Skip to main content

Trees & Shrubs

Is It Dead?

Even after 50 plus years in the horticulture field, I still have a hard time reigning myself in at the first sign of spring. If the sky is blue and the temperatures are in the 70s for a few days in a row, then I convince myself that spring has fully arrived and my entire garden should be springing into life. Inevitably though, when I make my rounds, several of my prized plants are not yet budding out and I panic, convinced that they are dead and need to be IMMEDIATELY replaced.. Before I can do any real harm to the beds, my husband gently removes the shovel from my hands and reassures me that not all plants emerge at the same time  – some simply need a warmer soil temperature to wake up from winter’s resting period.

Goals for a New Year

The first week of January always brings out an almost obsessive need to clean and organize my surroundings in preparation for the new year ahead. I usually attack the closets first and then move into the basement and garage storage in a frenzied attempt to achieve organizational nirvana. It drives my poor husband crazy because the “little help” I request from him usually turns into hours of unanticipated and unwelcome work as well as some unexpected expense.

The Right Tree in the Right Place

We had a tree taken out this week. It was an old, gnarly redbud, half dead and continually dropping branches on the driveway. I’m thrilled that it’s gone. Not only are my stick-picking-up-days over, but I get to put in a new tree to replace it. While I would love to have a weeping cherry or a Japanese Tree Lilac to replace it, the reality is that our conditions simply won’t support ornamentals; we need to plant a tree that is native to our area. 

Time To Revive

We just spent a week in Michigan, where the landscape seemed to be at its peak. The grass was emerald green, the orchards were bursting with fruit and the flower beds were exquisite. I was awed by the masses of dark purple coneflower surrounded by dazzling yellow black eyed Susan’s and Cranesbill geraniums in full bloom everywhere. Hydrangeas and Hibiscus were everywhere, with blooms as big as dinner plates. It was absolutely inspiring.

Dos and Don'ts of Winter

One of the problems with winter garden maintenance is that many best practices are often dependent on location, weather conditions and plant species. While this makes it difficult to provide hard and fast rules for everyone, there are a few wintertime maintenance dos and don’ts that hold true regardless of where you live.  To help the newer gardeners this winter, we’ve put together a short list of some important winter do's and don'ts.

Real or Artificial?Ā  Which Tree Is Right For You?

My birthday is just around the corner, which means that it is time for our annual Christmas conversation –  should we buy a real tree or an artificial tree this year? I’m not sure why we still have the conversation since for 47 years we’ve come to the same conclusion, but it seems wise to rehash all the pros and cons before we head out to buy the most perfect 7 foot Douglas Fir we can find.


I have spent the last two months cleaning debris from my mimosa tree off of my front patio, porch and even my entryway.  I love the tree in the summer when it is covered in blooms and hummingbirds are flocking to its sweet nectar, but I have to admit that I curse at it a bit the rest of the year. Why anyone would plant such a messy tree right next to the house is way beyond my understanding.

Don't Stop Watering Now -- Trees and Shrubs

As we discussed last time, this year’s lack of consistent precipitation has put enormous stress on your lawn. But grass isn’t the only plant that suffers - Trees, shrubs and perennials feel the effects of drought too, and can react in a variety of ways.