Firebird Malus

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

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