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com has made every effort to produce a high quality, informative and helpful book for the “do it yourselfer” landscaping enthusiast. However, the company makes no representation or warranties of any kind with regard to the completeness or accuracy of the contents of the book. They accept no liability of any kind for any loses or damages caused or alleged to be caused, directly or indirectly, from using the information contained in this book. “Landscaping Secrets… The Ultimate Guide to a Beautiful Yard” is a Copyright of All rights reserved worldwide. This is a free eBook No part of this publication may be stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, reproduced, or sold in any way, including but not limited to digital copying and printing without the prior agreement and written permission of the publisher. Great Landscaping


Your landscape is your canvas. Whatever is in your imagination can be created there. It can be simple yet elegant or complex and bold. It can also be a little of both. It can boast many colors that compliment each other, or it can have one color as a central theme. This book has been written as a guide to help you plan, create, and maintain your landscape by answering common questions and in helping you avoid the many pitfalls made by novice landscapers. One of the best things about landscaping is that anyone can do it. All it takes is thought, planning, patience and routine maintenance. In no time your landscape will be the envy of your neighborhood. The thought is in the planning. What do you want your final product to look like next year and ten years from now when the trees and shrubs you choose now have completely matured? Do you eventually want towering trees and windbreaks, or would you prefer the smaller dramatic effect offered by weeping pussy willows and cherry trees. The planning is what you put on paper. Draw it out the best you can. Think about the seasons as well as height and color. You don’t have to plant it all in one year. If your drawing is complex, break it up into a plan where you’ll complete sections each year until the entire landscaping project is finished. The patience is in waiting for the plants to mature. Many novice landscapers make the mistake of crowding too much into a small area. In a few years, their perennials and shrubs have grown too big for their landscape causing them extra work in order to fix the common error. Proper planning and patience would have avoided this mistake in the first place. Routine maintenance of weeding, watering and fertilizing the plants you choose for your landscape will allow your landscape to be the most it can by giving your plants, shrubs, and trees the proper food, air, and water to thrive. Be creative. Use objects around your house to help you create your landscape and give it that personal touch that no one else has in your neighborhood. For example, if there’s a tree stump in your yard in an odd location, use it as a container garden. Filling the stump with good soil and using it as a container for annuals is an excellent way to convert that unsightly stump into a masterpiece. You can also be creative with wet areas of your yard. Many of us have areas that can’t be mowed because of swampy conditions. Instead of letting these areas grow high with grass and weeds, plant cattails and daylilies, or other water loving plants. Or, if you’re feeling really creative, make that area into a backyard pond with a bridge spanning across so you can watch the goldfish below.


The point is that anything in your mind can be created in your landscape with a little thought and planning. If you want to use a certain plant, but don’t live in an area where that plant will thrive, there are probably many substitutes that can be used that will still give the same effect you were looking for. Your yard is your canvas. It’s blank until you paint it with your imagination. Mistakes are easily erased and redone so don’t be afraid to paint your landscape with passion.


Landscaping Ideas - Planning
Designing your own landscape can be fun and exciting, but it can also seem overwhelming when you haven’t laid out your plans with much thought and consideration. The key to successful landscaping ideas is to think through all the elements thoroughly before placing your shovel in the dirt. Failure to do so will create excess work for you in the long run. Before deciding what you are going to plant, you need to know where you’re going to plant it. Draw your yard and home as best you can to scale or use landscaping software to aid in the drawing. There are many software products available for the “do it yourself” landscaper at a reasonable price. In your drawing, be sure and include any patio designs, porches, walkways or deck designs that you want in your landscape. Also consider any existing trees that you wish to remain as an end product in your completed landscape vision. This is also the stage where you should remove young trees that ten years from now will tower and block your home and landscape design from public view. The first step in designing your landscape is deciding what purpose the landscaping will serve. Will it be to beautify your home and raise your property value, or will it be used for a quiet setting where you can read and enjoy nature? Whatever the purpose, it needs to be designed to maximize the use and pleasure of the site while creating a visual relationship between your home and its surroundings. For example, you may want some areas to provide more shade than other areas. If you will be landscaping a deck and pool area, you’ll probably want shade over the deck, but not over the pool. This should be taken into consideration during the planning stage to maximize the shade areas that will be used primarily for outdoor entertaining and barbeques, while leaving the pool area sunny for swimming and sunbathing. Pool landscaping can be a bit tricky so plan well. The next step is to survey the site. Draw a diagram that depicts where the sun hits throughout the day and approximately how much sun each area gets. Also diagram the winter winds and summer breeze for utilization of windbreaks and airflow. Think about items in your own yard or in your neighbor’s yard that you would like to block from your view while outside. These areas should have barriers such as fences or tall shrubs to block the unwanted view. All these things should be taken into consideration when planning your landscape. Your diagram should look something like below.



The next step is to diagram your space needs. You don’t want to landscape areas you may need later for a different use. For example, if you’re planning on putting in a swimming pool or pond in an area in the future, you’ll want to leave that area open as green space until you’re ready to use it for its intended purpose. Make sure you figure in any play area you’ll need in addition to areas you will be utilizing later but using as play space now. That way your play area is not too small when your project is complete. Most landscape areas should have a place set aside for working, recreation, outdoor entertaining, children’s play, and public entrance. Utilize plant groupings in your landscaping plan. There are basically four types of plant groupings: Specimen, Line, Group and Mass.

A specimen is used to emphasize a character shrub or an unusually beautiful tree. If used sparingly, accent plants create interest and contrast. Flowering trees such as purple leaf plums, crabapples and dogwood are often used as specimen or accent trees. Be cautious about using too many accent trees or shrubs in one area. The look of your


landscape may not flow properly and your specimen will lose its effect. Use them in areas that you would like to be a focal point, such as a public entrance. A line is used as a barrier to cover something you wish blocked from view or as a windbreak. Lines are also used as shade to cover certain areas of your home or yard that you do not wish to get a lot of sun. When choosing plants for a line, be sure and select hardy, healthy plants. The death of one shrub or tree in a line can ruin the entire effect. Grouping is used to bring out the colors and foliage of several plants so that they compliment one another. Groupings are used when garden plants are not unique enough to stand by themselves, but when combined with others, the grouping takes on a dramatic effect that can be used with a specimen, or stand alone. Groupings are also a good place for container gardens. A mass is basically an extension of a group, but it is used in larger areas. In a mass, all plants will lose their individual identity. But, as a mass, they take on a dramatic effect. Now that you have planned your landscaping areas, you’re ready to choose the materials to begin the project. Before you begin choosing your plants, trees, and shrubs, you must first consider the climate in which you live. What hardiness zone are you in? Remember, desert landscapes are much different than southeast landscapes. Even if you’re planning a simple landscape, you must choose plants and garden flowers that will thrive in your area. The following is a plant hardiness zone map that will help you choose the best garden plants, shrubs, and trees for your landscape based on your climate.


1 2a 2b 3a 3b 4a 4b 5a 5b 6a 6b 7a 7b 8a 8b 9a 9b 10a 10b 11

Below -50 F -50 to -45 F -45 to -40 F -40 to -35 F -35 to -30 F -30 to -25 F -25 to -20 F -20 to -15 F -15 to -10 F -10 to -5 F -5 to 0 F 0 to 5 F 5 to 10 F 10 to 15 F 15 to 20 F 20 to 25 F 25 to 30 F 30 to 35 F 35 to 40 F above 40 F


Example Cities

Below -45.6 C Fairbanks, Alaska; Resolute, Northwest Territories (Canada) -42.8 to -45.5 C Prudhoe Bay, Alaska; Flin Flon, Manitoba (Canada) -40.0 to -42.7 C Unalakleet, Alaska; Pinecreek, Minnesota -37.3 to -39.9 C International Falls, Minnesota; St. Michael, Alaska -34.5 to -37.2 C Tomahawk, Wisconsin; Sidney, Montana -31.7 to -34.4 C Minneapolis/St.Paul, Minnesota; Lewistown, Montana -28.9 to -31.6 C Northwood, Iowa; Nebraska -26.2 to -28.8 C Des Moines, Iowa; Illinois -23.4 to -26.1 C Columbia, Missouri; Mansfield, Pennsylvania -20.6 to -23.3 C St. Louis, Missouri; Lebanon, Pennsylvania -17.8 to -20.5 C McMinnville, Tennessee; Branson, Missouri -15.0 to -17.7 C Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; South Boston, Virginia -12.3 to -14.9 C Little Rock, Arkansas; Griffin, Georgia -9.5 to -12.2 C Tifton, Georgia; Dallas, Texas -6.7 to -9.4 C -3.9 to -6.6 C -1.2 to -3.8 C 1.6 to -1.1 C 4.4 to 1.7 C above 4.5 C Austin, Texas; Gainesville, Florida Houston, Texas; St. Augustine, Florida Brownsville, Texas; Fort Pierce, Florida Naples, Florida; Victorville, California Miami, Florida; Coral Gables, Florida Honolulu, Hawaii; Mazatlan, Mexico


The diagram on the previous page is the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map and is pretty standard to all hardiness zoning maps. You can usually find the zoning recommendation for a particular plant either on the plants tag when purchasing or through research of that particular plant. Many plant books will list the individual plants, trees, and shrubs in detail with their maximum height, width, and zoning recommendations. Don’t forget when choosing your plants to take into consideration all seasons. If you only choose plants that will give you color in the spring and summer months, your landscape is going to look bland in the fall and winter. Be sure and include deciduous trees and shrubs that will change colors in the fall as your summer flowers are fading. These should be planted with evergreens and holly to provide color in the dull winter months that will continue until the spring blooms reappear. This type of plan gives color throughout the year. Your spring flowers should fade away to summer blooms, and your summer blooms into fall foliage, which will fade into winter greens only to be reborn into colorful daffodils and tulips in the spring to begin the cycle again. With a little preplanning, your landscape will provide color and balance throughout the year giving you something to look forward to every season.



Walkways, Fences and Decks
Try and imagine your final landscape. Where do you want your deck? Do you want it covered as an arbor? What about fencing? Are there areas you wish to block from your view or block from the view of others? These are just some of the items you need to take into consideration when planning your finished landscape and prior to planting. Walkways, fences and decks are some of the constructed items that will make up your completed landscape. All these items should be finished prior to planting so that you’re not stepping on your conditioned soil or moving plants if an eight foot deck suddenly becomes a twelve foot deck during the construction phase. These items will also serve as a backdrop to all your planting and will complete the final landscape. Also think about future construction at this time. Will there eventually be a gazebo or outbuilding on the land? What about archways of roses or other climbing vines? All really good landscaping plans mix the constructed items with the planting beds evenly. For example, a row of Canna planted in front of an eight foot privacy fence is a lot more dramatic than the row of Canna by itself. Brick and stone walkways add drama to ground covers that line each side more than just a plain sidewalk. With the materials available today, creativity should be no problem. You can buy manufactured stones and bricks for unique walkways and patios that will add function and beauty to your landscape. Fencing is now available in wood, metal, and new plastic durable maintenance free sections. Fencing adds design and backdrop to set off focal points or offer privacy. Decking materials are also sold in “maintenance free plastic” which means, if chosen as your decking material, you’ll never have to stain that deck again. Do not be afraid to be creative and use your imagination when planning and completing this stage of your landscape. Some of the best walkways I’ve seen have been constructed out of rocks found in dry riverbeds with planted moss to fill the cracks. This is both creative and inexpensive and results in an end product that is completely unique from any other. *****


Landscape Lighting
A landscape is not complete without deck lighting to highlight areas of interest throughout the evening and nighttime hours. Lighting can be used to highlight a specific group of plants, a specimen plant, a walkway leading to an entryway, deck stairs or patio, and so much more. The great thing about landscape lights is that there are many choices in today’s market. You can choose traditional lighting that is wired into your home, or you can choose solar lighting which only requires sunlight, placing the light in the ground. In addition to the type of lighting available, there are also many sizes and shapes available. To begin lighting your landscape, first layout your lighting project. While drawing your landscape, determine which areas you want to highlight. You’ll need to illuminate any walkways, decks, or patios for safety reasons. If you are choosing traditional lighting, make sure there’s an outlet close by. Measure the distance required to run wiring from your electrical outlet to each area a light will be installed to make sure you won’t need additional outlets. Choose your lights. You have many choices. You may choose plastic or metal, and as previously stated, solar and wired, or a combination of both. Also determine which area will need flood lights. These areas are typically areas of interest, such as a specimen plant. Typically, lampposts are used at the beginning of walkways or at turns in sidewalks. Deck lighting is usually flat and mounts directly onto the deck. The same type lighting may be used for porches and patios. Spotlights are used to bring attention to a specific area, and walk way lights are generally small lamps lighting the way. Also available are ornamental lights such as turtles and frogs. Most of these are solar and are used to light small ponds or as an addition to an existing flowerbed. Before laying out your plan and choosing your lights, it is a good idea to tour a neighborhood at night to get ideas on landscape lighting. This will give you a better idea of what features you would like highlighted in your landscape, in addition to how certain type lights look in the landscape. *****

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If you’re looking to plant grass for that lush green appearance or plant large, healthy plants and shrubs with big beautiful flowers and deep green leaves then you’ll have to start with the soil. All soil is not created equal. Much of it has been stripped of needed nutrients throughout the years that, if not replaced prior to planting, will cause your plants to be small and unhealthy. The secret to beautiful plants is working from the ground up. Your soil must be able to provide the essential needs of your plants roots. These needs are space, water, food, oxygen and minerals for ideal growing conditions. To understand what your soil is lacking, you must first understand the basic types of soil and their makeup. There are three types of soil. Sand, Clay and Silt. The ideal soil balances all three types. Sandy soils, like that found in the Western United States, quickly dry out and suck fertilizers from the soil. However, sandy soil drains well. Clay soils are heavy and hold excess water. These soils do not have good airflow and often suffocate or drown plants. Clay soil does hold fertilizer well, however it’s extremely hard to work with. It sticks to your shovel and is almost impossible to till when dry due to the hardness of the soil. This type of soil is found in many of the Midwestern and Southern states. Unless you are an exception to the rule, your soil will not be ideal without improvements. The secret to soil improvement lies in the organic matter that consists of peat moss, leaf mold, aged manure or compost. Ideally, your soil should hold about twenty five percent of the finished soil product. Another element to soil is the pH level in the soil. The pH measures the amount of acid in the soil on a scale of 0 to 14. Some plants, such as Azaleas, require a higher acid level, where other plants need a low level of acid. Most plants require a pH level of 7, which is a neutral level. The pH level is extremely important because the nutrient availability to the plants depend on it. Your soil and pH levels can be measured yourself through a home testing kit, or your county should have an extension that will come out and measure it for you for a small fee.

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Once your pH level is measured, you can raise the level by adding lime, or if it is too high, it can be lowered with sulfur. The best time to test your soil is in the late fall or early spring. This gives you time to make adjustments before adding plants to your garden. Samples of your soil should be taken from several areas and the soil should be fairly dry since wet soils can produce false readings. Once your soil is originally tested, you should retest every couple of years since nutrients in your soil will change over time. A pH balance of 7 this year could be 2 in a couple of years as needed nutrients are sucked out of your soil. Preparing Your Soil for Planting Now that you have tested your soil and understand what it needs to supply the right nutrients for your plants, it’s time to start preparing your soil. Soil preparation prior to planting is the most important key to a healthy landscape. Adding missing nutrients prior to planting ensures new plants receive adequate food, water, and air after the initial planting. This lessons the shock plants go through during transplant. The result is a quicker start of root establishment and healthier plants after transplant. What you’re planting will determine how much soil preparation is needed. For instance, if you’re planting an isolated shrub or tree, you will work with a soil pocket instead of a soil bed. Whether the area is large or small, you should take the following steps to make sure your soil is adequately prepared for planting. Step 1: Clear any weeds that may already exist in the area. Try and eliminate them from the roots so that they do not return in your finished landscape. If your weeds are mature, you may want to use a weed killer before going any further. If they are young weeds, such as seen in the spring, removal with a hoe should be sufficient. Till the existing soil if planting a bed or landscaping a larger area. This will help break up the underlying soil for better mixing when the amendments are added.

Step 2:

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Step 3:

Add amendments. Spread evenly all materials that will be tilled into the soil on the surface of the soil. Organic matter should be spread a few inches thick. If your organic matter does not already contain a high nitrogen fertilizer, then add a nitrogen supplement at this time. Most composts and manures do not need a nitrogen additive. Another additive that’s needed in many areas of the United States is lime. Plants sometimes naturally strip nutrients from your soil lowering the pH level. If your soil indicates your pH level is low, adding lime at this time to raise the pH level will provide much benefit to your plants. Adding a general fertilizer at this time is also a good idea to help balance out any additional nutrients that may be missing in your soil. If your soil is clay based, the addition of gypsum might help improve the soil structure for better drainage and texture. Gypsum (if needed) General Commercial Fertilizer Lime (if needed) Nitrogen, (if needed) Organic Matter (added to 4 inch depth) Existing Soil (tilled 12 inches deep) Till the soil to mix all items thoroughly. Try to mix to depth of 18” if possible.

Step 4:

Once all the additives have been mixed and tilled, your soil should be ready for planting. The extra time and effort you’ve taken at this stage will make a huge difference in the months to come.

A great way to keep the balance in your soil is to start a compost pile with grass clippings and other items that will break down quickly such as coffee grounds, leaves, fruit pulp, citrus peels, sawdust, wood chips, wood ash, soil and sod.

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To begin your own compost pile, select a location in your yard that’s hidden from normal viewing. If you don’t have such an area, create it by using privacy fence sections. Once you decide on the area, create a loose pile of compost where air and water will easily reach it. Add to the compost pile as items become available. A key to successful composting is to make sure brown and green items are mixed as evenly as possible to balance the nutrients as the waste breaks down. Once your compost pile reaches three cubic feet, it’s time to begin another pile. If you don’t like the idea of stirring your compost with a shovel, tumblers and other items are available to help you keep your compost stirred. An active compost pile requires temperatures of 130-160 degrees F, adequate moisture and proper air circulation to breakdown properly. In order to maintain adequate moisture, make sure you select a location in your yard where your garden hose can easily reach, so you can water your compost in the hot summer months. Contrary to popular belief, a properly maintained compost pile will not give off odors or attract insects. Once a pile of compost is ready, you can add it to the soil around your existing plants or till it into a new bed. You’ll be surprised at how much of a difference this yard waste can make to the health of your plants and flowers.


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Now that you’ve planned your landscape, constructed your walkways and prepared your soil, the fun begins. It is time to begin planting. Start your planting in an area that will be easily noticed such as an entry way to your home. By beginning here, you’ll feel the pride of your accomplishment early on and be more inspired to go on as the work continues through the rest of your project. The bed pictured on the left is a bed of spring flowers. It contains Tulips, Mustard (Brassica Nigra), Sedum, Daffodils, Dwarf Japanese Holly and Pansies. It’s an example of how color can be used in a bed to change as seasons change. Ideally, these plants would fade to summer flowers of Marigolds, Petunias, and Sweet Alyssum, which in the fall would fade to Hardy Mums and Burning Bush. Winter would show the greens of small Evergreens and Holly, only to burst into the spring bed pictured the following spring. Some climates, such as the Southern United States, have climates mild enough to support Pansies throughout the winter months. These states can take advantage of the color from the Pansy as well as other hardy flowers during their entire winter months. When planting flowerbeds, make sure you use proper spacing between plants. If you plant them too close, they won’t get sufficient air and light and will not thrive as they should when planted at proper distance. Remember, flowerbeds always look their worst in the beginning. Within a few weeks, the beds will have thickened and will look much better. Perennials and Biennials will always look better their second year after planting. When planting purchased plants, always dig your hole at least twice the size of the container from which the plant was removed. Loosen the dirt around the root base and carefully untangle the roots for a better start. This will give you a larger, healthier plant as it grows. If you are planting a shrub or tree, dig your hole in the prepared soil in a saucer fashion and make sure the hole is at least twice as deep and twice as wide as the root ball. Loosen the dirt around the root ball and carefully untangle roots as best you can. You may need to slice the dirt with a knife to loosen the root ball. Once loosened, carefully plant the tree or shrub placing the exposed roots evenly for better hold in the ground once the roots begin to establish.

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The following plants are just some of the great choices you have when creating your landscape ideas. These have been broken up into spring, summer and fall varieties so you have a better idea of how mixing plants creates the seasonal balance. Also listed with each plant are perfect planting partners that help give you ideas that will compliment your landscape when choosing these plants for your landscape. Bedding & Border Plants and Bulbs Spring Varieties Oriental Poppies (Full Sun)(Zone 3-8)(Well Drained Soil) This beautiful perennial blooms late spring to early summer. When full grown, it stands 18-36 inches tall and spreads 12-24 inches wide. It’s terrific as a middle plant in a tiered bed, or as a backdrop to smaller plants such as Lily of the Valley or Creeping Phlox. Poppies must grow for two years before they bloom, but once mature, the striking fiery flowers are well worth the wait. The blooms on a mature poppy can reach up to 6 inches in diameter and offer shades of red, mahogany, orange, white and salmon. Great planting partners with the Oriental Poppies are Marigolds and Dahlias because they will fill out as summer progresses and the Poppies die down. Silver foliage plants are also great planting partners and offer stunning effects when arranged with the Poppies. Buy bareroot Oriental Poppies in the summer for fall planting. After the mature Poppies have died in the summer, mulch them to prepare for the next spring. A key to successful growth of Oriental Poppies is to plant them away from direct winds and stake the larger plants to prevent breakage of the stalks. Although Poppies love the sun, they prefer cool summers and will not thrive in hot, humid conditions.

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Daffodils (Full Sun/Partial Shade)(Zones 4-10)(Good Drainage) Daffodils are a must for any spring landscape. They add beauty and color and tend to be a bit hardier than other spring flowers by tolerating a larger degree of temperature changes. These bulbs are planted in the fall for their arrival the following spring. They will emerge from the ground in early spring and remain until the temperatures remain warm on a steadier basis. They partner perfectly with Poppies, as their blooms tend to fade when the Poppies begin to bloom. Daffodils come in many colors and varieties and will offer diversity in their blooms. Some of the larger Daffodils will reach 24 inches in height, while the smaller varieties will only reach about 4 inches. This makes the Daffodil the perfect bulb for tapering flowerbeds and making an easier transition into summer as your spring flowers fade. Daffodils can be planted pretty much anywhere. Some landscapes use them in flowerbeds and containers, while other more natural settings spread them throughout lawns and groundcovers. Daffodils also partner perfectly with blue Lobelia , Forget-me-nots, Crocuses and Pansies. Through the Daffodils growing season, remove faded flowers and seed heads, but leave the foliage in tact. This will encourage your Daffodils to bloom longer and have more blooms. Daffodils should be planted in early fall. They should be watered after planting and then covered with mulch. In the spring, they’ll emerge and give a show of color across your young spring landscape. When the blooms fade and the plant has died down, remove the brown foliage, but do not fertilize. Wait until the following spring when the plants begin to reemerge to fertilize. A secret to successful planting is to plant the bulbs one to two inches deeper than recommended. This will enable the bulb to remain planted throughout the year and multiply itself while in the ground. The alternative is to dig up the bulbs and divide them for replanting in the early fall.

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Creeping Phlox (Full Sun)(Zones 4-9)(Well Drained Soil) This perennial is a must for any landscape where the plant will thrive. It is one of the most versatile plants in the landscape. That’s because it’s easy to grow, it’s an evergreen, and it’s an excellent ground cover. Also, it can be planted in unusual locations, such as cascading over a rock wall or raised flowerbed. Creeping Phlox comes in lavender-blue, deep pink, mauve, or white. The star shaped blooms emerge in early spring and fade about the same time as the Daffodil. The more sun these plants receive, the more blooms they will provide. Creeping Phlox will tolerate almost any soil type. This is why they thrive in rocky locations where the base soil may be a little sandier. Mixing colors in a cascading wall can create an eye catching landscape design that does not exist with any other type of groundcover. In the summer, when the blooms have faded, the evergreen groundcover remains as a contrasting foliage until the following spring when the blooms reemerge. Perfect planting partners with the Creeping Phlox include Candytuft and Basket of gold. Also small red tulips emerging from a bed of white Creeping Phlox creates a dramatic effect in your spring landscape. Buy Creeping Phlox in the early spring and plant as soon as possible. In the summer, after the flowers have faded, cut the plant back halfway and water regularly. Mulch the Creeping Phlox in the fall, especially where winters are severe. A mulch of dry leaves will keep the plants from being killed during the cold winter months. If your tuft of Creeping Phlox becomes too large for an area, simply divide the plant and place the second half somewhere else in your landscape. This plant does grow quickly each spring, so division may be necessary every couple years.

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Tulips (Full Sun/Light Shade)(Zones 3-8)(Well Drained Soil) Tulips come in many sizes, varieties and colors. Their blooms last from early to late spring and when mixing varieties, it is possible to time them so that a variety will be in bloom throughout the entire spring season. Tulips are very easy to care for and resistant to disease. They will grow from 4 inches to 30 inches depending on the variety, and spread from 4 inches to 12 inches depending on the same. Colors range from the traditional fireengine red to the purple-black of “Queen of the Night”. Also they range in shape from the simple single flowered varieties to the frilled Parrot Tulips, which look more like an Iris than a Tulip. One of my favorites is the double variety which when in bloom resembles a Rose. Tulips can be used in plant masses towering over smaller spring flowers such as Forgetme-nots and Pansies. Primulas make ideal mates for Tulips, as they are available in similar vibrant colors. Combining the Primulas and Tulips make a hot-colored planting scheme that is set off by the greenery of other plants provided in your landscape. Buy quality bulbs in the spring and summer to plant in the fall. Make sure you avoid bulbs that are damaged or moldy and also avoid bulbs that show signs of a green shoot. Plant your bulbs in the sun or in light shade. If your climate tends to become hotter in early spring, plant in light shade to shelter your Tulips from the sun’s heat. Make sure the soil drains well in the location you choose, or your bulbs will rot from the excess water. Since Tulips are planted so deep in the soil, it’s actually possible to plant other bulbs, such as the Hyacinth on top of a Tulip. The Hyacinth usually blooms before the Tulip, so as the Hyacinth fades, the Tulip will be emerging. As your Tulips bloom in the spring, pull off faded flower heads and allow the leaves to die naturally. Once the plant has died, you may dig up the bulbs and separate for replanting, or leave in the ground for next year. A secret to keeping your Tulips blooming year after year is dividing your bulbs every so often. A lack of blooms is usually the result of overcrowded bulbs.

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Summer Blooms Foxgloves (Full Sun) (Zone 4-8) (Moist Well Drained Soil) The foxglove offers towering spikes of colorful, cup-shaped blooms that show during the summer months. It is a biennial, which means it will live two years, but the first year it will not produce flowers. Foxgloves bloom in the summer and are excellent as cut flowers. They grow 3 to 8 feet tall and spread up to three feet wide. Foxgloves carry purple, yellow, rose, or white bell shaped blooms on long spikes with lush large green leaves. Foxgloves are biennials, but they reseed themselves, which means you will have flowers every year if these flowers are chosen to compliment the backdrop of your landscape. The multicolored offspring grows green foliage the first year and then blooms the second. After the blooming cycle is complete, the plant reseeds itself to grow foliage again the following year. Foxgloves should be planted as a backdrop for other flowers among flowering shrubs or as specimen plants in the summer garden. They can be used in the rear of flower borders with Shasta Daisies or Peonies in the foreground. The round flower heads of the perennial Daisies and Peonies makes a stunning contrast to the vertical lines of the Foxglove. Some annuals that perfectly compliment the Foxglove are Petunias, Geraniums and Alyssum. These plants thrive in the same soil as the Foxglove and share the same bloom time. Foxglove should be planted in the spring while the weather is still cool. They should be staked as the plants grow to keep these tall plants sturdy and upright during wind and rain. They will reseed themselves in late summer, so it’s important to lightly mulch around the new seedlings roots to protect them from the winter cold. The plants will remerge in the spring to bring you a show of tall and healthy beautiful bold bells.

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Impatiens (Sun to Shade) (All Zones) (Well Drained Soil) Impatiens are probably one of the most dramatic flowers you can have in your landscape. They are versatile, come in many colors, and can be planted pretty much anywhere. They bloom from late spring through the first frost and if these plants receive enough food, water, and oxygen through their growing season, they can look more like an Impatiens bush by the end of summer. Contrasting the deep purples with the whites or mixing light and dark of the same color can make some of the most dramatic effects. These plants thrive in tree stumps and rotten logs which makes them easily placed along walkways or in more natural settings. When used in a bed, they can grow to 28 inches high and 24 inches wide, although the norm is probably half of that. They are very resistant to disease and require basically no care other than food and water. If not used in flowerbeds, these plants make excellent container and hanging plants either alone or mixed with other foliage. Perfect partners for the Impatiens would include variegated foliage, Red Star and white Alyssum. Impatiens are annuals, which means they will only live one season. Most climates are too cold for these plants to reseed themselves, so quality plants should be started in a greenhouse in early spring, or purchased and planted in late spring. For fuller growth through the growing season, cut off the top third of the seedlings with a pair of scissors immediately after you plant them. It’s not necessary to clean off the dead blooms of Impatiens. These plants are self cleaners. In the fall, after your plants have died from the first frost, remove the plants and add them to your compost heap for use as an additive next spring.

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Nasturtiums (Full Sun)(All Zones)(Well Drained Soil Nasturtiums are annuals that flower all summer until the first frost. They love full sun and are drought tolerant, which makes them great for the Western United States where lack of rain causes a problem with many plants. Nasturtiums come in many colors and varieties. You can purchase warm colors of orange and gold to bold reds and shades of brown. The lovely flowers and deep green leaves contrast, adding electricity to your garden. Nasturtiums will grow from 1 to 10 feet tall and spread 6-18 inches wide depending on the variety. Nasturtiums come in both plant and vine varieties. Because of the varieties available, where you plant them depends on what type of Nasturtium you’ve purchased. The Vines may be trained to climb a trellis and then be used as a backdrop in an existing bed. You can also use the plants in the front of a summer bed using Lavender in the background. This provides a striking combination when mixed with the vibrant color of these flowers. Nasturtiums also do well in containers or hanging baskets. The vine variety can make a unique statement when trailing from a window box or hanging basket. Especially when using the variegated leaf of some varieties. These plants should be sowed in early spring before the last spring frost, or indoors in peat pots. When the weather begins to warm, you may move your seedlings outside during the day and then bring them in at night until all danger of frost has passed. At that time, you may plant the Nasturtiums outside. A hint to successful planting of this flower is to wait until a cloudy day. This lessons the transplant shock. During the summer months, regularly remove spent flowers and foliage to keep your plant blooming and full. Be careful not to pinch the stems of the climbing variety. This can injure these plants. In the fall, close to the first frost, pull up the plants and use them as compost for the following season.

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Marigolds (Full Sun)(All Zones)(Moist, Acidic Soil) This annual is very easy to care for, disease and insect resistant and great for cut flowers. It grows in all zones of the United States and absolutely thrives in moist acidic soil that gets full sun. The flowers last from spring until frost, making this plant a staple in any landscape utilizing annuals. Marigolds come in two varieties and colors and depending on which variety you purchase, these plants can grow as much as 24 inches tall and spread 12 inches wide. The two varieties are African and French. The French variety is the smaller ball shaped flower, while the Africans grow much bigger with Daisy like flowers. Each type have colors that range from yellow to deep orange. The smaller varieties are often used as edging, where the larger are used in the middle to back of a flowerbed. Marigolds partner well with other border annuals such as Alyssum. They also have a dramatic effect when partnered with a background of larger plants such as Daisies, Zinnias, and Strawflowers. When purchasing your Marigolds in the spring, look for bushy compact plants with lush deep green growth. Avoid any plants that are limp or leggy with withered leaves. Plants that have been poorly cared for prior to your purchase will not offer a lot of blooms after purchase. You can plant your marigolds in masses or as single colors to offset the landscape. Water regularly and use a low nitrogen fertilizer because excess nitrogen causes these plants to bloom less. As your blooms fade, pick them off to encourage more blooms to form. This will keep your plants lush and full all summer long. In the fall, your Marigolds will flower well into the first frost with little protection against the elements. Once your plant has frozen and died, you may remove it and add it to a compost pile. If you’d like, you may remove the dried blooms and crush them for removal of the seeds. These seeds can be sowed in the spring.

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A great idea for summer flower beds is to mix vegetables and herbs within the flower garden. A row of Basil, like the one pictured below and to the left, is an excellent way to showcase colors and grow something that will give you back something you can use. Or, if you prefer, you can dry it and use them as gifts for your friends. Other great spices to grow in your garden include Sage (pictured below right), Rosemary, Thyme, and Mint. Most of these spices will grow in all zones and only require sunshine and well-drained soil. All will create a look that will be unique when compared to the normal flowerbed. Also great to grow in your garden are some vegetables, such as Tomatoes and Peppers. These plants can be mixed in and offer a variety of color both with the foliage and fruits they produce.

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Fall Varieties Hardy Mums (Full Sun)(Zone 5-9)(Well Drained Soil) The Hardy Mum is one of the most beautiful plants anyone can have in their landscape. These plants thrive in the fall when days become crisp. The huge variety of colors and types available in the Hardy Mum make them the perfect solution for the transition from summer to fall in your landscape. These hardy perennials come back bigger and stronger year after year, are disease resistant, and easy to care for. Be ready to divide your Hardy Mum’s every couple years, or you will have Mum bushes instead of healthy individual specimens. Mums love full sun and well drained soil. Plant in a location where they get both and your fall blooms will be so full you won’t be able to see the green beneath. A secret to the Hardy Mum is to pinch the tips of the growing plants in early spring when they are two inches long. Pinching will keep the plants shorter, fuller and gives them a nicer shape. Also pick off any early blooms. Do this two to three times, but do not pinch any more after the middle of July. That’s when your plant will get ready to flower for the fall. In the fall, pinch off faded blooms to encourage new blooms to form. This will keep your Mum blooming well into fall and if protected, through the first frost. Once the plant has died for the winter, cut back the stems to 2 inches above the ground, then mulch the top of the plant with about 2 to 3 inches of cedar or cypress mulch. In the spring, remove the mulch and spread it around the base of the Mum. When purchasing the potted plants, make sure you choose plants that are fuller and of a lush green color. This indicates that the plant was cared for properly at the grower and will have a better chance of survival and good bloom during the plants first year in your landscape.

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Straw Flowers (Full Sun)(All Zones)(Fertile, Well Drained Soil) This annual blooms from summer into fall making it a great transition flower into the changing season. Strawflowers are drought tolerant and make great cut or dried flowers. Many people grow and use these flowers in wreaths and dried flower arrangements for decoration around their home. Strawflowers reach a height of 1-3 feet and spread 1-2 feet wide, making them a perfect rear or middle plant in a tiered bed. Most varieties have two to three foot tall stems topped with lovely round flowers and dense foliage. Some of the blooms on a Strawflower measure 2” across. The colors range from gold, orange, red and cream to shades of pink, salmon, white and magenta. Some plants have different color flowers on the same plant making each plant unique from another. These plants thrive in sandy soil and are great to fill a rocky slope or line a driveway. The drought resistant flower will grow in many types of soils, although it likes sandy soil best, making this versatile plant a staple in rock gardens or other areas where the soil may be a little sandier. Perfect partners to Strawflowers are Marigolds, Yarrow, and Zinnias. Hardy Mums work well partnered with these flowers too. When mixing the colors available in the Strawflowers with partner flowers, you can make a colorful transition from one season to the next sometimes using different hues of the same color. These plants should be planted by seed in the spring for the best results, but seedlings may also be purchased. If purchasing a seedling, check the plants carefully to make sure there are no black leaves indicating the plant may have received too much water while growing. Strawflowers may be harvested and dried all the way up until the first frost. After that, the plants may be harvested for compost and use the following spring.

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Shasta Daisies (Full Sun/Light Shade)(Zones 4-8)(Moist Well Drained Soil) This beautiful Perennial will tower over your smaller plants, giving a backdrop that can’t be beat. They are especially beautiful when used in a natural setting, along paths or up against a large tree or stump. The Shasta Daisy will bloom from summer well into fall making it an excellent transition flower for the seasons. Shasta daisies are easy to grow and disease resistant, however they are a favorite of Lace bugs, so you may need to use insecticide on these plants. When full grown, the Shasta Daisy reaches heights of up to four feet and spreads up to three feet. These plants do very well planted in clumps There are many colors and varieties of Shasta Daisies as they are members of the same family as garden Chrysanthemums. The Daisies bloom can reach up to five inches wide and feature white or yellow hues set around a gold button like center. Some of the newer varieties are double flowering, which means they hold twice the number of petals of a normal Daisy. Shasta Daisies also come in Dwarf forms which grow 18 inches tall. Shasta Daisies are great for filling in gaps in a perennial border. They partner well with tall spiky flowers such as Foxgloves, Delphiniums, and Gladioli. They also do well with lower growing annuals such as Petunias, Geraniums and Marigolds. A secret to success when planting these beautiful flowers is to pinch flower stalks after they start to grow. This will enable you to get more, but smaller flowers when they bloom. Also, divide clumps of Shasta Daisy plants every second year to grow them as strong perennials. When starting Daisies in your garden, plant container grown Daisies in the fall and remove flowers after they have bloomed. In early spring, lift and split any older plants, then replant divisions from the outside of the clump and throw away the older middle section. In late spring, pinch back the plants for more compact growth. Remove the top 2-3 inches of growth from each stem, and then stake plants before they grow too tall. In the summer, keep the soil moist. You may cut the daisies for indoor use and remove blooms that are finished.

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Perennial Lobelias (Partial Shade)(Zones 2-9)(Moist, Humus-Rich Soil) This perennial flowers mid-summer into autumn with tall spike like red flowers that reach heights up to five feet. The Lobelia makes excellent cut flowers and attract butterflies and hummingbirds as well as other wildlife. The beautiful plumes come in red and blue with unusual leafy stalks of bronze-green leaves. Lobelias do well in natural locations that may be a little wetter than other plants like. Lobelia will thrive in mossy and woodsy areas, but can also be grown in containers or used as borders in a landscape. Naturalize Lobelias in full to partial sun along ponds and low lying areas, or in a border, place them where water may seep and the soil may be a little wetter than the rest of the bed. Lobelias love shade as well, so placing them in a shade garden under a tall tree is a perfect place for Lobelia to thrive. Perfect partners for the Lobelia would be Azaleas and Irises. In a border, the contrast of Ligularias and white Japanese Bleeding-hearts are a great choice. A secret to success for Perennial Lobelias are to buy robust green plants in the spring with no flower stalks. Every fall, cut off and replant the new shoots from clumps to extend the life of the plant. Do not eat the leaves, stems or seeds of a Lobelia. They are poisonous! Make sure you always watch young children when playing near these plants. *****

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Shrubs are probably the most beautiful and lowest maintenance plants in your landscape. Their beauty, although sometimes subtle, gives a landscape year round continuity. They are versatile and can be used as privacy screens, fillers for bare spots, or even to soften the lines of a home’s foundation. They can even be used alone as a specimen. However, if you’re using a shrub as a specimen, make sure it’s a shrub that will provide flowering or special color and compliment it with smaller plants of color that can be more of the focal point during its off season. Shrubs come in so many colors, sizes and varieties that the selection is virtually endless. You can choose a deciduous shrub or an evergreen. Some of the deciduous shrubs have leaves that will change to vibrant reds or produce fruit in the fall, setting off the contrast in your landscape even more as your summer flowers begin to fade. Shrubs basically fall into three categories: 1. 2. 3. Narrow leafed or coniferous evergreens, which keep their foliage year-round. Broad-leaved evergreens including rhododendrons and hollies and Deciduous shrubs that lose their leaves once a year. Many deciduous shrubs are flowering shrubs.

Shrubs should be chosen to blend in with your landscape and not detract from the style of your home. For example, stay away from shrubs that when full grown will block windows or entry ways. Also stay away from plants with severe upright forms that will conflict with the horizontal lines of a house. Use shrubs to create a natural setting and soften the structural edges of a home. Informal masses of evergreens at the corner of a two-story home will produce a lush frame around the foundation. For the best effect, use shrubs that contrast in size and texture. For example, the feathery foliage of juniper will enhance the looks of a shiny broadleaved evergreen such as the holly.

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Forsythias (Full Sun)(Zones 5-9)(Fertile, Well Drained Soil) The Forsythia is an easy to care for disease resistant shrub that produces bright yellow flowers every spring. This shrub is one of the early bloomers, usually being finished by the time the redbuds and dogwoods begin. Forsythias reach up to 8 feet in height and spread up to 8 feet in width making them an excellent choice as a hedge shrub. The curvy branches of the Forsythias intertwine in an informal hedge setting, giving them the ability to block items from view in a landscape. Forsythias come in several varieties, the most common “Spring Glory” (pictured), produces an abundance of yellow and gold hues that can easily be spotted from far away. However, other varieties, such as “Lynwood” produces brass-colored flowers and can grow up to 10 feet tall. Many of the Forsythias have foliage that turns purple or bronze in autumn, giving this shrub a multipurpose, beginning the transition from winter to spring, then finishing the transition from summer to autumn. Forsythias can be planted as an informal hedge, specimen plants, or accent shrubs at either side of an entryway. A perfect planting partner with the Forsythias would be low growing Azaleas. Azaleas come in many colors and when used to offset the color of the Forsythia, you create a show of color that sets your landscape above the others. When buying Forsythias, look for plants with at least eight to ten healthy green ¼ inch diameter shoots and several buds. Avoid all plants that show split or cracked branches. Bring them home and plant them in well drained soil that gets full sun. Forsythias can be planted in either the late fall or early spring although fall is probably the better choice. Do not prune these shrubs into a formal shape because it may cause them not to bloom in the spring. You can however, informally prune after the shrub has finished flowering. In the summer, water these shrubs only in dry spells where you have not received rain for at least two weeks, mulch them in the fall for winter protection if you live in zones 3-6. - 30 -

Rhododendrons (Partial Sun)(Zones 4-10)(Acidic, Coarsely Textured Soil) No shrub in a landscape has the beauty of a Rhododendron that is fully covered in blooms. The colors and uniqueness of these shrubs set them apart from all others. However, these shrubs are picky about their soil and if not happy, they will not thrive. The Rhododendron flowers in spring to early summer with dramatic flowers on rugged foliage. They are fragrant and many varieties are evergreen, making that transition from fall to winter by allowing greenery to stay in the landscape. Depending on the variety, Rhododendrons will grow from 2-12 feet tall and spread from 2-8 feet wide. Many southern states, such as Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina have these beautiful shrubs growing wild throughout the mountains making a nature walk in the spring a truly beautiful experience. Rhododendrons come in hundreds of species and hybrids, ranging from dwarfs to treesize varieties. Some are more durable than others, such as the Catawba hybrids. Brighter colors can be found by choosing a Caucasicum hybrid. Rhododendrons should be planted in lightly shaded areas where the soil has been properly prepared for these acid loving shrubs. They like to be blocked by winter winds if you live in a zone that may be a little colder. Perfect partners with the Rhododendron are any spring bulbs, Hydrangeas, and the ground cover Pachysandra, just to name a few. Ferns also give a great show when blended with these evergreen shrubs, especially when the Rhododendron is in full show. When buying Rhododendrons, look for shrubs that are already in bloom to check the color and size of the flowers. Stay away from any plants that show yellow or spotted leaves. These are signs that the plant is already struggling to survive and probably will not survive the transplant. To reinvigorate older Rhododendrons, cut back one-third of the shrub each year for three years. Make sure you prune the shrub evenly.

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Lilacs (Full Sun)(Zones 3-8)(Well-Drained Soil) The fragrant blooms of Lilacs in late spring to early summer fill the air with their perfume. These beautiful shrubs thrive in the sun with well-drained soil and make an excellent informal shrub with the inter-twining of the lush green growth. Lilacs are easy to grow, great as a cut flower and attract hummingbirds and butterflies as well as other wildlife to your landscape. Depending on the variety, Lilacs grow from 5 to 20 feet tall and spread from 6 to 12 feet wide. Lilacs are a deciduous shrub which means they will lose their leaves every winter. In the spring, when their blooms are full, they are best showcased as a border. The lilacs wall of green after the flowers are done, creates a beautiful green backdrop to any landscape. Perfect partners for these large shrubs would be Crabapples and Hyacinths and Clematis. All have the same bloom time and with the colors available, you can use them together to offset each other creating harmony among the colors. A secret to beautiful Lilacs is to make sure you cut any suckers that come up all the way down to the root. When cared for and planted in full sun, these beautiful shrubs will give you many years of beauty and fragrance. Lilacs may be planted in either the spring or fall and should be watered and mulched after planting. Make sure you remove any faded blooms through the late spring and summer and once the flowering is complete, you may prune lightly to reshape the bush. In summer, you may propagate the bush by taking soft or hardwood cutting and planting them. They will grow roots and eventually become new shrubs. To rejuvenate an older Lilac, hard prune it back to 1 foot in the winter after all the leaves have dropped. The plant will grow again in the spring, but will not flower until the second year after a hard pruning.

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Hydrangeas (Full Sun/Partial Shade)(Zones 6-9)(Rich, Moist Soil) Big-leaf Hydrangeas are lush shrubs with enduring flowers. Their growing and blooming season is one of the longest of all shrubs spanning from early spring to early fall. Hydrangeas are easy to grow, great as cut flowers and best of all wind resistant, which means you don’t have to be so picky about their location to protect them from the elements. Depending on the variety, Big-leaf Hydrangeas grow up to 8 feet tall and spread up to 10 feet wide. Bid-leaf Hydrangeas have glossy, light green leaves and clusters of single-colored flowers in shades of purple, red, blue, and white. The Hortensia blooms look like pom-poms where the Lacecaps are flat, open flower heads. Both are hardy and thrive with proper care. Hydrangeas can be planted in most areas of the landscape because they can tolerate both full sun and partial shade. They are excellent in shrub borders, or as a single specimen in a landscape. Perfect partners of the Hydrangea would be Magnolias and Burford Hollies because these shrubs offer foliage to fill in the landscape when the Hydrangea loses its leaves in the winter. Hydrangeas also do well with groundcovers such as English Ivy or Periwinkle. When buying Hydrangeas, buy plants in bloom so you can see the color of both the flowers and the leaves. Avoid any Hydrangeas with brown or wilted leaves. If possible, the best planting time for these beautiful bushes is in the fall. Water in and mulch the Hydrangeas well after planting to prepare for the winter ahead. In the spring, remove any dead branches and apply a slow release fertilizer to the soil at the base of the Hydrangeas. You can change the bloom color to blue or pink by adding aluminum sulfate or lime to the soil. After the blooms have faded, cut back any stems that carried flowers, taking care not to cut any that have new shoots.

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Boxwoods (Full to Partial Sun)(Zones 5-9)(Well Drained Soil) Boxwoods are tough, disease resistant, easy to care for evergreens that will offer color to your landscape year round. Boxwoods, depending on the variety and pruning methods can grow up to 12 feet tall and spread up to 5 feet wide. It is a compact shrub with thick uniform leaves and tiny white flowers in the spring. It is used mostly as a hedge, but can also be used as a specimen plant due to the ability to manicure this shrub into almost any shape. Some of the more common Boxwood are the “Common” or “English” Boxwood. This shrub is most widely used in large hedges. There is a dwarf form of this variety “Suffruiticose” and is used for low hedges. The Japanese Boxwood is easily clipped into shapes such as globes, tiers, or pyramids. It’s also perfect for growing in containers. The Korean Boxwood is tough and hardy and does well in temperatures as low as 18 degrees below zero. The Korean Boxwood is a slower grower than other types of Boxwood, which makes them ideal for edging hedges. Boxwoods can be planted pretty much anywhere and do well as privacy screens, evergreen hedges, low borders or as trimmed specimen plants. Use them to hide a storage area or other item you do not wish to be viewed by all. You may also use them to line a walk or driveway. Perfect planting partners to the Boxwood include any flowering plants. The lush green foliage of the Boxwood will bring out any color produced by a plant more than the plant by itself. Especially beautiful are Boxwoods surrounding a Rhododendron. Buy healthy potted plants and plant them in the spring for summer growth. Trim them throughout the summer making the bottom of the hedge wider than the top so that the sun can reach all the foliage and not just the top. In the winter, try to keep snow from accumulating on the branches to prevent breakage. Since Boxwoods have a subtle but unpleasant odor, you may not want to plant them around a sitting area.

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Azaleas (Partial to Full Shade)(Zones 4-8)(Acidic, Moist, Well Drained Soil) The Azalea is probably the most beautiful spring shrub, with vibrant colored flowers and lush green foliage than remains even through the winter months, but it’s also one of the pickiest shrubs. Azaleas must have acid in their soil and their soil must drain sufficiently, or these plants will struggle to bloom, or die. The Azalea blooms from early spring to early fall depending on the variety. They are related to the Rhododendron although they are usually smaller than its parent species. Azaleas come in yellow, red, pink, white, and purple and are available in both deciduous and evergreen forms. Depending on the variety they grow between 4 and 15 feet tall and can spread as much as 8 feet wide. Azaleas will not do well unless they are kept out of direct sunlight and protected from winter winds. Azaleas plant well under trees or in woodland areas. They also do well in containers on a porch where they are protected form the summer sun. If you’re planting among other specimens that don’t like acidic soil, plant the Azaleas in a raised bed so that their soil may be properly maintained. Azaleas plant well with spring bulbs, such as late blooming Tulips. They also look great amongst a blanket of dark green Ivy. For a really spectacular display, plant the Azaleas under a Dogwood tree to offset the deep colors of the Azalea with the white blooms of a Dogwood. When buying Azaleas in the spring, look for plants that are healthy and do not show yellow leaves or signs that the plant growth may have been stunted by a root bound pot. During the summer months remove spent flowers and pinch out tips of new growth to create a fuller denser plant. In the fall mulch well and cover with netting or burlap to shelter the branches. A secret to maintaining the soil preparation is to use a mulch of Pine needles or Oak leaves in the fall so that the acid can seep through the soil and maintain the acidic level for the new growth in the spring.

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Junipers (Full Sun/Partial Shade)(Zones 2-10)(Average, Well Drained Soil) Junipers are very rugged and dependable evergreen shrubs and the staple of many landscapes. These evergreens are easy to grow, drought resistant and some even produce berries in the fall. Depending on the variety they can reach up to 40 feet tall and spread up to 20 feet wide. However, there are smaller varieties also available, and these will reach a maximum growing height of one foot. There are Junipers for all climates, from the tropical climate of Florida to the cold bitter winters of the Dakota’s. There are also many different hues of green available depending on the variety you choose. Some Junipers are tall and upright while others are shrubby and spread outward. Some have prickly foliage and some have scale-like foliage. Some varieties even have a combination of both. Junipers love full sun to light shade so any spot in your garden that receives sun is a great place to plant a Juniper. Many landscapes contain the low Junipers as a ground cover. These can be mixed to create a variety of heights textures and colors, and planted on sloping or flat ground. The shrubby forms are often used as foundation or specimen plants to soften the lines of the house and link the house and yard in the landscape. Junipers plant well with Flowering Cherry trees and Japanese Maples among many other plants and trees. Burgundy and red flowers will show an interesting contrast when placed among these evergreen shrubs. Also a carpet of Cypress Spurges looks great when in bloom under the towering branches of a larger Juniper shrub. Buy healthy Junipers for planting in the late winter-early spring when the soil is workable, but the weather is still cool. Avoid any plants that have brown needles or sparse foliage. These plants may not grow well and could even die young in your landscape. When the summer has gone and the Juniper is finished growing for the season, lightly prune back branches to retain the shape of the shrub. Do not take off too much because new growth will not take place on bare wood.

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Holly (Full Sun/Partial Sun)(Zones 3-11)(Slight Acidic, Well Drained Soil) Holly is one of the most versatile shrubs you can use in your landscape. They provide a deep green color year round, and an abundance of berries in the fall that will remain throughout the majority of the winter months. That makes Holly a must have shrub for any area that needs the transition from fall to winter, by keeping color in your landscape year round. There are many varieties of Holly available. No matter where you live in the United States, there is a Holly available for your area. It’s one of the only shrubs that have a variety that will thrive in all 50 states. Holly range in size from a 6-inch-tall spreading dwarf to a 70-foot-tall towering giant. Leaves may be small and spineless or large and armed. Berries can be red, orange, yellow, or black. In order to produce berries, you must have a male and female Holly. The females are the only ones that will produce berries, so when planting a group of Holly, make sure you have at least one male in the bunch. Most greenhouses have them named for easy selection. The females are usually Princess, where the males are usually Prince. Holly plants well with other evergreens or any flowers whose color is set off by the deep color of the Holly leaf. They are excellent as foundation plants or specimen plants. A grouping under a Dogwood or Redbud makes an excellent show, especially when blended with other colors that compliment each other and create an eye-catching landscape. When purchasing young Holly for planting in the spring, choose healthy plants with lush green foliage. Avoid any plants that have yellow leaves or seem thin. Plant the Holly in slightly acidic soil in the spring for pollination of fall berries. Through the winter months, lightly mulch with pine needles or oak leaves to help retain an acidic level of soil. You may shape the plants after the growing season by lightly pruning, but do not cut off too much or you may jeopardize berry production for the following year. If you wait to lightly prune during the Holiday season, you may use the cut boughs in Holiday decorations.

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Viburnum (Full Sun)(Zones 4-11)(Well Drained Soil) This is another very versatile shrub for the landscape. Viburnum are easily grown, disease resistant and give beauty to a landscape from early spring through the dead of winter. This showy shrub comes in many varieties, but most will grow up to eight feet tall and spread up to eight feet wide. In the early spring, the evergreen will retain its brighter green leaves and form buds that will turn to flowers by early summer. This beautiful shrub will then retain its flowers through most of the summer, until its berries turn red and eventually black in the fall. The flowers and berries produced by the Viburnum, along with its ability to adapt to different type soils makes this shrub an excellent choice for any landscape. Use the Viburnum as a specimen plant, or as an informal hedge. The quick growing plant will provide a screen in no time with a show of flowers and berries as a backdrop that blends well with any plants in the forefront. Excellent planting partners to this shrub are evergreen trees. You may use staggered evergreens and Viburnum in a raised area to create an excellent windbreak in no time due to their fast growth. The height of the evergreen combined with the roundness of the Viburnum creates an eye pleasing effect that you’ll find as an entry point to many subdivisions. Buy healthy Viburnum in the fall for planting. They may be planted in the late fall or early spring as soon as the ground is workable. Choose full and healthy plants, and avoid plants that have branches with only a few leaves. Most Viburnum do retain their leaves through the winter, but purchasing one in early spring, it may be difficult to tell how full the shrub really is due to some leaf loss through the winter months. Once the flowers on a Viburnum have faded, do not cut them off. These spent flower heads will convert themselves into boughs of berries for the fall.


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Japanese Barberry (Full Sun/Full Shade)(Zones 4-8)(Well Drained Soil) The Japanese Barberry is one of the most forgiving and adaptable shrubs you can place in your landscape. They are hardy and give off color year round. In the spring (April to May), this plant is showy with its boughs of yellow, that in fall turn into red berries to continue its show through the winter months. Their colored branches offer small oval leaves in purple, green and red hues from spring through fall. The Barberry thrives in full sun, but will also tolerate full shade. It is also adaptable to most soil types, although if left in soggy soil, it will die. The soil should at least drain moderately. The branches of a Barberry are slender, spiny and small. They contain thorns or “barbs”, which make them hard to penetrate. Barberries are excellent as border and filler shrubs. They can be used in front of a home without interfering in the architecture of the home. The lower growing shrub will reach heights of 24” tall and 30” wide, making it perfect for planting underneath windows. Planting partners for this shrub would include any ground covers or flowers that would produce a color complimentary to the reds and purple of the Barberry. For example, Pachysandra with its deep greens and contrasting leaf shape works great when planted around the base of a Barberry. A backdrop of red Cannas with Barberry as filler also makes a dramatic impression through the summer months. Although the plant featured here is the Japanese Barberry, there are many other Barberries that are available. Other species range from 2 feet to 13 feet tall. The smaller varieties accept pruning well, and are sometimes used as a ground cover instead of a shrub. Buy quality healthy container plants in the fall or early spring for planting. Plant in well-drained soil leaving enough room for spreading. Remember, these shrubs are very slow growers that spread more than they grow tall.

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Burning Bush (Full Sun/Partial Shade)(Zones 4-8)(Well Drained Soil) The “Burning Bush” is a deciduous species of Euonymus that is widely used in landscapes for their year round color and overall hardiness. In the spring, the winged branches are one of the first to display green and remind us that spring is just around the corner. The lush green leaves remain throughout the summer providing an excellent backdrop for summer flowers. In the autumn, the leaves of the burning bush turn bright red before falling and leaving us with a winter show of interesting winged branches that have a tint of red and green throughout the winter months. There are a number of different varieties of Burning Bush, but for the most part they fall into two distinct categories. The older variety (euonymus alata) is often called "Winged Euonymus" or "Winged Burning Bush". This variety can grow to a height of 12 to 15 feet, and the bark is very unique with its winged edges. The more common variety (euonymus alata compacta) only reaches a height of 8 to 10 feet, and the wings on the bark are still quite obvious, but not near as pronounced as the winged variety. The Burning Bush is basically maintenance free and disease resistant. Although minor problems may occur, these problems can be dealt with in a relatively simple manner. Problems usually consist of insect infestations. Perfect planting partners are ground covers and annuals that will compliment the deep green of the summer leaves. A Burning Bush surrounded by a sea of yellow Marigolds is especially beautiful through the summer months. As the annuals begin to die in the fall, the red of the bush in the fall takes over as the main attraction. The leaves usually remain well into the crisp cool days of autumn. When selecting quality shrubs for planning in early spring or fall, look for fuller shrubs with a lot of leaves. Plant in well-drained soil with a neutral pH level and mulch around the base in the fall.

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Pyracanthas (Full Sun/Partial Shade)(Zones 6-9)(Well-Drained, Humus Rich Soil) Pyrachanthas will produce a blaze of berries on a strong and handsome shrub. This evergreen produces fragrant flowers from late spring until early summer and then berries from late summer until early winter. It does attract wildlife, so your landscapes beauty is intensified that much more by the butterflies and birds that will visit your yard to feast from this beautiful shrub. Pyracanthas cannot tolerate cold temperatures and so it is not suitable for zones with winter temperatures that reach below 0 degrees. Also, it’s very picky about its soil, so a humus rich soil that drains well is a must with this shrub. However, if cared for properly, there are not any plants that will produce more beauty for your landscape than the Pyracanthas. This shrub is also one of the larger shrubs available. The heights range from 3 to 20 feet and it can spread to a width of 15 feet. Pyracanthas, also known as Firethorns, come laden with small fiery red, orange, or gold berries depending on the variety. Since they are evergreens, they will retain their deep green leaves throughout the winter, making them a great all-around-shrub for any landscape. Pyracanthas should be planted where their beauty can be appreciated. They are thorny, so make sure you do not plant them in pathways where passerby’s will get snagged by their thorns. Use them to cover an unused slope, or plant them in a row for an informal hedge. Since these shrubs do spread, leave at least 5 feet between the centers of each shrub. Perfect planting partners to the Pyracanthas are any gold, red and orange annuals whose hues will match those of the fiery shrub’s berries. A sight to be been is a crowd of Orange Marigolds planted in front of a Pyracanthas, full of red berries. When buying Pyracanthas, look for container-grown plants with many flower buds or berries in the spring or early fall. Avoid Pyracanthas that are balled and burlapped as they do not transplant well. Plant them in full sun and keep well watered the first year. After the shrub has finished its summer growth, you may prune the shrub in whatever shape you desire. Spray the Pyracanthas with lime-sulfur or webttable sulfur in the early spring to prevent scab from forming.

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Trees are the frameworks of your masterpiece. Any landscape without trees seems bare, no matter how beautiful the plants, shrubs and other items are. When planting trees in your landscape, search for trees that will meet your specific needs. Do you have an area in your yard that needs more shade? Perhaps you need to camouflage an unsightly object or give an area year round color to enhance the landscape as a whole. Before you select a new tree for a particular area, consider the mature height of the tree. Make sure it is in proportion to its surroundings and that the shape will compliment the landscape and not detract from it. Tree shapes may be columnar, globular or horizontal. Think about the purpose of the tree. Evergreens will work best for screens and windbreaks, while deciduous trees offer the advantages of seasonal transition by providing flowers in spring and colored foliage in fall. If you are looking at your landscape and are still undecided about what tree to plant, let the size and style of your home dictate the decision for you. Towering shade trees will blend well with log homes and large lots. The Oak is a good choice because it will protect the home from the elements. In the summer, the Oaks large leaves shade the house keeping it cooler while in the winter, its bare branches let the sunshine through making your home warmer. Small trees work well on small lots. Although the smaller trees cannot be used as shade, most will create a very dramatic spring landscape with a cloud of white fragrant blossoms. When used in conjunction with other small trees, such as the Japanese maple, the color contrast of the deep red against the show of white is delightful. Other good choices for small lots are the Dogwood, Redbud, Flowering Crab, Star Magnolia and Amur Maple. As with plants and shrubs, trees can also be used for the transition of seasons. Consider the spring bloom of a crabapple, fading into the deep green of the summer foliage while the garden’s summer flowers now steal the show. As summer fades, the Crabapple once again steels the show with gnarly fruits and autumn foliage. As the trees leaves fall to the ground, the Holly and Evergreens take over for the show of green and colored berries.

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Deciduous Trees
Mountain Ash (Full Sun/Partial Shade)(Zones 2-8)(Well Drained Average Soil) The Mountain Ash produces spring blooms and lush summer foliage that eventually transforms into flashy fall and winter color. Mountain Ashes are fast growing wind resistant tress that will attract an abundance of wildlife to your landscape. They reach heights as tall as 50 feet and will spread up to 30 feet wide. They come in different varieties but all have the same characteristics of spring blooms and fall berries. You should plant the Mountain Ash in a position of prominence. A single tree makes a terrific accent rising from a carpet of green lawn. They are also effective with a background of tall evergreen, that will show off the fall berry crop that much better. The symmetrical shape of the Mountain Ash makes it a good choice for lining driveways and streets. The Mountain Ash partners perfectly with Dogwoods and Witch Hazel. They also make great partners as the focal point to shade loving perennials such as Hosta and Astilbe. Buy well-branched sturdy young trees with unblemished bark in the late winter early spring for planting. Avoid any trees with lopsided branching or roughened patches of bark. Do not over fertilize Mountain Ashes after planting, over stimulation of lush growth is more susceptible to fireblight and rust disease. In the winter prune young trees as needed to improve their structure and shape. Be sure and remove any branches that cross through the tree’s center. Also cut out vertical stems that compete with the tree’s central stem. When cared for properly, these trees will give you a lifetime of beauty for easy transitions into each and every season.

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Oak (Full Sun)(All Zones)(Average Well Drained Soil) Oak Trees are a broad leafed deciduous tree that can live 200 years or more. Once established in your yard, these mighty trees will remain for centuries to come. They are great for providing shade in the summer and letting the sun shine through in the winter. Their leaves renew every spring to shade your summer and then turn beautiful shades of red in the fall to produce an abundance of color. An Oak Tree will produce acorns after it is 20 years old but sometimes will not produce Acorns until it is 50 years or more. By the time the “Mighty Oak” is 70 or 80 years old, it will produce thousands of acorns encouraging wildlife to come and feast and even make their home in the mighty tree. Mature trees will produce acorns once a year during the fall. Acorn production varies year to year and normally alternates. The trees must accumulate enough food and energy to produce a strong acorn crop and not even the strongest of trees can produce a successful crop two years in a row. Plant your Oak Tree as a single specimen in a large lot. These large trees require lots of water once established, so planting any other trees or plants in the general vicinity of an Oak will cause a battle for water, which the Oak Tree will ultimately win. A mature Oak can drink up to 50 gallons of water a week through its root systems. Oak trees are great for foresting or providing massive amounts of shade on larger lots. Planted a recommended distance from a home, they can eventually cut down on the cost of heating and electric bills by providing shade to cool in the summer and bareness in the winter to allow solar heating. When selecting strong trees for late fall or early spring planting, look for trees that have a good number of branches and a well balanced root system. Avoid trees that show signs of struggle, such as yellow leaves or damaged trunks.

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Maple (Full Sun)(All Zones)(Average Well Drained Soil) Maple Trees are another large staple that convert a landscape into a natural woods like setting. If you’re lucky enough to have a large lot and utilize several of these trees in your lot, one of the best features is that they come in many different varieties and with the planting of several varieties, you can have many colors painting your landscape when autumn arrives. There are over 200 species of Maple Trees in the Maple family. These are just a few that can help to enhance your landscape and provide functionality with the use of trees. The Sugar Maple is a slow growing Maple that grows slowly 60 to 75 feet tall and 40 feet wide with an upright, oval-to-rounded habit. Red Maples are popular for their fall display of brilliant red, orange, or yellow leaves. A red maple tree can be 40 to 60 feet tall and slightly less wide. Norway Maples are a good large shade tree where other maples won't grow. They have rounded, symmetrical, dense crowns and grow 40 to 50 feet tall and wide. The versatile Japanese Maple tree is popular for its finetextured leaves and good fall color. This is ordinarily a smaller growing Maple and used often as a focal point in an entryway landscape. The Paperbark Maple tree is noted for its cinnamon colored bark, which peels off in curly strips and has beautiful russet-red fall foliage. This is a smaller maple, excellent for smaller lots. It grows 20 feet tall and 20 feet wide. Finally, the Striped Bark Maple is a small, bushy tree with unique white striped green bark. Depending on the variety, Maple Trees can be used as individual trees in a lawn, or a smaller tree used in a bed as a focal point among plants and shrubs. There are Maples available in most all zones, but since individual Maples do vary, check on the species that will perform best in your area before purchasing. In the early spring, plant container grown or bare root healthy trees in decent soil that drains well. In the fall, prune the trees for a uniform shape and to avoid a “top heavy” tree. These trees are mostly disease resistant, but insects do love them. It may be necessary to spray them with an insecticide every so often to prevent damage to the leaves and bark.

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American Sycamore (Full Sun)(Zone 4-9)(Well Drained Moist Soil) This beautiful tree is a great addition to larger landscapes. It grows between 70 and 100 feet tall and spreads 60 to 80 feet wide with a mature form that is broad and round. It grows semi-rapidly in your landscape, giving it the ability to provide shade in a reasonable amount of time when compared to slower growing trees. The tree has large deep green leaves in the summer and produces tan to brown fall color to the landscape. Also, seeds that look like spiked balls will fall from this tree in the fall, self-planting in larger wooded areas. This is a very adaptable and rugged tree with a massive trunk and wide-spreading open crooked branches. Its bark is smooth and almost white when fully mature. The bark will flake off in irregular thin pieces, which gives the American Sycamore an impressive molted appearance. These trees are beautiful when planted alone due to their large size and the amount of water they need to thrive. They do very well in wooded situations and are a staple of many American landscapes in hilly or mountainous regions. Due to the flaking of the bark and the dropping of the seeds, these trees to not make wonderful companions to manicured lawns or landscapes. When purchasing Sycamores or planting in the early spring, look for well balanced branches and even rooted bare root trees or container grown specimens. Avoid any trees that look like they may have been stressed. These will have rough bark and yellow leaves. Sycamores are disease resistant and require little care. Water well the first year of planting to help establish root growth, and then water regularly throughout the summers thereafter, especially during periods of less than 1” of rain per week. These hardy staples will remain a landmark to your landscape for years to come.

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Ornamental Trees Flowering Dogwood (Full Sun/Partial Shade)(Zones 5-8)(Rich, Well Drained Soil) The Flowering Dogwood will give you four seasons of beauty from a heavily blooming tree. It flowers from mid to late spring, then produces lush green through the summer that easily flows into the berries and colored foliage for autumn. This tree is great in front yards as a stand-alone specimen as it only reaches heights of 25 feet with a spread of the same. The Flowering Dogwood comes in several different colors and varieties. All are flattopped trees that carry carpets of white, red or pink blooms in late spring. The tree’s pointed, oval, dark green or variegated leaves turn scarlet or purple in the fall before falling off in winter. Clusters of brilliant crimson fruit grow on the tree in late summer attracting birds and squirrels to your yard for a feast. These bright red berries cling to their gray stems until midwinter, providing a contrast against a snowy backdrop. Flowering Dogwoods are best planted in open areas where their multi-seasonal beauty can be appreciated. The popular “Spring Song” variety grows up to 15 feet tall and produces coral-pink blooms. This is a particularly popular species for landscaping front lawns or as a specimen plant in the front of a home. Perfect planting partners of the Flowering Dogwoods are any spring flowering plants that have colors that complement the delicate pink, white or red blooms of a Dogwood. Plant a base of mid-spring blooming bulbs such as Spanish Bluebells or Grape Hyacinths. Their low growing indigo hues are stunning beneath the pink blooms of a Flowering Dogwood. In the spring, buy balled and burlapped or container grown trees that appear strong and are certified as disease resistant. Avoid buying trees in summer or fall, or as bareroot plants. These are all probably too stressed to do well after transplanting. Water well the first year, but do so in soil that drains well to prevent root rot. Mulch your trees in early spring with chopped leaves. If your Dogwood needs pruning, do so in the winter after your tree has completed its cycle of blooms to fruit. This will enable it to start fresh again the following spring. Crabapple - 47 -

(Full Sun)(Zones 4-9)(Good Well Drained Soil) The Crabapple will give you a spectacular show of flowers every spring and an abundance of fruit in the fall. They are extremely easy to grow in good, well-drained soil, and will attract a variety of birds and other wildlife. Crabapples come in many varieties and colors although the smaller varieties are more popular in landscaping. Smaller varieties, such as the “Snowdrift”, will produce a froth of white blossoms, which grow on a symmetrically rounded tree that will reach a height of 25 feet and produce an orange-red fruit. The White Angel”, another popular variety, will produce pink buds and grow on a vase-shaped tree reaching a maximum height of 20 feet. The Snowdrift and White Angel are the most popular varieties grown as a specimen tree in smaller lots and flowerbeds. For larger yards, the “Dolgo” will grow to 40 feet high and produce an edible red fruit. These trees are great for lining driveways. Especially in April and May, when the tree is in full bloom. You should plant Flowering Crabapples in lawns or beside a terrace all by itself. For a special effect, plant a tree in a large container. The weeping variety will produce a flowering specimen that can be placed on a porch or terrace. These small weeping varieties will still produce bright fruit in the fall. Perfect planting partners include spring bulbs and small Rhododendrons or Azaleas. The crabapple will offer shade the flowering shrubs need, while complimenting the show of the Flowering Crabapple with a unique spring show of their own. Hostas are another great choice for planting under a Flowering Crabapple. When buying this type tree in the early spring, look for bareroot Flowering Crabapple with a full, well balanced root system and at least three branches. Avoid buying young unbranched sticks with lopsided roots, as these take longer to establish and may topple in storms. In early spring, plant the bareroot Flowering Crabapple as soon as soil is workable and before the weather starts to warm. This is also the time you should prune established Crabapples. If scab was a problem in previous years, spray with an appropriate fungicide at this time every seven to ten days until the weather is warm. In the summer, after the blooming is finished, you may thin out excess growth, crossing stems and shoots that appear where they are not wanted. Also make sure and remove any suckers from the base of the tree.

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Saucer Magnolias (Full Sun/Partial Shade)(Zones 5-9)(Well-Drained Soil) Saucer Magnolias are sweet-smelling, spring flowering centerpieces that add beauty and awe to any spring landscape. The beautiful trees flower from mid to late spring making them perfect partners with spring bulbs and smaller spring bloomers such as the Dogwood. They thrive in full sun to partial shade and must have well drained soil to prevent root rot. In spring, the fragrant blooms can be smelled from a distance, which makes this tree a perfect choice for planting near porches and decks. The Saucer Magnolia is easy to grow and disease resistant which makes it that much more of a great choice of tree in a landscape design. The spread of 20 to 30 feet and height of 25 to 30 feet makes this compact tee a good size for even small lots. There are many colors and varieties of the Saucer Magnolia available. The “Alba Superba” has white Tulip-shaped flower buds flushed with purple, whereas the “Lennei” provides stunning goblet shaped flowers in spectacular hues of purple and magenta. All of the trees bloom before the leaves appear. The flowers resemble dainty teacups and saucers and the fragrant blooms are 5-10 inches wide. Plant Saucer Magnolias against an evergreen backdrop to showcase the brilliant blooms. They are also great planted near the edge of a lawn for a strong display of spring flowers. Perfect planting partners would be spring blooming trees and flowers in purple and pink shades to compliment the colors in the Saucer Magnolia. Buy Magnolias that are balled and burlapped in spring, or buy container-grown trees in spring or early fall. Avoid very small trees as they can take years to bloom for the first time. Saucer Magnolias do not transplant well as bareroot trees. In the spring, plant and mulch the new Saucer Magnolia in well-prepared soil and keep it watered the first year. You may prune after the blooms have faded and also prune it as necessary to maintain the tree’s shape. Be sure and remove any diseased of broken limbs from the tree.

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Pines (Full Sun/Partial Shade)(Zones 3-6)(Well Drained Soil) Although many people use the word "pine" for any evergreen, true pines bear their needles in bundles called fascicles, not individually along the stem. Depending on the species, the bundle has two, three, or five needles. Two-needle types are more adaptable than three-needle, and three-needle more than five-needle. These majestic green beauties can fill a landscape with smells that remind us of holidays with family and friends. They will grow up to 50 feet tall, depending on their variety, and will span up to 20 feet across depending on the same. These trees are great as year-round trees in a landscape. They produce green to accompany spring bulbs and flowers, and then convert well into the summer landscape. In late summer, early fall, mature pines will form pinecones, which drop and spread seeds amongst the landscape. In the fall, the deep green colors of the pine keep color in your landscape and in winter, provide a backdrop of green in a snow-laden landscape There are many varieties of pine available. You may choose a dwarf variety for planting as specimen trees in a smaller yard, or you may choose larger varieties, such as the White Pine, for fast growing wind screens and shade groves. Plant quality balled and burlapped pine trees in the early spring or late fall for best results. Keep watered thoroughly, but do not let the roots sit in water, for the tree will drown and die. As the new green growth appears in the late spring early summer, trim it back ½ to encourage a healthy shape to the tree. Keep a close eye on your tree for pests and diseases. The pine is prone to both. Bagworms are especially harmful in some areas and can consume an entire tree in no time if not taken care of immediately. When planting a Pine tree, keep in mind you’re planting a staple in your landscape that with proper care, will remain even 100 years from now.

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Ivy (Full Sun/Full Shade)(Zones 5-10)(Well Drained Soil) Ivy is another form of evergreen that, although not a tree, should be a staple in all landscapes. The versatile plant can be trained to climb walls, or spread through a bed, giving color year round and a filling for bare areas. Not all varieties of ivy are evergreen, but large majorities, such as English Ivy, are. Some varieties are perennials and other varieties will even produce berries in fall to late winter. Most all will tolerate shade which makes it perfect for growing under trees or in areas that other plants have a hard time getting started. Some varieties of ivy can reach 90 feet in length and spread up to 12 feet wide, so make sure you understand the characteristics of the variety you have chosen prior to planting in your landscape. You may plant ivy almost anywhere. It’s fast growing and hardy enough to survive a lot of conditions. As a groundcover, it can provide a full green mat even in the densest shade. You can brighten shady corners with variegated Ivy, such as the sulfur yellow-centered leaves of “Goldheart”. You can also train Ivy to climb fences or walls, making it a great cover in plain areas that need a bit of pizzazz. Buy Ivy in flats of six or more cells and look for healthy well-rooted plants that have shiny leaves. Avoid wilted plants or seedlings with brown spots. Wherever you decide to plant your Ivy, make sure it drains well. Plant new plants in the spring and fertilize with commercial fertilizer. Prune back and trim existing Ivy to control growth. In the summer, fertilize again and keep watered. You may prune again in the early fall. Make sure you continue to water your ivy until the ground freezes to ensure proper moisture through the winter months. If you will be using ivy to climb a wall, make sure you cut back any tendrils that are reaching the roof. Ivy can damage shingles if not cut back before the invasion.

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Conclusion Hopefully you’re now inspired and have many ideas for filling that blank canvas of your landscape. Take your time and plan. Think through it all. How tall will this tree be in 20 years? How long will this plant live? Will this color compliment the other colors I have chosen? Remember, mistakes can be easily erased as long as they happen in the beginning stages. It’s much easier to move a tree after you just planted it than it would be ten years from now. Don’t forget to think about your seasonal transitions. Make sure each area that’s landscaped has something for every season. If you live on a large lot, begin with small areas near the home to draw attention to the architectural detail, then move out from there. Leave areas that will be utilized later for pools, gazebos, or other uses empty and as green space until you’re ready for construction. Many areas will no longer accept yard waste in landfills. Use your yard waste by creating your own compost bin. Not only will your plants benefit, but so will the environment. Be patient, landscaping takes time. Don’t get discouraged when your first year doesn’t look like what you planned. In a few years, you’ll be the envy of every home in your neighborhood. Until your plants mature, use annuals to fill the bare spots for extra color and spice. Your landscape can be a never-ending project. You can add to it, or take away from it every year to create looks that are creative and ever changing. You can add decks and fencing along with outbuildings and landscape lighting. All can be simple or complex. The only limitation is your imagination. Now, be creative and go paint your landscape. *****

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