Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger Hunt  Write in the names 

By office (in front and beside the office)

  1. Find a Lover from the South

 

  1. You can play me in a band

 

Annual Area Black shade cloth area across the drive from the office

  1. Find three annuals with a food in their names

 

  1. A butterfly-loving annual that you would wear around your head or neck or stuff in your back pocket

 

Fruits and Herb area across the drive from house #1

  1. There are two drinks in my name but you don’t drink me

 

  1. Find three herbs with “Lemon” in their names

 

Outside of House #1

  1. “I have been tricked” summer flowering perennial

 

  1. Find two characters from the same fairy tale.

 

  1. Showing a celestial object some love

 

Front half of House #1 the sun perennials

  1. Series of funny cop movies

 

  1. A Donald Trump vine

 

Back half of House #1 shade perennials

  1. Find six varieties of ferns

 

  1. Joyful Royalty

 

Walk About area  open area above the rose house with sun-loving shrubs

  1. A “Leo’s” good looks (hint: look to the stars)

 

  1. A sweet dessert

 

  1. Two tart flavors are part of my name

 

Top green house before the barn and across from the chickens

  1. A movie snack

 

  1. A season that never finishes

 

  1. Seasonal Contract

 

Who doesn’t love fresh, juicy strawberries?

Have you thought about growing your own?
 
Strawberries are pretty easy to grow, but do require some soil preparation and attention during the growing season.
 
Start by locating a sunny spot in the yard where your patch will receive at least 8 hrs of sun.  Prepare your soil as you would a vegetable garden; adding compost or organic matter.  Our Big Bag Beds are perfect for strawberries and require no digging.
 
Plant your strawberries about 24 inches apart as they will quickly fill in with runners.  Fertilize with an organic fertilizer in the early spring, June, and again in September.
 
Some varieties of strawberries are early blooming , providing one large crop in June, while others are ever-bearing and usually produce three harvest a year.
 
Plant this spring, and you will be plucking strawberries by summer.

Is Your Garden Complete?

Ignoring the fact that our gardens are never finished, I was heading in a different direction with this question.
 
Quite often we base our plant selections on visual appeal. Sometimes we are drawn to a fragrance, and for many of us it stops here. If this describes you, I encourage you to consider a few other senses and emotions.
 
Sound is wonderful in the garden, and can set the mood.  Running water from a fountain or waterfall adds tranquility. As Kari mentioned to me,  hearing the chirping of invited birds in the morning will certainly put a smile on your face.  Plant colors, combinations and textures also play a role in setting the mood of your garden. An array of warm colors such as reds, yellows, and oranges are stimulating, while shade of blues, greens and white bring calm.  
 
Another aspect to completing our garden is bringing back memories.  Kari is slowly filling our front garden with violets and lily of the valley because she remembers both from her childhood.  For many of us, the joy we get from memories our garden brings can be the most gratifying.
 
Let us know how we can help you step closer to completing your garden this spring.-Eric

A Welcoming Focal Point at Your Front door

For various reasons many of us don’t get as excited about planting our front annual beds each year.  Problem is this can leave our landscape lacking in color or interest.  
 
Patio trees make a wonderful focal point, and with some imagination can be show-stopping. 
 
Patio trees can be evergreen like the spruce in the photo, or can be flowering shrubs such as hydrangeas or ninebark. The concept is having a small 3-5′ tall tree standing out from the landscape that provides addition interest with color or texture without covering up the house.
 
Often we under plant the specimen tree we choose with a ground cover such as thyme, heucheras, ferns, or something bright such as lemon ball sedum.  Of course annuals also can be used.  Incorporating small garden boulders adds additional year-round interest.  The look can be simple with a patio tree and ground cover or annuals, or you can combine textures like Heather did in this display.  Stop by our Woodstock nursery, and let us show you some combinations to make your yard stand out.

5 Tips to Reduce Our Gardening Chores

1. Proper pruning leads to less pruning. Shearing your plants actually promotes an abundance of new growth. Prune judiciously removing entire branches from within the plant, or cutting branches back to where another branch originates. This type of pruning will not promote near as much new growth, and is healthier for the plant.
 
2. Mulch your beds. A good layer of mulch will help control weeds, and aid the soil in retaining moisture for your plants.
 
3.Using a slow-release organic fertilizer will keep your soil and plants happy and healthier
 
4. Consider a pre-emergence to keep weeds from germinating.  Some like the Espoma Weed Preventer are all organic
 
5. A shift in perspective can help some of us. Balancing our desire for a perfectly manicure landscape with accepting that we are dealing with nature can go a long way in reducing our work load. 

David Austin passes leaving an incredible legacy

“Every day I marvel at my good fortune to have been able to make a life out of breeding roses. My greatest satisfaction is to see the pleasure my roses give to gardeners and rose lovers worldwide.”

Even as a child growing up on a farm in England, David Austin had a fascination with breeding plants, but it was a gift from his sister for his twenty-first birthday that sparked what was to become his legacy. That gift was a book on roses.

David soon began growing roses both old and modern. While he was impressed with the wide array of colors and the ability of hybrid teas to re-bloom, David felt they lacked the beauty, fragrance and charm of the Old Roses. Short on experience, David made up with ambition, and decided to start breeding roses that would combine the best of the Old Roses with the positive attributes of the modern roses.  The seed of what we today call English Roses had been planted.

In 1961 at age 35 David Austin successfully created the first viable rose of the nearly 200 rose varieties bearing his name. He named it Constance. It would take another twenty years to begin to make a name as a rose breeder. In 1983 Mr. Austin took three of his roses to the annual Chelsea Flower Show. Among those roses was his now famous Graham Thomas Rose. His success that year began a tradition, with rose lovers eagerly anticipating his new introductions at this show each year.

Now in its third generation, David Austin Roses continues to be a family business. His legacy grows with each new rose, and we are the beneficiaries of his legacy.

David Austin senior passed in December at 92.

(Graham Thomas English Rose)

Gardening success starts with this easy test

Why should we have our soil tested?

  • To know if our soil has nutrient deficiencies
  • To know if the ph level is within range. If it’s not then can’t take up nutrients
  • Help diagnose plant or lawn problems, Need a complete picture as possible when determining what is going on

While most of us are not going to test our entire yards or all our planting beds, but really should for your lawn, vegetable garden and rose or perennial gardens where plants are heavy feeders

What will a soil test tell us.  Based on UGA Extension Office test.

Test will determine the following levels

Ph level soil acidity

Phosphorous

Potassium

Calcium

Magnesium

Zinc

Maganese

Test will provide recommendations to improve the soil and bring it within needed ph range

 What the soil test will not tell us

  • Nitrogen level as this can change quickly steadily adding organic matter will provide nitrogen Adding compost topdress, mulch breaking down, creating sustainable environment for worms and micro organisms
  • Presence of disease, fungus or toxins

When and how often should I have my soil tested?

  • Can sample at any time, but want to allow enough time to get results, treat the soil and allow the recommended additives to work before the growing season begins Fall or early winter would be ideal, but still time to do it now.
  • Every two or three years should be sufficient unless you are having problems

A Few Notes

  • Get a good picture of your bed’s soil by combining soil from different areas
  • To avoid skewed results, don’t take samples from right next to you compost pile, or up against your foundation or any slabs of concrete.
  • Depth is important-4” deep for lawns, 6” deep for planting beds as this is depth of most feeder roots.
  • Use clean tools and bucket
  • UGA Extension Office has sites explaining the procedure

 

Winter Landscapes Need Not be Boring

When we think about our landscaping or garden our minds seem to follow the seasons starting with the excitement of spring.  Often by the time late fall, and winter rolls around we think, okay, now we just have to wait until spring again, and give our landscape a pass for winter.

There is no real reason to settle for a lackluster look in our yards during the winter months.  Many plants we use to create color or interest during the other seasons, also provide winter appeal.  Setting aside gardens for the moment, we usually choose plants to solve a problem.  That problem may be a colorless landscape, needing privacy from the neighbors, or seeing too much of the fence surrounding our back yard.  There are dozens of plants to solve any of these as well as most landscape problem we want to conquer. With some forethought we can easily provide winter interest while at the same time hiding the neighbors or getting a little shade on the back patio.

Forever Goldy arborvitae can easily be used in place of the emerald green arborvitae to create a 10’ tall, yet narrow privacy screen. Now you have a bright yellow (contrasted with green) hedge to brighten a dreary winter day.  There are also many smaller growing yellow conifers to mix with your green shrubs to add winter interest to your front yard. Gold Pacific juniper comes to mind.

Back to needing some shade to make the patio tolerable late afternoon. There are a host of small-growing trees that can be planted in the vicinity, so why not choose one that catches your eye from inside during the dormant months. Sango Kaku (coral bark) Japanese maple comes to mind as does Paperbark maple.

As you know textures add interest. Ornamental grasses not only provide a contrasting texture to most plants, they also provide movement.  While standing brown in the winter they still draw the eye and add character.

Like colorful evergreen, hardscapes and boulders draw year-round attention. By default they add to the winter landscape, even when the plants surround them may be leafless, or cut back to the ground.

When choosing plants to solve a problem, or fill a space, think about all the seasons; we need not settle for a pretty yard nine months out of the year.

Do’s and Don’ts When Planting a Tree

Do’s

  • Planting a tree
  • Do dig the hole the same depth as the rootball
  • Do dig the hole at least twice as wide as the root ball
  • Do use your native soil when backfilling but you can allow as much as 25% be a soil amendment
  • Do loosen the roots from the sides and bottom (if container grown)
  • Do remove as much of the wire basket and burlap as possible (if balled and burlapped)
  • Do position the tree so it best side faces where its viewed from most
  • Do make sure the tree is straight as you backfill
  • Do mix your soil well, breaking up any large clumps of soil as you backfill
  • Do tamp the soil firmly around the rootball as you plant
  • Do make sure the top of the rootball is level or slightly above the surrounding soil
  • Do water the tree in well once planted. Allow the surrounding soil to become well saturated so water is not wicked away
  • Do mulch around the tree with pine straw or mulch
  • Do prune out any rubbing branches and any branches that are crisscrossing through the tree

 

Don’ts

  • Man-handle the tree. Avoid scratching the bark, sapping limbs, and breaking the root ball apart
  • Don’t use gravel or sand beneath the root ball to improve drainage
  • Don’t leave any burlap, strings, or trunk wraps on the tree
  • Don’t stake the tree unless deemed necessary
  • Don’t leave stakes on a tree for longer than 6 months
  • Don’t mound mulch up high around the trunk
  • Don’t damage the trunk with mower or weedeater
  • Don’t spray the trunk with herbicides
  • Don’t forget about your tree, it needs care
  • Don’t paint over tree wounds or pruning cuts
  • Don’t use any chemical such as insecticides or fungicides without reading and following the directions
  • Don’t clump fertilizer against the base of the tree

Tips for starting and maintaining a vegetable garden

You just can’t beat the taste of fresh vegetables and greens from your own garden. Add in the fact that you know exactly what you are feeding your family and where it came from, and that no pesticides or herbicides have been applied, and you’ll be smiling throughout the entire meal.

If you are considering starting your own vegetable garden here are a few tips to get you off to a successful start.

  • Choose an area with 6+ hours of sunlight
  • Make sure you can easily water your garden
  • Consider growing in raised beds or containers to best control the soil mix and moisture
  • Invest in your soil-we have recommendations
  • Start small with approximately 5-7 of your favorite vegetables
  • Mark your beds so you know what is where
  • Be proactive in preventing problems before they occur Life will be much easier
  • Read up on the vegetables you are growing so you can anticipate, identify and treat problems as they arise The UGA extension is a great source
  • Keep a journal of dates, weather, problems, etc to refer to next year.

Create fresh salads with these 10 easy-to-grow vegetables

  Bell Peppers

  Carrots

  Cucumbers

  Green Beans

  Lettuce

  Spinach

  Squash

  Tomatoes

  Zucchini

Start your garden from seed or starter plants. Seeds can be grown indoors now to set out after April 15thLast Frost Date. Starter plants can be purchased and set out after Last Frost Date

Make sure any chemicals and fertilizers are safe for use for food crops

Consider easy-to-grow fruits like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries