Archives for June 2015

Beautiful Birds: How to Attract Bluebirds

Bluebirds are gorgeous songbirds and very desirable backyard inhabitants. Unlike the similarly colored Bluejays, Bluebirds have a sweet song and can brighten up a dreary yard. These bright birds love to eat insects, which makes them a practical, as well as beautiful, addition to your home.

Knowing what Bluebirds like to eat will enable you to attract them to your yard. bluebird

  • As previously mentioned, these birds eat insects, especially when they are nesting and the hatchlings need the bugs to grow strong and healthy. Keep this in mind when you decide whether or not to put down insecticides! Bluebirds love mealworm, which is available dried with birding supplies and can be used as a supplement to what you already offer the birds.
  • Berries are also high on a Bluebirds food list, particularly sumac, elderberries, and holly. Having some fruiting plants in your yard will increase your chance of attracting birds, in addition to bringing some cheerful color to your yard.
  • Suet, that delightful mixture of fat and bird food, is attractive to Bluebirds in the months when bugs and berries aren’t as plentiful. Suet is available in stores, but is also easy to make at home so that you can customize it to what your birds enjoy most!

bluebird houseBluebirds also need water, so adding a birdbath to your yard décor will keep them near you, instead of requiring them to find water elsewhere. Because the birds are attracted to moving water, a small fountain might be even more successful.

Another way to attract Bluebirds is by putting up birdhouses and birdfeeders. Remember to keep these separated so that other birds won’t present a threat to the Bluebird’s nest. Bluebirds prefer their homes to be high, so put them on a tall pole or high in a tree. A baffle around the pole or tree trunk is helpful in warding off climbing predators. The Family Tree carries a wide selection of adorable birdhouses, as well as all different types of feeders and food; stop by today to pick up all your supplies for attracting our fine feathered friends!

Drought Tolerance: Perky Plants all Summer Long

Summer is here and we all know what that means in Georgia: soaring temperatures and little rain. These conditions can be hard on plants, but there are some that thrive in it. Here are a few suggestions for beautiful drought tolerant plants to brighten up your yard during the hot summer months.

Keep in mind that drought tolerant does not mean these plants can survive without water! They don’t need much, but they still need moisture; horticulturist Regina Lewis recommends adding soil moist granules to your soil to retain moisture without having to water as often. Your goal should be choosing plants with low water needs that do not need constant maintenance.

Succulents come in many colorful varieties

Succulents come in many colorful varieties

Annuals

Succulents – Succulents store water in their stems and leaves and thus thrive in hot and dry conditions. There are many varieties to choose from in all different colors and interesting leaf shapes.

Blanket Flower (Gaillardia) – These beautiful flowers do best when planted in full sun and dry soil. The daisy-like flowers begin blooming in mid-summer and last until early fall.

Globe Amaranth (Gomphrena) – This purple plant does not need much attention, yet blooms all summer long. Its unusual globular blooms also attract butterflies, making this a winner with gardeners.

Perennials

False Indigo (Baptisia) – This plant is very drought tolerant once established and grows into a lovely shrub. Baptisia gets its name because the flowers were used to make a cheap version of the indigo dye prized by the Europeans in past centuries.

Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia) – As long as these lovely flowers are planted in partial shade, they do not require extensive watering to maintain their blooms. The yellow flowers are great for attracting both bees and butterflies.

Ice plant

Ice plant

Ice Plant – This hardy succulent thrives in dry soil and produces pretty blooms throughout the summer and fall. It acquired its name because of how the leaves and flowers shimmer in the sun as though covered with ice.

Shrubs

Flirt Nandina – This plant is known for its multicolored foliage, which goes from pale green to red as it ages. Once established, Nandina needs very little water.

Beautyberry (Callicarpa) – Producing clusters of vibrant purple berries in the fall, this plant is quick-growing and can survive short periods of drought without being affected.

Trees

Texas Redbud – The Texan variety of the familiar Redbud tree is smaller and more drought tolerant than the eastern varieties.

The gorgeous red fruit contrasts nicely with the green foliage

The gorgeous red fruit contrasts nicely with the green foliage

Pomegranate Tree – This fruit bearing tree is somewhat exotic, hailing from the Middle East, and is used to enduring hot, dry summers. An added bonus, the fruit, which is in season from late fall to early winter, tastes delicious!

July Garden To Do’s

bountiful-summer-vegetable-harvest

Summer has officially arrived and we must admit, it is hot! July brings full summer and summer in the garden means a few things:

Fruits and Veggies

July is the time when all your hard work in the spring begins to pay off and you’re overwhelmed with fresh produce! Be sure to enjoy this bounty while it lasts! Mid-July is also the time to plant beans, radishes and hot weather lettuce. If you don’t have a full garden, these veggies also work well in pots. Container gardens are the perfect way to grow some of your own food if you’re tight on space!

Watering

Watering is critical now as your plants are growing at a rapid rate. If you do not get enough natural rain, you will have to water. The best time to water is early in the morning before the sun comes out to evaporate all the moisture your plants need. Try to avoid getting the leaves of the plants wet; the best method of doing this is by placing the nozzle of your hose at the base of the plant and turning on the water so that a slow, steady drip waters the plant. If you do have to water using an overhead sprinkler just be sure midday sun is not hitting your plants because it will burn them.

Weeding

Weeding is also necessary right now. Just as flowers love rain, so do weeds! These insidious little sprouts will rob your plants of valuable light and nutrients! Don’t let long periods of time pass between weeding; the easiest way to do it is to pull up a few every time you’re outside so that the task never gets too overwhelming.

Pruning

July is a good time to prune summer flowering shrubs and flowers, such as Azaleas and Rhododendrons. Pruning encourages new growth and any new growth will have time to harden off for winter. However, be sure to wait until they have stopped blooming!

House Plants

If you have not put your houseplants outside and would still like to, it is not too late! However, the strong sun will likely burn the leaves. We recommend you to put your houseplants outside in the shade or morning sun for a few days to allow it to acclimate to the higher amount of sunlight before exposing it to the full midday sun.

Tomatoes

Prune your tomatoes this month by removing suckers, which form in the crotch of the tomato branches. Pinch them out with your forefinger and thumb. These aptly named suckers can suck precious energy away from the fruit and leave you with bland tomatoes.

Flowers

If you have beautiful flowers in your garden, why not bring some inside? Cut flowers can add excitement to a boring weekday or provide the finishing touch to a party. We recommend cutting your flowers late in the day when they are dry; have a pitcher of water ready to put them in as soon as you cut them to prevent wilting.

Bugs

Be sure to watch for bugs and fungus this month. Slugs in particular hide during the hottest parts of the day and only come out in the mornings and evenings. Look for organic products to control them.

We welcome you to come visit our team at The Family Tree! If you need information, direction or help please contact our office by calling 770-972-2470. Make sure to follow-us on Facebook ,Twitter,  Google+!

Decorating with Succulents

If you need a little something to spruce up a bare kitchen or a backyard container, succulents are the way to go. These are both indoor and outdoor plants known for their water-saving habits (they resist drought), easy maintenance, and, of course, beauty. Succulent plants are extremely versatile and can be mixed with different kinds to make a beautiful piece of living art. succulents

When you begin to choose which plant to decorate with, first take into account the attributes of the vessel it is to be placed in. What color? Is it ceramic, glass, stone, or even an old shoe? (Seriously — these plants can live in anything!) Once this is chosen, pick your potting mix and fill it up. Some suggest that you mix the potting mix with gravel, but this is something that is up to the individual gardener. Then water it down before you begin to place the plants.

When you choose the succulents, it is aesthetically pleasing to plant a larger one and then surround it with a few smaller ones. Clustering the smaller ones based on shape/size is also a great idea. When finished planting, sprinkle a dark colored gravel around each plant until all of the dirt is covered.20150504_084613-1
Now, all that’s left is to find a place to put it, indoors or outdoors, and to make sure and not forget to water it. Keep in mind if they are indoors, they need to have sunlight so a window sill is a great spot for them and also, make sure to water them about every 2 weeks or when the dirt is dry. If you are unsure about how to plant them, just ask us! We’d love to guide you in this beautiful addition to your home or garden.

Have a beautifully landscaped lawn and garden!

We’ll plant it, you enjoy it!

Our professional staffs of landscapers are well trained and will deliver, set-up, plant and cleanup the plants that you have worked hard to pick out.  We’ll make sure it’s done right.  With a little help from us, transforming your lawn can be easy, affordable and quick! We can plant your top quality, beautiful plants from The Family Tree within the same week. No job is too large or too small to have a beautiful landscape with a little help from your friends at The Family Tree Garden Center!

landscape front yardWhether you want to plan a tranquil garden or a show stopping front yard, our Certified Landscape Architect, Bruce Holliday can create a design with your personality in mind. Bruce has over 30 years experience in design and landscaping. He has an expert knowledge of the metro Atlanta growing conditions and an extensive plant profile list.

Our quality landscaping service includes installing an entire planned landscape, or planting a small area. Our professional landscape services include crosstie and stone walls, patios, ponds, large and small trees and shrubs, annual beds and so much more. We can make the outdoor space of your dreams! Our landscaper will meet with you on-site and give you a quote on the cost of your landscaping. We also have a professional planting service that will plant trees, shrubs, bedding plants or a vegetable garden. Just ask for details or take a look at our Planting Service Page. Call 770-972-2470 for details.

We are very proud of our highly professional landscaping service. Our designer will meet with you, develop a look for your area and give you an estimate for installing the landscape. No fuss! Your yard will look beautiful in no time! No area is too big or too small, and if you want to break it up and install a little at a time, just ask. We can develop a plan for that too!

Don’t want a drawn design? No problem. Our designer will discuss options for planting, drainage, plant removal, renovation ideas, foundations, curb appeal or general landscaping needs, just call to set up an appointment.

Monthly Garden Chores: June & July

It’s almost officially Summer and at The Family Tree Garden Center, we wanted to provide a compiled list of gardening chores and tips that you should help you this month and the month of July to see the most success out of your garden and lawn.

Maintenance for Annualsgarden hose

  • Make sure mulch is still covering roots, keeping them cool and moist.
  • Fertilize every 3-6 weeks with a water soluble fertilizer.
  • Deadhead regularly to encourage new growth.
  • Water whenever the soil feels dry about 1” below the surface.

Family Tree Garden Center Insider Tip: If you are going away for a week or two in the summer, prune the annuals in your garden just before you leave and they will likely be back in bloom when you return!

Maintenance for Perennials

  • Water only plants that need it, not on a fixed schedule
  • Remove weeds by hand if possible, to avoid injuring plants.
  • Replenish mulch to conserve moisture and control weeds.
  • Fertilize if needed, but make sure to wash any off the foliage to prevent burn.
  • Stake those that are top-heavy to prevent wind and rain damage.
  • Deadhead to encourage the production of new flowers.
  • Shear or cut back a little to keep plants dense and encourage late season blooms.
  • Take note if you see disease or pests.

Lawn and Turf Maintenance

  • Check your mower height. Make sure it is the right height and that the blade is sharp.
  • Aerate! Soil compaction is a problem in Snellville and throughout Georgia because of the clay composition.

Tree Maintenance

  • Watch for wilting. Heat affects the trees too, so take a look at your trees to see if they are getting enough water.
  • Fertilize now if needed to promote new growth.
  • Prune away dead, diseased or damaged branches during the summer. But be careful! Many trees are more prone to disease if pruned in the summer. If you aren’t sure what kind of tree you have or how to care for it, give us a call at 770-972-2470 or stop by to talk to our expert staff.

Water Schedule

Stay informed about the water schedule when you are summer gardening in Snellville and Gwinnett County, by visiting the county website.