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hydrangeas in asheville, asheville shrubs, wnc nurseryJanuary is a great time to do a little landscape planning for the spring. February can be very up and down temperature-wise in Western North Carolina, so it’s great to be ready to take advantage of warm spells when they come to get a head start on prepping. Here are 9 tips for designing new perennial beds or fine-tuning your existing borders.

  1. Start with edging to define beds. Edging is extra work and can add up expense-wise, but it makes your beds look much tidier. If it is bordering your lawn, edging makes weed whacking much neater as well. We like the concrete block edging that comes in various colors at the big box stores, or steel edging. Stay away from the plastic rolls, they are a pita to install.
  2. Mulch before planting. This is particularly helpful if you are planting a lot of small items like groundcovers. It’s also a chore you can get done at any time, so why not go for it when there isn’t much else going on?
  3. Start your planting with large plants and work your way down. Start with trees, if any, then shrubs, and finally perennial flowers and/or groundcovers.
  4. Evergreens also come first, they will be the foundation of your landscape and the most low-maintenance choices. Look to the Arborvitae family if you are in the Asheville area, they take the climate very well and come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.
  5. If it feels overwhelming, consider going with only shrubs to get started. A fine perennial border can be made with simply hydrangea and Arborvitae. Sit on it for a season and add later as they start to fill in.
  6. Add a specimen tree or two. If you can afford it, a fancy Japanese maple or spruce tree can class things up a notch.
  7. Plant small annuals or perennials in swaths or drifts. Bulb growers recommend grabbing a handful and tossing them on the ground, planting where they land. That way it looks like how they would fall in nature. Most flowers look great as an irregularly shaped mass. Just try not to get too tempted to mix it up, keeping the same color has more impact.
  8. Similar to #7 above, try to plant in groups or lines of the same plant, using odd numbers if possible. Resist the urge to alternate plants. There is nothing like a giant row of blooms of the same color.
  9. Finally, remember that flowers are more maintenance than evergreens. They are wonderful, but if you are busy busy and don’t want to add more work to your plate, you can have a fantastic garden with very few flowering plants. It’s a zen thing!

If you are staring at a blank slate this spring, or just overwhelmed with the choices, we hope this helps a little. Check the area throughout the day to double-check how much sun it gets(remember it can change seasonally.) Start with evergreens and shrubs, creating rows or groups going off the lines of hardscaping in place. When in doubt, if you are in the Asheville area there is almost always a hydrangea or Arborvitae that will do the trick.

asheville shrubs, hydrangeas in asheville, asheville nursery

Hydrangeas in Asheville, spring

Ah, the Thuja Green Giant. Those towering giants of the evergreen world, promising privacy and peace of mind to homeowners with a penchant for seclusion. But before you rush out and plant a line of these emerald behemoths, there are a few things you should know.

Young Green Giant, Asheville, NC

Thuja Green Giant screening trees

First, let’s talk size. These things are the Usain Bolt of the tree kingdom, growing up to 3 feet per year! That means your little saplings will transform into privacy walls in a heartbeat, potentially blocking the view, the sun, and the good vibes of your neighbors. 

Second, prepare for some serious shade. Green Giants aren’t just tall, they’re also incredibly dense. That means they cast a whole lotta shade, which is great for keeping your house cool in the summer but can turn your backyard into a perpetual twilight zone. So, if you have sun-loving plants or a dream of becoming a backyard tomato farmer, these might not be the best choice.

Third, be warned: Green Giants are hungry. All that growth in a season means that they need lots of sunlight and nitrogen.  They need to be fed like a teenager, particularly in the spring.  We recommend a good dose of slow-release like Ozmocote.

But here’s the thing: Green Giants have their good points too. They’re incredibly low maintenance, requiring minimal watering and pruning. They’re also resistant to pests and diseases, making them a hassle-free addition to your landscape. And let’s face it, there’s something undeniably satisfying about watching these leafy giants tower over your property, creating a sense of secluded sanctuary.

So, should you or shouldn’t you plant a Thuja Green Giant? It all comes down to your priorities. If you’re looking for dense privacy and low maintenance, they’re probably the best choice of screening tree for us in Western North Carolina. But just be sure to weigh the potential consequences, including telephone lines and maybe even your neighbors view.

In conclusion, the Thuja Green Giant is a double-edged sword. It can be your sanctuary or your neighbor’s nightmare, depending on which side of the fence you are on. If you need a dense, tall evergreen screen in Asheville, whether hippy or hipster, there really is no better choice.

Green Giants in South Asheville