Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Pumpkin Crisp

 Pumpkin Crisp

  • 15 oz Pumpkin puree
  • 2 Eggs

  • 12 oz Evaporated milk

  • 3/4 cup Oats, Old Fashioned

  • 1 cup Brown sugar

  • 1 tsp Cinnamon

  • 1/2 cup Flour

  • 1 tsp Pumpkin pie spice

  • 1/2 tsp Salt

  • 3/4 cup Sugar

  • 1 tsp Vanilla

  • 1/2 cup butter


  • Grease 8x8" casserole. Set aside.
  • Combine eggs, pumpkin, sugar, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Beat until blended.
  • Slowly mix in the evaporated milk.
  • Pour mixture into prepared dish.
  • Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes.
  • Mix together flour, brown sugar, oats, and cinnamon in a bowl.
  • Add in vanilla and cut in butter with a pastry blender or fork.
  • Work until mixture forms large crumbs.
  • Set topping aside.
  • After the pumpkin has baked for 30 minutes, pull from the oven.
  • Sprinkle the prepared topping over the dish.
  • Reduce heat to 350 and bake for additional 20-30 minutes, until the center is slightly jiggly.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

What's New ?

 Knock Out, Petite Roses.

Photo courtesy of 

Petite Knockout is the first-ever miniature Knock Out Rose. It offers the same flower power and easy care of traditional Knock Out Roses. However, these tiny treasures will only reach a mature height of 18" tall. They are perfect for decorative container planting or as a stand-alone in a small space. If you choose a more dramatic look they can be planted in mass along borders and edges. You cannot go wrong with these bright red non-fading blooms that  last all summer into early fall.                                                                          

Pugster Butterfly Bushes

Pugster Blue
 The Pugster line of buddleia or butterfly bushes from Proven Winners offers a small plant with a big impact. You get full-size blooms on a dwarf plant that will only reach 24" at maturity with a spread of about 36".
Pugster Pink
They offer sturdy limbs to support the large dense blooms with the same ability to bring in the butterflies from far and near.

Pugster Periwinkle

Photos courtesy of Proven Winners

And, as always, the Proven Winners' name always means quality and proven success in the test gardens.  Give your butterflies something to look forward to year after year.

Winecraft Black Smoke Bush

Photo courtesy of Proven Winners

This beautiful shrub can be used as a specimen plant in a focal area or as a hedge to satisfy even the pickiest of homeowners. 

Proven Winners have outdone themselves with this one. With a mature size of 4 to 6 ft. and the same spread it is certain not to outgrow the space. Winecraft Black offers plum-colored foliage through the summer then turns almost black before giving way to its brilliant reds and oranges for the fall. The blooms are delicate and feathery and range from purple to pink until frost. Everyone will be asking where you got this beautiful shrub and all you have to say is Proven Winners and Mitchell's Nursery. (shameless plug) The only two names you need for beauty and quality.

So why not visit your local Garden center and see what Proven Winners has to offer for your landscape.

If you happen to live in the local area of King NC, Mitchell's Nursery loves to see new or old faces! (shameless plug #2)

Now is the time to plant!

Happy Digging!

Do You Have a Planting Plan?

How often have you bought a tree or a shrub and just dug a hole and stuck it in the ground? You can drive around any town in this great country and you will find that people have been doing that for a long time.
A beautiful tree hacked and maimed because they have grown into a power line or overhead phone cable. Make no mistake, the utility companies are in no way obligated to trim and prune your trees nice and neat. It is simply their job to get your tree out of their power lines. So be sure to keep that in mind when planning your future plantings. When you get a case of planting fever, be sure to know the mature size of your plants and trees. What grows well under a power line today could be the cause of a power outage in the future. Then your tree will be like thousands of others. You will end up with a tree that resembles a slingshot or something straight out of a Dr. Seuss book. 

   You also may want to do your research before you plant. Check out not only the height and width, but find out if it has a deep or shallow root system. You don't want to plant anything with a deep root system near your water source or your sewerage lines. Always remember, the roots will grow as wide as the canopy. So if your tree has a spread of 30 ft. you can count on the roots spreading equally as far. Trees are the number one cause of power outages and cracked foundations. Tree roots don't care if they ruin your home, but, you will. 

If you live in an area where you have public water and sewer you want to be extremely diligent when planting. Paying for that repair will ensure that your kids never go to college. The same with underground power lines, fiber optic cables, and phone lines. Be sure to call 811 BEFORE you dig because after may be too late.

In short, no one will be responsible for damage caused by your plantings other than you. Not the power company, not the phone company, and not your home builder. Ultimately you are the one who makes the decision. Unless, of course, trees were already in place before you acquired the property. Even if that was the case, you need to make an assessment after you have bought the property and have trees removed if necessary. Mortgages are far too costly to allow an ill-placed tree to ruin your investment. 
Plan smart, and enjoy the comfort of knowing you will not be the reason your entire neighborhood loses power, phones, water, or the internet. That last one may spawn a lynch mob of angry teens and nobody wants that. 

Great plans produce great plants.


Saturday, August 29, 2020

Native Trees and Why We Shouldn't Overlook Them

 Everyone is talking about native plants these days. Most people do not know the difference between native and non-native plants. Some believe that if you see a plant growing in the wild that it is native. That is not necessarily true. There are many plants that have established themselves among our native plants and trees that actually were introduced from foreign countries somewhere in our past.

Native simply means that a certain thing has been a part of a particular area for as long as man has been documenting plant discoveries.

For example, in the North Carolina region, you are likely to see mimosa trees growing along the edge of wooded areas and roadsides. However, North Carolina is not home to these trees. They are actually considered an invasive species because they were introduced here in 1745 from Asia and due to their adaptability they spread very quickly and rob native plants of the light, nutrients, and space to grow efficiently. Ever wonder why you don't see mimosa trees growing within most state parks? That is because of their invasive status.

Invasive plants threaten biodiversity in the U.S.  Native animals and insects feed and grow on native plants. If invasive plants are left to spread, they will eventually choke out a lot of the native plant species and in turn, it will deplete the area of natural food sources and nesting habitats for the native animal life.

Photo: Kudzu, Invasive species originating in Asia.

The growing interest in native plants is bringing hope to many. If you do your research before you do your landscape you can find native alternatives to most things. 

A lot of people will ask for red maple, and then get upset when their red maple has green leaves. Most of the maple trees you see in people's yards are indeed a variety of Japanese maple. Native red maples are only red in the fall after they have changed colors and begin to drop their leaves for winter. While red maples are native to our area, most of the ones that are red all year are not. 

There are several more native trees you may have overlooked in your search for the perfect addition to your landscape such as oak, river birch, and the Slender Silhouette Sweet Gum. Though you may associate native with common, that is a misconception, as they are not so commonly used in a landscape plan. Many are underutilized in a manicured setting, and that is a shame because all natives have a unique personality that is capable of lending a wow factor to any landscape plan. 

If you are looking for an ornamental tree, there are three natives to consider. The redbud tree is a native that most are familiar with. In the spring they offer beautiful blooms and interesting heart-shaped foliage. The foliage of the Carolina Sweetheart Redbud is variegated,  Ruby Falls and Forest Pansy are purple, and Rising Sun is yellow and gold. This provides visual interest all summer.

Dogwood is another native that is growing in popularity among homeowners. Their gorgeous spring blooms, their interesting shapes, fall, and winter red berries, and their growth patterns definitely make this native tree a winner every time. 

We must not forget the southern favorite, the magnolia. With their large, fragrant, white blooms and dark green waxy foliage that is present year-round, you can't go wrong.

Native plants support native wildlife and keep the ecosystem balanced and happy. Which, in turn, keeps native food sources plentiful and thriving. This circle of life that we are all a part of is a delicate balancing act. When invasive species of any kind are introduced it can upset the entire circle. Plant native, plant happiness.

To Do or Not To Do?

 Well, it's that time of year again- your garden is fading and so are the wonderful moods that come with all the summer blooms. Many of us are left wondering what to do now in this space between summer and fall.

Begin with making sure you rid your garden spaces of any unwanted weeds. Even small weeds can turn into big problems if left through the fall, as many of them will seed out before winter and prepare for a healthy new crop of weeds for the spring. 

Do not fertilize trees and shrubs now. At this point, your plants are going to begin the process of going dormant. Fertilizing now serves very little purpose for the plant growth, as the nutrients will not be utilized by a dormant plant and may actually be harmful. It will cause new growth that may be killed by the first cold snap. 

Clean all of your pruning tools and put them away. Cutting your plants back now will encourage new growth. If that new growth takes place before dormancy, you could potentially be setting your plants up for failure for spring as the tender growth may not survive the colder temps. Remember, do not butcher your crape myrtles. Pruning them severely like is seen will eventually kill them. Plant the right size where you want it to grow, so it will not outgrow its space. Also, If you prune spring flowering shrubs, you will be cutting off your spring blooms. That defeats the purpose of them. They will just be another green bush.

Prepare your soil for cold weather crops and begin to plant them. Leafy greens such as cabbage, kale, lettuce, mustard, spinach, and collards do very well in cooler temps, as do, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. 

If you are not planting cold crops, you can begin to clean out your summer veggies that are no longer producing. Turn your soil, add compost and mulch well. This will help to add nitrogen and nutrients to your soil and keep some weeds at bay for your spring planting season. Compost will make it easier for water to penetrate the soil.

Now is the time to think about adding pansies and mums to your garden. Mums are the flower of fall. Even one mum on your front porch or several around your mailbox say welcome. Just be sure to keep them watered as mums are thirsty plants. Pansies are the longest blooming flower, with the most color variety of any other flower. If planted in the fall, pansies or violas will bloom most of the winter and will be beautiful in the spring. I have even seen the blooms peeking through a light snowfall. They will brighten a winter or rainy day. An added bonus is they are edible. I have seen them sugar coated as cake decorations or added for color to a salad. Pansies are deer's favorite food. We spray the blooms with Liquid Fence, which is organic. It works to keep deer out of our pansies. That is why we sell it.

So get out there and jump into fall with all the enthusiasm that you had in the spring. Trust me, you won't regret it.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Judy's Chick Peas and Squash

Judy’s Chickpeas and Squash



3 large squash, sliced

1 onion chopped-may also add 1 green bell pepper diced.

1 tsp turmeric


1 tsp Italian seasoning

1 tbs. teriyaki sauce

Add no water- the squash has enough.

Cover with plastic wrap

Microwave until tender, stirring as needed- about 20 minutes. I stir about every 5 minutes.

Drain 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and add to squash.

Microwave another 5 minutes.

May top with shredded cheese.

Serves 6 or 2 meals.

Savory? Not just a descriptive term.

When you think of the term savory, you probably think of a warm thick stew or some really nice dish that is full of rich warm flavors. Well, I am here to tell ya, it is not just a descriptive term. Savory is actually an herb. It is a very attractive woody, upright plant that is so aromatically pleasing to the senses that you may grow it for that reason only. 
Savory is best used for meats or stews and makes a wonderful addition to any bean dish. Chopped leaves can be sauteed with butter or olive oil to release its flavor prior to adding it to your dishes. Or it can be dried to use as a rub for meat. 
Savory is a key ingredient in what is known as a french blend. This mixture includes Marjoram, Rosemary, Thyme, and Oregano along with Savory make this a perfect blend for your french cuisine and can be used with olive oil for a seasoned oil for bread dipping. 
The ancient Romans believed it had mysterious powers and even made love potions from its leaves. They believed in it so much that the monasteries banned it for fear that their monks would fall victim to its spell.