Posts Tagged ‘Tree’

Planting Under Maples and Other Surface Rooted Trees

Icon Written by Geoff on July 7, 2003 – 5:28 pm

The problem with growing anything under maples and other shallow rooted trees is that they suck up all available water and nutrients. They also form a dense mat which is hard to penetrate with even the toughest gardening tools. On top of this, little light is able to get to the soils surface through the leaf canopy. A good challenge for us shade gardeners. 

Initially, we need to try to turn the soil, removing as much surface roots as possible. This is where a good ax and a sharp mutt come into their own. Take your time, work as deeply as possible. Once you have the majority of their roots removed, fire up your trusty old mantis tiller. This will be hard work and you will have to stop often to clean the tillers tines. 

Once you have the ground broken up you will want to amend it with loads of compost and other good organic stuff. We like to apply double ground wood chips and work in deeply. We follow this with compost and rotted leaf mold. 

Then we go over the area two more times with our tiller, raking out any debris. By now you will have a slightly raised bed over which we apply a 2-3 inch layer of double ground bark. 

Into this lovely stuff, plant your perennials. By the end of the first season, your plantings will have made substantial inroads before the tree roots start growing back. About every 3 to 4 years we dig up the border and remove whatever surface roots we can and replant. We have not noticed the trees objecting to root pruning every few years. 

You can plant under these trees, but it takes more effort than planting somewhere that is not ordinarily full of roots. We do water these areas much more then other garden areas as often little rain fall reaches the soil and what does is usually used by the trees.

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Trees for City Lots

Icon Written by Geoff on March 1, 2003 – 7:37 pm

How often we have seen a beautiful tree die just because it was planted in the wrong location. Not only do trees die but also untold amounts of damage is done to buildings, streets, and walks. Just walk through an older section of town and see how the walkways are heaved and buckled by the tree roots. In places it is not even safe for children to ride bikes or the elderly to walk. 

In defense of our ancestors, most of which grew up in the country, they were only planting trees that they were familiar with, the oaks, elms, and maples of the woodland lots. Many trees available today were unheard of 50 years ago. Most cities are covered with silver maples and why not, fast growing, hardy, and best of all requiring little maintenance. To this day, many cities plant silver maples every Spring to replace those that died, a never ending chain. Maybe someday, someone will question why, but I would not hold my breath. 

The mighty oaks and stately beech of our woodland forest belong in the countryside. Small urban lots call for small-sized trees. Thanks to testing by Colorado State University, homeowners have a variety of trees that should do well for city living. Their research show the following trees are better choices for city lots: 

Acer tataricum ‘Tatarian Maple’
– Shows less iron cholorsis than the widely planted silver or amur maples. 

Pyrus ussuriensis ‘Ussurian Pear’
– This is more cold hardly and shows less winter dieback than Bradford Pear. 

Malus hybrids
– Five promising crabapple varieties listed with their flower colors, the varieties are Beverly, Centurion, Indian Magic, Red Baron, and Red Splendor. 

Prunus armenica mandshurica ‘Manchurian Apricot’
– A well-adapted urban tree that features a striking appearance with a round-headed shape and lush green foliage. 

Syringa reticulata ‘Japanese Tree Lilac’
– A slightly larger tree with a rounded crown is notable for its white, 6-12 inch flowers borne in mid-June, and it’s distinctive, reddish-brown, cherry-like bark. 

Acer saccharum var. grandidentatum ‘Wasatch Maple’
– Is one of the best small trees for low water landscapes. This tree grows to a height of 30 feet with a 20-foot spread. The leaves are 3-5 lobed, similar to the eastern sugar maple. 

Crataequs ambiqua ‘Russian Hawthorne’
– A moderately slow grower, it peaks at 25 feet high and l5 feet wide. The plant’s best features are the small, pinkish-white May flowers, red fruit in the fall, and glossy, deeply lobed leaves. 

Urban trees are also often planted along narrow boulevards or in pits usually round or square, with bricks, concrete or metal grates surrounding the trunk base. Trees die if they are unable to get adequate water and oxygen. Since bricks and concrete effectively keep water from seeping into the ground, metal grates are preferable. Even then metal grates must be cut periodically to prevent the grate from girdling the tree. 

In our opinion, the best sidewalk pit is an open hole, with a good bedding of mulch surrounding the tree. These are easy to maintain, healthier for the tree, and attractive. 

The City of Chicago Urban Planting Ordinance is a prime example of a city’s efforts to provide sound leadership in city forestry management. The City of Chicago requires: 

“a minimum width of 11’6″ from the curb to the property line for planting trees in sidewalk pits. The minimum dimensions for the pit itself are 5′ x 5′, but the bigger the better” 

They recognize that continuous soil pits are preferable because they provide more room in which roots can grow. The greater soil mass keeps the soil temperature stable, thus the trees roots are less likely to hurt by the extremes of heat and cold. 

The City of Chicago recommends the following trees for sidewalk pits: 

Callery Pear
– A highly adaptable tree, noted for its white flowers and leathery, lustrous heart-shaped leaves that turn a glossy purple or scarlet in autumn 20-40 feet. 

Chanticleer Pear
– This is an upright, narrow tree that has an abundance of white flowers that are less susceptible to late spring freezes because of late blooming. It grows to 35 feet making it another good choice for small spaces. 

Thornless Honeylocust
– Fast-growing and takes well to transplanting, it is tolerant of road salt, drought and soil variations. It can grow anywhere from 30-50 feet and its delicate leaves turn bright golden yellow in autumn. 

– Transplants well and is particularly urban tolerant, withstanding heat, pollution, road salt spray and almost any soil condition. Its fan-shaped leaves turn a brilliant yellow in autumn. The ginkgo is slow-growing, but can eventually reach a height of 50-70 feet. 

Green Ash
– Noted for it’s compact and glossy foliage crown, the Green Ash grows to a height of 40-50 feet. It transplants well and once established is highly tolerant of drought. Its fall foliage is yellow. 

Japanese Tree Lilac
– This small 15-20 foot tree copes well with limited space. It produces an explosion of creamy white flowers the Spring. 

Kentucky Coffeetree
– This native Midwestern tree has a coarse picturesque look. It can reach a height of 40-50 feet. 

Little Leaf Linden
– Noted for its shiny, small, heart-shaped leaves, the Little Leaf Linden grows 60-70 feet. It has smooth bark and fragrant flowers that bloom sometime in June and July. 

Redmond Linden
– This hybrid tree, which grows 40-50 foot, is noted for its heart-shaped leaves, smooth bark, fragrant June flowers and formal pyramidal shape. It is very urban tolerant. 

While the Honeylocust and the Kentucky Coffeetree are extremely urban friendly, they are our least favorites because they can be messy in the Fall. We would recommend the Japanese Tree Lilac and Redmond Linden for sidewalk planting and the Manchurian Apricot or one of the crabapple hybrids for urban lots. For further information you may wish to check out TreeLinks or the Morris Arboretum.

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Diagnosing Shrub and Tree Problems

Icon Written by Geoff on January 1, 2003 – 7:30 pm

We often receive calls asking for advice or help with a sick tree or shrub. Usually the questions are hard to answer over the telephone, without seeing the tree, but not always. Two of the most common questions are; “Why did the leaves on my Amur Maple turn bright red and fall off when it is only Summer?” or “My White Pine’s needles turned brown this Winter when does it turn green again?”. 

The answer to both these questions are, unfortunately, never as these trees are dead. Nothing can be done to save them and costly replacements will be required. If only the homeowner had taken the time to inspect his trees and shrubs in time correct to the problem, these trees may have been alive today. 

Of course, not all tree problems can be solved easily, just ask the American Elm or Chestnut, if you can find one. Catching a plant problem in the early stage, at least gives you a chance. It also gives you an opportunity not to make the same mistake twice, such as planting too deep or in the wrong location. Who knows, you might even be able to save a tree or two by your quick action. 

If you are like me, you overlook your trees and shrubs in the Spring and Summer, when everything else is in bloom. I have to make it a point to inspect each tree and shrub. You need to do the same, it only takes a few minutes. 

The Colorado State University has but together a list of the most common symptoms and theircauses which you can use as a quick reference. 

  1. Symptoms: Poor foliage color, stunted weak growth, gradual decline.
    1. Planting too deeply or too shallow.
    2. Poor drainage; plants located near down spouts, in low areas, in non-drained planter boxes, and in beds over very compacted soil.
    3. Damage to stem or trunk
      1. Freeze damage.
      2. Bark splitting caused by sudden freeze following periods of mild weather. Symptoms may not show until summer time.
      3. Mechanical damage such as, lawn mower or other equipment can skin or girdle bark or borer damage occurring when these insects gain entrance into the stem and destroy tissue just under the bark.
    4. Poor soil preparation, heavy soils that are easily packed and very sandy soils produce poor growth.
    5. Soils too acid or too alkaline.
    6. Drought damage, usually occurs on plants in light sandy soils, under overhanging roofs, or in planter boxes.
    7. Nematode damage, microscopic work-like organisms attack root system and interfere with ability of roots to take up water and nutrients.
    8. Needs proper fertilizer.
    9. Competition from other trees, trees and shrubs often compete with other plants for water, light, and nutrients.
    10. Pot bound root system, roots were not altered as needed at planting.
  2. Symptoms: Shrubs die suddenly.
    1. Too much fertilizer kills roots and top cannot get needed water. Damage more likely to occur during dry periods.
    2. Root rots caused by fungi or bacteria.
    3. Insects, borers and beetles that attack trunk can cause sudden damage.
    4. Severe drought with new plants and shallow-rooted plants most susceptible.
    5. Leakage from underground gas lines.
    6. Weed killer damage when applied incorrectly.
  3. Symptoms: Yellowing foliage.
    1. Insects small sucking insects.
    2. Poorly drained soil.
    3. Too much fertilizer.
    4. Needs proper fertilizer.
    5. Soils too acid or too alkaline.
    6. Nematode damage.
    7. Damage to stem or trunk.
    8. Poor soil preparation.
    9. Roots disturbed by cultivation, roots of shallow-rooted plants are easily damaged by cultivation.
    10. Construction, damage from nearby grading or construction often result in damage to roots or soil filled over roots.
    11. Pot bound root system.
  4. Symptoms: Leaf drop in spring.
    1. Natural occurrence, older leaves fall as new leaves develop.
    2. Unusually wet or dry conditions, trees shed leaves to deal with stress.
  5. Symptoms: Failure to flower.
    1. Shrubs or trees are too young, age and a slowdown in growth rate will increase flowering.
    2. Too much vegetative growth because of overfeeding.
    3. Pruned at the wrong time, prune spring flowering shrubs after blooming and summer flowering shrubs in fall and winter.
    4. Too much shade.
  6. Symptoms: Failure to produce berries.
    1. Cold or frost during flowering; kills developing fruit.
    2. Female plant with no male friend around or only male plants
    3. Improper pruning, often berries are produced on older growth.
  7. Symptoms: Occasional branches die.
    1. Stem breakage, shrubs such as dwarf holly have brittle limbs, easily broken by animals or children.
    2. Disease.
    3. Insects.
  8. Symptoms: Browning of leaf tips and edges and leaf spotting.
    1. Drought.
    2. Cold damage, exposure to bright light and strong winds during low temperatures. Spots develop when ice accumulated on foliage in sun. Injury also occurs during prolonged periods of freezing temperatures.
    3. Poor drainage.
    4. Root loss due to recent transplanting.
    5. Too much fertilizer.
    6. Root rot diseases.
    7. Damage to stem or trunk.

Many problems found can be corrected by the homeowner. While not easy, trees can be moved, drainage improved, and Winter protection can be provided. The homeowner can also learn proper pruning techniques, fertilization methods, and to be more careful mowing and trimming. We recommend, for large tree damage, insect, or disease problems, the owner call in a professional arborist. One can quickly be located by going to the National Arborists Association’s web site and typing in your zip code. For example, in our area, when you type in 49120 it tells youWatson’s Tree Service is the one to call.

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Fall Planting of Trees

Icon Written by Geoff on September 1, 2002 – 7:32 pm

The Fall planting season for trees has arrived. If you had planned to plant trees last spring but did not get around to it, do not worry, Fall is the second best time to plant. 

This is because with cooler temperatures and shorter days, the plant is going dormant. By planting in the Fall, the tree has plenty of opportunity to establish itself before spring. Most container-grown and balled and burlapped deciduous trees are excellent candidates for Fall planting. Container-grown or balled trees can be easily planted on into October. 

Trees set in the Fall make root growth during the Fall and Winter months that enables them to become established before warm weather. Fall planting of evergreens is more of a risk because they lose moisture from needles. We recommend delaying the planting of evergreens until spring. 

Dig a hole wide enough to allow the roots to spread out without bending back into the hole. You want to encourage all of the roots to spread out and take hold in their new home. One of the best ways to do this, if the plant is in the least root bound, is to gently tear the roots before planting. 

Test to make sure the hole has good drainage. Soil in the bottom of the hole should be firmed to avoid excessive settling before easing the plant in. Add soil around the roots and use water instead of tamping to settle it. 

Once you get the tree in the ground, add a root stimulator to the water and then water thoroughly. Root stimulators contain a mild fertilizer that accelerates the development of feeder roots. Wait on the heavy feeding for Spring. Keep watering new plants until the ground freezes. 

Trees planted in areas subject to strong winds should be staked. Soft twine, strips of webbing, or soft rope may be used to tie the tree to the stakes. Mulch, 4-5 inches to help keep the roots consistently moist and withstand extreme temperature changes. 

It is sometimes necessary to move plants from one location to another. The best time to move deciduous plants is from late Fall until Late Winter. When digging a plant to be moved, try to get as much of the root system as possible. Remove one-third to one-half of the top of the plant to compensate for the roots lost at digging. 

The following trees have been tested by the Colorado State University Horticulture Department and are suitable for Fall planting. 

  1. Fraxinus americana ‘Autumn Purple’
    – A tree rapidly becoming a Michigan favorite. This tree requires low to medium watering and its foliage turns a striking shade of purple in the fall.
  2. Fraxinus pennsylvanica ‘Marshall’s Seedless Ash’
    – Suitable for street tree use. This ash turns yellow in the fall.
  3. Sophora japonica ‘Japanese Pagodaatree’
    – Pagodatree bears large creamy flowers in midsummer and bead-like pods in Fall.
  4. Quercus bicolor ‘Swamp White Oak’
    – A more handsome tree than its common name might imply. It is native to wet locations, so it adapts well to heavy clay soils. Some oaks grow very slowly, but this species is faster growing.
  5. Quercus rubra ‘Red Oak’
    – The Red Oak is notable for its glossy, dark green leaves throughout the summer which turn bright red in the fall.

Additional Fall tree choices include common hackberry, littleleaf linden and Norway maple. 

While we prefer Spring planting of trees we have never had a problem with Fall planting if done properly. Just make your selections carefully, plant correctly, and water thoroughly and often.

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Mail-Order Nurseries

Icon Written by Geoff on February 1, 2001 – 6:20 pm

For the past month we have all been receiving gardening catalogs through the mail. Most of these are like old friends to us. What would the Winter be without the Seeds of Change or Jung Seed Catalogs? For the gardener, this is the time of year when we can sit back browse the pages and plan this year’s garden.

The last few seasons we have seen some major changes in the mail-order plant and seed industry. The trend is toward consolidation of some major players. White Flower Farms is a good example of a company who has made some major purchases starting with the Daffodil Mart and ending who knows where. We see from our recent catalog from Shepherd’s Seeds is now in the White Flower family.

Is this trend good or bad for the home gardener? We are still trying to decide how we feel on this one. Surely we are going to miss some old friends, businesses we have learned to trust and depend on over the years. We will treat these mergers as we would any new company and give them a try with a few smaller orders to see just how they will measure up.

Our concern is that we will see the personal service we have all learned to respect when some of these tried and proven nurseries go by the wayside. We all know what to expect if we go to a major discount center such as K-Mart, Target, Wal-Mart, or Lowes with a question or seeking that “Special Plant” we read about in Green Scenes. These places are excellent for sources for the more common plants and they do offer good pricing, just do not ask a question or expect much service. Also, we have always questioned just how much training in plant care these “Sales Associates” have received. We cannot help but carry these feelings over to the consolidated mail order companies.

We could be wrong about our uneasy feeling of this new trend in the gardening industries. You have all seen this trend in other industries such as banking, drugs, and even medical communities. We liked it when we knew Bill the bank president or Fred the druggist was looking out for our welfare. Gardening to us is a very personal recreation and requiring a personal touch. Part of the fun of gardening is discussing our plants with others of a like interest. This is why, even if the price is a little higher, we always patronize our local garden center first. Life would be just a little less fun without them.

While we will continue to give the “Wal-Marts” of the gardening industry an opportunity to prove themselves, the proven nurseries will receive our patronage. Old friends like Niche Gardens, Brent and Becky’s Bulbs, and Plants Delight are hard to beat.

All change is not for the worse. We have seen some fine new nurseries such as Naylor Creek come on the seen. We just need to keep out eyes open so we do not miss them. Every day more gardening sites appear on the Internet, most good sites will soon have a loyal following only too willing to expound on their virtues. Good references on sites can be found in periodicals such as Green Scene, Horticulture, or the Advent Gardener. Another good resource can be found by joining a gardening email list such as Perennial List at perennials This “List” is made up of gardeners, for gardeners, and by gardeners. Each day’s postings are full of useful information and conversation. To subscribe simply send an Email to with this message in the body of your Email subscribe perennial (your Email address).

The Garden Gate is a site with references to almost any topic you could think of in gardening. The Garden Gate’s Gardening Lists ( provides a quick source for those interested in subscribing.

We are always looking for new nurseries that fit out needs. Personally, we like to order over the Internet. It is quick, accurate, efficient, and safe. Also, we have found that we get better and quicker responses to our questions by email. Most of the newer companies coming on board have very good user friendly sites with loads of information for the gardener.

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The Sugar Bush

Icon Written by Geoff on April 1, 2000 – 7:17 pm

This time of year, in the North Country, sunshine is just starting to warm the forest floor, teasing us with our first taste of Spring. This is the time of warming days and cold freezing nights. In the times before the white settlers the Native Americans would be packing up and moving to their selected area of the Sugar Bush. Often the location of these areas were closely guarded and passed down from generation to generation. Wars were fought to keep the location of these sacred spots a secret. 

What is the Sugar Bush that the Native American so closely guarded? The Sugar Bush is the term the early settlers applied to those stands of trees tapped for sugaring. In the spring when the daytime temperature reach above freezing and the nighttime temperatures plummet below is the time when the sap starts to flow. The sugaring season is often short, the first run being the best. Spring rains delete the flavor and once the buds swell the sap develops a bad taste. 

Any trees that produce free flowing sap can be used to make syrup although most produce little sugar or taste very bad. The trees most often tapped in the North Country are the hickory walnut cherry birch , and maple . Some of my fondest memories of my youth are of the early morning breakfasts at our cabin on Little Traverse Lake eating flapjacks smothered in “hickory syrup”, watching the sun slowly rise over Sugar Loaf Mountain. As youngsters we use to save our pennys for the “maple sugar candy” found at Radar’s Totem Shop. What truly sweet memories those were. 

The tree most often associated with sugar making is the maple. While there are over 160 species of maple the Sugar Maple is the one most usually tapped for syrup. It takes about 40 gallons of Sugar Maple sap to produce one gallon of maple syrup, compared to 190 gallons from the Japanese Cutleaf Maple specimen tree in your rock garden. 

Native Americans and early settlers simply gashed the tree with an ax to obtain the sap, a little hard on the trees but effective. Today we use aluminum tubes or spiles to tap the tree. Holes are drilled 2-3 1/2 inches into the south side of the tree about 3 feet off the ground and spiles inserted. One spile may produce 1 gallon of sap a day or 12 gallons a season. No more than 3-4 spiles are placed in a tree and never in one less than 10 inches in diameter. Unlike using an ax, this does not harm the tree. 

Our forefathers used birch bark containers, wooden buckets, and eventually tin pails to collect the sap. Today, with sugar making being a big business, miles of plastic tubing is used to collect the sap and pump it to the sugar house. Little sugar is made today, most sap is made into syrup. To produce syrup, sap is boiled to 218 degrees Fahrenheit before it is put into containers. Today this is done in large stainless steel boilers and cooling tanks. Long gone are the days of open wood fires, large copper kettles, and little kids waiting for the “sugar to be ready”. 

Also gone are the days when every county in the “Sugar Bush” had two or three “sugar camps”. These were small family run operations. Everyone pitched in from cutting and splitting wood, tapping the trees, driving the sled to gather sap, and; of course, the long hours of boiling the sap into syrup. While hard work, it was a family time, like barn raising, haying, quilting bees, and cookie making. Unfortunately, most of the “Sugar Shacks” have disappeared along with much of the “Sugar Bush” from the North Country. Gone are the Bufkas and the Novotnys, of the far North, and their long traditions of fine sugar making. 

Why not take time this Spring with your family to make a little syrup or even sugar. All it takes is a little time, a couple of plastic pails, 4-5 spiles, and a few maple trees, maybe throw in a few birch trees if you are daring. The Michigan Maple Syrup Association is a good place to start at Who knows you may start a new family tradition!

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Specialty Nurseries On-Line

Icon Written by Geoff on March 1, 2000 – 6:24 pm

In February we talked about ordering plants on-line. We told you about our favorite perennial web sites and offered some tips on selecting an on-line nursery to order from. Time did not permit us to look at all the other sites available. In this month’s issue of Yard Talk we would like to review some of the other web sites we have found to be above average. 

For us to consider an on-line source to be above average they must consistently supply plants which are strong vigorous growers as presented on their site. The plants should be healthy, strong, and above average in size. We expect plants to be protected during shipment, while bare root plants are acceptable, potted plants should be the norm. Shipments should be made on time and in the manner specified. All orders should be acknowledge and any back orders brought to our attention promptly. 

The following nurseries are ones which have met or exceeded our expectations: 

Rose On-Line Nurseries

Edmunds’ Roses –
This site is about modern roses with excellent graphics and a wealth of information. An essential place to visit for those of us into new roses.
Hortico Nurseries –
If you are looking for roses, look no further. Old Roses, New Roses, you name it and Hortico Nurseries has it.
Yesterday’s Roses –
As the name implies this is the site for Old Roses. They specialize in old time tea, damask, etc.
Nor’East Miniature Roses –
If you are into miniature roses this site offers a good selection of some of the best.
Regan Rose’s –
While not the easiest catalog to browse or order from, its quality and wide variety well make up for this sites short comings. The descriptions are limited, geared more for the experienced grower. All rose varieties are well represented at this site.
Petaluma Roses –
Petaluma Rose has a number of fine roses which are not usually offered by many of the other growers. While their selection is somewhat limited the varieties offered are a welcome addition to anyone’s garden. We particularly like their patented Hybrid Teas.
Spring Valley –
Spring Valley Roses specializes in winter hardy Old Garden, Climbing and Shrub roses. These roses have to be tough to handle their colder climates. They do their best to grow healthy, large roses. The roses they offer are: winter hardy, own-root plants, disease tolerant, large two-year old plants, and historically significant. They offer roses in the following classes: Centifolia, Climbers, Gallica, Hybrid Rugosa, Shrub and Species. These include many of the newer Shrubs and Hybrid Rugosas developed in Germany and Canada.
White Rabbit –
White Rabbit Roses offer a wide selection of Old Garden Roses as well as older Hybrid Teas. We were pleasantly surprised to see that White Rabbit also offers Custom Rooting Services and even a Rose Finding Service for Old Roses, those over 40 years. If Old Roses are your interest by all means check these people out.

Woody Plant Nurseries

Aesthetic Gardens –
An excellent site for rare and unusual trees and shrubs. If you are looking for that special, hard to find specimen, this is the place.
Roslyn Nursery –
A unique nursery specializing in rare and exotic varieties of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, trees, ground cover and other ornamental plants. A very good source for Japanese Maples and Ferns. Also for those in the warmer zones they offer a selection of Camellias. You can also find information about plant hardiness zones and directions to their nursery.
Forest Farms Nursery –
They offer a good selection of ornamental shrubs, trees, grasses, and perennials. They are well known throughout the plant community although they just started offering their catalog on-line.
Clematis Specialty Nursery –
They are a small nursery specializing in all types of clematis. They have been in business since 1983 as a retail establishment and started doing mail-order in 1993. Clematis Specialty Nursery is particularly interested in small-flowered species and hybrids that are so easy and rewarding to grow. Their aim is also to introduce new but proven varieties of both small and large-flowered clematis

On-Line Seed Catalogs

Burpee –
Serving Home Gardeners since 1876. The on-line spot for the seed gardener, feel free to explore this site as if it were your own garden. Everywhere you turn, we’re sure you’ll find something special to look at.
Territorial Seed Company –
Territorial has been serving the seed gardener for over twenty years, offering a wide selection of seeds. We were particularly impressed with its large selection of garlic sets, over ten varieties.
Franklin Hill Garden –
Franklin Hill Garden Seeds web site offers enticing selections of annual and perennial flower varieties, natives, exotics, heirlooms, cottage garden favorites, and a few modern hybrids. Franklin Hills goal is to help us rediscover forgotten old favorites as well as find a few new treasures. We are sure you will find their site interesting.
Wildseed Farms –
Wildseed Farms offers for sale over 70 species of wildflower seed, and wildflower seed mixes. Their catalog is an invaluable resource for anyone who would like to join the growing community of enthusiasts who support Mother Nature by planting wildflowers. They offer useful information on such diverse subjects as starting a no mow lawn to plants for clay soils.
Prairie Nursery –
Prairie Nursery is dedicated to bringing their customers quality plants and seeds, and sharing our knowledge of cultural and landscape uses of native plants. Since 1972 Prairie Nursery has been devoted to improving and rebuilding the environment by encouraging ecological gardening using native plants for soil, water, and habitat conservation. Their mission is to preserve native plants and animals by helping people to create attractive, non-polluting natural landscapes that can support a diversity of wildlife.
Seeds of Change –
Seeds of Change is an all organic, 100 % Certified source for over 1500 different varieties of heirloom seeds. The site offers a lot of information for the organic gardener

On-Line Bulb, Corm, Rhizome, and Tuber Companies

Brent and Beckys Bulbs –
Brent and Beckys Bulbs are a hybridizers of daffodils . They are third generation bulb growers, trialing many unusual and specialty bulbs on our 10 acre farm and gardens in Gloucester, Virginia.
Oakes Daylilies –
For three generations Oakes Daylilies has been in the business of growing and selling daylilies. In that time, they have seen incredible advancement in the diversity, beauty and popularity of the daylily. Whether you have grown daylilies for years or are new to them, Oakes invite you to add some of these wonderful flowers to your garden.
McClure and Zimmerman –
McClure Zimmerman offers multitude of quality bulbs, corms, tubers and rootstocks. We have used them in the past and have always found them to be reliable.
Swan Island Dahlias –
Swan Island Dahlias are the largest grower of Dahlias in the United States. Their catalog offers a wide range of tubers.
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Nurseries On-Line

Icon Written by Geoff on February 1, 2000 – 6:22 pm

We have all started to receive numerous gardening catalogs in the mail and what better time to receive them? For most of us, this is the slow time of year, a time when we can sit back, relax, and think of warmer seasons. Each day we wait expectantly for the mailman to deliver the newest batch of gardening treasures we call catalogs. 

Those of us lucky to have access to the Internet do not even have to wait for the mailman as we have the world at our fingertips. Most of the better nurseries have their own web sites containing vast amounts of information on plants and gardening. With a little searching, you can easily find nurseries geared to your particular interest. There are sites out there for the young and old, from the herb gardener and the arborist, to shade gardener and rosarian. 

Being an avid shade gardener use to be hard, as plant selections were limited but, now we have access to plants we could only dream of at one time. The wide range of selections offered is almost limitless. We have yet to be unable to find a plant we wanted. On-line ordering is not only easy and quick but, also safe. The information available is usually more extensive than found in catalogs and the pictures are definitely bigger and better. 

Everyday more gardening sites appear on the Internet, like anything, more is not necessarily better and some caution needs to be observed in choosing a sight to order from. Most good sites will soon have a loyal following only too willing to expound on their virtues. Good references on sites can be found in periodicals such as Green Scene, Horticulture, or the Advent Gardener. Another good resource can be found by joining a gardening email list. 

There are many excellent lists out there on almost any gardening subject. Some are quite specific while others cover a broad range of topics. A good list to start with is Perennial List at This list is dedicated to the discussion of all perennials in a garden context and information is freely exchanged. This “List” is made up of gardeners, for gardeners, and by gardeners. Each day’s postings are full of useful information and conversation. To subscribe simply send an Email to with this message in the body of your Email “subscribe perennial (your Email address)” (Make sure to drop the ” and () from the message). We encourage you to subscribe to a list, most are made up of friendly people with only gardening’s best interest at heart. 

We have found most sites to be very good in handling your orders. Often times the communication is better then mail order. The better ones not only acknowledge your order but email you at shipping time so you can prepare for their arrival. Also, we have found that while a nursery during the busy season may not have time to answer your gardening questions over the telephone, most freely answer your email.

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