Earth Day; Plant Something Pretty!

Earth Day is on April 22nd and everyone here at The Family Tree just loves to have any excuse to plant!earth day Trees, shrubs and flowers help stave off the effects of climate change, help protect communities from extreme weather, and provide valuable oxygen! Trees have huge impact on our environment, both locally and globally (and of course visually), and we think there is always a need for more trees and shrubs!

Here are some great facts about how trees and shrubs benefit our earth:
1. Trees absorb CO2 thereby removing carbon and adding oxygen.
2. Trees absorb odors and pollutant gases.
3. An acre of mature trees can provide enough oxygen for 18 people.
4. Provide shade to conserve energy.
5. Provide habitats and shelter for birds, bees, and wildlife.
6. A beautiful landscape can increase property values by as much as 15%.
7. Hundreds of thousands of plants provide food source for people, birds, and wildlife.
8. Trees, shrubs, and flowers make you feel good… ‘nuf said!

Just ask us! Our designers and plant professionals offer their friendly expertise in helping you choose the perfect plants for your outdoor living spaces. Here are some great ideas for Earth Day planting:

Flowers – Save the pollinators! Plant some flowers.  Bees and butterflies love most perennials like Agastache, Echinacea, Tick Seed, and Gaura.  They love Mexican Heather, Salvia, and petunias and hundreds more annuals.  Remember bees and butterflies pollinate some of our most nutritious foods. Click here for some great hummingbird, butterfly and bee attracting plants.

Veggie Garden – Planting a vegetable garden will not only provide you with delicious, fresh veggies this summer, but it also gives you a great excuse to get outside and enjoy the lovely weather! Plant some tomatoes, peppers, squash and beans.  If you’re not up to the challenge of planting a whole vegetable garden, try a container garden with herbs and a tomato or two.

container gardenContainer Garden – Liven up any area with a beautiful container garden.  With our designer’s help, you can decorate your porch, patio, windowsill, and pool area with stunning colors and textures.

And of course, plant a tree! Choose one to honor a special someone in your life.  Add a focal point to your landscape.  Add some shrubs to your landscape too.  We can help!

For ideas for your landscape check out our professional services:

Quick Sketch – If you have a small area in your landscape that needs attention, one of our expert designers can help.  We will sit down with you for 20 minutes, sketch out a plan, and give you some ideas on how to make that area blossom into beauty.  Whether it’s a flower bed that just won’t thrive or you’re just plumb out of ideas, we can help you choose the perfect plants to solve the problem no matter what it is!

landscapePlanting Services – You’ve had a great time picking out a cartload of plants for your home, but now you’re dreading the task of planting them; now what do you do? Call The Family Tree; we offer planting services with FREE delivery and no job is too large for us! We’re as happy to plant petunias around your mailbox as we are to put in the new landscape you’ve picked out!

Expert Advice – We have more than 12 Horticulturists and GA Plant Professionals at The Family Tree, all of whom are full of excellent tips and helpful advice. If you have any questions or even just want someone else’s opinion on which color roses to plant by the front door, our experts are always happy to help! Every one of them knows the plant selection at The Family Tree like the back of their hand and can help you find the perfect plant for any condition!

Why not do your part to help make the earth more beautiful this Earth Day? Stop by The Family Tree this week and browse our huge selection of trees, shrubs, flowers, and more! Oh, and remember to just sit back and enjoy the beauty of this world that we live in!

Creating a Hummingbird and Butterfly Buffet

Attracting hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden can be easier than you think! We suggest planting an array of flowers and plants to attract these beautiful creatures. We have put together a list of flowers and plants that are sure to bring hummingbirds and butterflies flocking to your yard. While it is widely thought that hummingbirds are attracted to the color red, they are really attracted to plants with throated flowers.  Choose plants that have long throats.  The plants listed below are just a few of the varieties that you can choose from; come in to The Family Tree and speak to one of our sales associates to find out more! hummingbird

Black and Blue Salvia – This perennial is sure to add color to your yard not only through it’s lovely blue flowers, but also with the bright hummingbirds and butterflies it will attract. Another plus, this bushy plant is deer resistant!

Lantana – Coming in many cheerful colors, lantana is a hardy plant that will bloom all summer. This drought-resistant plant loves the full sun.

Hibiscus_rosa-sinensis_Bot.Garten_MuensterHibiscus – If you’re looking to add a little bit of the tropical to your yard, hibiscus is a perfect choice. The huge blooms are the perfect food for hummingbirds.

Butterfly Bush – The aptly named butterfly bush produces cones of fragrant purple flowers that butterflies love. Hummingbirds are also attracted to the sweet nectar.

For shady areas try Torenia. It is a prolific bloomer and offers hummingbirds (and bees) ample nectar.

Adding an attractive hummingbird feeder not only helps attract these tiny guests, it also looks really pretty as garden art in your landscape. Nectar in feeders need to be changed about every 3 days.

The plants listed above are just a few of the varieties that you can choose from; come in to The Family Tree and speak to one of our sales associates to find out more!  For a printable list of plants, click here.

 

Fall is Here and Prime for Planting!

Fall is here and that means that it’s time to root for your favorite football team! But while rooting for your team is footballsecond nature, what about rooting for your plants? Fall is the prime time to plant trees, shrubs and perennials because it allows them to establish their root systems so that when spring comes they can direct all their energy to blooming!

The fall season gives the plants time to develop stronger roots and give them a head start on spring. Thanks to the summer heat, the soil temperatures will remain warm pansieswell into fall; this, combined with the autumn rains, gives new trees and shrubs the chance to spread their roots and firmly establish themselves in their new environment.

To plant your trees and shrubs during the cooler season, dig a hole that is just deep enough to fit the root ball, but is twice as wide. Making the hole double wide provides softened soil for new roots to spread in and find additional water resources. When filling in the soil around the plant, cover it only to where the roots emerge from the tree trunk. If you have any questions, here is a quick, printable reference guide for planting trees and shrubs! As with any plant, be sure to give your new tree or shrub plenty of water while they adjust to their new environment. You might need to give some trees extra support, so be sure to ask a staff member at The Family Tree before you leave fall-treeand they can provide the answer depending on the size and species of plant.

Visit The Family Tree and let us help you find the perfect new shrub or tree to plant this fall so that you can enjoy beautiful blooms in the spring!

How to ‘Winterize’ Birds

With fall approaching, it’s time to start thinking about how you’ll care for your feathered friends throughout the coming cold season. Even though there is plentiful food all around now, birds will soon have a harder time finding food for themselves! Feeding and housing them now will not only keep them happy and flocking to your yard all winter long, but will also be beneficial in the spring and summer when they’ll need to feed their babies and will already be comfortable in your yard, knowing that you’re a good provider. fall bird

High fat foods such as sunflower seeds are ideal for giving birds the energy they need to survive the cold nights. Birds don’t mind shelling their own seeds but you can buy already shelled seeds if you don’t like the mess. Suet cakes are readily available and inexpensive. Suet provides much needed fat and nutrition for your birds during the winter when seeds and berries are hard to find. Birds will flock to your yard for this treat! Right now The Family Tree is offering great deals on suet, so stock up now!

Birds such as bluebirds and wrens build their nests in bird houses.  To attract birds to your birdhouses, place them in a relatively sheltered area from predators and provide a food and water source nearby. Even in the winter, birds need fresh water.  Instead of draining your bird feeders and fountains, add a de-icer or water wiggler to keep the water from freezing.

Squirrels  – GRRR.  This is a hard one!  Many people like to watch the antics of squirrels but you also want your bird food to feed the birds.  There are a number of squirrel proof bird feeders and baffles made by Droll Yankee and Audubon. Some bird feed by Cole’s has hot pepper added, which seems to winter_birdwork pretty well; birds don’t mind it and squirrels don’t like it! You may also consider feeding squirrels in an area farther away from your feeders and houses.  They will get used to feasting in that area and hopefully will leave your bird feeders alone.

Once the cold weather passes, your birds will gladly set up house in or around your yard.  In the spring and summer they will be looking for grubs, beetles, mosquitoes and more undesirable pests to feed their families. This is quite an added benefit for your lawn and garden!

Don’t miss our Tuesdays at the Tree seminar on September 6 at 10am! Ornithologist Chip Utsey will share how to keep birds flocking to your yard year round, as well as tips and advice on giving them the nutrition and shelter they need.

Want Fresh Veggies this Fall? Plant a Cool Season Garden!

If you planted a vegetable garden this spring, you’ve most likely been enjoying the tasty fruits of your labors these past few months! fall-harvest-basketHave you ever considered planting a fall garden? Just because the weather will soon start to cool down doesn’t mean your crop of delicious homegrown veggies has to cease! In fact, fall is the ideal time to plant nutrition packed broccoli, luscious kale, flavor-enhancing leeks, crisp radishes, and so much more. There is a wide variety of fall vegetable seeds as well as starter plants.  Starter plants are generally easier to grow but typically there is a wider selection of seeds.  These veggies require cool soil to germinate and flourish, so here are 4 steps to help you plan your planting times so that you can enjoy delicious veggies all autumn long.

  1. Determine the average first fall frost date and mark it on your calendar.
  2. Look on your seed packet for ‘Days to Maturity’ and from your average first frost date, count backwards the number of days to maturity, which will bring you to the ideal planting date. It’s usually a good idea to add an extra week or two to that time to take into account the shorter days, which may slow growth.
  3. Once you’ve determined the ideal planting date, it’s time to decide which seeds can be sown directly into the ground and which will need to be started indoors. Soil can still be hot in the summer when you’re planting and certain cool season crops, like lettuce or spinach, will not germinate in soils over 80 degrees; crops like these will need to be started indoors and then transplanted. However, root crops such as radishes can be sown directly into your garden.
  4.  Because vegetable plants need lots of nutrients to produce delicious results, you should add fertilizer or compost to the soil before you plant. This is especially important if you had a summer garden; the soil needs to be replenished for your cool season garden to flourish!

fall saladThe Family Tree has just stocked cool season seeds and starter plants, so hurry in soon for the best selection for your garden! Our knowledgeable associates are always happy to help you find the perfect seeds for your needs.

6 Great Benefits of Houseplants!

Did you know? Houseplants can benefit your overall health and wellness in addition to making your home look beautiful and inviting! This season, The Family Tree has received a range of gorg20140811_144609-1eous houseplants of every shape, color and style. We’ve got hundreds for bright light and low light, large areas and small. If you are looking for a pre-potted plant, terrarium, miniature garden, or something totally different, we have everything you want and more. Here, we highlight six great benefits of having houseplants in your home!

20140821_082705-11. Removal of Airborne Contaminants: We breathe the same air again and again, potentially inhaling harmful substances that are trapped inside. Indoor plants can help to remove pollutants including airborne compounds that cause headaches, nausea, and more.

2. Upping Your Happiness Levels: House plants can contribute to a feeling of well-being, making you calmer and more optimistic. Studies have shown that patients who face a garden view or have flowers in their hospital rooms often recover more quickly than those who do not.

3. Improved Mental Health: It has been proven that caring for a living thing, be it a pet or a plant, can help when you’re depressed and lonely. Having something completely reliant on you for love and sustenance will give you a new purpose in life! Try gifting a pretty fern or bright African violet to someone who could use cheering up.

4.  Improved Sleep: Who doesn’t want a good nights sleep every night? All plants give off oxygen as a result of photosynthesis, which studies show can help improve sleep. Place a houseplant or two (or three!) in your bedroom and you will be reaping the benefits in no time!20140814_092829-1

5.  Allergy Prevention: Exposing children to allergens early in life can help them build a tolerance and immunity to the allergen; nature’s form of a custom allergy shot! Plants are included on that list, so make sure you have at least a few houseplants around.

6. Reduced Sick Time: Indoor plants have been shown to reduce cold-related illnesses by more than 30%! This is due to their effect of increasing humidity levels and decreasing dust. What better reason to get a houseplant as we head into cold season?

Be sure to stop by The Family Tree to browse our wide selection of houseplants, which are all on sale this week! Our associates are happy to help with recommendations and tips on how to care for every plant we offer!

Gardening with: Toe Ticklers

Have you ever seen a beautifully styled yard in a home or gardening magazine and wondered how they did it? The answer istoe tickler yard most likely toe ticklers! The plants affectionately known as toe ticklers are a group of creeping plants that can withstand foot traffic and still look good. Any of these plants look exceptional planted as groundcover, in between stepping stones, or along pathways and in containers.

Creeping Jenny – This vine is an all around winner; it will grow in both sun and shade and is drought tolerant as well! Its golden yellow foliage gains an orange tinge in the fall, making everywhere it grows glow with autumnal color.

Blue Star Creeper – Evergreen in warm climates, this toe tickler is almost completely covered in beautiful blue blooms in the spring! It makes for a stunning view when used between stepping stones in a pathway!

blue star creeperElfin Thyme – You might use thyme in your recipes, why not in your garden? This evergreen thyme is covered in lavender flowers in summer and produces a lovely aroma when stepped on.

Mazus – This vigorous grower is the perfect choice for between pavers or to cover a large bare patch in your yard! Once planted, it fills out quickly into a dense carpet and will soon be producing blue or white flowers.

The Family Tree carries a variety of these lovely little plants; stop by today to choose the best one for your garden. Our friendly associates are always happy to answer any questions you might have about our selection!

Gardening with: Succulents

Have you ever wished that you didn’t have to water your plants so often in this heat?  For a welcome change, why not try succulents? These plants are similar to the cactus and store water in their thick, fleshy leaves. Because they thrive in hot, dry climates, succulents only need to be watered on occasion! In addition to their water retaining properties, succulents also come in a variety of interesting shapes and colors. It’s so easy to incorporate succulents into your garden; here are a few of the varieties that The Family Tree carries!

Sedum – Also known as Stonecrop, this low growing, spreading succulent is perfect for planting insedum container gardens or among rocks as a groundcover. Sedum is an easy plant to grow and only needs good drainage and sunshine to thrive. Its colorful flowers will brighten up any garden!

hen and chicksHens and Chicks – This little succulent gets its name from the way it spreads: the original ‘hen’ plant is surrounded by new growth, or ‘chicks.’ While the shape of the plant will always resemble an artichoke, the leaves can come in a wide variety of shapes and colors!aloe

Aloe – Probably the best known succulent, aloe is prized for the soothing sap in its leaves. While you
can plant it outside (and bring it in in the winter), aloe makes an excellent potted plant in the kitchen, where it is easily accessible when minor burns occur! Just pinch off a leaf and use the “jelly” inside on cuts and burns for instant relief.

echeveriaEcheveria –  Echeveria can be found in a rainbow of colors, ranging from pale green to deep purple. Its rosette formation will make it stand out whether it’s planted in a garden bed or a container!

Be sure to stop by The Family Tree to browse our selection of succulents; we love helping people choose the perfect shape and color for their gardens!

Rose Varieties 101

Is a rose by any other name still as sweet? There are over 200 different varieties of roses out there, which can make it a bit overwhelming to decide what to plant.  To top it off, you’ve probably heard that roses are hard to deal with.  Not so! With a few tips from our summer rose care blog, you can be a master rose gardener in no time! But first, take a look at the different classifications of roses here.  We have broken it down here to make it easier to search for the perfect rose for your garden.

floribunda

Floribunda –Known as the rose bush that offers a bouquet on every branch, Floribundas are hardy growers that range in size from 1-8 ft tall! Flowers bloom in clusters offering a beautiful show in your garden.  They tend to have ridged stems and grow smaller and bushier than Hybrid Teas. Their disease-resistant foliage makes these roses easy to maintain all year long!hybrid tea

Hybrid Tea – This variety is the rose most commonly used by florists because of its beautifully shaped buds and blooms. Large single flowers sit atop long straight stems making them perfect for cutting for floral arrangements. This bush grows tall and upright and does require careful pruning in the spring to ensure that its branches are strong.  There are well over 100 varieties of Hybrid Tea roses!

grandifloraGrandiflora – By combining the best traits of the Floribunda and Hybrid Tea varieties Grandiflora makes a wonderful garden rose.  They have the same elegant blooms born on long stems as Hybrid Teas but they bloom in the clustered formation of Floribundas. Grandifloras can grow up to 7 ft, making them perfect for hedges or background florals!

knockoutKnockout – Super bloomer, super low maintenance.  When Knockout roses came on the market, they revolutionized the rose industry.  Stunning reds, pinks, and yellow varieties bloom profusely from late spring into fall.  Knockouts are drought-tolerant and disease resistant, which makes them an excellent choice for all gardens!  Prune in early spring – go ahead, they don’t mind being cut back to 2-3 feet tall. During the flowering season, you can deadhead due to unsightly spent blooms, but you don’t have to with this hardy rose.

driftDrift – This low-growing variety was bred specifically to fit into smaller spaces in the landscape.  Perfect for rock gardens, draping over walls, and as a border.  They also are great for container gardens, as well as smaller planting areas.  Drift roses bloom throughout the summer and into fall. They are tough, disease-resistant, winter hardy and virtually maintenance-free. When in bloom, the bush can be completely covered with clusters of beautiful flowers!

lady banksLady Banks – Did you know that the largest rose in the world is a 100 year old Lady Banks in Tombstone, AZ? This climber blooms with miniature roses in the spring. You can find them in yellow or white.  Lady Banks is a quick grower so make sure you have a large area for it to grow.  It trellises well and looks great along fences. It takes pruning well so don’t be afraid to cut it back if its branches grow too long.

The Family Tree carries Knockout and Drift Roses most of the year.  We get our new shipment of roses each year in early February.  Our roses come bare root and we pot them up ourselves, prune them as needed, and give them an initial dose of fertilizer so that they’re ready for planting. For the best selection, shop for your special roses from March to May.

Summer Rose Care

There’s nothing lovelier than a rose bush in full bloom! However, roses do require some care to keep them healthy and happy, particularly during the hot summer months. Here are some tips to help you grow prize-winning roses all summer long!

Watering/Mulching – To prevent browning and leaf loss, make sure you’re rose 1watering your roses frequently. The best time for watering is in the morning so that the water has time to soak into the ground without evaporating in the sun and heat. The best way to water is by giving the roses a good, deep soaking; deep watering encourages a strong root system.  It’s a good idea to mulch around the base of your plant.  Mulching is a great way not only to prevent evaporation, but also to protect roots from the hot summer sun.  Pine straw and pine bark are effective and offer a finished look to your design.  Apply at least a 3 inch layer around your plants.

Pests – Unfortunately, roses can fall victim to mites and other insects during the summer. However, it is easy to take care of this problem if you are on the lookout for it.  Checking the leaves on your roses is the best way to discover any problems, particularly if you do it every day. One of the easiest ways to get rid of pests is by hosing down your roses once a week to dislodge any bugs; pay special attention to the underside of the leaves where mites like to hide! A longer lasting solution to pests is Bonide Rose Shield™.  This systemic pest protection is absorbed by the plant and then kills pests when they ingest it. This useful spray also protects against disease and only needs to be applied once a month!

Frose 2ertilizing – Roses are ravenous, so it’s important to feed them on a regular basis to keep them blooming their best. Espoma Rose Tone is an excellent organic fertilizer and can be applied every few weeks to encourage growth. This organic rose food is preferred by professional gardeners because of the prize-winning roses produced as a result of its long lasting nutrition! In addition to monthly fertilizer, you can also add compost or soil amendment at the beginning of the season.

Blooming/pruning – While your roses are still blooming, you might have notices that the flowers are smaller than in the spring. This is because the summer heat causes the plant to grow faster, usually with fewer petals. Try not to cut all the flowers at once.  Choose stem cuttings randomly to encourage more growth.  When your blooms are spent, be sure to deadhead promptly to encourage your roses to channel their energy into another bloom cycle.  You can prune your roses after it is finished blooming, but the best time is early spring.  Take out any weak branches and inside branches to promote air circulation. Prune off any spent flowers.

Drop by The Family Tree to browse our selection of rose fertilizers and insecticides; we have everything you’ll need for beautifully blooming roses all summer long! We also have associates who are passionate about gardening and are always happy to answer any questions you might have!