That Landscapers HATE to Fix
While more MAY be better in some cases, it’s not better to have more in your landscape. Not spacing out your plants and over-filling them may offer instant gratification for the first year your new plants are in the ground, but in two years, your plants will begin to die because they’re fighting for space and nutrients. This common mistake is a HUGE WASTE of time and money.
HINT: Fill in empty spots with annual flowers until your shrubs mature!
Not Knowing Your Landscape’s Needs
You’ll want to have an idea of what your yard requires and then choose plants that fit those requirements. How much direct sunlight does your yard get daily? Is your soil clay-based, sandy, or rocky? Are there any water restrictions? Are there drainage issues? Knowing the answers to these questions can help you make the best choices for your landscape. There is NO REASON not to research and learn more about the plants you are putting in your landscape. Planting shade plants in sun, or sun plants in shade is an inexcusable snafu in any landscape.
Starting Without A Plan
Don’t go to a Garden Center with a “my heart will guide me” mentality. This will lead to over purchasing and a major loss of money. You’ll also run into issues during your landscape install that could’ve been solved by planning ahead.
Not Paying Attention To The Style Of Your House
Your landscape should complement your home and increase your curb appeal! Different landscape styles work better aesthetically, so always use the look and structure of your house when deciding on garden bed shapes (i.e. A farmhouse-style home won’t work with a formal landscape). Unsure where to start?
HINT: Use a garden hose to help aid in the process of figuring out the shape of each bed; lay out the hose on the ground and use it as your guide, it’s soft and can follow the curves of your house, leading to perfect garden bed shapes.
Planting Too Close To Your Home
When planting, you must bear in mind that bushes, trees and plants WILL get bigger! Where you plant them is SO important – typically, leaving a minimum of 1-3 feet between your plants and your house. Ignoring how large a tree or bush will get can lead to walkway, sidewalk and foundation damage – or, even worse, it can rot your siding, allowing moisture and bugs to creep into your home. Not cool.
Relying On Pinterest To Do Your Landscape
It is SO EASY to get excited and jump into a project when you scroll through Pinterest. HOWEVER, you need to keep in mind the time, resources, and money that go into the ‘simple’ photos you see online. While it can be helpful for ideas, you have to get real about where you and your yard are located zone-wise and how much the project will cost overall.
So many people in the South have red clay soil.
This stuff is mushy and disgusting when it is wet; but when it is dry, it takes on a form almost like concrete. Worst of all? It’s completely nutrient deficient.
Red clay soon becomes waterlogged during rainy weather. When soil stays wet, the water can cut off the air supply to roots, as well as to microorganisms in soil that are important to your plant’s well being. Root rot, suffocation, and many other diseases can occur.
Adding to the plant’s misery, when clay soil finally does dry out, roots struggle to spread through the hard soil. How can a poor plant survive?
Don’t give up! While you need good drainage for plants to survive, having red clay soil and nice plants in your landscape isn’t impossible!
With a little prep and TLC, you can grow beautiful shrubs, just by enhancing the texture and drainage of your soil.
Keeping with the theme of low growing shrubs here are two groups – those for shady spots and for sunny to partial sun areas.
Mojo Pittosporum – Evergreen, low mounding shrub with light green and cream variegated leaves. It is salt tolerant, deer resistant, and has orange smelling blossoms in the Spring.
Soft Caress Mahonia – This airy plant has bamboo-like foliage and bright yellow flowers at the top of the plant that bloom in early winter.
Carex or Sedge – Mounding, grass like plant that can be used as accents or planted in multiples to give year round color to a shady garden. Most varieties offer variegated or striped leaves.
Wheelers Dwarf Pittosporum Dark green, glossy leafed, mounding shrub that requires almost no trimming.
Dwarf Hydrangea – Enjoy beautiful Hydrangea blossoms on smaller plant varieties available now. In blue, pink, or white, they will brighten up your garden.
Sun to Partial Sun:
Little John Bottlebrush – The bright red flowers which resemble a bottle cleaning brush is where this plant gets its name. It blooms intermittently throughout the Spring and into the Fall. The foliage is narrow and blue green and is deer resistant.
Multi-Blooming Azaleas – multiple colors (red, white, pinks, and purple) are available in plants 2’ – 3’ tall. They will bloom 3-4 times during the year bringing color to your landscape or containers.
Dwarf Spirea – Several varieties are available with different leaf color – dark green, lime green, golden yellow – with blooms during Spring and Summer.
Drift Roses – One of the most popular shrubs. They bloom from Spring to late Fall in a variety of colors – red, peach, apricot, white and pink.
Dwarf Abelia – Evergreen foliage in either variegated or solid green colors. Cluster of small, fragrant, white flowers bloom from late Spring to early Fall.
You’ve been watering your grass all summer long and it may look bleached out.
Make it look like spring again with Ironite! This granular iron product is simple to apply to your lawn and will make your lawn or plants turn green – not overnight but almost.
You might ask, why not just use some fertilizer? DON’T!!! Applying fertilizer to your lawn at this time of the year can burn your grass and can easily stripe your yard.
The Importance of Iron
Plants need iron and cannot properly create chlorophyll without it. This results in poor growth because chlorophyll plays an important role in photosynthesis. Chlorophyll also gives plants their green color, and the primary symptom of iron deficiency are leaves that are yellow between their veins.
How to Apply
A 10 pound bag covers 5000 sq feet and is easily applied with a spreader.
Combine a granular ant killer with the Ironite into your spreader and get a 2 for 1 punch.
Mint, or mentha, is grown practically everywhere in the world; therefore, it makes appearances in almost every cuisine. This versatile culinary herb is delicious both dried and fresh.
So, why do people hate growing mint? Bring up the topic of mint with many a gardener, and you’ll be greeted with a resounding, “Don’t plant mint! It will take over your yard!” With thoughtful preparation and placement, however, mint can be a wonderful and containable addition to your culinary garden.
Perennial or Annual?
Mint is a hardy perennial that is one of the first to arrive each spring. It also retains its potency of flavor over the years.
How to Plant Mint
- Where: Mint performs its best in full sun if the soil is kept moist, but it also thrives in partial shade. Mint is considered an invasive plant, since it sends out “runners” and spreads vigorously. Don’t let that fact deter you from enjoying fresh mint in your garden. Opt to grow mint in containers or, if you want to plant mint in the ground, submerge it in a large container and leave about two inches of the rim exposed above the soil to prevent spreading.
- When: Plant mint at any time. Mint is sturdy and resilient. Don’t waste your time starting mint from seed.
How to Cultivate Mint
- Soil: Mint thrives in moist, rich soil. To keep the soil moist, cover the soil with a little mulch.
- Sun: Mint can grow in sun or part shade. If you are planting mint indoors, where it also performs well, make sure you place your container near a sunny window.
- Water: Regular watering is really the only maintenance mint needs. Always keep the soil moist.
How to Harvest Mint
Mint is another herb that is easy to harvest, and can be harvested at any time. In fact, regular harvesting is encouraged, in order to prevent legginess. You may opt to harvest most of the plant at once, clipping away up to 2/3 of the length of the stems, or you may clip away only what you need.
Use these tips and you’ll be feeling MINTY-FRESH!
- Elaeagnus – terrible name, great plant! The silver-green leaf color gives you great contrast in your landscape. Highly drought tolerant once established and can
handle almost any soil conditions. They grow quickly to a 8’x8’ and taller and thrive in full sun or part sun. They are DEER RESISTANT too!!
- Southern Wax Myrtle – Olive-green aromatic foliage makes this plant stand out along with the bluish berries
produced by the female plants. The standard size will reach 15 feet tall while the dwarf species reaches 6-8 feet tall. It is drought tolerant once established and grows well in both moist and dry soil conditions. n full sun or part shade. They are DEER RESISTANT too!!
- Pineapple Guava – Beautiful, exotic red and white flowers bloom on this large shrub in the spring, followed by guava fruit in the fall. The leaves are light green,
leathery with soft gray undersides. It will grow to about 15’ – 20’ tall in full sun or partial sun. Deer do not seem to bother these plants.
- Nellie R Stevens Holly – Very attractive holly with dark green, leathery foliage. Dense branching
makes it an excellent hedge screen. It produces large, bright orange-red berries in late Fall. Fast growing tree/shrub reaching heights of 15’- 25’. Grows well in sun or partial sun in both dry and moist soil conditions.
- Leyland Cypress – A fast-growing coniferous evergreen tree – up to 3’ of growth per year. Has a natural Christmas tree shape but
can be grown close together and trimmed as hedges. Prefers full sun for best performance. This tree can reach 50+ feet if left untrimmed.