Monthly Archives: March 2016

  1. Top 5 Best Smelling Perennials For Your Home

    Smell is essential in choosing perennials, flowers that bloom more than one year, for a home garden. Flowers give off scent to attract pollinators. These scents enrich our landscape.  

    Lilac Bloom

    5. Lilacs: strong fragrant flowers These sweet-smelling beautiful blooms range in colors from pink to purple. They grow in zones 3-7. The best planting time is in the fall or spring. These perennials grow in the spring and summer. Their perfume will attract butterflies to your garden.   

      lily of the valley

    4. Lily of the Valley: strong sweet smell  These small, bell-shaped flowers come in pink and white and grows well in zones 3-9. Plant these beauties in the fall, and they will return each spring. Keep pets away from this poisonous plant.              

    Peonies

    3. Peony Plants: deep perfume fragrance. A favorite flower of weddings, these long-lasting fluffy perennials come in pink, red, white, and yellow. They grow well in zones 3-8. They should be planted in the fall. Each spring, they will return to welcome in the new season.         

    Honeysuckle Vine

    2. Honeysuckle Vines: thick scent with a hint of honey.  These tube-shaped flowers come in pink, red, and white. They grow on vines that can get over 20 feet tall. To accommodate their height, it is best to plant them along a trellis or fence. They grow well in zones 4-9. These perennials bloom in the summer and fall and should be planted in the spring. Their fragrance attracts humming birds to your garden.    

      Joseph's Coat Rose

    1. Roses -  This one is was the easiest choice.  Roses are known for their fragrance, which makes them one of the most popular plants in the United States. Our favorite is the Julia Child Rose. These have a sweet licorice and spice fragrance to them. The beautiful yellow flowers bloom from late spring to early summer, with repeating blooms as well.      

    Any one of these perennials with their beauty and fragrance will turn your home garden into a show place.

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  2. How to Plant Grass Plugs in 3 Easy Steps

    GreenSpan Plug

    Spring is the time when you step out into your winter ravaged lawn and say "What the heck happened here?!" It's also the time to plant grass plugs and reclaim that yard as the beautiful lawn specimen you know it should be. Here at Naturehills.com we often get asked about grass planting this time of year. People say that they like the idea of grass plugs over the expense of sod or the uncertainty of seeding, but are afraid that planting grass plugs is too hard. We are here to tell you a resounding "NO!" Grass plugs are a cinch to plant and care for and are a great alternative to seeds and sod.

    Picking your plugs may be the toughest part. They come in St. Augustine, Zoysia, Centipede, Bahia, Bermuda, Buffalo and many others. If you're not sure what to plant,  Zoysia is a pretty safe bet as it grows over most of the continental US from the Deep South to the frigid north.

    Once you've picked them out, planting plugs easy as easy as 1-2-3:
    Step 1 - Thoroughly water the area you intend to plant, whether a whole lawn or a small bare patch. This softens the soil.
    Step 2 - Dig holes for the plugs in a checkerboard pattern for the best coverage. The holes should be only as deep as the plug roots. To speed this up use an auger made for planting bulbs and plugs. This is attached to a hand drill and will save you time and a backache. In each hole put a scoop of lawn fertilizer to give the grass a head start. Plant the plug in the hole and tap the soil around it so that is snug and secure.
    Step 3- Water the whole area again and every day for a week to 10 days. This is enough time for the plugs to get securely rooted. Water regularly thereafter to assure a healthy lawn.

    After 4-6 weeks you can mow the lawn as normal. A couple of pro pointers:
    *The closer you plant the plugs, the quicker the lawn will fill out.
    *Typical grass plug spacing:
     - 12" Apart-1 tray of 18 plugs will cover 32 square feet
     - 15" Apart-1 tray of 18 plugs will cover 40 square feet
     - 18" Apart-1 tray of 18 plugs will cover 56 square feet

    See? Planting plugs is easy! Good luck with your lawn and give us a call if you have any questions.  Here is a quick example in a video as well:

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  3. Top 6 Gardening Magazines To Subscribe To

    Top Gardening Magazine Emblem

    Receiving gardening magazines in the mail is a thrill for the gardener, whether you are an old pro or a newbie. There is something inspiring about seeing what gardeners - professional and amateur both - are doing across the country. Here is a list of our 6 favorites for 2016:  

     Fine Gardening

    Fine Gardening - This magazine has been the gold standard of gardening mags for years. Gorgeous photographs, drool worthy gardens and enough attitude to make you feel like you're better than other gardeners just because you have it on your coffee table.  

    Country_Gardens_001

    Country Gardens Magazine - This is a publication from the great minds at Better Homes and Gardens, so you know it's always done with excellence. It specializes in country-ish gardens (natch), but really aims for the universal gardening experience - "whether you have 40 acres or live 40 stories high".  

    Horticulture
    Horticulture Magazine - This venerable magazine has been around for over 100 years, so you know the editors are doing something right. Horticulture Magazine excels at product reviews for the gardener.  

    Birds_and_Blooms

    Birds and Blooms - Helping readers see the "beauty in your own backyard" this magazine combines two gardens staples that go hand-in-hand - flowers and birding. Beautiful photography and plenty of reader's stories make this one a sure thing.  

    Sunset

    Sunset Magazine - Even though this magazine is for the regional west coast, there are enough jaw-dropping gardens, enviable homes and gorgeous views to provide inspiration for those of us in the rest of the country. If you're a garden trend watcher, Sunset is usually on the cusp of the latest and greatest.

      Garden_and_Gun

    Garden and Gun - Another regional magazine, this award-winner focuses on the south with all of its grace, deliciousness and quirkiness. The gardens are spectacular and universally inspirational and the great southern writing is impeccably good stuff.

     

    Did we forget any of your favorites?  Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

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  4. Pruning Peach Trees for Larger Fruit

    Peach Tree

    Gardeners often fall into one of two categories: either they LOVE pruning time every year ("It's cathartic!") or they HATE pruning time every year ("I think that tree can wait till next year."). Unfortunately, it is part of the deal when you plant fruit trees. All fruit trees, but especially peach trees, need some coddling when it comes to pruning time.

    Pruning young peach trees opens up the tree so that the sun can reach the fruit (important to good fruit color) and allows air to circulate (helps avoid pests and diseases). Too much shade on the lower branches can kill the growing peach twigs in one season and after a while, no fruiting wood will grow in the lower part of the tree. Thankfully, pruning a peach tree is pretty straight forward. (Follow the same steps when pruning dwarf peach trees.) Here are some steps to remember:

    1. Pruning peach trees is a springtime job. It should happen after the last frost, but before the new growth has started. Pruning peach trees in summer, fall or winter will leave them susceptible to damage from insects, disease and the weather.

    2. Cut out the really vigorous upright growth, these are called "water sprouts". These are the branches that grow straight up into the air off of main branches. You can't miss them. They will grow fruit, but it will be inferior to the rest of the tree. Don't let them suck energy from the good stuff!

    3. Prune out any diseased, sickly or outright dead wood. This is just extra weight the tree doesn't need.

    4. Take out any limbs that are crossing and touching. These limbs rub together and will cause problems down the line.

    5. Remove any old fruit hanging on the tree.

    Don't be afraid to prune peach trees hard. You might be afraid that you are losing some fruit if you do this, and you will be, but the tradeoff is far better quality fruit next year.

    Also, be sure and toss or burn the pruned wood. Don't leave it on the ground by the trees or it could be the source of soil diseases in the future. Lastly, watch your peach tree spacing when planting. They need plenty of air circulation to produce healthy fruit and you need room to get around the tree to pick it!

    For full size trees aim for 20 feet apart. Dwarf peach trees are good with 10 feet. Follow these few steps and you'll be well on your way to a bumper crop of juicy peaches.

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  5. Top 5 Trees to Make Your Neighbors Jealous!

    We often get asked about "statement" plants. These are plants that will add some "oomph" to your garden, spice things up, or refresh a tired landscape. Plants that will make your neighbors jealous! To answer that call we dug deep into our plant collection and offer up 5 plants that definitely fit the bill. Check these out and see if you need to plant one of these in your garden this spring to make the neighbors do a double-take.

     

    Lavender Twist

    Lavender Twist Weeping Redbud - Redbuds are one of those classic native American plants that never fails to impress every spring. When the deep purple buds pop out along the length of the stems before the leaves start to emerge, it is truly an awe-inspiring site, like hundreds of little ornaments get hung on the tree overnight. Add to that the sheer joy of a weeping tree form and you've got a winning combination!

          Autumn Blaze

    Autumn Blaze Red Maple - Maples are fast growing trees that have and keep great form. They are wonderful shade trees and look great by themselves in your yard or in rows lining your drive. Even though they look good all spring and summer, it is in the fall when these beauties will make your neighbors drool. The spring green leaves turn a deep red that is unmatched by any other tree. It can be so bright that it looks backlit by the sun all day. This is consistently a fall show-stopper.

          Mimosa Tree

    Mimosa Tree - If you are looking for a tree that grows fast and will be the talk of the neighborhood, you will be thrilled to meet the Mimosa Tree. It grows FAST - like 25 feet tall in 3-5 years! If you can't afford a full grown shade tree, this is the next best thing. But it's not the speed that it grows that will make the neighbors swoon; it is the bountiful silk tassel flowers that come on all spring and summer. This tropical looking plant always makes an impression.

          Tulip Poplar

    Tulip Poplar - This is a tree with a real "WOW" factor. It has three distinct seasons of "WOW", too. In the spring it is covered with flowers so that it looks like tulips have sprouted all over the tree. In summer the fresh green leaves provide well-needed shade and in the fall the leaves turn a glowing yellow that might require sunglasses to look at. Tulip Poplars are easy natives to grow, too. This one won't leave you disappointed.

     

        Royal Empress Tree

    Royal Empress Tree  - As fast as the Mimosa Tree grows, it is completely eclipsed by the growth rate of the Royal Empress. This tree can grow 15 FEET in ONE season! It will hit 50' tall in 5 years. What makes it really stand out as a four season attention-getter, though, is that each season brings a new look to the tree; in spring it is covered in purple bell-shaped flowers that smell like a heavenly combo of gardenia and jasmine; in summer the fuzzy leaves the size of your head get the attention; in fall and winter it's the pussy-willow catkins that make your neighbors ask where they can get a tree like this. If you plant this in the right place, you'll have a head-turning garden all year.

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  6. History of the Rose for National Red Rose Day 2016


    Easy Elegance Paint the Town Rose

    National Red Rose Day is the perfect time to admire the rose for all of its wonderful qualities. This American holiday is celebrated every year on June 12. This is a fitting time of the season because rose bushes will be in bloom in most areas of the country. This offers everyone the opportunity to take in the iconic fragrance and examine the intricate petal formations. Roses are part of human culture in many places around the world, and they have been for centuries. Have you ever wondered how roses came to be such an iconic symbol in many cultures?

    Roses have had both sentimental and functional value to humans throughout history. It is common knowledge that a red rose makes a great gift for your sweetheart, but did you know that roses have been used for medicine as well? Rose tincture has been used to treat a variety of symptoms including upset stomachs and sore throats. It has also been used to add flavor to medicine. Many perfumes contain rose extract to add a classic scent. Egyptians used rose extracts as perfume, breath freshener, and as an aromatic. Romans used rose water to wash their clothing which would add the flower's scent to the laundry. Rose petals and rose water were considered so valuable in seventeenth century Europe that they could be used as legal tender. With so many uses for this plant, there is little wonder why the Rose has been an important symbol throughout human history.

    Roses have been used for many purposes throughout history, but the real value of the rose comes with the emotions and meanings that are attached to the flowers. There is a color of rose for every emotion or event. Obviously a red rose means love and romance, but do you know what the other colors symbolize? Pink roses, for instance, are associated with joy. These should be shared with someone that you feel deserves admiration. Orange roses symbolize desire and passion. These could be given as a tribute to a new relationship, or to show that the passion never died. Yellow roses are great to give to a friend. This color notes a valued relationship with a true friend.

    Although there are many emotions tied to the rose, there is none more iconic than the feeling of romantic love that comes with a red rose. So, how exactly did the rose become a symbol of true love? Roses can be found in many stories and traditions through history. Many of these stories and traditions describe the rose as a mystical flower that grows or thrives in the presence of true love. Some Greek myths claim the word rose derived from the name Eros. Eros is a Greek deity that is often referred to as cupid in the American culture. This deity is responsible for causing feelings of love and desire between people. Rose shrubs would often appear in places where Eros made love connections. Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, was a constant companion of Eros. This could explain the appearance of rose shrubs, as white roses were said to grow wherever she went. Greek myths also say that the red rose was created by Aphrodite while she was tending to her wounded lover Adonis. The Hindu culture also has a traditional tale about a woman named Lakshmi. She was the beautiful wife of Vishnu. The story goes that Lakshmi was created using a combination of small and large rose petals. Each cultural tale has a unique way of relating the rose to an aspect of the human soul.

    No matter what color the rose may be, humans have given sentimental or functional value to it. Our ancestors saw the rose as a mystical plant that was as valuable as gold. Today, a rose can help us convey a feeling to a loved one that we simply cannot find the words for. Let's all take the time to observe National Red Rose Day, and fully appreciate the rose for all of its splendor and beauty.

    Be sure to check out all of the types of roses we have!

    Remember these rose facts for National Red Rose Day 2016:
    1. June 12, 2016 is National Red Rose Day
    2. Roses have historically been used for their many medicinal values
    3. Roses have been used as perfume, breath freshener, and laundry fragrance
    4. Each color of rose has an emotion associated with it
    5. The red rose has been a symbol of love and romance for many cultures dating back  thousands of years  

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  7. Rugosa Rose & Gardening Books Giveaway

    Rugosa Rose & Gardening Books Giveaway
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  8. Top 5 Most Fragrant Roses

    "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." -  William Shakespeare

    Rose lovers the world over know that roses are far more than beautiful flowers. The scent of the most fragrant roses can transform a drab day to an exceptional one. The best - no matter what form they come in, can elevate a garden or a bouquet beyond simple beauty to a sensory experience. Here at Nature Hills we have some of the best smelling roses available on the market today. They come in several forms: shrubs, small trees, climbers, floribundas, rugosas and hybrid teas. If it's fragrance you want, you're sure to find one that will fit into your garden.

    Julia Child Floribunda RoseJulia Child Rose

    Available in both shrub and tree form, this showstopper was chosen by the world-renowned chef herself as her namesake rose. The large buttery yellow roses have a very strong spicy fragrance with a touch of licorice scent. Two or three will perfume an entire room in your home.
         

    Blue Girl Hybrid Tea RoseBlue Girl Rose

    This rose not only has an amazingly fruity fragrance, but a stop-you-in-your-tracks unique color. It is as close to a blue rose as breeders have ever come; a silver and lavender combination that is as sexy as the scent is sweet. Your garden won't be the same once you plant this beauty.
         

    Zephirine Drouhin Climbing RoseZephirine Drouhin Rose

    This is THE classic climbing rose, setting the bar for all climbing roses to follow. Not only does this beauty bloom in sun or light shade, she has a distinctive damask rose scent that makes you want to stop when you walk under her and just breathe in deep.
         

    Blanc Double De Coubert Hybrid Rugosa Rose 

    This aristocratic rose set the world on fire when it was first presented in 1892. Its intense old rose scent is EXACTLY what you think of when you imagine the smell of a rose. It's what all rose-scented candles and soaps aspire to smell like. One of these plants will perfume your whole garden.

    Easy Elegance Sweet Fragrance Rose      Sweet Fragrance Rose

    Just as the name suggests, this easy care landscape rose has an unforgettably sweet fragrance. The apricot colored blooms just keep coming all season, too, giving you plenty of cut flowers for deliciously scented bouquets.

     

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