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.

A Beginner’s Guide to Edible Gardening

Your family can indulge in fresh, flavorful vegetables, herbs, and fruit without trekking to the farmer’s market. Don’t be intimidated by the idea of planting an edible garden. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.

1. Make a Plan

fresh herbs thyme, rosemary, sage and oreganoIf this is your first attempt at edible gardening, we recommend starting small. Build a raised bed or arrange a several planters on the back porch. Some herbs can thrive indoors, where they’re ripe for plucking to flavor a spring feast. As yourself which of your favorite favorite spring and summer edibles are easiest to grow. Pick a handful of plants and make sure their growing conditions sync up. Then it’s time to dig in!
  • Spread nutrient-rich soil in a garden container or raised bed
  • Visit Autumn Hill Nursery to stock up on seeds or seedlings
  • Make the most of your vegetable or herb garden by utilizing the square foot gardening technique
  • Label your crops for an organized garden

2. Show Your Garden a Little TLC

Make sure your edible garden receives the water and nutrients each plant needs to grow. After all, those nutrients will be nourishing you soon enough!
  • Weed weekly
  • Water regularly
  • Let the pollinators buzz around—they’ll help your plants produce more fruit
  • Keep an eye out for pests or disease

3. Eat Up!

Is your tomato plant bearing fruit? Has your dill flourished? Enjoy the fruits of your labor by cooking up some tasty summer meals. Share your bounty with the neighbors, get inventive with recipes, and relish the difference fresh ingredients makes in your cooking! And don’t forget to save seeds for next year’s planting. Do you need help starting an edible garden? Visit Autumn Hill Nursery in Woodstock.

Mind Your Colors

We all want color in our landscape, preferably year-round color from flowering shrubs, and colorful foliage.  Planning our landscape, and trying to decide which plants to use isn’t always easy or straightforward. Maybe we see a plant in a neighbor’s yard we like, or while browsing our favorite nursery (aka Autumn Hill) a plant may jump out at us. In our minds we are collecting plants, and deciding where they can be used. The plants we choose might all work in their allotted spaces, but will they all work together color-wise? Will they work with your house?   Here are a few scenarios to help illustrate some of the factors  we need to keep in mind.
  1. Make sure the plants going up against your house contrast well with the color of your house. Gold or chartreuse foliage against a yellow house is not going to show well. On the other hand, the dark green foliage of distyliums would provide quite a contrast and complement one another. Let’s say out from there we want to plant the weeping maroon leaf maple we fell in love with as a focal point. So far this works great, just don’t plant maroon leaf loropetalums next to it as then the two compete, and your focal point suddenly isn’t so focal. Before we move on from the japans maple, let’s look up at the house. Does the maroon foliage look good with house and trim colors? Looks good in your mind? Great, now we’ll move on to the kaleidoscope abelias you like. These will look good in front or to the side of the maroon japanese maple right? You bet, nice contrast and works well with the green backdrop of the distyliums. Next our spouse who really like the lemon ball sedums want to plant them in front of the abelias. Whoa Nellie, you two are going to have to decide between one or the other because next to each other is just too much yellow. Trade the yellow sedum for ice plant or thrift, and you are back in business color-wise.
  2. Now let’s move to that shady tree line in the back yard. We already have some beautiful orange-blooming native azaleas, and a handful of native white dogwoods scattered in the natural area. Some encore azaleas would be nice to give some color spring and fall. The coral encores jump out at us, so we buy a few and take them home and plant them in front of the native azaleas. Looking up from our work we notice our spouse on the deck with their head cocked. We turn back around only to see our coral azaleas blooming in front of the orange azaleas. Not the best combination of color. Now if the two azaleas are blooming at different times form one another then you have no worries. Our spring blooming weigela is never going to bloom at the same time as our crape myrtle so we don’t have to give this plant combination a second thought. But the hydrangeas we are planting will overlap with the crape myrtle. Are the colors going to work with each other? While we are resting on our shoveling wondering of the nursery will take back the coral azaleas after you planted them (the answer is no by the way) we notice the white dogwoods and realize the white will work with any color. Hmm, that a good thing to know.
  Are you getting the picture? Our plants are seldom stand-alone items in our yard, and we have to take time to consider the surrounding colors. Striving for a balance of color that is stimulating while  not so chaotic that it simply doesn’t work can be a fine line, and seldom happens by accident.  A little forethought can make all the difference.

How to Plant a Butterfly Garden

Do you love watching butterflies flit from plant to plant like flower petals that have taken wing? Butterflies enhance the landscape, adding beauty and vitality to spring and summer gardens. But simply attracting butterflies isn’t enough. Plant a butterfly garden that sustains butterflies through their entire life cycle.

How to Design a Butterfly Garden

  • butterflies on shrubLet there be light. Choose a sunny spot. Most plants that attract butterflies require at least 6 hours of sunlight a day.
  • Bring on the baby food. Caterpillars often have different food sources than butterflies. Butterflies lay their eggs on plants that caterpillars favor, so the next generation gets plenty of nutrients as they grow. Dill, fennel, milkweed, parsley, and white clover are good choices for caterpillars.
  • Plant eye-catching nectar. Attract butterflies to the garden by planting bright flowers with tasty nectar. Different butterfly varieties prefer different nectar-rich plants, so do your homework before designing a butterfly garden. You can also set out saucers of sliced fruit to attract certain types of butterflies.
  • Don’t be shy. Butterflies like big displays of single-color plants. The wild shrubs of English gardens will give your landscape a comfortable, classic feel and attract butterflies to your garden. Don’t have a lot of space? Use the thrill, spill, fill technique to attract butterflies to container gardens.
  • Serve a refreshing beverage. Butterflies love the nutrient-rich water that gathers on the edges of puddles and ponds. If the only water source in your garden is the bird bath, sprinkle sand on the bottom of a shallow saucer of water and set it in the garden for butterflies.
Autumn Hill Nursery has the plants (and the pro tips) you need to plant a butterfly garden in Woodstock.

Celebrating 25 Years with Autumn Hill Nursery

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 25 years since Eric and Kari put their passion for gardening into a risky venture: creating a community-driven garden center right here in Woodstock. They’ve spent the last 25 years digging in the dirt, giving educational gardening talks, bringing folks in Woodstock together with club meetings and special events, and investing in the heart of our community through a mutual love of gardening.

Who Is Autumn Hill Nursery?

grateful deadheadersWe’ll tell you what we’re not: a paper cutter nursery where folks buy what they need and hit the road. We’re all about learning, sharing, and growing. That’s why we want to learn about your gardening projects, share our knowledge (earned through years of landscaping successes and failures), and grow together, in real life as well as in the garden. If you want to share great ideas, learn how to tackle a challenging project, or just stroll through carefully-tended garden paths shooting the breeze, Autumn Hill Nursery is the garden center for you.

What Folks Have to Say about Us

There’s nothing we love more than hearing from all of you!
Love this place! We have purchased all kinds of things from hard to find roses, hanging plants, vegetable plants, blueberry bushes and Christmas trees! The staff are always helpful, willing to listen and provide helpful tips and advice if you need it. We are happy to support this local business! — Carrie Jones (5 Stars on Google) Autumn Hill Nursery offers comparable trees and plants to nursery chain locations. But in addition (value added) they offer staff who will share their expertise in a down to earth manner. Plus you can be assured that the owner is on top of all operations and is available if you desire his involvement. — Dennis Burnette (5 Stars on Facebook) Autumn Hill has been my 'go to' nursery for purchase, design and installation for over 20 years. They stand behind their plants, [and] have very knowledgable staff to assist you! Congratulations on 25 years in business Eric and your team! — Dianna Malta (5 Stars on Facebook)
Thank you for investing in us as we invest in you. Here’s to the next 25 years at Autumn Hill Nursery!

Finding Balance in Your Landscape

When I meet clients for a landscape design, they often show me photos of overflowing cottage gardens, lush landscapes or huge stone patios complete with a fireplace and a backdrop of terraced walls.   What we are falling in love with is a snapshot of a beautiful landscape or inviting garden.  My job is to help turn their dream into a reality. My job sometimes also entails explaining the reality of the photo they are sharing.   Take the wonderful cottage garden full of flowers. What we don’t see is how completely bare this garden is in the winter. Not shown is how hard someone works maintaining the beds; controlling aggressively spreading perennials, staking top heavy stalks or the constant pruning and deadheading. A garden like this takes a commitment that many of us simply don’t have.  As a designer I have to help the client strike a balance between color and maintenance.   Flawless lawns and flower beds don’t manage themselves, and again the commitment may be more than expected.  Either we are going to spend quite a bit of our time tending to the landscape, or we are going to pay someone who hopefully knows what they are doing to maintain it for us.   Stone patios, walls and fire place are visually appealing, and the idea of hanging out with friends by the fire tugs at us emotionally. Unfortunately our budgets may not allow for everything.  Often a stone patio outfitted with a portable fire pit is the compromise. We can capture the beauty of stone walls with scaled back dimensions. A few smaller accent walls along slope can be as, or even more, interesting than a long wall running the entire width of our back yard.   We should never stop looking at what others have created, or stop dreaming of beautiful gardens of our own. We just need to look a little beyond the snapshot, and realize there is a cost for everything; the price tag is just not always visible.      

Get Excited about These April Workshops

Spring has officially arrived, and we’re more excited than ever about our upcoming gardening workshops. What fun tutorials, education, and landscape design days can you look forward to in April?

April Workshops at Autumn Hill

  • Sat, April 8 at 11am – Welcome Spring Mini Garden: Mini gardens can spring up in existing gardens, grace tables in the house, or add life to old container gardens. Please RSVP and see our new spring collection! $20 for materials (container, soil, moss, and 3 plants). Additional items available to purchase.
  • rosemary on a cutting boardSat, April 8 at 11am – Herb Container Workshop: Spice food right from the stem. Build an herb garden for your home. RSVP and bring a $35 material fee (container, soil, and choice of herbs).
  • Sat, April 15 – Tweak Your Yard: Plan an idyllic reading nook in the garden, create a backyard space for entertaining, or redo the front yard. We’re giving you the chance to meet with a professional landscape designer for 30 minutes. Our garden architect will help you design a 500 sq. ft. space for just $25, and you’ll get 20% off any plants you purchase that day. Please call to schedule an appointment.
  • Sat, April 15 at 11am – Aromatherapy and Herbs for Medicinal Use: Which herbs and essential oils will improve your health and mood? RSVP and find out for just a $10 materials fee. We’ll be making a tincture you can take home.
  • Sun, April 22 at 11 am – Spring Container Workshop: Back by popular demand, we’re giving you the secret to successful container gardening. Thrill, fill, spill for just $35. Materials include a container, soil, and your choice of annuals and mulch.
  • Sat, April 29 at 11 am – Beneficial Insects and How to Attract Them to Your Garden: Attract worker bees to your garden (and learn why you need them). This is a free workshop! Just RSVP.
  • Sat, April 29 at 1pm - Build an Insect Hotel: Remember those insects you want to work in your yard? $20 and an RSVP will keep them happy with DIY digs for beneficial bugs.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Call Autumn Hill Nursery to reserve your spot at our April gardening workshops.

It All Begins on March 18th

Who’s ready to learn? Gardening workshops at Autumn Hill Nursery are fun way for local gardeners to hear from folks who have mastered the art of getting their hands dirty. Topics cover the gamut, from organic gardening to landscape maintenance to designing a well-balanced garden. We’ll even talk about gardening for native wildlife! And many of our workshops are free for the community. So come on out and get connected with gardeners in Woodstock.

Everything You Need to Know about Pruning (But Were Afraid to Ask)

woman shopping for potted plantsAre you petrified of pruning? The best way to overcome your fear is to laugh about it! Join Susan Franklin on Saturday, March 18th at 11am for an entertaining, informative chat about the how’s, when’s, and why’s of pruning every plant in your yard. She’s full of fun stories, technical terms like doohickeys and thingamabobs, and more knowledge than you can shake a well-pruned stick at! Our pruning workshop free, but please RSVP so we know who to expect.

Tweak Your Yard Day

Tweak Your Yard Day is a time-honored tradition at Autumn Hill Nursery. Join us Saturday, March 18th to discover the hidden beauty of your yard. Meet with one of our artistic designers to plan an idyllic outdoor entertaining area, patio planter perfection, or a timely redesign of your perennial garden. It’s all the benefits of a professional consultation for just $25. You’ll also get 20% off any plants you purchase that day! Please call ahead to schedule a 30 minute appointment and come prepared with photos and rough measurements of your yard. What would you like to learn about next? Spring gardening workshops are already on the calendar, but we’d love to get your feedback on summer workshops. Send us an email, comment on our Facebook page, or visit our Woodstock garden center to let us know!