Groundcovers are versatile workhorses in the landscape. Low-growing, low-maintenance, and quick to fill in problem areas - we'd be lost without them. There are dozens of options for groundcover, but chances are most people just know English ivy and its other evergreen counterparts, vinca and wintercreeper. While these plants have a time and a place (expect for wintercreeper - it has turned out to be highly invasive, and we no longer use it even though many nurseries and garden centers still sell it), there are so many more species to choose from.
How can you tell if your soil is providing the right nutrients for your plants? Plants can suffer all kinds of problems and even die if they aren't in fertile enough soil. Different species have different requirement, but across the board there are two critically important factors anyone can track (primary macronutrients and pH), and two other factors that need to be measured professionally, but are less likely to cause you problems (other nutrients and cation exchange capacity).
May's plant of the month is one of my favorites: columbine. Columbine thrives on woodland edges between full sun and part shade. The delicate, intriguing flowers nod gently on slender stalks from mid to late spring. The foliage is light and airy, and helps create a calm atmosphere even after the flowers are gone. Later in the season, the seedpods ripen and produce a gentle rattling sound when the wind blows.
Tomorrow is Earth Day, and here at Gardens of Growth we are always looking for new ways to do our job in a way that respects the environment. Our blog posts over the past few years have reflected that. Today we have collected several posts from the past that teach about how to take better care of the world around you. I hope you learn something!
Our favorite spring-blooming tree here at Gardens of Growth is probably Serviceberry. The white flowers are a crowd-pleaser, the dark red berries are delicious, the fall color is unbeatable, and it's a native species for Indiana. It's hard to get much better than that. There are a few different species of Serviceberry growing in North America. The Canadian Serviceberry sticks closer to the east coast, while the Allegheny Serviceberry extends inland all the way to Minnesota and Iowa.
Native plants improve our lives and the environment in ways that non-native plants can't do quite as well (or at all, in some cases). Despite the fact that more people are interested, I still hear fairly often that it's not getting much easier to find native plants at local garden centers. Here I'm going to share 25 native plants that are usually pretty easy to find along with the conditions where they grow best and a few notes.
The Flower & Patio Show ended this past Sunday, but if you didn't make it out to our booth you can take a digital tour today. Our theme this year was "Weathered", and it focused on rust-toned reds and age-inspired blues. The layout relies on clean organization, straight lines, and directed views in contrast to the kind of hectic spaces we see all too often at the show.
What a crazy winter we've had! With the exception of a few cold weeks, we've had an unseasonably warm winter. Most plants use temperature as an important cue in deciding when to break dormancy, so you have probably seen bulbs coming up much earlier than usual. But the risk of frost or a hard freeze is far from over. So what happens to your plants if we get a hard freeze or a frost in the next few months?
Flowering Quince starts blooming in shades of pink, salmon, white, and red in March before the leaves emerge. The flowers continue to shine as the foliage comes in, and then they develop into small, edible fruits with a tart taste. The shrub develops into a low, relaxed shape as it ages with an airy structure. Flowering Quince is a gorgeous addition to the spring landscape, but it is not for the low-maintenance garden. Root suckers need to be pruned back, leaf fungus can be a problem in wet seasons, and plants should be checked for fire blight from time to time.
The Flower & Patio Show is right around the corner! We start construction next week, and the show opens March 11th. We've made a habit of pushing the traditional boundaries of landscape design and doing something new and unique each year. In preparation for the reveal of this year's design, we're going to review our designs from the past six years and end with a hint about this year. Click on any image to see it larger.