Oak Leaf Hydrangea – Garden Favorites

Over the years I have grown many plants. I have a bit of a collectors attitude toward my garden and pick out unique plants as much as possible. Some of those plants haven't done well for me, but other plants have simply been amazing. I thought it would be a good idea to go back and look at some of those plants that have been consistently good garden plants. Today I'm starting with the oak leaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia). The oak leaf hydrangea is an amazing plant that can tolerate shade to part sun here in Tennessee. The botanical name Hydrangea quercifolia when broken down describes the oak leaf hydrangea perfectly. The first word is obviously hydrangea which is classifying the plant in that family. "Quercus" is the oak family and "folia" means "leaf". Together they make quercifolia which would mean oak leaf and reflects the shape of the leaf.…

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Planting Azaleas from Monrovia

Today was a fantastic day to be outdoors, and of course for most of the time being outdoors means I'm planting something! Today I planted three azaleas into one of my gardens courtesy of Monrovia. Monrovia gave me an opportunity to try out these 'Savannah Sunset' azaleas in my garden. 'Savannah Sunset' is a part of Monrovia's Bloom N' Again collection of repeat blooming azaleas. They will bloom in the spring then produce more blooms in the fall! When planting any plant the location is very important. Azaleas generally prefer a part sun location with an acidic soil. If your soil isn't acidic you can amend with a soil acidifier for hydrangeas or blueberries. As you can see I situated my azaleas in the back yard near my blue shed. The soil here is very rich and the shade produce by the trees nearby should create the right location for…

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Growing Blueberries in the Home Garden

With all the edible choices of plants to add to your garden blueberries are at the top of most lists.  They taste good, come back every year, and highly nutritious, and aren't hard to grow if you do the right things for them. What do you need to do to grow a bumper crop of blueberries every year? Here are things you might find useful for growing blueberries in your home garden! The soil is the number one thing to work on before planting.  Use acidic fertilizers to help improve the soil acidity and amend with compost and peat moss.  Coffee grounds make a good amendment to add but only adjust the pH a little bit at a time so additional fertilizers maybe necessary.  By adjusting the pH you are setting the soil to a pH that allows the plant to achieve the ideal transfer of nutrients from the soil.…

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Plant Propagation Guide

Here is a little guide on various plants that you can propagate in your home garden. I've included the types of propagation where I've been successful (seeds, Layering, Division, Cuttings, etc.).  If I can do it so can you! Propagating Perennials Common NameBotanical NameMethods of Propagation Artemisia 'Powis Castle'Cuttings, Layering MilkweedAsclepias incarnataCuttings, Seeds CatmintNepetaCuttings, Division, Seeds ConeflowerEchinacea purpurea, E. paradoxa, E. augustifoliaCuttings, Division, Seeds HostaDivision, Seeds (may not come true from seed) Russian SagePerovskia atriplicifoliaHardwood and Softwood Cuttings Salvia Salvia nemorosaCuttings, Seeds   Propagating Shrubs and Trees Trees and shrubs can be propagated from a variety of methods.  Always get good, clean, disease free material when taking cuttings. Common NameBotanical NameMethods of Propagation Birch (River)Betula nigraCuttings HydrangeaH. macrophylla, H. serrata Cuttings Hydrangea (Oak Leaf)Hydrangea quercifoliaCuttings, Seeds Japanese MapleAcer palmatumCuttings, Grafting, Seeds Red Twig DogwoodCornus sericea, C. alba Cuttings Viburnum 'Shasta'Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosaCuttings, Layering   Propagating Annuals Common NameBotanical NameMethods of Propagation…

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Wrong Plant Wrong Place

When we first moved into our house back in 2007 and were discovering what our garden had in it we found very little.  A nandina, a couple cedars, some reblooming daylilies, and a teeny tiny spirea were all the plants that were there. Not much to start a garden with but I was excited about the challenge.  The spirea had been cut back to nearly nothing.  It was so small that when it sprouted colorful yellow and red tinted leaves I wasn't sure what it was.  I dug up the little shrub and replanted it in another spot along our sidewalk so that I could plant tulip bulbs in the spirea's original location.  That was five years ago. Today this is how that little itty bitty spirea now looks: My spirea is now at least 3 feet around.  I'm sure that you noticed that the sidewalk to the left has…

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A Mix of Natives for Wildflower Wednesday

Over at Clay and Limestone Gail celebrates the diversity of native plants with Wildflower Wednesday so I thought I would join in this week to share a few of the native plants I've run across over the past week.  Let's start with a shrub!  This is what I believe to be a gray dogwood (Cornus racemosa).  It has white clusters of flowers that eventually change into these nearly white berries.  As you can see someone has snatched a few berries - must have been the birds! Rudbeckia is a favorite of many gardeners for some good reasons: low maintenance, it looks great, feeds the birds, makes pollinators happy, and has a rather cheerful general disposition in the garden!  In this picture my rudbeckia is intertwined with a lilac verbena.  Verbena is another great plant for the pollinators. I spotted this tall white wildflower over the weekend.  I think it may…

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These Blue Berries Aren’t Blueberries!

The blue berries I'm about to show aren't from any blueberry bush but are from the Arrowwood viburnum!  This viburnum is one of my favorites (but really, I think all viburnums are my favorites).  Viburnum dentatum has white flowers that appear in spring and are a great source of nectar for bees and butterflies.  The glossy green leaves persist until fall when they change color but before that we get these beautiful blue berries. The birds love the these berries!  It's rare that the berries last more than a week or two as they quickly get gobbled up by the hungry mockingbirds.  This viburnum is a native and provides a valuable food source for wildlife. I've written about viburnums several times before so I won't go into great detail about them but I will mention that they are fairly easy to propagate either from seed, cuttings or division.  Viburnum dentatum…

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Viburnum dentatum in Bloom! (Arrowood Viburnum)

Viburnum dentatum is one of my favorite shrubs in our garden.  It's not as showy as the Japanese dappled willow or the purple beautyberry.  It's not as flashy as roses nor does it provide year round color like the 'Otto Luyken' cherry laurels.  But it does have an important role in our garden.  This viburnum never fails to flower prolifically.  Which means that the birds enjoy it immensely when the flowers fade and turn into a bounty of blue berries! The berries last only a few short days because once they ripen up the feast begins! The flowers are pretty nifty too.  Fluffy white clouds of flowers cover the plant offering food for the bees and other pollinators. I watched yesterday as a tiger swallowtail butterfly landed and helped itself to the nectar. Even when not in bloom the glossy green foliage makes the Viburnum dentatum worth planting in the…

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My Visit To Growild Nursery in Fairview

It's not often that I am so impressed by a nursery that I feel compelled to write about them.  So many nurseries just do things the same way, the established way.  I know it works well but when a nursery steps it up a notch it REALLY works.  Growild Nursery in Fairview, Tennessee to me is an example of one nursery that steps it up!  Was it the plants that impressed me?  Definitely, but that wasn't all.  The service by the employees was great.  And it's more than just the demeanor of the employees, they knew their stuff!  They could tell me the habits of the trees, offer up examples of similar specimens that I might enjoy, and were simply a great horticultural resource. Growild opens up to the public only a couple times a year.  The rest of the season they sell to landscape designers, contractors, and by appointments. …

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Around Our Garden Landscape

This weekend after all the garden related chores were done for the day, and just before sunset came, I took a few photographs of how our gardens look this April.  I still have mulching, pruning, weeding, and many other things to do but I thought it would be a good time to share some of our garden with you.  These pictures are mostly of the backyard but there is one of our sideyard garden where the arbor is.  The first picture is a wide shot of the backyard.  The lawn in the middle is framed by the vegetable garden to the right and the birdbath garden to the left. One of these days I'll repair the birdbath and get it back out there!  This year has been extremely busy and I've put off some projects in favor of others.  The birdbath is one of the "do later" chores.  You can…

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