COLOR IN THE SHADE 
It can happen

This is one of the biggest questions we are asked at the nursery, "I want an evergreen shrub that has flowers and color all summer long for a shady area.  What do you have?"

 

Sorry folks, like the Lochness Monster and BigFoot, it just doesn't exist and, unlike the aforementioned, there aren't any grainy photos to keep the tale alive.   But have no fear, because, with a little planning and knowledge, you can have color all year long in the shade, if you know the bloom times of your shrubs and perennials.

 

Early spring color comes with a southern staple and the always popular, azalea.  With various colors and sizes they can be the large showy focal point, or work together with winter hardy evergreens such as variegated emerald and gold euonymus, fatsia or ferns such as asparagus, foxtail or holly to create the beginning chapters of the spectacular year- long shade garden.  

 

Moving into the months of May and June, many of the deciduous shrubs we love so much are now coming into bloom, and one of the most common is hydrangea.  There are several varieties and now with the new Endless Summer collection, these big blasts of blue, pink, and white can provide color all summer long.  Paired with varieties of evergreen gardenias with their small, intensely fragrant, white flowers, your garden is popping with color and aroma. Perennials, such as hostas and caladiums, are also another way to add leafy color and texture.  These will grow from 6 to 18 inches and stay beautiful until the first frost.

 

As the dog days of summer approach, contributions from variegated plants can really make a difference.  Consider adding dianella, commonly known as blueberry flax.  Its white striped, upright leaves that grow approximately 24-36 inches tall will be a staple for the winter portion of the garden too. Dwarf variegated pittosporum also adds a burst of brightness to a green shady area and will be a mainstay all year long. 

 

As our summer staples begin to fade and the fall months arrive, one of our favorites, and a Charleston showpiece, the camellia, begins to take center stage.  The sasanqua varieties prefer a bit more sun, so these do well planted under deciduous trees such as crape myrtles that are beginning to lose their leaves for the winter.  Sasanquas have smaller flowers and bloom earlier than the japonica varieties that are showstoppers in the winter months.   Camellias are evergreen and the flower blooms can range from white to various shades of pink and red.  These flowers are true beauties and provide a burst of color in the fall and winter.  Mountain snow pieris is another shrub with year round color and interest.  The bronze colored foliage matures to dark green and pendulous white flowers bloom in late winter or early spring.  Heat tolerant, this plant is quickly becoming a nursery favorite.

 

Take your time and map out your shade garden.  With some patience, and a little bit of knowledge, you can have color all year long.  As always, if you aren't sure, ask our nursery staff before you buy.  We want your shade garden to be a success too.


COOL STATE OF MIND
Create a container water feature

The dog days of summer are upon us and hopefully in another month we'll start turning the corner and heading into the glorious mild weather, blue skies and bright sunshine that mark fall in the Low Country, but until then, we have to keep our cool somehow.

 

Think water.  Cool, refreshing, and crystal clear, water just beckons relief.  Now, we aren't suggesting you add a pool to your backyard, though that would be nice, however, a water feature from a koi pond to a small container water fountain and even a birdbath can soothe the soul.  Besides that, what's a garden without a water feature?

 

One of the least expensive ways to add a water feature is to make your own.  In this instance, we'll be using a ceramic pot.  You'll need a water pump, and, depending on the size of the container, it can be anywhere from 60-200 gph (gallons per hour).  The larger and taller the pot the more pressure you will need to move the water to the top, so a larger gph number would be more beneficial.  You will also want a pump that has a water adjustment feature to change the water pressure to the appropriate levels once the container is put together.  Additionally, you will need some decorative elements such as river rocks, crushed glass or seashells.  Be creative.

 

Place the water pump inside the container, after having connected what is probably a 5/8" tubing to the pump outlet port.  Make sure the electrical cord is outside of the container as you will need to plug into an electrical outlet. Place enough water in the base of your container to fully immerse the pump and then plug the pump into a GFCI receptor to test that the water is moving through the pump.  Adjust the water pressure to get enough water to the top of the container and then unplug the pump.

 

It is important to stabilize the pump and the container, so place large rocks in the bottom and, while keeping the tubing upright, fill the remainder of the container with pebbles, sea glass, seashells or whatever decorative element you choose to hide the tubing and keep it in place.   If there is excess tubing once the container is full of decorative stabilizing support, trim the tubing to the desired height.  Plug in and voila, an instant water feature!

 

It is important to regularly check the water levels in your fountain.  When it is plugged in there should be water coming from the top of the pump.  If not, unplug and immediately add more water to the fountain.  If the water pump is not submerged in water it will burn out prematurely and you will need to replace it.

 

This is the simplest way to create a fountain although there are other methods that require a few more tools and time.  However, once you take a crack at this, we are sure you will be ready to move onto bigger and better fountains that have water basins, fountain heads and trenches dug to hide the power source.  Until then, enjoy this simple fountain and think cool. 


WHAT'S NEW AT HP
Fairy Gardens, Peacocks and More

We are always trying to improve and, on the recommendation of one of our suppliers, we visited several nurseries a few hours away.  We were inspired, to say the least, and the evidence of that inspiration is beginning to take shape.   

 

We then traveled to Atlanta for the Southern Nursery Association's annual convention to turn inspiration into reality. What a sensory overload!  Between all the new perennials and shrubs and items for the gift shop and pottery, our heads were spinning.  Some of those new plants will be arriving this week, highlighted by a few favorites, Endless Summer hydrangeas, Twist of Lime abelias and more Encore azaleas.  The pottery came in last week and we believe you will be pleased with the selection as we carefully choose pottery that is both beautiful and affordable. 

 

Fairy Gardens

One thing that was common to both trips, the fairy garden craze, isn't going away any time soon and we are jumping in with both feet.  You may have seen the beginnings of our fairy garden.  We just purchased more items to keep adding to it.  Additionally, this fall, we will be offering a fairy garden class for children and adults of all ages.  While we are still working out the details we know that this fun and entertaining class will prove we never really grow up.  Let your creativity soar as the inner child in you will be delighted with the selection of fairy garden items we amassed to get you started.  Jump into the craze with us and let your imagination go wild!

 

Peacocks

Three adorable, newly hatched peacocks arrived two weeks ago.  They have tripled in size since their arrival and are also practicing spreading their feathers though they have no color as of yet.  All three are male and have been aptly named Nikko, Pistachio and Dooley.  Can you guess what they are named after?  Here's a hint, it is mentioned in an above article.

Butterflies
We are proud parents.  In a handmade butterfly house, our first butterfly hatched on Sunday, August 17th.   We have another chrysalis that should become a butterfly in the next few days. 
Contact
Hidden Ponds Nursery
4863 Hwy 17 North
(next to the SeeWee Outpost)
Awendaw, SC
843-345-0019
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SAVE THE DATE

Low Country Food Bank Celebration
Saturday, September 27th

September is Hunger Action Month and to do our part, we are donating 10% of the day's sales to the Low Country Food Bank.