Monthly Archives: March 2017

  1. 8 Plants That Rebloom for 3 Seasons of Flowers


    After the first flush of spring flowers, gardeners are often left wanting the centerpiece shrubs and perennials to their yard only provide color for a few weeks. But, there's a solution in rebloomers! Rebloomers are landscape plants that will continue to bloom after their first blooming period. Read on for eight fantastic solutions for reblooming perennials that you should have in your yard if you want three seasons of blooms.  

    Josee Lilac

    Josee Lilac, Syringa x meyeri 'JoseeAfter the first flush of lavender-pink blooms in the spring, Josee Lilac continues to bloom throughout the summer. If you're lucky, it may end up blooming into the fall in more southern zones. Regardless, these flowers will bring pollinators to your yard in droves. If you have space where a traditional lilac will not fit, the smaller size of this shrub may be ideal for your plantings. In addition to its smaller size and beautiful flowers, this shrub is mildew resistant keeping the leaves looking beautiful all season long. This shrub is perfect for those small areas where you still want the beautiful blooms.   

    Notable characteristics: 

    * USDA Zone 2-8
    * 4-foot by 6-foot spread
    * Fragrant lavender-pink flowers
    * Full sun
    * Mildew resistant  

    Other impressive cultivars:

    Bloomerang Lilacs colors vary from white to pink to purple, but prolific blooms throughout spring and summer
    Bloomerang Purple Lilac Tree tree form with purple flowers, prolific blooming    

    The President Clematis

    The President Clematis, Clematis 'The President'   Renowned for the beautiful flowers, clematis usually only blooms once. But The President Clematis will bloom in early summer, and then bloom again in the late summer or early fall providing you with double color on a single plant. The vibrant purple blooms are seven-inches wide, and will be sure to please in fall when little else is blooming. Enjoy the climbing nature of this plant by providing it some structure to grow on and it will thrive.    

    Notable characteristics:

    USDA Zone 4-9
    1-foot to 2-foot spread
    Climbing habit requires a trellis
    7-inch purple flowers
    Full-sun to part shade   

    Other impressive cultivars:

    Fireworks Clematis - 8-inch variegated pink blooms, reblooms in early fall
    Rebecca Clematis - 7-inch scarlet blooms, reblooms in late summer
    Henryi Clematis - 7-inch white blooms, reblooms in early fall.

    Red Prince Weigela

    Red Prince Weigela, Weigela florida 'Red Prince'   Weigela are a common plant found in many gardens, but the older varieties require deadheading and pruning to encourage them to rebloom. Red Prince Weigela does not. After its first set of blooms, this shrub will put out a second show of flowers in the late summer. Brilliant red trumpet-shaped flowers cover the shrub, making a statement when it is in bloom. This shrub requires no other care to encourage flowering, so it's the perfect low-maintenance shrub for your landscape.   

    Notable characteristics:

    USDA Zone 4-8
    4 to 6-foot height and spread
    Scarlet flowers
    Full sun
    Container friendly  

    Other impressive cultivars:

    Sonic Bloom Weigela - Cultivars available in white, pink and red. Reblooms continue until frost
    Fine Wine Weigela - Burgundy foliage and pink trumpet flowers
    Ghost Weigela  Bright green foliage, pink flowers, deer resistant 

    Autumn Ruby Encore Azalea Tree Form

    Autumn Ruby Encore® Azalea Tree, Rhododendron 'Conler' pp#12110   Azaleas are most well-known for their spring flowers and their shrubby nature. But the Autumn Ruby Encore® Azalea Tree is a tree-form azalea, elevating it above many other shrubs in the landscape. With ruby-red flowers in the spring, the Autumn Ruby™ Encore® Azalea Tree reblooms through the spring up until fall – making it a fantastic reblooming shrub. With the dramatic contrast of the dark-green leaves, the flowers will stand out and make a brilliant statement.   

    Notable characteristics: 

    USDA Zone 6-9
    4 to 7-feet high, 3-4 feet wide
    Ruby red flowers
    Full sun
    Container friendly  

    Other impressive cultivars: 

    Autumn Debutante™ Encore® Azalea - delicate coral flowers, reblooming
    Bloom-A-Thon® Azalea - available in red, purple, pink, white and double flowers, blooms prolifically until frost
    Autumn Twist™ Encore® Azalea - delicate light pink and darker pink flowers, reblooming 

    Twist-N-Shout Hydrangea

    Endless Summer® Twist-n-Shout Hydrangea, Hydrangea macrophylla 'PIIHM-I' (PPAFF)   Endless Summer® Twist-n-Shout Hydrangea doesn't only bloom once, it blooms continuously throughout the summer months. This makes it a fantastic reblooming shrub. With unique lace-cap flowers, this shrub provides colorful beauty all season long. Depending upon what pH your soil is, the flowers will either be pink (acidic) or blue (basic), and can be amended to encourage deeper colors. The large, beautiful blooms rest against large textured green leaves.       

    Notable characteristics: 

    USDA Zone 4-9
    3 to 5-foot height and width
    Pink or blue lacecap flowers
    Red fall color
    * Partial shade  

    Other impressive cultivars: 

    Endless Summer® Blushing Bride - bright white flowers, rebloomer
    Quick Fire Hydrangea - red flowers, rebloomer
    Next Generation Pistachio Hydrangea - green and pink flowers, rebloomer  

    Oso Happpy Candy Oh! Rose

    Oso Easy® Happy Candy Oh! Rose, Oso Happy® Candy Oh! Rosa 'ZleMatinCipar' PP: 20471   Roses are often known for having multiple blooms throughout the season but Oso Easy® Happy Candy Oh! Rose outperforms all others. The bright red blooms with yellow centers begin in the spring, and continue throughout the seasons until frost in the fall. The best part is that no deadheading is required to encourage further flowering, making it an easy plant to care for. Cold tolerant and disease resistant, Oso Easy® Happy Candy Oh! Rose is the perfect reblooming rose for your landscape.   

    Notable Characteristics:

    USDA zones 4-9
    3-4 feet tall, 4-5 feet wide
    Red flowers with yellow centers
    Full sun
    Disease Resistant  

    Other impressive cultivars: 

    Oso Easy® Cherry Pie Rose - profuse single pink blooms, continuous blooming
    Pink Drift Groundcover Rose - delicate pink flowers, small size, continuous blooms
    Navy Lady Rose - prolific red roses, reblooming  

    Harvest of Memories Iris

    Harvest of Memories Iris, Iris 'Harvest of Memories'   Bright, cheerful yellow flowers of Harvest of Memories Iris last through multiple seasons, making it a perfect reblooming perennial for any garden. Great as a cut flower or in your landscape, Harvest of Memories Iris provides a unique appearance to any garden. Don't be misled by the simple blooms, this plant puts out at least two, if not three sets of flowers. Blooming in the spring, the summer and perhaps in the fall, this reblooming perennial is a beauty you can enjoy all season long.         

    Notable Characteristics: 

    USDA zones 3-9
    30 to 38 inches tall
    18 to 24 inches wide
    Full sun to partial shade
    works well as a cut flower  

    Other impressive cultivars: 

    Immortality Iris - White flowers, reblooming
    Victoria Falls Iris - Purple flowers, great as a cut flower
    War Chief Iris - Burgundy flowers, ideal for cut flower arrangements 

    Purple D Oro Daylily

    Purple D'Oro Daylily, Hemerocalis 'Purple D'Oro'   Purple D'Oro Daylily exceeds expectations as a reblooming perennial, the bright purple flowers continue to bloom from early summer into early fall. A hearty plant, Purple D'Oro daylily will withstand many harsh conditions other plants won't grow. It is also easy to manage, as it is resistant to many diseases and pests. Purple D'Oro Daylily is a plant that will withstand just about any condition you choose to throw at it, and will provide you with beautiful blooms day after day.         

    Notable characteristics: 

    USDA Zones 2-9
    16 inches tall
    24-36 inches wide
    Full sun to partial sun
    Bright purple flowers with yellow throats  

    Other impressive cultivars: 

    Pardon Me Daylily - cherry red blooms
    Apricot Sparkles Daylily - apricot colored blooms
    Sunday Gloves Daylily - white blooms  

    Reblooming plants can be a challenge to find for your landscape, as many plants generally only flower for a few weeks. But these plants will stun and delight you all season long, by bringing colorful flowers back time and time again. Try a few in your yard for a continuous display, even when other plants are finished blooming.

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  2. Top 10 U.S. Colleges to Attend for Botany Degrees


    Admit it. You love plants. You wouldn't have found your way to Nature Hills Nursery if you didn't. Of course, there are different levels of love. There is the "I want my yard to look nice" level. Or the "I want to know all of the plants native to my area" level. There is even the"I'd" like to learn the Latin names of all my neighbor's weeds level. But if you are at the "I" want to work with plants every day for the rest of my life and change the world while I do it level, then there is only one path for you. You need a degree in botany.The study of plant science is integral to keeping the plants we have in top form and in introducing new plants to the world. If you have a love for the leafy, then here are the top 10 colleges in the U.S for a degree in Botany. These were rated on academic excellence, admissions selectivity, career readiness, financial affordability and the expert opinions of the folks at US News and Forbes.

      Northwestern U logo

    1. Northwestern University  Evanston, Illinois  Proximity to the Windy City is attractive at this school, as is the great partnership with the world-renowned Chicago Botanical Gardens that leads to a Masters in Botany.  


    2. University of California-Berkeley Berkeley, California  Known for its cutting-edge research and global outreach, as well as its great Bay Area vibe.  

      Cornell U

    3. Cornell University  Ithaca, New York  One of the oldest and most distinguished botany programs in the nation, Cornell has been teaching botany for over 150 years.

        Washington U in st. louis

    4. Washington University in St. Louis  Saint Louis, Missouri  Close ties to the massive Missouri Botanical Gardens and an emphasis on climate change studies keep this program in the forefront of botany schools.    


    5. University of Florida  Gainesville, Florida  The dedicated botany greenhouses here contain thousands of specimens used for research and teaching.  


    Illinois U

    6. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign  Champaign, Illinois  World-class research facilities and home to some of the world's most highly cited researchers.  

      UC Davis

    7. University of California-Davis  Davis, California  Not only is this botany program world-renowned, the school was recently named the nations "Coolest School".  

      University of Texas at Austin

    8. The University of Texas at Austin  Austin, Texas  A plant biology degree here includes studying under an integrated consortium of faculty from many disciplines.  

      Univ Wisconsin

    9. University of Wisconsin-Madison  Madison, Wisconsin  Access to a unique APGII-organized garden and over 1 million specimens at the Wisconsin State Herbarium.

        Univ of California Irvine

    10. University of California-Irvine  Irvine, California  A 12.5 acre arboretum anchors the school and provides hands-on learning. It's also only 10 minutes from the beach. Score!

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  3. Holly: Pruning for Hedges and Screens

    Holly are popularly used as sheared formal hedges

    Hollies are Popularly Used as Dense Sheared Formal Hedges

    Nature Hills Nursery offers many evergreen selections of Holly in many forms and sizes. Our nurseries grow many types because they are so desirable in the landscape. Beautiful pointed, serrate, and oak leaf types of foliage that stay on the evergreen varieties year-round. These elegant plants can be used for screening and sheared formal hedges with the added bonus of  cheerful fruit. Most of these plants have sharp pointed leaves that can be sharp so be careful

    Sky Pencil Holly In a Loose Screen Sky Pencil Holly

    Planning a Hedge for Your Yard   Planning your hedge starts with how many plants you are going to need. The number of plants is determined by the mature size of the plants you are using for your hedge and the size of the area being filled. Let's say you are using a Castle Wall Holly variety that gets to be about 6' tall or more, and spreads about 3-4' wide. You are planting your new plants from Nature Hills that will be delivered in #3 containers, and not at the fully mature size that they will become. You must also decide how quickly you want your new hedge to be a solid screen. If you planted your new plants 3 feet apart, it may take several years for the plants to touch each other. Consider how the bottoms of the hedge will mesh together as an older hedge as well. You may decide you do not want to wait years for the hedge to become a solid screen. In that case you will want to plan on planting them closer together. If you plant your Castle Wall Holly plant every 3 feet on center (which means they can spread 1 ½ feet on each side of the center of the plant before each plant will touch the one next to it), it will make a nice hedge in a fairly short period. Remember that these plants will be wider as they continue to grow and develop and they will start to touch each other. As a hedge (formal sheared hedges or informal, untrimmed hedges) you do want these plants to touch each other. They will grow together with the plant on either side of them, and there is no reason to prevent that from happening. We have seen people trim the plants back into individuals that do not touch and that is not the goal here. The plants that do not touch will not have foliage where they grow together but it is not needed, it is needed on both sides and the top so once you get past that, you will see what it is supposed to look like.

    Carissa Holly In a Loose HedgeCarissa Holly is  a Lower Density Hedge

    Pruning Your Hedge   The first year or two, very little pruning will be required. Only snipping off any tips that our out of the range of the rest of the plants. You want them to get established quickly, so minimal pruning is required. Let the plants produce lots of new leaves as they are making new food and it will establish the plants sooner than if you sheared them back at the start.     When you do shear these plants into hedges, it is very important to be sure the bottom of the plants are left wider than the topsBy making sure the bottoms of the plants are trimmed wider, the bottom of the plants do not get shaded out. This will ensure that the plants will always have leaves to the ground and that the will always look best. This is not only true for a Holly hedge, but for all hedging plants whether they are deciduous or evergreen plants.  

    Evergreen Hollies   Pruning should be done on evergreen Holly plants in early summer simply because the new growth that happens after you prune will allow enough time for that new grow to harden off before winter. The technique for pruning depends upon how the plants are being used,formal hedging, foundation, or screening. Hedge pruning is described above, keeping the bottoms wider than the tops. The rounded, dwarf selections should also be pruned in early summer for the same reason, and to maintain the rounded habit either sheared more formally or informally.    Some of the larger evergreen varieties include Nellie Stevens, Castle Spire, Sky Pencil, Sky Pointer, Acadiana, Oakland and Oakleaf. These make a large, robust growing, classy backdrop to a shrub or perennial border, or outstanding screening or hedge plants. Sky Pencil and Sky Pointer are tall and super skinny and have a unique look to them. These varieties are excellent hedges that need little if any pruning unless you want to maintain them at a specific height. The other great thing you can do with these varieties is to shear them as single specimen plants into a nice pyramidal Christmas tree shape for great outdoor decorating for the holiday season.


    Berry Nice Holly Berries In the Winter

    Berry Nice Holly's Berries In the Winter 

    Deciduous Hollies    Deciduous type Holly plants lose their leaves in fall. That means they are naked in the winter except for the fruit display on the female plants. These plants are large growers and offer no screening during the winter months. Many people use them in front of evergreens to show off that incredible fruit display. These plants are not a good candidate for sheared hedges. They work best when allowed to grow more naturally by not reducing the size when trimming back. These plants are best pruned by removing the oldest stems out to the ground and allowing the newer, younger shoots to grow and develop. This method of pruning is called renewal pruning. Use these deciduous plants for larger screening, or along water logged areas and natural sites for a more natural look. 

    * Evergreen Holly plants are elegant and very versatile in the landscape
    * Deciduous Holly plants are excellent stars in the winter landscape
    * Adaptable to many soil types and sites
    * Easily acclimates for many uses
    * Beautiful, glossy green leaves on the evergreen types, and the female plants have showy fruit that makes them doubly desirable
    * Even the male plants that don't fruit are extremely elegant and a classic addition to any landscape
    * Many different mature sizes and forms offer endless design options... you can get creative!
    * Shear into formal hedges both large and small, or allow to grow informally for more natural looking hedges and screening
    * You will be ecstatic with the year-round interest in your landscape  

    Check out our selection of holly plants!    

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