Tag Archives: rosemary

Early Fall Arrivals

 

August and September are usually hot and dry, but even with the lack of rain the transition into a new season has begun.  Many summer garden beds are tired and planters are overgrown or just plain gone. In the nursery business we look forward to October and new offerings of plants, as well as the beauty of pumpkins and gourds. Just when we need a fresh start, it arrives with new selections for the autumn plant palette, mumsmarigolds, and the first of the violas and pansies.

Marigolds come in all sizes, from tiny starter plants in cell packs or 4″ pots  perfect for tucking into tired pots, to 10″ offerings big enough to fill a planter all on their own. Mums covered in buds come in 8″ and larger pots, in many colors and make a big statement where it’s needed.  Be sure to handle them gently, as bud laden stems can break easily. Mums and marigolds aren’t available for long, but they offer transitional color if you choose to plant pansies and violas when the weather is cooler.

More herbs are beginning to fill  the nursery,  including rosemary that will carry on through the winter. We’re just beginning to get the first of the curly parsley that is so beautiful in winter beds and planters, and  ornamental and edible kale, mustards and more are beginning to appear also. Late summer brings perennials too. Have you tried heuchera in the garden or pots? They’re beautiful in part sun or full shade. Just be certain not to over water.

The greenhouse goes through transitions too. From succulents to many types of ferns and more, the amount of plants stays constant, though the variety changes with availability. So if your plants need refreshing with the new season, come take a look!

By Kris Blevons

 

Container Gardening With Herbs – The Basics

for summer - lots of herbs and some flowers too...

for summer – lots of herbs and some flowers too…

Herbs are beautiful additions to any container garden, either on their own or combined with seasonal flowers. They add colorful leaves, texture, scent, and culinary usefulness to plantings and attract bees and other beneficial insects as well.

Planting Basics:

Use as large a pot as possible.

Use good quality potting soil.

Fertilize lightly.

Maintenance of Herbs in Containers:

Herbs often suffer from overfertilizing, overwatering, and overcrowding. Water when dry so that water runs out the bottom of the container. Remember pots will dry out quickly in the heat of summer and during windy conditions. Empty water that may be standing in saucers. Clip your herbs regularly. This will keep them from becoming leggy and overcrowded, especially if they’ve been used in combination plantings.  Harvest herbs in the morning and just prior to bloom. Near the end of the season, allow your basil to bloom; the bees love it! Finally,  never prune woody herbs like rosemary to bare wood.

Using Herbs in Combination Plantings:

Trailing pink vinca works well with sun loving herbs of lavender, sage and chives in this trough planting....

Trailing pink vinca works well with sun loving herbs of lavender, sage and chives in this trough planting….

Start with the herbs you’d like to most use, either for an ornamental or culinary addition. Knowing their growth habits is helpful in deciding their placement in your container.

For example, use chives for a grasslike effect; thyme, trailing rosemary, and oregano to spill over the edges; lavender or upright rosemary for height; and parsley and sage as fillers in containers.

Another idea is to use one herb in a pot and group many such pots together. A rosemary plant, once mature, will easily fill a large 14″ or bigger planter, as will lavender. Mid-size (10″- 14″) pots can be filled with parsley, chives, sage, French tarragon, or, more easily grown in the south, Texas tarragon. The larger the pot the better!

Annual Herbs Basil, Lemon Verbena, Lemon Grass (warm season); Cilantro, Dill (cool season); parsley (biennial).

Herbs and Succulents...

Herbs and Succulents…

Perennial Herbs Rosemary, Oregano, Marjoram, Thyme, Sage, Chives, Mint, Lavender, French Tarragon, Texas Tarragon, Savory, Hyssop, Lemon Balm, Catnip, Rue, Santolina, Fennel, Germander, Summer and Winter Savory.

Cool Season Herbs Cilantro, Dill, Salad Burnet, Chervil.

Plant Sizes

Small  – under 1 foot in diameter: Parsley, Dill, Chives (garlic & onion), Cilantro, Salad Burnet, Chervil.

Medium – 1-2 feet in diameter: Thyme, Tarragon, Basils, Mint.

Large 3 feet or more in diameter or over 4 feet high: Rosemary, Oregano, Lemon Verbena, Sage.

Sun/Moisture

Dry, sunny, Mediterranean conditions: Rosemary, Oregano, Marjoram, Sage, Lavender, Thyme, Tarragon, Germander, Santolina.

Cooler, afternoon-shaded locations: Mint, Cilantro, Dill, Chives, Parsley, Lemon Balm, Salad Burnet, Lemon Grass.

Common methods of propagation of perennial herbs: Divisions: Chives, Mint, Thyme, Oregano. Cuttings: Rosemary, Lavender, Sage, Winter Savory, Lemon Verbena, Rue.

Rosemary looking a little rough after this past winter...

Rosemary looking a little rough after this past winter…

Pests & Diseases Of Herbs Careful cultivation of your herbs will help keep them healthy and less susceptible to pests and diseases. Provide adequate water when needed, plant with the proper spacing for the best air circulation, and place them in the right amount of sun. Chemicals, obviously should not be used on any herbs you plan to harvest. Insecticidal soap or a strong spray of water is generally enough to deter most pests.

Aphids – Soft-bodied insects found on new growth and easily controlled by a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap.

Whiteflies  Can be problematic, spraying the undersides of the leaves consistently with insecticidal soap is necessary to eliminate them. In large infestations they’ll fly out of the center of the plant in a white cloud when disturbed. An important point to keep in mind is that spraying with the wrong insecticide can make whitefly problems worse, since spraying with the wrong insecticide will kill important predatory insects and tiny parasitic wasps that help control whiteflies. These naturally occurring beneficial insects are the best way to control whiteflies, and whitefly outbreaks generally occur when this natural control is disrupted. The best course of action is to preserve beneficials by avoiding unnecessary insecticidal treatments.
Look HERE  for more information from Mississippi State University.

Leaf Hoppers – These insects hop from plant to plant so are known to spread diseases. Control with insecticidal soap spray.  Remove any garden debris each fall to reduce over-wintering sites. Thorough coverage of both upper and lower infested leaves is necessary for effective control.

Leaf Miner – Burrowing insects that live inside leaves and are identified by the white “trails” on the leaves. The best control is to cut the plant back and throw away (Do not compost.) those leaves. Common on parsley in particular.

Caterpillars – Always try to identify caterpillars before you get rid of them! Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars are commonly found on parsley, fennel, and dill. Bt and Sevin dust will control those you do want to eliminate, as will hand picking.

Powdery Mildew – Mildew is caused by too little air circulation. Thinning the plant and clipping back surrounding plants to improve air movement will help.

The following organic fungicide of baking soda and water can also be applied on your herbs:

1 Tbsp baking soda. ½ Tsp liquid soap   1 Tbsp light horticultural oil  in 1 gallon of water.

Always spray in the coolest portion of the day, avoid spraying when bees are active, and test this on a small portion of the plant first. The oil coats and smothers the fungi, and the soap helps the mix cling to the upper and lower portions of the leaf.

Latin names for herbs listed in this post:

Anise Hyssop: Agastache foeniculum;  Basil: Ocimum basilicum; Chives: Allium schoenoprasum; Garlic chives: Allium tuberosum; Cilantro: Coriandrum sativum; Dill: Anethum graveolens; Fennel: Foeniculum vulgare; Germander: Teucrium chamaedrys; Lavender: Lavandula sp.; Santolina: Santolina chamaecyparissus, Santolina virens; Lemon Balm:  Melissa officianalis; Lemon Grass: Cymbopogon citratus; Lemon Verbena: Aloysia triphylla ; Marjoram: Origanum majorana; Mint: Mentha sp.; Oregano (Greek) Origanum heracleoticum; Parsley: Petroselinum crispum; Rosemary: Rosmarinus officianalis; Rue: Ruta graveolens; Sage: Salvia officianalis; Salad Burnet: Sanguisorba minor; French tarragon: Artemesia dracunculus; Texas tarragon: Tagetes lucida; Thyme: Thymus sp.  Winter Savory: Satureja Montana; Summer Savory: Satureja hortensis

Spring 2014 – New Shrubs to Peruse

Bert and Jay unloading...

Bert and Jay unloading…

blueberry bush blooms after a rainstorm

blueberry bush blooms after a rainstorm

March brings the beginning of the spring planting season, and new arrivals will be coming in almost daily from now through  June. It’s an intensely busy time, and, after this past winter, we understand everyone is more than ready to plant something…anything!

The first spring deliveries bring  shipments of select shrubs. Because of space limitations we get them in first; it’s amazing how much room a blueberry bush or a Lady Banks rose  in a 5 gallon pot can take up…especially noticeable when our entire operation is on 1/3 of an acre  (Including the parking lot). Some shrubs in these  first shipments are one time orders only, so don’t hesitate if you see something you like.

Chamaecyparis 'Golden Mop'

Chamaecyparis ‘Golden Mop’

 

 

 

If you’re looking for a focal point in the garden, we have a chamaecyparis in now named ‘Golden Mop’. Shown here is a picture of one in my  garden.  If you’ve looked at pictures of some of our outdoor Christmas  decorations using live greenery,  you might be able to spot the  bright golden foliage lighting up those holiday arrangements.  In March, the perennial groundcover Veronica ‘Georgia Blue’ makes a pretty skirt underneath it. We have some of it in stock now as well.

Rosemary looking a little rough after this past winter...

Rosemary looking a little rough after this past winter…

Do you need some new rosemary plants in your garden after this frigid winter?  I do. With this in mind, we have tried to get in as many as we can. These first shipments will include large pots of upright rosemary to replace those so many of us lost. Remember to place your rosemary where it will receive at least 4 hours of good sun and won’t be in soil that stays wet for any great length of time. I’ve had a large one out by my mailbox for a number of years now (Inexplicably, it was the one that survived this winter.) that rarely gets much attention and is enormous.

This tea olive is right at nose level from my deck...

This tea olive is right at nose level from my deck…

A couple more favorites of mine that we have now until they’re sold out are the wonderfully fragrant tea olives, Osmanthus fragrans. Their small white flowers aren’t noticeable until the elusive scent wafts through the garden in the late summer through fall and again sporadically through the winter. Plant these in a protected area in sun to light shade, ideally near entranceways or seating areas where the scent can be fully appreciated.

On afternoon walks in the fall their scent is unmistakeable in my neighborhood!  According to this link by UGA (Click on publications and search for osmanthus fragrans.), they will grow to a size of 10-15 feet at a fairly quick rate. I started with a one gallon pot 9 years ago, and it’s easily at its mature height now.  This is the only winter mine exhibited cold damaged leaves and bare stems; with spring, some fertilizer, and new growth they should be fine.

Sarcococca in my garden with Dicentra cucullaria peeking out from underneath...

Sarcococca in my garden with Dicentra cucullaria peeking out from underneath…

One last shrub I’d like to mention is one you may not be familiar with; it’s an excellent for shade areas called Sweet Box, Sarcococca confusa. It will gradually spread in woodland areas and has clusters of fragrant white flowers in the spring, followed by round black fruit later in the season. It’s a very nice evergreen shrub and useful as a filler or background plant. If you have a woodland garden, it’s a must!

These are just a few of the new arrivals; others  include confederate jasmine, figs (Yum!!), Virginia sweetspire, Red Drift roses,  bay laurel and more.  If you’re in the area, please stop by and take a look!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March Brings New Shrubbery, Vines and Herbs…

Unloaded in the parking lot...

Unloaded in the parking lot…

It’s the beginning of March, and finally (!) the nursery looks like more than an empty parking lot. A sure sign that spring is approaching are the first shipments of shrubbery,  early perennials, and herbs, including a couple of different spiraeas, snowball viburnum, Deutzia ‘Nikko’, blueberry bushes, and ‘Red Star’ and ‘Golden Mop’ evergreen chamaecyparis.

Bay laurel

Bay laurel

 

 

 

 

If your  bay laurel, rosemary or confederate jasmine succumbed to this winter’s frigid temperatures,  we have some of all of these too. Unfortunately many of us have to replace them this year. The ‘Tuscan Blue’ rosemary is in one gallon pots –  a good size to plant now.

Confederate jasmine, shown here with a clematis growing through it...

Confederate jasmine, shown here with a clematis growing through it…

 

This shipment also brought Virgninia Sweetspire, Itea virginica. A great shrub for our area, it is adaptable to many situations and provides spring blooms and beautiful fall color as well.

In addition to the confederate jasmine, another  flowering vine, the beautiful (and non-invasive) honeysuckle, Lonicera ‘Alabama Crimson’, is in stock now too. It’s blooms are honey for hummingbirds as they repopulate our area for the summer.

'Alabama Crimson' honeysuckle, growing on my arbor

‘Alabama Crimson’ honeysuckle, growing on my arbor

 

 

 

This first shipment is just the beginning of the rebirth of the nursery for a new season of gardening. More and more will arrive until, finally, we’ll be oveflowing again with green and flowering goodness…stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

 

A Look At The Nursery – Come See!

We’re at the beginning of the new planting season and thought it would be nice to give you a glimpse of the nursery…for those of you familiar with us, you know things come in and go out just as fast – if you see something you think you could use, it’s really best to make up your mind quickly! Of course, we’re always happy to take your name and number and call you if we’re out of something that can be reordered.

Beautiful pots of 'Tuscan Blue' rosemary...

Beautiful pots of ‘Tuscan Blue’ rosemary…

 

The rosemary has been beautiful – this is one herb that does so well for us here in the Birmingham area…it’s happy in the ground and in containers.  It’s just a big,  beautiful, edible shrub!  Plant it in full to at least half day of sun and give it excellent drainage and you’ll have a winner on your hands.

The tables under the lath house are filling up with bedding plants...

The tables under the lath house are filling up with bedding plants…

 

We’re beginning to get serious about stocking bedding plants. While our last average frost date here is mid-April, we are pretty much there, though many of you are just now seeing the pansies at their peak. Enjoy them, and when they’ve given out in the heat, replant with your summer bedding plants. Container plantings are usually the first to suffer as a result of higher temperatures, especially if they dry out at all. We’re beginning to get in everything you’ll need for pots, hayracks and more…shipments come in just about every day but Monday!

The nursery is divided into distinct areas. All of the shrubs are against the fence on the inside of the lath house  and on the end toward the alley.

Annuals and tropicals are out front on the tables and steps, and also in the middle area under the lath house on tables.

Perennials and groundcovers are against the greenhouse on tables and on the ground.

Herbs and veggies are on the end toward the street and side garden. The fresh fruits and vegetables are on the red tables as you enter toward the greenhouse door…and the U-Pot-It bench is against the greenhouse as well. We know it can get very overwhelming to come in and see so much in a relatively small area, so hope this helps…

Happy Spring!

Herbs and Some Annuals In Stock Now!

This post is mostly about herbs, but we’ll mention a few annuals you can plant now too. Everyone is getting spring fever, but this is that tough time of year when it’s best to sit tight and wait out these last few weeks of winter…we know it’s hard!  So, not to worry, if you just need to  get out in the garden or maybe plant a few pots on one of those beautiful early spring days,  here are some plants that will satisfy your cravings now.

 

First up, dill and cilantro. These are two herbs that you really must plant early, because once the real heat of early summer moves in, these will bolt, or flower.

cilantro - another one that's best in cooler weather

cilantro – another one that’s best in cooler weather

 

dill is grown for the leaves and dill seed

dill is grown for the leaves
and dill seed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, with your dill, this isn’t all bad because when the flowers are spent  you end up with dill seed which is great for pickles…(Let the flowers stay on the plant til you see the seeds forming.) but the cilantro will  flower, or bolt,  and give it up once summer arrives. So, plant now and enjoy if you like these two!

Leaf lettuce - yum!

Leaf lettuce – yum!

Next up, not an herb but we’re going to put it in this post anyway, is lettuce. If you didn’t plant it this fall it’s not too late to get a late winter crop going that you can enjoy until the heat sets in.

We have some beautiful red and green leaf lettuce – it’s ready to go in the garden, grow a bit and end up in your salad bowl! If you plant it in a spot with a bit of afternoon shade it will last longer  before it finally bolts in the heat. (Yes, lettuce flowers too!)image

We’re just beginning to get in some thyme – there are so many varieties! Right now we have ‘Silver Posie’ and ‘Red Creeping’. We’ll have plenty of culinary thyme, lemon and silver thyme in the coming weeks too.

Creeping red thyme

Creeping red thyme

 

 

If you don’t have at least one rosemary in your landscape,  try to find a sunny spot for one this year, either in the ground or in a pot…rosemary is really a big shrub and of course it has great culinary uses as well as being ornamental – there are many varieties of rosemary – what we normally have in stock is a mix of upright and trailing. At this time we have the more upright growing varieties. Rosemary blooms in the early spring with purply/blue blossoms that compliment the gray-green foliage beautifully.

Yes, that is one rosemary!

Yes, that is one rosemary!

We have mint too – ‘Kentucky Colonel’ is the prettiest and best tasting there is. Remember to keep your mint contained in a pot unless you want it to take over your garden! Mint is also happiest with a bit more moisture than other herbs and it can also take a bit of shade…you’ll be set for the Kentucky Derby and your mint julep – or maybe a mojito?

Mint 'Kentucky Colonel'

Mint ‘Kentucky
Colonel’

Parsley, both curly and flat leaf is also available – all the best cooks say flat leaf is the tastiest…but curly is very pretty in the garden and in pots, so we’ll have both and leave it up to you which one – or both! you want in your garden.

Lavender and ornamental variegated oregano round out this first list of herbs…these are really for blooms and foliage more than culinary use. Lavender can be tricky in our heat and humidity, ‘Goodwin Creek’ lavender pictured here does well if given adequate drainage.

Lavender 'Goodwin Creek'

Lavender ‘Goodwin Creek’

Be sure not to crowd your plants (Yes, we know it’s difficult when things get wild and wooly in the middle of summer but try to give them a bit of room if you can…)

variegated oregano

variegated oregano

 

 

 

 

The variegated oregano one the right  is one we really like in pots…it adds a bit of foliage interest in herb containers and in mixed annual plantings as well. We’ll have the culinary oregano in soon also.

 

Nasturtiums are so much fun we had to include them in this post. Ok, technically they’re an annual but you can eat them too! They’ll add a peppery bite and some color to your salad! If you plant nasturtiums, don’t baby them too much.

nasturtiums

nasturtiums

Don’t fertilize them – they’ll bloom better if you don’t. Enjoy them til the heat of summer takes them out, then replant them again in late summer to bloom for you through the fall.

Whew! This is just the beginning! So, there are some things you can do now while we wait for the last of winter to get out of here…happy planting!