Archives for July 2015

Increase your Home’s Value

There is no doubt that Gwinnett County is experiencing a revived housing boom. There are housing development signs at all major intersections, and houses seem to be selling quickly after being listed. If you are thinking about selling your home with the market that seems to be picking up pace, then consider upgrading or updating your landscaping.

Curb Appeal24-Beautiful-Small-Front-Yard-Garden-Design-Ideas-7

Ask any realtor and they will explain that most potential homebuyers expect inventory homes to need a little work on the inside. Often a fresh coat or color of paint, or new flooring is anticipated as purchasers attempt to make their new home their own. However, the less a buyer will need to do on the outside is an added bonus. As a previous post has discussed, a beautiful front yard will help catch a potential buyers eye in the form of curb appeal, but a functional backyard will sell itself as well. Think of the added value that a fieldstone or brick paver patio will provide. Whether looking for a complete design overhaul, adding color with a flowers, or simply cleaning up the outdoor living space to allow for more curb appeal, our professional landscapers are more than qualified.

Added Home Value

Investing in landscaping is a great way to not only add curb appeal, but also to Increase a home’s value. According to the American Society of Landscape Architects, a landscape that is pleasing to the eye, user friendly, and highlights features of the home itself, can increase your home’s value from 5% to 20%.

If you are preparing to sell your Snellville home and need to update your landscaping, contact The Family Tree Garden Center as soon as possible. We will provide all you need to add curb appeal and help make your home more sellable from the outside.

Fairy Week: What do Fairies Eat?

Today marks the finale of our wonderful series on fairies; we’ll be focusing on what fairies eat. Now that you have a backyard full of fairies, I’m sure you want to keep them happy and healthy! While you probably will never actually see a fairy eating, it is something they enjoy doing and they gravitate towards natural foods; no potato chips or ice cream for them!

fairy strawberryFruits – Fairies love fruits of any kind, but especially berries because they’re small and sweet, just like the fairies themselves. Planting some berry bushes or a fruit tree near your fairy garden will not only provide fairies with food, but you can have a snack as well when you’re visiting your friends!

Milk – I don’t know why, but there’s just something about magical creatures makes them love milk; maybe it’s that faint sweetness that gets them. People in Medieval times would set a bowl of milk outside their doors at night to distract any unkind magical beings from coming into the house. Good thing we don’t have that problem with our fairies! Nevertheless, if you set out a bowl of milk, your fairies will thank you.

Honey – Fairies devour anything with honey in, on, or around it and love to sneak into beehives to steal some of the golden deliciousness inside. Because of this, bees have developed a habit of buzzing with worry all the time, whether there are fairies around or not! You might be wondering how fairies don’t get stuck in the honey because they’re so small. Well, the only answer I can give to that is because they’re magical. Don’t you wish you were magical sometimes when you’re eating honey?

Now, I’m going to let you in on a secret: there is one food that fairies love that most definitely is NOT natural. Fairies have tremendous sweet tooths (in case you hadn’t noticed from the items above!) and when someone dropped this food, they were all over it. Jellybeans are a fairies most desired food, however, they can’t eat more than a few of them because they get too silly and can get into trouble! So, while you can leave your fairies some jellybeans every now and then, do not make it a regular occurrence unless you want unusual things happening in your yard!

As always, stop by The Family Tree for all your fairy needs, be it advice or gardening supplies. Ask for Nanci, our resident fairy gardening expert, and she can answer all your questions.

Fairy Week: How to Attract Fairies

fairy doorNow that you know about the types of fairies that are the easiest to attract to your yard, it’s time to work on making your garden the best possible place for a fairy to live. Having fairy garden is a surefire way to attract fairies. This can be anything from a whole corner of your yard, a pot with a miniature garden in it, or even just adding a fairy door to a tree. By far the most fun to make is the miniature garden; The Family Tree has an adorable array of little plants and accessories to use! Here are some items to include in your fairy garden to ensure that you will have fairies flocking to live in it:

Flowers – Because all of the fairies mentioned in the last post are of the nature-loving variety, the easiest way to attract one of them is by adding colorful flowers and bushes to your garden. Not only can the blooms be used for clothing and decorations, but certain plants, such as ferns and tulips, are used for beds.

Water Features – Fairies love the sight and sound of running water, so if you don’t have a stream running through the garden, consider adding a bubbling fountain to make your fairy friends feel at home.

pahls-fairy-gardenWind Chimes – Music is one of the other things that fairies adore; for instance, dryads often hold concerts under the full moon. Placing a variety of wind chimes in your garden will lure fairies in to discover the source of the beautiful sounds.

Hummingbird Feeders – While these are much too large to fit in your fairy garden, placing them nearby is an excellent idea because these tiny birds serve as transportation for the fairy population. Fairies also enjoy riding on butterflies, so planting butterfly weed or a butterfly bush near your garden will earn you the fairies approval.

The final important step in attracting fairies to your garden is simple: just ask. If you are sincere and can show the fairies the beautiful miniature garden you’ve created just for them, they will jump at the chance to live with you! Remember, everyone at The Family Tree will be happy to help you if you’re not sure what to add to your fairy garden, so stop by any time.

Fairy Week: Types of Fairies

When the first baby laughed for the first time, the laugh broke into a thousand pieces and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies. – ‘Peter Pan’ J.M.Barrie

This week’s blog posts will be all about fairies and how to attract them to your garden. We will cover such topics as different kinds of fairies, where fairies live, and how to attract fairies to your garden. Today serves as the base for the series because without knowing about the different types of fairies, it’s impossible to figure out what kind you would like to attract to your home! These types can be separated into four categories:

Butterfly Fairies – These beautiful creatures are recognizable by their brightly-colored butterfly wings. Because they love to play with their butterfly friends, these fairies can be difficult to distinguish while fluttering around!flower fairy

Flower Fairies – The hippies of the magical world, these whimsical fairies love to dress themselves in flowers and other woodland wonders. Flower fairies are the most common ones found living near humans because they are drawn to beautiful gardens.

Tree Fairies (Dryads) – These fairies are the spirits of trees and, as such, are usually tall and slender with flowing hair. When they walk, anyone who sees them is instantly reminded of branches swaying in a gentle wind. Dryads love music and their concerts can be heard on clear, moonlit nights, if you listen very carefully.

Earth Fairies – Cheerful and gregarious, these fairies tend to live in groups. They can be recognized by their brown or green skin, which helps them blend into the earth. One of the things that earth fairies love best are colorful stones, which they collect.

Hopefully this post has enlightened you on the different types of fairies that love nature and helped you decide which you would like entice into your garden. Be sure to check back soon for the next post in the series to learn even more about our magical friends!

Attract Wildlife with these Plants

You can create an attractive garden that will attract birds, butterflies and other wildlife anywhere. A house, apartment or condominium balcony with potted plants can bring in butterflies and hummingbirds. A small garden patch or a large farm will attract wildlife, depending on where you live.

Start by planting trees and shrubs native to this part of Georgia. This includes native flowers that can be grown in pots and baskets as well as in the ground. hummingbird

Attracting hummingbirds

The Ruby-throated species is native to Georgia although other hummingbirds fly to the state during the fall and winter months. According to the Georgia Department of Agriculture, hummingbirds need flowers as well as feeders with sugar-water for food.

Suggested plants for hummingbirds include coral bean, hybrid erythrina, anise-scented salvia, and anisacanthus. These delicate birds also extract nectar from members of the sage family including Texas, Mexican, and pineapple sage varieties. They are attracted to columbine and honeysuckle as well. The Georgia Hummer Study Group has more information on gardening for these popular birds.

Create a welcoming habitat

Birds, butterflies, rabbits, squirrels, and even deer can thrive in a garden that provides adequate water, food and cover. Squirrels can live in trees in your garden. They collect nuts and berries. They can be fed with squirrel corn in the fall but they will still forage for ground food.

Ground cover is needed for many birds. Native grasses and sedges provide the cover for birds and rodents. A pasture or backyard planted with native grasses and wildflowers will be easy to care for and colorful during the spring and summer.

Wrens, kinglets, bluebirds, thrushes, robins and mockingbirds will be attracted to yards with native grasses and trees. A welcoming habitat includes adequate water. You can put a birdbath in your yard or add a pond or fountain.

Keep your yard free of pesticides

Natural grasses and native plants generally don’t need chemical weed killers that can harm wildlife.

Let Family Tree Garden Center in Snellville, GA help you create a naturalized yard for you that will attract birds and other wildlife to your home. Contact us for more details and for a free estimate!

Tasty Tomatoes Part 2

By now, I’m sure you all have some lovely ripe tomatoes in your gardens, especially if you followed this tips posted here back in the spring. If you are overwhelmed with tomatoes and looking for ideas of what to do with them, here are a few suggestions.

Canning – Canning preserves your fresh tomatoes so that you can enjoy them all year long. There are many options for how to can your tomatoes, including whole, crushed, or as spaghetti sauce or salsa! Because it doesn’t require any fancy equipment, this is the perfect choice for a bumper crop of tomatoes.

Freezing – You can freeze tomatoes in just about any way you can imagine, either cooked or raw. Similar to canning, freezing preserves fresh tomatoes for future use; however, the tomatoes will not last as long a canned ones. Freezing is an excellent option when you don’t have enough tomatoes to justify canning, but too many to use before they go bad.

Cooking – This is by far the tastiest option for fresh tomatoes because it involves eating them right away! There are so many redneck caviaryummy ways to eat tomatoes, including tomato sandwiches, fresh salsas, and much more. This recipe for redneck caviar comes recommended by Nanci, one of our gardening experts:

2 (15 7/8 ounce) cans black-eyed peas, drained
2 (10 ounce) cans corn, drained
1 (15 7/8 ounce) can black olives, chopped
1 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 (15 7/8 ounce) can black beans, drained
1 larger purple onion, diced
6 ripe tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder (optional, only if you want a bit of a kick to it)
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
16 ounces house or zesty Italian dressing

Combine all the ingredients and refrigerate for several hours. Serve with tortilla chips.

Transform your Landscape with Shrubs & Plants

At the Family Tree Garden Center, we see a lot of great shrubs get overlooked while their tall, dark, and handsome cousins ride away in a landscaper’s flatbed. Without ever consciously considering why, many homeowners and property developers find shrubs a little lackluster. But as any landscape designer will tell you, a lawn without shrubs is like an empty house: it may be beautiful, but there’s nothing to give it life. shrub syringa vulgaris

Use Shrubs to Improve the Landscape

Planting shrubs and plants are a great way to add depth to a one note yard. Shrubs and plants unify space, taking an eye captivated by rooftops and trees and bringing it back down to earth. They add depth and lasting interest, create privacy, block noise pollution, direct the flow of traffic, provide ground cover, and add seasonal color without crowding the lawn. Shrubs, when planted beside perennial flowers or lush ornamental trees, visually ground the landscape, giving homes and businesses a welcoming, well-tended appearance.

Benefits of Planting Shrubs & Plants

Just like their taller cousins, shrubs and plants benefit Georgia landscapes in countless ways. These include:

  • Combating pollution by filtering dust, toxic chemicals, and carbon dioxide from the air
  • Renewing the supply of oxygen
  • Limiting soil erosion, especially when planted in mass
  • Creating “outdoor rooms” by providing privacy screening, reducing noise pollution, and adding visual beauty to outdoor spaces
  • Improving emotional and mental health by boosting mood and providing a safe place for families and friends to gather
  • Adding life and color into a space that may not have much vibrancy
  • Improving property value through heightened curb appeal

Best Shrubs & Plants for the Fall Season

To learn more information on which shrubs and plants would best suit your landscape, call The Family Tree Garden Center at 770-972-2470.

Air Plants: Hovering Horticulture

Have you ever seen a plant that doesn’t need the nutrients in dirt to survive? What about plants that absorb water and nutrients through their leaves? If you haven’t, than you need to check out The Family Tree’s new stock of air plants! These exotic plants don’t require much to survive and can grow just about anywhere you please, which makes for many interesting decorating options.

Even if you aren’t a gardener or are afraid you might kill a traditional houseplant, air plants are for you! Caring for your air plant is extremely easy; simply mist it one or two times a week depending on how humid it is in your home. If your air plant looks dried out just soak it in water and it will bounce right back.  It’s important to let the plant dry out after each watering so that it will not rot; make sure there is no standing water if your plant is in a container or terrarium! The only remaining things air plants need are light and air circulation to keep them from becoming too moist.

Because of their unique structure, air plants can be used in a myriad of ways that regular plants just couldn’t manage, including terrariums, wall décor, and bouquets. Be sure to visit The Family Tree to check out our new stock and talk to one of our knowledgeable sales associates to get some ideas on how to display your fabulous air plants!

 

The Family Sprouts Kid’s Club

Family sprouts imageIt’s never too early to learn to love the great outdoors!  This July is a great time to bring the kids to The Family Tree Garden Center for activities to prove to them how great it is to be outside! Beginning this week, the Family Sprouts Kid’s Club will meet every Thursday morning in July for gardening fun, crafts, and stories. Bring your kids from 10-11am each Thursday and let us show them how to grow their own food, discover the colors and textures of nature, get a little dirty, and have a ton of fun in the process.

This week’s topic is Little Chefs.  With stories, crafts, tasting and starting their own garden right here at The Family Tree, your kids will learn that eating healthy by growing your own food is easy and delicious! In the special Family Sprouts corner of the greenhouse, your children can see how much their sprouts have grown each time you visit. We hope you will join us for this exciting club and can’t wait to see you on Thursday morning at 10am!

It’s FREE and fun (children under 7 must be accompanied by an adult)

July 9 – Kidtchen Little Chefs – Eating healthy begins with the joy of growing your own food. Tasting, smelling, and planting your own vegetables proves it!

July 16 – Little Artists in the Garden – The beauty and wonder of nature is all around!  We’ll explore the amazing colors and textures of the world around us.

July 23 – Fun with Fairy Gardening – Where do fairies live, what do they eat, how do you attract fairies to your garden? We’ll make a fairy garden just for your fairies!

July 30 – We Love Birds & Bugs – Birds and bugs are essential to nature! Your children will get a whole new FUN perspective on these fabulous garden guests.

The Liberty Tree

In honor of July 4th, we are taking a break from our usual tips and advice to share the story of a famous tree that played an important role in the American Revolution. The Liberty Tree, a giant elm tree in the heart of Boston, became a rallying point for the American rebels as they plotted the famous Boston Tea Party. These rebels, who later called themselves Sons of Liberty, used the tree as a place to spread awareness of their cause; its most notable use was in 1765, when the Sons of Liberty protested the famous Stamp Act by hanging an effigy of the law’s enforcer from the branches of the elm. Sadly, the Liberty Tree met its demise in 1775, when the British decided that the unruly Americans shouldn’t have a public meeting point and burned the tree.

 
Just because the first (and most famous) Liberty Tree was gone did not mean that the Americans were going to give in to the British; towns up and down the east coast designated certain prominent trees as Liberty Trees in acts of defiance. While the original trees have long since perished, there are still seedlings from the last remaining tree, which have been carefully cultivated and are being planted in each of the original 13 colonies as a reminder of the bravery and devotion of the men who fought to gain our independence. Georgia’s very own Liberty Tree can be seen at the Dalton City Hall!

liberty tree

Georgia’s Liberty Tree

If you would like a similar symbol of freedom, stop by The Family Tree to pick out your very own Liberty Tree! While we do not have any direct descendants of the colonial Liberty Trees, be assured that all of our trees are more than up to the task of representing American freedom!