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Jeepers Creepers: Down Low & Fun To Grow!

Do you have an area that just needs a little green? Jeepers Creepers are just the thing for you! Characterized by a its low, slow creeping habit, Jeepers Creepers are perennials with colorful flowers or leaves, offering unique design possibilities. Durable, tough and tolerant, these plants not only look great but will prosper in the most difficult landscape spots. Ideal for use as a groundcover, lawn substitute, a pathway or even as an edging plant. And, cascading types are perfect in containers where they can spill over the edges or fill in between other plants. When it comes to Jeepers Creepers, there is something for everyone! Try one of these varieties in your yard:

Blue Star Creeper - The most popular, this creeping perennial forms a flat carpet of tiny green leaves, with lots of starry, soft-blue flowers all summer long. Ideal for planting between paving stones, in the rock garden or as a lawn substitute.

Scotch Moss – This popular groundcover forms a very low, moss-like carpet of bright neon-yellow foliage. Tiny little white flowers appear in late spring. Excellent for filling in between the cracks of flagstone paving, in the rock garden as a lawn substitute.

Irish Moss - Like Scotch Moss, this groundcover forms a very low, moss-like carpet with bright shamrock-green foliage. Tiny little white flowers begin to appear in late spring. Ideal for filling in between the cracks of flagstone paving, in the rock garden or as a lawn substitute.

Lysmachia (Creeping Jenny) Goldilocks – This vigorous, spreading groundcover is very useful in moist, shady areas. Plants form a low mat of bright green, rounded leaves, with bright golden-yellow flowers from late spring into the summer. Excellent in pots and tubs or cascading over walls.

Tip: Plants will need a bit of coddling to help them develop a strong root system, so weekly watering for the first month is a good idea, or twice a week during hot weather. Daily watering is something to try and avoid.

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Magnolia Madness

We bet you didn’t know there were so many options for the Magnolia... and we are just mad for magnolias! Most people think of that good ole' southern classic Magnolia with deep green leaves and big white blossoms. However, that is just one of the many varieties available! There are a multitude of sizes and colors to choose from. All you need to decide is which one of these beauties will look best in your yard!

Here’s a few of our favorites:

  • Royal Star ~ An early bloomer, this deciduous tree possesses large, fragrant, double white flowers. The blooms will appear before the foliage. It is an open-branched, multi-trunked small tree. A moderate grower, with year round interest and prefers full sun. You'll love these delicate, bright white flowers that dance in the breeze!
  • Black Tulip ~ With rich, deep burgundy 6 inch flowers, these spectacular blooms appear with a unique tulip shape we just adore! Blooming before the leaves appear, this beauty is a beacon for spring. An excellent small specimen tree or may be topped to form a hedge. It is also perfect planted in a container, as it is a moderate grower and prefers full sun.
  • Ann Magnolia ~ This deciduous tree flowers later than the Royal Star Magnolia and, thus, avoids frost damage to the flower buds. It has exquisite, 3 to 4 inch blooms in a reddish-purple outside and white inside. Like the Royal Star, these blooms will appear before the foliage buds out. An excellent choice if you're looking for a spectacular accent tree that is a slow grower and prefers full sun.
  • Little Gem ~This is a more "traditional-looking" variety. It's a slow-growing Southern Magnolia with smaller dark green foliage and very compact narrow form. The leaves of this small evergreen tree are rusty-brown on the undersides. It is useful in small gardens and as landscape plantings with a pyramidal shape. It too prefers full sun.
  • Yellow Bird ~ This gorgeous magnolia boosts bright canary yellow 3 1/2 inch flowers. The blooms will appear more dependably since they appear with the foliage late in the spring, after the danger of frosts. Plant this deciduous tree as an accent or specimen. Loves full sun and is a vigorous grower with a pyramidal shape.
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Berrylicious Strawberries

Strawberries are a super fun fruit to grow at home and homegrown berries taste FAR better than the store-bought ones. With favorable conditions, each strawberry plant should produce one quart of strawberries. They are relatively easy to grow, require minimum space, and virtually no chemicals are needed. Berries not eaten fresh can be frozen or preserved. Besides being an excellent dessert fruit, strawberries are a good source of vitamin C as well as being low in calories (1/2 cup fills an adult's daily need for vitamin C and equals about 25 calories).

There are two types of strawberries available:

  1. June Bearing strawberries produce a single, large crop per year during a 2 - 3 week period in the spring. June bearers are traditionally produce a single flush of flowers and many runners. They are classified into early, mid-season and late varieties. The largest fruits are generally from June bearing varieties.
  2. Everbearing strawberries produce two to three harvests of fruit intermittently during the spring, summer and fall. Everbearing plants do not send out many runners and can be grown in containers.

Strawberry Ozark Beauty - Like all strawberries, Ozark Beauty strawberry plants prefer full sun. These strawberry plants are vigorous and everbearing. Ozark Beauty strawberry plants produce large, well-colored, tasty strawberries – and lots of them.

Strawberry Chandler - Full sun is greatly beneficial to Chandler strawberry plants. The vigorous, high-yielding, June-bearing Chandler strawberry plants produce very desirable berries. Chandler strawberries are very large, firm, and vary from being long and wedge-shaped to large and conical. They are a brilliant red color, glossy, and have an exceptional flavor profile. Chandler strawberries are good for eating fresh and very good for freezing.

Strawberry Quinault is a newer everbearing variety that produces berries juicy fresh strawberries. Makes an excellent ground cover or border planting along walks or paths. Fruit is tasty and can be ready to eat in 4 to 5 weeks after planting. Use them in jams, preserves, tarts and pies.

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Sunshine in the Garden

OSTEOSPERMUM 'VOLTAGE YELLOW'

This sunshine-yellow daisy is so bright it virtually glows. It is easy to grow and loves full sun. ‘Voltage Yellow’ is one of the first super-vigorous varieties that grows quickly and flowers continuously. It loves the cooler weather and the bright days of spring, but has a long bloom period. Its size and stature lends itself well as a stand-alone plant in your favorite sun-loving container or hanging basket, though it can also be placed in a sunny, well-drained flower bed with purple salvias, red geraniums or purple fountain grass. Pair it with blues, purples and reds. It's also deer resistant and attracts butterflies.

"Apeeling" Orange Blooms

A vibrant shade, called tangerine tango, has been identified as the color of the year by Pantone, a global authority on color and provider of professional color standards to design industries. Set your garden ablaze with the season’s hottest color: ORANGE!

From pottery to annuals, perennials and shrubs, this color will light up your garden this spring and summer.

Orange pairs perfectly with its complimentary color on the color wheel: blue/purple. Try mixing with purple Petunias, Midknight Blue Agapanthus, Maynight Salvia, Purple Fountain Grass, Raven Sweet Potato Vine, or Purple Pixie Lorapetulum. The possibilities are endless so have fun and spice up your landscape.

Orange you glad there are so many options?!

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Spring Starts Here

Annuals provide exciting color in the spring when gardeners are ready for the first signs of life in their garden. Here in Hampton Roads, our average last frost date is April 15, which can vary from the Oceanfront (April 1) to Williamsburg (April 25).

We love these early spring annuals, as they are a somewhat safe bet for the early spring weather fluctuations. We recommend any of these right now:

Zonal Geraniums - with their large, bright flowers and attractive foliage, there is a spot in every garden for this popular plant. Available in a variety of colors including reds, pinks, white, salmon and lavender. Variegated leaves can add an even more striking presence. Ideal for adding pockets of color in any sunny spot or group together for impact in flower borders. Geraniums are classics in containers, used by themselves or mixed with other plants. Plant in well drained soil in full sun or partial shade after danger of hard frost has passed.

Petunias - one of the most popular annuals offer a bright and lively bloom in the garden. Available in a variety of colors this trumpet shaped flower is a prolific bloomer. It can be used alone or mixed with other plants in containers, hanging baskets, window boxes and annual beds. Most varieties will bloom throughout the summer in sun to partial shade.

Million Bells - produces masses of small, colorful, petunia-like flowers that cover long, cascading stems. Available in a range of color including red, yellow, orange, blue, purple, pink and white. Can be used alone or mixed with other plants in containers, hanging baskets, window boxes and annual beds. Thrives in full sun in well-drained, light soil.

Diamond Frost Euphorbia – described as a 'blooming machine' this annual plant produces small white flowers resembling Baby's Breath that bloom non-stop. A perfect choice for containers as both a spiller and a filler. Can also be used to soften walkways and walls. Is heat and drought tolerant, but does best in partial shade.

Sweet Potato Vine - grown for its decorative foliage and vigorous growth habit, this fast growing annual is both bold and beautiful. Available in lime green, purple, red and tricolor, Its cascading foliage is perfect for containers, window boxes or planted by itself. Can also be used as a groundcover since it spreads quickly. The large tuberous roots are edible but most have a poor flavor or even a bitter taste. Thrives in a bright, sunny location but will also grow in partial shade.

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One Incredible Edible

BLUEBERRIES

Looking for an incredible edible? One that's not only healthy, but easy to grow. We have the perfect solution: blueberries! The ever popular blueberry is considered an antioxidant super food, best enjoyed fresh from the garden. Blueberries are not only rich in antioxidants, but are low in calories and sodium, they contain no cholesterol, and are a great source of fiber. Not only are the health benefits associated with the blueberry fantastic but they are delicious and can create quite a statement in the garden. The striking ornamental beauty of the blueberry offers four seasons of interest. From, the white bell shaped blooms to dark green shrub foliage to the fruit, this little berry packs a punch all year round.

Blueberries are easy to grow, require little care, and are seldom bothered by pests. Follow these simple steps to enjoy this sweet treat during the summer months!

  1. Choose a good variety. We recommend:
    Rabbiteye: This type is large, growing to 10 feet or more. We recommend 'Tifblue' and "Premier' as top varieties.
    Southern Highbush: This type is not as large, growing to approximately 5 feet. It tolerates a wide range of soil. The most popular variety is 'Sunshine Blue'.
  2. Select a sunny location in well drained soil for planting.
  3. Plant blueberry shrubs as close as 2-1/2 feet apart to form solid hedgerows or spaced up to 6 feet apart to grow as individual specimens.
  4. Mulch over the roots 2-4" to conserve moisture, prevent weeds and add organic matter.
  5. Blueberries are sensitive to water fluctuations due to their shallow roots and required approximately one inch of water a week. In drought conditions, it may require more water.
  6. Enjoy the fruits of your labor either alone or in muffins or even frozen.

Early Spring Lawn Care Musts

The two most important things you can do for your established lawn in early spring is to apply:

Pre-Emergent
A pre-emergent will to prevent weeds and unwanted grasses that will germinate when the weather gets warms.

Post Emergent
A post emergent will rid your lawn of cool season weeds that are actively growing and getting ready to lay seed.

This can easily be accomplished with McDonald Garden Center’s Early Spring Weed Control Kit. Each kit contains Hi-Yield Turf & Ornamental Weed and Grass Stopper and Ferti-lome Weed Free Zone. Hi Yield can be used on Fescue lawns, as well as, warm season lawns such as Bermuda, St. Augustine, Zoysia and Centipede. This will provide weed and unwanted grass control for up to four months. An added benefit of this product is that it can be applied to your beds. Ferti-lome will provide quick control for cool season weeds such as Henbit, Chickweed and clover that are present in lawns this time of the year. Unlike most weed control products, it works during the cool weather.

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