3 Things You Can Do Now to Get Ready for Spring

Step 1 – Make a Landscape Design Plan
Step 2
– Plant: Winter is a great time!
Step 3 – Prepare

Clients often ask us what they can do during the winter to get their yard ready for spring, summer and fall. Our answer – tons of things!

  • First, create a landscape design plan. Winter is a great time to think about the seasons ahead and work on planning your landscape – consider hiring a designer to create a scaled drawing.
  • Second, plant! Winter is absolutely a great time to work on a planting installation. While some perennials may be unavailable the vast majority of our plants do great when planted in the winter.
  • Third, prepare. Not ready to start planting? There are still things you can do to move your project forward. Start saving so you have funds available for future projects. Get outside and make notes about your winter garden – what do you like and what isn’t working? Browse garden magazines for inspiration.

Ready to get started? Contact Bright Leaf Landscaping at 919-619-4460 to schedule a landscape design consultation or fill out our online contact form. Design and installation are our expertise, and we are always happy to meet with new clients to discuss potential projects!

Putting the Right Plant in the Right Place

Whether you do it yourself or hire a company like ours, landscaping design and installation is an investment of your time and money into your property. Done well it can be a wise investment – with the payout being increased beauty and higher property values. Read on to learn about common landscaping mistakes and how to avoid them.

Put the Right Plant…

Landscaping Advice

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Checking in on the 3 New Cultivars I Added to my Garden in 2017

Last summer some large Leyland Cypress trees came down on my neighbor’s property resulting in a lot more light in my front yard, as well as some additional space to fill with plants! As 2017 comes to a close, I’m revisiting some of the plants I decided to add to this space – Teddy Bear Magnolia, Magic Carpet Spirea, and Ruby Slippers Hydrangea.

The Teddy Bear Magnolia was the definite winner for me. This is a plant that I’ve been aware of for several years but for some reason had never used. Little Gem is another dwarf Magnolia cultivar, and for whatever reason it seems to be more readily available in the nursery trade. In any case, I’m now a Teddy Bear fan! In addition to large glossy leaves with velvety undersides this dwarf tree surprised me with its relatively quick growth rate. Typically when you pick a dwarf cultivar for smaller size, you also get a very slow growth rate, so I was pleasantly surprised when this tree put on over a 1.5 feet of growth in 1 year.

Magnolia grandiflora ‘Teddy Bear’ – Teddy Bear Magnolia in my yard

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What Is That Plant Taking Over My Yard? Microstegium And How To Manage It

Summer is a great time for gardens in North Carolina, but unfortunately it is also the time for Microstegium.  If you’ve noticed a grassy plant invading your garden in the last several weeks it could be Microstegium, commonly known as Japanese Stiltgrass.  Read on to learn more about this problematic plant.
Microstegium Growing in the Woods
Microstegium is a warm weather annual that shows up once the heat of summer has kicked in.  Growing quickly and spreading especially in unmaintained areas, this is a plant that can take over your yard. Hand weeding can help control Microstegium in small areas, and it is a fairly easy plant to pull.  I have also had some success in planting other aggressive plants (such as the native Ostrich Fern) in areas prone to Microstegium on my property.  While the Ostrich Fern doesn’t eradicate the Microstegium, it does provide some competition against this exotic invasive.

Check out the links below for advice from NC State on the management of this challenging weed:

https://weeds.ces.ncsu.edu/2016/05/what-is-that-weed/?src=rss
http://www4.ncsu.edu/~jcneal/documents/judge-stiltgrass-05.pdf
https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/japanese-stiltgrass-identification-and-management

Need help managing the spread of Microstegium on your property?  Contact Bright Leaf Landscaping at 919-619-4460 or fill out our online contact form. Design and installation are our expertise, and we are always happy to meet with new clients to discuss potential projects!

My Favorite Dwarf Shrubs to Use in Durham Gardens

If you asked me what types of plants are most commonly used in my landscape designs, the answer would be dwarf shrubs.  The reason is simple – they will fit almost anywhere!  Most clients have at least one area of their property that is constrained – the distance between the front of the house and the walkway is a common example.  A mixed bed of dwarf shrubs tends to be the perfect solution – the plants are small enough that I can use multiple varieties for interest without creating a bed that will be overgrown in the future.  Read on to learn about some of my favorite varities.

Ilex crenata ‘Soft Touch’ – Soft Touch Japanese Holly
Ilex crenata ‘Soft Touch’ – Soft Touch Japanese Holly

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