How to Mulch Like a Pro: Mulching Tips and Tricks from Your Jasper Landscaping Pros

White coneflowers with brown mulch

Mulch is a great addition to any landscape, but only when used correctly. Without proper application, it can even do more harm than good! Fortunately you’re in the right place for any and all North Georgia landscaping questions. Here at Whispering Springs Nursery, we don’t just sell plants; we also offer landscape design, yard maintenance, hardscaping, and softscaping, with special expertise in deer-resistant plants and native woodland landscaping. If you’re interested in learning how to mulch like the pros, keep reading for our best mulching tips and tricks

How to Mulch Like a Landscaping Pro

Prep the area.

Before you bring any mulch onto the scene, make sure you’re starting with a properly prepared blank canvas, so to speak. Remove sticks, leaves, pinecones, weeds, etc. from the area where you’ll be applying the mulch. If you’re mulching around trees or shrubs, be sure to prune them first so you don’t have to clean debris out of the mulch later. 

Select a place for your delivery of mulch to be deposited, keeping in mind that you don’t want to damage grass or existing plantings. (Avoid choosing a location that is wet or muddy. Not only can this damage the mulch, but you can also get stuck attempting to drive a truck on unpaved land.)

Finally, you should prepare for mulch by edging along flower beds and paved areas like your driveway and sidewalk. Create a trench about 4 inches wide and 2 inches deep to create a crisp line between the grass and the bed. For paved areas, dig a slightly deeper trench so you have plenty of room to insert the mulch and have it be flush with the paved surface, rather than overflowing onto it. If you have a lot of area to prepare, consider renting a tiller or bed edger. 

Apply the mulch. 

Take it from experienced landscapers, these tips will make applying mulch much easier. 

  • Use a pitchfork to move mulch.
  • Load your mulch into a large wheelbarrow so you don’t have to make as many trips.
  • Place small piles of mulch around the area you’re working on to help you apply an even coat.
  • Spread the mulch out with a rake. You’ll need at least 2 inches of depth but no more than 4 inches in order to provide the maximum benefit. 
  • Never mound mulch up around the trunk of a tree or shrub. This can invite pests and make the tree vulnerable to diseases. 
  • Finish up by using a leaf blower to blow excess mulch back into the bed. 

Benefits of mulch

Congrats! Once you’re done installing mulch, you can rest assured that your landscaping is one step closer to perfection. The benefits of mulch include: 

  • Moisture retention
  • Erosion prevention
  • Soil remediation (as mulch breaks down it affects the soil ph)
  • Pest control (cedar or cypress can help keep fleas, gnats, and other insects away from your home.) 

5 Ways to Give Your Garden a Spring Refresh

Spring has arrived in all its glory here in North Georgia, and it’s truly one of the most beautiful times to enjoy your own backyard. If you’re looking for ways to give your garden a spring refresh, check out these gardening ideas from Whispering Springs Nursery in Jasper, Georgia. 

Spring Gardening Ideas for North Georgia

Plant perennials.

Perennials are plants that go dormant during the winter, but come back to life each year (as opposed to annuals, which die out during the winter and have to be re-planted the following year.) There are many beautiful perennials that can be successfully grown in Georgia, like begonias, hostas, bachelor’s buttons, chrysanthemums, delphiniums (aka larkspur), daylilies, irises, black eyed susans, and many others. Check out the University of Georgia Extension’s guide to flowering perennials to explore the possibilities, or visit our nursery to see what catches your eye. 

Build a haven for wildlife. 

One of the greatest joys of a beautiful garden is getting to watch the birds, bees, and other wildlife that visit. Consider planting a pollinator-friendly garden or adding bird-friendly features like feeders and baths. 

Grow your own food.

There’s never been a better time to grow your own food, and you might be surprised at how easy it can be to start your own little “farm.” These days, even a patio or balcony garden can produce a steady stream of veggies thanks to compact dwarf varieties of tomatoes, green beans, carrots, and more. 

Another great way to supplement your diet with homegrown foods is to plant an herb garden. Thyme, basil, mint, oregano, sage, and parsley are some of the easiest herbs to grow and pack a punch of flavor that will take your dishes to the next level. 

Create areas for relaxation.

It’s not enough to just look at your landscaping through the window; to get the full benefit of your outdoor spaces you need to go outside and enjoy them! Whether you build a luxurious outdoor dining room or just place a lawn chair under a shady tree, it’s worth it to create a space for relaxation so you can soak up the sights, sounds, and smells of nature. 

Plant a tree.

Someone once said, “The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” Planting trees not only adds beauty to your landscaping, but also leaves a legacy for others to enjoy long after you’re gone. Trees add color and visual interest to your landscaping, but they can also provide privacy, shade, wildlife habitat, and help clean the air! No matter how big or small your outdoor spaces may be, we’re here to help with softscaping and landscape design in Jasper.

Woodland Garden Inspiration for Your North Georgia Home

North Georgia woodland landscaping

Living in North Georgia, we’re lucky enough to enjoy the stunning natural beauty of the woods and mountains every day. When it comes to landscaping your North Georgia home, you can embrace that same beauty with woodland gardening. Read on to learn what woodland gardening is, as well as some woodland gardening ideas from the North Georgia landscaping experts here at Whispering Springs Nursery. 

What is woodland gardening? 

Woodland gardening is all about creating outdoor spaces that blend into the surrounding natural habitat. Rather than stark divisions between woods and lawns, geometric shapes and straight lines, and identical, carefully shaped plantings, woodland gardening offers a more organic, natural look. 

This approach to gardening is not only aesthetic, but also functional. When choosing plants for a woodland garden, opt for native shade plants that will thrive in the shadow of the surrounding trees. There are also many native plants that are resistant to those pesky deer, and a good woodland garden design will take that into account.

Ideas for woodland gardens

  • Embrace the seasons. Clever landscaping will ensure that your yard looks beautiful throughout the entire year, not just in springtime. Planting a mix of evergreens, flowering shrubs, bulbs, and other plants with year-round interest will give your garden a dynamic, yet always beautiful, look. 
  • Work with what you have. Rather than fighting the existing environment, go with the flow for a natural look that also requires less maintenance. Woodland landscaping often takes into account the falling of leaves, either allowing them to remain as they fall, or for a neater look, the ability to collect and shred the leaves before re-applying as mulch. 
  • Less is more. Part of the beauty of woodland gardening is its simplicity, accentuating what is already there, rather than fighting against it. Just a few thoughtfully-chosen plantings or a stone-lined dry creek bed can polish the look of your yard. 

At Whispering Springs Nursery in Jasper, Georgia, we specialize in landscaping to fit your home and the North Georgia environment, including woodland garden design, deer-resistant plant selection, and shade plant selection. Visit our nursery or contact us online to learn more about our residential landscaping services! 

A Cut Above: 3 Tips to Set Your Business Apart with Landscape Design

Assisted living sign with landscaping

When it comes to running your business, even the smallest details matter, adding to the overall impression of your brand. Your commercial landscaping is not a small detail, so give it the serious attention it deserves! These are a few of our top tips from your north Georgia landscape design experts at Whispering Springs Nursery.

What’s in a name? 

Well, when it comes to your business, everything! That’s why the highest priority for your commercial landscaping should be to make the areas around your signs look good. A sloppy, unkempt appearance isn’t going to attract many customers, so landscape maintenance is key. 

However, you should also consider the scale and style of your sign. A big sign will need larger plantings to make it look like it belongs, instead of totally dominating a tiny flower bed or shrimpy bushes. The style of the landscaping should tie in with the style of the sign, whether that is traditional, modern, rustic, etc. While it may seem obvious, it’s also important to make sure your sign is visible! Any landscaping should accentuate the sign, not obscure it. 

Georgia on my mind

When selecting commercial landscaping plants, it’s smart to opt for low-maintenance varieties, which often include drought-tolerant native Georgia plants. Plants that are native to your area are going to require far less maintenance, fertilization, water, and pest control in order to thrive and look beautiful, which means you can save time and money to put back into other areas of your business. If you’re interested in native plant landscaping in north Georgia, our Jasper nursery is here to help!

Keep them coming back

Commercial landscaping can be a huge draw to your business, not only catching the eye of potential customers but also ensuring that when people do visit your business, they have a positive experience and can’t wait to visit again. Creating engaging, beautiful spaces with landscaping and hardscaping will set your business apart from the rest and help you make the best impression possible. 

Check out our commercial landscape design work to see some of our past projects, and give us a call today to schedule a consultation for your business! 

Beat the Heat with Hardy Indoor Plants for Summer

Pothos plant on bookshelf

The summer heat in north Georgia is no joke, and it can be as tough on plants as it is on us humans! If you’re looking to scratch a gardening itch without spending time outdoors in the sweltering sun and stifling humidity, check out these hardy houseplants to grow indoors this summer. 

Pothos 

This tropical vine is one of the most popular houseplants for a reason. Pothos can handle low to bright light, although medium to bright light will allow them to develop more attractive variegation on the leaves. They are quite forgiving when it comes to watering, and best of all, they are superstars when it comes to air purification! According to some research, pothos can remove common indoor pollutants released by furniture, carpeting, building materials, and cleaning products

Aloe vera

As a succulent, aloe vera requires minimal watering, which means it will be just fine when you come back from your summer vacation. Aloe thrives in container gardens and makes a great addition to a sunny windowsill in your kitchen. If you ever burn yourself on a hot pan or the oven door, snap off an aloe leaf – the inner flesh of the plant produces a gel-like substance that soothes minor burns, aids in healing, and inhibits bacterial growth

Monstera

Monstera deliciosa (also known as Swiss Cheese Plant) is having quite a moment on Instagram these days, but it will remain a classic house plant due to its elegant form and tropical vibes. During the summer, monsteras can sprout up to a dozen new leaves, which can be left to trail horizontally or trained on a trellis for more vertical growth. 

What are your favorite houseplants to grow? Whatever you’re looking for, visit us at Whispering Springs Nursery in Jasper to shop our large selection of indoor and outdoor plants. We can also help you update your outdoor areas with landscape design and maintenance, hardscaping, and even deer-resistant softscaping, so contact us today to learn more. 

3 Ways to Protect Plants from Heat Stress This Summer

Boy jumping into pool surrounded by plants

High temperatures aren’t just an annoyance for us humans in these hot Georgia summers; the heat can also take a toll on trees, shrubs, and other plants. While you can’t change the weather, there are ways to protect plants from heat stress. At Whispering Springs Nursery, we love helping our clients grow their green thumbs, so check out some tips to help you keep plants alive during the hottest parts of the summer

Know the best way to water plants.

  • Give trees and shrubs (especially those under 3 years) a good watering once a week during hot, dry spells. If they are mulched, place hose under mulch to ensure water is reaching the roots. 
  • Avoid overhead watering – using a hose, sprinkler or watering can to water the plant from above. It’s more effective to water the soil directly, minimizing water loss to evaporation and ensuring the water is reaching the roots where it’s needed. This can also protect your plants from foliage diseases like blight and mildew. 
  • Herbaceous perennials should be watered when the soil has mostly dried by placing the hose in the soil about an inch. 
  • Water first thing in the morning to reduce evaporation loss and give your plants the water they need to make it through the hottest part of the day. 

Mulch generously. 

  • There are many reasons to mulch your landscaping; it reduces the need for maintenance chores like weeding, encourages strong growth, and most importantly, protects plants from heat damage
  • Mulch protects plants from the ravages of harsh, direct sunlight. 
  • Mulch helps retain water and reduce evaporation by trapping the moisture under the mulch, near the roots. 
  • Don’t over-mulch – keep wood mulch at least 6 inches away from the main trunk/stem of trees, shrubs, or herbaceous perennials, and maintain a mulch depth of 2-3 inches. 

Don’t stress your plants. 

  • Heat and drought are more than enough stress for your landscaping plants to take. Don’t further stress them by fertilizing, pruning, or transplanting them.
  • Avoid spraying weed killer when temperatures are above 85 degrees; the poison can drift and damage your landscape plants. 

Whether you’re looking for landscape plants that can survive hot Georgia summers, yard maintenance to keep your lawn looking its best, or native woodland landscape design for your North Georgia home, we’re here to help! Feel free to contact us or stop by to visit our Jasper plant nursery.

Our Favorite Summer Plants to Grow in Georgia

Close-up shot of person harvesting tomatoes

Summer in Georgia is famously hot and humid, but all that sunshine and humidity also gives us a super lush summer season. Apply your sunscreen, grab your hat and sunglasses, and find out what to plant in your summer garden!

  • Tomatoes – Is there anything more luscious than a home-grown tomato fresh off the vine? Once you grow your own, you’ll never want to go back to the flavorless tomatoes found at most grocery stores. The best part of growing tomatoes is that there are so many options! From heirloom tomato varieties to patio-friendly plants that even apartment dwellers can cultivate, we can help you find the right plants for your garden.
  • Beans – Pole beans, lima beans, snap beans – why choose just one? Beans are a great addition to your summer garden.
  • Pumpkins – Get ready for fall, Halloween, and Thanksgiving by planting pumpkins now! By the time autumn arrives, you could have your very own Great Pumpkin – or several!
  • Other good additions to your summer garden include okra, cucumbers, squash, and corn.

To keep your crops going strong through the hot summer months, try to water deeply, but less often. This will help to alleviate drought stress and save wasted water from ineffective irrigation. Mulching your garden will also help conserve moisture when you do water.

Summer is also the time to start planning your fall garden! Give us a call if you’re interested in our landscape design services, or visit our Jasper plant nursery to pick out your new garden additions!

How to Rock Your Yard All Summer

View from above of people grilling skewers

Summer is the season of outdoor fun on the lawn, porch, or patio. From catching fireflies and playing in the sprinklers to grilling with neighbors and sipping iced tea on the porch swing, keeping your landscaping maintained will ensure you get the most out of each and every one of your home’s outdoor spaces this summer. At Whispering Springs Nursery, we love helping our clients and customers create their ideal environment with landscaping, a lush plant nursery, and yard maintenance.

Of course, keeping your front, side, and back yards in good shape can be a big job, especially if you let it go for too long. Sticking to a checklist of summer yard maintenance can help keep your lawn looking great and make the work less daunting than waiting until your yard looks like a jungle. With our summer thunderstorms, the “jungle” can develop more quickly than you might think!

Summer Yard Checklist

  • Mowing and edging the lawn – Mowing the lawn isn’t just an aesthetic chore, it can actually help your grass grow healthier and more lush.
  • Pruning shrubs and small trees – Learn how to prune like a pro, or leave it to us – it’s important to prune trees and shrubs the right way for proper growth.
  • Planting bed maintenance – This includes weed control, mulching, properly-timed fertilization, leaf removal, and seasonal maintenance like dead-heading perennials.
  • Cleaning and maintaining water features – Ponds, fountains, and other water features are a beautiful addition to the landscape, but require regular care to keep them functioning properly and avoid hazards like mosquito nesting.

If you need some help keeping your yard maintained, or just want to take lawn care off your plate so you can enjoy more time for what you love, get in touch! We provide lawn maintenance in Jasper, GA and surrounding areas, and would be happy to schedule an appointment with you.

How To Prune Your Shrubs Like a Pro

Home with well trimmed shrubsShrubbery plays an important role in landscape design. When landscape is properly designed, shrubs can add form to an outdoor space (such as when they function as walls or dividers), or they can be purely ornamental, adding texture and color to the landscaping. Keeping your shrubs pruned properly will help them mature into the superstars of your lawn or garden, so here are some of our top shrub pruning tips to help you trim your shrubs like a pro:

  • Buy the Right Tools – Cheap tools will do a poor job. Regardless of whether you’re using a saw, shears, or pruners, you need to get quality tools.
  • Prune at the Right Time – Pruning at the wrong time of year may cause your ornamental shrubs to flower less. In general, plants that flower before May should be pruned after they have already bloomed, while summer-flowering plants should be pruned before their spring growth begins.
  • Cut to a Bud, Trunk, or Branch – Don’t just make your cuts wherever. If you fail to cut a branch back to either the plant’s trunk, to a bud, or to a lateral branch, you will leave an unsightly stub behind.

Of course, another way you can ensure that your shrubbery, trees, and lawn get expert care and attention is to call the professionals at Whispering Springs! Our North Georgia lawn care services include pruning both shrubs and small trees, along with many other services. Contact us at 770-893-1254 for more information about our lawn care services or landscape design services.

The Best Plants for Container Gardens

An indoor container garden arranged around a windowDress up your porch or patio, add a splash of color to your pool deck, or bring the outdoors into your screened porch with container gardening. The possibilities are endless, whether you want to grow vegetables and herbs, flowers for cutting, or ornamental plants.

These are some of the best plants for container gardening:

  • Coral Bells – This beautiful perennial has leaves that range from burgundy to peach and does very well growing in a container.
  • Tomatoes – This is a great option if you’re trying to grow something to harvest. Tomatoes require a little larger container than some of the other plants on the list, but there are lots of tomato varieties that do well in containers.
  • Nemesia – This plant produces wonderful small, densely spaced flowers that bloom in whites, purples, yellows, and pinks.
  • Basil – Basil requires a relatively small amount of space so long as it is properly pruned. Make sure to harvest it regularly to keep it from getting too woody and tree-like.
  • Mint – There are tons of mint varieties and they nearly all do well in containers. In fact, mint is so fast growing that it is often considered an invasive species. It’s for that reason that mint should generally only be planted in a container or otherwise secure area.

If you want to beautify your porch, deck, or indoor space with a container garden, our Jasper Georgia nursery is here to help you choose the perfect plants for your home’s growing conditions. And if you’d rather have that plants in your lawn or garden, then we’d also love to help you with all your North Georgia landscape designs needs! Contact us at 770-893-1254 for more information about our landscaping design or nursery services.