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Rose GardenThere are many ways I like to relax, but one of my favorites is gardening.  There is nothing more calming than being outdoors and nothing more rewarding than being a part of a gardens beauty and growth.  Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of meeting a garden guru named Bob, or “The Plant Whisperer” as I call him.   Bob has visited me and my plants a few times to lend his expertise –his last visit being just a few weeks ago to help with the fall pruning.  Below are some of his tips I thought I would share–basically my cheat sheet to help me throughout the year.  Happy gardening…



Fertilize when the leaves start to fall.  You want to send the nutrients and energy to the roots, not the old leaves.

  • Organic Holly-Tone for Hydrangea and any Evergreens
  • Organic Plant-Tone on Rose Bushes, Trees, Crape Myrtles and Butterfly Bushes

Prune only when leaves start to fall or turn brown.

  • Hydrangea – cut off 20% of drooping and old growth.  No need to cut flowers – they give you’re garden a pretty look in fall and eventually most will blow away with the winter wind.
  • Sea Grass & Blue Salvia –  should be cut down entirely to the ground.
  • Roses –  cut back to 12” to 18”
  • Crape Myrtles – don’t prune unless its branches are horizontal and susceptible to breaking and splitting from the weight of ice and snow.


  • In Spring & Summer fertilize flowers once a month. 
  • Hydrangea – cut off any remaining flowers in early spring.
  • Lilac Tree – prune branches only after it flowers
  • Release Praying Mantis eggs & Lady Bugs in the yard to help control pests and keep eco-systems naturally balanced.

 Gardening Notes:

  • An upright flower with yellow leaves means it needs food.
  • A drooping flower or leaf means it needs water
  • Water less often and deeply.  1” of water twice a week.
  • Always cut back at the point of new growth.
  • Cutting back branches that are lying on the ground or against the house just redirect the energy to the places where you want it to grow.
  • Too much mulch chokes a plant and doesn’t allow oxygen to its roots.  It also allows a place for slugs and mice to hide while they eat the soft bark.
  • Water when the sun comes up to prevent fungus on leaves and grass.