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Time to Lime

Our abundance of beautiful oak trees, means very acidic soils in our mountains.  That often means a low soil pH.  We recommend getting a soil test to determine how much lime you need.  If you guess too low, you will be wasting money because your fertilizer won’t work efficiently.  Keep mind that while one 40lb bag of 10-10-10 may give you and adequate fertilization rate, one 40 lb. bag of lime may have little effect on raising you pH to an adequate level.

We prefer mulch

Not only is it very attractive and easy to put down, but it also keeps weed seeds from germinating for the season.  It comes in many varieties to match your landscaping tastes and will cut down on your watering needs. Lastly, as it breaks down, it will add valuable nutrients to your soil to save you money on fertilizer.

Landscape fabric?

We are often asked if landscape fabric should be used when installing landscaping.  While this is often used as a weed deterrent, there are some things that you should keep in mind.  First, the material can be tough to cut through in areas where you will be planting additional plants such as annuals.   Also, keep in mind that you won’t be able to easily add compost to help with soil nutrition.  And over the seasons, the weed seeds that are naturally scattered on top of the fabric, will nullify their effectiveness anyway.

Keep maintenance in mind when you landscape design

A good way to design your beds is to start with laying a garden hose around the perimeter.  If you can easily move your riding lawn mower around the garden hose, you know you have just reduced hand mowing and weed eating.  Likewise, by avoiding sharp angles, you will reduce hand maintenance…gradual curves are more naturally pleasing to the eye anyway.

 

Landscape Trivia

Viola aka Johnny-Jump-Ups

A member of the Violet family, this small, but popular perrenial is often also grown as an annual.  A native of Europe and eastern Asia, this flower is believed to be the basis for Shakespeare's "Love-In-Idleness" flower, a major factor in the plot of A Midsummer Night's Dream.  Viola's are easy to plant in beds with well-drained soil and partial sunlight.  Many varieties wil re-seed themselves year after year for a bright splash of spring and early summer color.  Oh, and don't be surprised if you catch Puck around those gardens at dawn!

 

Lily of the Valley

This woodland plant is native throughout the cool temperate Northern Hemisphere in Asia and Europe and a limited native population in Eastern USA. They are popular as garden, grown for its scented flowers and for its ground-covering abilities in shady locations. It is often called Our Lady's Tears, as the legand goes that it sprang from the ground when Mary cried tears during the crucifixtion.

Mountain Laurel

Mountain Laurel is an evergreen shrub, popular in our area. All parts of mountain laurel, including leaves, twigs, flowers, and nectar (as well as honey made from it), contain a toxic resinoid and the leaves and twigs also contain a cardiac glycoside (arbutin).

Pampas Grass 

Pampas Grass is a beautiful ornamental grass that can transform the look of your landscape or garden with very little maintenance.  But you may not know that it has an amazing root system.  In fact, a mature plant will have a ball of spaghetti-looking roots that could stretch over 600 miles if each root's length were added together.  No wonder it is so drought tolerant!

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Bamboo 

Once very prevalent across our area, Bamboo (River Cane, Switch Cane or Mountain Cane) was once home to the now extinct Carolina Parokeet and was a favorite food of the Bison that roamed our area.  The Cherokee indians literally had hundreds of uses for the stuff.  From food, to tea, to basket material, to fish hooks, to roofing to weaponry.  Bamboo is a self-renewing resource.  In fact, within 5 years a new plant will produce wood that is harder than oak and structurally stronger than steel!

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Eastern Red Cedar

This evergreen ornamental was often planted around homesteads as it was thought to ward off insects in the summer.