Weird Witch Hazel Fun Facts 

Witch hazel is an amazing and weird plant. Surrounded by lore, early settlers witnessed Native Americans using forked branches of witch hazel to find water. And the extract of the bark and wood is used as a mild astringent is used to treat everything from acne to eczema.

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In terms of blooming times, there two types of witch hazel—one blooms in the late fall and the other blooms later in winter. But are particularly weird because they are blooming when literally no other plants are. Not only that but they are not pollinated by bees or butterflies like most other blooming plants. Witch hazel is blooming at a time after the butterflies have migrated south and at a time when most honeybees are hibernating for the winter.

So how are witch hazel pollinated?

Moths.

Shivering moths.

“It was the renowned  naturalist Bernd Heinrich who realized that there was a group of owlet moths (family Noctuidae) called winter moths that are active on cold nights. These moths have a remarkable ability to heat themselves by using energy to shiver, raising their body temperatures by as much as 50 degrees in order to fly in search of food. It is a group of these moths that pollinate witch hazels.” 

(You can read more in the article, Winter Sex: The Puzzling Case of Witch hazel)

http://www.venerabletrees.org/winter-sex-witchhazel/

Once pollinated, the seeds take an additional two years to make the journey to becoming a plant. 

Keep reading for more weird witch hazel fun facts. 

American Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana L.)

Common names: Witch hazel, American Witch hazel, Common Witch hazel, Winterbloom, Snapping Hazelnut, Striped Alder, Spotted Alder, Tobacco-wood, Water-witch

  • Deer resistant 
  • Moisture Tolerant
  • Clay tolerant
  • Part sun to part shade
  • Zone 4
  • 12 to 15 feet tall and wide
  • Yellow fragrant flowers October-November

In the autumn, after all the leaves have fallen, American witch hazel’s fragrant and its bright yellow flowers are often the only spots of color in the forest.

USDA Forest Service Fun Facts:

  1. The small, tanish to gray, hard capsules go dormant throughout the winter and then develop over the next growing season.
  2. In autumn, the plant forcibly expels two shiny black seeds 10 to 20 feet (sometimes as far as 40 feet!) 
  3. The seeds then take an additional year to germinate.

Pallida witchhazel (Hamamelis × intermedia ‘Pallida’)

  • Deer resistant
  • Moisture Tolerant
  • Clay tolerant
  • Full sun to part shade
  • Zone 5
  • 9 to 12 feet tall and wide
  • Yellow flowers January – March

Hamamelis × intermedia hybrids are crosses between Japanese witch hazel (H. japonica) and Chinese witch hazel (H. mollis). Although with this hybrid you lose the fragrance, you gain more tolerance for full sun conditions. This variety blooms more in more light. Prune in spring after flowering to control shape and size.

Birgit witch hazel (Hamamelis × intermedia ‘Birgit’)

  • Deer resistant 
  • Moisture Tolerant
  • Clay tolerant
  • Part sun to part shade
  • Zone 5
  • 9 to 12 feet tall and wide
  • Fragrant purplish-red flowers January – March

USDA Forest Service Fun Facts:

1. Genus name comes from the Greek words hama meaning “at same time” and “melon”—meaning apple or fruit in reference to the occurrence of both fruit and flowers at the same time on this shrub (particularly in the case of fall flowering members of the genus).

2. Hybrid name means intermediate in color, form or habit.

3. ’Birgit’ has purplish-red flowers—perhaps the darkest red of the cultivars available today. 

4. Each flower has four, narrow, ribbon-like, curled and slightly crinkled petals. Axillary clusters of these flowers bloom along the stems from late January to March. (Flowers are mildly fragrant.)

Ozark witch hazel (Hamamelis vernalis ‘Purpurea’)

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  • Deer resistant 
  • Moisture Tolerant
  • Clay tolerant
  • Full sun to part shade
  • Zone 5
  • 9 to 12 feet tall and wide
  • Burgundy flowers February – March

Native to the Ozark Plateau, “it is typically found in gravelly stream beds, bases of rocky slopes along streams and less frequently in rocky wooded hillsides where it spreads by suckers to form large colonies. Flowers in axillary clusters appear in mid to late winter January-March in St. Louis [later in the northeast]. Each flower has four, narrow, ribbon-like, curled and crinkled petals that are usually red at the base transitioning to copper orange at the tip.” - Missouri Botanical Gardens.

Promptly remove root suckers to prevent colonial spread.

 

Ozark witch hazel (Hamamelis vernalis ‘vernalis’)

View Image Gallery

  • Deer resistant 
  • Moisture Tolerant
  • Clay tolerant
  • Full sun to part shade
  • Zone 5
  • 9 to 12 feet tall and wide
  • Yellow and orange-to-red flowers February – March

‘Vernalis’ differs from  ‘Purpurea’ mainly in bloom color. ‘Vernalis’ has yellow and orange-to-red flowers with a spicy fragrance.

 

Hellebores are here, and you won’t want to miss out on these varieties

We have raved about hellebores before.

But if any plant deserves extensive raving, it’s the hellebore (latin: helleborus).

What other cold-hearty perennial flowers early in March – a lot of times pushing their blooms through the snow and ice – has waxy, shiny, evergreen foliage that add texture to any garden, are deer resistant, self-seed quite readily, and have so many beautiful varieties to choose from?

Answer: none. Which is why every garden should feature this early spring bloomer.

Our favorites?

 

We also have more traditional varieties, like Helleborus ‘Royal Heritage’, which gets quite large when mature, and Helleborus ‘Ivory Prince’ with its bluish-green foliage and red stems, which takes a little longer to reach full maturity. (The slower growing varieties tend to be the more expensive varieties, because it literally takes years longer for growers to raise them to a size suitable for retail nurseries.)

Also hellebores are the best deer resistant alternative to hosta. They thrive in the same conditions, they have beautiful, textured foliage and as a bonus they bloom in March! The flowers often dry green on the plants, and the ornamental papery blooms remain – sometimes as long as August.

 

Fall Favorites

Victoria picked out a cart full of her fall favorites. In these videoes she explains what makes each fall beauty special AND why fall is a wonderful time to plant.

Diamond Rouge Hydrangea

The Diamond Rogue Hydrangea is a hydrangea variety that goes from all white to deep, deep red as the weather gets cooler. You can see in the video that the flowers are just kissed with pink now. Diamond Rogue is just one of the amazing hydrangea varieties we carry.

Lespedeza

This is Lespedeza, or Bush Clover. It is a small shrub that dies down to ground in the winter. Each spring, it's soft, arching branches regrow and in the fall, it is covered with the most amazing chains of pink flowers.

Ninebark and Hardy Ageratum

Victoria picked out a cartload of her fall favorites and explains what she loves about each one. Here she combines the blue fall blooms of hardy Ageratum with the white flowers and purple foliage of 'Little Devil' Ninebark, a shrub that stays 4 to 5 feet tall and wide. Add in the pink blooms of Lespedeza and you have spectacular October color in your garden!

Rozanne Geranium and Toad Lily

Toad Lilies are small fall-blooming perennials that have almost orchid-like flowers. They are deer resistant, shade plants and they are a fall favorite! Rozanne Geraniums are beautiful blue flowers that bloom from May until November--one of the few perennials that bllo for such a long period!

Coral Berry

Coral Berry (Symphoriarpos 'Sophie') is also called Proud Berry. It will grow 4 to 5 feet high and wide and has this spectacular pink fruit and blueish green foliage.

Butterfly Bush

There is a reason they call them butterfly bushes. The Monarch butterflies are fueling up, getting ready to migrate south--all the way to Mexico. Fall is a good time to plant a butterfly bush in your garden.

Calicarpa

Why doesn't everyone have these beauties? Beauty Berry (Calicarpa) is one of Victoria Gardens' favorites. Victoria pulled a whole cartload of her fall favorites and explains what she loves about each one. There is a lot to love about Calicarpa: it stays small-4 to 5 feet tall and wide, it has a lovely arching growth habit, it is covered with light purple flowers in the summer and stunning, deep purple berries in the fall.

Visit and be inspired!

We are located at 1 Cottekill Road, Rosendale, NY. (845) 658-9007

How to repot a houseplant

When bringing your houseplants inside for the winter, check each one to see if it is “root bound.”

If the roots are growing in a thick circular pattern at the bottom of the pot, then it needs to be stepped up to the next sized planter.

In the video and article below we show you how:

To keep your plants healthy, the roots need fresh soil to grow into, and your plant needs a bigger pot.

Choose a pot that is the next size up. This little guy was in a 4″ pot, so we are stepping him up to a 6″ pot.

  • Wet down the potting soil (never use dry potting mix, you will send your plant into shock!).
  • The consistency should be like cookie dough or brownie mix.
  • Fill the bottom of the pot with the moist potting mix.
  • “Tickle” the roots of your plant.
  • (Untangle and spread the roots so the can grow in different directions into the new soil.)
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  • Hold the plant at the desired height in the pot with one hand, and fill in the soil around it with the other.
  • Tamp down the soil with your fingers – firmly, but gently – enough so the plant doesn’t tip over and out of the pot, but don’t crush it into the pot.
  • Finally, let your newly repotted plant soak up water from the bottom (30 minutes or so), which will help the roots adjust and establish themselves in their stylish new home.

 

Learn more about houseplant care next weekend, September 23rd & September 24th at the shop.

Stop by any time Saturday or Sunday. Bring your problem children (house plants) for analysis.

We will repot your houseplants for you! 

 

Aphids, Scale, Whitefly, oh my! 3 ways to prevent them and 3 ways to treat them

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Bringing houseplants in for the winter is an October ritual. Dealing with indoor pests is usually a January ritual! One reason for this is many of us crowd our one south-facing window with an many plants as we physically can. Lack of air circulation can lead to disease and pest problems, so...

Prevention

#1. Try (try!) to give each plant a little breathing room, and set up an oscilating fan for a couple hours a day, especially in a tight space.

#2. Water moderately. Most houseplants need a whole lot less water than you think they do, especially during the cool winter months. Experiment with your houseplants and see how they respond if you let them dry out a bit more in between each watering.

#3. Examine your houseplants every week. If you do spot a problem on one plant, move it away from the others and treat it right away.


Treatment

#1. Scale - catch it early and you can get rid of pretty easily. Brush off the scale with an old toothbrush (as much as you can). Rinse the plant with soapy water (dish soap like Joy works great). Then swab any scale left with a Q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol. Continue to treat until all signs of the scale are gone.

#2. Whitefly - quarentine any plant that has whitefly, because they can quickly become an infestation. Take it to a well ventillated space and wipe the underside of the leaves with rubbing alcohol. Then wash the plant with soapy water (again Joy!) Keep treating the plant in quarentine until you see no signs of the dandruff-like bugs.

#3. Aphids - Aphids can be green, pink, red, brown, white, black, yellow, or grey. You will see them in concentrated clumps and the underside of leaves. Use a sponge or a tooth brush and soapy water (Joy!) to remove the aphids. If your plant is small you can do this in your sink. If it's medium you can rinse it afterward in the shower. If it's large, layout a tarp or a drop cloth, use a step ladder to reach the top of the plant, and rinse the soap residue off with a spray bottle.

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Three ways to Overwinter Tropicals as Houseplants

There are many different tropical plants sold as houseplants and annuals, but for overwintering, we are going to break them up into 3 "types."

#1. Growing and Blooming

If you have a home with bright light and lots of space you can keep your tropicals growing and blooming through the winter. 65 degrees during the day and 55 degrees during the night are actually the perfect winter temperature for most tropicals.

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Water moderately - you want keep the soil on the dry side during the winter months, but to keep the humidity at around 45%, you need to spritz the leaves with a misting bottle regularly or set out a shallow dish of water near the plants. (Most homes with forced air heat have humidity levels of around 20% during the winter months.) Make sure the plants get plenty of light (12 hours) and get plenty of space and air circulation (a fan can help) to help prevent indoor pests.

What to do about whiteflies, scale, and aphids.

Plants to keep growing and blooming: Fig trees, citrus trees, palms, geraniums, oleander, tropical ferns, Christmas cactus, jasmine, hibiscus, bougainvillea, plectranthus, agave, echeveria

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#2. Resting Dormant

I've read articles about forcing dormancy for winter storage that include digging out bulbs, wrapping them in moist packing materials, misting the packing materials through the winter, carefully monitoring light and temperatures, and I have to say it all sounds like a huge hassle. Here's what we do (and it's easy!):

For bulbs (canna lily, caladium, elephant ears, and sweet potato vines) let the leaves get hit by a light frost, then bring inside and stop watering the plant. Let the soil dry out, let the leaves turn brown and the cut the plant and foliage back. Put the whole pot in a cool dark space (an unheated basement or garage, or a root cellar - we keep them in a cool room under a table!). In the spring pull out the pots, expose them to light, and start watering.

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For woody-stemmed plants (brugmansia, bananas, tibouchina, and jasmine) expose them to low night time temperatures 40 to 50 degrees and then move them to a cool dark space. Stop watering and if you have the space you can leave the plant standing until the spring (we cut them back as soon as the leaves drop). Two times during the winter you want to give your woody-stemmed tropicals a little bit of water (a half gallon or so), and in the spring expose them to light and start watering (and fertilizing).

That's it - easy-peasy! Cool, dark, and dry = dormant.


#3. Cutting and Propagating

If you don't have a lot of space to overwinter plants, cuttings can be the answer. Unfortunately, this only works for soft-stemmed tropicals.

Soft-stemmed topicals (geraniums, coleus, and plectranthus) can be propagated by clipping off succulent new growth (woody stems won't root) and place the cut end into water. When roots sprout, pot into soil-less mix in a small 4 inch pot. Once potted place them in full sunlight and FEED THEM! Weekly fertilizer is must to keep them healthy. In the spring, after the last threat of frost you can put them out in larger containers or plant them in your garden.

Tropicals can add color and drama to your garden all summer, and with these 3 easy techniques, you can enjoy those tender beauties year after year.

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Before and After: A Drainage Solution

In this before and after the client had two issues. The first was that she wanted here backyard bursting with blooms. She is a plant lover and wanted us to create beds for a real "hort-head" collection garden. 

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The second issue, even though this bare grassy hillside looks innocent enough, every time it rained, water was pouring into the basement and compromising the foundation.

Creative garden design can fix both!

First we came in with an excavator and moved some of the dirt off the hillside. We wanted to create a path for water drainage AWAY from the house.

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As we excavated, we happily unearthed some spectacular rock outcroppings and married them with a dry riverbed for drainage when it rained.

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We transformed this boring and problematic hillside into an outdoor space that was full of character...and we hadn't even brought in plants yet!

TWO YEARS LATER

Two years later, all the small perennials have filled out and the garden is a raucous explosion of blooms. This is honey bee heaven and you can hear the delightful buzz of healthy pollinators and watch the many Monarch butterflies flitting around in this beautiful garden.

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 That's one of the many butterflies flitting from bloom to bloom.

That's one of the many butterflies flitting from bloom to bloom.

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The exposed rock outcropping is now colonized with several varieties of sedum, adding yet another layer of color and texture to this once boring hillside!

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Your own dramatic before and after:

At Victoria Gardens, every dramatic before and after begins with an hour long on-site consultation by Victoria. This visit allows the designer to see the space you envision becoming your garden and allows you an opportunity to express your desires and ideas and ask any questions you may have.

Design consultations are $150 and can be scheduled by calling the shop at (845) 658-9007.

Upright Katsura Tree and Weeping Katsura Tree

Cercidiphyllum japonicum 'Pendulum' "Weeping Katsura Tree"

On our sunset tour of Stonecrop Gardens, we dicovered yet another trasure! In between the waterfall and the stone bridge (at the Lake and Hillside Gardens), stands a majestic Cercidiphyllum japonicum 'Pendulum' (Weeping Katsura Tree). 

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The weeping Katsura, like it's upright cousin, has deeply textured bark and the deliciously scented (golden/apricot-colored) fall foliage. But the wide and weeping form of Cercidiphyllum japonicum 'Pendulum' makes this specimen tree even more dramatic. 

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Deer resistant, cold hardy, and eminently attractive, if you can find a home for this specimen tree in your own back yard, we highly recommend it!

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Cercidiphyllum japonicum "Katsura Tree"

One of the greatest parts of touring established gardens and estates is the chance to see mature specimens before you plant them in your own back yard. It is hard to imagine what a tree in a two gallon container at Victoria Gardens will look like in 20 or 30 years.

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Look at the great form and the sculptural upright branching of this mature Katsura tree!

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Katsuras are deer resistant trees, with deeply textured bark, and well-shaped foliage that puts out a sweet fragrance as it changes color in the fall. Some people liken the scent to cotton candy, baking cookies, or baking muffins (yum!)

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The Katsura is one of our favorite trees of all time, and at Stonecrop there was this amazing specimen (growing right up through a deck off the main house!)

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At Victoria Gardens we are plant enthusiasts! So we seek out unusual varieties. We bring in hundreds of varieties of perennials, shrubs and trees – always focusing on plants that will perform the best in our climate.

We know plants.

After 30 years of field testing varieties, we know what works.

At Victoria Gardens we divide up our nursery according to where the plant will go in your garden.

  • At Victoria Gardens, if you have a garden that is in full sun, you won’t accidentally fall in love with a plant that needs shade.
  • You can look at the flowers, colors and textures instead of squinting at the tags, trying to figure out if it will survive in your garden.
  • If you are browsing in the right section at Victoria Gardens, it will survive and thrive!

Victoria Gardens is located on the corner of Rt. 212 and Cottekill Road in between Rosendale and High Falls, NY.

Visit and be inspired.

Heavenly Hydrangea

The hydrangea are finally in bloom! We love them all but here is a sampling of our favorites:

Hydrangea 'Quickfire'

 'Quickfire' turns pink this time of year.

'Quickfire' turns pink this time of year.

An early bloomer, the flowers bloom white and then turn rich pink, then red. Versatile, cold-hardy shrub, really pays its rent in your garden. Will reach 6 to 8 feet tall and 3 to 5 feet wide in maturity. Cold hardy to zone 3.

 Quickfire bloom

Quickfire bloom

What are shrubs?

At Victoria Gardens we carry trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals. And that’s how we think and talk about the plants in our nursery.

But every once in a while we are reminded that as a home gardener, that’s NOT how you talk.

When someone asks, “What’s a shrub?”

We reply, “It’s a bush.”

And they give us a sidelong glance, like, why didn’t you just say bush, then?

 This is an amazing shrub, called Vitex.

This is an amazing shrub, called Vitex.

I think when people start gardening, there’s “green stuff,” “bushes,” and “flowers.” As you learn more about plants, you can’t help but LOVE them more and more. And you begin to see subtle differences, not just between colors, but textures, form, and growth habits.

Below is a decoder ring, for the next time you are speaking to one of us, or if you want to increase the depth of your plant knowledge, or if you are just plain curious.

“What are these plant people talking about?”

 This explosion of color is made up of annuals

This explosion of color is made up of annuals

 

Plant definitions

Nursery speak translated to English

  • Perennial = Flowering plant that returns every year (but only blooms for part of the summer**)
  • Annual = Flowering plant that blooms all summer long (but dies at the end of the season*** – hey, you can’t have it all)
  • Tree = You know this one, don’t be silly
  • Shrub = Bush

But, from a horticultural standpoint, ‘bush’ and ‘shrub’ do not mean the same thing.

In horticulture*, “bush” is used to describe the shape of a plant, as in ‘forms a bush.’

“Shrub,” in horticulture, is defined as, “a plant which retains structure above ground year round, which cannot be split or divided because the growth is coming from one set of roots. (Some shrubs can be considered small trees, but will still be defined as shrubs.)”

Now a shrub can be as tiny as a dwarf ‘Tom Thumb’ cotoneaster, which only gets about 12 inches wide or a shrub can grow 8 to 10 feet tall like a lilac.

 Another shrub, "RedStar" Hypericum

Another shrub, "RedStar" Hypericum

 "RedStar" Hypericum: grows to 30"x30", full sun

"RedStar" Hypericum: grows to 30"x30", full sun

We have other confusing industry terms.

Victoria will be speaking to a client and she will explain that she will bring the plant material on such-and-such a day. The client will ask, “What’s plant material?”

“Plant material is…plants.” And they give her a sidelong glance, like, why didn’t you just say plants, then?

Or she’ll say “I think you need some woody plants in the foundation planting near the house.”

“What are woody plants?”

And she replies, “Trees and shrubs.”****

See beginning of article.

Just kidding!

Visit and be inspired!

*As long as we’re defining things…”Horticulture is the science and art of producing, improving, marketing, and using fruits, vegetables, flowers, and ornamental plants. It differs from botany and other plant sciences in that horticulture incorporates both science and aesthetics.” – American Society for Horticultural Science

**Some perennials have LONG blooming periods–some from May to September–but they are the exception, not the rule.

***Annuals bloom all summer long and complete their lifecycle within one season. Their job is to produce seeds, so they produce a lot of flowers again and again to complete their reproductive mission. Annuals give you a big blooming-bang for your buck, even though they die when the frost comes in fall.

***”Woody plants”–trees and shrubs–usually have bark as a defining feature.

 Another spectacular shrub, 'Pearl  Glam '  callicarpa ', grows 5'x5', full sun

Another spectacular shrub, 'Pearl Glamcallicarpa', grows 5'x5', full sun

A note about our nursery (if you’ve never visited):

Great garden design is accomplished with a tapestry of different shapes, sizes, colors, and textures. Visit our plant nursery in Rosendale, NY this weekend and feast your eyes on flowers, trees, and shrubs that will not only thrive in the Hudson Valley, but will also inspire you to take a fresh look at your outdoor spaces.

We lay the nursery out in areas by what conditions they need: deer resistant shade, deer resistant full sun, wet-tolerant plants, etc. We know this makes for a better shopping experience, because the plants you see together at the nursery can be planted together in the same garden bed once you get them home.

There’s no heartbreak–realizing that the two plants you picked out can’t survive in your shady front garden. (As professional landscapers, we’ve gardened in Ulster county for over 30 years, so believe us, we know what those conditions are!)

Our rock-top nursery is located on Cottekill Road, off of Rt 213 between Rosendale and High Falls. We are up on the hill, and when people step off the back porch into the nursery, they often say, “Wow. I had no idea this was back here.”

We know. It’s so much more than you can see from the road!

Why did my tree die?

This is a sad, but common question.

For some reason, in the spring, a young tree will fail to put out new foliage or the young foliage will appear to die on the tree.

 So sad.

So sad.

On closer inspection, at the base of the tree the bark looks as if it has been gnawed by some tree bark eating creature.

What could it be?

Beavers? 

Bugs?

No.

The mysterious animal is...

a weed wacker. 

Your lawn service (or your husband) in the pursuit of a neat and well kept lawn has been chipping away at the bark of your tree with the weed wacker.

Trees need their bark more than they need the inside wood of the trunk.

I have seen trees where the center of the trunk is almost entirely hollow, but as long as a half inch of the outside bark remains healthy, the tree will still put out foliage and even flowers.

Like this Hydrangea tree.

 Look at that! It's hollow.

Look at that! It's hollow.

But this tree still has healthy foliage and flowers.

So what can you do to spare your trees this terrible fate?

Help young trees by maintaining a circle of mulch around the base. 

Your lawn service will keep the weed wacker away, and your tree's bark will stay intact and healthy.

No more dead trees.

We have a wide variety of young, healthy trees in stock to replace any weed wacker victims on your property.

We also carry an assortment of all natural and organic mulches to protect any newly planted trees!

We are located on the corner of Rt. 213 and Cottekill Road, between Rosendale and High Falls.

Visit and be inspired.

 

Before and After: It was meant to be

This before and after is a funny story, because in 2000, Victoria did a design consultation for this property. She made a recommendation to rip out the big Yew and a Hemlock hedge that had taken over the walkway and make a sloping garden, which would highlight the lovely Dogwood tree that was there. The home owners did not move forward with the big project, but did a smaller project instead.

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Before

Seventeen years later, they said yes to the garden they deserved!

This year, 2017, we ripped out the big Yew and Hemlock hedge that had taken over the walkway and we installed a sloping garden, which now highlights the lovely Dogwood tree!

It was meant to be, obviously.

Check out the before and after pictures:

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At Victoria Gardens, all our projects begin with an hour long on-site consultation with Victoria. This visit allows Vic to see the space you envision becoming your garden and allows you an opportunity to express your desires and ideas and ask any questions you may have. At the end of this hour, you will have been provided some great ideas, information on considerations for your garden site and some idea of how we will proceed with a design concept.

A Landscape/Garden Consultation Visit cost is $150.

You can read more about Victoria Gardens' design consultations and see more of our projects here and here.

How to plant a tree

Don’t be intimidated by tree planting! Here’s how the professionals at Victoria Gardens plant happy healthy trees:

Digging the hole: When planting trees, the planting hole should be bigger than the diameter of the root ball, but not deeper! You want the top of the container or root ball level with the ground surface. Once you finish your hole, you want to firm the soil at the bottom of the hole, so the root ball sits on a solid surface. If you set the tree on soft, freshly turned over soil at the bottom of your hole, the dirt could settle one way or the other and your tree could be crooked a day or two after planting!

Remove the cage and burlap: If you purchased a tree with a root ball, you will need to snip the metal cage apart with wire-cutters and REMOVE IT COMPLETELY! Then peal of the burlap COMPLETELY (And carefully, keeping the root ball in tack)! If you leave the cage and burlap on, you will inhibit the roots, and therefore stunt the growth of the entire tree. A tree planted in it's cage can become girdled and die.

Tickle the roots: If you brought your new tree home in a container (which we recommend!), then remove it from the pot and "tickle" the roots, loosening strands at the bottom edges and along the sides. This will encourage them to grow out in all directions immediately.

Feed the roots, not the leaves: Victoria recommends Espoma Biotone Starter, which is organic and stimulates root growth, lowering the chances of the tree experiencing stress.

Trees experience stress? Yes, and it can be caused by a variety of environmental factors. These stresses are “recorded” by the tree, and scientist can see the evidence of a drought or flood or defoliation hundreds of years ago in the rings of trees. Damaging insects will attack a stressed tree before a health one, and stress now can have effects years later.

Avoid stress! Planting smaller is better: Younger trees are more adaptable, and make the transition to a new environment with greater success. They make up for their small size with faster growth rates and better overall health for years after planting.

Amend your soil: Mix organic material in with your soil as you backfill (We like the Moo Doo, Dynamulch or compost to amend the soil. Some people use peat moss, although because it is mined, and not renewable, we recommend a peat replacement product made of coconut fibers. Cover the root ball with backfill and firm in the soil around it. ("Firm" not concrete hard - the tree's roots still need to push through the soil so don't take out any aggression, foot stomping, and the like, on the surrounding soil of your young tree.)

Water, water, water: The first year of any tree's life is the most important when it comes to watering. When you pick up your trees from Victoria Gardens, they are addicted to water. You must wean them off their watering schedule: water everyday for the first four or five days, every other day for then four or five, then every third day, ect. (A Gator can help!) The tree will adjust to it's surrounding with minimal stress, if you make the transition over a period of several weeks. After that, supplemental watering should be done weekly during dry periods.

Help from a ‘Gator': After the initial weaning, if you cannot reach your newly planted tree with the hose or if you plan on going away for more than a week, use a Treegator. Treegator is a drip irrigation system in a bag, which will release water over time, keeping your young tree from experiencing stress.

Keep the weedwacker and lawnmower at bay! The bark of most young trees damages easily, extra care is needed when mowing or using any garden tools around them. Injuries not only weaken dogwoods, but bring an onset of unwanted insects and fungus to the damaged bark.

Choose the right tree! Sun or shade? Moist soil or dry soil? Visit our nursery in Rosendale and we’ll help you choose!

Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) ‘Hearts of Gold’ at Victoria Gardens in Rosendale, NY

The heart shaped leaves of this Redbud variety are a dazzling golden green. In the fall the leaves turn a striking orange/yellow. We love this tree planted at the woodland’s edge, where the striking light foliage stands out against the dark forest behind it.

 

Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) Hearts of Gold at Victoria Gardens in Rosendale, NY

 

Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) Heart of Gold at Victoria Gardens in Rosendale, NY

 

Eastern-Redbud-(Cercis-canadensis) at Victoria Gardens in Rosendale, NY

Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

Eastern Redbud Growing Zones: 4-9
Mature Height: 20-30 ft.
Mature Width: 25-35 ft.
Sunlight: Full or Partial
Soil Conditions: Very Adaptable, Black Walnut tolerant
Drought Tolerance: Medium
Blooms: small pink blooms on bare branches in the spring
Fall color: Golden yellow

A superb, underused plant with unique, early spring bloom. The vivid spring bloom cover the bare branches of mature trees, giving them a dramatic, velvety look.

But the real appeal of this understory tree are the heart shaped leaves. Available in deep purple, deep green and golden green, the eastern redbud adds character, texture and structure to a garden bed.

River Birch (Betula nigra ‘Heritage’)

‘Heritage’ River Birch(Betula nigra ‘Heritage’)

‘Heritage’River Birch ‘Heritage’ Growing Zones: 4-9
Mature Height: 40-50 ft.
Mature Width: 25-30 ft.
Sunlight: Full or Partial
Soil Conditions: Very wet tolerant, clay tolerant
Bark: very ornamental in maturity
Fall color: yellow

As is implied in the name, river birch are well-suited for planting along river banks, and in other spots which can flood for weeks at a time, but they also thrive in normal soil conditions.

One of our best-selling trees!

Why we love it: This native tree is elegant and performs better in our area than its European cousin. Its bark is not quite as showy, but its form is lovely.

We love the ‘Heritage’ variety because of its glossier leaves, but it really shines in a winter garden too, because of its attractive silhouette and exfoliating reddish brown bark. The texture of the bark becomes more dramatic as the specimen matures. The dark outer bark peels, exposing salmon color underneath.

Betula nigra is fast growing, and the multi-branch, clumping river birch is graceful and elegant. We especially like the sophisticated look of the multi-trunk river birch planted in a grove.

 

Unique tree specimens that will thrive in the Hudson Valley

Stewatia pseudocamllia (Japanese Stewartia)

Why we love it: The dramatic exfoliating bark and great fall foliage.

Hardiness Zones: 4 to 7
Height: 20 ft to 40 ft Spread: 20 ft to 40 ft
Form: pyramidal/oval in youth – more rounded in maturity
Type: deciduous tree
Annual Growth Rate: 6 to 12 inches
Flowers: White with yellow center Blooms in July

Prefers full sun, but will tolerate partial shade. Soil should be moist and ideally acidic. Dry soil will limit this trees growth. The real appeal of this tree is its stunning exfoliating bark. When branches reach 2″ or 3″ in diameter, the gray, gold, and brown pealing bark is a real stand-out as a winter interest. Plus the Stewartia has fantastic fall foliage.

 

  

  

Fagus sylvatica ‘Purple Fountain’ – purple weeping beech

  

Oxydendrum arboreum (Sourwood)

Why we love it: This native tree blooms when no other tree is blooming in summer, and with the panicles still on the tree, the fall foliage will knock your socks off.

Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9
Height: 25 ft to 30 ft Spread: 20 ft to 25 ft
Form: pyramidal
Type: deciduous tree
Annual Growth Rate: 8 to 15 inches
Flowers: White Blooms Mid- to Late Summer

Prefers full sun to partial shade. Can grow in acidic, infertile soil.. The primary attraction of this small deciduous tree is the drooping clusters of fragrant, white blossoms are borne on 4″ to 10″ long panicles. Flowers open over a three to four week period, and then the panicles remain on the tree while the leaves turn yellow, orange and red for a spectacular fall show. The persistent fruit remains on the tree through winter.

 

Syringa x ‘Boomerang’ – purple lilac tree (This matching pair is perfect for an entry way.)

 

Sciadopitys verticillata (Japanese Umbrella Pine)

Why we love it: Long glossy needles and slow to grow, this tree is like no other evergreen.
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
Height: 20 ft to 30 ft Spread: 15 ft to 20 ft
Form: pyramidal
Type: evergreen tree
Annual Growth Rate: 6 inches
Flowers: None

Prefers full sun to partial shade. Likes moist, acidic, well-drained soil. Slow growing tree, but worth the wait.
Long glossy needles give this tree a distinct look, different than any other evergreen.

 

 

 

Cutleaf Japanese Maple – 6′ to 10′ tall and wide – Zone 5 -A dwarf, mounded, small tree with a cascading and weeping habit. Also called a Threadleaf maple, the leaves are finely dissected (ribbon-like), and comes in many different varieties – too many to name! Visit the nursery in Rosendale, and fall in love with one! Full sun to part shade.

  

 

Q&A Which annuals are deer candy? And are there any annuals the deer will leave alone?

Q: Dear Victoria,

The deer seem to eat my annual containers like candy! Are there any annuals the deer will leave alone?

Help!

A: There are quite a few options for deer resistant annuals, then there are some varieties that they mostly leave alone, but nibble on occasionally, and there are, as you say, “deer candy.”

Everyone has different anecdotal evidence for one variety being left alone while another is always eaten, but after almost more than decades as a professional landscaper in Ulster county – these are my findings:

Deer candy:

(You can plant these if you are deer free, protected by a fence or if you are willing to spray deer repellant. We carry an all natural, locally-produced deer spray that smells like peppermint. Yeah, we love it!)

  • Sweet potato vine
  • Coleus
  • Oxalis
  • Impatients
  • Fuchsias

 

Annuals that deer mostly leave alone:

  • Zinneas
  • Marigolds
  • Angelonia
  • Snapdragons
  • Cosmos
  • Fragrant petunias
  • Persian shield
  • Geraniums

 

 

Deer resistant:

  • Annual Grasses
  • Mint
  • Salvia
  • Agastache
  • Verbena bonariensis
  • Cleome
  • Lantana
  • Euphorbia “Diamond frost”

 

We have a huge selection of annuals in stock, so come in this weekend and pick out some all-summer color for your containers and gardens.

If you battle the deer, don’t worry we’ve got you covered!

And if you have questions about many of the other varieties we carry, just ask one of the master gardeners who work in the store -they can help you find the right combination for your planter: sun, shade, deer-resitant, drought-tolerant – we have the perfect annuals for you.

Happy planting!

How to make your garden an all season delight

"I'm too late!"

We hear from clients and customers all the time that they feel that if they don't plant in May, then they have missed their window of opportunity and they will just have to wait until next year.

This is crazy talk!

The gardening season continues: June, July, August, September, and sometimes extends to Thanksgiving! That's when the ground is warm enough for plants to put down roots before going dormant for the winter.

That is four or five more months, 120 to 150 more days, 1,440 to 1,750 daylight hours left in the gardening season!

Another thing we hear from customers is that they feel like they have to do it all at once.

This is also crazy.

Because of the nature of plant growers and the nature of the plant nursery business, we tend to have the plants that bloom in June in stock...in June. The plants that bloom in July we have on display...in July.

So if you buy all your plants t once, there is a good chance your garden looks fantastic for that one month, but then quiet the rest of the gardening season.

If your garden is quiet this week, visit Victoria Gardens and choose a couple plants in bloom to brighten up this time in your garden year after year! Visit through out the season and your garden will become an all season delight.

Remember the gardening season is looong.

Visit and be inspired.

Victoria Gardens Nursery is located on the corner of Cottekill Rd and Rt. 213 in Rosendale. (845) 658-9007

Dawn Redwood Metasequoia glyptostroboides ‘Gold Rush’

Dawn Redwood Metasequoia glyptostroboides ‘Gold Rush’

Dawn Redwood Growing Zones: 4-8
Mature Height: 40-50 ft.
Mature Width: 20-30 ft.
Sunlight: Full or Partial
Soil Conditions: Very Adaptable
Drought Tolerance: Good
Fall color: Orange and yellow

The Dawn Redwood tree, Metasequoia glyptostroboides, is a deciduous conifer, with soft needle-like leaves that look like evergreens, but are bright green in the spring and brilliant orange/red in the fall. The needles are then shed in winter.

Dawn Redwood trees are a very interesting–one of the few deciduous conifers in the world.

It is feathery pyramidal in form with a straight, fluted trunk. It grows very fast to 40’ and can grow to 70’. Dawn Redwoods are considered by many to be the Fastest Growing Conifer.

  • Plant away from foundations and plan for it eventually being a very large tree.(Under ideal conditions they have been reported to grow up to 5 feet per year.)
  • Adaptable to almost any soil (except desert sand) can withstand both moderate flooding and drought. Dawn Redwoods can even grow in standing water.
  • Great when planted alone as an ornamental tree or in groupings. A great tree for borders and fence lines. Grows consistently into a pyramidal form and makes an attractive shade tree.
  • Once very hard-to-find, but now we have found reliable growers. At Victoria Gardens, we keep these lovely trees in stock throughout the year and we use them in plantings when ever we get a chance!

 

Dawn-Redwood-Metasequoia-glyptostroboides-‘Gold-Rush’ at Victoria Gardens in Rosendale, NY

 

 

Dawn Redwood Metasequoia glyptostroboides ‘Gold Rush’ at Victoria Gardens in Rosendale, NY