Arbor Day in Georgia February 19, 2010

Arbor Day 2010 here in Georgia is today, Friday, February 19.

Winter is by-far the best time for planting trees in Georgia. Each year our summer brings heat and drought, and trees planted during the winter have an easier time establishing themselves before the heat arrives.

This year, it's more important than ever to enjoy doing things at home with the family. Poor economy has made expensive outings impossible for many families. Why not make lasting memories by planting a garden with your children? Let them help to select a tree, dig the hole, plant the tree, water it, and add mulch.

To help insure your tree's survival, choose a native tree. Native trees will grow better in our area, since they're well accustomed to our Georgia climate.

One native tree that is loved by children is the American Fringe Tree, Chionanthus virginicus. This tree is best known as the Grancy Graybeard, because in April, the tree is covered with blooms that look like white fluffy cotton or an old man's beard, as you can see in the above photo.

Grancy Graybeard is easy to grow, adapting to a wide variety of conditions. Drought tolerant once established, the American Fringe Tree grows and blooms well in either full sun or partial shade. 

No matter which tree you choose for your garden, why not make this a tradition and plant a tree on Arbor Day weekend each year. If you have no room in your own garden for another tree, consider planting one at a local church, school, or public park. And if possible, include a child in your tree planting, thereby teaching and protecting our environment for future generations.

For more information on this splendid native tree or many others, visit Shady Gardens Nursery.

Haitian Art: Portion of all Sales Donated to Haiti Earthquake Victims!

Some time ago I became acquainted with a beautiful artform that is becoming very popular--Haitian Art.
Artists in Haiti use recycled steel oil drums to make unique art for the home and garden. After flattening out the piece of steel with a mallet, the artist uses chalk to draw his design onto the steel. Then using a chisel and mallet, he carves the design, creating a beautiful and unique piece of art.
These sculptures are one-of-a-kind museum-quality works of art, and some indeed are on display in prestigious museums around the world. Some pieces are very affordable and make great decorations for the garden.
Nestled among ivy in my own garden is a unique Haitian Sun sculpture that has received many complements.
Recently Haiti was hit by terrible earthquakes, and many of us have wondered what we can do to help. Shady Gardens Nursery has decided to donate 10% of all sales of in stock Haitian Art toward Haiti relief. To view available pieces, click the link to Purchase Haitian Art and Help Haitian Earthquake Victims. Shipping is Free!

Blueberry Growing Tips for a Georgia Garden

Blueberry Bushes often sold in our local garden center stores will not grow well here in Georgia, because they are not able to tolerate our summer heat and humidity. 

"Rabbiteye" varieties are better for the Southeast. Highbush blueberries grow fairly well in cooler areas of the state, but they will not thrive in our area like Rabbiteye varieties do. When selecting blueberry plants for your garden, look for Becky Blue, Climax, Premier, Tifblue, or Woodard. For a good crop of berries, you will need 2 or more different varieties for cross-pollination. 

Although blueberry bushes normally occur in the woods, more berries will develop when the plants receive at least half a day of sun and plenty of water. 

The planting hole is important for getting the plant off to a good start. An effective planting method is to dig the hole twice as wide as the rootball and the same depth. Mix the soil with plenty of organic matter such as compost, manure, and peat moss. Place the plant in the planting hole and fill the hole completely with water before filling in with soil. After filling in around the roots with the amended soil, water again, and apply a thick layer of organic mulch to conserve moisture and keep the soil cool. 

Water weekly. You’ll be eating blueberries every year, as long as you get to them before the birds do!

June Blooms in my Georgia Garden: Oakleaf Hydrangea

This time of year our garden is always bursting with blooms, but this year has been a little different. Due to a very mild winter, everythin...