Wednesday, August 27, 2014

How to Xeriscape Your Landscape to Make it Water Wise and Drought Tolerant

With these Xeriscape guidelines, you can create a landscape that is water wise and drought tolerant

Xeriscaping is landscaping designed for water conservation, resourcefulness for drought conditions, and use of native plants that have adapted to accept lower moisture levels.  Derived from “xeros,” the Greek word for “dry,” successful xeriscaping far surpasses the desert garden look so often associated with it.  Before acting on your own xeriscaping ideas, consider these elements:
*Irrigation potential

With such crucial elements at the center of your garden planning, design is your number one starting place.  While many wonderful gardens grow from whimsy and spontaneity, xeriscape gardens require careful planning, especially where water conservation and run off control are true top priorities.

Setting affects xeriscaping plans in various ways.  Slopes, southern and western exposures, and other similar issues will lead to run off problems and maximum evaporation.  Where slopes are an issue, terracing is the most effective measure for reducing run off and promoting soil soak.  Everywhere water might slowly soak into soil for deep moisture, water is conserved and plants will be healthier. 

Southern and Western exposures promote evaporation of valuable water, but that does not mean that gardening cannot be implemented in such areas.  Trees and shrubs may be incorporated into your xeriscape design to create shade.  Shade helps to cool natural hot zones, and that means cooler soil and lower evaporation rates. 

Extreme soils are not likely to conserve water.  Where high levels of sand exist, water retention is low.  Where clay content is heavy, run off is excessive.  For the greatest potential of supporting plant life and conserving water:
*Compost your soil before planting, adding compost every year
*Amend your soil to balance sand, silt, and clay whenever/wherever possible
*Establish a volume pore space of about 50%

Ideal soil includes:
*Aggregates (clusters)
*Pore space

Balancing sand, silt, and clay promotes the balance for ideal soaking and water conservation.  As the water directs through each of these components, evaporation is minimized, run off is avoided, and deep soaking is increased.

Among the drought-tolerant trees that should blend with xeriscaping in various areas are:
*Green Ash

Place any of these trees strategically to optimize their role in your xeriscape garden.  Acting as both focal points and thermal controls, these trees will set the tone for your entire scene.

Shrubs that help with shade include:

Each of these may be included to create a unique aesthetic within your garden.  Many xeriscapes incorporate spindly pines and low junipers for a pleasing desert garden effect.

Flowers that work well in xeriscapes are native, adapted to specific climates, and perennial, establishing roots to return year after year.  Some of the best choices for low-maintenance xeriscaping are:
*Black-eyed Susan

Adding a selection of spring bulbs and late bloomers will extend your bloom range and make the best use of spring and fall rains.  For this reason, consider introducing tried and true favorites such as irises and crocuses.
The most successful xeriscapes will be designed to include efficient irrigation systems.  Efficient irrigation systems do not:
*Drive or patio watering

Observe the flow of your irrigation lines or plan to determine that each of these inefficient practices is eradicated.  Outlying shrubs, raised plants, trees, and narrow strips of turf will benefit from drip systems.  If your main irrigation plan involves manual watering, try to stick to an as-needed system.  Water those plants that need it most to avoid overwatering and wasting this valuable resource. 

Two other techniques that help to create successful water conservation in your xeriscape design are proper mulching and decrease of lawn blanketing.  Organic mulches are excellent choices for any garden as they add nutrients to the garden as they break down; attract worms, and cool soil.  Often synthetic choices are counterproductive as they increase heat and decrease moisture retention. 

Lawn blanketing, or planting water-thirsty turfs, necessitates frequent watering.  Additionally, narrow strips, quirky corners, and islands of turf can be tricky to water.  Your best bet is to isolate lawn to areas closest to the house or in frequently traveled paths. 

Once you have established your well-planned xeriscape, watering your garden should be a thing of the past. 

Visit Greenwood Nursery for a selection of Xeric or drought tolerant plants for your new water free garden.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Tired of Mowing Your Yard? Easy Lawn Alternatives are Available

You don't want to spend your weekends on nothing but lawn care. Do you? We have lawn alternatives for you to plant instead of growing the traditional grass in your yard. 

Don't mow your lawn anymore! Instead fill the area with spreading perennials and groundcover plants that will provide your old lawn with a new life of color and beauty. Till, plant and enjoy!

This is the time of year, most of us become disillusioned with our lawns. Water, aerate, water, reseed, water, fertilize, then repeat and that doesn't include the mowing. It's a never ending cycle. Customers send emails wanting to know how they can forget the grass and have something that is just not as time consuming.

Well...there are lawn options and planning is a must or you will be the neighborhood poster yard for weeds. Groundcover plants, ornamental grasses and spreading perennials are popular, but there are more ways to fill in your old lawn area.

Cheryl Jones notes, "This is a frequent question that I get once mowing season begins. Some of our favorite lawn substitutes are vinca, wintercreeper, pachysandra, creeping phlox, creeping thymes, mints and sedum, or stonecrop." Jones adds, "Lawn alternatives are gaining in popularity. Homeowners would rather have color, fragrance and beauty with little work than a time consuming yard."

More ideas for lawn substitutes are sowing wildflower seeds, small growing shrubs, ground cover roses, clover, xeriscape plants, pea gravel, heavily chipped mulch, landscape pavers, and artificial grass (don't laugh, it is used quite often).

Visit Lawn Alternative Plants for more ideas on creating a garden rather than a lawn.

Calycanthus Aphrodite Sweetshrub will quickly become your favorite flowering shrubs. From mid summer to fall, the Calycanthus Aphrodite will adorn your garden with large red magnolia like flowers. Living up to its name of sweetshrub, this deer resistant shrub will fill the air with sweet apple scented fragrance

The Calycanthus Aphrodite Sweetshrub blooms on old wood, so be sure to prune only for shaping (if needed) after flowering. The glossy medium green leaves make a nice backdrop for the gorgeous red flowers that bloom from mid summer on to fall. Space your new Calycanthus sweetshrub Aphrodite shrubs 6 to 7 feet apart. 

'Aphrodite' Calycanthus PP: 24014 Can. PBRAF

Calycanthus Aphrodite Sweetshrub

Rose Rosette Disease - What it is and Why it's Affecting Knock Out Roses

What is Rose Rosette Disease?

Rose Rosette Disease is a disease that is fatal to roses. It is a threat to potentially all cultivated roses, regardless of cultivar. Roses with this disease will not recover becoming ugly and misshapen by Rose Rosette in a short amount of time. The only cure for Rose Rosette Disease is prevention. Once your roses have Rose Rosette, the only option is to destroy affected plants.

What does Rose Rosette Disease Look Like?

Rose Rosette Disease can look like some other rose diseases that aren’t as serious, so before you remove any plants it’s best to be sure your roses actually have the dreaded disease.
Here are some things to look for:
  • Stressed growth in leaves, canes, and blooms. This appears as growth that doesn’t look normal. Stunted, dwarfed growth in canes, narrow leaves, leaf distortion, and odd looking blooms.
  • Bunching of stems, clustering, broom like appearance of stems giving it the name witches broom of roses.
  • Bright red leaves and stems (not always abnormal, as many rose cultivars have fresh new growth can is red or crimson). Look for mottled coloration and redness that doesn’t go away. This growth will also appear unusual.
  • Overall death and decline of the plant.

What causes Rose Rosette Disease?

Rose Rosette Disease is caused by a virus. This virus is spread by a mite that feeds on roses called eriophyid mite, or the wooly mite. These are not spider mites. They’re much smaller mites that are almost impossible to see with the naked human eye. They move on wind currents from rose to rose.  It’s thought that this virus first showed up in wild, native rose populations in the US. It then spread to multiflora roses which are considered invasive, imported from Asia to serve as a plant solution for windbreaks and screens. From these invasive roses, the virus spread to infect landscape roses including the once thought to be disease resistant Knock-Out Roses series, and the Drift series.

I thought my Knock-Out Roses were resistant to disease!

The biggest feature of the Knockout Roses was that it was resistant to Rose Rosette. However with the extensive propagation of the variety, that feature has dwindled over time. Because gardeners and landscapers have relied so heavily on both the Knock-Out and Drift series of roses for their ease of care and beauty, the Rose Rosette Disease has done a lot of damage in wide areas. It’s not known why some roses still seem resistant to Rose Rosette, but it’s been shown that Knock-Out and Drift roses are not immune.

What do I need to do if my roses have the Rose Rosette disease?
  • Destroy the plant - dig up plant and roots, then bag and destroy
  • Limit use of the surrounding soil
  • Remove multiflora roses within 100 yards of roses - if cannot then try not to plant roses downwind from the multiforas
  • Watch for regrowth from any remaining roots and remove
  • Avoid planting any new rose varieties back in the same soil
My ag inspector who lives down the road, stopped by recently and we talked about this rose issue. Her information said the soil where diseased plants were located could be tainted for up to 5 years.

How can I prevent Rose Rosette, or treat what I have now?

The mite is extremely difficult to kill, as typical mite killing chemicals don’t often work well on this species of mite. However, some pesticides may offer some protection such as Sevin, bifenthrin, horticultural oils and insecticidal soap when applied weekly during June and July. 

The best course of action is prevention. When receiving your roses, inspect them carefully and look for the above signs of Rose Rosette. Only plant disease-free plants. When planting, give your roses plenty of room to breathe and allow air to circulate, as this can help keep the mites from spreading from one plant to another, although this isn’t very foolproof. And finally, don’t rely on one type of rose in your landscape. We’re not referring to color. Instead choose different species. If there are multiflora roses growing wild nearby, consider destroying them if possible as the mite can catch a summer breeze to your roses.

We hope this helps you avoid and end your infestation of Rose Rosette. It’s a heartbreaking disease, but with proper prevention and planning, you can avoid or diminish its effects on your garden and landscape.

Here at Greenwood Nursery, we are committed to monitoring all new growth of container roses coming in from different growers. The Knockout and Drift Rose series are anticipated to be in short supply over the next couple of years as many growers will be discontinuing their growing rights for these plants due to this terrible disease. 

I will keep in conversation with my agricultural agent on this topic and update you as new or more information is revealed. In the meantime, the best prevention is to plant different rose varieties and continually search your area for multiflora rose bushes as the source of this problem.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Best Garden Plants to Eat from Your Garden!

Which are The Best Garden Plants To Eat? Creating a garden is a reflection of your unique style and personality. If you enjoy preparing foods with fresh ingredients, you might want to think about incorporating affordable garden plants to eat into your landscape. Planning a garden that includes edible plants can add interest and provide pleasure to your senses, and they can help you make delicious summer recipes to share with family and friends.

Sugar Mountain Kalinka Haskap

For a different garden plant treat, establish the Sugar Mountain Kalinka Haskap and the Sugar Mountain Blue Haskap as a set in your garden because the one pollinates the other. Grow Haskap flowering shrubs in full sun with plenty of water in well-drained soil, At maturity, these five to six foot plants, produce one-inch sweet summer berries that are a wonderful addition to frozen desserts, jams, wines, or just eating as a fresh or frozen fruit.

Nanking Cherry

A nice flowering and fruit-bearing shrub is the Nanking Cherry. It grows six to eight feet tall and about as wide, and the sweet-tart cherries are delicious used in pies and jams. This shrub is hearty, grows well in sun to partial shade, and will tolerate dry, sub-zero winter temperatures very well. The wildlife in your region will enjoy eating the fruit too.


There are several varieties of fragrant and tasty mint for the garden. You may want to use them for container gardening because frankly, mint needs to be contained or it may take over. However, if you are looking for ground cover plants, any of the mints will work. Try some of the newer varieties such as Pineapple Mint, Chocolate Mint, and Apple Mint, or there is always the old favorite, Blue Balsam Peppermint. They all smell delightful and each has a different look. Mints pair beautifully in fruit dishes and summer drinks. If you are looking to feed the butterflies and bees, several mints bloom mid to late summer and make perfect plants to eat nectar.

There are many edible garden herb plants and small growing fruit plants at our online plant nursery. We invite you to signup for our gardening newsletter and updates, and please feel free to browse our site. You will find lots of information and the perfect edible plants to grow among your already flowering shrubs and ornamentals. If you are landscaping a new garden, we have everything you need to succeed. We are always happy to answer any questions, and we are just an email or phone call away.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Mojito Mint Leaves Make the Best Authentic Cuban Mojito Cocktail Drinks

Prepare for summer entertaining with a selection of mint plants, including the Mojito Mint Plant for making authentic Mojito Cocktails.

If you haven’t tried a Mojito Mint Cocktail, you’re missing out. It is a sweet, fruity alcoholic drink that is very pleasing to the taste buds. Although easy to make, it’s a great way to impress your guests.

This mild flavored mint livens up fruit and grain salads, teas, fruit desserts and makes a wonderfully fragrant garnish for drinks, salads and desserts.

"Each year we add new herb plants and this spring our favorite is the Mojito Mint Plant", notes Greenwood Nursery owner, Cheryl Jones, "Since it really needs to be grown in a container, the Mojito Mint plant is perfect for balcony and patio gardens in part to full sun!"

Visit to get started our video of How to Make an Authentic Mojito Mint Drink and purchase your plants.

Steve and Cheryl Jones began
 Greenwood Nursery, McMinnville, TN, in 1978 as a propagation and wholesale nursery. In 1998, they took their plant catalog online offering a wide selection of garden plants to the home gardener. Greenwood Nursery is now an online plant nursery and garden center that ships plants throughout the continental United States.

For further information or to place an order, please visit Questions may be sent by email or by phone during office hours, Monday through Friday, 8am to 4pm central time.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Deer Doing Damage to Your Yard?

Many homeowners are having the problem of deer doing yard damage. Cities and towns are extending further into undeveloped regions and wildlife has no place to relocate. So...they begin to survive in new ways which includes eating your garden and landscape plants and deer seem to do the most damage.

Now...that being said, how can you as a homeowner control the deer damage and safely drive the deer away? Use a combination of the following tips as one won't generally do the job.

Deer Control Tips:
  • Plant deer resistant plants 
  • Deer repellents - direct repellents spray on the plants or are systemic while others are area repellents that emit a foul odor
  • Deer fencing - mesh type 6 to 7 feet tall
  • Tree shelters - use those at least 48 inches tall
  •  Homemade remedies

To read the complete article on controlling deer,click here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Growing a Rose of Sharon Hedge in Your Garden

Growing a Rose of Sharon hedge in Your Garden is an excellent way of creating a private garden area during the summer season. Changing the appearance of your garden can be easily done. Regardless of the size of your garden, you don’t have to spend more time, money, and effort in improving its appearance. With your knowledge about Rose of Sharon shrubs, your problem can be easily solved.

Like other homeowners, you shouldn’t miss to ignore the benefits of Rose of Sharon bushes. These are the common names of the different species of flowering plants, hardy hibiscushibiscus syriacus, and althea. They are one of the few shrubs that bloom in the summer garden.  Compared to others, they are low maintenance and the Rose of Sharon shrubs can grow upward to 12 feet.  Therefore, if you want the shrub to appear as a tree, just prune away the lower branches in early spring. 

One of our favorite things about Rose of Sharon bushes is their appearances. Their flowers have beautifully distinct colors such as blue, red, pink, white, and purple.  Most of these bushes also grow from 8 to 12 feet tall and roughly six to ten feet wide though some varieties have a more columnar shape.  Hardy Hibiscus plants show good pollution tolerance which makes them a good choice for urban gardens. 

Tips on growing Rose of Sharon hedges in your garden:
  • Pick Your Planting Site – Rose of Sharon grows in full sun areas. They also grow well in a part sun or part shade areas though blooming may be limited. 
  •  Prepare the Planting Site – You can do this through digging the hole approximately 4 to 6 inches deeper than the root system and about a foot wide. If you have clay soil, mix into the fill dirt aged compost or aged manure mix and some coarse sand for drainage.
  • Put the Rose of Sharon Shrubs in the Planting Hole – Do this step carefully, fill holes and water. You may need to add more soil around the plant and water it again if it settles too deeply.
  • Fertilizers – Fertilize can be applied in spring after the plant begins to leaf out. A balanced timed release is best. If using aged compost and aged manure mixes as mulch regularly, there should be no need for a fertilizer application.
With Rose of Sharon, you can easily change the appearance of your garden. Since these shrubs and flowers are easy to grow and maintain, you don’t have to monitor them regularly. 

Greenwood Nursery offers a great selection of affordable Rose of Sharon plants. With their low prices and helpful customer service, it is easy for you to improve your garden.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Plant a Rose of Sharon Shrub Hedge

For summer blooming, plant a Rose of Sharon shrub hedge. Hardy in zones 5 through 9, Hibiscus syriacus shrubs perform at their best as full sun shrubs and planted in well drained soil. These flowering shrubs provide long lasting blooms from mid summer to frost. Though they will grow in partially sunny to lightly shaded areas, their blooming may be limited. Rose of Sharon or hibiscus syriacus, which is a deciduous shrub also known as Hardy Hibiscus and Althea.

Although Rose of Sharon bushes will lose their leaves in winter, they still make beautiful flowering privacy hedges in areas for summer use such as planting around swimming pools. Their unusually large blooms attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees from mid summer until frost. As these hibiscus bloom much later than most other plants, they are, also, later to leaf out. Expect rose of sharon to leaf out in late spring to early summer.

Aphrodite Rose of Sharon Shrub Flower