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.


Ultimate Geranium Container Gardens

Geraniums offer a show from early spring to fall. They blend velvety foliage with large clusters of show-stopping blossoms that range in color from red, pink, rose, salmon, orange, purples, to white. Geraniums look great in flower beds but they perform even better in containers.

There are two main types of geranium – the common geranium has rounded, velvety, green leaves often contain a burgundy ring. They tend to stand upright and offer flowers on long stems. The ivy leaf geranium has glossy green, ivy-shaped leaves and tends to grow more like ivy rather than upright. Use the common geranium as a thriller or filler to add height to your container and the ivy leaf as a spiller to hang over the edges of your hanging baskets, window boxes, or the edge of a big planter.

Geraniums like well drained soil. Water thoroughly and let slightly dry between watering. Pick off spent flowers from the bottom of the stem. The same for leaves that turn yellow. It is perfectly normal for some leaves and flowers to need to be picked off but if many leaves turn yellow or brown, check your watering schedule for over or underwatering.

Geraniums are not crazy about high summer heat (unless you use Calliope® geraniums). They may quit flowering during the super hot weather but they will start up again when the weather cools lasting well into fall!

Now for the fun part! Pairing your geraniums in your containers.  Here are just a few examples but there are so many plants to use! Creeping Jenny, Ivy, and Sweet Potato Vine make wonderful spillers, pairing well with geraniums.  Bacopa, Lantana, Vinca, and Verbena look beautiful as fillers to create a full colorful look.  Use spiky Dracaena & Cordeline for tall texture and Salvia and Angelonia for tall color.  Dusty Miller with it’s silvery leaves adds even more color!

Bring your container by or choose one from our wide assortment. We’ll help you create the container garden of your dreams!

Soft pink offers a cool, refreshing feel and is perfect for a lush geranium head.
It’s a perfect partner for purple and chartreuse.
This white container helps the colors pop.

A: Pink Geranium  — 2
B: Asparagus fern — 1
C: Purple Calibrachoa  — 2
D: Pineapple sage  — 3



Keep It Simple!
Sometimes simple, straightforward combinations give the biggest impact. Here blue and red offer a stunning presentation. Red Calliope Geraniums offer the stunning flower heads with the Blue Daze soft leaves and bright blue blooms fill in this deep blue container beautifully.

A. Red Geranium — 1
B. Blue Daze—  5



Geraniums, spikes, and vinca is a tried-and-true combination that has worked for thousands of gardeners. Add on to the theme with extra textures for bigger impact! 

A: Hot Pink Geranium  — 1
B: Verbena  — 1
C: White Bacopa  — 2
D: Ivy, Vinca, or Creeping Jenny  — 1
F: Dracaena Spike — 1

Spring Kick Off Sale

Garden Sale in Lawrenceville, GALet’s kick off spring with a 20% off sale**! Join us Friday, March 24, 2017, we’ll have a greenhouse overflowing with annuals, perennials, trees, and shrubs.  You’ll get the best selection by shopping early for spring.   We’ll have more great specials throughout the store.

It gets even better! Get a FREE bare root dogwood with your purchase! While supplies last, we want everyone to have one of these beautiful southern favorites.

** (20% off excludes seed, sod, soils, straw, sale items, services and previous purchases.  Cannot be combined with any other sale, coupon, discount or promotion.) 

Great New Plant Varieties Have Arrived!

We just received some stunning plants that you won’t find anywhere else!  These are new varieties of some tried and true plants, but with a lot more fun and drama. Check out the selection below.

Araucaroides Japanese Cedar
6 feet tall 6 feet wide
A great irregular conical tree form specimen tree that has very long, spreading, drooping and snake-like branchlets,   It’s a slow grower and will reach full size in about 15 years. Use as a focal point in a sunny or part sunny location.
Narihira Mahonia
3-4 feet tall x 3-4 feet wide
Great narrow fern like foliage. Yellow flower spikes in September followed by blue/black berries. Perfect for a shady location. 
Evergreen shrub that adds interesting
drama and texture to your shady areas.
Mrs Schiller’s Delight Viburnum
3 feet tall x 3-4 feet wide
The delicate white blooms with tiny leaves on this evergreen shrub is the perfect way to liven up your landscape all year long!
Excellent as a specimen or foundation plant. Can also look nice in a formal garden or landscape. Happy in difficult areas such as parking lots, road and power line rights-of-way and highway medians.

Moonlit Lace Viburnum

2-feet tall x 4-5 feet wide
Stays small and neat with glossy green leaves and burgundy stems.  Clusters of white flowers bloom in spring. Drought tolerant once established.  Deer resistant.
Use as a foundation shrub and mass plantings in a partial sun/shade situations.


  Golden Dragon Plum Yew
2-3 feet tall x 3-4 feet wide
A plum yew with yellow foliage!
Beautiful chartreuse upright spikes are a great way to brighten up shady
landscapes.  Use as a specimen,
or foundation shrub, or under
large trees.  Use in a mass planting or in a container garden. 
  Lemon Yellow Cypress
2-3 feet tall x 3 feet wide
Looking for a gold mop cypress that provides that lovely lemon color but doesn’t get too big, then look no
further! at just 3 feet tall this bright yellow thread like weeping branches can be used as a cool textured accent plant. 
Fragrant Princess Dwarf Tea Olive
1-2 feet tall x 1-2 feet wide
This has to be one of the most incredible new introductions of this species in recent memory.
This tea olive that dwarf in size with tiny leaves but has the same size flowers and scent as the taller ones! This great new evergreen shrub is wonderful as a foundation and border plant. Use it in containers for it’s tiny evergreen foliage and sweet fragrance.

These fresh new arrivals will be a highlight in your yard.  Ask one of our associates how to incorporate them in your landscape or call today to set up a 20 minute FREE Quick Sketch with our in-house landscape designer.  Click here for more information on our Quick Sketch service.

And don’t forget – we will plant them for you! Your time is precious so let us do the work for you for an affordable fee.  We include FREE delivery with our planting service.  Click here for Planting Service Info.

Pretty Peonies!

Flowers in Georgia Peonies are beloved plants all over the country, especially right here at our Garden Center in Snellville, GA, for their stunning, long blooming flowers. They come in beautiful shades ranging from whites to yellows, pinks to reds.  Many of today’s peonies have stronger stems, more profuse blooms, and lovely fragrances.  Getting peonies to grow in the south is not too difficult but getting them to bloom might be a little more tricky.

Four things are essential to succeed with peonies in Georgia:
 • Loose, well-draining soil.  Amend the soil with plenty of soil conditioner before planting.
 • Protection from afternoon sun in summer.
 • Chilly winters. Typically peonies need at least 3 weeks of 32 degree or cooler temperatures during the winter to bloom the following spring
Flowers in a Georgia Lawn • Plant in a spot that gets about six hours of morning sunshine but dappled shade/sun in afternoon. 

The cool thing about peonies, among others, is that they can live and bloom for over 25 years once they get established.  

Since peonies need to be cold in winter, we in the south may not have that many cold days, plant your roots shallowly, barely an inch deep in the soil. (For those looking for more information about other states – Looking for a Nursery in another state? Click Here) Make sure you have well-drained soil.  Add Nature’s Helper Soil Conditioner, Espoma Root-tone® Starter Plus, and even a little bit of perlite to your soil.  You can fertilize in fall with an organic fertilizer like Espoma Flower-tone® or in spring with bulb fertilizer.

Many peonies are fragrant such as Shirley Temple, Sarah Bernhardt and Karl Rosenfeld.

Peonies make wonder cut flowers!  Try these tips for creating show stopping arrangements:
• Select half opened blooms, they’ll last longer.
• Cut the flowers early in the morning.
• If the heads are heavy with dew, gently shake to remove water.
• Handfuls of peonies in a vase make a beautiful arrangement.
• Remove foliage below water line to prevent bacteria build up
• Keep flowers away from heat and direct light.


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Bio-tone® Starter Plus, Our Favorite Product!

We want your plants – all your plants – to have a great start! And we’re pretty sure you do too.  That’s why we recommend (yes, we might even hound you about it when you are at the store) that you add Espoma Organic Bio-tone® Starter Plus to every tree, shrub, annual, perennial, sod, and vegetable that you are planting.  Our landscapers add it to everything they plant and have had great success.

Bio-tone® Starter Plus is an organic, all-natural plant food that is combined with a stronger concentration of beneficial bacteria along with both endo and ecto mycorrhizae. The ideal starter plant food, originally designed for professionals. Bio-tone® Starter Plus will increase root mass and help avoid transplant loss in difficult planting conditions.

With Bio-tone® your plants will enjoy:  
     •  Microbe enhanced all natural plant starter food.
     •  Both Endo & Ecto Mycorrhizae attaching to it’s roots to absorb nutrients more efficiently.
     •  Grows larger root mass to help plants establish fast.
     •  Promotes bigger blooms.
     •  Reduces transplant loss.

After you dig your holes and add your amendments (Fafard Planting Mix, Mushroom Compost, and/or Nature’s Helper Soil Conditioner) to your existing soil, we suggest you add Bio-tone® into the soil that will be surrounding the roots.  Bio-tone® is most effective when it comes in direct contact with the roots so that it can attach it’s mycorrhizae to each root hair. It is not as effective as a topical fertilizer.

Flower Beds: Mix 4 lbs. (12 cups) per 100 square feet into the top 4” to 6” of soil.
Bulbs: Place 1 tsp. per bulb in the hole prior to planting.
Potting Mixes: Mix 9 lbs. per cu. yd. or 1 cup per cu. ft.
New Lawns: Apply 25 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft. prior to seeding or installing sod.


Bio-tone Starter Plus Application Table:

Plant Size Cups Lbs.
Up to Two Gallon 1 1/3
Five Gallon 2 2/3
Fifteen Gallon 4 1-1/3
24″ Ball 6 2
36″ Ball 24 8
48″ Ball 30 10


Just in case you need a little help planting your new plants, we have a wonderful service for you! We call it You Pick It, We’ll Plant It-click here for more information.  Just choose and purchase plants from our huge selection (we will help you, of course) and let us do the rest for an affordable fee! We will even deliver your plants for FREE with this service.


Growing Asparagus, Garlic, Potatoes, Strawberries

Planting asparagus is a commitment to gardening in that asparagus
is a perennial and should be placed near your garden in an area where it can grow and spread each year.
Asparagus grows best in sunny well-drained soil with minimal weeds.
You will not get edible asparagus the first year and possibly the second year so be patient.
Plant your asparagus 12-18 inches apart. Make sure to eliminate weeds before planting.
Dig a depression 6 to 8 inches deep running the length of the row, mounding the amended soil on each
side for later use. Set seedlings into lowest part of the depression, planting about 2 inches deeper than they
were originally growing. Space plants 12 to 18 inches apart.

Amend by tilling into your soil with mushroom compost, Nature’s Helper and Espoma Bio-tone.
As plants grow taller, rake a little of the soil on the edge of the row into the depression where plants
are growing. Soon the bed will be level. Mulch to prevent weeds.
Once asparagus plants are strong enough to be harvested, cut all new shoots in spring when they are about
8 inches tall, snapping them off at the soil line. Many seasoned gardeners use a knife to cut below the soil line,
but it is important to avoid cutting into emerging spears nearby. Also, the knife can spread any disease
from one plant to the next.

Remember, if the spear has begun opening and developing foliage, it will be too tough to eat.
To avoid this happening, plan to harvest at least every other day. Go ahead and pick all the spears each
time you harvest. Discard those that have grown too large.

Garlic is one of the more heralded vegetables in your garden. Plant garlic cloves in the early spring,
and you will harvest garlic bulbs in summer. Home grown, freshly harvested garlic bulbs are much
stronger than those found in stores. They can be cooked and eaten by themselves deliciously.

Garlic is simple and easy to grow. Anybody, make that everybody, can learn how to grow garlic.
Plant it in soil that has been amended with a good planting mix, mushroom compost and/or soil
conditioner, in a partly to mostly sunny location and it will thrive. And, best of all, it takes little space.
It can even be grown amidst your flower garden if you are short on space.

Potatoes – Plant on hills and keep covered:
The most common form of planting is in “hills”. Prepare and loosen the soil where you will make the hill.
Place two or three potato eyes on the ground. Cover or “hill” three to four inches of soil on top of the
seed. Water thoroughly. Space center of hills a foot apart.

Fertilize every two to four weeks. A good fertilizer for potatoes contain low levels of Nitrogen, and
high levels of phosphorus. 6-24-24, or 8-24-24, are good fertilizers for potatoes. Too high nitrogen
will develop lots of green leaves and not great potatoes.

**As the plants grow, mound additional soil around the plants every week or two. Do not let the
tubers or potatoes be exposed to sunlight. You can cover the soil around the plants with
compost, mulch or even black plastic.

Plant strawberries on slightly raised hills in your garden, in hanging baskets, and in strawberry pots.
Strawberries need at least 8 hours of full sun each day, and they prefer slightly acidic well drained soil.
Mix Espoma Bio-tone Starter Fertilizer into the soil before planting.
Be sure to set the plants so that their roots are well covered with soil
but the central growing bud, or crown,
is exposed to light and fresh air.
Note: If you bury the crown, the plant could easily rot.
Water them well upon planting. It is best to water at ground level if possible.
Strawberries appreciate mulch to hold in moisture and keep weeds down.
Just be careful not to cover the crown.

Fertilize with Espoma Plant-tone or another quality organic
fertilizer and water so that the plants don’t dry out (but DO NOT overwater).

Ground Covers Add A Polished Look To Your Landscape

Do you have the feeling that your yard is missing something? You’ve got all the beautiful shrubs, colorful annuals; but the beds are lacking that “full” look? You may be missing out on the wonderful world of groundcover! Groundcovers can turn your flower beds into a luscious garden. Here at the Family Tree, we have a variety of groundcovers that are guaranteed to fit your liking and your lawn. If you’ve never used groundcover before, or are simply looking for some more information on caring for them, here are some tips for planting your groundcover.

Also known as lilyturf or Monkey Grass, this perennial is a member for the lily family. The two main varieties are Big Blue (solid green leaves) and Variegated (green with white edges). It forms in clumps and can grow between 10-18 inches tall. During the summer, Liriope produces purple or white blooms. One of the best characteristics of Liriope is how easy to care for it is. It prefers to be partially shaded, but can grow in full sunlight during the cooler seasons. Establishment is key for Liriope, and fertile soil is needed for strong roots. The Family Tree recommends a wonderful root stimulator called Bio-Tone that will guarantee a great beginning for this ground cover in your lawn. Use a small scoop of Bio-Tone in each hole, spacing the plants about 12 inches apart. They will fill-in in just a few years, providing a full “tall grassslike” look. Once your Liriope is established, the only care needed is to mow it the first of March to about 3-4 inches tall. Fertilize once a year in March.

Mondo Grass and Dwarf Mondo Grass are an excellent alternative for shady areas where grass won’t grow. It will form a beautiful carpet and look grass-like. Once established, you can pretty much forget it. Mondo prefers shade but it will be fine with morning or evening sun. Plant about 10 inches apart, using Bio-Tone root stimulator in each hole to guarantee strong, spreading roots.

Asiatic Jasmine
Growing in thick mats up to around 10 inches high, Asiatic Jasmine or Asian Jasmine is perfect for the steeper sections of your lawn. This vining evergreen will eventually spread between 2 and 3 feet and produce tiny pink, white, or yellow flowers. Asiatic Jasmine is often planted under trees as it does well in partial shade, but can take some morning or evening sun. Spacing for this groundcover is a little wider than others; around 1 ½ feet. While it may look a bit too spacey, it will usually only take two growing seasons to fill up the empty space. You can speed this process up a bit more but using Bio-Tone root stimulator to quickly get the roots established and begin the spreading.

This bushy groundcover is another great plant to place under trees to give your garden a fuller look. Pachysandra also produces a fragrant white flower in the spring, adding to its appeal. Recommended spacing for this groundcover is between 6 and 12 inches. Pachysandra likes healthy soil to get its roots established, so a small scoop of Bio-Tone in each hole will surely do the trick. This groundcovers leaves can be easily sunburnt, so be sure to plant in a shady location.

This is not your average groundcover! Helleborus have beautiful bell shaped flowers that bloom from January to May. Old fashion Heleborus spread easily and have flowers that hang down under the leaves. New varieties are sterile so they do not spread, and have flowers that bloom above the leaves. They are deer resistant, making them a great groundcover to use in large areas under trees or along the edges of flower beds. While they are known for growing a bit slower than other groundcovers, a good stimulator can speed up the growing process when you plant. Space the plants about 10 inches apart, throw a bit of Bio-Tone in each hole, and your Hellebores groundcover will thrive in thick clumps.

Vinca Minor
Also known as Myrtle and Perennial Periwinkle, this groundcover grows best in shady to partially sunny areas. Vinca Minor is a creeping groundcover, forming a dense mat of a beautiful dark green once established. The variegated variety has green leaves with white outline. Recommended spacing for this groundcover is between 6 and 8 inches, allowing space to ground both out and up; Vinca Minor will reach up to 6 inches in height once it is fully mature.

One last good rule of thumb for most groundcovers is to keep the weeds out. Periodically clean out any weeds that may grow between your groundcovers in order to eliminate competition and allow your groundcover to grow faster and healthier.

For more information and expert advice, visit The Family Tree Garden Center!

By Lindsey Meade

15 Ways To Use Pansies

Pansies and Violas set the stage for a fresh bright spring season. Planting these perky winter/early spring favorites bring seas of color to your gardens and containers from fall to spring. With so many colors to choose, here are some easy ways to incorporate fresh color now before warm season annuals come available.

  1. Set the table Use the purple and yellow blooming pansies in green, glazed pots to create a living centerpiece on your patio table.  Or, simply plant one pansy in a tea cup for a simple elegant look.  
  2. Classic Containers Yellow faced pansies combined with solid yellows come together in an impressive arrangement that bring a classic look to any container.
  3. Stack for Texture Gather two galvanized buckets. Plant the smaller one with pansies and parsley. Tuck more pansies and Creeping Jenny or Ivy around the edges of the larger one, and stack.
  4. Window Charm Winter days have you feeling gloomy? Bring happiness inside with just a few snips. Plant fragrant pansies, snip some flowers and place in a jar on your windowsill.
  5. Thrillers, Fillers, Spillers A cone-shaped, evergreen arborvitae works perfectly as an attention-grabbing thriller. To brighten up the look of your container, fill up the pot with multi-colored pansies and have variegated English ivy spill over the sides for a dramatic visual.
  6. Classic Green & White Pair variegated American boxwood (‘Elegantissima’) with white pansies for a classic look. Variegated English ivy also serves as green and white accents.
  7. Herb Pairings Pair yellow and purple violas with a cool-season herb such as curly-leaved parsley for an easy-to-care-for display. Snip pansy flowers and herbs to brighten up your kitchen.
  8. Strawberry Jar Makeover Cool Wave pansies dress up a strawberry jar. Pair with yellow, white, and purple pansies and set jars on your porch or patio for waves of color.
  9. Balls of Blooms Create orbs of color with violas that love to bloom. Use sphagnum baskets and Cool Wave Pansies along the sides, then top the container with more pansies. Hang in a sunny location for more optimum splendor.
  10. Tuck In Color To dress up your entryway, tuck in a few pots along the steps and walkways with a simple color scheme to add whimsy and pop.
  11. Window Box Color When filling a show-stopping window box, don’t hesitate to use small evergreen shrubs or perennials, which last throughout the seasons. Euphorbia, Cyclamen also look striking in window boxes.
  12. Fairy Garden Fun Give your outdoor fairies something fun! Fairies love to play hide and seek in flower beds. Pansies are perfect for when warm season flowers are not available.
  13. Glowing Beds Bright yellow and stark white pansies add rich color that will make your pots and flowerbeds glow.
  14. Front Door Spectacular Spreading Cool Wave pansies provide color through fall, winter, and spring. You can add to the show in early spring by slipping in pots of forced tulips and some chartreuse foliage, like tiger ferns and heucheras.
  15. Perfectly Placed Pots A perfectly-placed container makes a big impact in your garden and yard. Try placing 3 sizes of containers for even more drama. Mix pansies with small evergreens, Creeping Jenny or Ivy, and Euphorbia.

One great tip for planting pansies, annuals, trees, shrubs, and perennials is to always use Espoma Bio Tone Starter Plus in your soil mix. We at The Family Tree are huge believers in this product for getting ALL your plants started on the right root!

January Garden Therapy

Your Yard Is Calling!

January has arrived and it brings with it a new year and the anticipation of spring gardens in a few short cardinalmonths! Here are some tips and suggestions for you to get your gardening off to a great start.

Feed the birds

January is bird month! Although there isn’t much snow in Georgia to prevent their finding food, birds will still appreciate it if you decide to put out birdseed to help them through the leaner winter months. The bonus is that they’ll get into the habit of hanging around your yard and stick around all year feasting on pesky insects and grub.

Protect Your Plants

With the unusual weather that Georgia can have, some plants may get confused and think that spring is right around the corner and begin to sprout. Because the warm weather is sure to be followed by more normal winter temperatures, you’ll need to protect those tender sprouts from frost with a thick layer of compost or mulch. If the temps drop below 25 degrees, consider frost cloth for your tender flowering shrubs.  (Never cover your plants with plastic.  It reduces air circulation and could cause damage.) Also, this sounds weird, but go ahead and water your plants thoroughly before a frost.  The water will, at worst, freeze around the roots keeping them at a constant temperature.

Prepping Soil

If the ground is workable, (in other words, isn’t frozen solid or too damp), now is a great time to turn over the soil in your garden plot. Exposure to the elements help to break down hard clumps of dirt, saving you valuable time when spring rolls around. In addition, turning over the soil reveals a multitude of insect eggs and other goodies for hungry birds!


Yes, you can plant trees and shrubs this time of year.  As long as they are container plants (not B&B) and the ground is not frozen.  Planting now has great benefits!  The roots have time to get established before the spring and summer, and we get lots of rain this time of year so you will water less.  Remember to mulch them well and cover them if it does get super cold.

For monthly gardening chores click here

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 , TwitterGoogle+!