Archives for September 2015

Autumn has Arrived!

Fall is here and so are pumpkins! The Family Tree has just received a load of gorgeous pumpkins and gourds for you to decorate with! Are you tired of just sitting some pumpkins on your porch or table to decorate? Here are a few new do-it-yourself ideas that will wow you with their simplicity.

Stacked pumpkins – With all the variations available, it’s easy to find some in graduated sizes that will stack well. A tall stack of pumpkins will add both height and color to your fall décor and looks great in any room. If you’re feeling adventurous, try using some painted pumpkins in your pile.painted pumpkins

Painted pumpkins – Painting your pumpkin is an upscale alternative to carving one and the possibilities are endless! One elegant option is to paint alternating sections of one of The Family Tree’s beautiful White Boer pumpkins using gold metallic paint. If you like a more whimsical look, try these candy corn pumpkins!

Pumpkin vases – For a unique vase, choose a round pie pumpkin that sits nice and flat and hollow out the middle (as a bonus, roast and salt the seeds for a tasty treat!). Place either a plastic container or a wet ball of fall-pumpkin-vaseflorist foam in the hole and arrange mums or your favorite fall flowers as you like. These arrangements make for stunning decorations or hostess gifts and will earn you many compliments on your creativity!

Pumpkin goodies – While these aren’t a decoration, everyone knows that fall brings a multitude of pumpkin flavored treats, including the pumpkin spiced latte. Instead of dropping $5 on one from your favorite coffee shop, why not try making your own? All you need is some pumpkin puree, milk, coffee, and vanilla and you’re on your way to delicious lattes! Set aside some of that puree when you’re making your pumpkin pies to indulge in this yummy drink.

Mini pumpkins – Everyone loves a tiny pumpkin! These little cuties are perfect for tucking into a container garden or lining a walkway for some fall flair! For a simple centerpiece, fill a large bowl with these pumpkins and scatter some bright fall leaves around it and you’re on your way to a fabulous dinner party.

Be sure to stop by The Family Tree to browse our pumpkin selection, as well as our funky squashes and gourds. We also have corn stalks and Indian corn for all of of your decorating needs!

Fall Container Gardening

If you’ve kept up with our blog, you’ll remember that we had a post on creating beautiful container gardens a few months back. Today’s post also covers container gardens, but this time with mix-n-match fall flower ‘recipes’ for jaw-dropping stunners.

As a quick reminder, the three main components of a container garden are:

Thrillers: a dramatic, eye-catching plant in the center of the pot
Fillers: full, luxuriant flowers that will hide the dirt surrounding your thriller
Spillers: trailing vines that will grow gracefully over the rim of the container

While I’m sure your pots looked fabulous all summer, fall is here and you might feel like your flowers should change along with the seasons. Here are some examples of fall plants that look great in container gardens.

Thrillers purple fountain grass

Carex – This plant has long, grass-like leaves and ends up with beautiful orange highlights in cooler weather.
Dwarf Pine – Have you ever considered using a tree in your container garden? You should! Dwarf pines make excellent additions to pots and can be pruned into all sorts of shapes.
Purple Fountain Grass – The graceful drooping leaves of this grass fade in color from green to orange to wine. Long fuzzy heads crown the top of the stalks.
Chard – Try some veggies in your pots! Swiss chard and Rainbow chard have beautifully colored stems and large leaves that will add interest to your containers. Munching is allowed!
Barberry – This little shrub can add some green or burgundy to your pots; its natural growth habit is to stay low and rounded, so it will look great with minimum attention!

DustyMiller2Fillers

Kale – While kale is known for being a healthy addition to salads, it also can serve double duty as a decorative plant. The cabbage-like plant boasts ruffled leaves and beautiful colors.
Mums – Mums are gorgeous by themselves, but are stunning when combined with other plants in a pot. The many colors offered guarantee that you’ll be able to find the perfect shade for your pot!
Pansies – A perennial favorite, pansies provide the perfect pop of color to your pots. They’ll even last through the cold winter months so that you’ll have cheerful pots until spring!
Dusty Miller – This plant adds an unusual silver color to your pots. Its fuzzy leaves gleam in the sun and will wow everyone who sees them.
Snapdragons – How many of you remember your moms showing you how there’s a little face in a snapdragon? Now you can share the wonder of that discovery with any children you know, be they grandchildren or neighbors! Snapdragons come in a variety of bright shades, including white, pink, yellow, red, and peach.

Spillersheuchera-southern-comfort-5bjpg-d0786f2ed3cdd91c

Heuchera – This lovely spiller comes in a wide variety of colors, including a deep purple that makes a lovely contrast with fall reds and yellows.
Wintergreen – Wintergreen is most commonly associated with chewing gum, but its shiny green leaves make it a lovely plant in pots. It produces bright red berries in the fall.
Creeping Jenny – This little groundcover also works well as a spiller; true to its name, it will creep over the lip of your pots and add a waterfall of brilliant green.
Potato Vine – This trailing vine comes in both green and purple and will add that extra oomph that your pots need.
Dwarf Gardenia – Did you know gardenias came in a trailing form? This spiller produces beautiful flowers and will smell terrific while in bloom!

Be sure to stop by The Family Tree in Snellville, GA to browse our selection of fall plants and choose the perfect ones for your pots! Our associates are happy to answer any questions you might have, as well as offer suggestions on how to achieve the look you want. container

Don’t Commit Crape Murder!

Today’s post comes from guest blogger, Tracy Davis. Tracy grew up in New Zealand and graduated with a Horticulture degree from The University of Georgia. Currently, she serves as one of our expert associates here at The Family Tree.

I admit that I have been guilty of crape murder. Have you? When I first moved to the United States Untitled4many years ago, I wasn’t familiar with a crape myrtle and didn’t know how to take care of it. Unfortunately, I saw the landscapers around town severely pruning crape myrtles, so I just copied them thinking this was correct. Then I wondered, why are the branches on my crape myrtles broken in the wind and always drooping with the weight of the flowers?

Fast forward many years, and some more education, I saw the error of my ways. If you are like me, you too may be copying what everyone else is doing, thinking this is correct. Pruning this way is called “crape murder!” Continually pruning like this develops “ugly knees” and is not a very attractive look for your tree.

Untitled3I think we would all prefer to do “fun” stuff in the yard rather than create more work for ourselves. Crape myrtles will grow just fine with little to no pruning at all. The only pruning I do each year is by removing the suckers that always sprout from the base of the plant. I don’t even remove the spent flowers as they will eventually fall off.

Flower clusters on an unpruned crape myrtle will be smaller, but the number of flower clusters will be greater than a pruned crape myrtle, so the overall floral display in the landscape are the same.

If you feel the need to tidy up your crape myrtles, February is a good month to do it. Here are a few things to look for:
– Remove any suckers that have sprouted at the base of the trunk.

– Clip off the spent flower blooms.

– Remove any branches or suckers on the interior of the tree that may be rubbing on other branches, or just look unsightly.

The diagram below illustrates the possible pruning places (in red).

Untitled

If you choose the minimal pruning method, then after several years, your trees should have well formed branches and look like this.

Untitled2Happy Gardening!

Guest Blogger
Tracy Davis

Horticulturist

 

Gardening 101: The Joys of Fall Annuals

Many people find it hard to decide whether fall or spring is their favorite season; both seasons bring vibrant colors to the landscape! While fall is primarily known for the gorgeous colors that the trees turn, fall and winter loving flowers compliment gardens and containers beautifully. With a feeding of a quality fertilizer in fall and late winter, your fall flowers will perform just the way you hoped! Now that you know the difference between annuals and perennials, here are a few beautiful fall annuals to brighten up your garden.

Pansies and Violas– Arguably the most well known fall flower, pansies can be used in containers or in flowerbeds. They also are stunning when tightly grouped together. If well taken care of, pansies can also last through the winter. Pansies and Violas look beautiful by themselves but paired with snapdragons, ornamental cabbages and mums, gardens and containers come alive! Another wonderful aspect of pansies, violas and snapdragons is that they look beautiful in the fall and come back from a harsh winter to bloom like crazy in late winter through late spring and early summer!
* Deer and bunnies love pansies and violas. Surrounding your flower bed with Milorganite will help keep those 4 legged critters at bay. (And will add a bit of fertilizer too.)

mums
Chrysanthemums – The quintessential fall flower. Mums are grown for gardens (Belgian mums) and for indoor décor (florist mums). Belgian Mums are prolific bloomers with a rounded growth habit, easy to grow, and are available in a wide range of colors. They are hardy in your garden and containers, and bloom for up to 6 weeks. In our area, mums may come back but we consider them annuals due to our hot summers.

Sedum – This hardy plant is the gardener’s dream; it is drought tolerant, requires little care, and looks good all year long. Fall is the time when sedum bursts into color. Because there are many different colorful varieties ranging from a few inches to several feet high, you can add interesting textures as well as color to your landscape.

cabbageFlowering Cabbages and Kale – Want to add something super interesting to your garden and containers? This fall try some annual flowering cabbages, kale, and swiss chard. Cool looking rosettes in bold colors transform fall gardens in showplaces. Pair with pansies, mums, and snapdragons to add interesting textures.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to stop by The Family Tree to speak with one of our knowledgeable associates! We can help you with the best plants for any area of your yard, whether it’s a flower bed or a container garden!

Fall Vegetable Garden – Healthy Harvest, Tasty Gardening In Cooler Weather

If you had a vegetable garden this summer, you know how wonderful it is to have fresh produce that you grew yourself. Continue enjoying that freshness throughout the fall as well. It’s easy to switch your garden over to fall veggies!

What to Grow – Veggies such as lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, brussel sprouts, kohlrabi, mustard greens, and kale thrive in the cooler temperatures that fall brings. These leafy greens and cruciferae are packed with nutrition and taste even better coming out of your own garden.

What to do With the Soil – Because you’ve had a garden all summer, the soil has most likely lost most of veggiesits nutrients, which will need to be replenished before you plant your fall crop. To prepare, you can simply get rid of any plants that are no longer producing. To create an optimum growing environment for your fall garden, start with quality amendments. A mixture of your existing soil with mushroom compost, planting mix, and/or Nature’s Helper Soil Conditioner will bring your soil back up to par. Mix in a quality garden fertilizer and start planting!

Dealing with Pests – As with summer gardening, the key to dealing with pests is to keep an eye out for them and take care of the problem as soon as you notice it. Pests to watch out for on fall veggies include aphids, cabbage loopers, and squash bugs, all of which can drain the vitality out of your plants and prevent them from producing veggies. An excellent organic insect control is Captain Jack’s by Bonide.

Keeping out Deer and Rabbits – You know what to do when insects attack your garden, but what do you do about the bigger pests? The solution can be as simple as sprinkling hair around your plants; the smell of humans can scare away any deer or rabbits who thought your garden was planted just for their enjoyment. “Liquid Fence” is a natural alternative spray that will help keep 4 legged pests at bay. “Milorganite” works very well and has the added benefit of fertilizing your crops.

If you’re interested in planting a fall garden, stop by The Family Tree to speak with our knowledgeable employees and pick out your vegetables from our wide selection.