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!

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

Happy, Happy Herb Boxes

 

Growing herbs, especially in easily accessible pots near your grill or kitchen door is one of the true luxuries of summer. Grabbing a fist full of fresh oregano or thyme to throw into a dish in progress will make you happy! But there are some unusual edibles we’d like you to consider this summer:

 

Corsica mint

Corsica mint is one of our favorites, because it is so so fragrant. When you pet the tiny, densely packed foliage, it releases a heavenly, minty fragrance. We recommend you plant a full pot of it near a lounge chair for relaxation and aromatherapy purposes, but it can also be planted in the ground as a steppable ground cover. Use it in iced tea or sprinkle the little leaves over fresh greens.

Another one of our favorites is French Sorrel. You need to harvest the leaves before the plant bolts (throws up its flowers) and you can harvest it multiple times through the season. The baby leaves add a lemony bite to fresh salads or a wonderful herb and aromatic to throw in with fish dishes, but French Sorrel soup is the best use of this leafy green!

French Sorrel

Chocolate mint can be used to infuse milk for homemade ice cream, but chocolate mint mojitos are also a crowd pleaser. Mints have a tendency to take over in the garden, so they are the perfect herb to keep in a container.

Chocolate mint

 

Cold hardy, perennial herbs—like mint, sage and thyme—can overwinter in pots outside, but more tender herbs—like rosemary—need to be brought inside in the fall or planted a new each spring. Pots of herbs perform best in full sun, but no fertilizers are needed. Most herbs thrive in lean soil and like to dry out in between watering. That said, they can perform just fine in a mixed container if you want to throw an herb in with blooming annuals.

Sage

 

Rosemary

 

Lovage

 

Golden Oregano

 

Variegated Oregano

 

Salad Burnet

 

Sweet Marjoram

 

We also love the idea of an all edible mixed pot. Here are a few edible flowering plants to brighten up your grill side herb boxes: violets, pansies, and violas. The small, delicate flowers can be used to decorate desserts or garnish any main dish. Nasturtium is a prolific annual with red, yellow and orange blossoms. The flower and the foliage are both pretty and peppery. They make a spicy addition to salads or fish dishes. The thick, juicy petals of Tuberous Begonia taste like lemon water. They can be tossed into salads or drinks for a colorful, tart crunch. You don’t see these commonly used, maybe because most people feel the flowers are too beautiful to eat!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dramatic Before and After: Poolside in Olivebridge

And just think, this was the “before”:

 

Finished Pool Project in Olivebridge, NY

The finished project was an exciting collaboration between Walter Cudnohufsky Associates (landscape architect) and Victoria Gardens (garden design).

The front yard was an example of reclaiming space by eliminating part of the driveway. Where there was once asphalt, the front walk now leads visitors through a peaceful grove-like garden to the front porch and welcoming entrance.

Before

After

For the multiple levels of gardens, low maintenance, drought-tolerant plants were chosen to create a tapestry of textures and colors to reflect a more modern feel and enhance the stone walls and paths.

Before

After

We can help you with your landscape project… big or small.

Victoria Gardens in Rosendale, NY has been designing and installing gardens in Ulster County for 30 years. We’d love to help you shape the backyard of your dreams.

Call to schedule a design consultation today: (845) 658-9007

Also, we weed!

Beat the heat and have the Victoria Gardens’ crew weed your garden!

When we finish a landscape and garden renovation project like the collaboration above, we will often set up a maintenance–once a month, twice a month–in order to keep the gardens looking picture perfect.

All you have to do is enjoy the view (and the pool!)

Call to schedule your mid-summer weeding session:
(845) 658-9007

Landscaping Before and After Photos in Accord, NY

This cheerful home is set on top of a gentle slope overlooking a picturesque meadow. When you approach the house, you drive up the hill, through the sunny meadow and pull around the back of the house to a shady courtyard.

To make the transition from “driveway” to courtyard and welcoming entrance, Victoria Gardens added a gently trickling water feature. The sound has a soothing effect. It allows the residents and guests alike, to leave the stresses of the outside world parked right next to where they left their cars.

In a corner with the client’s house on one side and a retaining wall on the other, creating a natural looking water feature was essential to a sense of “belonging” in the setting. Victoria’s crew brought in and arranged large stones, burying them in the ground to create a landscape within the landscape.

Inspired by Buddist traditions and aesthetics, Donna artfully builds the Asian-influenced water feature. River stones edge the water feature and the pea gravel walkway. Bright green perennial sedum and deep purple, flowering Ajuga were planted in-between the rocks, and water plants function both as ornamental features and as natural filters.

“Flowing water’s soothing sounds have long been associated with meditation, a well-known relaxation method. Michael Wenger, dean of Buddhist studies at the San Francisco Zen Center, tells us that, “Moving water is ‘white noise,’ in which you can hear many things. Each individual may hear a different song in the water. Just listening to the sound–not tying it to anything, just letting sound wash over you–is a way of letting go of your ideas and directly experiencing things as they are.” This notion is exemplified in Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha, one of the most important works of 20th-century Buddhist fiction. In it, the title character, while meditating upon the sound of a river and its “many-voiced song,” has a life-changing experience, whereupon he ceases to fight against his destiny and thus achieves enlightenment.” – Water’s Wonders by Hollis Kline and Laura Schiff (Psychology Today)

 

Victoria Coyne and her crew at Victoria Gardens have been designing, installing and maintaining gardens in Ulster, Dutchess and Sullivan counties for almost 30 years.

Click here for details about arranging a design consultation or call 845-658-9007.

Or visit our landscaping portfolio to see more of Victoria Gardens’ projects.

 

Landscaping Before and After Photos in Glenford, NY

This dramatic before and after began by redoing the front sidewalk. A wide curved walkway leading to the house makes visitors feel relaxed and welcome.

Using the bluestone from an old, damaged walkway and some imagination, the Victoria Gardens’ crew created a beautiful, functional walkway.

The soft, chartreuse foliage of the Japanese forrest grass, brightens up this shady front garden. And planters with annuals and sweet potato vines add an ornamental flourish to the entry way.

The entire front garden was planted with a selection of evergreen shrubs and small ornamental evergreen trees, Japanese maples, and shade perennials. All of the plants selected are extremely cold hardy to survive the Ulster County winter.

Many foundation plantings can be damaged by snow and icicles at the roof line. To prevent damage, manage drainage away from the house, and as an ornamental detail, Victoria used river stones in the front garden.

To the left of the entrance way, Victoria added a dry stream bed to deal with drainage issues and built up the garden beds, creating a lush planting winding its way down and around to the back yard.

Around the side of the house, an existing stone retaining wall was washed out and not planted. Victoria added soil, created a level grass walkway, and planted both sides of the walkway leading to the back yard.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the before and afters of this garden makeover. Hopefully you’re inspired to make your garden even more enjoyable and more beautiful!

Whether your outdoor space needs a major transformation or a minor adjustment, Victoria Gardens in Rosendale, NY can help.

After almost 30 years designing, installing and maintaining gardens in Ulster, Dutchess and Sullivan counties, Victoria and her crew have seen first-hand what plants thrive in our area.

But more specifically plants that are:

  • road-salt tolerant
  • deer resistant
  • black walnut tolerant

Plants that thrive in:

  • wet areas
  • hot dry spots
  • full sun
  • deep shade

Call Victoria Gardens for:

  • weeding
  • mulching
  • planting
  • garden design
  • an extreme garden make-over!
  • or just some minor tweaking (the next step in your own garden’s evolution)

(845) 658-9007

Victoria Gardens: our own before and after

It is hard to believe, that when Victoria Coyne and her husband, Wayne Waddell saw this turquoise, abandoned, cement block building, that they had a vision of a unique garden center with mighty sugar maples holding up the high, lofty ceiling. Or that the back doors would open onto a shelf of bedrock that would become home to the Victoria Gardens’ nursery.

This is a short chronicle of the dramatic “before” and “after.”