Build A Summer Oasis (Right In Your Own Backyard)

Summer creates a need to enjoy the outdoors and beautiful weather while we can, but you shouldn’t have to leave home to do so. There are ways you can build your own summer oasis right in your own backyard! We’ve come up with our top 7 ways you can create your own personal oasis:

Incorporate Colors and Patterns

Personalize your deck or patio with water-resistant decor that adds your style.

Lots Of Lounging

Every summer oasis needs a space or few to lounge! It’s a place where you can take a nap, read a book, or just sit outside and meditate.

Keep It Green

Surrounding your oasis with lush greenery makes it feel as if you are no longer in your backyard. It also doubles as privacy!

Incorporate Outdoor Lighting

All summer oases must include outdoor lighting. Not only for safety, but so you can fully use them after the sun goes down.

Stay Shady

Shady spots in the summer are absolutely necessary! The shade can be made in multiple ways including large trees, arbors, pergolas, patio umbrellas, and more.

Add An Outdoor Kitchen

If you love grilling & being outdoors, an outdoor kitchen would be a great add-on to your oasis. Imagine spending all spring, summer, & fall being able to watch your favorite team while grilling.

Ensure Privacy

If your outdoor area has a sense of enclosure, it will make it feel more like an oasis. There are several ways to create the enclosure such as fences, garden walls, pergolas, landscaping, and more.

We hope these tips help you create your own summer oasis right in your backyard. If you need help, we’d love to create the oasis of your dreams. Contact us to see how we can help you transform your backyard.

Sick Of Swatting? These Plants Help Keep Mosquitos At Bay

It’s summer in Georgia, which means hot weather, pool days, and lots of mosquitos. If you don’t want to spend the next few months swatting them away, we have some plants you can add to your yard to keep the mosquitos at bay. Most insect-repelling plants do their job with their natural fragrances, so not only do they keep the mosquitos away, but they bring their wonderful scents to your garden as well.

Try these 10 plants to help keep mosquitos at bay:

Marigold

Marigolds are easy to grow and an annual flower. They can keep away several types of insects and add beautiful color to any garden or home.

Basil

An herb that doubles as a pest repellent! You can plant basil in containers or in the garden – it’s great for repelling pest AND on pizza.

Sage

Not only can sage be planted to ward off bugs, it can also be dried and be used to make homemade bug spray.

Catmint

Catmint, also known as catnip, can thrive just about anywhere. It works as an excellent mosquito repellent and might also help you make so new feline friends.

Rosemary

Another great herb that doubles as a pest repellent is rosemary. While you keep the insects away, you can enjoy the herb’s scent and use it in your kitchen.

Citronella Grass

Citronella grass is the most commonly used natural ingredient in mosquito repellants. It is also a low maintenance plant and can be planted directly in a sunny area in the ground.

Scented Geraniun

Scented geranium a popular repelling plant with a strong fragrance that keeps multiple types of pests out of your garden.

Bee Balm

Bee Balm can attract good bugs (the kinds that pollinate your other plants!) and deter the bad ones. You’ll also get to enjoy their beautiful, colorful flowers all summer long.

Lavender

While many know lavender for their amazing scent, few people realize it can also deter mosquitos. Lavender can endure many climates, though it thrives in a warmer climate in the summer.

Mint

Mint is a great nontoxic option for keeping flies, ants, and mosquitos at bay. The dried leaves can also be used inside your home as a natural pest control method.

If you need help keeping the mosquitos at bay, come see us at Whispering Springs Nursery in Jasper, Georgia. We have a large variety of trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals and specimen plants to keep your yard mosquito free all summer long!

Kid-Friendly Gardening

Spring weather is here which means it is time to get outside! If you’re looking for something family friendly to do at home, we have a great suggestion for you. Start a kid-friendly garden! 

A kid-friendly garden doesn’t mean you need to cram it with every toy known to man or make it more kid-like either. This garden gives them a space to let their imaginations run wild, while also learning how to nurture and care for plants. Sometimes it doesn’t take much, just a touch of creativity for kids to have a great time out in the fresh air!

We have a few tips for you on how to start your own kid-friendly garden:

Give them a special place in the garden for their plants!

Give each child their own space in the garden to take care of their plants. They’ll each have their own responsibility and that will empower them.

Give them a say on what to plant in their portion!

Here comes the fun part! Let them pick what they’d like to plant in their portion. Typically, these will be plants they recognize like tomatoes and pumpkins. Plants with large seeds such as beans and sunflowers are easiest for small hands to sow! Or they can pick a theme and you can pick plants that go along with their theme. Of course, do your research on toxic plants just to be sure.

Get them their own gardening gear!

Now the garden is in process, they need their own gear. This will get them really excited to take care and nurture their plants. Have them pick out a couple things to garden with and they’ll be a full-time gardener in no time!

We hope these tips help you build a kid-friendly garden that will have your entire family enjoying the outdoors! If you need help getting your garden started, come see us at Whispering Springs Nursery in Jasper, Georgia. We have a large variety of trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals and specimen plants.

A Beginner’s Guide To Hardscapes and Softscapes

There are two main elements that make up outdoor living spaces, hardscapes and softscapes. While these two categories are made of of vastly different components, they are both necessary to make a landscape fully functional.

To better explain what they each are, hardscape is the hard stuff in your yard. Think concrete, bricks, rocks, and stone. Softscapes are the soft, growing things. Some examples include flowers, shrubs, succulents, and trees. Another way to think of it is that softscapes are living, hardscapes are not.

Hardscapes

Once you know the difference between the two, the characteristics of hardscapes make more sense. Among them include:

  • Hard, yet moveable parts of the landscape
  • Inanimate objects
  • Solid and unchanging

Other examples of hardscapes include retaining walls, pavers, outdoor kitchen, water features, gazebos, decks, and driveways.

Softscapes

Plants are available in a variety of colors, shapes, sizes, and textures. When selecting softscapes:

  • Consider these your living and growing components of your landscape. This can include flowers, shrubs, trees, ground covers, etc.
  • They are softer to the touch literally. Think about touching the leaves of a tree or flower, they are soft.
  • They change and evolve constantly. They grow and adapt to the climate and their conditions.

In an ideal world, a well-designed landscape incorporates a balance between these two elements. At Whispering Springs, we can assist you with both! For hardscapes, we offer several services including waterfalls, ponds, rock gardens, decks, retaining walls, walkways, and more! For softscapes, we offer perennial beds, seasonal color beds, landscape design including hardscapes and plantings, and deer-resistant plants. Contact us today to see how we can help your outdoor living space!

Prep Your Yard Now For A Greener Spring

The greenest of yards in the spring were truly made in the winter. If you haven’t started already, now is a great time to start prepping your yard for spring time. There’s still plenty of time before spring to prepare your lawn to make sure it looks great all spring long. 

Here are some things you can do now to prepare your yard for spring:

  • Clear out debris and plant matters
  • Cover all of your shrubs and plants with a frost covering, and be sure to remove the frost covering once chance for frosting has passed
  • Apply a generous layer of compost over any garden soil to increase fertility levels and improve water retention
  • Cover the ground with an inch or two of mulch to protect any plants from freezing
  • Right now and early spring is a perfect time to get any weeds under control before they take over
  • Plant any winter-hardy vegetables so they’re ready to harvest in the spring
  • Get your soil tested to be sure you know how to improve the soil structure as much as possible
  • Prune all your shrubs and trees
  • Clean your gutters of any fallen leaves
  • Add some new plants so they’re ready for spring
  • Aerate your lawn closer to the end of winter after chance of frost is completely gone, this will help increase airflow and improve drainage
  • Be sure your irrigation system is in top shape

This list may seem a tad overwhelming, but we’re here to help. If you need assistance getting your yard in tip top shape for spring, we offer yard maintenance at Whispering Springs. Give us a call today at 770-893-1254 for more information on our yard maintenance services!

8 Steps for Georgia Lawn Maintenance in the Winter

Lawn maintenance through the seasons and different weather is tough to manage. Lawn care is especially tricky during the unpredictable Georgia winters! We’ve gathered 8 steps you need to take to ensure your lawn is ready for the winter.

Here are 8 steps for Georgia lawn care and maintenance in the winter:

  • Fertilize Your Lawn – Be sure to apply fertilizer with a spreader. You’ll want to be sure you’re following the instructions on the fertilizer package and applying only the recommended amount as too much can burn your grass.
  • Aerate Your Lawn – Aerating your lawn provides some extra air to the grassroots. To do this, use a spade to take out spikes of soil across your lawn to make holes for planting seeds.
  • Spread Cool Weather Grass Seeds – You’ll want to purchase grass seeds that specifically say “cool season” or “cool weather.” Most fescues can be considered cool weather seeds. You can spread the seed over your lawn with the same spreader you used for the fertilizer. Be sure to spread the seeds evenly so you won’t be left with clumps of grass once it grows.
  • Rake and Water Your Lawn – Rake over the lawn to break up any soil clumps and cover the seeds, and then water the lawn. Be sure to always keep the soil moist and not to let it dry out.
  • Clean up Your Lawn – It’s very imperative to not leave debris, leaves, or toys out on your lawn. They can smother the grass, create disease conditions, and invite damaging pests.

  • Lower the Height of Your Mower – Be sure to lower the height of your mower by a notch or two. You’ll want to be sure that your grass isn’t too long but also not too short, as either extreme can cause damage.
  • Be Aware of Traffic – Dormant grass will tolerate a moderate amount of traffic, but a heavily worn path will be slower to turn green in the spring.
  • Monitor Weather Conditions – Certain conditions can be very harmful to your lawn in the long term. If you know a winter storm or deep freeze is approaching, it may be worth the effort to chip away at the exposed ice in a low spot.

If you need help making sure your lawn is up to par all winter long, give us a call at Whispering Springs today!

Oh Christmas Tree: Which One Is Right For You?

Is there anything that gets you more into the holiday spirit than the sight of a beautiful Christmas tree, covered in twinkling lights and sparkling ornaments, surrounded by piles of gifts just waiting to be unwrapped? The centerpiece of your Christmas festivities shouldn’t be an afterthought – and there are so many great options to choose from! We’ve gathered up our favorite types of Christmas trees to help you decide which one should be the star of your holiday season. 

Types of Christmas Trees

Did you know that more than 35 types of evergreen trees are grown in the United States for Christmas decor? The availability of each type varies depending on where you live, and each one has its own unique features. These are a few of our favorites:

  • Douglas Fir –  Compact branches give the Douglas fir a full, lush look that makes it an instant classic. It is long lasting (which means less cleanup of those pesky pine needles) and is widely available in most regions of the U.S.
  • Noble Fir – Another Christmas classic! The Noble fir has less prickly needles than some of its evergreen cousins, while still being sturdy enough to support you precious ornaments.
  • Scotch Pine – If you’re looking for a low-maintenance tree that won’t drop all it’s needles if you forget to water it once or twice, a Scotch pine is perfect for you! This is the perfect tree for the busy family who doesn’t want to spend their holiday season circling their tree with a vacuum.
  • Fraser Fir – For dramatic decorators that believe that more is more, the Fraser fir’s strong and sturdy branches are the perfect fit! Deck the halls to your heart’s desire – this hearty tree can handle all the lights and baubles you throw at it.
  • Grand Fir – If your favorite part of Christmas is the fresh, piney smell of an evergreen tree, choose a Grand fir to bring home! It’s an elegant option that will give your space an immediate touch of holiday cheer.


No matter which tree you choose, don’t forget to keep safety in mind when it comes to displaying, decorating, and discarding your tree. Happy Holidays from the Whispering Springs family!

Natural Beauty: The Key Elements of Landscape Design

flowers and stonework

The joy—and the challenge— of landscape design lies in the individuality of the site. No piece of land is exactly identical to any other, even in the same neighborhood. Every landscape has its own relationship to the local ecosystem, with specific soil, drainage, sunlight, wind, wildlife, and other factors affecting the finished product. At Whispering Springs, we’re passionate about this type of landscape design, which is why we specialize in native woodland landscaping and deer-resistant landscaping in North Georgia.    

Of course, while every setting is unique, there are some elements of good landscape design that are universal. Be sure to consider these elements when planning any renovations to your lawn or garden… Or just give us a call at 770-893-1254 to learn how we can help!

The Challenges of Landscape Design

First and foremost, remember that landscape design has to work on multiple levels.

  • From a distance—approaching your home from the driveway, for instance, or looking at the view outside your window.
  • Moving through it—how you move from patio to garden, from garden to lawn, etc? Are the pathways made of gravel? Stone? Cement? Are they straight or winding? What does the landscaping look like from different vantage points throughout your property?
  • Up close—once you enter the landscape, what catches your eye? What details hold your attention? 

The best landscape design is interesting and attractive all year long thanks to careful plant selections and design choices. From luscious blossoms in the spring to sculptural stems and seed pods in the winter, landscape design requires an in-depth knowledge of horticulture as well as design. 

Key Elements of Excellent Landscape Design

Line

The lines of your landscaping have an enormous impact on the overall effect. This can include the shapes of planting beds, walkways, water features—anything that draws your eye through the space of your yard. 

Straight lines, geometric forms, and symmetry all contribute to a more formal landscape. Alternatively, curving edges, winding paths, and organically-shaped planting beds create a casual effect. 

Color

There is much more to using color in landscape design than just choosing a few bright flowers. Color affects the mood of your landscaping, helping to set the ambiance and direct the eye where you want it to go. A monochromatic palette of various shades of purple can create a calming atmosphere, while a highly contrasting color pairing like orange and yellow is more forceful and attention-grabbing. 

Remember that flowers are not the only colors you should be concerned with. After all, flowers bloom, die and fall off eventually. What does the foliage of your plantings look like in the lush, muggy summertime? Will the leaves stay green, or turn to gold, red, or orange? If you need some inspiration, check out these landscape color scheme ideas.

Texture

Again, think about texture in your landscape design from a distance—the contrasts between a short lawn, ruffled treetops, flowering shrubs, ornamental grasses—and up close—the bark of a tree, the leaves of a hedge, the slate of a stepping stone path. 

Focal Point

Of course, no landscape design is complete without at least one focal point. A focal point is an area that draws your eye and holds your attention. This could be an ornamental tree, a piece of art, a water feature, or a garden structure like a pergola. The focal point can also change depending on the season or time of day. Landscape lighting is a powerful way to direct the eye and highlight specific features of your garden. 

If you’re feeling inspired to give your landscaping a new look, we’re here to help! Contact us to learn more about our landscape design, installation, and hardscape services, or place an order from our nursery for curbside pickup.

16 Naturally Bug-Repellent Plants For Your North Georgia Garden

Lavender plants in a fieldNothing can ruin a beautiful evening on your porch or patio more than being swarmed by mosquitoes, gnats, or flies. These pesky insects can make it hard to enjoy your outdoor living spaces, but the solution may be easier than you think. No, you don’t need to drench your yard in pesticides or abandon outdoor relaxation altogether; you just need to add some naturally bug repellent plants to your North Georgia landscaping!

Bug Repellent Plants for North Georgia Gardens

Why bug repellent plants are so important for North Georgia landscaping

Mosquitoes are arguably the worst pest insect to invade your yard due to their itchy, irritating bites. While mosquito bites are usually more annoying than dangerous, they can transmit serious diseases like West Nile virus, Zika virus, dengue fever, yellow fever, and malaria. Flies can also transmit a host of diseases from run-of-the-mill salmonella and conjunctivitis to serious illnesses straight out of a Victorian novel like cholera and tuberculosis. Most gnats don’t carry diseases that put humans at risk, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating when your relaxing outdoor dinner is overrun by a cloud of the little pests. 

Plants to keep mosquitoes, gnats, and flies away

Fortunately, mosquitoes, flies, and gnats have one thing in common: They’re very sensitive to smells and hate the scents of many commonly grown herbs, flowers, and landscaping plants! Some of the best bug-repelling plants to add to your landscaping include: 

  • Herbs like basil, rosemary, thyme, mint, catnip, lavender, and lemon verbena. In addition to keeping bugs away, you can also enjoy adding fresh herbs to your cooking, baking, and cocktails for a fraction of the price of store-bought herbs. Even your cat will thank you if you plant some catnip, but don’t be surprised if you spot other neighborhood cats rolling around in it!
  • Flowers like geraniums, marigolds, chrysanthemums, bergamot, feverfew, floss flower, and pitcher plant. Make sure to choose fragrant varieties for maximum impact. Adding these plants will not only keep bugs away, but will also add lovely smells and vibrant colors to your landscaping. 
  • Grasses like lemongrass and citronella grass. Growing up to 6 feet tall and equally wide, citronella grass makes a striking addition to your landscaping, adding texture and height. If you’ve ever purchased citronella candles or torch oil to help keep bugs away from your porch, you’ll recognize the distinctive smell of the essential oil. Lemongrass doesn’t grow quite as large, but still makes a wonderful addition to your bug-repelling landscaping with a light, citrus-y smell. 

If you’re hoping to add some bug repellent plants to your North Georgia landscaping this summer, give us a call at 770-893-1254. At Whispering Springs, we are not only a plant nursery carrying a wide selection trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals, but also offer landscape design services specializing in native plants, woodland landscaping, and deer-resistant plants. 

How to Save Water While Gardening: Tips for North Georgia Gardeners

Watering can sprinkling plantsWe’ve already had some sweltering days this summer, and it’s not even the hottest month of the year! (That would be July, if you’re wondering.) It’s one of the most challenging times to keep your landscaping lush and healthy, but we’ve got some water saving tips that can help. Keep reading to learn how to save water while irrigating your North Georgia garden or lawn. We can even help you choose the best drought-resistant native plants to accentuate your woodland landscaping

Water Saving Tips for Summer in Georgia

The Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District has some great, detailed resources to help you water your landscaping more efficiently, but these are some of the most important tips to remember:

Know when to water.

  • Water early in the morning (before sunrise) or late at night (after sunset) to avoid wasting water through evaporation. Every drop counts, and watering during the cooler hours will not only save water, but also helps prevent lawns from falling victim to fungus or blight. 
  • When rain is expected, turn your irrigation or sprinkler system off! Automated sprinkler systems are the biggest culprits for wasting water. 
  • Only water when you need to—at the first signs of “moisture stress.” According to the NGWPD, the signs include wilting, dullness or discoloration. Another good way to tell if your lawn is thirsty is with the foot-print test. If you walk across your grass and the footprints are still visible after several minutes, your lawn needs water. If the grass springs back into position after a few minutes, you can wait a bit longer. 

Know how and how much to water.

  • The turfgrass varieties most commonly grown in North Georgia (Bahia, Bermuda, Bluegrass, Fescue, Zoysia) are fine with just one inch of water per week
  • One of the particularities of keeping a healthy lawn here in Georgia is that we have a lot of clay in our soil. That famous Georgia clay makes the soil less absorbent, which means that it doesn’t soak water up as quickly as other soils. In order to let the water from your irrigation system absorb and not just run off into the gutter or storm drain, you’ll need to make sure that you’re not delivering more than ½ inch of water per hour.
  • Not sure how quickly your sprinklers deliver a ½ inch of water? Place an empty tuna can or other similarly sized container in each section of your yard, and let your sprinklers run for 30 minutes. Measure the depth of the water with a ruler and use that to determine your watering rate, or how long you’d have to let your sprinklers run to water 1 inch. 
  • Adjust your automated system accordingly, or set timers on your phone to help you stay on track. You’ll not only be conserving water, you’ll also be saving on your water bill. 
  • For flowers and other plantings, water at soil level. This wastes less water through evaporation, gets more water to the roots quicker, and can even protect your plants from developing fungus on the leaves.

Happy watering, and remember to call our North Georgia plant nursery to learn which plants are right for your yard.