Earth Day- You Can Make a Difference

Good morning everyone!  Today is Earth Day, and it’s the 40th anniversary of the holiday.  It’s a great time to learn about our planet and how to take care of it.  Think you can’t make a difference?  Not so.  Little things- like using a cloth shopping bag, or tossing potato skins and eggshells into a compost bin- can help the environment.  Teach your kids now, and they will develop good habits that endure throughout their lifetime.  Together we can see, just one person can make a difference.

Here are a few ways you can go green this Earth Day, and every day.

REDUCE ELECTRICITY:
Explain to your children that lights, televisions, computers and furnaces all use energy, and that energy is in short supply.  Turning off the lights when leaving the room or switching off the TV when you’re done watching will save energy.

Also, appliances like coffee-makers, DVD and CD players, toasters, and hairdryers do use energy, even when turned off.  Unplugging your devices from the electrical outlet is the way to conserve energy when not in use.

RECYCLE:
Every bottle and can that we use is waste, and will end up sitting in the town dump unless it’s recycled.  The Town of Cary has a wonderful curb-side recycling program and yard waste collection making recycling a snap.  If there’s no recycling collection in your area, find out where you can drop off items.

COMPOST:
It’s easy to collect your own food scraps and garden waste and turn it into healthy compost for your yard.  Get your kids involved in a little craft project to create a compost container, like this cute one here.

photo courtesy of Kaboose.com

This project isn’t only fun- it’s great for the environment and your garden too. With just a minimum of effort, you can help reduce waste and produce rich, healthy soil to spread around your yard.  Too see step-by step instructions for creating this project, as well as other fun Earth Day kids crafts and activities, check out this wonderful website.

TAKE SMALL STEPS:

  • shut off the water while brushing your teeth
  • use cloth or re-usable tote bags while shopping
  • walk or ride your bike instead of taking the car
  • take shorter showers and install water saving shower heads
  • choose products with less packaging

PLANT A TREE:
Trees not only will beautify your yard, they also help remove pollutants and dust from the air.  They also act as natural insulation-enough to cut your heating and cooling bills by 10 to 30 percent.  Planting a tree can commemorate a special event or anniversary and also acts as a natural jungle gym.  We have tons of trees to choose from down at the garden center.  A nice choice for this time of the year is the Fringe tree, in full bloom this week.

Fringe tree or Old Man’s Beard is a beautiful, small tree when it is in full Spring bloom. It can grow nearly anywhere in the continental United States and it’s white flower color kicks in just as the dogwood blooms are fading.

The upright oval to rounded form of Fringe tree adds dark green color in summer, bright white flowers in spring. The pure white, slightly fragrant flowers hang in long, spectacular panicles which appear to cover the tree with cotton for two weeks. As with other white flowered trees, they look best when viewed against a dark background.

I planted this Fringe Tree from Garden Supply in my own yard two years ago for Earth Day.  What a spectacular addition to my landscape!

If you’re looking for some additional activities for this Earth Day, join us this evening at Cary’s all green McDonalds on Kildaire Farm Rd. for a fun-filled schedule of events.

Thanks so much for stopping by everyone!  And don’t forget that you, too, can do your part to help save the environment, today and everyday!

Earth Day

Earth Day falls in just two days from now, on April 22nd.  This year, do something good for the environment by planting a tree or shrub.  Not only will you be “greening” up your yard, but you’ll help remove pollutants and dust from the air and provide natural insulation-enough to cut your heating and cooling bills by 10 to 30 percent.  And with so many plants blooming right now, you’re sure to find one or two to fall in love with down at Garden Supply.

Like this stunning Summer Snowflake Viburnum.

Summer Snowflake first blooms around the end of April or the first of May, about a week after dogwoods finish. The white flowers are individually about the size of a quarter, but borne in a flat head that is up to four inches across. The blooms splayed on the horizontal branches give the plants a wedding-cake kind of look when they appear.

Other than the upright growth form, the other thing that sets Summer Snowflake apart from other viburnums is that it is a repeat bloomer. Admittedly, the first bloom of the season is much more showy than the ones to follow, but about once a month, additional blooms pop out here and there on the ends of new growth.

Gardeners favor viburnums because they have multiple seasons of interest; showy flowers, bright red berries and good fall color. Summer Snowflake has two of the three – usually it sets few berries. Part of the reason for its ability to continue flowering during the growing season is because it does not have a load of berries to support.

Another personal favorite of mine is the Common Snowball Viburnum.

The Common Snowball Bush, Viburnum opulus ‘roseum’, produces white flowers in late spring. It is a deciduous thicket-forming Old World shrub. In the fall, the leaves turn a wonderful burgundy reddish-purple. About the same time, the bright red, attractive berries ripen, and persist on the plant throughout the winter. Birds are very fond of the berries, and can often be found snacking during the winter.

Another showy spring bloomer is this Vanhoutte Spirea.

This durable and easy to grow shrub is a sentimental favorite among many because it is remembered in our grandparents’ gardens.  This is a tried-and-true shrub that can be grown with a minimum of fuss.  Space considerations should be pondered in advance- it can grow 6-8 feet tall and 12 or more feet wide.  It grows well in average, well drained soil and flourishes in full sun or partial shade.  It is a show-stopper in mid to late spring when its arching branches are covered with pure white flowers.  Can be grown as a hedge or used in shrub borders.

If you’re interested in a blooming tree for this mid-April period, consider the Crabapple tree, like this Malus ‘Firebird’.

Firebird Crabapple produces an abundance of white blooms in spring and is loaded with small red fruit in fall, less than 1/2″ in diameter, which remain on the tree well into winter.  Firebird is a genetic dwarf grown on a grafted standard and is excellent for small locations.  The flowers are fragrant and are attractive to bees, butterflies and birds.

These are just a small sampling of the blooming plants available for a bit of Earth Day planting.  Stop by the garden center to see our full range and talk to our experts about planting guides and recommendations.

And in other Earth Day news:

Join us for Earth Day at the green McDonald’s

Thursday, April 22      5:00-7:00pm

1299 Kildaire Farm Road

Stop by and learn about all of the environmentally-friendly features that make this McDonald’s so unique.

Garden Supply will be there to answer questions about earth-friendly plants and landscaping. The first 100 kids will get to decorate a pot and plant something special to take home!

Bring your family and have a spring-time portrait taken by Erin May Photography.

Try samples and get more information from The Produce Box, a supplier of fresh, local produce delivered right to your door!

Create an Earth Day Bookmark with the Girls Scouts and benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Durham.

You won’t want to miss seeing Ronald McDonald and his Scoot Coupe!

For questions or more information please contact Julie Barberio at 919-244-9531 julie@mcdonaldsadvantage.com

Thanks for stopping by everyone!  I’ll see you all back here tomorrow for more snippets from the garden.


Azalea Time

If you think shrubs in North Carolina, one plant that  will almost assuredly come to mind is the Azalea.  Azaleas are definitely one of the most sought-after plants in our area.  And why not?  Azaleas and rhododendrons are shrubs for all seasons. In winter some stand out with large evergreen leaves. In spring the flowers are showy; throughout the summer and fall the leaves add a pleasing, deep green color to the garden. Some deciduous azaleas add bright fall color before the leaves drop. The spectacular spring flowers of azaleas and rhododendrons make them among the most popular garden shrubs.

Yes, springtime in the Carolinas means Azaleas in full bloom, and do we ever have a ton to choose from down at Garden Supply.  From white to hot pink and orange to red, we’ve got options in every color, including the ever popular Encore Azaleas offering blooms spring, summer and fall.  Check out this stunning Wolfpack Red Azalea, released by NCSU.  Perfectly adapted for growing in our area, this little charmer packs a lot of punch.

These Carla (North Carolina-Louisiana) Hybrids originated at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C., with the goals of better resistance to root rot diseases, drought and cold. These hybrids, whose parentage includes Kurume, Kaempferi, Belgian Indian and Satsuki hybrids, are medium to large evergreen shrubs with a vigorous growth habit. Flowers are borne in mid spring in showy trusses of up to four blooms. Plant as you would any of the other azaleas: high and in well-drained, acid soil, rich with organic matter.

For a bright pink/magenta variety, how about the Formosa Azalea.

These Azaleas are spring blooming and the foliage is evergreen. They have an upright growth habit and are the best choice for a high light area. The Formosa has beautiful magenta deep colored flowers that grow profusely during the spring. The flowers are 3 inches in diameter, Azalea indica ‘Formosa’ can get up to 6-8 feet in height and does best on acidic soils.

Another beautiful pink variety is this Coral Bells azalea.

Abundant coral pink hose-in-hose blooms with darker pink centers and veins make a wonderful spring show.  A hose-in-hose azalea is one for which every trumpet-shaped flower has a second trumpet-flower inside it.  Flowers are backed by tiny evergreen foliage on a low spreading form.

Or how about something completely different?  Say a stunning orange azalea to spice up your shady nooks?  Then be sure to check out this Azalea x Goldstrike species which boasts striking gold flowers with orange blotches.

And for the serious Azalea lover, be sure to check out our selection of gorgeous Encore Azaleas. People who adore spring blooming azaleas can now enjoy an explosion of Encore Azalea color season after season. Encore Azaleas are the only patented brand of azaleas to bloom in spring,summer and fall. Each of the Encore varieties begins their performance with the spring flowering season. Once this “first act” of blooming concludes, new shoots begin to grow and set buds. The Encore Azalea’s “second act” opens when these buds begin blooming into full flower mid-summer. This unique bloom season continues through the fall, the curtain dropping with the onset of cold weather. But, the show goes on. As an “encore,” these exceptional azaleas flower again with traditional spring azaleas and the process starts over.

The red variety on the left is Autumn Sunset, and the pink bloomer on the right is called Autumn Belle.  We also have the white Autumn Moonlight variety.

And this last little charmer for today is a variegated pink species appropriately entitled Autumn Twist.

Come on down to the garden center and let our friendly experts advise you on picking the perfect azaleas and shrubs for your home landscape.  We are open 7 days a week and are ready to help you get your gardens in tip-top shape this season.  Hope to see you all soon.

Thanks so much for stopping by!  I’ll be back here soon for more snippets from the garden.

Summer Annuals

Hello everyone and happy Saturday!  It’s another beautiful day here in the heart of Carolina, perfect for a bit of spring planting.  And as usual at this time of year, do we ever have some gorgeous plants for you.  Another shipment of summer tropicals is due to arrive at the garden center today.  The perennial area is bursting with plants, the azaleas are in full bloom, the shade area is full, and the shrubs and trees are looking better than ever.  In short, wherever your eye might happen to stray down at Garden Supply, you are sure to be struck by the beauty of the sight.

If you are looking for a burst of color for your container garden or front yard, you need to come check out our annual section.  We have, literally, table after table of summer bloomers right now.    Here is just a small sampling of what we have in stock.

We currently have 6 varieties of marigolds, available in individual packs, or mix & match flats. Isn’t it wonderful to have options?

Marigold choices include Durango Tangerine, Janie Bright Yellow, Durango Yellow, Taishan Yellow, Bonanza Bee, and Janie Tangerine.

And if that seems like a lot of Marigold varieties, wait until you see our Petunia selection.  We have every color of Petunia under the sun, including mixed packs, the ever popular Wave Petunias, and even hanging baskets.

Some of our Petunia choices include Dreams Mix, Dreams Red, Prism Sunshine, Dreams Sky Blue, Dreams Neon Rose, Dreams Pink, Dreams White, Dreams Burgundy Picolee, Wave Rosy Dawn, Wave Purple, Wave Red, Wave Burgundy Star, Wave White, and Wave Blue.

Wouldn’t these hanging Petunia baskets look fabulous on your porch?

Or how about some pots filled with Calibrachoas?

Calibrachoa are available in multiple colors and provide an abundance of brightly colored blooms all season long.  They are easy to grow and very rewarding, perfect for all kinds of containers including window boxes, hanging baskets, and combination planters.

Another profuse bloomer is this Giant White (suteracordata) Bacopa.

Hundreds of beautiful flowers cover these trailing plants all summer, even when other varieties of Bacopa stop blooming.  They offer large unique white flowers which contrast nicely with their dark green foliage.  Another perfect choice for your container planters.

And for a bit of a vertical attraction, why not give the Black-eyed Susan Vine a try?

This ‘Susie Clear Orange’ vine looks fabulous trained to fences, posts, lattice work and trellises.

This truly is just a small sampling of the array of annuals we currently have down at the garden center.  Whether you’re looking for a profusion of bright blooms or interesting foliar color and texture, we’ve got you covered.  And as always, our helpful staff of experts are on hand to answer all your gardening question.  We would love to help!

Thanks so much for stopping by!  I’ll see you back here soon for more snippets from the garden.

Tomato Lovers

Tomato lovers, have we got plants for you!  With the huge variety of tomatoes we have down at Garden Supply, from teeny-tiny cherries to grandiose Beefsteaks and everything in between, there is sure to be something for every gardener and culinary taste out there.  We have all your popular favorites, as well as harder to find heirlooms, in a large range of sizes, shapes, and colors.

Amish Paste, Moonglow, Beefsteak, Hungarian Heart, Kelloggs Breakfast, Cherokee, Pineapple Hawaiian, Mexico Midget, Celebrity, Lemon Boy, ‘Juliet Hybrid’, Better Boy, Roma, Patio, German Johnson, Grape, and Sweet 100s..we’ve got them all down at the garden center.

We also have everything you’ll need to grow bigger, more abundant tomato plants from potting soils, soil amender, compost and mulch to slow release tomato fertilizer to several problem-solving planting containers for those with little or no yard space.

The Bosmere Tomato Planter Bag is ideal for decks, patios, and balconies.  No need for a garden.  No digging required!  The planter can hold 1 or 2 plants, depending on type and variety of tomato chosen.

Another unique planting option is the Topsy Turvy Upside Down Tomato Planter, which allows you to grow delicious vegetables right outside your door.  The planter hangs on decks, balconies or patios and eliminates the need for weeding, caging and staking.  With the Topsy Turvy, you can grow fresh tomatoes in 3 easy steps:

1. Put the plants into the ports
2. Put soil in the bag
3. Add water in the top

I was so curious about the idea of this unusual growing method, that I’ve decided to try the Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter myself.   Topsy Turvy’s statement that this planter will solve nearly every problem associated with tomato culture sounds too good to not give a try.  “No more soil to prepare, holes to dig, cages, stakes, typing up, wedding, no more on-your-knees work and no more ground animals, insects, fungus, bacteria or nematodes”.  By golly, I’m excited to see how it works!

I’ve decided to try two planters with two different varieties of tomato.  For my experiment, I’ve chosen a smaller species, the Grape tomato, as well as a medium-sized grower, the Patio tomato.  The Topsy Turvy planter comes with a helpful gardening tips guide and step-by-step instructions.  I was able to quickly and easily set up the planters on my own.

Over the next few months, I’ll share with you my results and observations  utilizing this unusual growing planter.  I do have to admit to being charmed so far.  A few tips I can pass along from the installation stage are to be sure to hang your planter from a very secure location, as the bag becomes quite heavy once the soil is added.  Also, find a small plant to get started, preferably one in a 6-pack cell, as the bottom insertion opening of the planter is not very wide.  I had to manipulate my 4″ potted tomatoes to get them to fit through, which can cause damage to the fragile plant if you’re not careful.

The Topsy Turvy also grows other vegetables, such as bell peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, eggplants, and more.  Look for our Topsy Turvy strawberry planter and hot pepper planter, as well as the tomato planter, in the Greenhouse.

Besides tomatoes, we have quite a few other summer growing vegetables in stock  including yellow squash, sweet bell peppers, ‘long red slim’  cayenne peppers, red sweet peppers, ‘sweet banana’ peppers, and jalapenos.

And we also have received an absolutely gorgeous shipment of sweet basil.

I’m heading back to the garden center for a couple of these beauties today! ;)

Thanks so much for stopping by!  Hope to see you all down at Garden Supply soon, and I’ll catch you back here tomorrow for more snippets from the garden.

Blooming Trees for Mid April

Hi everyone!  Looking to add some spring-flowering trees to your landscape and wondering what might be blooming in our area right now? This week?  Today?  Here are a few outstanding choices available for mid April blooming that reach their peek of beauty just as the Redbuds begin to fade and well after the Bradford pears have lost their luster. We’ve got them all down at Garden Supply.

The first option, that I’m sure you’ve noticed while driving down almost any semi-wooded street in town, is the glorious Dogwood tree (Cornus genus).

  • Beautiful white spring-time blossoms
  • Adaptable to various soil types
  • Drought tolerant

The Dogwood tree boasts a profusion of full white blooms every spring. Deep green leaves turn scarlet in fall, making your dogwood a beautiful sight in all seasons.

This breathtakingly beautiful blizzard of white blossoms is an excellent choice to plant along streets, near large buildings, next to patios or as a property border. An especially eye-catching tree when planted in rows.

This tree rewards all through the year!

Beloved blooms welcome spring from Massachusetts to Florida… from east to west
Stunning scarlet leaves add to the color show in the fall
Red berries appear in the fall and winter attracting songbirds – up to thirty-six species are known to be attracted to the dogwood’s fruit

Matures at 15-30 feet…grows in partial shade or full sun. Grows in most soils including acidic, loamy, rich, sandy or even clay.

Did you know?

– The White Dogwood is a native tree cultivated in 1731.
– George Washington planted it at Mt. Vernon, as did Thomas Jefferson at Monticello.
– Early Native Americans made medicinal teas from its bark

You’ll want to consider making this all-American tree part of your own landscape.

Another fabulous choice for mid April blooming is the Yoshino Flowering Cherry tree, a rapid-growing vase-like deciduous broadleaf tree.

• Stunning white blossoms
• Adaptable to various soil types
• Drought resistant

The Yoshino Flowering Cherry Tree is widely used as an ornamental tree; valued for its abundance of soft, white flowers in spring.

Its Oriental branching pattern displays a pure white cloud of delicate flowers that make your landscape look like springtime on parade…

Chose this tree to –

• Border driveways
• Accent small areas in your lawn.
• Highlight outdoor living areas

These trees line the streets of Washington, DC, and along with its cousin, the Kwanzan Cherry, are the stars of the city’s Cherry Blossom Festival. Held each spring, this festival displays thousands of blooming cherry trees along the city’s walkways.

When you plant this tree, you get the same effect at your home!

Plant in a row to give you a line of breathtakingly stunning white flowers. This tree is regarded by many horticulturalist as the best flowering tree you can find.

Did you know?

– The Yoshino is a native of Japan,
– Was introduced to America in 1902.
– There is a Japanese legend that each spring a fairy maiden hovers low in the warm sky, wakening the sleeping Cherry Trees to life with her delicate breath.

Another fabulous April-blooming cherry tree is the Kwanzan cherry.

• Hardiest of all cherry trees
• Rapidly grows to a mature height of 30-40 ft.

The Kwanzan Flowering Cherry Tree is easily the showiest of all Cherry Trees. Its flowers aren’t just pink… but “Double Pink,” meaning you get twice as many blooms as found on other trees.

Your new Kwanzan Cherry Tree blooms in large clusters of 3-5 flowers! These clusters are the thickest of all pink flowering trees and look similar to carnations.

Your Kwanzans will begin to bloom in April. Also a delight in the fall, when it will give you golden autumn leaves that grab everyone’s attention.

One of the easiest flowering trees to grow! Thrives in almost any soil and climate. Easily grown in zones 5-9. A tree for many seasons!

Stop by the garden center to find  these lovely trees in full bloom, ready to lighten and brighten your gardens this season.  Talk to our experts about the best tree planting guidelines for these species, and pick up our handy planting guide, available in the Greenhouse.  We have everything you need to ensure your new trees get off to a great start and get your yards looking in tip-top shape this season.

Thanks so much for stopping by!  I’ll see you back here soon for more snippets from the garden.