Friday’s Flower: Deutzia

Deutzia is named after the 18th century Dutch patron of botany, Johann van der Deutz.

Proven Winners  Yuki Cherry Blossom®  Deutzia

Proven Winners Yuki Cherry Blossom® Deutzia

With more than 60 species, these lovely shrubs range from 1-13’, however the ones typically used in landscaping are the smaller ones.  Varieties hardy to our area are all deciduous and can have gorgeous burgundy color in the fall.

Deutzia are relatively new to landscaping here in the United States.  People are just beginning to “discover” the beauty and versatility of these shrubs.

Proven Winners has developed some varieties that we highly recommend.  At 12’24” the Yuki Snowflake® and Yuki Cherry Blossom® are the perfect shrubs for your landscaping.  They are deer-resistant and the hummingbirds love them.

Proven Winners  Yuki Snowflake®  Deutzia

Proven Winners Yuki Snowflake® Deutzia

They start blooming in early spring and continue through the entire spring season.

Keep these beauties in mind for your next landscaping project.

Friday’s Flower: Quince

The bright colored blooms of the Chaenomeles are a welcome sight after the long, dark winter months. 

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 This somewhat unkempt looking shrub sends out bright flowers in late winter to early spring from old-growth stems followed by more blooms on new growth in mid-spring.  Flowers can be red, orange, white, or pink.  The flowers stand out particularly well prior to the plant’s glossy dark green foliage appearing. 

 After one and a half to two weeks, the blooms drop and fruit forms that is edible by both humans and wildlife.

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 Quince are deer-resistant – a huge plus in New Jersey.  Plus they are drought-resistant once established.

 Plant this shrub in full sun where, unpruned, it will grow to 6-10’ tall and wide.  Beware of the thorns on this relative of the rose.  However, if you like quince but not the thorns, look for Proven Winner’s Doubletake varieties which are thornless, but also do not produce fruit.  These varieties look like camellias.

 Plant one for looks or several as a hedge.  This is a worthwhile addition to your landscaping.




Who Knew? Wednesday – “Zoning” Out

Do you know when it will be safe to put in your garden this spring? 

 You need to know which zone you are in.  The U.S. Department of agriculture divides the country into zones according to the average low winter temperature.  There are thirteen zones including the continental US, Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico with 1 being the coldest and 13 being the warmest.  The zones vary in 10-degree increments.  For example, the average cold winter temperature for zone 1 is 10 degrees colder than the one for zone 2.

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 Within each zone is a sub-zone with a 5-degree difference indicated by an “a” or “b” suffix.  For example the average coldest winter temperature in zone 5a will be 5 degrees colder than zone 5b.

 Here in Randolph, NJ we are in zone 6a which has an average minimum winter temperature of -10°F to -5°F

 Now that you know about what zones are, you need to know about Frost Dates within each zone.

 In Zone 6a, the frost dates are:

  • Average Date of Last Frost (spring) is April 15th

  • Average Date of First Frost (fall) is October 15th

 This means that you can start thinking about putting in a garden after Aril 15th and by October 15th you should be thinking about protecting less hardy plants and bringing your potted houseplants indoors.  Remember that these dates are averages.  The actual last frost date in the spring could be 2 weeks or more after April 15th so plan accordingly.  The same goes for fall – the first frost could arrive earlier than expected.

 For an interactive map of all USDA zones, see the USDA website at

 Plant carefully so you don’t risk your investment.  Happy gardening!


Friday’s Flower: Bloodroot

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One of my favorite early-spring flowers is the Bloodroot (Sanguinaria Canadensis).  Its foliage is one of the first to show in the spring followed by blooms in April.  The leaves are broad with deep rounded lobes.  Flowers are single or double white blooms.  This is a native plant that likes shade or partial shade and grows well in leaf litter and the typical conditions of a forest floor.

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 Other names for this plant are coon root, Indian plant, snakebite, sweet slumber, paucon, red root, and tetterwort.

 The name bloodroot comes from the dark red liquid that oozes from the roots when cut.  Bloodroot was used medicinally by Native Americans as a remedy for many diseases and conditions.  It was also used as a dye and insect repellent.  It is highly recommended that this is not used medicinally since it can aggravate some existing medical conditions and some consider it toxic.

 The bluish-green leaves make a lovely groundcover and the white flowers will brighten your shade garden in springtime.  It grows 8-12” tall and will not take over your garden.  It looks beautiful under your birdbath, around the base of your trees or anywhere with lots of organic matter and shade.

Who Knew? Wednesday: Happy Whatever…..

Happy Wednesday everybody!  Did you know that every day is a holiday?  If you poke around, you can find a lot of strange and fun holidays.

Joe - in a landscaped tunnel

Joe - in a landscaped tunnel

 On today – March 27th – we are celebrating:

  • National Joe Day – the perfect day if your name is Joe

  • Spanish Paella Day – Go out and have some.  It’s delicious!

  • Manatee Appreciation Day – Go hug a manatee – and keep your motor boat away!

  • Quirky Country Music Song Titles Day – something like  "Did I Shave My Legs For This?" by Deana Carter

 Whatever you’re celebrating, have a great day!

Friday’s Flower: Lily of the Valley Shrub

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Pieris japonica is a variety of Andromeda that produces fragrant blooms early in the spring, showing lovely bell-shaped flowers.  It is very tolerant of shade but also does well in full sun. With evergreen leaves, it looks good year-round.  It is also deer-resistant.

 This lovely shrub can grow up to 12’ tall and 9’ wide but you can easily keep it in check by pruning right after the flowers die.  If you wait too long to prune it after blooming, you may be pruning off next years buds.

 It also requires acidic soil.  While flowers are generally white, you can also find cultivars with flowers in shades from pink to deep rose.

Consider adding this lovely shrub to your foundation plantings where it will blend well with rhododendrons.  The both have the same care requirements.

3/20/19 – Who Knew? Wednesday

Today is the first day of spring – the spring equinox.  It’s the day when both day and night are 12 hours long.  Now the days will be longer than the nights until we reach the first day of summer – the summer solstice.

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 This is a huge day for celebration by the Druids.  Alban Eilir means The Light of the Earth.  The Druid symbol for Alban Eilir is the hare which protects an egg symbolizing life.  This is why we have Easter Eggs.

 Happy Spring!

Spring is almost here!

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About two weeks ago I heard a sound that is the true harbinger of spring.  Redwing blackbirds had arrived.  They are among the first birds to return north after spending the winter in warmer climates.

Many people think that seeing robins means spring is here, but did you know that some robins don’t migrate and are here year-round?   There was a steady stream of goldfinches all winter eating thistle seed at the birdfeeders.  Soon the male goldfinches will molt into their yellow bright breeding plumage and will look like drops of sunlight flitting around.

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The chickadees are leaving to head north and now flocks of house finches with their bright pink plumage arrive here in their raucous groups to feed.  Brightly-colored cardinals and blue jays who have spent the winter will soon be joined by this year’s youngsters.

New Jersey is on one of the major migration paths so you can see hundreds of species of birds passing through or looking for nesting sites.

If you like birds, it’s not difficult to provide them with a habitat in your yard.  They like thick foliage for shelter like that provided by evergreens and dense brush.  Many shrubs and trees produce berries and fruit eaten by our feathered friends.  And if you can leave a few thistle plants until they go to seed, you will see lots of small seed-eaters such as our goldfinches enjoying the bounty.  Sunflowers are beautiful additions to our gardens and provide food for birds in the late summer and fall.

Spring will be here on March 20th so get ready!