As winter has been in full swing these last few months, we have seen many changes in both our gardens, and here at Pender Pines Garden Center. At the beginning of this month we added a Plant Finder tool to our website, which can be found on the homepage on the top menu bar. This tool can be used to see annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees that we carry seasonally at the nursery, that perform well for our southeast North Carolina gardens. Use this tool to learn descriptive characteristics of plants you are interested in to determine where they are best suited among your garden. This tool also allows you to create a Plant List of desirable plants/shrubs that you can print and bring in here to the nursery for us to show you the plants in person!
Most plants are in full dormancy now, and now is the time for many garden chores. Now is a great time to apply a slow release fertilizer, such as Espoma (Holly Tone, Plant Tone, etc..) or Osmocote, to your trees and shrubs. This will allow your shrubs to have the nutrients they need before growth starts to occur. If you haven’t already done so, now is still a good time to test your lawns and gardens for the soil pH. Often in our coastal lawns and gardens we see excessively high soil pH, which can have damaging implications for growth and plant sustainability. High soil pH can be corrected yearly or biyearly by adding sulfur to the soil to lower the pH to an adequate level for a particular shrub or lawn cultivar.
Pruning can also be done now for many trees and summer flowering shrubs now. Wait to prune all spring flowering shrubs until after they have bloomed, preferably within one month of the bloom. This includes azaleas, loropetalum, gardenia, Now is excellent time though to prune your roses and crape myrtles. Start by removing dead, diseased, dying, and crossing branches first. Then, prune to form a well branched specimen with optimum light penetration. Tips for this pruning can be shown in person here at the nursery. Other shrubs that will benefit from pruning now include butterfly bush, chase tree, most spirea, abelia, and large Nandina canes. Ornamental grasses and liriope can also be pruned back now.
For those looking to add color and blooms to their winter gardens, there are several beautiful shrubs to choose from. One of the most asked for southern favorites is the Camellia japonica. These winter/spring blooming camellias bloom between January and April, depending on cultivar and the severity of the current winter. Camellia japonica come in various colors and flower style, and also grace gardens with glossy evergreen leaves.
We look forward to seeing you this spring and hope we can help make your gardening year both enjoyable and productive.
Pender Pines Garden Center