Notes from Shady Grove Gardens, including wedding information and photos as well as nursery specials, gardening tips and news. We are specialty cut flower growers in Ashe and Watauga Counties NC. We are floral designer & supply wedding flowers throughout the High Country, Boone, Blowing Rock, Valle Crucis, and Linville NC.
Visit us at the Watauga County Farmers Market.
While I'm partial to the flowers in bloom at the moment. We'll work with any color pallet. Here's an excellent website to help you choose. Also check our suggested color combinations using our local flowers, at our website. Suggested flower combinations by season
'Ordering in' pewter colored Dusty Miller in the spring for example will add to your cost. So keep seasonal availability in mind when putting your wedding together.
People often ask what we do in the winter. I try not to reply like they assume we take it easy. Yet the list is overwhelming. We start with fall clean up, perennials are put to bed, greenhouse tightened plants covered, more perennials and bulbs planted, the 1st ranunculus are sprouted, all the dahlias must either be dug and divided or in protection for overwintering, the tulips to be planted this year ~ 1000.
My short version. I won't mention catching up on paperwork or house cleaning so not to bore you. I've added a handful the dahlia work photos. We try to grow ~ 500 each year to have a good selection for our customers.
After Dahlias are dug, they are washed and dried in preparation for division
We stack the dahlias in crates, before and after division, they must cure before storage
Dahlia tubers after division, some years they freeze before we can dig them all
Many are compost, sad but true
Our Calla lilies are stored in the work room too
What we hope they will look like next season
We make dried wreaths for the Holidays, each needs to be carefully stored
In December we are still enjoying our sweet peppers
We grew these callas just for Gina. Happily it all came together on schedule. The blue viburnums had peaked in late July so I used blue dogwood instead and you will see blue Elderberry in the vases arrangements. Beautiful photos Gina! Thanks for sharing.
If you want lovely luxurious peonies for your bridal bouquet plan a June wedding in the High Country. While we do offer peonies in July you cost will almost double to cover care, storage and losses. Peak season for Peonies here are the first 2 weeks in June. Please note- this is weeks later than the Piedmont.
Peonies were originally sought-after for their medicinal value. The roots, seed, and flowers were believed to have healing properties, and were used extensively throughout the Far East and Europe.
These showy flowers originate Siberia and Mongolia. The large, striking blooms and exquisite sweet scent make them the perfect choice for weddings.
To me, peonies symbolize abundance, there is no need to mix them with more than a few carefully chosen sprigs of green. But an individual bloom floating in a bowl by itself is a bit skimpy for your wedding reception. Multiple vases or peonies are the way to go. Five full blooms are just about perfect for most round tables. Add the personal touch of collected glassware and you are set.
Peony Hybrid late May
The soft ice cream colors of most peonies make any venue feminine and inviting. Peonies work massed in statement pieces as well as for pomanders and girlie corsages.
Garlic chives are also known as Chinese chives, which is their more recognizable name. They are grown for culinary and ornamental purposes. Both leaves and the flowers are used as a flavoring similarly to standard chives.
Garlic chives may be of the same vernacular as common chives, but appearance and flavor-wise they impose different values and characteristics. Garlic chives have flat strap-like stems versus hallow thin spherical stems and their flavor is richer and more intense, much like their aroma.
Garlic chives are rich in vitamin C, contain carotene, vitamin B1 and B2, calcium and iron.
Garlic chives are most often used in Asian cuisine. Traditionally they are a classic element of pad Thai but they may also be used as a substitute for standard chives. Use minced garlic chives to finish meat, poultry or seafood dishes. Pair with other fresh herbs, cheeses, mushrooms, noodles and chiles. The color and slight onion flavor or chives may be used to lighten as well as enhance the flavors in a dish. Refrigerate to store, making sure chives are kept dry until ready to use.
Garlic chives have been used as culinary herbs for thousands of years and were probably used first by the Chinese and ancient Greeks.
Garlic chives are native to Asia and Central and Northern Europe. They do not have incredible commercial economic value and are most often found in Asian markets, home gardens and small organic farms where crop rotation and natural pest repellants are prevalent.
Spaghetti with Sweet 100 Tomatoes, Garlic Chives, and Lemon Basil
1 Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt.
2 In a 12- to 14-inch sauté pan, heat the olive oil over high heat until almost smoking. Lower the heat to medium-high and add the garlic cloves. Cook for 2 minutes, or until softened and slightly browned. Add the tomatoes, chives, and basil and cook over high heat until the tomatoes are just beginning to burst. Season with salt and pepper.
3 Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in the boiling water according to package directions until it is tender yet al dente. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the tomatoes. Toss over high heat for 1 minute, then divide evenly among four warmed pasta bowls and serve immediately.
About Garlic Chives
Garlic chive is not a cultivar of ordinary chives but a distinct species of plant. It is commonly regarded as a major kitchen herb, tasting--as its name suggests--like chives with a mild addition of garlic flavor. It looks like and is grown very much like ordinary chives.
One source says that "garlic chives tends to go dormant during the winter, [so] potting for indoor use is not recommended." Fortunately, no one told our garlic chives about that, and they go merrily along through winter growing abundantly. (We think they don't go dormant unless the ambient temperature falls below about 40° F.)
Note that in Chinese cuisine, the flowerheads of garlic chives are considered a delicacy.
There are at least some recognized cultivars, though few or none are identified as such in seedsmen's catalogues (one is a variant with pink, instead of white, flowers). You pretty much get "garlic chives" and that's all she wrote.
Garlic chives sprout easily from seed, after which they can easily be propagated vegetatively by clump division--or you can cut the cackle and just buy a plant (theyare Perennials). They are said to prefer a sunny position in a rich, moist, but well-drained soil, but are also said to be quite forgiving of adverse conditions.
If you're considering growing them in-ground, beware: they are invasive, and pulling them can become quite a tedious chore. Indoors in a pot is best.
Garlic chives generally like moist (but not soggy) soil. During their first season, hold down watering to encourage root growth.
Garlic chives tolerate heavy harvesting. You can treat it like ordinary chives, pinching off any flower buds that appear, or you can let it flower in the autumn, as the buds and flowers are every bit as tasty and edible as the leaves. Harvest leaves by cutting some, or even all, being sure though to cut close to the soil level, so the plant "knows" to send up new leaves. If your garlic chives plant seems to be getting woody, prune it all down to about an inch above the soil level.
A little balanced organic fertilizer every season would not go amiss.
It is wise to re-divide one's garlic chives every few years, to maintain plant vigor. Division can be done almost anytime, but is probably best done in spring.
Our lastest Daisy addition, this Rudbeckia has turned out to be a real winner. They do get tall. Right now they stand 5' in their 1 gallon pots. So we're not bringing them to the market. However, we have them for sale here at the nursery in Zionville. Come by anytime during business hours.
Rudbeckia 'Henry Eilers'
From Fine Gardening Magazine:
Botanical Name:Rudbeckia subtomentosa'Henry Eilers'rud-BEK-ee-ah sub-toe-men-TOE-sahCommon Name: 'Henry Eilers' sweet coneflowerGenus:Rudbeckia The unique, finely quilled, 2-inch-wide flowers are what make 'Henry Eilers' stand out from the rest of the coneflowers. The petals sit separate from one another, forming a brilliant, golden yellow starburst around a dark brownish purple cone. The blooms grow on strong, upright, 4- to 5-foot-tall stems in late summer, and are produced in such abundance that you can cut some for bouquets and you'll never even notice they are missing from the garden. The stems are covered with a soft, hairy down, while the leaves have a pleasing vanilla-and-anise scent.Noteworthy characteristics: Drought tolerant and low maintenance. Good cut flower. Seed heads attract birds. This plant was discovered in Illinois.Care: Plant in full sun to light shade and average loam. Do not overfeed or overwater.Problems: Infrequent.
Beds and Borders, Cut Flower, Naturalizing, Cottage Garden
Summer Interest, Fall Interest
From Walters Gardens inc.:
Rudbeckia subtomentosa 'Henry Eilers'
Photo Courtesy of Walters Gardens, Inc.
Common Name: Coneflower-Sweet
If you're looking for something different in fall blooming perennials, check out 'Henry Eilers'. Brilliant yellow starburst flowers measuring two inches across have completely quilled petals and a brown button center. They are presented atop 4-5 foot tall upright stems beginning in August and continue blooming into fall. They blend well with other fall blooming perennials such as asters and ornamental grasses.
'Henry Eilers' was discovered by Mr. Henry Eilers in a wild population of R. subtomentosa growing along a stream bank in Illinois. Mr. Eilers is an expert on the native flora of the Illinois region, a life long horticulturist, and a retired nurseryman.
R. subtomentosa is a tall, narrowly upright plant with fuzzy stems and flowers which are closer to yellow than gold in color. This species is a bit more shade tolerant than R. fulgida. Both fresh and dried foliage alike has the distinct scent of vanilla, an added bonus when used in bouquets. R. subtomentosa occurs naturally in portions of the midwest, Ozark highlands, and southern Great Plains. It can be found in prairies, along streams, and in open wooded areas.
Rudbeckias like full sun, but they also will do well in partial shade. This species is a bit more shade tolerant than R. fulgida. Plant them in well-drained, average soil. Do not overfeed or overwater. Remove spent flowers to promote rebloom. Rudbeckias are very easy to divide in the spring.
Sun or Shade?:
Full sun (> 6 hrs. direct sun)
Part shade (4-6 hrs. direct sun)
Wet or dry?:
Low water needs
Average water needs
Want to see wings?:
How fast should it grow?: Medium
From our source at North Creek Nurseries:
Henry Eilers sweet coneflower or sweet black-eyed Susan
Our friend Larry Lowman of Ridgecrest Nursery in Wynne, Arkansas graciously gave us this marvelous plant. It was collected from a railroad prairie remnant* in southern Illinois and named for the man who found it, Henry Eilers, a horticulturist and retired nurseryman. Basal leaves appear in early spring and flowering stalks begin their ascent in June, reaching five to six feet and full flower by August, often staying in bloom into September. 'Henry Eilers' has finely quilled flowers of true yellow, not gold, and is stunning in a mass planting. It has captivated many visitors who have seen it here and motivated them to ask us to grow it. The leaves of Rudbeckia subtomentosa are sweetly scented with a subtle vanilla fragrance. It is lovely with Joe-Pyes and grasses, and it blooms with the Hibiscus hybrids and makes a great companion for them as well. 'Henry Eilers' has undeniable potential as a cut flower with its unique appearance, sturdy straight stems and long vase life.
USDA Hardiness Zone 5-7
* Prairie Remnants from Larry Loman
In this region, in many counties, the only remnant of any virgin, unplowed prairie that remains is along railroad tracks. When the railroads were originally built in the 1800's, if they were going over a natural prairie, all they had to do was lay down the wooden crossties, pack in bed fill, and lay the rails....the remaining right-of-way remained essentially undisturbed. In many locales, a road also was constructed parallel to new tracks, so that the few hundred feet of railroad right-of-way trapped between the tracks and the road remained unplowed to this day, and in many areas has reserved a remarkable diversity of prairie species. In most areas, accidental fires happen fairly regularly, which enhances the vigor of the prairie vegetation.
Rudbeckia subtomentosa is native from Michigan to Texas with the highest populations in Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas. For a full map of native range visit the USDA Plants Page
For more information on this plant and its introduction click here.
Growing and Maintenance Tips
Rudbeckia subtomentosa is a vigorous, but very manageable perennial that favors average to moist soils and full sun to part shade. It is quite tolerant of heat and humidity, but will not withstand long periods of drought.
Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Unlike almost all other species of clematis, this plant will thrive and bloom well in considerable shade. Blooms on new growth. Prune hard in fall after flowering or in early spring. Noteworthy Characteristics:
Sweet autumn clematis, as the common name suggests, is a fragrant fall-bloomer. It is a vigorous, deciduous, twining vine with an extremely rampant growth habit. If given support, it will climb rapidly with the aid of tendrilous leaf petioles to 20-25' in length. Without support, it will sprawl along the ground as a dense, tangled ground cover (to 6-12" tall and 10' wide) which typically chokes out most weeds. Features aromatic, 1" diameter, cruciform, pure white flowers (each with 4 narrow petal-like sepals) in terminal panicles from late August to October in a profuse bloom which typically covers the foliage. Flowers give way to attractive, plume-like seed heads. Compound, leathery-textured, shiny green leaves (3-5 oval to elliptic leaflets with cordate bases). Sweet autumn clematis can aggressively self-seed in the landscape, and has escaped cultivation and naturalized in many parts of the U.S., particularly in the East and Midwest. Synonymous with and sometimes sold as C. maximowicziana, C. paniculata and C. dioscoreifolia, although technically C. paniculata is a separate species native to New Zealand. Problems:
No serious insect or disease problems. Spreading, sometimes hard-to-control vine. Uses:
Trellises, arbors, posts, fences. Can also be allowed to sprawl along the ground as a dense ground cover to hide old tree stumps or other eyesores. Can also be grown through large shrubs, but growth must be monitored to insure that the shrub is not overwhelmed. The above information is from the Missouri Botanical Garden's website Zone:5 to 9
Plant Type: Vine Family: Ranunculaceae Native:No Native Range:Japan Height: 15 to 30 feet Spread: 15 to 30 feet Bloom Time: August - September Bloom Color: Creamy white Sun: Full sun to part shade Water: Medium Maintenance: High Shady Grove Garden's now has Sweet Autumn Clematis in gallon pots for $10.