Join us this weekend, the 10th-12th
for our ninth annual fundraiser for East Cooper Meals on Wheels.
Meals on Wheels provides daily meals to those in need and shut-ins in our community.
10% of our proceeds for the weekend will go towards their valuable work in our community.

We are so excited, we wet our plants!

Cutting Garden Added




If you have read any of my contributions to the newsletters, you know that flowers are a necessity for me.  When I was a stay-at-home mother on a tight budget, with 3 young children, any additional money was quickly traded at the garden center for beautiful blooms!  And almost twenty years later, things have not changed. I am so excited about the planting of our new cutting garden.  In the next few months we will update you with pictures of incredible blooms and invite you into the garden to cut fresh flowers for yourself.

Although we have planted our garden in typical garden fashion with many long rows, you can easily plan your plantings to enjoy cut flowers from your own yard! There are many perennial flowers that will return year after year that make

Gerber Daisy

great cut flowers.  Coneflowers and gerbera daisies are the first that come to mind; they both provide sturdy, colorful, longlasting blooms.  There are so many different varieties of leucanthum, or Shasta daisies, that I could not list them all, but they all have incredible white flowers that won't dissapoint.  Coreopsis, salvia and even lantana can be added to your bouquets.  Society garlic is another great cut flower, the stalk is surprisingly sturdy and the bloom long lasting; you can't find an easier, more dependable perennial to grow! 



Annuals like sunflowers, zinnia, cosmos and cleome are easily started from seed right into prepared soil.  You will want to loosen the soil and add some organic matter to help hold the water.  Smaller seeds just need a sprinkling of dirt to hold them down and get them started.  Larger seeds can actually be planted into the soil.  Now is a perfect time to start the seeds, but you can just as easily put in established plants for earlier blooms!

Oriental Lily

Bulbs and tubers are easy to grow, easy to tuck into established beds and produce stunning flowers!  Lilies would be one of my favorites, many of them smell fabulous and the flowers are vibrant.  They naturalize easily and after a few years you will have enough flowers to cut to enjoy inside and still enjoy the blooms outside.  Iris would be my second fav.  So many colors to choose from with intricate, ruffled petals!  Gladiolus and crocosmia are also good choices for cut flowers.  Hummingbirds seem to enjoy my crocosmia, but a word of caution - it will spread rather quickly - choose your planting spot carefully!


Don't forget the greens!  Pittosporum is a favorite of florists and works well for fixed arrangements as opposed to vases.  Bottlebrush and loropetalum both are a good option, especially when blooming.  Evergreen giant liriope makes a


graceful addition to rose and tulip arrangements.  One of my go-to, last minute vase fillers, is papyrus; ten to twelve stalks will fill a large vase and makes a 'large', stand alone statement.  Fatsia leaves, aspidistras and farfugium are spectacular when added to flowers or arranged just as a vase of greens.  While these plants will give your arrangements the wow factor, they will also enhance the beauty of your landscaping!


Next time you plan to fill a hole in your landscaping, consider choosing a plant that will do double duty by also filling a vase.  


Pretty in Pink
Color Me Blue
How to adjust the color of your hydrangea

Hydrangeas with bloom colors that range from pink, blue and purple usually belong to the hydrangea cultivars known as mopheads and lacecaps. These types of hydrangeas have the interesting ability to change the color of their blooms based on the chemistry of the soil. When grown in alkaline soil, the bloom colors are pinker. When grown in acidic soil, the bloom colors are more blue.


These fun and wonderful names like Nikko Blue, Pretty in Pink and Forever Pink don't guarantee bloom color, in fact they mean very little when it comes to bloom color.  Because it's the soil chemistry that determines the bloom color, they all have an almost equal chance of blooming pink or blue, depending on the soil they are planted in.

To manipulate the color of a hydrangea's blooms, you need to manipulate your soil's pH level and mineral content. This is not something you do just once. In order to maintain growing conditions that result in a specific bloom color, you may need to apply special soil amendments several times during the growing season.


Start by testing the pH of your soil. You can do this with a pH meter or you can try the science fair

Nikko Blue

version by placing a soil sample in a container and pouring distilled white vinegar over it.  If the solution fizzes, the pH level is high and your soil is alkaline.  If it doesn't fizz, then the soil is neutral or acidic; which means less amending required to achieve blue hydrangeas. This will give you an idea how much of an uphill battle you'll be waging. Be mindful that the health of the plant should be your first priority. It's quite difficult to make a dramatic change in soil pH, and doing so can adversely affect the overall health of the plant or the plants in close proximity.

To encourage blue hydrangea flowers, grow the plant in soil that has a pH of 5.2-5.5. If your soil is more alkaline, you can lower the pH by applying a soil acidifier according to the directions on the package. Soil pH can also be lowered (more gradually) by applying an acidic organic mulch, such as pine needles or pine bark.  Used coffee grounds, egg shells and citrus peel will also help to increase the acidity of your soil, just work them into the soil around the hydrangea as you have them available.


If you prefer pink blooms, your hydrangea should be deprived of aluminum by growing it in an alkaline soil with a pH of 6.0-6.2.   Applying a high-phosphorus fertilizer will further discourage the uptake of aluminum. To raise the pH of a naturally acidic soil, apply lime at the rate specified on the package. 


Hydrangeas planted near concrete sidewalks or a concrete foundation are more likely to produce pink blossoms. Lime can leach out of the concrete and keep the soil pH too high to produce blue blooms. If you absolutely must have blue hydrangeas near a concreted area, it's best to grow them in pots.



And if this is all too confusing, just enjoy the color that you get or plant white blooming hydrangea.

Hydrangeas with white or cream flowers, such as Annabelle hydrangeas, oakleaf hydrangeas and members of the PeeGee family, can only produce white or cream flowers. Sometimes their blooms take on a pink tinge at the end of the season, but that's about as colorful as they get. 



Fairy Gardening
Do you believe, I do


You have to believe if you want the fairies to come and visit the garden that you build for them.  And what fun you can have creating a perfect little spot for your fairies to live.  Not to mention, this is a great way to share your love of gardening with the younger generations of your family!


The first step would be to choose your container.  There is no rule that says you have to plant a fairy garden in a pot!  A basket, birdbath, old wagon or chair, . . . oh my, the possibilities are endless.  I know I just said there was no rule that you had to plant in a pot, but one of my favorite containers is a broken pot.  This allows you to create different levels of garden.  Consider also, a particular area of your yard, maybe you have a large population of fairies in your neighborhood, just too many for a small container!


The next step would be to choose your plants.  Decide where you will place your fairy garden and choose plants based on the amount of sunlight the location receives every day.  You want to try to use plants that will stay small, but if there is something that you just love, go ahead and plant it.  The plant material in a fairy garden is pretty minimal and easy to prune or just as easily replaced season to season.  Succulents and small bedding plants are good choices, as are very immature boxwoods.  Ground covers work extremely well because they traditionally don't get too tall.


Now comes the fun part!  The accessories!  There are so many adorable pieces for the fairy garden ranging from houses, furniture, small figurines and garden picks.  But don't feel that you have to purchase accessories, some of the best accents are pieces that you may pick up in your yard and craft into that perfect fairy hide out.  Rocks, pebbles and crushed glass make wonderful pathways and sliced tree branches are adorable 'stepping stones'.  Let your imagination take control! 


We are planning a hands on Fairy Garden Workshop for April 25 at 10:00.  We will have some examples of planted gardens and staff on hand for suggestions.  Of course, we will have plenty of suitable plants and the cute accessories.  We plan to offer a 10% discount on supplies used in the workshop and invite you to bring your most creative container!