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It’s Time Now to Prepare the Garden for Winter and Spring Blossoms Three new plants introduced by Heronswood Nursery for 2011

Soil preparation is the most important step in growing a successful garden, and fall is the perfect time to prepare a new garden spot.

An easy way to convert lawn space to a garden or flower bed is to take advantage of the nitrogen and organic matter in the grass by simply smothering it. Mow the grass short, then spread several thicknesses of newspaper over the grass and moisten it with a hose. Spread several inches of compost or composted manure on top of the newspapers. Over the winter the grass will decompose underneath, and by spring you’ll have a nice planting bed.

… fall is the perfect time to prepare
a new garden spot.

Heronswood Nursery is offering three new bedding plants for 2011 that can withstand the Houston heat. These plants also do well in the shade if you have a shady spot where the grass won’t grow, and they make nice container plants as well.

Helleborus x hybridus “Warbler” will begin blooming in the winter when grown in containers. When planted in the ground, make sure you plant it in a shady, well-draining area. Hellebore is a compact, low-growing perennial ground cover that generally blooms from January through April. It hybridizes freely and self-seeds gently. Large, leathery-looking evergreen foliage persists throughout the year, but should be cut back in the spring when new foliage appears.

Fuchsia microphylla “Steel ‘N Stars” is another compact plant perfect for container plantings in partial shade. A bush rather than a ground cover, this fuchsia can also be planted in clusters in the garden. It has fine, silvery blue leaves and tiny fuchsia-colored, star-like flowers. It grows to approximately 4 feet tall and blooms all summer long. “Steel ‘N Stars” has been a work in progress for many years, but Heronswood now has enough of the plants to be able to put it on the market as a new product for 2011.

The third plant with a 2011 debut is Weigela florida Jitsuko’s Gold, a vigorous shrub that appears bright yellow-green in spring, displaying arched branches laden with rose-red flowers that age soft pink. Most Weigela are native to the open woodlands of eastern Asia. This particular species was found in the mountains of central Japan. A carefree shrub rarely bothered by pests or disease, the Weigela has tubular to trumpet-shaped flowers and grows to 8 feet by 8 feet in the garden. Also a shade-loving plant, Jitsuko’s Gold blooms from early spring to late fall. It’s growth can be contained by planting it in containers. For more information: www.heronswood.com.

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