Join us Saturday,
March 21st
for our first fundraiser of the season.
Join us in supporting the
Wando Horticulture Program
10% of our proceeds for the day will go towards growing the youth in our community.


Lenten Rose

'Apricot Blush'



The hellebore, commonly known as the Lenten rose, is an evergreen, late-winter early-spring flowering member of the buttercup family.  In the northern hemisphere they flower around the period of Lent, hence the name Lenten rose, although they are not at all rose-like in flower structure.

The Lenten rose will grow 15 to 18 inches tall, making a nice groundcover with

'Cherry Blossom'
leathery, dark-green, shiny foliage.  The new growth generally appears during late January and February, and precedes the 3 to 4 inch nodding, cup-shaped flowers that quickly emerge in the early spring.  The plants have thick sturdy serrated leaves, especially in the summer, resembling coarse leather umbrellas.  When they are not flowering their leaves add a beautiful ground cover texture to the shade garden, and create a perfect backdrop for bulbs and other shade perennials.


'Black Diamond

The petals of the Lenten rose are actually sepals, and do not drop readily as with other flowers, but last for a couple of months.  Darker purple blooms often fade to a pastel pink over the 8 to 10 week bloom and fruiting period.  As the flower turns into a fruit, seed production begins, and mature seeds are dropped beneath the canopy of foliage.  It is rumored that these seeds will produce new plants, but I have yet to find any volunteer plants in my garden.


'Painted Doubles'


Oh, and did I mention this little beauty is deer resistant and drought tolerant once established?  Also, keep in mind the blooms last longer than most other flowers, it likes shade and is evergreen.  Hurry in, before they are all gone, you will want to add this one to your garden!


Eastern Redbud
A Sure Sign of Spring
Early Flowering Trees


After the recent cold snap, I for one, can't wait for the early signs of spring Mother Nature bestows upon us. After all the bitter cold temps don't we deserve the hope of warmer weather that the flowers on early spring blooming trees give us?


The grand dame of early bloomers is undoubtedly the Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) or Judas tree. With small but spectacular lavender pink blooms that grow in clusters covering the bare branches, it is a landscape showstopper. The flowers last about two to three weeks and when the leaves emerge they are heart shaped in a reddish color that eventually turn green by summer.


With its relatively small height, approximately 20-30 feet tall and 15-30 feet wide, it makes a perfect tree for just about any yard. Considered a moderate grower, but the fastest growing of Redbuds, it will grow approximately seven to ten feet in five years.


While this is a tree that is hardy to the entire state of South Carolina, it is important to pick the appropriate site to meet its growing conditions. Redbuds prefer well drained soil and cannot tolerate wet areas. While they prefer sun, it is wise to choose a location with partial sun as hot summer temperatures can be too intense for the tree.


There are several other varieties that perform well in our area:

'Alba': white flowers

'Forest Pansy': burgundy foliage that becomes dark green in summer heat

'Hearts of Gold': lime green foliage that grows to 15 feet tall

'Lavender Twist': weeping Redbud with umbrella like look; green foliage that turns golden yellow in Fall


Another Southern favorite, the flowering dogwood happens to make its colorful entrance just before the Eastern Redbuds. One of our favorites in the nursery is the Kousa variety. Considered slow growing, this tree will grow to approximately 20-25 feet with most of the upright growth happening in its youth and as it matures filling out and growing wider (like the rest of us do) to approximately 15-20 feet.


The Kousa produces interesting color at two different times of the year. In the Spring, green leaves eventually yield creamy white flowers that may turn a pink hue as they age. In early Fall (September-October), the tree produces reddish pink raspberry type fruit and later that season, the leaves change with the color varying from purple to red to yellow.


Flowering dogwoods are finicky about their growing conditions. The soil must be well drained as too wet or too dry soil will not be tolerated by the tree. Ideally, it should have afternoon shade but can handle full sun if necessary. Additionally, the Kousa variety is the most disease resistant.


We would be so remiss if we did not include cherry trees. (Sigh. . .) The pink frilly blooms that cover the entire tree in March are so cheerful and bright.   Picture that tree draped in front of a clear blue Carolina sky and you have just witnessed perfection.


Yoshino Cherry

The Yoshio cherry dots the Washington DC landscape and paired with the Japanese cherry tree are two of the most recognizable cherry trees. The Yoshino trees produce whitish pink flowers before the leaves emerge which leaves the tree awash in beautiful small single or double blooms.


Yoshino cherry trees can reach 40-50 feet tall and wide and are considered fast growers easily reaching 20 feet in a only a few years. They prefer full sun, however they are not as tolerant of our heat and humidity so a partially shaded area would serve it best in this area. The soil should be slightly acidic and fast draining as they don't like wet feet, but are also intolerant of drought and must be watered under these conditions.


Plant one of these beauties this year so you can enjoy the early signs of spring in your yard in the years to come!



What Next?
Things to do now in your yard


We have tasted a few days of beautiful spring-like weather and, if you are anything like me, you are ready to dig in and get dirt under your nails!   You have the shovel out and are ready to plant!  But wait, there is still plenty to do in the garden now without the shovel.


The second week of March is usually when we fertilize ornamental shrubs and trees. The most commonly applied nutrients are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K).  Fertilizer is labeled by numbers, with nitrogen being the first listed ingredient, phosphorus and then potassium.  For example, a complete fertilizer labeled 16-4-8 would contain 16% N, 4% P and 8% K, this is a good all purpose fertilizer for our soils.  This type of fertilizer should be applied at 2 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 square feet.  The Clemson Extension website gives a great example on determining the appropriate poundage.


Now is a good time to freshen up the pinestraw or mulch unless you have an abundance of oak trees and then you want to wait a little longer to allow the leaves to finish falling before applying fresh mulch.  A good rule thumb is to apply 2-3 inches of mulch around shrubs and trees.  You want enough mulch to keep the weeds down and to help hold in moisture, but it is important not to apply the mulch too thickly, or piled up on the base of a tree as it will decrease oxygen flow and may contribute to the increase of fungal and bacterial growth.


If you haven't already, go ahead and prune back ornamental grasses and crape myrtles.  It is also a good time to clean up winter burned plants like holly fern and farfugium.  Winter damage can also be pruned off of oleanders once the threat of frost has passed.


Okay now that all of the hard work is done, go ahead and pick up that shovel!  Have fun and plant something spectacular!