Beyond Hostas: Shade Plants Galore!

Beyond Hostas: Shade Plants Galore!

Many of us have yards with shaded areas, but I get a lot of questions asking what the plant options are beyond hostas. Don't get me wrong, I love hostas - there are so many unique varieties, and bees and hummingbirds can't get enough of the flowers. But they are prone to slug and deer damage, and it's not crazy to want a little bit of something different. Below I've come up with 40 different plants for shade - some prefer dappled sunlight, and others can take pretty dense shade.

Wedding Blues: Container Design for a Perfect Day

Wedding Blues: Container Design for a Perfect Day

While we've prepared properties for weddings and other major celebrations a few times before, this week was the first time we created container designs to match a wedding's color scheme. The bride and groom picked pink and blue, and even though blue is one of the trickiest colors in the landscape, our staff came up with just the right plants for the occasion for both shade and sun containers.

July: Bee Balm

July: Bee Balm

After enjoying all the fireworks on the 4th of July, we'd like to share one of nature's fireworks: bee balm. Bee balm (sometimes called bergamot or its scientific name, Mondarda) is one of our favorite perennials. It has a long bloom season and unique flowers, and pollinators love it, which makes it a perfect pick in advance of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful's second annual pollinator count.

Pest Alert: White Pine Weevil

Pest Alert: White Pine Weevil

Some garden pests and diseases show up every year without fail, like powdery mildew, grubs, and Japanese beetles. Others wax and wane during different years as weather conditions and other factors vary. White Pine Weevil is a pest that you can find here and there most years, but this year I've been seeing it a lot more than usual. Either way, this insect can do serious damage to pine and spruce trees, so it's important to spot it early.

June: Bottlebrush Buckeye

June: Bottlebrush Buckeye

With our company under the ownership of two Ohio State grads, it was only a matter of time before I ended up featuring a plant from the buckeye family. While I'm a Purdue grad myself, I have to admit that this is one amazing shrub. If you're looking for something that can take a little shade, fill space pretty quickly, screen unsightly views, and show some nice flowers, bottlebrush buckeye is one of your best options.

Beyond Ivy: Groundcovers for Every Situation

Beyond Ivy: Groundcovers for Every Situation

Groundcovers are versatile workhorses in the landscape. Low-growing, low-maintenance, and quick to fill in problem areas - we'd be lost without them. There are dozens of options for groundcover, but chances are most people just know English ivy and its other evergreen counterparts, vinca and wintercreeper. While these plants have a time and a place (expect for wintercreeper - it has turned out to be highly invasive, and we no longer use it even though many nurseries and garden centers still sell it), there are so many more species to choose from. 

Measuring & Changing Soil Fertility

Measuring & Changing Soil Fertility

How can you tell if your soil is providing the right nutrients for your plants? Plants can suffer all kinds of problems and even die if they aren't in fertile enough soil. Different species have different requirement, but across the board there are two critically important factors anyone can track (primary macronutrients and pH), and two other factors that need to be measured professionally, but are less likely to cause you problems (other nutrients and cation exchange capacity).

May: Columbine

May: Columbine

May's plant of the month is one of my favorites: columbine. Columbine thrives on woodland edges between full sun and part shade. The delicate, intriguing flowers nod gently on slender stalks from mid to late spring. The foliage is light and airy, and helps create a calm atmosphere even after the flowers are gone. Later in the season, the seedpods ripen and produce a gentle rattling sound when the wind blows.

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day!

Tomorrow is Earth Day, and here at Gardens of Growth we are always looking for new ways to do our job in a way that respects the environment. Our blog posts over the past few years have reflected that. Today we have collected several posts from the past that teach about how to take better care of the world around you. I hope you learn something!

April: Serviceberry

April: Serviceberry

Our favorite spring-blooming tree here at Gardens of Growth is probably Serviceberry. The white flowers are a crowd-pleaser, the dark red berries are delicious, the fall color is unbeatable, and it's a native species for Indiana. It's hard to get much better than that. There are a few different species of Serviceberry growing in North America. The Canadian Serviceberry sticks closer to the east coast, while the Allegheny Serviceberry extends inland all the way to Minnesota and Iowa.