias, geraniums, petunias, coleus, and vinca. Prepare for a long and glorious summer full of eye-catching color! Ready to revitalize the garden? Visit Autumn Hill Nursery for fresh summer annuals in Woodstock.

Sun? Part shade? What do these terms mean?

Strolling through a garden center we are eventually going to be drawn to a particular plant. Reading the plant tag, we are already imagining where it will look good in our yard, and then we come to the dreaded sun/part shade… line. Confusion sets in quicker than the guilt from visiting your mother-in-law. What’s full sun? What’s the difference between partial sun or partial shade? Does shade mean absolutely no sunlight? Let’s try to explain these sun exposure terms in a way that makes sense when determining how much sun a plant needs or tolerates.
  • Full Sun:  An area that receives a total of 6 hours or more of direct sunlight.  Even an area on the north side of the house could be considered full sun if it gets 3 hours of sun in the morning, then 3 additional hours of sun as it sets in the west.
  • Partial Sun or Partial Shade: We can interchange these terms. 3-6 hours of direct sunlight best describes this situation.
  • Dappled Sun: When an area goes in and out of direct sun; usually as a result if surrounding deciduous trees.
  • Full Shade: An area receiving less 3 hours of direct sunlight, especially if it is morning sunlight.
Often we see a range of sunlight conditions on a plant tag or nursery sign. It might say full sun/part sun. This means the plant will thrive with less than 6 hours of sunlight, but will also tolerate 6 or more hours of direct sun.  The opposite is part shade/full shade. Here this means this plant will do fine with little or no direct sun, but may also tolerate 3-5 hours of direct sun.
  • A Word of Caution: Plant tags from the grower are often generic to cover all the climate zones where the plant will live. A pieris in Vermont will thrive in full sun, but here in the South it suffers and dies in our hot afternoon sun.  It is better to ask questions, or research what a particular plant needs to thrive in our climate before making decisions.