Cold Weather Alert

  • By proadAccountId-344697
  • 04 Jan, 2017

Your go-to post when this Texas weather starts to bite back

If I had to pick a single word to describe the winter in Texas, it would be unpredictable! Where can you be bunkered down in your house due to an ice storm one week…and then the next week be out on the golf course in a short sleeve shirt? Texas, that’s where!

These quick shifts in weather can due a number to our sanity and sinuses…but also has a big effect on our plants as well. A gradual decrease will allow plants to acclimate to the new temperatures like nature intended, by going dormant. It is the rapid drops that cause the real damage to unsuspecting plants and unprepared owners. Today I hope to enlighten you a few simple steps you can do when that quick cold weather comes knocking on your door.

  • Frost Cloth - For any large containers or sensitive plants that need a little extra protection, cover them the night before with Frost Cloth. (We have plenty in stock at the nursery!) This small layer will keep frost from damaging tender foliage.
  • Water - Make sure to give your plants a good drink before the freezing temps arrive.  I know this kind of seems backwards, but the ground temp of wet soil will be warmer than dry soil.
  • Mulch - This is the blanket to your plant's roots.  Some plants will go dormant, but the roots are still alive and keep them protected with a nice layer of mulch.
  • Native Plantings – No matter how long you’ve been a customer at Shades of Green, you know our beliefs in regards to native plants. Filling your landscape with Native plants makes your life so much easier for so many reasons. Native plants have been seeing these crazy Texas temperature swings for thousands of years and know exactly how to handle what Mother Nature brings their way. So the first step in preparing for these swings…plant native!

Those are just a few simple steps that will keep your plants happy and healthy this winter. If you ever have a question about anything we covered today or other topics regarding your landscape…come talk to the experts at Shades of Green. We’ve been tackling these cold weather issues for almost 40 years and aren’t stopping now!


By proadAccountId-344697 04 Jan, 2017

If I had to pick a single word to describe the winter in Texas, it would be unpredictable! Where can you be bunkered down in your house due to an ice storm one week…and then the next week be out on the golf course in a short sleeve shirt? Texas, that’s where!

These quick shifts in weather can due a number to our sanity and sinuses…but also has a big effect on our plants as well. A gradual decrease will allow plants to acclimate to the new temperatures like nature intended, by going dormant. It is the rapid drops that cause the real damage to unsuspecting plants and unprepared owners. Today I hope to enlighten you a few simple steps you can do when that quick cold weather comes knocking on your door.

By proadAccountId-344697 07 Dec, 2016
Why, … YES ! Planting trees, shrubs, and perennials is good year-round.

Plant material planted in the ground is better for the plant than keeping it in containers. A plant’s root system in containers is subject to the air temperature, which can fluctuate wildly here in north Texas. A plant’s root system that is planted in the ground is subject to ground temperature, which tends to stay a nice consistent temperature with slow, moderate changes up and down with the seasons.

Root systems of most plants are still active even when the plant goes dormant. Your winter plantings are establishing themselves into your landscape’s soil, giving your winter planted trees, shrubs, and perennials extra time to establish before our harshest season, summer, arrives.

Mother Nature this time of year is very conducive to establishing plants, with cooler temperatures and more precipitation. This will actually reduce or eliminate any additional work you need to do to help take care of the new plantings.

So don’t put off planting your landscape until spring. Get out there and start planting!!!

Need a design for your landscape? Give our Landscape Designers a call (972.335.9095 ext 107) and let us get your garden growing!
By proadAccountId-344697 29 Nov, 2016
As I started to write this article about how to protect plants against the threat of cold weather, I went outside and the temperature on my patio was 91º!! But, we all know that we will get cold weather as winter arrives, so here are some suggestions to protect your plants from the threat of cold and freezing temperatures.

  • Thoroughly water plants several days before freezing weather threatens them. Plants that are well hydrated are better able to withstand a freeze. This alone is not going to provide protection from a hard freeze, but can be used with covers to make a small difference on a marginal night. And every little bit helps.

  • The best protection of all is a frost/freeze cloth. We carry ‘N-Sulate’ Frost Cloth, which is reusable, dries quickly, and allows sunlight to reach the plants. Unlike old bed sheets, frost cloth does not have to be laundered and dried before putting it away.
  • Plastic should NOT be used because the sun shining through the plastic can burn leaves. Black plastic is a real No-No, as it blocks the light completely.
  • Landscape staples or rocks can be used to secure the frost cloth in place. You can leave frost cloth on for two or three days if freezing temperatures persist, but you should pull it back during the day to allow enough sunlight to reach the plants, if warmer temperatures allow.
  • Straw (not hay!) can be used around perennials and to cover vegetable gardens. d Mulch is also a great way to insulate around your gardens. 

Container Plants:
  • Plants growing in containers are especially susceptible to cold weather. Not only are the tops exposed, but the roots are also above ground. Move them into the garage, or other protected locations. When this is not possible, the next best option is to gather the containers close together on a protected side of the house or patio. Frost cloth can also be used to cover your container plants. Be sure to water them through the winter!
By proadAccountId-344697 08 Nov, 2016
Check out that beauty.  Whoever says you can't have the fall color in Texas, hasn't experienced the Rusty Blackhaw Viburnum.  

Rusty Blackhaw, professionally referred to as Viburnum rufidulum,  is a highly under used small tree that is continuously rated in lists of top native trees in Texas.  This variety is one of the few viburnums that can handle full sun, but will do fine in partial sun as well.  It is covered with clusters of white flowers in the spring, followed by edible berries in the fall.  I'm told they taste like raisins. They take their final bow for the season with a brilliant display of red leaves that drop when it gets cool.  

Our friends at Arborlogical Services wrote a brilliant article about this hard to find specimen on their website .

We have several Rusty Blackhaw Virbunums in stock, so come see us and take advantage of the tree sale happening now through December 31. 
By proadAccountId-344697 11 Oct, 2016
Relief is in sight, folks; fall is here! There are many varieties that stay in a holding pattern in our extremely hot summers only to make a bigger show as we cool down in the months to close out the year, such as Autumn Sage, Pincushion Flower or Zexmenia. There are some varieties, however, that tend to save most of their blooms for the cooler fall months, and can give you color in your garden where it might have been lacking before. Here are some of our top picks for getting some fall perennial color in your landscape.
By proadAccountId-344697 20 Sep, 2016
I know it’s HOT outside and the last thing on your mind is landscaping in the dreadful heat, and rightfully so. Every year it seems to work out this way. But actually, contrary to popular belief, summer is a great time to make the call to Shades of Green to get the ball rolling on drawing-up and implementing a new Landscape Design. As I’m writing this, I’m thinking … “why don’t customers think about this in August?”. It usually takes about 3-4 weeks to create a landscape design.

A design consists of the following components:
  1. Initial call to schedule a meeting with your designer. We can usually meet you within a week of the initial call.
  2. When we meet with you, we’d like to be able to get a copy of your survey plat, as well as a copy of your pool design (if you have a pool). Your survey plat should be in with your closing documents.
  3.  Make a list of priorities that you want to see accomplished… 
    • Patio expansion?
    • Screenings? 
    • Drainage issues?
    • Lack of sunlight?
    • A wish list of plants that you would like to see used in your project. 

We will then get busy on your design plan using our traditional touch of native, well-adapted, drought tolerant, low-maintenance concepts. We can do the front and back yard designs at the same time and price them out separately, even if you are primarily interested in only one or the other. Heck, you might as well have a plan for both even if you only do one part. And you’ll at least know what the out of pocket expenses would be if you did both. The cost of the design is for your entire landscape, and the quote will all be itemized so you can pick and choose what you want to do. We would like to help you regardless. The visit with you to present your landscape design will be at the nursery so we can show you all the plant recommendations in their living state – not a color-enhanced rendering.

So let’s get started today. Make that call, and we can get the process completed for you and ready for planting … because FALL is for Planting!

For more ideas, check out our Gallery Page on our website.  
By proadAccountId-344697 24 Aug, 2016
Because this is August, the 8th month, I found eight varieties of new and old Coneflowers that all seem to do well in this heat. These are all growing in full sun, but I think they will appreciate a little shade in the afternoon. I said a little shade … not under that magnolia. Also, keeping them dry thru the winter into the summer is a recipe for success. Mix in some soil conditioner because nothing does-in a coneflower like wet clay soil. If you have some nice wet clay, maybe make some bowls out of it, but please don’t plant these coneflowers in it. 
By proadAccountId-344697 10 Aug, 2016
The butterfly population is crashing! Since 1992 the Monarch butterfly population has dropped over 80%. Monarch butterflies are the only kind of butterflies who migrate. Their migration path is roughly 3,000 miles! For the winter, they fly south to Mexico then in the spring they migrate back to start reproducing. Lucky for us, Texas is on the list of the many places the Monarchs travel!!

Here’s how you can help save these beautiful butterflies:

Make a Butterfly Garden...
Create your Butterfly Garden in FULL SUN (5+ hours of sun a day).
  Butterflies like to feed in the hot sun and most of their favorite plants live well in full sun.

Plant many flowering feeder plants and leafy host plants for them.
  •  Include Buddleia, Zinnia, Shasta Daisy, Aster, Lantana, Black-Eyed Susan, Daylily, Lavender, Pipevine, Passion Vine, Fennel, Dill, Rue, and Vitex. 
  • Adult butterflies need the flowers to feed, so make sure you pick things that have all different bloom times.
  •  Keep in mind that butterflies are attracted to Red, Yellow, Orange, Pink, and Purple. 

 Specifically plant Milkweed for the Monarch butterflies!
  •  When they are in their caterpillar form, they ONLY eat Milkweed.
  • Here at Shades of Green, we carry three (3) different varieties of Milkweed – Perennial Milkweed, Tropical Milkweed, and also Iron Milkweed. 
Butterflies get thirsty, too!
  •   Provide a “puddling area” or drinking area as a congregation spot. Fill a shallow pan or saucer with moist, course, sand so they can grab a drink and not have to worry about getting their wings wet. 
  •  Have some flat stones nearby, so they can bask, rest, or warm their wings before their flight. 

Avoid using insecticides and bug killing products.
  • These harm the butterflies, along with other beneficial bugs (like bees). We need these bugs as pollinators to keep our plants happy.

The Butterfly Life Cycle...
  • The parent butterfly lays the eggs on the underside of the Milkweed plant’s leaves.
  • The eggs hatch as larva and begin to feed on the Milkweed plant. 
  • They go through 5 stages of growth as caterpillars. 
  • The caterpillars then enter the pupation stage, attaching to horizontal parts of the host plant.
  • Then the caterpillar encases itself in its chrysalis. 
  • About 2 weeks after the chrysalis is formed they emerge as beautiful butterflies!

Click HERE to download the Save the Butterflies coloring sheet. 
By proadAccountId-344697 18 Jul, 2016
Over the years Brice Creelman, our talented and dedicated grower at our Brillo Verde Farm, has shared his insights on various Native (and Texas Tuff) perennials through his “Plants of the Week” postings on our Facebook page. I loved reading what he wrote, and putting together the graphics to go along with his plant information. Through Brice, and many of our nursery staff, I learned so much about perennials, shrubs, … and even some trees!

I wanted to take this opportunity to re-share a few of those plants with you that truly are Texas Tuff, and perhaps a little over-looked. When planting these in the right place, and providing adequate care, they will in turn provide your landscape with color and textural interest for many years to come. Sharing knowledge. Isn’t that what Life is all about?

Zexmenia Wedelia hispida
Zexmenia is one of those plants that makes you look good. Easy to grow in Sun or Shade. 2-1/2’ to 3’ both ways. Orange daisy flowers from late spring thru frost. Drought tolerant. A good choice for dry shade. Native and proud of it. 

Pigeonberry Rivina humilis
How about our native Pigeonberry. How about ez to grow and maintain. How about pink and white flowers. How about red berries. All at the same time! Shade only. Very drought tolerant once established. Plant with Turk’s Cap and Columbine. About 1’-2’ both ways. Pollinators, of course! Birds, of course!

Pink Skullcap Scutellaria suffrutescens
Skullcap takes its dear sweet time showing some color, but once it does (like now), it’s a showstopper! Snuck over the Mexican border by Dr. Creech at Stephen F. Austin University. Great addition to your low maintenance landscapes. Full Sun to Part Shade. Gets about 24” x 30”. Pink blooms. No insect or disease issues. E-Z-weezy!

Blackfoot Daisy Melampodium leucanthum
Unlike you, Blackfoot Daisy never goes on vacation. Blooms from March till Turkey Day. Fragrant. Full sun. Must stay on the dry side. Nothing better in a pot either. 12” tall by 24”-30” wide. Born and raised in Texas. Pollinators galore!
By proadAccountId-344697 01 Jun, 2016
It’s hard to believe another school year has come and gone. If you are like I was when I had a child at home for the summer, I was always trying to think of fun, imaginable, creative things we could do together outdoors. Maybe this year might be the year you and the kiddos plant a “Theme Garden”. It is a great way to share your love for gardening with children of all ages. As you brainstorm different ideas together, you’ll be surprised at the creativity and imagination they have.

Here are a few fun-themed ideas:
  •  A Butterfly Garden: Include plants that attract butterflies to your yard. 
  • A Book Garden: Pick out a book together with a garden theme and then try to recreate it, such as “Peter Rabbit”. 
  • Sunflower House by Eve Bunting. This is a tale about inventive children who plant some summer fun. 
  • Planting a Rainbow by Eric Carle. This mini-book includes a piece of detachable seed-embedded paper housed on the inside front cover. Readers can plant the entire piece of paper and watch as their very own tiny seeds grow into beautiful wildflowers.
  • A Rainbow Garden: Use plants whose flowers or leaves show off the different colors of the rainbow … blues, oranges, yellows, reds, greens, pinks. 
  • A Zoo Garden: Include plants who share names with animals like, Lamb’s Ear, Catnip, Hens and Chicks, and Horse Herb. 

Shades of Green is here to help you get started with a wide selection of plants, containers, and all the items you need, along with a knowledgeable staff to help you create your children’s theme garden.
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