Category Archives: Spring Landscapes

Asheville Receives Artic Blast

People and plants alike were fooled into thinking that the early spring warm weather was here to stay. It feels like winter today and forecasts of a low of 31 tonight. Take a little time and effort to cover your sensitive plants to minimize frost damage. Since most plants have leafed out now, choose those that are the most expensive, such as Japanese maples, most prized and hard to find.

For more details on how to protect your plants, click here.

Top 7 Ways to Improve Your Early Spring Landscape

Spring has arrived about a month early in Asheville and the western North Carolina mountains. It’s fun to be outside enjoying the early spring. Now is a great time to take care of some gardening projects to protect your investment and keep your gardens looking beautiful through the year.

  1. Water your plants when we don’t get an inch of rain. The days have been warm, so the soil may dry out faster than expected and put your plants under more stress if not watered. If you have an irrigation system, it may not be turned on until danger of late spring freezes has passed. Check the moisture depth of the soil, and water your plants if the soil is dry below a couple of inches. Supplemental watering is usually not needed for established plants (installed over a year ago). It may two to three years for plants located under trees to establish their root systems, so supplemental watering may be needed.
  2. Apply compost or slow release fertilizer around your plants.
  3. Remove weeds. Cut back dead foliage on perennials. Prune deadwood from small trees and shrubs.
  4. Resist the urge to cut back foliage on your declining bulbs. They need their foliage to store energy for next year’s flowers. Plant perennials, ferns or groundcovers around bulbs to help hide unsightly foliage in key areas. It’s best to wait to plant new herbaceous plants until May.
  5. Edge your planting beds. This really gives a finished look to your landscape.
  6. After fertilizing, weeding and edging, install mulch to maintain a 2-3″ layer in shrub beds and 2″ in perennials beds. Be careful not to cover the crowns of your perennials.
  7. Check your gutters and downspouts to make sure that they’re clear and working properly. Clogged gutters can be a source of moisture problems in your house.

Although it’s tempting to rush out and buy flowers to plant now. We still have a potential for killing frosts and cold temperatures until early to mid-May.

If you need help caring for your landscape, please contact Terri Long Landscape Design at 828.299.2399.

Happy Spring!

Protect Your Plants from Cold Temps

Spring has come early to western North Carolina this year, and it’s been wonderful! Mother Nature is reminding us that it isn’t spring yet.  The low temperatures for the next couple of nights are predicted to be in the 20s.

If you have important plants that already have buds on them, cover them with a sheet tonight and uncover them in the morning. I’m going to put a pillow case over a small Japanese maple in front of my house and over a Daphne in back. For the other plants, it won’t be a great loss if their blossoms are damaged.

For more information, click here.

Watering Your Asheville Landscape

The weather has been so hot and dry in Asheville and the entire southeast this summer. Even established and drought-tolerant plants are showing signs of stress from the high temperatures and lack of rain. Many homeowners don’t realize how long it takes for new plants to get established and how often they need to water them.

Watering Your New Landscape

We all have busy schedules and watering may not be a priority when the plants appear to be doing okay with just water from rain. Some plants, such as hydrangeas, show us early when they’re stressed while others don’t let us know until it’s too late to save them or large portions of the plant die off. These include trees and evergreen shrubs.

It’s also easy to put off watering plants when it’s so hot that we’re uncomfortable and battling mosquitoes.

Water Deeply

  • Water your plants deeply every 2 to 3 days rather than small amounts daily. Watering deeply means using a hose with a gentle stream of water and individually watering each plants for several minutes. If the water starts running off quickly, move on to the next plant and then return to the previous one.
  • You don’t have to water all of your plants at once. You can divide your landscape into areas and water an area at a time.
  • If a plant starts to wilt, check the soil moisture. Water it immediately if it’s not moist. If the soil is moist, the wilting can be the stress of the heat, sun or another problem.

Rainwater and Soil Moisture

  • New plants need about 1 to 2 inches of water every week- possibly more in really hot conditions. A rain gauge is useful in monitoring the amount of rainfall each week. Keep in mind that heavy downpours don’t soak into the ground as much as a gentle rain. Even though it rained 2″ in one hour, much of that rain didn’t reach the plant roots.
  • Check the depth of the soil moisture periodically by sticking your finger several inches into the ground near the plant’s roots. If it’s dry, the plant needs water (even it if rained the day before.)
  • Plants under trees don’t get as much rainwater as other plants and may need to be watered while others don’t.

Time Needed for Plant Establishment

  • New plants need at least a complete year to establish their roots. Large trees will need even more time. This means watering regularly as the temperatures start to warm early in the spring, through the summer, and until the days get shorter and cooler late in the fall.
  • If your plants were installed this year, you’ll also need to water them next spring or longer for a complete growing cycle.

Best Times to Water

  • Best times to water are early in the morning and in the evening.
  • If you water during the hot, sunny part of the day, some of the water will evaporate before it can be absorbed by the plant’s roots. If that’s the only have time that you have one day, it’s better than not watering at all.

Drought-tolerant Plants

  • If you’re like me, I first thought that drought-tolerant plants wouldn’t need to be watered except by Mother Nature.  All plants, even drought-tolerant ones, need time to establish their roots.
  • During long stretches of hot, dry weather, even drought-tolerant plants may need some additional water after they’re established.

Hand-watering is time consuming the first year. By using drought-tolerant plants in much of your landscape, you may not need to water much in successive years.

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For more information about Terri Long Landscape Design please visit our About Terri page or simply Contact Us for more details.

828.299.2399

 

Spring Beauties in your Asheville Landscape

 

Spring is my favorite time of the year. I’m always excited to see the new growth emerging after the winter’s rest and the cheerful colors of blooms and the lime green of new foliage.  There’s a sense of new possibilities and anticipation in the air. What a great time to start something new- hence, the beginning  of a blog by Terri Long Landscape Design. I hope that you find it interesting and useful. I look forward to your comments and questions.

Spring bulbs are one of the first harbingers of spring. Some even bloom in late winter, so with a variety of bulbs you can introduce flowers into your landscape early and for a long time. You can create or emphasize curving lines with large sweeps of flowering bulbs. Mass plantings of bulbs are a great way to add fast color to a young landscape and also provide a source for cut flowers.

We all know daffodils, tulips, crocus and grape hyacinths. Daffodils and crocus are pest resistant, so you don’t have to worry about them being damaged by squirrels, chipmunks, voles and other critters. As some of you know, I moved into a 70s neighborhood in  Asheville last year. I’ve been delighted to see the spring bulbs that were planted by previous homeowners appear and bloom. Although tulips are unreliable and short lived in the south, I’m happy to see buds emerging from the foliage and am eagerly awaiting the flowers to mature and bloom. I don’t even mind the grape hyacinths and violets in my lawn, since they add purple into a sea of green and really shouldn’t interfere with mowing. They’re not for those who like a perfect lawn, since the grape hyacinths seed themselves with abandon, even from well-maintained perennial beds.

Other bulbs that you may not have considered are Squill (Scilla), with beautiful blue or white flowers which are deer resistant, and Snowdrop (Galanthus), a white, bell shaped  flower that combines nicely with Hellebores. Both of these are good for naturalizing. For those bulbs that are prone to critter damage, you can plant them in wire cages or, better yet, plant them in PermaTill-Vole Bloc, which is made from expanded natural slate by a North Carolina company.

For native plants, look at Trout Lily and Spring Beauty, which are corms, and Crested Dwarf Iris, which are rhizomes rather than bulbs. Trout Lily and Spring Beauty are spring ephemerals, so they are visible for only a short time. The foliage of the Crested Dwarf Iris will last through the summer, except in very dry summer conditions. These natives look great in woodland and rock gardens.

The National Native Azalea Repository at the North Carolina Arboretum (www.ncarboretum.org) is an excellent place to see masses of trout lilies in the spring. Their mottled foliage resembles trout (not surprising that they are called trout lilies). Their small yellow flowers are a good reason to bend down to get a better look at their flowers and foliage, slow down and get in touch with nature.

You can see Spring Beauties at The Botanical Gardens of Asheville (www.ashevillebotanicalgardens.org), along with a multitude of common and rare native plants of our region.

Now is an excellent time to look at your landscape and see where you would like to add early spring color with bulbs. Planting bulbs is also an easy way to improve your curb appeal if you are considering putting your house on the market next spring. Take notes so that you’ll know where to plant your spring bulbs in October. Or better yet, contact me to evaluate your landscape, make suggestions, and we’ll come back and plant them for you in October. You’ll have more time to enjoy the wonders of spring and have something new to look forward to next spring.

Happy Spring!

Terri Long Landscape Design, Inc.

Enriching Your Life with Natural Beauty

828.299.2399

Asheville, North Carolina

Trillium, Trillium and More Trillium

Trillium and Fringed Phacelia

Now’s the time to get outside in the western North  Carolina mountains and Tennesse to see one of my favorite spring wildflowerstrilliums.  These beautiful spring ephemerals get their name from their three leaves and three flower petals. They emerge early in the spring before the trees have leafed out, bloom in all of their beauty and enchantment and then disappear until next year. I’ve recently seen them in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and will be looking for them soon along the Blue Ridge Parkway. You can also easily see trilliums and multitudes of other spring  wildflowers at the Botanical Gardens of Asheville.

Whether using the native plants or adapting their design concepts, nature provides numerous examples not only of plant combinations but also arrangements. We can take clues from the masses of white spring wildflowers blanketing the forest floor and the impact gained by massing plants, whether by color or type.

 

Catesby's Trillium

A single flower can also provide an element of surprise and delight when discovered. Trilliums can take as long as seven years to produce a saleable plant from seed. That’s one reason why they’re rare and expensive in the nursery trade. Illegal harvesting of these plants makes it especially important to buy them from reputable nurseries and not from tailgate markets and other temporary vendors. The Botanical Gardens of Asheville is having their spring nursery sale on May 1 and 2, where you can stock up on native plants (and hopefully, trilliums) while benefiting the Gardens too. I hope to see you there!

Please let me know your favorite places for trilliums, especially from nurseries.

Yellow Trillium

Terri Long Landscape Design, Inc.

Enriching Your Life with Natural Beauty

828.299.2399

Asheville, North Carolina

Protecting Your Spring Blooms from Freezing Temperatures

What a difference a day makes! Yesterday I was weeding in the hot sun with temperatures over 70 degrees. Today, the temperatures kept getting colder as the winds blew in.  There’s currently a mix of rain and snow. It looks like the weather forecast for Asheville and western North Carolina may be accurate.

You can protect your most highly prized plants by covering them with either freeze blankets or bed sheets. Secure the edges of the blankets or sheets with rocks, bricks or landscape staples so that the winds can’t blow your protection off of your plants. Pillow cases can be used over smaller shrubs and trees and secured around the base of the plant. You will need to remove these coverings during the day or open them to allow air circulation to prevent the rising day temperatures from burning your plants.  Although  this isn’t practical to do for your entire landscape, it’s a very effective way to prevent or minimize cold damage to your most vulnerable plants, especially from the cold winds. Select the most important and expensive plants, such as Japanese Maples and shrubs that may be flowering or have tender new growth emerging.

It’s also a good time to create a floral arrangement with some of your flowers from bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils, and flowering shrubs. At least you’ll be able to enjoy them in your home. 

If you see damage on your plants, be patient. Don’t start pruning until after giving the plant a chance to recover and see the real extent of the damage.

I’m hopeful that we won’t have much damage and will be experiencing warm weather the beauty of spring here in the mountains of North Carolina in just a few days.

Happy Spring!

Terri Long Landscape Design, Inc.

Enriching Your Life with Natural Beauty

828.299.2399

Asheville, North Carolina