Monday, December 13, 2010

December Featured Items

 Tis the season for giving and what better gift to give than a plant or garden feature.  Trees will provide years of enjoyment, but also have the added benefit of increasing the recipient's property value.  Trees can also make a beautiful memorial to loved ones who have passed away.  The first Christmas after a death can be a sensitive and difficult time and sometimes a living gift can offer comfort.

Not sure what to give?   Give a gift certificate so that the recipient can choose the perfect plant for their chosen location.  Our staff of qualified gardeners will be happy to assist them in making the best choice and offer advice on how to install their gift.

This month's featured items

Coral Bark Japanese Maple
Acer palmatum 'Sango Kaku'

The Japanese maple cultivar 'Sango Kaku', often referred to as Coral bark maple, is generally one of the most prized of all of the upright palmate types for its winter interest. The bark on new twigs turns bright coral red (almost fluorescent) after the leaves fall. A vigorous upright cultivar that may attain a landscape size of 25’tall and 20’ wide. Leaves emerge in April and display a pleasing yellow-green with plum to red edging. As the young leaves expand they soon age to light green for the rest of spring and then take on autumn-like hues of red and orange beginning in early summer.  Older trees form vase shaped canopies. The intense coral bark color is reduced as the trunk and stems enlarge. Does best in partial sun, it prefers moist well drained soil but tolerates a range of soil types including sand and heavy clay. Highly suited to smaller yards due to its limited width at maturity.

Yuletide Camellia
Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide'
Yuletide Camellia blooms during the winter, when all else seems dead.  It is a bright and shining spot of color in an otherwise bleak environment.  Single, brilliant, fiery red blooms centered with bright yellow stamens makes this a beautiful addition to the winter garden. Blossoms stand out in high contrast against glossy, dark green.

Herb Baskets
Just because your herb garden, outside, is dormant, that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the healthful and tasty benefits of fresh herbs in your food.  We have attractive herb baskets that would make a wonderful gift for the gourmand in your life.


Leatherleaf Mahonia 
Mahonia bealei 
A stiff & prickly shrub make this a good choice for a barrier or security planting. It blooms in winter with cheerful, fragrant, yellow flowers and carries slate blue berries through the season.
4’- 8’ T x 4’- 6’ W partial shade 

Black Bamboo 
Phyllostachys nigra 
With jet black culms and feathery green leaves, this very sought-after bamboo. Under ideal conditions Black Bamboo will grow to 40 feet in height with culms over 2 inches in diameter, but 25 feet is its average height in most climates. New culms emerge green every spring and gradually turn black in one to three years. There is always a contrast of light and dark culms balanced by slender, dark green leaves. This bamboo is initially slow to spread, through when mature, it can be quite vigorous. P. nigra should be given a generous layer of rich topsoil, composed of compost or aged manure and mulch, and space to grow unimpeded. It makes an outstanding specimen, if well cared for, and can be the focal point of any garden. It can also be shaped to form a dense hedge for privacy.
Zone 7-10
Expected Height: 20 to 35 feet
Diameter: 2.25 inches
Hardiness: 5° F

Oriental Paper Bush
Edgeworthia chrysantha .  

This unusual plant has umbrella-like leaves but it is the unique yellow flowers aging to creamy white, that are the show. They have a delightful are fragrance and open until late winter from buds that have been obvious from late autumn.

Decorative Boulders & Stones
Add texture and visual interest to your garden by placing boulders and stone to it. Stone can lend a look of permanence and continuity to an area of your yard that changes with the seasons.  Best of all, boulders don't need to be watered during the hot summer months!  You can give your boulders and stones an old look by allowing moss to grow on them.  Encourage growth between stone pavers by blending moss and buttermilk in your blender and then pouring the mixture between the stones.  The moss will give your area an old look like it's been there for a hundred years instead of a few months.

Come visit our extensive stone yard to find the boulder, stone, or paver that is perfect for your outdoor living space.

Cast Iron Plant
Aspidistra elatior
Aptly named 'cast-iron plant' for its seeming ability to last forever in the most adverse conditions, the humble Aspidistra elatior is a staple of the shade garden.  Give this as a houseplant.  When the weather warms up, the recipient can transplant it outside as an attractive addition to their shade garden.  The lance shaped leaves are dark green and leathery, and around 12-20 in (30-50 cm) long.  They spread in clumps, vigorously but at a moderate enough rate not to be invasive or even troublesome.  

Bottlebrush Tree
Callistimon rigidus
As a frost tolerant and woody plant, bottlebrushes are attractive options for home gardeners. Since they  tolerate drought as well as damp conditions well, they are showcased throughout landscaped lawns and gardens all over the world. The flower spikes are colorful and full of texture, and the leaves of some bottlebrush varieties are ornamental as well. Since the average lifespan for bottlebrushes is twenty to forty years, they promise beauty and blooms for many years. Although the woody shrub is low maintenance, proper care can help to ensure it continues blooming to its fullest each year.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

How to create your own dry garden

The four boulders represent the four islands of Japan
What we, in the US,  like to call "Zen Garden" is actually called "Dry Garden" in Japanese culture.  It is a low water option for any gardener who desires a simple, peaceful place to relax and meditate.  Creating a dry garden can be a highly refined art, with very precise requirements for material and placement, but beginners can achieve a similar affect by observing some basics:
  1. Decide how large you want to make your dry garden. Determine your available space. Are you going to make a garden that fills up part of your backyard, or are you going to start with a dry garden to place on your desk?  The beauty of a dry garden is that it can be any size you wish.  The steps are the same, the scale will just be different. 
  2. Create a border to contain the sand and/or gravel. Sand or gravel generally form the matrix of a dry garden.  You want your dry garden to look sharp, clean, and uncluttered.  To keep the material from spreading and looking sloppy you must have borders that will prevent the sand/gravel from escaping If you are making a large garden, bamboo is one of the prettiest materials to build your border with.  If you don't have bamboo, you can also use 2" x 4" pieces of lumber, old railroad ties, or any other type of wood.  You can even build a low rock wall.   If you are making a desktop dry garden, you can create it out of almost any container that will fit on your desk.
  3. Nail, screw, or glue together your border. After you have completed your form, you can decorate the wood by painting, staining, or varnishing it.  
  4. Weed control. Dry gardens receive much of their appeal from their cleanliness. Keeping out weeds is a must for outdoor gardens.   Thoroughly treat the area with a weed control.  As a precautionary measure, you may wish to also lay down some landscaping tarp to prevent the re-emergence of any weeds that you missed.  Allow two weeks to elapse before planting anything in this area.
  5. Fill the form to the top with sand or gravel.  You will want very fine sand or gravel.   Pick a sand that is visually appealing if you are placing it on the surface of the garden. Spread the sand or gravel evenly and as level as possible. For a small desktop garden, you might be able to buy sand in small bags at a local pet shop or aquarium supply store. For larger gardens, call the local rock shop, quarry, or landscaping supply company.
  6. Put selected features in your dry garden to set a visually stimulating theme.  Place features  off-center and partially submerged for the best effect. dry gardens generally include natural items made of wood, rock and vegetation, but don’t be afraid to add statues or other additions. Just don’t clutter your dry garden; use features sparingly. Remember, you want it to be peaceful and simple. Make sure that the feng shui is in check with your karma and dharma before enjoying your dry garden!  As with most things in life, balance is key.  Some features that look nice in dry gardens include:
    •  Water features
    • Boulders
    • Mossy logs
    • Plants.  In particular, evergreens or bonsai plants for smaller gardens
    • Moss
    • Rocks with interesting shapes, textures, and/or colors
    • Statues
    • Lanterns
    • Pottery
  7. Rake the sand or gravel in long, curving strokes to represent water ripples. You can use a number of patterns to accentuate your garden, and the nice thing is that you can change it as many times as you like! 
  8. Enjoy many relaxing hours your dry garden!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

November featured plants for Oak Ridge Shrubbery

Holly Fern
Holly Fern
Cyrtomium falcatum 'Rochfordianum'
Holly Ferns are a coarse-textured; but handsome evergreen fern.  Holly ferns are great for growing indoors, not only because of their glossy green fronds, but because they withstand dry air, drafts, and low light levels. Holly ferns are native to Asia but they also do very well outside here in NC giving your shade garden green foliage all year long. 2’ -3’ T’ 24” W

1 gal $10.49

Mardi Gras Abelia
Mardi Gras Abelia
Abelia x ‘Mardi Gras’
The dramatic coloring of the Mardi Gras Abelia will make your garden sing. The leaves are green and white with a blush of soft salmon pink. This semi-evergreen shrub sparkles with white flowers from spring to fall.  3’ T x 5’ W.  Full Sun. 
3 gal $27.99

Limelight Hydrangea tree form

Limelight Hydrangea
Hydrangea paniculata  ‘Limelight’

Vigorous, spreading deciduous shrub with ovate, pointed, toothed green foliage.  In late summer, outstanding bright lime green flowers hold their fresh color right until autumn.  No need to add any special amendments to the soil to achieve its beauty.  Ideal for mass planting, accent, foundation, or use in the shrub border.  Outstanding for cutting and drying for long lasting arrangements.  Part Sun to shade.
3 gal $31.99                Tree form 15 gal $159.99

Fall Blooming Camellias
Camellia sasanqua

Evergreen with beautiful, shiny, green leaves, these gorgeous shrubs bloom from fall through early winter.  The bloom colors range from white, pink, to hot pink, to Christmas red (which of course blooms during the holiday season).  These timeless Southern favorites add elegance to any garden and a welcome splash of color during the time of year when most plants are dormant. 
The hybrids vary from 6-12 feet tall, so be sure to choose the appropriate size for your space. They are fabulous alone or in a grouping.  Pictured here are Cleopatra (light pink), Winter's Snowman (double white), and William Lanier Hunt (double hot pink/red).
3 gal $29.99            7 gal $69.99           15 gal $249.99

Winter's Snowman
William Lanier Hunt

Cornus florida ‘Cherokee Princess’/’Cherolee Brave’ or Cornus kousa’Prophet’/Satomi’
The dogwood is the state flower, the flower color range from white to cream to pink to mauve to red!  They are most recognized for their spring blooms but their fall foliage is equally beautiful. Plant one now and enjoy the leaves and then in the spring you will be thrilled! 
7 gal $64.99               10 gal $134.99              15 gal $184.99

Golden King Aucuba
Golden King Aucuba
Aucuba japonica ‘Golden King’

An evergreen shrub with rather large leathery leaves which in this clone are very heavily splashed with yellow. A great shrub to brighten up dark shady corners of the garden where the soil is moist but well-drained. Aucuba japonica is native to Japan. Shade loving.  8’ T x 8’ W 
3 gal $29.99

Elegans Dwarf Norway Spruce
Elegans Dwarf Norway Spruce
Picea abies ‘Elegance’

A beautiful textured evergreen with delicate light green needles, slow grower.  Great for smaller spaces or container gardening.  This plant will reach 5’ T x 5’ W .  Can handle morning sun or dappled shade.

Gingko Tree
Gingko Tree
Gingko biloba ‘Princeton Sentry’/’’Shagri-la’
These special trees offer a unique leaf shape often depicted in asian art.  Their green leaves turn bright yellow in fall, these are all males so they bear no fruit (too smelly), The ginkos are quite special and when more mature they typically drop all their leaves in a 48 hours period, so the tree rains leaves!!
15 gal $229.99