Monthly Archives: August 2015

  1. Creating A Patio Garden Is A Fun And Rewarding Project

    Creating A Patio Garden

    Creating A Patio Garden Is A Fun And Rewarding Project

    Creating a patio garden can transform your patio into a celebration of the senses with beauty, fragrance, texture and color.  From unique dwarf trees like a Meyer Lemon, bushes in tree form, to colorful shrubs, seasonal perennials, even evergreens to create some privacy.  You are only limited by your space & your imagination. Here are some top tips from our Nursery Manager at Nature Hills Nursery.

    Utilize trees in pots.

    Small trees in big pots are great for patios that lack much ground for planting. A Windmill Palm, Juniper or Arborvitae evergreen will help block unattractive views and even create more privacy. Many Tree Forms offer a unique & compelling display with color & fragrances.  Knockout Rose Trees will bring you months of colorful blooms.  The Lilac Tree Forms offer color and amazing fragrance.

    Use plants to create 4 season interest.

    Selecting plants for the warmer months in spring and summer is relatively easy but try to include some interest for fall & winter.  Blue Prince Holly creates unique evergreen color all year.  Other evergreens that are kept well shaped will stand out against dull winter days. Red Twigged Dogwoods & Burning Bushes create dazzling fall color & winter interest. A good planting plan can turn your patio or porch space into a natural & beatuful environment with color, fragrance, different heights and 4 season appeal.

    Types of containers.

    Many sizes, styles, and colors of planters are available for use on porches and patios. You can select them to match your decor preferences. Some specific varieties of planters are especially suited to use on patios. Hayneedle.comhas a comprehensive Gardening Center.  They carry a wide selection of outdoor planters.  Raised Beds are also very popular. They’re a lot easier to tend to and give you a wide array of options.  From a simple arrangement of some perennials, to flowing ivy’s or other creeping plants.  You are limited only by your imagination.

    When shopping for a container, keep these 3 general guidelines in mind.

    • Make sure it is big enough for your plant(s) when they are fully grown.
    • The container should have adequate drainage.
    • Larger containers usually require less watering but the weight makes them more difficult to move
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  2. Pussy Willow Growth Rate

    Pussy Willow GrowthPussy Willow Growth

    Soon pussy willows, with their soft, touchable gray catkins, will be returning to the grocery stores and florists' shops. In my cold winter climate, those catkins won't show up outside for many, many weeks, but they are growing somewhere and merchandisers will be stocking up shortly to give us all a taste of spring. Whenever I see them, I wish once again for my own pussy willow bush. Having such a plant would not only provide me with armfuls of pussy willows for my own house, but give me the satisfaction of not having to pay for them.

    There are many willows (Salix) out there--trees and shrubs--and lots of them have flowers in the form of catkins. But not all of those plants have ornamental catkins. Among the most popular ornamental varieties are the giant silver pussy willow (Salix Chaenomeloides), the black pussy willow (Salix Gracilistylus "Melanostachys"), the french pussy willow (Salix Caprea) and the American native pussy willow (Salix Discolor).

    As the name suggests, the giant pussy willow, has large, silvery-pink spring catkins. The black variety features interesting black catkins accented with flashy red anthers. Salix discolor, which is distinguished by its cold tolerance, has lots of silvery catkins as well.

    This year I will get a pussy willow, at long last. I have a spot that has the consistently moist soil that members of the willow family require. Once my pussy willow is installed, I will prune it annually after it flowers to curb its vigorous growth habit. I will also surround it with other plants that provide more than one season of interest, as that is not a strong point with the pussy willow. Next year, I will not have to get my pussy willows at the grocery store.

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  3. Pine Tree Problem Area Landscaping Tips

    Pine Tree Problem Area Landscaping Tips

    The landscaping or grass under Pine Trees can have a tough time growing properly. This video explains what causes such problem areas under Pine Trees and offers tips on how to best handle the shaded, acidic area under pine trees.

    Transcript: Today on Garden Bytes, we are going to deal with a problem area that we have encountered. If you will step back and look at this, you will notice that this evergreen tree has a large dead spot underneath of it.

    We have attempted to plant some sod, and at one time when the tree was smaller they attempted to do a little mulching using stone and timbers, which is fine. One of the problems is, that when dealing with an evergreen tree, you are dealing with a tree that is more acidic in nature. That would have a PH under 7, 7 being neutral of course. The soil under here has just become accustomed over the years, to having these needles fall out, as they die and come loose when the wind comes through, and the PH of the soil has raised. And then obviously the fact that its sheltered from the sun.

    What I would do is remove the sod that is laying there right now, put down a nice layer of landscaping cloth or black plastic and continue that stone out to the edge. Now that will reduce the amount of moisture that the tree will get, so you will need to poke holes throughout the plastic so the tree can still get moisture. Its pretty obvious that the amount needles found underneath this tree, that is contributing to the fact that grass doesn't want to grow underneath of the tree. That also supports the argument to extend the rock bed to the full width of the tree.

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  4. Privet Hedge Pruning


    When someone thinks of Privet hedges, one of the first things that come to mind is the University of Georgia's "Between the Hedges" in Sanford Stadium.  So what better source to learn how to care for Privet than the world experts?  We interviewed UGA's very own Kellie Baxter, who is in charge of caring for the Privet hedges in the stadium. First, a little background from Kellie about the hedges themselves.  In 1929, after the completion of our new stadium, it was decided that hedges would make the field look nice. After deciding that roses would not do well, Privet was agreed upon. Ever since that day our Privet hedges have been the stuff of legends. We here at Georgia consider them quite holy and the games that go on between these hedges even more so.


    Here in the South a Privet hedge (or Ligustrum sinense in this specific example) takes a lot of maintenance. During the summer they are trimmed once a week to keep them in shape. With the temperatures here being in the high 90s in the summer and with a sand based field, we water often. That can cause problems without the proper precautions. We put organic matter in the hedges to help with water retention and must fertilize often. We use Harrells Polyon Coated Fertilizer for landscape plants which works well for us. It is a slow release fertilizer that is not activated by water but by heat. We leach out a normal fertilizer very quickly with our heavy watering, but with this releasing in the heat when the plant is growing and needs it most that is not as much of a problem. We help them along twice a year with an organic fertilizer to help build up the soil and the root growth. Our growing season starts really taking off in May. In June, after we have gotten the hedges the height that we want, we will use some growth regulator on them to not only slow them down a little but to make sure they are filling out and getting full.


    We don't usually have many pest problems. We spray once a year for white fly control. Keep in mind that whatever is used on our turf also affects our hedges and vice versa. We really try to use as little chemicals on them as we can to insure that the athletes are safe when the accidental ball or player ends up in our hedges! We use a long gas powered hedge trimmer to trim the hedges and have found that is very important to keep them as sharp as possible to avoid tearing the plants. We have occasionally hand pruned them back to about 12 inches in the early spring to encourage new growth and keep them healthy. (I don't do that often. It is a JOB!) Overall, caring for Privet is easy. It is a plant that will grow to hedge size quickly and doesn't have many health issues. It does require frequent pruning but you will be rewarded by a beautiful hedge!


    To give you some perspective, our hedges are about 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide. We do have a fence hidden in between, which has stopped even the most zealous of fans that are intent on rushing the field! We have had players on opposing teams tear out, urinate on and otherwise try to destroy the hedge! They have not been successful! Our own players have landed in or on the hedges and except for a few holes, they thrive. They have been moved twice. They were moved for the 1996 Atlanta olympics when soccer was played on our field and two  years ago parts were removed for a Jason Aldean concert. Both times the plants survived and never missed a Bulldog season! Over the years, there have been many different people that were caretakers of the hedges. Currently I take care of them and it has been an honor! I have been a dog fan all of my...well, here in the south a lady never tells her age but it has been a long time!

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  5. Can I Plant A Sweet Pomegranate Tree In A Container?

    Pomegranate in a barrel planter

    Sweet Pomegranate Tree is suitable for a large container and is somewhat smaller than other varieties.  It grows to about 12 feet and has orange-red flowers in late spring, producing beautiful pink fruits in the fall.  The Sweet Pomegranate tree is a large fruit with light pink flesh, and the taste is sweet and juicy. This ornamental tree has glossy, leathery leaves that are narrow and lance-shaped.  The 'Sweet' Pomegranate is self-pollinated, as well as cross-pollinated by insects.  Cross-pollination with another pomegranate will increase the fruit set.  It will produce fruit in 3-5 years.

    Pomegranates should be placed in the sunniest, warmest part of the yard or orchard for the best fruit, although they will grow and flower in part shade on a deck or patio area.  It does best in well-drained ordinary soil, but also thrives on calcareous or acidic loam. The attractive foliage, flowers and fruits of this pomegranate, as well as its smallish size, make it an excellent container or landscaping plant.

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  6. Preparing your Lawn for Fall & Winter

    Preparing your lawn properly lawn care maintenance for the fall and winter months takes planing. Learn proper lawn care maintenance for the fall and winter months. This video shares landscaping tips that help you care for your lawn to ensure your lawn grass is prepared for the Fall and Winter.

    Transcript: Late summer now, and that is the last shortcut mowing I'm going to give to the lawn.  We are going to start thinking in terms of the lawn going dormant, in terms of leaving the grass go a little bit longer than we have in the past.

    As far as lawn maintenance goes, we are going to start thinking about winter now.  Over the next few months things are going to start cooling down. Leaves are going to begin to fall.  And we want to make sure we are ready and prepared to go into the cold snowy months.

    One of the things I like to do is to check the thatch level over the course of the summer.  For those of you that don't know, thatch is that chopped up combination of leaves and grass clippings that fall down into the bottom portions and rest on the ground each year.  What  you want to do to check the thatch, is get down on  your hands and knees and separate out the grass and see how easy it is to get down to the plain old fashion dirt right there at the bottom.  This grass, probably because the combination of recycling and bagging, it's just not that bad at all.  This is just right. If the thatch level gets too thick, the grass will start thinning out.   You don't want that thatch level any more than an inch at maximum. I'm more comfortable with ½ to ¾ of an inch if possible.  

    So as far as the season goes, the grass is going to start slowing down, I'm going to reduce my mowing to around once a week, no more than that.  And start to let the grass prepare itself for hibernation.   I'll put on a fall winterizer as far as fertilizer goes, and just keep my eye on it. And I'm going to start rolling up garden hoses and putting them away for the winter.  It's just not going to need as much moisture as it has during the hot and dry summer.

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  7. Pruning Blueberry Bushes - How and When To

    Peach Sorbet Blueberry

    Blueberry bushes are enjoying a little renaissance in home gardening. You can readily find them in garden centers and with so many varieties these days, the probability of finding one that grows in your climate is pretty good. They are easy to grow and are so delicious when they're fresh!

    Pruning blueberry bushes is necessary to maintain their health.  However, you must be careful as pruning can directly effect the fruit production of your plant.  Pruning is best done when the bush is dormant, either in the late fall or the early spring.  Spring is often the preferred time because you will be able to see which (if any) branches were damaged through the winter and need to be trimmed.

    Once you have removed the damaged branches, you will want to remove some of the lower growing branches.  You can controll the height by trimming some of the more vigorous upright shoots.  You will also want to thin out some of the older weaker canes.  After these have been trimmed, you can select some of the smaller, thinner (or spindly) branches.

    Tophat Blueberry

    Keep in mind that berries are grown on canes that are at least 1 year old, so any branches you trim will not produce berries.  The more severe the pruning, the less berries you will be able to harvest and the growing season will be shorter.  At the same time, you don't want to skip pruning.  Although mild pruning will lead to a longer harvest and more berries, they will be smaller. If damaged and weak branches go unattended, the quality of the berry will deminish and the bush will be more susceptible to issues like insects and disease that can limit your crop.

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