Loropetalum for Winter Interest

It is that time of year when your garden is lacking something – color is gone, leaves are missing and interest is waning. Evergreen trees and shrubs help maintain your landscaping base throughout the year but only provides shades of green during the winter months. To combat these problems I suggest inserting some color into your landscape that lasts all year round.

Loropetalum is a plant that saw a spike in popularity a decade or so back and has been used in a variety of different situations. Loropetalum has seen its popularity drop a little due to its vulnerability in cold conditions and root rot issues. It is an excellent plant for maintaining color in your yard throughout the dull months of winter and if you avoid historically wet spots when planting has a very high success rate.

Michael Dirr introduces loropetalum in his iconic book, Manual of Woody Landscape Plants by writing:

“If prescriptions could be written for perfect garden plants, this species would come close to filling the order…Easy to manage, unbelievably drought-tolerant, and pest-free. I consider it one of the top introductions of the past 10 years.”

Now that’s a recommendation from one of the most respected plant minds in the country, so if you don’t believe me then maybe you will listen to Mr. Dirr, who wrote the book on landscape shrubs. Dirr loved the contrast of emerald green boxwoods and loropetalum as a dual layer hedge to provide layers and depth to his planting designs.

loropetalum

This is a combination that I use in my designs quite frequently, especially when a client desires a low maintenance evergreen base with no added color from perennials or annuals. In my opinion you can not go wrong with this color combination as it looks just as good in June as it does in January.

Loropetalum has a very unique bloom that can take place several times a year depending on weather conditions. The main bloom is in late February and continues thru March with sporadic blooms throughout the summer when temperatures are mild and rain is adequate. The bloom itself is neon pink with 8-12 filaments forming a clump at the ends of branches and in leaf axes. As you can imagine this display of blooms in early March is quite phenomenal especially when little else is in bloom. The contrast of burgundy with hot pink is very pleasing to the eye and one that will leave a lasting impression.

If you are a landscape designer or a homeowner looking to add some color to your local scenery then give loropetalum a try – it can be found at virtually any plant provider and comes in full size (6x6ft) and dwarf varieties (3x3ft) that will fit into any existing landscape.

 

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The Winter Blues

Winter and cold weather are fast approaching but that does not mean that you have to go in your house and start hibernating. There is work to be done in your yard and if you want a landscape that is the envy of the neighborhood you should follow this checklist for a memorable Spring.

First off – in Knoxville we have had one heck of  a drought that has pretty much gone on all year but especially the last three months. Fortunately, we have started to get some much needed rain the last week and there are several ways to take advantage of it. If your lawn looks like mine there are many bare areas and a good way to get a head start on filling these in is to take grass seed and sprinkle a handful in each spot. This grass will not come up now but will work its way into the soil and germinate in the spring when conditions are favorable. For best results break up the soil with a landscaping rake, sprinkle the seed and then cover with some topsoil.

As the leaves continue falling it is important to get these up as soon as possible to prevent them from smothering the healthy grass you have remaining. If you don’t feel like bagging them up or paying someone to pick them up simply blow or rake them into your flower beds and cover them with mulch. This will put needed nutrients in the ground and provide insulation for your perennials through the cold months of winter.

Follow my blog for helpful hints like these to improve your landscape year round. Keeping your property beautiful is a year round endeavor and I am here to help your achieve your goals whatever they might be. A nice bi-product of your hard work in the yard this winter will be the inability of the winter blues to take over your world. So on those balmy days when you can stand to be outside go out there and do some work and reap the benefits of a healthy mind and sound body.

 

 

 

 

 

The Perfect Yard

photo-2We all want the perfect yard – the best one in the neighborhood.  But that comes at a cost – mowing grass, pulling weeds, raking leaves, and planting flowers can be downright exhausting. That is just the physical part, there are also many things to learn like where is the best place to plant a hydrangea, what kind of weed killer to use, or when is the best time to plant a tree. It can be overwhelming and for some people the mulching, aerations, pre-emergents, and patio pavers become to much and they give up and go sit on their couch. Hopefully this blog can help people out of their houses and into the fresh air by giving you some pointers and explaining what to do to your yard and more importantly when to do it. On a weekly basis we will look at what you should be doing to your lawn to make it the best it can be. For instance – we are on the verge of Spring and grass is starting to grow, flowers are showing buds, and temperatures are in the 60s – there are plenty of things to do in the yard this time of year. Things like trimming your flowers back to the ground so the new growth will not be hindered, applying pre-emergent to your lawn to keep crabgrass from emerging in a few months and mulching your display beds to keep weeds from coming up are just a few things we can do to get things moving in the right direction. We will cover everything from grass and tree care, to irrigation schedules that can save money on water, to tree and shrub pruning basics. So get ready to surprise yourself and especially your neighbors by getting your head wrapped around this monster we call landscaping – its not as hard as you think and we are going to prove it this year!!  Tune in every week to see what your lawn needs to be the best it can be and wow your neighbors with your new found knowledge.