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What a Knock Out!

Think you don’t have the time to take on all the upkeep, maintenance and care beautiful roses require? We have a fabulous solution and it’s a knock out, a Knock Out® rose that is. This shrub rose is the single greatest sensation to hit the plant market in years! Knock Out® roses are valued for their continued and profuse blooming with very little care. Not only are Knock Out® roses gorgeous and easy to care for but they are also drought tolerant, self-cleaning, and disease and pest resistant. Knock Out® roses are like no other rose on the market.

Site Selection

Planting your Knock Out® in the right location will help it flourish its very best.

  • Knock Out® roses grow to about 5’ tall x 5’ wide. Give them enough space to grow to full maturity without overcrowding that can dampen their brilliance.
  • Choose a planting location in full sun and with good air circulation to ensure the brightest blooms and best health.
  • Planting soil should be amended with compost and drain well. Prepping the soil before planting will ensure proper nutrition for your rose.
  • Soil pH should be slightly acidic, 6.0-6.5, but this plant will also thrive in slightly alkaline soils, with a pH as high as 7.5.

Planting

Give your Knock Out® the best advantages as it gets established by planting it properly.

  • Dig a hole twice as wide as the pot but no deeper than the containerized root ball.
  • Remove your Knock Out® rose from the container, massaging the container slightly to loosen the root ball and exerting gentle pressure on the stems, not the foliage.
  • Gently tease the root from the root ball to loosen roots so they will settle in to new soil more comfortably.
  • Place the plant in the hole, making sure that it is planted no deeper that it was in the container.
  • Backfill with amended soil and lightly press down around the plant to remove any large air spaces.
  • Mulch around your Knock Out® to keep weeds down and conserve soil moisture.
  • Water regularly until the plant is established.

Care

Knock Out® roses require much less extensive care than many other rose varieties, but some TLC will help keep your roses healthy and vibrant.

  • Once a year, apply about 2 inches of compost around the base of your Knock Out® rose. This helps replenish the soil’s nutrition for good growth and bright blooms.
  • Mulch yearly with 2-3 inches of mulch to conserve soil moisture and prevent weeds.
  • Fertilize your Knock Out® rose three times a year: early spring, early summer and fall. Fertilize with a slow-release product recommended for roses, and follow application instructions carefully.
  • At the same time that you fertilize, also broadcast one cup of Epsom salts, a source of magnesium, on the soil around the base of the plant.

Pruning

All roses require some minor pruning to help shape the bushes and encourage better blooming. To keep your Knock Out® as a true eye-catcher…

  • Correctively prune Knock Out® roses any time of the year with hand pruners. Make your cuts about 1/4 of an inch above a leaf. Use sharp, clean tools to avoid transmitting pests or diseases from other plants.
  • In early spring, each year, heavy pruning is recommended. Cut back the main stems to 1/3 of their height. Make your cuts 1/4 of an inch above an outward-facing bud for the best growth and shape.

Knock Out® Choices

Which Knock Out® is right for your yard? Any of these varieties is sure to be a hit!

  • Knock Out®: The original. Cherry red, single flowers.
  • Double Knock Out®: Twice as much fun with cherry red, double flowers.
  • Pink Knock Out®: Bright pink, single flowers.
  • Pink Double Knock Out®: Double duty with bright pink, double flowers
  • Rainbow Knock Out®: Single flowers in coral-pink with yellow centers.
  • Blushing Knock Out®: Gentle beauty with pale pink, single flowers.
  • Sunny Knock Out®: A splash of brightness with fragrant yellow, single flowers.

Sedum: A Sunny Ground Cover Solution

Is your landscape afflicted with poor, low-quality soil? Areas of scorching sun? A problematic bank or steep drop? Sedums can be the answer!

Why You Will Love Sedums

There is no reason any area of your landscape should go bare when there are so many spreading sedums that thrive under what would otherwise be adverse conditions. Easy-to-grow, sedums are available in a wide variety of leaf textures and heights to fit even awkward corners, narrow terraces or thin alleyways. Low-growing sedums not only act as a great ground cover for problem areas but also work well in unusual landscape designs such as rock gardens or on green roofs. Taller sedums look great when planted with ornamental grasses and easy perennials such as cone flowers and black-eyed-susans.

The thick, lush succulent can have any shade of green, gold, purple, red and even blue leaves, adding stunning color to your yard. Variegated foliage varieties add visual interest even when the plant is not blooming, ensuring a beautiful plant for a much longer season. Once planted, sedum varieties require very little care and do well even if neglected.

Our Favorite Sedums

Because sedums come in a variety of sizes, be sure to choose a plant with a mature size that will match your landscaping space. In addition to considering the plant’s horizontal spread, also consider its height to get the full visual impact of these great landscape additions.

The best tall sedums include…

  • Autumn Joy – 2’ tall with pink flowers
  • Autumn Fire – 2’ tall with rose flowers that mature to a deeper coppery red
  • Black Jack – 2’ tall featuring deep purple foliage with brighter pink flowers
  • Carl – 2’ tall with magenta flowers that bloom in late summer
  • Matrona – 3’ tall with pale pink blooms and gray-green foliage that shows a hint of pink
  • Purple Emperor – 1 ½’ tall featuring red flowers and dramatically deep purple foliage

For smaller spaces when a low-growing plant is needed, consider these low-growing sedums…

  • Angelina – needle-like, yellowish-peach foliage with yellow flowers
  • Blue Spruce – needle-like blue foliage with contrasting yellow flowers
  • Bronze Carpet – green foliage tinged white and pink and featuring red flowers
  • Dragon’s Blood – dramatic bronze-red foliage with deep pink flowers
  • John Creech – scalloped green foliage with pink flowers
  • Larinem Park – grey-green rounded foliage with white flowers
  • Vera Jameson – pink-tinged grey-green foliage with coordinating pink flowers

No matter what your landscaping needs and preferences – filling an awkward area, opting for an easy-care plant, adding drama and color to your garden plan – sedums can be the perfect solution.

Butterfly Bush

What could be more enjoyable than relaxing in your favorite lawn chair or hammock, your sunglasses on and a cool beverage in hand, staring at an enchanting array of colorful butterflies milling around their favorite plant? What could possibly be an easier way to accomplish this vision than by planting a simple butterfly bush?

About Butterfly Bush

Buddleia davidii, the butterfly bush, is a flowering maniac. It pushes its proliferation of perfumed blooms straight through summer and well into fall, providing nourishment to butterflies all season long. Available in a multitude of colors ranging from white to pink to red to purple, there are colorful butterfly bushes to match any garden or landscape color scheme. The fragrant, long, spiked panicles are borne in profusion on long, gracefully arching branches that add drama and elegance to the yard. And it really is a butterfly magnet!

Growing Butterfly Bush

This quick growing, deciduous, woody shrub is winter hardy in zones 5-10. In the northernmost areas of its hardiness range, Buddleia behaves like a herbaceous perennial, dying back to the ground in very cold winters. In the southernmost areas, Buddleia is grown as large shrub and can flourish all year. In either location, however, you should treat this plant as a cut back shrub. Because butterfly bush blooms on new wood, it benefits the plant to be cut back to the ground each spring. This judicious pruning will stimulate lavish new growth and an abundance of flowers. It will also keep some of the larger varieties at a manageable size, particularly in smaller yards, corners or other confined spaces.

Plant your butterfly bush in full sun in just about any type of soil and it will thrive. Don’t worry about fertilizing as over-fertilization can encourage too much leaf growth over flower formation. Deadheading will encourage additional growth and new flower buds to extend the blooming season. Buddleia has a good tolerance for drought once established, but should be carefully watered when young. A good, thick layer of mulch will help maintain soil moisture and keep weeds down to keep the shrub healthy. Just be sure not to use insecticides or pesticides on your butterfly bush or you may be harming the very fluttering fliers you hope to attract.

Not sure which butterfly bush to try? Consider these varieties to choose the perfect color and style to suit your yard.

Recommended Buddleia Varieties by Color

White Butterfly Bushes

  • ‘Nanho Alba’: 6-8’ height, blue-green leaves, mildly fragrant
  • ‘Silver Frost’: 5-6’ height, silver-gray leaves
  • ‘White Ball’: 3-4’ height, silver foliage, compact habit
  • ‘White Bouquet’: 8-10’ height, gray-green leaves, flowers have orange throat
  • ‘White Cloud’: 8-10’ height, gray-green leaves, flowers have yellow eye
  • ‘White Harlequin’: 8-10’ height, variegated leaves

Pink Butterfly Bushes

  • ‘Charming’: 6-10’ height, blue-green leaves, flowers have orange throat
  • ‘Fascination’: 8-12’ height, lilac-pink flowers with cupped petals
  • ‘Pink Delight’: 4-7’ height, gray-green leaves, true pink flowers, fragrant
  • ‘Summer Beauty’: 5-6’ height, silvery leaves, pink-rose flowers
  • ‘Summer Roae’: 8-10’ height, mauve-rose flowers, strong fragrance

Red Butterfly Bushes

  • ‘Burgundy’: 8-10’ height, magenta-red flowers, fragrant
  • ‘Dartmoor’: 8-10’ height, magenta flowers
  • ‘Harlequin’: 6-8’ height, variegated leaves, reddish-purple flowers
  • ‘Royal Red’: 10-12’ height, purple-red flowers, fragrant

Purple / Blue Butterfly Bushes

  • ‘Black Knight’: 8-10’ height, deep violet-dark purple flowers
  • ‘Bonnie’: 8-10’ height, light lavender flowers with orange eye, sweet fragrance
  • ‘Ellen’s Blue’: 5-6’ height, silver leaves, deep blue flowers, orange eye, fragrant
  • ‘Moon Shadow’: 3-4’ height, lilac purple buds open to lavender flowers
  • ‘Nanho Blue’: 6-8’ height, gray-green leaves, mauve-blue flowers, fragrant
  • ‘Orchid Beauty’: 6-8’ height, lavender-blue flowers, fragrant
  • ‘Potter’s Purple’: 6-10’ height, deep purple flowers, mild fragrance

Of the Variegated Variety: Variegated Shrubs for the Landscape

If you don’t already grow variegated Solomon’s Seal in your shade garden, this is the year to start. This charming, visually appealing perennial is similar to hostas, but has its own unique character that will add beauty, texture and interest to your landscape. Furthermore, it is deer-resistant, making it perfect for a yard that may lose a few too many plants to wandering wildlife.

About Variegated Solomon’s Seal

Variegated Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum falcatum ‘Variegatum’) is a low-maintenance plant native to Europe and Asia. A landscaping favorite for its overall beauty and visual richness, it sports 2-3-foot tall gracefully arching, reddish or burgundy stems. The stems are lined with narrow green leaves streaked in pure white. Beneath the stems, in pairs, from late spring to early summer, drip tiny, fragrant, bell-shaped white flowers. In the autumn, small, round, black fruit replaces the flowers and leaves turn golden yellow. Overall, these clumping plants grow 2-3 feet tall and wide, making them a suitable size for many different landscape designs. As clumps grow, they can be divided every 2-3 years in spring to give you even more of these lovely plants to work with, or you can allow the colony to naturalize in your landscape for a lush carpet of foliage and flowers.

This plant is quite hardy and is not seriously bothered by either insects or diseases, though snails and slugs can be a problem. Leaf spot and rust are very rare problems and easily overcome with diligent care.

Variegated Solomon’s Seal in Your Landscape

These are versatile plants that can do well in any full or part-shade area of your landscape. Add Solomon’s Seal to a woodland garden or shady border, or beneath a broad, spreading tree. This is a great plant to anchor rain gardens, because it likes moist soils and is not overly sensitive to too much water. At the same time, it will also tolerate drought and drier soils, making it an ideal addition to add growth and greenery to rock gardens.

Variegated Solomon’s Seal can look stunning on its own, or adds even more texture and interest when planted with hostas and ferns or when filling in spaces between other shrubs or ornamental grasses. Plant it in fertile, moist, well-drained soil, preferably in fully shade or only minimal dappled sun. Amend the soil with compost as needed, especially while the plants are young. Water well until the plants are established, then enjoy the beauty as this low-maintenance wonder takes good care of itself.

Summer Blooming Trees

When choosing flowering trees for the landscape, we often tend to make our selections from the long list of ostentatious spring blooming trees that are all so common and familiar in every yard. At the same time, we tend to overlook the more reserved, yet exceptionally elegant, summer blooming trees that can add so much drama and beauty to every space. Check out this selection and consider one or two to round out the seasons when considering your next landscape addition.

  • Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica)
    Delicate crepe paper like flowers flourish in mid- to late summer in an assortment of colors like pink, fuchsia, coral, lavender, violet and red.
  • Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus)
    This small, multi-stemmed, native tree features fragrant, showy, fringe-like white flowers in early summer just as many spring bloomers are fading.
  • Golden Rain Tree (Koelreuteria paniculata)
    This medium tree is a showstopper with small, yellow flowers borne in large, upright panicles in July, just in time for summer parties.
  • Japanese Pagoda Tree (Sophora japonica)
    A medium-large tree with creamy-white, slightly fragrant flowers borne in hanging drapes 6-12” long, this beauty offers late summer elegance from August through early September.
  • Japanese Stewartia (Stewartia pseudocamellia)
    Pure white, camellia-like flowers with orange anthers bloom solitary in succession from June to August, giving plenty of drama and beauty through the season.
  • Japanese Tree Lilac (Syringa reticulate)
    This small tree offers fragrant, off-white, tiny flowers borne in showy, large, terminal panicles in early summer.
  • Korean Dogwood (Cornus kousa)
    Dramatic flowers with four large, showy, white bracts that age to a delicate pink sit atop tree foliage for up to six weeks in early summer.
  • Sourwood (Oxydendrum arboretum)
    Fragrant, lily-of-the-valley-like flowers drip from branch tips in summer with excellent scarlet fall color, making this tree both a summer and autumn favorite.
  • Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)
    Flowers, borne singly, have large, 6-8 inches wide, pure white petals. These trees bloom sporadically through the summer months.
  • Sweetbay Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana)
    Fragrant, showy, white flowers appear throughout the summer, similar to but smaller than those of the Southern Magnolia.
  • Yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea)
    A native tree with fragrant, white flowers borne in summer on pendulous, wisteria-like panicles. This tree often flowers on alternate years but is stunning when it does.

Any of these beauties can be a dramatic and welcome addition to summer landscaping, reaching their peak just at the time when spring blooms are fading and autumn flowers and foliage are weeks away from brilliance.

Clematis

Beautiful, showy clematis are not as difficult to grow as you might think. Learning when to prune your clematis and giving a little attention to their few requirements will reward you with a magnificent show of colorful blooms.

Planting Clematis

A beautiful clematis starts with proper planting. Clematis prefer to have their roots in the shade and their tops in the sun. Keep the roots cool with a well-drained rich soil with added compost, peat moss or composted manure and a good layer of mulch. Planting ground cover or other low growing perennials around the base of your clematis will also help to keep the soil cool and minimize weed growth. Organic amendments will help to retain moisture when added to the soil. Feed monthly with a liquid fertilizer or use a slow release fertilizer which can last for up to six months.

A Note About Bloom Rates

For the first few years, clematis may be slow to grow. Just keep in mind that it is establishing its root system, which is essential to a healthy, vibrant plant. In its first year, your clematis may produce very few flowers or even none at all. By the second year there will be more growth and a few flowers. By the third year you should see substantial growth and many lovely blooms.

Planting Clematis

For the best chance of success if you are new to gardening with clematis, buy plants in larger containers. While smaller starts will be less expensive to buy, they will take a little more work to establish and can be more delicate and prone to failure. If you purchase a pot of any size and are not planting it in the ground immediately, be sure not to allow the soil in the container to dry out or the plant may be overly stressed and vulnerable.

Keep the climbing habit of clematis in mind when selecting your planting site. Allow your plants to grow up into large shrubs and trees, or on a trellis against a sunny wall. Select varieties with growth that will not exceed your shrub or trellis; a 20-foot vine may overwhelm a smaller shrub or a weak trellis and will look overgrown and out of place.

Proper Pruning

Clematis are divided into three distinctive groups. Knowing what group your clematis falls under will guide you on when and how to prune.

These pruning suggestions are for established vines that have been in the ground for at least three years. Young vines should all be pruned to 12 inches the second spring and to 18 inches the third spring. This helps to develop more shoots, a fuller vine and a better root system.

  • Group 1
    This group includes certain species clematis and their cultivars which bloom early in the year. Some of the more familiar representatives of this group include the Montanas, varieties of C. alpina and C. macropetala. All of the Group 1 clematis bloom on growth made the previous year. They can be pruned to keep them within their allotted space or to remove dead and unsightly foliage. If they are pruned late in the season or before they flower, however, the cuts may remove potential flower buds and reduce that year’s flowering. To prevent this, prune Group 1 clematis right after flowering.
  • Group 2
    These are the large flowered hybrids. They are often divided again into two subgroups – 2a and 2b. All of the clematis in Group 2 bloom on ‘old wood’ (actually on short shoots from old wood) and should not be pruned except for deadwood pruning in early spring after the leaf buds open slightly.
  • Group 3
    These are the summer-blooming varieties such as the viticellas and Jackmanii types that bloom on new wood and the late bloomers such as Sweet Autumn Clematis (C. terniflora) and orientalis types. Clematis in Group 3 mainly flower on new wood produced in the current year and should be pruned back severely every year in late winter, when they are completely dormant, to about 12-14 inches. Leave at least two pairs of buds on each stem of the plant. Most clematis in this group are very fast growing and will reach their full height before blooming every summer.

Once you know how to properly care for clematis, you will find it to be a welcome addition to your landscape. If you aren’t sure just what your clematis needs to thrive, our expert staff will be glad to help be sure you and your plants have a great relationship!

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Viburnums

Viburnums are one of the most outstanding groups of shrubs for use in landscape planting. Varying in height from 2-30 feet, viburnums can be found to suit most any planting location. Their varied growth habits, excellent foliage, striking and fragrant flowers, showy fruit and interesting winter appearance make them an excellent choice for most gardeners.

Which Viburnum to Choose

Effective in many situations, the smaller shrub forms, such as Viburnum carlesi ‘Compacta’ and V. opulus ‘Compactum’, are excellent for planting close to houses or in tighter spaces, such as narrow flowerbeds or in side yards. The larger forms, such as V. lantana and V. prunifolium, make good specimen and screen plantings to be a centerpiece in the garden or provide privacy. Which one will work best in your landscape will also depend on the available space you have, your soil type and the sunlight needs of individual plants.

Flowers and Foliage

Viburnum flowers, primarily white in color, are borne in clusters, ranging from a rounded snowball shape to a flat form. Large, white snowball clusters of florets are found on V. carlcephalum and V. macrocephalum. Half-round flower forms are borne on such types as V. carlesi and V. burkwoodi. Most of the others have a flat cluster of florets such as V. plicatum ‘Tomentosum,’ V. dilatatum and others.

Viburnum foliage can be extraordinary with types that include a velvety smooth leaf surface, bold rough-veined textures and glossy leathery character, all of which add more textural interest to the landscape. In addition, some forms have attractive fall leaf color such as the purplish red of V. dentatum and V. dilatatum, as well as the brilliant red of V. opulus.

Brilliant Berries

In the fall and winter there is also ornamental value with berries. Many viburnums produce lovely fruits in shades of red, pink, yellow and blue-black which not only add to fall and winter interest, but can also be attractive to birds and other backyard wildlife.

Viburnum Care

With so many many pleasing aesthetic features of these plants, how easy are they to care for? Easier than you may think! Viburnums are very hardy, resistant to serious pests, thrive in a variety of soil and environmental conditions and require little pruning. They will grow in either sun or shade; however, flowering and fruiting will be more profuse in a sunny location.

With so much to choose from and so many advantages to these shrubs, there’s sure to be one to suit all your landscaping needs. Stop in to consult with our landscaping experts today, and we can help you choose the perfect viburnum to complement your landscape.

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Dwarf Evergreen Conifers

Dwarf conifers are some of the most versatile and popular plants of today’s modern garden and landscape. These fantastic plants add interesting texture, color and form to rock, pond and container gardens as well as any type of mixed border. They come in a variety of cultivars of different sizes and growth habits, and more cultivars are being introduced all the time. Dwarf conifers are virtually carefree and often provide four seasons of interest.

Dwarf Conifer Types

We commonly think of conifers as needled evergreens such as pines, spruce and firs, but not all conifers are needled and not all are evergreen. The common larch is needled, but deciduous. Ginko trees are conifers that have fan-shaped deciduous leaves, and this tree is neither needled nor evergreen. What identifies a plant as a conifer is that it is cone-bearing.

Dwarf conifers are slower growing and smaller versions of the straight species of a given conifer. A good example is the Eastern White Pine, Pinus strobus, which can reach a height of 100 feet at maturity. The dwarf version of this plant, Pinus strobus ‘Nana’, will only grow to eighteen feet at maturity, but other than its size, it shares all the charming characteristics that are so well loved about the full-size tree.

Thanks to their popularity, new varieties of dwarf conifers are being introduced each season. This gives you an almost endless selection to consider for your landscaping needs. Some of the most popular options include…

  • Abies alba ‘Green Spiral’ (Silver Fir)
  • Abies lagrocarpa ‘Arizona Glauca Compacta’ (Rocky Mountain Fir)
  • Abies procera ‘Sherwoodi’ (Noble Fir)
  • Abies balsomea ‘Nana’ (Dwarf Balsam Fir)
  • Cedrus deodora ‘Albospica’ (Deodar Cedar)
  • Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Nana’ (Dwarf Hinoki Falsecypress)
  • Chamaecyparis obtuse ‘Nana Lutea’ (Hinoki Falsecypress)
  • Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Aurea Nana’ (Japanese Falsecypress)
  • Picea abies ‘Little Gem’ (Norway Spruce)
  • Picea abies ‘Conica’ (Norway Spruce)
  • Picea abies ‘Pumila’ (Norway Spruce)
  • Picea abies ‘Argenteospicata’ (Norway Spruce)
  • Picea pungens ‘Montgomery’ (Colorado Spruce)
  • Picea pungens ‘Fat Albert’ (Colorado Spruce)
  • Pinus cembra ‘Glauca Nana’ (Swiss Stone Pine)
  • Pinus mugo (Mugo Pine)
  • Pinus nigra ‘Hornibrookiana’ (Autstrian Pine)
  • Pinus sylvestris ‘Globosa Viridis’ (Scotch Pine)
  • Tsuga canadensis ‘Gentsch White’ (Canadian Hemlock)

Not sure which of these or other amazing dwarf evergreen conifers are best suited for your landscape? Let our experts help you choose a beautiful tree that will be a standout however you may use it in your yard.

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Heavenly Hosta

Hostas are amazing plants, truly glorious with heavenly foliage that is stunning as a specimen or in mass plantings. The thin spikes of purple or white, trumpet shaped flowers appear for several weeks in the summer and are an added benefit to this divine perennial. But how much do you know about hostas, and which can you add to your landscape?

Phenomenal Foliage

Hostas are praised by many for their magnificent variety of leaf sizes, colors and textures. These angels will grace your garden with heart-shaped, lance-shaped, oval or nearly round leaves, and leaf sizes vary as well. Smooth, quilted or puckered textures, with either a matte or glossy sheen, add to the glory and hostas’ radiant glow.

The leaf margins can be either smooth or wavy and range in color from light to dark green. Foliage colors also include chartreuse, gray and blue, depending on the cultivar. Variegated hostas with cream, white or yellow margins will radiate in a dark area of your garden.

Where to Plant Hostas

While most hostas are shade worshippers, some types will tolerate sun, depending on the overall climate and moisture levels. Hostas remain attractive from spring until frost and can withstand a wide range of growing conditions.

As choice groundcovers or single specimens in the landscape, hostas are certainly divine. Some hostas are quite unusual and rare and may increase in value each year, especially as the plants thrive and can be divided and transplanted with ease.

Best Hosta Care

Little maintenance is required to care for hostas. Cut off old flower stalks after flowers have faded. Divide plants occasionally to increase their quantity. Keep an eye out for pests, especially slugs and snails that munch on the foliage.

Types of Hostas

With so many selections and varieties, you can find a hosta the will fit into almost any garden situation. The most popular options include…

  • Dwarf & Small Hostas: In addition to being planted in secret little pockets throughout your garden or next to paths, dwarf and small hostas can be used in difficult places. Plant them among tree roots, on a slope or terrace or in rocky places containing little soil.
  • Edger Hostas: These hostas are 12” or less in height and have more horizontal growth. They are able to control weeds as they leave no light, when well established, or room for weeds to grow.
  • Groundcover Hostas: This group of hostas grows to 18” or less in height. They do a great job in areas difficult to weed or maintain. If you are in need of a hosta for use as a groundcover, keep in mind it works great to plant spring-flowering bulbs among them. The hosta comes up after the show of flowers and covers the fading foliage of the bulbs.
  • Background Hostas: Selections from this group grow to 24” or taller at maturity. They can be used to increase privacy where you sit and relax or to provide definition to your property line as a unique hedge.
  • Specimen Hostas: Specimens may be any size. Choose a site close to where the plant will be viewed so that every detail (texture, color pattern, buds, flowers and fragrance) may be enjoyed.

Not sure which hosta is right for you? Come in today and let our landscape and garden experts help you choose the right heavenly hosta to add a bit of the divine to your yard!

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Rose – Queen of the Garden

We all love roses. It may be the luxurious fragrances, rich colors or the elegant flower forms that attract us. It may be the memories that roses evoke. Whatever the reason, roses are one of the world’s most popular flowers. With so many different types of roses available, ranging from the diminutive miniatures to the towering climbers, there is no excuse to exclude this “Queen of Flowers” from your garden.

Rose Types

There are many types of roses to cultivate, and it can be difficult to choose. If you’re just getting started with roses, consider some of these popular favorites…

  • Hybrid Tea Roses: These blooms are a favorite of rose gardeners who enjoy long-stemmed, large flowers. Hybrid tea flowers have many petals and plants grow upright and tall, about 3-7 feet. These roses are appropriate in either a formal garden or informal planting.
  • Floribunda Roses: These roses have smaller flowers than hybrid teas with the flowers arranged in clusters. This rose bush is useful as a hedge for a border or privacy screen, and is equally stunning in mass plantings.
  • Grandiflora Roses: These beauties were developed by crossing hybrid teas with floribundas. This rose grows to around 10 feet tall so it should be used in the back of the border where its beauty won’t shroud other plants. The flowers of the Grandiflora are hybrid tea form and can be single stemmed or borne in clusters depending on the cultivar.
  • Climbing Roses: These roses make an outstanding vertical display when trained on arbors, walls, fences, trellises and pergolas and can grow from 8-15 feet tall. Flowers may be borne large and single or small and arranged in clusters.
  • Miniature Roses: These delicate nymphs are dwarf in every way – flowers, leaves and height. This rose may be mass planted as a ground cover, used as border or grown in containers on decks, patios and porches.
  • Shrub Roses: These flowers are renowned for their bushy habit and superior disease resistance making them an excellent choice for mass planting. The shrub rose flower may be either single or double. Some types have very showy rose hips.
  • Old Roses: These luscious heirlooms are making a come-back! Although bloom times and color choices are limited, old roses are much more fragrant, vigorous and disease resistant than modern roses. To obtain all the qualities of an old rose combined with a long bloom time of a modern rose, look for the David Austin varieties.

Not sure which rose is just right for your landscape or garden? Our rose experts will be glad to help you choose the perfect rose no matter what thoughts or emotions you want your garden to evoke. Stop in today to see the latest types of roses and the most popular cultivars for this year’s gardening.

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Shrub Bouquets

Do you love fresh, seasonal bouquets straight from the garden but don’t have the time to plan, plant and tend to an annual cutting plot each year? A fabulous alternative to the annual flower garden is the planting of woody shrubs. Woodies are a great investment that will reward you year after year with little maintenance. These are hardy, easy care shrubs whose flowers, foliage, berries and stems may be cut, without damaging the overall plant. Clippings from these plants may be used alone, in bouquets and arrangements or mixed with the annual and perennial flowers that you do have time to nurture and grow. No matter what the season, there are amazing shrubs that can easily become part of beautiful bouquets. Why not choose one of each for year-round options?

Spring Bouquet Shrubs

  • Common Lilac (Syringa vulgaris): White, pink, lavender or variegated fragrant blooms depending on the cultivar.
  • Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles speciosa): White, apricot, salmon, pink and red flowers depending on the cultivar. Branches may be forced.
  • Forsythia (Forsythia x intermedia): Yellow to gold flowers depending on the cultivar. Branches may be forced. Foliage may be used, after flowering, in the summer, winter and fall.
  • Pussy Willow (Salix spp.): Soft, fuzzy catkins (flowers). There are also numerous Salix grown for their colorful and twisted stems.

Summer Bouquet Shrubs

  • Bigleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla): White, green, pink, blue and purple flowers depending on the cultivar and soil pH.
  • Hardy Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata): White or pink flowers depending on the cultivar. If cut correctly, you may even get a second crop of blooms from this plant.
  • Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius): Deep burgundy, lime green, bronze or coppery-orange foliage depending on the cultivar. Foliage may be used in the late spring through the fall.
  • Smooth Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens): Large, white snowball-like flowers.
  • Smokebush (Cotinus coggygria): Bluish-green to dark purple foliage depending on the cultivar with smoke-like flower panicles in June through August. Foliage is attractive from late spring through fall.

Fall Bouquet Shrubs

  • Blue Mist Spirea (Caryopteris x clandonensis): Light, bright and deep blue flowers depending on the cultivar.
  • Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina domestica): Full, drooping panicles of yellow or red berries depending on the cultivar. Foliage may be used any time of the year, even in winter as this plant is semi-evergreen, and takes on a purple or bronze cast in the cold weather.

Winter Bouquet Shrubs

  • Bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica): Silvery blue berries.
  • Twig Dogwoods (Cornus spp.): Yellow, gold, orange or red stems depending on the cultivar.
  • Winterberry Holly (Ilex verticillata): Yellow, orange or red berries depending on the cultivar. Must plant a male pollinator in order for this plant to fruit.

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Top 10 Disease-Resistant Crabapples

Crabapple trees in flower are a sight to behold. They are the showstopper trees of spring, and are compact enough to fit in nearly any size, shape or style of landscape. But how will you pick the variety that is best for you?

About Crabapples

The unrivaled spring beauty of these trees can take your breath away, as they frequently bud in one color but the flowers open in another, which can create a glorious variegated effect. To add to their appeal, they perform again in the late summer or fall with a fabulous display of hanging, showy fruit that wildlife loves.

Crabapples are available in a range of flower petal colors that include white, pink, red and all shades in between. Flower forms may be single or semi-double with some varieties being fragrant. Selections may be made for fall fruit size and color, including shades of green, yellow, orange, bronze, red and purple. Crabapple trees are also available in a variety of leaf color, size and growth habit to accommodate a landscape of any style and size.

Crabapple Problems

Although these trees have the potential to be stunningly beautiful, crabapples are subject to a number of serious diseases that can leave them unattractive through most of the growing season. The four main offenders are…

  • Apple Scab: This disease manifests as unsightly dark lesions on the leaves and fruit and will cause premature leaf drop.
  • Cedar-Apple Rust: This blight presents as yellow spots on the upper side of the leaves early in the season, followed by orange rust spots on the underside of the leaves in the late summer. This disease will cause premature leaf drop.
  • Fire Blight: This infection gives new shoots the appearance of being scorched by fire and the fruit will look dark and shriveled.
  • Powdery Mildew: This common disease will cause the leaves to be deformed and give them a white, powdery appearance.

There is, however, good news. You can plant a crabapple today without hesitation, because we carry crabapple selections with an excellent degree of disease resistance. Here is our list of the top 10 stunning crabapples with the best disease resistance. We may not have all of these varieties in our current inventory but we certainly have a great assortment on hand for you to choose from. Stop in today to see which varieties we have available or what other cultivars we may be able to recommend for your exact landscaping needs and preferences.

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Try Something New: Pomegranates

Want to grow an exotic fruit that is delicious, nutritious, beautiful and incredibly hip? You really should consider planting a pomegranate! It’s not as difficult as you may think.

Why Pomegranates are Popular

Pomegranate is a stunning superfood rich in antioxidants, folic acid and vitamins A, C and E. It has no cholesterol, and is also rich in fiber and potassium. Because of these nutritional advantages, pomegranate is showing up in a multitude of supermarket products like yogurts, juices, salad dressings, jellies and desserts. It can be added to sauces, fruit crisps, salsas, relishes, dips and more. You can even make a pomegranate martini! And, of course, it’s an extraordinary experience eating a fresh pomegranate. These are stunning, delicious fruits that are rarely seen in backyard gardens, but can make a great landscaping statement when properly grown.

Growing Pomegranates in the Landscape

Pomegranates grow as multi-stemmed, small trees or large shrubs. They reach 15 feet tall by up to 15 feet wide. In spring, vibrant, gorgeous orange-red flowers grace the branches of this plant. These beautiful blossoms develop into the luscious pomegranate fruit containing dozens of tart and tangy bright red seeds and pulp. The fruit ripens somewhat square in the early fall and has a leathery skin that can be yellow to red in color.

The cultivar ‘Wonderful’ is hardy to zone 7 and is easy to grow. Plant your tree in full sun. It will thrive in the summer heat and in most soils. Pomegranates are drought tolerant, however, the fruit is better and the seeds more plump with regular deep irrigation. Because this fruit tree is self-fertile, there is no need to plant a second one for pollination.

Enjoying Your Pomegranates

If you’ve never cut your own pomegranate, it can be frustrating to learn how to separate the juicy seeds from the husk and membrane. To access the seeds…

  1. Cut off the crown of the fruit.
  2. Score the leathery husk in quarters from stem to crown end.
  3. Set the scored fruit in a bowl of cool water and let soak for a few minutes.
  4. Hold the fruit under water and break scored sections apart with your fingers, separating the seeds from membrane. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl.
  5. Discard the skin and membrane.
  6. Drain the seeds on paper towels.
  7. Toss pomegranate seeds into your salad, mix them in your yogurt or smoothie or shake them into a martini and enjoy!
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Pink Muhley Grass

Ornamental grasses are becoming increasingly popular, and there is now an over-abundance of options available at garden centers. So many choices can make the selection process difficult, even overwhelming. There is one ornamental grass, however, that takes the cake. Pink Muhley Grass is arguably the most colorful ornamental grass around and it is sure wow your friends and neighbors.

About Pink Muhley Grass

Pink Muhley Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) is a native grass that is deer, drought and salt tolerant. It is hardy in zones 7-10 and may be grown as an annual elsewhere. Broadly adaptable, this grass prefers sun but will tolerate part shade and will grow well in just about any soil type. ‘Regal Mist’, or also called ‘Lenca’, is a cultivar known for the deepest plume color.

Perfect used as a specimen plant in containers or in groupings in beds and borders as well as naturalized in a meadow garden, this fall bloomer is an outstanding ornamental plant. The pink-purple flower plumes that grow up to 4 feet are also exceptional for use in cut and dried floral arranging.

Proper Care

This ornamental grass is very easy to care for. Simply prune your Pink Muhley Grass clump back hard in late winter or very early spring before the attractive new growth begins to show. Although drought tolerant, the plant will be fuller and lusher with regular, consistent watering. It is especially adaptable to poorly drained soils, and can grow in full sun or partial shade locations.

In the Garden and Landscape

There are many stunning uses for this outstanding grass, whether you are cultivating a formal garden or a more relaxed landscape. Consider these popular options…

  • When not flowering, the green clump creates a textured mound acting as a groundcover or background for other smaller plants. It can also soften harsh garden corners, walkway edges or awkward intersections.
  • As a finely textured grass, plant Pink Muhley Grass with contrasting companions such as calla lilies, evergreen shrubs or low growing groundcovers to create interest in the landscape.
  • Plant in front of the larger smoketree Cotinus coggygria ‘Grace’ for an exquisite coordinating display of color and texture.
  • Plant where it will be backlit. It positively glows where it catches the early morning or late afternoon sun.
  • Use as a beautiful and unusual addition to floral arrangements.

Do you need another reason to grow Pink Muhley Grass? Oh, yes, the birds will thank you – they love the seeds!

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Top Native Shrubs for Year-Round Interest

We just love incorporating natives into the home landscape, and it’s easier to do than many gardeners realize. Including native plants is an important part of sustaining local pollinators and wildlife. Furthermore, native plants are naturally lower maintenance and pest-resistant, and wow, are they beautiful!

Favorite Native Shrubs

It’s easy to find native shrubs to provide interest in the garden the whole year through, from fresh spring growth to brilliant summer blooms to outrageous autumn foliage to stunning winter structure. Our list offers outstanding selections that will do well in a variety of moisture levels, soil types and sun exposures. Cultivars of these species offer variations in size, form, leaf color and shape as well as flower colors.

  • Sweet Pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia)
    Deciduous shrub, 3-8 feet high x 4-6 feet wide. Fragrant white blooms in July to August. Full sun to part shade, but will tolerate heavy shade. Moist to wet soil, tolerates erosion and clay soil. Use as a hedge, to naturalize or in rain garden. Attracts butterflies.
  • Sweetfern (Comptonia peregrina)
    Deciduous shrub, 2-5 feet high x 4-8 feet wide. Insignificant flower, ornamental and fragrant leaf. Full sun to part shade. Medium moist soil preferred, but also drought tolerant. Use to naturalize or in rain gardens.
  • Silky Dogwood (Cornus amomum)
    Deciduous shrub, 6-12 feet high x 6-12 feet wide. Yellowish-white flowers in May to June followed by showy fruit. Full sun to part shade. Medium to wet soil. Deer tolerant. Good for erosion control. Use as a hedge or in a rain garden. Attracts birds.
  • Winterberry (Ilex verticillata)
    Deciduous shrub, 3-12 feet high x 3-12 feet wide. Showy red fruit in the winter. Full sun to part shade. Medium to wet soil and tolerates clay soil. Tolerates air pollution. Controls erosion. Use as a hedge or in a rain garden. Attracts birds.
  • Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)
    Broadleaf evergreen, 5-15 feet high x 5-15 feet wide. May-blooming with rose to white flowers with purple markings. Sun to part shade. Medium moist soil. Deer and rabbit tolerant.
  • Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)
    Deciduous shrub, 6-12 feet high x 6-12 feet wide. Fragrant greenish-yellow, flowers and showy fruit. Part shade but can tolerate heavy shade. Medium soil moisture and drought tolerant. Deer tolerant. Can grow in clay soil. Attracts birds and butterflies.
  • Northern Bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica)
    Deciduous shrub, 5-10 feet high x 5-10 feet wide. Showy fruit in the winter. Full sun to part shade. Dry to medium soil moisture. Use as a hedge, naturalize or in a rain garden. Attracts birds.
  • Pinxterbloom Azalea (Rhododendron viscosum)
    Deciduous shrub, 3-5 feet high x 3-5 feet wide. Blooms white to pale pink in May to July. Part shade. Medium to wet soil moisture. Very ornamental and good as a cut flower. Tolerant of rabbits. Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.
  • American Cranberry Bush (Viburnum opulus ‘americanum’)
    Deciduous shrub, 8-12 feet high x 8-12 feet wide. White lacecap flowers in April to May. Edible fruit. Full sun to part shade. Medium soil moisture. Use as a hedge or in the shrub border. Attracts birds and butterflies.

If none of these suggestions quite meet your preferences for a year-round native shrub, stop in to see our experts for more tips and options – new species and cultivars are always arriving!

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Protect Your Japanese Maples

Beautiful additions to any landscape, Japanese Maples will look their best when given some protection during hot, dry summers. As the weather becomes hotter and drier, your these trees may show signs of heat stress with the development of crispy leaf edges or, as conditions get even more extreme, leaf drop. This diminishes their stunning beauty and shrivels their leaves, but fortunately, there are several ways you can minimize this problem no matter what the weather. From planting these trees in the right spot to mulching the roots appropriately to using anti-transpirants, you can shield Japanese Maples from drought-like conditions.

Protective Planting

When planting a Japanese Maple, choose a location that receives morning sun only and has some protection from strong winds. Full afternoon sun and windy conditions will quickly stress plants and reduce leaf color. Planting a Japanese Maple in front of a western or southwestern windbreak of conifers or other evergreens will provide good shielding, or plant these trees on the eastern side of the house, garage or other structure to provide that essential barrier.

Save Moisture With Mulch

Mulching will help to retain moisture and cool root zones to protect these trees. Apply 2-4 inches of mulch under your Japanese Maples, extending out to the drip line for complete protection. Be sure to keep the mulch several inches away from the tree’s trunk to avoid fungus problems and crown rot. Ideally, install a drip watering system or other slow-release watering under the mulch to retain the most moisture with less water lost to evaporation.

Anti-Transpirant Sprays

Another way to keep your Japanese Maples looking their best is to use an anti-transpirant to helps minimize moisture loss from leaves. The best time to apply an anti-transpirant is in early summer when Japanese Maples are in peak condition, before they start showing signs of suffering from heat stress. Make your applications early in the day or on a cooler, overcast day to avoid leaf burn. Apply monthly through the hottest part of the year and your beautiful trees will look gorgeous heading into the fall season.

Japanese Maples are popular landscaping trees and make stunning specimen plants in any yard, but they can be subject to heat stress that will reduce their beauty and vitality. By taking several steps to protect them, however, you can enjoy the beauty of these trees even when summers are hot and dry, and properly protected, your Japanese Maple will look brilliant throughout the summer.

Flower Carpet Roses

The Flower Carpet Rose is a disease-resistant, low-growing shrub which requires none of the usual care that other roses do. Not only does it produce thousands of blossoms over the growing season, but it is virtually care-free. Deadheading, pruning, spraying and constant feeding are all unnecessary to keep these plants looking their best, although deep watering is suggested for new plantings. Once established, Flower Carpet Roses can become quite drought tolerant.

Flower Carpet Roses in Your Landscape

Flower Carpet Roses can be used in a variety of ways in the home garden. These plants are wonderful for foundation plantings, for covering sloping banks, to line a walkway or driveway, in large containers, alongside a quaint fence or simply mixed in among other flowers in perennial borders. The Flower Carpet Rose can go anywhere and still look spectacular. More adventurous gardeners may even want to train these roses into tree forms for amazing specimens and landscape focal points. They work well in terraces or other hard-to-reach locations, can help with erosion control on steeper slopes and are beautiful alongside water features or to create a welcoming, colorful entryway. Just be sure that wherever you position the plant, it will have adequate room to spread out to its full potential and blooming glory. Full sun is preferred for the best, most prolific blooming, though these roses will still bloom in part shade locations, albeit not as prolifically or for as long throughout the season.

Flower Carpet Roses are a top ground cover rose and can flower for up to 10 months (depending upon climate and soil condition), producing up to 2,000 blooms from spring to fall. Rich, glossy green foliage also adorns this full, rounded shrub and provides a luscious contrast to the blooms, which come in pink, red, yellow, peach and white hues, as well as subtly variegated shades. Even when the blooming is finally finished, these roses stay neat as the foliage and spent blooms drop cleanly away – no deadheading or cleanup intervention required.

To keep the shrub in shape, just cut back with shears to 1/3 size in early spring to keep them as a mounding form. Even pruning novices can manage this task – these roses aren’t fussy about the type of cuts or the direction in which they’re made.

Flower Carpet Roses are every gardener’s dream – virtually care-free, trouble-free plants that produce masses of colorful flowers throughout the growing season. Who could ask for more? Except, perhaps, more room to plant them!

Crape Myrtles

No yard or landscape should be without a crape myrtle, or two, or three or… many! How wonderful to have something that blooms so profusely during that time of year when most other plants are looking tired and worn from the summer heat and drought. The versatility of this plant makes it suitable for many types of yards and many uses, and once established, they will go on to add charm and delight to the landscape for many years.

About Crape Myrtles

Crape myrtles bloom in late summer and can be found in flower colors of pinks, lilac, white, reds and purples. Requiring very little maintenance once established, crape myrtles need a full sun location to thrive and they do not like wet feet. Keep these needs in mind when selecting a site to plant them. They will require some supplemental watering for the first year or so to get off to a good start and develop good roots. Crape myrtles are also pretty much pest-free, except for aphids on occasion and these are easily controlled with an insecticidal soap spray. Some varieties are more susceptible to powdery mildew than others but most of the newer varieties are more resistant to this fungus problem.

Planting Crape Myrtles

Although tolerant of a wide range of soil qualities, crape myrtles grow poorly in wet locations so be sure to select a well-drained planting site. Late spring to early summer is the best time to select and plant your new crape myrtles while they are actively growing and can settle in quickly. Plant at or slightly above ground level, spreading the roots out slightly and using mulch to protect and shelter the roots after planting. They do prefer a slightly acid soil.

Crape Myrtle Types

Crape myrtles can be found in shrub, multi-stem tree and single trunk tree forms. For best results select a cultivar whose growth characteristics and ultimate mature size fit your intended use. Planting a shrub- or tree-like crape myrtle in an area of limited space will require yearly pruning to keep it from outgrowing its place. Single- or multi-stemmed tree-form crape myrtles are ideal as flowering specimen trees or as small, flowering shade trees near patios, walkways and entrances. Shrub forms make an excellent accent in a shrub border when planted in groups. Dwarf plants are effective as large groundcovers, perennial bedding plants or container plants providing vivid, summer-flowering interest.

Pruning Crape Myrtles

If adequate room is provided, little pruning is required except to maintain shape or remove any dead or crossing branches. Remove any suckers or water sprouts to maintain tree forms and elegance. Blossoms are produced on new growth so you can prune anytime the plants are dormant through the winter.

With so much to love about these plants, there’s no reason not to add one to your yard this year! And next year, and the year after that, and the year after that…

Rose Care Basics

Beginners often become confused with the many recommendations and suggestions for growing roses. However, it is important to start with the basic guidelines for successful rose growing. Roses can thrive under many conditions, but they are sure to grow better, with more luxurious blooms and fewer problems, when you follow the basics. 

Prepare the Soil 

The proper soil is essential to nourish roses so they can grow to their full potential. To make the soil ideal for roses… 

  1. Take a soil sample to test the pH, either with a home testing kit or through your local extension service. Roses like a pH of 6.0 to 6.8. You may need to add lime to raise the pH or sulfur to lower it to the optimum rose range.
  2. Incorporate composted cow manure or other healthy compost into the soil. This will provide superior drainage and excellent organic material for roses to absorb.

Planting Roses

If they aren’t planted properly, roses won’t thrive as well as they could. Improper planting could even damage roots and destroy a rose bush. 

  1. Select a sunny spot with good soil drainage – roses require at least 6 hours of full sun daily. Early morning sun is preferred because it dries the leaves, which helps prevent disease.
  2. Dig a wide, shallow hole that is 2-3 times as wide but not quite as deep as the root ball (about 1 inch shallower). The plant should sit on solid ground so it doesn’t sink when the soil settles.
  3. Remove the plant from the pot and loosen any circling roots. If you can’t pull the roots apart, use a knife to make 4-5 vertical cuts in the root ball. This will allow new roots to grow out into the surrounding soil as the plant becomes established.
  4. Place the plant in the hole slightly elevated above ground level. Backfill with soil until the hole is half full.
  5. Soak the root ball with a mixture of a Root Stimulator & Transplanting Solution.
  6. Fill the rest of the hole with soil and water thoroughly. Apply mulch to a depth of 2 inches, being careful not to mound mulch against the trunk of the plant, which could encourage rotting or insect damage.

Pruning Roses 

To look their best, roses must be properly pruned. This can be intimidating for rose-growing novices, but once the basics are mastered, the techniques for pruning roses are not difficult. 

  1. In spring, remove winter mulch when new grow appears. Prune out all dead wood and twiggy growth and cut back to sound wood with a clean slanting cut, just above a good bud eye.
  2. During the growing season, remove fading roses promptly, cutting just above a five-leaflet leaf. This will help encourage reblooming on many cultivars, and will help prevent rot or disease infestation.
  3. To winterize, remove all fallen leaves and debris from the base of the plant, cut back to 10-12 inches after the ground freezes, then apply a mound of mulch over the canes to protect them from temperature shock. 

Food and Water 

Roses need the proper nutrition – water and fertilizer – to bloom well and develop stunning colors and fragrances. 

  1. Roses thrive best when given 1 inch of water weekly. A thorough soaking from rain or hose will keep roses blooming all season. Try not to overhead water unless it is early in the day, as the damp leaves can promote disease.
  2. Fertilize monthly with Espoma Rose-tone or similar products specially formulated for the nutritional needs of roses.

Treat for Disease and Pests 

There are times when roses will succumb to diseases and pests. Quickly recognizing these problems and treating them properly will help minimize outbreaks that can damage several rose plants at once. 

  1. Fungus diseases cannot be cured, so a regular spraying schedule is very important. Keep an eye on plants that were infected last year and spray with a fungicide to prevent outbreaks this year.
  2. You may also need to use an insecticide for severe insect problems. Minor problems can be handled with less harsh methods, but diligence will be necessary to keep pests from taking over the rose bushes.
  3. Many rose lovers find it convenient to use an all-purpose insect and disease spray once a week or a systemic control every 6 weeks.

It may seem like a lot of work to cultivate roses, but when you wander through your rose garden or see your favorite rose bush in full bloom, that effort will be well rewarded.

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Espalier

Espalier is the process of training trees or shrubs, by pruning and trellising, to create a vertical, two-dimensional, formal pattern. The purpose of espalier is to artfully train a tree to grow in limited space, to provide pattern and texture on a solid wall, to grow fruit in a limited space and to create privacy in the garden.

It is possible to purchase plants that have been already been espaliered, however, your selection of plant choices will be limited and it’s not nearly as much fun as doing it yourself. Fortunately, it’s not as hard to do as it may sound!

Espalier Basics

To begin, choose a spot in full sun where you have garden space at the foot of a bare wall or fence. It is important to remember to leave about 6 inches of space between the wall or fence and the plant to allow sufficient room for roots to grow. A wire frame is often used in place of a trellis when choosing this type of plant training, though a trellis may be used when training a plant for privacy when no wall is available. Screw eyebolts into the side of a building at 1-foot intervals, horizontally and vertically. Tie wire between the bolts to create a grid. There are many styles and patterns, of espalier to choose from, some simple, some complicated. It may help to layout your design on graph paper first to solidify your plan and to visualize its complete form.

Select a tree that is young as its branches will be more flexible and more readily trainable. All branches must be pruned from the side that will be flush with the wall or trellis. Tie the main trunk to the wire grid with a twist tie, then prune away all branches that grow forward leaving only laterally spreading branches. Next, begin tying the lateral branches to the frame at approximately a 45-degree angle from the ground. You now have the beginnings of an espalier! This process will require annual maintenance. Branches chosen to be part of your original design should be retrained and retied yearly. Check the ties twice a year to make sure that they are not strangling the branches, and loosen them as necessary. Branches that are not needed to maintain your design should be removed.

Pruning Your Plant for the Best Espalier

Pruning and training will continue throughout the life of your chosen plant. Generally, most major pruning is done in late winter to early spring before new growth begins, but pruning at different times can have different advantages. Pruning during the dormant season or early spring, for example, will stimulate new growth that can help fill a pattern in more quickly. Pruning in mid-summer (June, July) tends to have a dwarfing effect, ideal to keep a more mature plant under control in a smaller space. Pruning should not be done in late summer, however, as this could stimulate new growth that will not have time to harden off before a heavy frost sets in.

An espalier design can take years to fill into a luxurious form, but the effort and meticulous nature of this type of plant training can be well worthwhile for a unique and eye-catching feature in your garden.

Apple Fruit.