What to do about cold damage

What to do about cold damaged plants

Here it is the first full week of spring and the weather man is calling for more ice!   Lots of plants are winter burnt and defoliating, some were literally crushed by snow and falling branches.  Daily I am asked and shown pictures of sad evergreen shrubs with fellow gardeners asking, “what do I do?” Frequently, the questions are about Loropetalums, Gardenia Radicans and Camellias.  There are three steps: treat with horticultural oil, fertilize then prune, but timing is everything.   

Crispy Loropetalum and Radicans Gardenia

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 Winter damaged plants are a magnet for disease and insects.   The ideal time to spray with horticultural oil is in early spring just as temperatures are rising and we are having our first warm days.  It is easier  to prevent major infestations than treat them once present.   This organic approach simply smothers pests as they begin their early life cycles in spring.  Pay attention to the bees while spraying. Treat  in the evening when bees are less active and never spray on trees and shrubs while in bloom.   Pollinators are important for our existence, with out them our fruit trees will be barren.  



 Fertilize with proper organic plant tone products.   Just like us, our plants perform better when nourished.  Finally, and most importantly, please do not start pruning  already damaged plants until  we are sure that early spring frosts are over, which can be as late as mid April in the Carolinas Fresh cuts down to the live wood will only increase chances of deepening the winter damage in the next deep freeze.  I typically wait to see new growth until I make many cuts on very damaged plants so I can see where the dead wood ends.  One can also scratch the wood to determine of it is green and viable before making cuts.  Cutting above the next leaf or branch terminal with sharp pruners at an angle to leave clean  margins is the best. 

Sadly, some of our plants did not make it through this harsh winter.  The silver lining is the opportunity to pick out more plants for our outdoor spaces!  Please, feel free to come by the shop with any questions about repairing your damaged plants, samples and pictures always help.  It is important to know when to say when, for example, below, here is a Loropetalum that can be healed placed beside one that I would remove because the damage is too severe.  So, remember there is a perfect plant for every location the three steps to repairing winter damage include, horticultural oil, fertilizing and proper pruning. 

Ruby Loropetalum 

dead alive





What smells so good?


 chiomanthus praecox 2             While visiting some of my favorite green spaces this winter my nose has lead the way.  On sunny, winter days the breeze carries the scent of favorite, winter woody ornamentals.   If you are looking for fragrance  in your garden there are heavy hitters in full glory by February in the Carolinas.  Yes, the flowers ignite the blood hound in me and the bees alike and and we will follow their sweet molecules for the visual reward of a cherished winter bloom.    
winter sweet sunny day
Chasing down a sweet scent I turned a corner to be greeted by a glistening chimonanthus praecox  in the winter sun late this January here in Raleigh.  This long bloomer, aptly commonly named winter sweet,  can start bursting as early as November well  throughout late winter.  The sturdy, iridescent yellow flowers are likened to ice flowers and make beautiful cuttings for flower arrangements.  Growing up to 10 to 15 feet it is considered a large shrub or small tree.   This slow grower likes well draining amended soils and can take full sun to part shade.  
lonicera close up
lonicer fragrantissima
Lonicera fragrantissima, winter’s honeysuckle, is one of those olfactory sensations that I seek out annually as I long for the warmer days of spring.  Flourishing in full sun to part shade, it prefers evenly moist soil.  This plant has a very similar loose growth habit as a large forsythia.  I have seen them nicely pruned in well established gardens to a 3 foot level and allowed to grow to an enormous 8 plus feet tall and wide to  fill a space.  It works great as a border or near an entrance.  
 daphne odora 2
Daphne odora is a delicate broach adorning your winter garden. The aroma is sweet and citrusy, blooming in January and well into late winter.  Evenly moist, well draining soil is a 
must for this 2-3 foot, evergreen shrub.   Both Daphne and close relative,  Edgeworthia papyrifera, pictured below,  can tolerate full, winter sun but need protection from scorching, summer sun.  Place in woodland gardens and areas  of part shade to shade during our hotter months.   
 Edgeworthia papyrifera

Edgeworthia is one of those stunning oddities that when in bloom I daily get asked what is this?  The evolution of bloom is slow and long lasting, from a velvety, tight oval bud to a round, honeycomb, fragrant, yellow tinged flower.  They can grow as much as 6 to 7 feet and will produce sucker colonies if left alone over time although I would not consider this plant invasive.  It is popular to grow and maintain as single trunk specimens in smaller spaces.  One simply has to prune out shoots from the trunk during the growing season. 
All of these fragrant, winter beauties are in stock and in full bloom here at Garden Supply.  One does not have to wait for spring for fragrant flowers as the cooler months are a great time to plant woody ornamentals.  I look forward to seeing you at the shop and introducing you to these winter delights.  

A Gardener Wears Many Hats

Get a jump start on Spring with a fresh pair of gloves, boots, garden hats, and tools. Shop our gardener’s boutique for the latest looks in gardening aprons and totes. 

gardener many hats

New Arrivals: Tropical Houseplants

Shop the greenhouse for our selection of Tropical Houseplants. Their leafy foliage is the perfect addition to your home after the coziness of the Holiday décor has been packed away! Not sure which plant is a good match for you? Our on-site houseplant expert is here to help you choose the best species for your environment. Get started today!


houseplants 1   houseplants 2

Gourmet Foods & Bottled Colas

Check out our selection of gourmet foods and beverages, new to  GSCO! We are now offering some of our favorite baking mixes, canned preserves, and local edibles. 

Shop our Mccutcheon’s canned products featuring butters, preserves, jams, jellies, hot sauces, salad dressings, relishes, BBQ sauces, and more. We can’t forget their ever so popular Apple Ciders – even better served warm! All with that old fashioned home made quality and taste you will love. Mccutcheon’s use only real cane sugar and natural fruit juices as sweeteners.

dressings  cider  cans  relish samp

Try our Private Label baking mixes with recipes including Rosemary Garlic Beer Bread, Key Lime Coconut Whipping Cream Scones, Herbs de Provence Boule, Lavendar and Rose Whipping Cream Scones, Lemon Squares, Orange Cinnamon Whipping Cream Scones, and Lemon Lavendar Whipping Cream Scones. 

mixes  sample

Also from Mccutcheon’s are our staff favorite  -  old fashioned bottled sodas. Choose from Birch Beer, Orange Cream Soda, Grape Soda, Diet Rootbeer, and Black Cherry Cola. 

 soda  soda $ edit

We also offer  local favorites from Dewey’s Bakery in Winston Salem, North Carolina.  At the top of the list among customers are the Moravian Sugar Cookies. 



Peanuts from Bertie County make great snack when you’re looking for that little something salty or even sweet perhaps. Choose from Wasabi, Honey Roasted, Butterscotch, Salt and Pepper, Chocolate Covered and Batchelor Bay.



Fresh Cut Creations From Your Winter Garden

The smell of Fraser firs never ceases to evoke memories of childhood holidays.  A favorite tradition was to journey outside with my grandparents and cousins to gather winter’s natural sparkle for our holiday decorations. 

We clipped from branches of grandmother’s prized magnolia, nandinas and lets not forget the mistle toe! This is where I had my first taste for what is possible for fresh plant material trimmed from the garden translating into custom works of living art that go beyond a bouquet of flowers. 

Often what looks great to the eye in an arrangement will also compliment in the outdoor living space.  Design elements to pay attention to are not just simply color but also leaf texture and size.  For instance, the velvet brown undersides of large, oval magnolia leaves pair fabulously with juniper’s spiny pointed stems dripping with navy berries.  

juniper  magnolia

Fresh from the farm, Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Goshiki,’ adds sheer speckled light on holly shaped leaves. Adding not only color but texture to the garden and arrangements year round.  


Coral bark Japanese maples are often twiggy trees and it is a great time to prune and use their branches for a linear element in decorations. 


The winter palette is full of color from the canary bright tones of the feathery Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Vintage Gold’, to the bark of red twig dogwoods and ice blue of Cupressus glabra ‘Carolina Sapphire’.

 The tapestry of our garden can be woven into your Christmas memories with fresh cut creations for your holiday trimmings as well as new plants for future cutting arrangements from your very own garden.  Come by and our gardeners can help put the perfect plant pairings together for every outdoor living space.  

20131124_125344          winter sparkel

How thankful we are at Garden Supply to have entered into the winter celebration season.  As you stop by in the following weeks enjoy not only fresh cut trees but a custom wreath making station where one can watch and learn.  We offer a variety of plant cuttings that you can order fresh arrangements from or take home bundles to make your very own. 

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