Fall Leaves Are Turning-Keep A Journal

In one of my classes at UGA, we had to keep a fall leaf journal. It was a big grade at the end of the semester but I have to admit, it might have taken the back burner. Why would I care about when and what color the leaves turned other than WHY they turned for a test question? (Oh, that would be because as the weather gets cooler, production of chlorophyll (which is the key component in a plants ability to turn sunlight into the glucose that feeds the trees) is slowed so that the true colors of the leaves are visible.
• Orange leaves contain Beta-Carotene img04
• Red leaves have Anthocyanins img05
• Yellow leaves have Flavonol – cool, huh?!) img06
At the time I was more concerned with chemistry, plant physiology, football, and bonfires with friends. But I did pay some attention and in the end it did create an appreciation for fall color. I love anticipating the fire of Maple leaves, the burgundy clouds of the dogwoods, and of course the electric yellow of the Ginko.

fall-color-easternredbud-02According to the Farmer’s Almanac for this year, it looks like the best leaf watching for our area will be October 21-November 7. Take a look outside or go for a drive, you will see the Maples and Dogwoods are already starting to turn. It’s actually fun to keep a journal of the leaf changes. Each variety has its own personality concerning color, time of change, and how they drop their leaves. If you don’t know what the tree is that you are looking at, take pictures and ask us! We’re glad to help with this adventure!

Falling leaves So leaves falling in your yard can be a bit annoying but there is a bit of science behind it. Trees are smarter than you think. In order to cope with the winter temperatures that could damage the leaves and possibly kill the tree, trees slowly close off the veins that carry water and nutrients to and from the leaves protecting the limbs and body of the tree. Once the veins are closed off and new cells between the stem and leaf are created, water and nutrients no longer flow to and from the leaf – this enables the leaf to die and weaken at the stem, eventually falling gracefully to the ground.

Concerning the carpet of leaves in your yard and the bother of raking them up; Consider adding them to your beds, woods, or compost piles. When leaves fall to the ground, they begin to break down and eventually create a rich humus. Humus is nutrient rich and acts as a continual source of nutrition and water for trees and plants, helping to promote life and plant health in the next spring season.

Earth Day! April 22

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!

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!

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

 

 

DRAMA!
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.) 

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

Asparagus:
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
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.

Strawberries:
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).
 

Did You Know It’s Time To Put Up Bluebird Houses?

Bluebird season in Georgia is right around the corner! Attracting bluebirds to your garden during the spring can make for excellent relaxation and sight-seeing. Now is the time to get your bluebird houses set up (or cleaned out from last season). In order to get these blue beauties to hang around your lawn once Spring rolls around, here are a few important tips and tricks to keep mind.

Put the bird boxes up by March 1 so they will be ready when the birds arrive to search for a place to set up house. Place bluebird houses 5’ to 8’ above the ground attached to a tree or fencepost. They prefer open areas with low groundcover or well-trimmed grass in order for them to easily hunt insects.

  • Bluebirds love meal worms, and probably love acquiring them easily even more! Offering them a place to feed on meal worms is an excellent trick to bring them to your garden space.

Georgia is home to some great native plants that will attract Bluebirds during colder weather. Since bluebirds rarely eat bird seed, add berries and fruits to your yard that will likely attract them. Elaeagnus, Cotoneaster, Serviceberry, Beautyberry, Ivy, Hollies, Pyracantha are great for early spring feeding.

  • Predators such as House Sparrows, snakes, mice and others need to be considered when placing your bluebird house. These predators will reek havoc on your bluebirds!  Predator guards on poles or at entrance holes are strongly recommended. Click here for more information of why your bluebirds have left the house. http://www.sialis.org/predatorid.htm 
  • Bird baths are a great addition to any lawn, as they attract many kinds of birds. Bluebirds included! However, bluebirds favor moving water. Adding a moving water feature such a small fountain can do wonders for enticing bluebirds.
  • The last important tip to remember is about maintenance of your bluebird house. Bluebirds are not typically known to clean out old nests, moving on from “occupied” nesting areas. The best time to clean out the nest if from October to December (Just make sure it is not in use!). Periodically clean the old nesting material out of your bluebird box to assure the bluebird vacancy.

 

  • Stop by The Family Tree Garden Center for all your birding needs. We carry Coles, Audubon, Friends Of Flight, Droll Yankee, and handmade feeders, houses, and feed.

Christmas Trees

perfect-treeFraser Firs:  Our Fraser Fir Christmas trees are hand selected in North Carolina and shipped to us directly from the farm.  With over 2000 trees to choose from in our covered tree forest, you can see your perfect tree from all sides by using our unique hanging system.  We give your tree a fresh cut and secure it to your car or truck before you take it home.  Our trees are watered EVERY DAY so they will stay fresher longer.

Silver Tip Designer Trees:  These trees are grown wild and sustainably harvested from the mountains of California.  Eachsilvertip tree is unique, none look alike because they are not grown from clones.  These rare Silver Tips have a unique “open” look, silver tipped foliage, and are sought after by interior designers.  Very few Silver Tips are available due to the unique harvesting method.

Flocked Fraser Firs:  To flock a tree we start by giving a Fraser Fir a clean cut and securing it to a wooden untitled-1tree stand.  Our expert then takes the tree and sprays it completely with a wood pulp/glue mixture that we call flocking.  This is an intense process that takes experience.  Our flocking material is non-toxic and flame resistant.  Flocked trees do not need to be watered! A big plus!  To take a flocked tree home, we will wrap your tree in plastic and secure it to your car or truck.  These trees need very little care and will look beautiful for the entire season!

Ice Kissed Flocked Trees:  The Family Tree Exclusive!  While these trees are being flocked, we sprinkle them with non-toxic translucent crystals that create sparkles and twinkles! These trees are festive and have added texture and color.

20151129_121909-1Caring for the Tree (Unflocked)

  • The Family Tree Garden Center will give your tree a fresh cut before you take it home.  This is very important to open up the pores so that it can absorb water.  Place your tree in a bucket of water immediately when you get home.  Even if you are not setting it up in your home just yet.
  • Consider spraying your tree with WILT STOP™ before bringing it indoors.  WILT STOP™ is a non-toxic tree resin that helps your tree from drying out and losing its needles.  It can extend the enjoyment of your tree for quite a while.  (Spray before you bring your tree inside!)
  • Watering is critical. A freshly-cut tree can consume a gallon of water in 24 hours!
  • When you bring your tree inside and set it up, fill the tree stand with water and keep it filled. (Using a Santa’s Water Wand can make watering easier.)
  • Never let the water level go below the tree’s base.
  • Indoors, keep the tree away from heating ducts or other heat sources. In fact, the lower the temperature, the better the tree will do.
  • We recommend adding Prolong™ to your water to help your tree stay fresher longer.

Plant Your Love and Let It Grow

At The Family Tree Garden Center, we are committed to offering expert advice and quality to everyone from novice plant lovers to master gardeners. We are proud to offer events and seminars that will teach, entertain and inform our customers. So no matter whether you are that novice plant lover or the master gardener, we invite you to participate in our upcoming February events.

valentine kit 2

You can make this for $10.99! (gnome not included)

Create A Valentine Memory
Saturday, February 14, 2015 at 10am

Chocolates and fancy dinners will perish, but a live Valentine will go on (close to) forever!

For a memorable and long lasting Valentine, we’ll show you how to create a special gift for your loved ones. Upon conclusion of the demonstration, you can choose from an assortment of colorful containers, fresh houseplants, and accessories at exclusive seminar pricing and create your living gift with our tools, soils, and expert help.

Our experts will help you create your one of a kind Valentine. We’ll even add complimentary soil! All ages are welcome.

Soil Testing & Healthy Soils
What Are Soil Amendments and What Do They Do?
Saturday, February 21, 2015 at 10am

It all starts with the soil and that’s why we are bringing in soil expert Chip Utsey!

Chip Utsey is back to help you with your garden and lawn soil.  Be sure to bring in a sample of your soil by digging down about 2 inches into 5 different areas of your garden (same with your yard). Put the soil into one baggie for your yard and one baggie for your garden.  Chip will give you an instant analysis of your soil. Chip will also discuss the various amendments to Bag of Soilhelp make your soil healthy and productive.  This class is a must for flower & vegetable gardeners as well as everyone who wants the prettiest lawn on the block!

We hope you will join us for these February events at The Family Tree Garden Center in Snellville, GA. Have questions about our events? Give us a call at 770-972-2470.