Bower & Branch https://www.bowerandbranch.com Bower & Branch - Plant Creatively! Wed, 21 Aug 2019 21:27:46 -0400 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.10 Top Ten Perennials to Attract Hummingbirds https://www.bowerandbranch.com/top-ten-perennials-to-attract-hummingbirds/ Wed, 12 Jun 2019 18:16:28 +0000 https://www.bowerandbranch.com/?p=9227 What’s more fun than watching hummingbirds flit from flower to flower? If you love both gardening and bird watching, you’re in luck—you can have both all summer long with these ten perennials!1. Echinacea (Coneflower)Hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees all love coneflowers—and we can’t blame them. These colorful wildflowers light up the landscape with their daisy-like blooms […]

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What’s more fun than watching hummingbirds flit from flower to flower? If you love both gardening and bird watching, you’re in luck—you can have both all summer long with these ten perennials!

1. Echinacea (Coneflower)

Hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees all love coneflowers—and we can’t blame them. These colorful wildflowers light up the landscape with their daisy-like blooms that keep pollinators flying by all season long. Your summer garden isn’t complete without them! Below are some of our favorite varieties: Ruby Star, Tomato Soup, Kim’s Knee High, and Sombrero® Adobe Orange

2. Hemerocallis (Daylily)

Did you know there are tens of thousands of daylily varieties out there? Below are three of our favorites: Stella de Oro, Pardon Me, and Happy Returns! These cheery perennials are a welcomed sight in any garden, and they really stand out in borders. Hummingbirds won’t be able to resist these beauties!

3. Nepeta (Catmint)

Catmint is a necessity in any butterfly garden—and hummingbirds love it, too! In late spring, this voracious perennial starts putting out tons of lovely purple-blue blooms, and they’ll last all summer long. Even without the flowers, you”ll love catmint for its velvety soft foliage! Our favorite varieties include Walker’s Low Catmint, Little Titch Catmint, and Purrsian Blue Catmint

4. Baptisia australis (Blue False Indigo)

Blue False Indigo is a hummingbird magnet! It’s also a real people-pleaser, with neat stalks of fragrant purple flowers that are perfect for cutting. And with how many flowers it pushes out during late spring and summer, both you and the hummingbirds will have plenty to enjoy!

5. Crocosmia (Montbretia)

Montbretia is a handsome perennial. Lucifer Montbretia, one of our favorite varieties? Devilishly so. Hummingbirds adore its striking red blooms during summer, and dramatic spikes of foliage add visual appeal during the rest of the year. 

6. Agastache (Hyssop)

Pollinator central! Whether you’re trying to attract butterflies, bees, or hummingbirds, hyssop belongs in your landscape. Blue Fortune Anise Hyssop is one of our favorite varieties, and you’ll know why just by glancing at it. Just look at those tufts of purple-blue blooms! 

7. Salvia

As it does with butterflies, salvia excels at attracting hummingbirds. They can’t get enough of its spikes of soothing blue flowers, which hang around for months! As an added bonus, salvia is incredibly easy to grow, so it’s ideal for beginners. One of our favorite varieties is Blue Hill Salvia

8. Penstemon (Beardtongue)

Beardtongue is a real beauty. We’re particularly fond of Husker Red Beardtongue. Hummingbirds love its charming white blooms, which look striking against rich burgundy foliage. A true winner in the landscape—and it’s deer resistant to boot!

9. Liatris (Blazing Star)

Dynamite! Blazing star is a knockout with spiky foliage and vibrant clusters of blooms that almost seem to shoot out like fireworks. It’s a must-have for your landscape. There’s nothing quite like it! One of our favorite varieties is Kobold Original Blazing Star. All that purple? Yes, please!

10. Hibiscus syriacus (Hibiscus/Rose of Sharon)

We’re sure you’re familiar with this one. Hibiscus, also known as Rose of Sharon, adds such a lovely tropical vibe to the landscape, and it looks great on the patio. Hummingbirds are drawn to their flashy blooms, coming and going all summer long. Check out three of our favorites: Lady Stanley, Aphrodite, and Ardens

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Ten Perennials Butterflies Love https://www.bowerandbranch.com/ten-perennials-butterflies-love/ Fri, 07 Jun 2019 19:08:34 +0000 https://www.bowerandbranch.com/?p=9194 In addition to being beautiful and fun to watch, butterflies actually play an important role in the garden. They are an important part of the ecosystem, just as birds and bees are. But butterfly populations could use our help—and the easiest way to help them is to plant for them! Here are ten perennials you […]

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In addition to being beautiful and fun to watch, butterflies actually play an important role in the garden. They are an important part of the ecosystem, just as birds and bees are. But butterfly populations could use our help—and the easiest way to help them is to plant for them! Here are ten perennials you and butterflies will adore!

1. Echinacea

More commonly known as coneflower, there are many varieties of echinacea, and they all come in beautiful colors. Ruby Star Coneflower, for instance, has bright purple blooms while Tomato Soup Coneflower has vibrant orange-red blooms. Many other varieties, such as Kim’s Knee High Coneflower, are pink. Whichever variety you choose to plant, you can expect coneflowers to attract plenty of fritillaries, monarchs, swallowtails, and painted ladies. 

From left to right: Ruby Star, Tomato Soup, Kim’s Knee High

2. Achillea

Achillea, or yarrow, has feathery, aromatic foliage and neat clusters of brightly colored blooms. These perennials are easy to care for, thriving in most soil conditions and needing little water. Better yet, they’re deer- and rabbit-resistant! We’re particularly fond of Saucy Seduction Yarrow (below), which adds a pop of neon pink to the landscape. 

3. Phlox paniculata

Garden phlox is a charming perennial. You’ll love it as much as the butterflies do! It’s perfect for beginners, as it’s quite easy to grow—just give it full sun and slightly moist soil for an abundance of blooms!

Our favorite varieties are Coral Flame™ Phlox, Flame™ Purple Phlox, and Pink Flame™ Phlox (below, left to right). 

4. Asclepias

If you’re interested in planting perennials for butterflies, you’re definitely familiar with this one! Asclepias is, of course, milkweed, which is a misunderstood but very important perennial. Planting milkweed is actually crucial to the monarch butterfly population. Monarch caterpillars rely on it as their one and only food source, and monarch butterflies lay their eggs on it. Plant milkweed in a meadow or a more naturalistic area of your landscape and watch it flourish! We love Butterfly Weed, Soulmate Swamp Milkweed, and Ice Ballet Swamp Milkweed (below, left to right). 

5. Monarda

You’ll know monarda as beebalm. This beloved perennial is a must-have in the landscape if you’re trying to attract butterflies—and not just butterflies! Bees and hummingbirds are fond of it as well, and we know you will be, too! The spiky flowers of Jacob Cline Beebalm (below, left) and Coral Reef Beebalm (right) will delight, adding a truly unique element to your garden. 

6. Salvia

Salvia is simple to grow, and it adds a calming element to the garden with its blue flowers. It blooms for months with very little maintenance or water required, making it an excellent perennial for beginners. And, of course, butterflies can’t resist it! Our favorite varieties are Blue Hill Salvia, (below, left), Caradonna Salvia (middle), and May Night Salvia (right). 

7. Sedum

Sedum (or stonecrop) isn’t typically seen as a perennial that butterflies would flock to. However, it’s difficult to keep them away once stonecrop starts to bloom! These perennials are incredibly underrated, and they have lots of uses. You’ll love their foliage as much as you’ll love their vibrant blooms! We’re particularly fond of Autumn Joy Stonecrop (below, left), Neon Stonecrop (middle), and Kamtschaticum Creeping Stonecrop (right). 

8. Coreopsis

Coreopsis (tickseed) is a butterfly favorite! Pushing out plenty of beautiful blooms during summer and into fall, these perennials keep pollinators coming by again and again. Plant them in borders for a ton of color that demands attention. Check out three of our favorite varieties: Moonbeam Tickseed (below, left), Red Satin Tickseed (middle), and Zagreb Tickseed (right). 

9. Gaillardia

Gaillardia (blanket flower) is similar to the coneflower in appearance, with equally colorful blooms. While butterflies will certainly love flitting from flower to flower, you’ll love the energy and drama they bring to the landscape. Plant them all over—you won’t be disappointed! Two varieties we love: Arizona Red Shades Blanket Flower (below, left) and Arizona Apricot Blanket Flower (right). 

10. Lavandula

We know you’re familiar with this one! Lavandula is, of course, lavender! People love it, butterflies love it…really, who doesn’t love it? It’s the queen of herbs, after all. You’ll love the heavenly aroma and the charming purple flowers. You’ll even want to give lavender as a gift! Explore our favorite varieties (Phenomenal Lavender, Provence Lavender, and Munstead Lavender) below!

Pssst! Want to get started on creating your own haven for butterflies? Our butterfly garden collection is exactly what you need! This kit contains six perennials absolutely loved by butterflies of all kinds. Get it here and start planting for butterflies!

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Using and Maintaining Topiary in the Landscape https://www.bowerandbranch.com/using-and-maintaining-topiary-in-the-landscape/ Mon, 20 May 2019 20:18:49 +0000 http://www.bowerandbranch.com/?p=2529 What is Topiary?Topiary is the ancient craft of shearing plants (usually evergreens) into shapes, like boxes, balls, and pyramids. There are a few different shapes and forms. One especially popular type of topiary is the spiral topiary tree, which may take the form of a single spiral of foliage looping around a tree or a double […]

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What is Topiary?

Topiary is the ancient craft of shearing plants (usually evergreens) into shapes, like boxes, balls, and pyramids. There are a few different shapes and forms. One especially popular type of topiary is the spiral topiary tree, which may take the form of a single spiral of foliage looping around a tree or a double spiral of foliage winding its way to the top. Poodle trees are topiary trees with single trunks that are pruned so that two or more “balls” circle the trunk in tiers, like a poodle’s tail. In some poodle trees, one or more of the balls may be replaced by a box, a teardrop, or a spiral shape. Pompoms are topiaries pruned so that each branch ends in a “pompom” of foliage. They may be upright, like a tree, or more shrub-like and lower to the ground. 

What Trees and Plants are Used in Topiary?

The ideal topiary plant is an evergreen that is slow-growing, hardy, long-lived, amenable to pruning, and resistant to pests and diseases. Small leaves are also a plus, because they hide pruning cuts better than large leaves. Boxwood topiary, for example, is less likely to have a “just pruned” look compared to privet topiary. 

Some evergreens that make great choices for topiary are yew, Dwarf Alberta SpruceEmerald Green Arborvitae, Boulevard False Cypress, Gold Mop False Cypress, and Scotch Pine.

Many junipers lend themselves well to the art, too, and some offer blue or gold foliage in addition to green. Witchita Blue, Old Gold, Sea Green, Hollywood, and Hetzi Columnaris make handsome juniper topiaries.

A few plants form a sort of natural topiary without any pruning at all. They have a dense, rounded shape that requires no shearing on your part. Globe Blue Spruce is one no-shear “topiary” that we offer; it is sold in a low-grafted form and also in a high-grafted standard (lollipop) form. We sell the natural topiary Little Gem Spruce in a high-graft form as well. This dapper dark green standard tree keeps its tight globe shape without any trimming. And don’t forget about our high-grafted Dwarf Korean Lilac, which takes on a nice rounded form with little to no help from you. This tree is deciduous with the added bonus of lots of fragrant blossoms in the spring.

What about Ivy Topiary?

The definition of topiary can include vines and other plants that are grown on special topiary frames. Ivy or other climbers may be planted at the base of a metal frame, the vines eventually filling in to cover the support. Topiary frames are sometimes covered in sphagnum moss and then planted with succulents or annuals to make an accent piece for the patio or even for indoor decoration.

Hedging as Topiary

Hedging is a form of topiary, too. If you maintain a hedge, you may already be a practitioner of this time-honored craft! Of course, hedges can take many shapes besides the traditional boxy form and may be fashioned into serpents, waves, or castle walls. They may be “cloud-pruned” to resemble fluffy clouds, as is the tradition in Japan and some other Asian countries. 

Low hedges can be used to create parterres or elaborate knot gardens, and taller ones can make living mazes that you can get lost in. The gardener’s imagination is the limit when it comes to hedge art!

Using topiary in the landscape

Successfully integrating topiary into your landscape is a matter of placing it where it can shine and become the star it wants to be. Keep underplantings low; go with a short evergreen groundcover or close-cropped grass. Better yet, surround your plant with wood mulch or gravel. A solid background in a contrasting color will make the unique shape of your topiary really pop, so site it where it will stand out from its surroundings. Consider stringing lights on a spiral topiary or adding spot-lighting to any type of topiary accent to extend its appeal after dark.

Formal Landscapes

Topiary and formal landscapes go together like champagne and caviar. Since Roman times, topiaries have been associated with grand formal estates, and they also fit nicely into more modest but formal landscapes where that classic, polished look is highly valued.

If you love manicured gardens with clean lines, good structure, and neatly trimmed shrubbery, then topiary will mesh effortlessly with your garden style. It will be the final touch to make your landscape picture-perfect.

Informal Landscapes

Perhaps you favor a more informal landscape design. Maybe you like your garden to be full of wildflowers, native trees, colorful perennials, and ornamental grasses. You may enjoy a free-spirited informal garden where plants are allowed to assume their natural forms, gently caressed by the wind, blurring hard edges, and spilling onto pathways.

In that case, topiary can have an important role in your garden, too. Topiaries, along with neatly clipped hedges and regularly mown lawns, bring a needed element of structure and order to free-form plantings. They add human touch to informal landscapes, affirming that the plantings are not simply meadows or wild spaces, but well-cared-for gardens.

Front Yards

When looking for landscaping ideasespecially front yard landscaping ideasthink topiary! Topiary adds distinction to the landscape, along with instant curb appeal.These small evergreen trees fit into any garden, no matter the size, and they may easily be maintained so that they never outgrow their allotted space. All year long, they can be the perfect focal points in your garden, looking sharp even in winterespecially when topped with a frosting of snow.

Where in your landscape topiary will work best depends on your particular site. In general, though, these sculptural trees are well-suited to the areas closest to your house, especially in the front yard landscape, where visitors get their first impression of your home. A matching pair of topiaries on either side of a door, walkway, or gate makes a balanced and pleasing picture, although a single specimen can also hold its own in an island bed or foundation planting.

Backyards

In the backyard, topiaries at the corners of the patio or on either side of a sitting area are logical choices. Or, you may want to take a page out of the landscape architects’ handbook and place a topiary at the far end of an axis in your garden. From a favored vantage point, you would look out across the yard and see a topiary focal point at the other end of your line of sight. Frame that view with a couple of shade trees, and you’re on your way to become a professional landscape designer!

Green Animals, and Where to Find Them

Some of the most remarkable topiary forms are those that depict people and animals. These living sculptures take many years to create, but they are quite impressive once they take shape. Several public topiary gardens in the U.S. feature “green animals” and other characters carved out of topiary plants like boxwood, yew, and privet.

The Ladew Topiary Gardens in Monkton, Maryland is home to a fox hunt scene clipped out of topiary plants. Riders on horses follow in hot pursuit of a fox sprinting across the lawn.

Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania has a topiary garden on its grounds with yews sheared into bold geometric shapes and an open-mouthed dog that often appears to be “chomping” on somebody’s head.

The Green Animals Topiary Garden in Portsmouth, Rhode Island is a fun destination for kids and the young at heart. It features over 80 works of topiary art, including elephants, giraffes, camels, and bears.

In Columbus, Ohio, the ambitious Topiary Park reproduces the famous George Seurat painting, “A Sunday Afternoon,” on the Island of La Grande Jatte, in plants.

Finally, in Bishopville, South Carolina, the Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden is a magical place where topiary artist Pearl Fryer has shaped trees and shrubs (many of them originally damaged nursery cast-offs) into fantastic, whimsical forms.

Isn’t Topiary Difficult to Maintain?

Topiary Trees are difficult to CREATE. Knowing where to make each cut to create a perfectly symmetrical poodle, pompom, spiral, or double spiral topiary takes a great deal of expertise. (Try it sometimeit’s really hard!) Our talented growers begin with young plants, pruning them carefully over a period of years to fulfill the vision conceived for them at the start. So, topiary trees are difficult to create, but they aren’t difficult to maintain. The hard part is already done for you.

You can do this.

The main thing to remember when maintaining topiary is to keep up with the pruningdon’t fall behind. Your trees will push out new growth in spring and may also produce some new foliage later in the growing season; at least a couple of times a year, you’ll want to shear that new growth off.

First, put down a tarp if you want to make cleanup easier. Then, using manual pruning shears, trim off the new growth, starting at the bottom and working your way around the plant and up to the top. Don’t cut into the old, woody growth. Stay within the outer couple of inches of young, green growth. Most evergreens aren’t very forgiving of deep cuts and won’t re-sprout on old wood. Small gaps will eventually be hidden by the surrounding foliage, however.

Don’t rush it.

Take your time. Step back several times and look at the plant from different angles, making sure you are staying true to the original form, nice and symmetrical. You can always snip a little more, but you can’t undo a hastily made cut. After a few tries, you just may find that this kind of pruning isn’t a chore, but a pleasure. You get into a rhythm and it can be quite meditative.

We’re here to help!

We hope you consider the curb appeal that topiary trees can bring, as well as the big impact they can make to all types of gardens, despite their compact size. Most of all, we hope you don’t feel unnecessarily intimidated by the maintenance needs of these special beauties.

Know that we are standing by to help and we are happy to walk you through the process of caring for your new topiary, should you need some more guidance. In fact, you can reach us at plantwhisperers@bowerandbranch.com to discuss how to care for any of the trees in our collectionFrom topiary to pollination to mycorrhizae, our experts will answer any tree questions you have!

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Six Great Ash Tree Alternatives https://www.bowerandbranch.com/six-great-ash-tree-alternatives/ Wed, 17 Apr 2019 19:54:20 +0000 https://www.bowerandbranch.com/?p=8371 Ash trees are majestic shade trees with lofty, arching canopies and brilliant fall color that ranges from gold to brick-red to purple. Because of the emerald ash borer, however, these noble trees are disappearing. Losing one of these magnificent specimens can be heartbreaking; however, it does present an interesting opportunity to plant something in its […]

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Ash trees are majestic shade trees with lofty, arching canopies and brilliant fall color that ranges from gold to brick-red to purple. Because of the emerald ash borer, however, these noble trees are disappearing. Losing one of these magnificent specimens can be heartbreaking; however, it does present an interesting opportunity to plant something in its place. Here are six wonderful options that are perfect for fall color!

American elm tree

American elm trees suffered a fate similar to that of the ash tree when Dutch elm disease struck in the 1930s, but a few varieties proved to be resistant. Princeton American Elm was one of those survivors. It has that classic vase-like elm shape and it takes on vibrant golden tones in the fall. 

autumn gold ginkgo

As its name suggests, Autumn Gold Ginkgo will give you clear and bright yellow foliage when fall comes around. This tough, hardy shade tree will light up your landscape each year, whether you live in the city of the country. 

american sweetgum

American Sweetgum will win you over with its beautiful multicolored foliage. While no two trees are the same, a beautiful fall spectacle will often consist of red, orange, yellow, green, and purple. You can even shake things up with a variegated sweetgum like Silver King or Variegated Sweetgum

tulip poplar

Growing fast and tall, Tulip Poplar makes a fine ash replacement. Not only does it offer yellow foliage in the fall, but you’ll also enjoy its marvelous green and orange flowers in late spring. 

american yellowwood

This uncommon native tree serves up golden autumn foliage, smooth beech-like bark, and fragrant white flowers in spring. American Yellowwood doesn’t get as large as most ash trees, but it casts enough shade for a picnic table or a few lounge chairs, and that’s good enough for us!

Green Vase Japanese zelkova

This ash alternative is among the top choices in terms of good looks and ease of care. Green Vase Japanese Zelkova has a formal, upright arching outline and clean, healthy foliage untroubled by pests. Plant it in a prominent spot and the praises will follow!

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Which Magnolia Are You? https://www.bowerandbranch.com/which-magnolia-are-you/ Thu, 11 Apr 2019 20:08:34 +0000 https://www.bowerandbranch.com/?p=8258 Each kind of tree has its own personality. Red Oak is confident, strong, and independent. Corkscrew Willow is quirky and fun-loving. Crimson Queen Japanese Maple is sophisticated. Magnolias, in their countless forms, also have unique personalities. Some are flirty while others are more demure. Some are impulsive while others are more cautious. What kind of magnolia are […]

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Each kind of tree has its own personality. Red Oak is confident, strong, and independent. Corkscrew Willow is quirky and fun-loving. Crimson Queen Japanese Maple is sophisticated. Magnolias, in their countless forms, also have unique personalities. Some are flirty while others are more demure. Some are impulsive while others are more cautious. What kind of magnolia are you? Find yourself in the personality traits that follow, and find the magnolia that best represents you!

You’re romantic. You let your loved ones know how you feel about them. You tell them and show them and give them thoughtful little gifts—not just on their birthday, but “just because.” You sigh at sunsets, cry at sad movies, and write poetry. You see beauty everywhere.

 

Your Magnolia is Saucer. Smothered in scores of voluptuous, pink, tulip-shaped flowers, the Saucer Magnolia paints a romantic picture. Pass under its blooms, and you’ll smell their clean, sweet fragrance. The Saucer Magnolia originated in France (how’s that for romantic?), the result of a rendezvous between the Lily Magnolia and the Yulan Magnolia. Americans must be a bunch of romantics, because it is our most beloved Magnolia.

 

You’re hardworking. You value hard work and aren’t afraid to do it. Working gives you satisfaction beyond completing the task at hand. Furthermore, you believe in not only doing the job, but doing it well. On occasion, you’ve been called an overachiever.

 

Your Magnolia is Jane. Jane Magnolia produces its rich purple-pink blossoms over a longer period than other spring-blooming Magnolias. Then, in summer, this overachiever resumes flowering lightly for an encore performance. Hardworking Jane also does double duty as a seasonal privacy screen when used as part of an informal, unpruned hedge.

 

You’re a nonconformist. You don’t want to follow the crowd, dress like everybody else, think like everybody else, do what everybody else does. You want to take your own path and see where it leads. You don’t mind being a little different from the rest—in fact, you enjoy it!

 

Your Magnolia is Butterflies. Pink Magnolias, white Magnolias, pink Magnolias, white Magnolias, up and down the block. Sure, they’re nice, but isn’t there anything else? Yes! Butterflies Magnolia is refreshingly different, with gorgeous, soft yellow blossoms that are a breakthrough in Magnolia breeding. This nonconformist flowers a bit later than the most popular spring-blooming Magnolias, too, often avoiding a late frost. Try Gold Star Magnolia as well. It’s another excellent yellow bloomer.

 

You’re daring. When adventure calls, you grab your backpack and are ready to go. You’re a risk taker and feel that always playing it safe is a bit of a bore. You only live once! Better to take advantage of an opportunity when you have the chance, you say, than to live with the regret of a wonderful experience that you have missed out on.

 

Your Magnolia is Royal Star. Royal Star Magnolia is one of the first Trees to bloom in the spring. This risk taker dares Old Man Winter to declare that he isn’t done with us yet and to singe its white blossoms. More often than not, the gamble pays off. Winter retreats, and Royal Star Magnolia displays a joyful profusion of fragrant, strappy, sparkling white flowers for all to see. After months of ice and snow, there’s no better pick-me-up! Dr. Merrill Magnolia is another daring, pristine white Magnolia that taunts Old Man Winter with its glorious blooms.

 

You’re dependable. You value your commitments, and you do what you say you’re going to do. When you say you’ll be somewhere, you show up—and on time, too. Your friends, family, and co-workers can count on you. You’re trustworthy and always deliver on your promises.

 

Your Magnolia is Leonard Messel. Year after year, dependable Leonard Messel Magnolia covers itself in masses of fragrant, light pink flowers. The show is fabulous nearly every year, and each performance becomes a little more impressive than the last. Leonard Messel even hangs tough during cold springs, as the blossoms are remarkably resistant to frost compared to those of other early-blooming Magnolias. No excuses for this reliable Tree.


You’re the life of the party. You’re friendly and charismatic and outgoing. You may not have always felt this way, but you’ve become comfortable being in the spotlight. You’re bold and expressive. You love a bawdy joke, and you tell a good story. People are drawn to you. When you meet others, you make an impression, and they remember you.

 

Your Magnolia is Daybreak. Daybreak is a bodacious Magnolia with giant blooms that can span 10 inches across. The fragrant flowers are rose-pink on the outside and lighter pink within. When this beaut begins to bloom (usually after the severe threat of a late frost is past), the neighborhood will sit up and take notice. Everyone will want to know its name. Galaxy Magnolia is another head-turner you can grow that enjoys being the center of attention. Its 10-inch blooms are painted a deeper pink.

 

You’re a kid at heart. You’re light-hearted, fun-loving. You don’t take yourself too seriously. You like to laugh and joke and dance and sing, and you haven’t forgotten how to play. You still stop and smell the Roses. You’re still filled with wonder when you see rainbows, fireflies, and butterflies.

 

Your Magnolia is Sweetbay. Sweetbay Magnolia is a playful Tree with an open framework and thin, silver-backed leaves that dance and flutter in the wind. Deliciously fragrant early summer flowers attract people of all ages, and fruits that look like Red Hots candies attract birds later on. The foliage plays host to tiger swallowtail and spicebush swallowtail butterflies, and their caterpillars are adorable. Both species sport fierce-looking but harmless eyespots and “horns” on their heads that pop up when they’re disturbed.

 

You’re respectable. Go to the store in your pajamas? Never! You believe in presenting a well-groomed image. But while you like to look good, you never dress flashy—you’re too modest for that. You don’t care to draw a lot of attention to yourself. Still, your friends think you look sharp.

 

Your Magnolia is Bracken’s Brown Beauty. This Southern Magnolia always looks polished and picture-perfect. It’s a sophisticated Tree that doesn’t have the big, showy burst of flower power of some of the spring-blooming Magnolias, but rather it produces its large, lemon-scented, creamy white blossoms sporadically over a long period. And as for getting naked in the winter? No way! This modest Tree will keep all of its leaves on, thank you very much! Little Gem is another Southern Magnolia with a similar personality.

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Ripe Recipe: Blueberry Cobbler https://www.bowerandbranch.com/ripe-recipe-blueberry-cobbler/ Tue, 09 Apr 2019 14:22:16 +0000 https://www.bowerandbranch.com/?p=8046 Topping1 cup all-purpose flour1/3 cup milk3 tbsp. melted butter2 tbsp. granulated sugar1 1/2 tsp. baking powder1/2 tsp. saltFilling3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (we like Patriot!)2/3 cup granulated sugar3/4 cup water2 tbsp. cornstarch1 tsp. ground cinnamon1 tsp. melted butter1 Butter a 1.5-quart baking dish or a 9-inch pie plate. Heat oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit. 2 In […]

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Topping
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 3 tbsp. melted butter
  • 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Filling

  • 3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (we like Patriot!)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. melted butter

Butter a 1.5-quart baking dish or a 9-inch pie plate. Heat oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit.

In a saucepan, combine 2/3 cup of granulated sugar and 2 tbsp. cornstarch. Stir in 3/4 cup of water/ Bring to a boi. 

Add blueberries and blend well. Then, pour blueberry mixture into baking dish or pie plate. 

Sprinkle the blueberry mixture with cinnamon and drizzle with 1 tsp. melted butter. 

In a mixing bowl, form topping mixture by combining 1 cup all-purpose flour, 2 tbsp. granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. 

Pour 1/3 cup milk and 3 tbsp. melted butter into topping mixture and stir until mixture forms a soft dough. Press dough on top of blueberry mixture.

Bake cobbler for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned. 

Recipe from Diana Rattray at The Spruce Eats

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Three Actions to Take Right Now to Make 2019 a Great Year https://www.bowerandbranch.com/three-actions-to-take-right-now-to-make-2019-a-great-year/ Mon, 01 Apr 2019 20:51:17 +0000 https://www.bowerandbranch.com/?p=7923 Fertilize!I have been a professional grower for over 40 years and I still forget to fertilize (or avoid fertilizing) the plants in my landscape. I know how fertilizer works. I know it helps eliminate pests. I know it helps plants grow better and faster. During those years when I don’t get around to fertilizing, my […]

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Fertilize!

I have been a professional grower for over 40 years and I still forget to fertilize (or avoid fertilizing) the plants in my landscape. I know how fertilizer works. I know it helps eliminate pests. I know it helps plants grow better and faster. During those years when I don’t get around to fertilizing, my laziness leads to less dynamic results from my favorite shrubs and trees, and garden guilt sets in. 

Fortunately, fertilizing is easy, and Bower & Branch makes it easier than ever before with Elements® granular and soluble fertilizer. There’s no fear, and there’s no risk. As spring is the best time to fertilize, I will be attending to my landscape, making sure everything is well cared for. I’ll be fertilizing my umbrella pine, my collection of Japanese maples, my Snow Fountain living tree chair, my wife Kathy’s favorite southern magnolia, and my sweetbay magnolia. No garden guilt!

 

Plant with purpose!

Kathy’s southern magnolia was only eight feet tall when we planted it. Now, only four years later, it is over 20 feet tall and it produces huge, beautiful blooms throughout the summer. Trees grow! 

In 2019, I will be planting much more in our outdoor landscape, adding to the spaces we enjoy all throughout the year. The best trees I’ve ever planted are those that have been planted with purpose, whether for shade or for privacy. Better yet are the trees and plants we have planted to create a warm and inviting haven. And even better than that? All the plantings I have done and enjoy today. And there are more to come, too—I don’t have any dogwood trees, so 2019 will be the year to add some! I prefer white dogwoods, and I prefer planting them in groves. 

Have a garden day!

I love to garden…and I also don’t. Although I love flowers, I hate weeds. I envy other beautiful landscapes. I love container gardens and I want to have them placed throughout my landscapes. I’m just busy. 

In 2019, I’ll be dedicating every Monday as my weekly garden day. In 2019, the weeds won’t be a burden. I’ll be plucking them weekly rather than waiting until they’ve already become burdensome. Every Monday, I’ll pull a few weeds. I’ll cultivate. I’ll prune. I’ll plant a new container garden. Maybe I’ll even grow some tomatoes. Mondays, I’ll enjoy being outdoors, talking to my neighbors about their gardens, and possibly pulling some weeds for them, too. I’ll fertilize regularly, plant and add to my collection, labor one evening a week to keep up, and enjoy my garden all seven days of the week. 

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Three Reasons You Should Be Using Elements® Fertilizer https://www.bowerandbranch.com/why-use-elements-fertilizer/ Wed, 20 Mar 2019 17:00:13 +0000 https://www.bowerandbranch.com/?p=7773 It builds healthy, nutritious living soil. Our Elements® Fertilizer contains a powerful combination of balanced nutrients and helpful microbes that help build healthy living soil—crucial for plant growth and development. Healthy living soil is the foundation for vigorous plants that grow with incredible vibrancy and vitality. Whether your soil is more clay-like or more sand-like, […]

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It builds healthy, nutritious living soil.

Our Elements® Fertilizer contains a powerful combination of balanced nutrients and helpful microbes that help build healthy living soil—crucial for plant growth and development. Healthy living soil is the foundation for vigorous plants that grow with incredible vibrancy and vitality.

Whether your soil is more clay-like or more sand-like, Elements® Fertilizer uses natural and organic ingredients and beneficial microorganisms that work within your soil to create the right biological and physical properties that are required for superior plant function.

It feeds plants on demand.

Healthy living soil, which is teeming with beneficial microorganisms, feeds plants on demand. As your plants require water and nutrients for growth and development, they actually provide a constant supply of carbohydrates through their roots and into the soil. These carbohydrates feed and energize the microbes while also communicating the plant’s needs. From there, these microorganisms are able to transfer water and nutrients back to the plant. They even provide the plant with plenty of nitrogen from the air. The noticeable difference in health, performance, and production is absolutely extraordinary.

It protects and strengthens plants.

Healthy plants and healthy soil share a mutually beneficially relationship. Through this relationship, the needs of both the plants and the soil are continually met. This protects both of them from a variety of problems. For starters, plants send out a signal to all kinds of pests, telling them, “We’re not weak. We’re strong!” As a result, pests and diseases go elsewhere. 

With frequent applications of Elements® Fertilizer, you continue to ensure an ideal level of nutrients and microorganisms, maintaining a healthy environment for plants and soil alike. This makes plants resistant to drought, wilt, shock, and stress in addition to pests and disease. Congratulations! By assisting plants when it comes to managing their resources, you set them up for success. You’re now on your way to having the plants, containers, gardens, and landscape you’ve always wanted. 

How to Use Elements Fertilizer

It’s fast, safe, and easy to use Elements® Fertilizer. Just apply Elements® Granular Fertilizer directly to the soil and/or water plants with Elements® soluble fertilizer. See the label on your fertilizer package for more information on proper usage. Then, sit back and wait for outrageous flowers, delicious vegetables, and beautiful plants!

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Fruit Tree Guide – Overview https://www.bowerandbranch.com/fruit-tree-guide/ Thu, 24 Jan 2019 19:20:34 +0000 https://www.bowerandbranch.com/?p=5656  Step 1: Location We’re going to start with the very basics, before we even get to the Trees – and that’s the Location of your Landscape!  If you’ve grown small fruits or vegetables before you probably know part of what we’re going to say – but if Fruit Trees are your first exploration in Home […]

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Step 1: Location

We’re going to start with the very basics, before we even get to the Trees – and that’s the Location of your Landscape!  If you’ve grown small fruits or vegetables before you probably know part of what we’re going to say – but if Fruit Trees are your first exploration in Home Grown Dining you may not even know where to start – and that’s with Location – both yours and where you want to plant your Fruit Trees.  

Link to Location Guide Page>>

Step 2 –  What Fruit Trees Should I Grow?

Now that you’ve determined the places in your landscape where you can grow a Fruit Tree – you can decide which one(s) you want!

Think about your family’s eating habits and how you’ll want to use your fruit.  Do you want to eat it fresh only? Do you want to harvest over a long period of time?  Do you want to cook some now and save some for the winter? Did your grandparents have a Tree at their house that you loved and you want to pass that joy on to your family?

Link to Fruit Tree Selection Guide Page >>

 

Step 3 – Basic Fruit Tree Care

How you space your Fruit Trees can affect the size and yield. Like any other plant, you don’t want to plant your Fruit Trees so close to other plants that they are competing for space, either with their branches or with their roots!  First, for almost every kind of Fruit Tree you’re planting, make sure you have room for at least two Trees so you get as many happy Pollinators as possible. In general, you want to leave at least 3-4 feet between Trees, but they can be as much as 50-100 feet apart if that works better for your Landscape!

Link to Basic Fruit Tree Care Guide >>

Guide to Growing  >  Location Guide > Which Fruit Tree Should I Grow  >   

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Living Christmas Trees https://www.bowerandbranch.com/living-christmas-trees/ Fri, 30 Nov 2018 16:43:30 +0000 https://www.bowerandbranch.com/?p=5270 It’s pretty satisfying to know a potted Christmas tree will have another life, after the holiday season, in your landscape. Make sure you select a tree that will look good in your home as well as in your landscape. First, check to see that the particular specimen is hardy in your area. You can learn about […]

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It’s pretty satisfying to know a potted Christmas tree will have another life, after the holiday season, in your landscape. 

Make sure you select a tree that will look good in your home as well as in your landscape. First, check to see that the particular specimen is hardy in your area. You can learn about some of our favorites below. Then, follow our simple steps to ensure the freshness of your evergreen for years to come!

Why a bower & branch christmas tree?

Our evergreen Christmas trees are handcrafted with love by our expert growers for overall symmetry and a straight leader to hold the shining star. Branches are trimmed evenly to make room for glistening ornaments, popcorn garlands, and tinsel. 

Caring for your tree

Once you have chosen the right Christmas tree variety, prepare for its transition from the cold outside environment to your warm and cozy home. Two weeks prior to your holiday festivities, move the tree into your garage or enclosed porch. Consistent watering is important throughout this process to keep the soil moist and the tree thriving. Approximately seven to ten days before you open presents and sip eggnog, carefully haul the tree into the house for decorating. 

A living Christmas tree should not stay in your home for more than ten days. The warmth of this environment simulates spring, which will encourage your tree to start pushing new growth. Place the tree outside, in a protected area, until you are able to plant it in the ground. Soak the roots well to keep them moist. 

Some of our favorite living christmas trees

 

 

 

Eastern White Pine

The soft blue-teal needles of the Eastern White Pine create an airy and wispy display. Decorate its graceful branches with flowing garlands and rich red ribbons.

 

 

 

 

 

Norway Spruce

The Norway Spruce is a native Christmas tree of the past, present, and future. It’s the original tree of the holiday season, first found growing straight and symmetrical in the forest. Accent its dark green needles with burlap garlands and warm, burgundy-red ornaments. 

 

 

 

 

Canadian Hemlock  

The majestic Canadian Hemlock is a proud native tree, with surprisingly soft needles. Its branches are very flexible, so you’ll want to decorate it gently!

 

 

 

 

 

Blue Spruce

Bring the sparkle of steely blue foliage to your holiday look! The Blue Spruce is a much-loved evergreen that makes a perfect focal point, and it looks absolutely magical when decked out in festive lights. 

 

 

 

 

 

Dwarf Alberta Spruce Spiral

It’s Christmas with a twist! There’s no reason you can’t add some holiday bling to a topiary tree. In fact, utilizing a Dwarf Alberta Spruce Spiral as a Christmas tree is an excellent way to add a little extra fun and elegance to the season!

 

 

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