How to Cure Cabin Fever in the Southern Garden

Do you ever get a case of Cabin FBloom n gardens daffodilever? Being from Maine, I heard that term every winter. Of course, winter there can be really brutal and……………LONGGGGGG!  I cannot say that I miss those winters much. Sure, I love to see snow every now and again, but being cooped up in the house all the time can wear on you a bit.  One of the great things about Georgia is the fact that we do see a variety of seasons, but they definitely are mild compared to our neighbors to the north.  We are lucky that we don’t typically have weather events that relegate us to the interiors of our homes for days on end very often, but alas that was not the case this year. Here comes SNOWPOCOLYPSE 2014 ROUND I AND II, whew!  Is it possible to suffer from Cabin Fever after just a few days? Well I say, of course! And my recommended method of treatment is to go outside, now that it is beginning to warm, and explore all the plants that begin to pop out just as the thermometer climbs out of winter.   [Read more…]

LISTEN! to what your garden has to say

Bloom n gardens sound in the gardenDaffodils and cherries are starting to bloom, peepers are singing, and soon lightning bugs will be floating on the breeze.  The warm rays of the sun, the colors and scents of flowers, and the taste of fresh berries readily come to mind when we think of gardens in spring and summer, but what about sound?  When it comes to the landscape, the sense of hearing is usually ignored, unless, of course, there is noise to buffer.  But what about using sound to enhance your outdoor space, instead of just block out the drone of traffic? [Read more…]

Don’t Pull Your Hair Out Over Weed Issues!

bloomngardenslandscape Yard Cleanup Before and AfterDo you gaze out your window each summer and just want to pull your hair out there are so many weeds?  Why does your neighbor’s yard look so weed free, when you never see him out there pulling and pulling and pulling.  Stop suffering from yard envy and do what the pro’s do. Put out PRE EMERGENT HERBICIDES (Pre-M).  What exactly is this wonder of a substance? Pre-M is a class of chemicals that you spread/spray in the spring and fall that prevents germinating seeds from growing.  Mind you this means just about all seeds, including those that you actually wanted to germinate (more about that later).  They work by forming a chemical barrier in the top 1” of soil where most seeds lay in wait until optimal growing conditions rise allowing them to pop open and begin to grow.  They don’t prevent the seeds themselves from germinating, but interrupt the process before a sprout has the opportunity to push through the soil.

Are you ready to jump on board the PRE-M train?

Well, first off, timing is critical for Pre-M to be effective. As the chemical barrier begins to break down after six to eight weeks, you do not want to apply it too early, else you lose effectiveness.   But applying it too late can mean you missed out as well. Tricky, Tricky, Tricky, I know, but you need to actually read the weather cues to hit the mark. Additionally, if you plan to plant any new plants from seed (i.e. seeding a Fescue Lawn or direct sowing perennials), you must skip the PRE-M step and deal with pesky weeds after the new plants are established. Oh and by the way, as with any chemical, make sure you follow the label instructions when handling and applying the product.

Why do I still have weeds?

So, you put out your PRE-M, but you still have weeds showing up, what gives? Well several factors could affect the application. The first obvious cause for failure is that your weeds did not germinate from seeds but were perennial weeds that rose from existing root stock. Pre-m only works on seeds. If this was not the case, did you put your PRE-M out too early, or too late? Maybe you never watered it in. The easiest way is to apply it right before a rainstorm or you can use your irrigation system to water the area down. One other cause might be that the soil layer was disturb somehow breaking down that chemical barrier. Lastly, I hope you weren’t trying to save a few pennies and did not put it out at the appropriate rate listed. READ THE PRODUCT LABEL.  

In all, one chemical is not foolproof, but with good attention to detail, you can greatly reduce your weed population and get the landscape that you love.

Location, Location, Location……….

Perennial Bed_FotorBelieve it or not, we will be changing pansies for petunias very soon!  Annual color is a great accent, but the twice a year change-out can get old.  Perennials can be a great solution, but they can be higher maintenance.  Now, I know you are scratching your head, saying “But perennials are LOW maintenance!”  And you would be right.  Most commonly available perennials are tough, drought tolerant, long blooming, and don’t require a lot of fuss to thrive.  BUT in the wrong spot, perennials might require a lot of care.  How is this possible?  Well, you have to understand the qualities of perennials vs annuals. 

Annual/Perennial…What’s the DIfference

Annual plants put most of their energy into blooms.  They have to set as much seed as possible all through the season so that the species can continue.  Annual varieties are bred for more abundant and more rapid bloom cycles than they would have if left to the hand of Mother Nature, and cultivars that have larger flowers and that easily shed old blooms make a constant show of uniform color.  Perennials, on the other hand, have to live through multiple seasons.  They have to put some of the energy they “earn” from the sun into a “savings account” to get them through the winter, which means that their bloom cycles are more distinct.  Regardless of how healthy or well located the plant, there WILL be times when perennials look messy or tired.  Which brings us to maintenance.

How to Use Perennials Effectively

In general, for an area that is seen up close all the time, perennials need to be frequently groomed to keep them looking their best.  Otherwise, they are less “lush English garden” and more “weed patch”.  (By the way, those lush English gardens usually had a full time staff!)  BUT, if you need color on the far side of a wide lawn, or somewhere that will be typically seen from a moving car, you can use the “plant and forget” method.  Garden phlox and coreopsis are ideal for this type of situation.   Like real estate values, perennial maintenance requirements are about 3 things: location, location, location!

Don’t Get Convicted of…….CRAPE MURDER

As early as mid December, I began seeing crimes committed all over the area, terrible, heinous crimes of the landscape.  What is sad to say is that most people do not even realize they have committed CRAPE MURDER; they are simply following the lead of their neighbor’s neighbor. Unfortunately, for those folks, I feel my advice may be a bit mute for this year, but if you have not pruned your crape myrtles yet, please heed my warning and instructions. 

First and foremost, you must prune your crape myrtles during the right time of year.  If you prune them later in the year, say November or December, you run the risk of having them try to produce new growth, if we get a warming trend in January, that new growth will freeze when temperatures cool again and this will be very stressful for your plant.  In actuality, pruning tells a plant it is time to grow, so hold off until later in January and February.  The next important factor to consider is to use good, sharp tools that will make clean cuts.  It is most healthful for a plant if cuts are clean and free of jagged edges or tears otherwise you are opening up the plant to potential invasion from unwanted pests and disease. 

Bloom N Gardens Crape Myrtle-001When you begin your pruning, first start by removing any dead, diseased or crossed branches, this is also a good time to remove any suckers from the base.  Next, begin thinning the canopy, a general rule of thumb is to remove twigs that are less than a pencil width.   With that done, as you examine your tree, you will typically see two lateral branches emerge close to where you cut the previous year.  You will want to head back these branches to within 6” of last year’s growth; this will prevent the “knuckle” look that can be so unattractive and unhealthy for the plant

One of the biggest excuses many people have for pruning their crape myrtles incorrectly is that they do not want their crape myrtle to be too big.  This problem is best solved by removing the tree and choosing one that is better suited to the confined space. There are many varieties of crape myrtle that grow from shrub sized to giant sized and all sizes in between.  Choose wisely from the beginning and you will be happier in the long run. Additionally, there is a fallacy that drastically pruning a crape myrtle will make them bloom more.  In reality, a correctly pruned crape myrtle will produce twice the number of branches, and therefore, twice the number of blooms than the previous year.  Additionally, the branches will be stronger and better able to withstand the weight of the heavy bloom. 

If you have a crape myrtle that has been incorrectly pruned for many years, there are ways to improve the overall health and look of the plant by reconstructive pruning, a process that you may want to bring in a professional to provide. Good luck and happy pruning.

Every (Snow) Cloud Has a Silver Lining…..

bloomngardenslandscape snow framingThe Great Snowtastrophe certainly caused a lot of headaches and woe, but believe it or not, all that white stuff can be a boon to the landscape.  Besides insulating from extreme temperatures and soaking moisture into the soil to prep for spring, it is a great design tool! What the heck does a snowfall have to do with landscape design, you ask?  Well, it covers up potentially distracting details and creates a perfect opportunity to look at the big picture in your outdoor space. 

A white blanket of snow allows you to clearly see the lines of the landscape, areas of dramatically different texture, and masses of trees and shrubbery that frame views.  Next snowfall (IN FIVE YEARS!!!!!), suit yourself up till you can’t lower your arms, put on your cleats, go out into your yard and look around. 

Look at areas you see every day, paying special attention to entrances and exits.  Without traffic, you can safely walk in the road and see what visitors see as they arrive at your house!  Look for the landscape lines.  What do they point to?  Look for masses of vegetation at the edges of open areas.  What’s the picture in that frame?  If there is not anything to interest or excite you, go inside, make yourself some cocoa, and get settled in with books, magazines, or the good old internet! 

 Now how’s that for a silver lining to the snow clouds?

How to Effectively Transplant an Existing Shrub with the Greatest Success

Tree Installation Have you ever experienced that “Oh dear” moment when you realized that a plant has been planted in the wrong place and is now beginning to take over.  Perhaps it is a Japanese maple planted along the front walk, or a Camellia Japonica planted too close to the foundation.  The best way to avoid these mistakes is to put careful planning into selecting the proper plant for the spot in the first place, but hey hindsight is 20/20, right. So what can you do about it now?

Transplanting shrubs in the landscape

Many shrubs and small trees respond reasonably well to transplanting. How quickly you can transplant after you have made the decision depends a few factors.

1.      How important is it for your transplant to be successful?

2.      How soon do you need to transplant?

3.      What type of plant do you want to transplant?

Ideally, you want to root prune your shrub at least 6 months in advance to ensure the most successful transplant.  Root pruning reduces the overall size of your shrubs root ball. You see, the workhorses of the root system are the feeder roots found at the outer perimeter of a plants root ball. By cutting down the size of the root ball, in advance of transplanting, you allow the plant to produce new feeder roots giving your plant a better chance of survival after transplanting. So how do you prune the roots if they are underground? Since the majority of a plants root system is 6”-24” below the soil surface you can simply take a sharp spade and cut a ring around the plant that is slightly smaller than the root ball you want to transplant.  If you want to transplant a larger specimen, you may want to actually dig a trench around the plant and backfill it with fresh soil. 

Transplanting Day, Hurray!

So you have done everything right and it is now time to perform the actual transplant. The most important thing is to first dig the new hole where you will be transplanting your shrub to.  This will minimize the amount of time your root ball is exposed to the outside air.  Next carefully, dig around your plant releasing the root ball from the soil and wrap it in natural burlap to hold the root system together.  Use either twine or pins to lash the burlap tightly around the root ball. Always use a wheelbarrow or cart to move the plant from one location to the other so as to protect the root ball from cracking and breaking. Plant the root ball slightly higher than in the previous hole, back fill, mulch and water immediately.  Pay close attention to watering especially during the first growing season following transplant. 

Remember root balls can be very heavy, let the expert staff at Bloom’n Gardens Landscape assist you with any plants that may need to find a new home in your landscape.

Mark the Years With Changes to Your Landscape

From Drab to Fab

From Drab to Fab

As this month comes to a close, we realize soon January 2014 will be a thing of the past. WOW where did the time go; seems to have flown right out the window. No matter, I always thought that January was a funny month anyway. Why, Oh I don’t know, somehow it makes us reflect on what went right and what went wrong in the past and in the end it makes us want to institute changes in our lives (are we really ready?). As we move on from year to year, many things happen, first and foremost we get older, tiny lines and wrinkles begin to appear, we might get a little thicker around the waist, a grey hair becomes two, three….. Many of these things we would like to forget or at least ignore but in the end it really does no good they keep happening.

What is your landscapes current state?

It is important to remember that our landscapes change as well. Changing with the season is nothing new, but I am talking about BIG change. Areas that were once very sunny are now shading as trees get bigger. The opposite can happen if a large tree needs to be removed due to disease. Plants that may have once looked great may have outgrown their space. Grass that was once green and lush may now look thin and bare. Good news, many of these problems are easily solved with a little redirection and redesign. The solution may be a simple fix like changing out some shrubs or now might be the time to install a patio that has been on the “to do” list for quite some time eliminating a problem area all together. Either way can really invigorate a tired landscape.

Freshen up your landscape in Winter

Winter can be an exciting time of year because it gives you the opportunity to look at the “bare bones” of your outdoor space in order to solve these ever present issues. Taking the time to address the basic structure in your yard is important in how it will look, and function, come spring and summer. Ignoring the tell tale signs of a dull landscape could force you to remain on the inside looking out for yet another year.

Need help rediscovering the beauty in your landscape. Call Bloom’n Gardens Landscape, our Registered Architect can help you take your landscape from Drab to Fab this winter.



Raise the IQ of your landscape’s water source during Smart Irrigation Month

Usually during the summers in Georgia landscapers, homeowners, and business owners are worried about drought; this regularly brings up the topic of irrigation and watering techniques, and which techniques or tricks you can apply to your garden space. As this year has been filled with enough rain to welcome an ark, irrigation is probably one of the furthest things from your mind, but a great landscaper knows that irrigation doesn’t just help in times of drought, but also when the rain doesn’t seem to stop.

july is smart irrigation month

July is Smart Irrigation Month

This month is National Smart Irrigation Month, a particular time in which we can all trade tricks for better irrigation, share tips, and apply these techniques to our landscapes. Proper irrigation helps your gardens, flower beds, vegetable patches, and lawns get the water they need while helping to curb the negative side effects of over-watering. By making use of the most efficient watering techniques for your landscaping, you save money, water, and even can produce a stronger and healthier yield on your blooms and bounty.

sprinkler system

Landscapes from Buckhead to Serenbe can benefit from smart irrigation techniques.

Raise your landscape’s Irrigation IQ

Ready to make your landscape irrigation smarter? There are a few tricks of the trade to help. Some of these you could do yourself, but Bloom’n Gardens is here to help should you wish to have a Georgia landscape professional on-hand:

  • Install Sensors on your irrigation system: If you’re just using a timer on your irrigation system, you’re missing out on the newer technology available. Now, irrigation systems can come with weather sensors and moisture sensors to help them regulate how much water your landscape needs. These systems take into account the amount of rain you’ve had, weather forecasts for the future, and can even measure the moisture levels in the soil so that  your beds are only getting water when they need it.
  • Consider different forms of irrigation systems: Pop up, sprinkling irrigation systems are effective, but they’re not the most efficient irrigation systems in Georgia. Check out drip irrigation systems. These systems water a more targeted area, but do so through dripping water rather than spraying it, keeping more of it on your plants and less of it in the wind on a breezy day.
  • Plant smart. Smart irrigation isn’t just about the system itself, but also the garden and landscape being watered. Group plants with similar moisture needs together and adjust settings or watering habits to suit their needs.

How do you help conserve water and raise your irrigation IQ? Tell us your tricks of the trade in a comment.

Images via Smart Irrigation Month and Flickr CC


There’s a fungus among us: Landscaping issues of the Georgia rainy season

rainy forecast for Georgia

Rain has been the constant forecast for Georgia throughout the month of June.

Georgia residents and homeowners are used to a rainy season in late April and humid, dry summers. This year, the weather has chosen to be a bit more surprising, with rain having a constant hold on the forecast. While rain has it’s place in your garden and landscape, too much of a good thing can cause problems. Do you know how to deal with the various issues from an over-watered lawn?

Over watering problem 1: Root rot

Root rot is a very real risk for your plants and your trees during the Georgia rainy season and throughout heavy periods of rain. Roots are essential for plants to “breathe;” when over-watered or dealing with too much rain, the roots can start to drown, and end up rotting. Watch for signs of moist soil to help keep your plants and trees from experiencing root rot; the sudden appearance of mushrooms is a great indicator of over-saturated soil. Help plants dry out by moving potted plants to a dry place. For trees and planted varieties, the best bet is prevention. Carefully choose your plants’ locations throughout your yard; fertilize them to keep them as healthy as possible so that they’re more capable of fending off root rot should the rain continue to pour down.

Over watering problem 2: Brown Patch and Zoysia Patch

If you’ve noticed large places of brown, sad looking grass in your lawn, your lawn may be the victim of “Brown Patch.” Brown Patch is a lawn disease that attacks fescue lawns and other cold-weather lawns in the summer. The humidity and heat that comes with a rainy Georgia summer perfectly primes your lawn to grow the fungus Rhizoctonia, the cause of Brown Patch. Warm-weather lawns can also experience a similar disease this time of year called Zoysia Patch.

While there is no cure for these lawn diseases, your lawn can be treated chemically to help stop or slow the development of  Brown Patch or Zoysia Patch.

rainy lawn through a window

With a little bit of prevention, you can help keep your lawn from suffering from the constant downpour.

Other landscape issues to look for after rain

With the rain we’ve been getting in from Mableton to Serenbe and beyond we’ve also had some intense storms and winds. Be mindful of the trees in your landscape and look for storm damage after an intense night of thunder and lightning. If your trees are showing signs of damage, contact us for an assessment; you may need to have your trees trimmed or stabilized to prevent future damage to the tree or your home.

Bottom photo via Flickr CC.