Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Poinsettia care and re-bloom

Poinsettia Care and Re-bloom

If your poinsettia is wrapped you will want to make holes in the bottom of the wrap to allow proper drainage. Or, after watering, wait 30 minutes and pour the excess water out carefully.
Water your poinsettia thoroughly then allow drying a bit before watering again. Poinsettias love light and dislike breezy locations. Water every 5-7 days. I like to feel the weight of the pot to determine if it needs water.


Enjoy your new poinsettia for the holidays.

Be careful not to over-water and give it plenty of light.

Prune back your poinsettia and fertilize.

Allow your poinsettia to get plenty of bright light. You may put your poinsettia outside in a protected area, to begin with, and then gradually move it to full sun if you wish, so that it gets plenty of light. Continue to water regularly and fertilize. You may want to pinch the top out of the poinsettia to encourage more branching before September.

You will want to begin to shorten the light exposure for your plants. Bring them inside, place a cardboard box over them or put them into a closet at night and increase their dark time to 12 hours per night. Be sure the plants get plenty of light in the day. When the bracts begin to color, you do not need to keep it dark at night. Do not fertilize after the bracts show good color.


Saturday, November 23, 2019

Jim's Holiday Treats

We here at the nursery are often blessed with Jim's culinary gifts. These are two of our personal favorites that we want to share with you for the holidays.

Image result for italian cream cake
Jim's Italian Cream Cake

1 stick of butter
1/2 cup Crisco
2 cups of sugar
5 egg yolks
1 tsp. baking soda
2 cups of plain flour
1 cup of buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup flaked coconut
5 egg whites, beaten

Cream butter, Crisco, and sugar together. Add egg yolks. mix well. Alternately add dry ingredients and milk. Add vanilla, nuts, and egg whites and coconut. Bake in 3 - 9" round layers at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

12 oz cream cheese
1 & 1/2 lbs. powdered sugar
3/4  cup margarine
2 tsp vanilla

Mix all ingredients. If too thick add a Tbs of milk, one at a time to achieve a smooth consistency.
You may add 1/2+ cup chopped pecans or sprinkle the top.

Jim's Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar packed
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups oatmeal
1 cup raisins
1 1/2 cups of sifted flour
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt

Cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat well. Add oatmeal and raisins. Mix well. Add sifted flour, soda, and salt. Blend into mixture.
Drop mixture from teaspoon onto a lightly greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 for 10 to 12 min or until golden brown.
Coconut, chocolate chips, dried cranberries, or nuts may also be added.


Rooted in Giving

Every year we all search endlessly for the perfect gift-one that is perfectly tailored for the recipient.
How many times have you searched so long that you ran out of time and ended up just grabbing something thoughtlessly?
Have you ever thought about giving something that will be around and give enjoyment for years to come? Like maybe a plant? Usually, December is not the time that most people think about buying plants but the options are truly endless.
House plants are a good choice at any time of the year. There are many choices that are very easy to care for and require little attention. Or, if your recipient is a little more of a green thumb, there are options that require a little more care and skill. Some people would find excitement in the challenge.
Succulents are growing in popularity. What a perfect gift to brighten up a college dorm room, nursing home, or a stuffy office or cubicle. They are easy to care for and some varieties don't require a lot of light. These are perfect for busy people who love nature but lack time to invest in the care of maintaining it within their home.
The one thing that you probably never thought of in your gifting searches is trees and shrubs to be planted outside. It seems counter-intuitive to purchase these in the wintertime, but believe it or not, you can plant any time the ground is not frozen. While a lot of trees are dormant and lack their beautiful foliage during the winter months, there is still a lot of promise for springtime days ahead. Not only that, but it can be quite fun to dress your tree for the holiday in lights and ornaments and put it in the ground after the holiday.
Christmas decorations are not just for your pines or conifers.  However, buying a conifer for gift-giving is also a great option. You can put it in full holiday regale and enjoy it yourself before you give it away. There are too many options to list, but a point to remember is how important plants are to air quality. So if nothing else, you can consider it a beautiful air purification system for your loved ones. If you are wondering which ones to consider for their air quality, you can visit our blog post HERE and read about the best choices.
So when you are out shopping don't forget to stop by your local garden center or nursery and take a look at what is available for the plant lover in your life.

The 5 Best Plants for Air Quality in Your Home

Natural Air Purification

In today's world, it seems we are all on an endless search for quality of life. We spend countless hours trying to direct our lives on a path that allows us to be productive members of society while still supporting our need for sanctity and sanity.
The urban growth is at an all-time high and with more people filling more spaces, there is less and less space for nature and plant life. It is our instinct to enjoy our surroundings and delve into the oasis that we know as nature. So we, as a species, are looking for new ways to create these spaces in our urban living areas. 
Bringing the outside, inside, seems to be a  growing trend as our housing lots grow smaller and the structures we build on those lots become larger. The average American home size has increased by more than 60 percent since the early 1970s. In 2018 the average home contained 2,641 sq. ft. That is 1000 sq. ft. larger than in 1973. However, the average size of a housing lot is shrinking, coming in at just under 1/5 of an acre of land in 2016. So, it is only logical that we are reaching out to bring nature in.
There are many plants that help to improve the air quality within our homes by filtering out some of the harmful things such as formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and benzoin. However, a lot of these same plants that clean our air are toxic to pets and children if ingested. Be sure to find out about toxicity before you decide which plants are right for you.

Snake Plant

This easy to care for plant is very low maintenance and is one of the best plants for air purification in your home or office. Let the soil dry between watering. During the winter you will want to cut the water back to about once per month. Snake plants can be rapid growers and may need to be divided annually. This should be done in the spring.We have one in our office that is about 30 years old and it has thrived on neglect.

English Ivy

This ivy has been a favorite among homeowners for generations but its popularity is being reduced because of its need for water and light. People are passing up the ivy for things that need a bit less care and attention. But let us not forget that this is still one of the best options for cleaning the air around you. This ivy needs water often and a monthly application of 20-20-20 liquid fertilizer to optimize its beauty. Mist your ivy once daily to reduce the chances of spider mites. If you do notice spider mites you can treat your ivy with insecticidal soap.

Spider Plant

These do well in hanging baskets or on plant stands where the "baby" plants can grow and hang over freely. These are rock-stars when it comes to removing carbon-monoxide from the air and you can re-pot the "babies" to start a whole family of these oxygen cleaning dynamos. They are happiest in a bright sunny window and prefer to have their soil to dry just a bit between watering. Do not let your spider plant stay too soggy as it will surrender to root rot. Also be sure to water thoroughly when you water, letting the water drain out of the pot and then pour it off. This keeps the tips from turning brown. I like to put it in a sink to water, so the water runs through and out. Then move it back to its place.

Aloe Vera

Known to cleanse the air of formaldehyde and benzene, they also have healing power in their leaves. Pick off a leaf and squeeze out the gelatinous substance inside to soothe a burn or sunburn. They do require bright indirect or artificial light. You only need to water your aloe about once every 2 weeks as they are a succulent and do not require a lot of attention, making them a favorite among homeowners.

Chinese Evergreen

This tropical is fond of low light and humid conditions. That makes them perfect for most bathrooms. They are known to clear the air of formaldehyde and benzene, found in a lot of makeup and detergents, making the bathroom an even more perfect location. Your Chinese evergreen will begin to yellow if it receives too much water or not enough water so it may be necessary to pull the plant from the pot to check the root ball to determine which it is. The darker the leaf, the more tolerant the plant is of low light. The light variegated one pictured would need bright indirect light or a north facing window.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Things to be Thankful For

In the daily rush of things we often get caught up in the list of things that are incomplete or haven't happened, or the things that we haven't gotten to yet. How often in our daydreaming do we take a moment to just breathe and take in the little moments of the day and let them nourish our soul?

Not very many of us can honestly say that we give thanks every single day. This is something that should really become as much of a habit as brushing your teeth. Make it a daily thing and you are sure to see a brighter, positive light shining in your life.

We all have habits that we include in our daily routine. Take a moment each morning before you even sit up in the bed and be thankful for all things. Even our struggles are sometimes gifts in disguise. At night if you can't sleep, just think of everything and everybody that you have in your life to be thankful for. I always go to sleep before I finish.

Plants make up so much of our world. When was the last time you truly were thankful for their existence? You may not realize it but without plant life, there would be no life at all. Every living thing has a purpose in the big picture. We fail to think about the things we consume without consideration, from the paper that we write on, to the food we eat, even the furniture we use daily. Everything in our lives exists because of plants, even down to the air we breathe. Gardening is a way to feed not just our bodies, but our souls as well.
 Be thankful for every day that you breathe in the fresh air, drink fresh water and eat fresh food.  Just take a moment to appreciate every plant you see on your way to work or out your back window, as each of them has played a part in another day of your own existence.

3 Holiday Recipes That Will Soon Be Your Favorites.

We all have our favorites when it comes to holiday meals. Maybe it's Aunt Mona's sour cream pound cake or grandma's turkey and stuffing, No matter what your favorite is, let us introduce you to 3 new recipes that will quickly become everyone's favorite. You might even get some requests for them in between the holidays.

 Crustless Pumpkin Pie

1 - 15 oz can of pumpkin
1- 12 oz can of evaporated milk
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup Bisquick or any biscuit mix
2 T. butter
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

Mix pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, and sugar in a mixing bowl. Mix on medium speed until smooth. Add melted butter, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix well. Add Bisquick. Mix at medium speed until smooth.
Pour batter into a 9-inch pie dish (preferably a deep one). Fill as full as possible.
Bake at 350 for 55 to 60 min., until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Allow cooling and then refrigerate.
Serve with whipped cream if desired.

 Green Bean Casserole

6 strips of bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
1/2 onion diced
1 1/2 cups chopped button mushrooms or any mushroom you prefer to use
3 cloves of garlic minced
2- 10.5 oz cans cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cup milk
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
salt and pepper
4- 14.5 oz cans of cut green beans, drained
1 1/2 cups french fried onions

Preheat oven to 350.
Lightly spray a 13x9 baking dish.
Saute onions and mushrooms in bacon drippings.
Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Stir in undiluted mushroom soup and add the crumbled bacon. Stir to combine.
Stir in milk and cheese until cheese is melted. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Fold in the green beans. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with fried onions.
Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

Cranberry Salad

1- 6oz. pkg cherry jello
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 T grated orange peel
juice and pulp of 1 orange
1 large can crushed pineapple undrained
1 can of whole berry cranberry sauce
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Dissolve jello in boiling water. Add cranberry sauce to jello. Add peel, pulp and juice, pineapple, and pecans.
Place in refrigerator in a 9 x 12" dish until set.

Feel free to send us your own favorite recipe at info@mitchellsnursery.com

November chores

Gardening Chores for November

November brings most plants to dormancy and is the prime time to get things in order for the spring that will breathe new life back into our gardens and yards.
Most perennials are now dormant, so you can safely clean them up by removing all the dead or dying foliage or if they are totally brown, you can now cut them back to just above the ground.
 Do not cut your roses back until they have shed all of their leaves for the season. Do not cut back spring-flowering shrubs until after they bloom in the spring. If you cut them back now, they will not bloom in the spring. Your evergreen plants will not need a trim until just before new growth starts in the early spring, so they won't look butchered all winter. They need foliage to make food through photosynthesis this winter so they will not starve.
Now is the prime time for planting your trees and shrubs. The cooler temps and the much-needed rain has finally set the stage for a great planting season ahead. Plants may be planted any time now through winter as long as the ground isn't frozen. When it does freeze, it doesn't stay frozen long. To see our video on How to Plant a Tree CLICK HERE.
 Now that plants are going dormant, you will want to stop fertilizing. Plants will not be using the nutrients right now. You may resume fertilizing in the spring when they are coming out of dormancy.
If you planted a cold crop garden you may want to clean up your plantings by removing any drying or yellowing leaves and pull out any late growing weeds.
 Planting trees and shrubs? Right now is an ideal time. However, even if your plant is dormant you will still need to make sure that the soil around your new planting stays consistently moist.  You won't need to water quite as much as you would if the plant was still in its active growing stage but water is still very important to get your new planting acclimated to its new surroundings. Do not fertilize at this time, but a good planting mix containing manure will help get the plant off to a good start.
 You should see the fruits of your labors from your cold crops now as they should all be producing vegetables or nearing this stage.
 November brings clean up to the front of the chore list with newly deposited leaves and falling twigs and such being strewn about in the yard. I love the fresh air and exercise. If you haven't done so yet, mulching is another good chore for this time of year to protect your tender perennials or to get a jump start on weed prevention for the spring.
 No matter what your chore list consists of, be sure to take the time to take in all the sights and sounds that come with the season. Even the air takes on a different scent. Gardening is a year-round activity. If you enjoy it, it will never be a chore.

Poinsettia Season

Tis the Season for Color

In early August, we joyfully received the first of our poinsettia cuttings. Most of the plants are about two inches tall. We fill thousands of pots from 4" to  10" and hanging baskets. We pot each cutting carefully into its new home one at a time. None of our potting is done by machinery. Each and every poinsettia is handled with care by our skilled employees. This year we potted 10,000 poinsettias and 93 different varieties!
Each year we look forward to beginning this journey with a new round of plants as we all enjoy watching them grow. As the days get shorter and the dark nights get longer, that's when the magic starts to happen in the greenhouse. Each plant begins to show its own personality as the bracts begin to color. Within three months or so the greenhouse erupts in full color.
It is a sight to behold! If you have never been here during the poinsettia season, I would encourage you to stop by and see these plants in all their holiday splendor!  It is nothing that words could ever explain. A thousand pictures could never do it justice. This time of year must be seen with one's own eyes!
Each year we host our annual Poinsettia Open House where you will be welcomed in with celebration and the joyfulness of the season.

November is Epilepsy Awareness Month.

Hitting Close to home

Jim Mitchell knows a little about Epilepsy. As a toddler, he had a serious bout with encephalitis,
which is an inflammation of the brain caused by infection or an allergic reaction. Jim began to have scary feelings. He was diagnosed with epilepsy while in high school after suffering his first grand mall seizure. He had many smaller seizures in the years preceding but had never received an official diagnosis until this time. He had been treated with valium, Phenobarbitol, Mysoline, and Dilantin early on to try to control the seizures. There was very little known about seizures or their causes at that time.
During high school, Jim became passionate about music. He played trombone and joined the symphonic band and the marching band. As a junior, he began to sing in the chorus then later as

a senior he qualified for the ensemble.
After high school, Jim began work at a local hardware store where he worked for a year before starting college at NCSU to study horticulture in 1972. Jim's fondness for all things horticulture began at an early age when he grew cuttings to sell instead of selling lemonade. He grew azalea cuttings in coffee cans and in cans from the school cafeteria.
In 1974 while on an excursion in Ontario, Canada, Jim had a conversation that would change his life forever. He began to talk to a young lady with whom he had several classes but had never spoken to. By the end of this trip, he was ready to introduce her to his family. On July 12, 1975, Jim and Judy were married.
They both dreamed of owning their own plant-based business. As Jim's health became more of an issue, that dream became more real as Jim could no longer work for the NCDA as a pesticide inspector and Judy was having to spend more and more time staying close to Jim as his seizures became more frequent. So the business that started as a hobby quickly grew into a means of making ends meet.
In December of 1995, Jim was subjected to 24-hour monitoring for a week that provided doctors with the insight that they needed and they were able to find the problem. Scar tissue from the bout with encephalitis in his childhood had been the reason behind his near life long seizures. Jim and Judy discussed their options and agreed that surgery would be an acceptable option. In December 1995 he had brain surgery to have the scar tissue removed.  Jim had his last seizure in the spring of 1996. After a year of being seizure-free, Jim was able to get his driver's license back and even got a new red truck!
Jim continues to work closely with the Epilepsy Alliance and serves on the Epilepsy Medication Fund Board. The Epilepsy Medication Fund assists with the cost of medication for those who cannot afford their medications.
Jim makes himself available to speak to anyone who may have questions about epilepsy or even just needs to talk to someone who understands.
If you or someone you know suffers from epilepsy or could benefit from the available services that the Epilepsy Medication fund has to offer, please do not hesitate to contact Jim Mitchell.

Jim Mitchell
1088 W. Dalton Rd
King NC. 27021

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Mitchell's Nursery Annual Poinsettia Tour and Open House


Our annual poinsettia preview tour at 10 AM on Nov. 23, 2019, is fast approaching. The preview tour was designed to guide you through the growing process of our poinsettias from start to finish. Serving up some wonderful and fascinating information, it lasts about an hour or a bit less. It provides us all with some insight into the peculiar circumstances that must come together to make it possible for the poinsettias to show color. This is a great opportunity for a school or church group. In addition to the knowledge gained, you will have the opportunity to see the greenhouse in its full glory of holiday splendor and color. We encourage you to visit us during this season even if it's just to revel in the awe of the sea of color that is bursting forth in the greenhouse.

 Every year, Mitchell's Nursery grows thousands of poinsettias and every year as the days get shorter and the darkness stays longer, the greenhouse experiences some magic of sorts. This is the time that the poinsettias begin to change color to become the beautiful holiday flower we all know and love.
This is also the time that we encourage everyone to come to see the greenhouse at its best before we start sending out orders by the truckload, before the local churches come to pick up their poinsettias, and before the general public begins their buying frenzy.

Following shortly after the tour, just a few short weeks, we will open our doors on December 1, 2019, for our Annual Poinsettia Open House. It is around this time that we will be moving the highest volume of poinsettias for the season. Mitchell's Nursery participates in poinsettia trials every year. These trials were designed to survey the growing success of new varieties of poinsettias each year. Breeders will visit the greenhouse to see the progress of the new plants and determine the plant's future in the market. These trials give the public a chance to purchase varieties that are not yet available in other retail outlets. Mitchells is one of only two retail growers in the state of North Carolina to participate in these trials. These trial varieties don't even have official names yet, just numbers to identify them.
This is the ONLY Sunday of the year that the nursery is open. Ballots will be passed out so that you may cast your vote for your favorite poinsettias of the 2019 season. This event provides refreshments and lots of holiday smiles. Voting begins about a week before our Open House and continues until Dec. 7. You can vote for an old favorite or one of the new varieties. Your votes count in the trials to gauge public reaction to the new poinsettias. Depending on the entire result of the trial, this will determine if these varieties will make it to the general public or if they will undergo some subtle changes and reappear with a new number or maybe plans for that variety will be scrapped altogether. YOUR VOTE MATTERS! And if you purchase one of the trial plants, it is almost certain that you won't find anyone else that has that exact kind, unless they shop at Mitchell's too!

How to Get your Poinsettias to Re-bloom

 Poinsettias are a holiday favorite for decorating and gift-giving. Most people find that they are very seasonal though. However, you can keep a poinsettia alive and well. You can even get them to re-bloom. It just takes some know-how and willingness to provide it with what it needs when it needs it.

 After the holidays when the blooming has ceased, you need to limit the amount of water that it gets so that it can enter into dormancy until spring. Then, around March or April, you may resume watering and begin fertilizing.

 Prune back the plant to about 6 inches above the top of the container and re-pot if necessary. Poinsettias can be kept outside, after danger of frost has passed, in a bright area or they can be gradually acclimated to full sun during the summer. You may want to pinch out the tops of the plants to encourage more branching.

 With the return of fall and shorter days, you will need to move your poinsettia inside. You will begin to decrease water and fertilizer again around September and limit your poinsettia's light exposure to less than 12 hours. At this time you will need to place a cardboard box over your plant or place it in a closet for at least 12 hours of complete darkness. Any light source will affect the coloring of the bracts. Even something as subtle as a streetlight outside your window at night will delay the color of your poinsettia.

We have included a simplified version: 

Enjoy your new poinsettia for the holidays
Reduce watering and allow the plant to go dormant.
Prune back your poinsettia and begin to water and fertilize
Allow your poinsettia to get plenty of bright light. You may put your poinsettia outside in a protected area, to begin with, and then gradually move it to full sun if you wish so that it gets plenty of light. Continue to water regularly and fertilize. You may want to pinch the top out of the poinsettia to encourage more branching.
You will want to begin to shorten the light exposure for your plants. Bring them inside, place a cardboard box over them or put them into a closet at night and increase their dark time to 12 hours per night. Give them plenty of light in the day. Decrease watering just a bit until the bracts are fully colored. At this time you can increase its light exposure and resume normal regular watering but do not fertilize after the bracts begin to color.


We must emphasize once again, ANY light source, even as subtle as a night light or a candle, will affect the color of the poinsettia tremendously.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime.
Approximately 2,670 men will be diagnosed this year in the United States. Of that number 500 will die.

In 2019 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the U.S, as well as 62,930 cases of non-invasive breast cancer.

Let those numbers sink in for a minute

62% are diagnosed at a localized stage. The 5-year survival rate of these cases is 99%. This is a good number but only includes 62% of all cases.
This year alone it is estimated that over 41,000 women will die from breast cancer in the U.S.

On average, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States every 2 minutes.

Female breast cancer represents 15.2% of all new cancer cases in the U.S. each year.


The numbers are staggering
At any given gathering there is a good chance that someone in the group will be touched by this disease. Just look around you, it could be the person standing next to you. Or, it could be the person in the mirror.

I would like to personally encourage you to take a few moments of your time during the month of October each year to participate in at least one of the many fundraising opportunities in your area. It really does not take much time or money to make a difference.

If you haven't already, we encourage you to READ "Stone Strong"  this is a story of survival and the struggles that come with it. Our very own Lorie Stone has been through it and often offers support and encouragement for others in the same situation.

On October 19, 2019, there will be a fundraising event here at Mitchell's Nursery. For more information, you may call us at 336-983-4107, E-mail us at - info@mitchellsnursery.com or visit our website at www.mitchellsnursery.com

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Your Fall TO-DO List

TO-DO List

When October rolls around and we have finally shaken the relentless heat of the summer, it often sparks a bit of gardening desire back to life.  Now is the perfect time to set our sights on spring and get prepared.
If you are like millions of others, by now you are ready for some dirt therapy. If you have been looking at those trees and shrubs at your local nursery or garden center but the heat just laughed in your face, you may want to go look again. Trees and shrubs are longing to be taken home and cared for by people just like you.
We have compiled a short list of things to do in the fall:
1. Plant trees and shrubs that you have planned for all year. You will still need to be diligent about water while the roots get acclimated to their new home. Perennials may also be planted.
2. Plant those bulbs! It is the perfect time to get those bulbs into the ground. spring bloomers such as hyacinths, tulips, garlic, crocus, anything that blooms in the spring should go into the ground now so that you get your blooms when you want them.
3. Any cold weather crops that you have started will need to go into the ground if they haven't already. Leafy greens and lettuces will thrive in the cooler temperatures. Their crunch will be sweeter. Enjoy the lettuce and spinach that you planted in September.
4. Clearing out your raised beds from summer is a good chore to get done when the cooler weather sets in.
5. If you are not using your garden spot for cold crops you may want to consider using this time to turn the soil and rid the area of any unwanted plant life. i.e; weeds. Turning compost in with your soil will add back some nutrients for next years garden and make the soil more manageable.
If you have all your chores done and you are not sure what comes next, you could do some light pruning or eradicate the few weeds that insist on sticking around, or you could just sit back and enjoy the season.
Kick back on your porch with some warm apple cider and just admire all of the work that God puts into the beauty that surrounds us.

for a short video about the proper way to plant a tree visit;

Time For Pansies

 It is time for those beautiful faces of fall! Pansies and violas have been a staple for the flower lover's fall garden for ages. With their little faces beaming in the cooler temps of the fall, and even through the winter, they are sure to brighten up a dreary day when all the world is cloaked in browns and grays. Each variety of pansy has its very own personality- from the faces that laugh, to the faces that are grumpy, there is no shortage of emotions.
Pansies and violas are not the same. However, most people refer to them all as simply, pansies. For the sake of this article, we will too. Since their requirements and their growth habits are almost identical we will cut the confusion and refer to them collectively as pansies.
  It is a known fact that pansies and violas don't thrive in hot weather, so sometimes getting them started may be a bit slow as the temperatures are still very warm in the early part of the fall. There hasn't been much success, as of yet,  in producing a heat-tolerant pansy so most gardeners treat the pansy as a winter annual as they really tend to get very leggy in the heat of the summer.
Pansies can be a bit temperamental when starting from seed. It is best to buy established plants from your local garden center or plant nursery. This will give them a better chance of surviving the last days of heat from the summer, and you
will see blooms a lot sooner.
Pansies need damp but well-drained soil. After they are established they can tolerate mild drought conditions for short periods of time. Your pansies will thrive in full sun, at at least a half day of sun.
When the winter temperatures arrive, you will find that your pansies are quite tolerant of frost and even single digit temps. The blooms may darken or wilt after freezing but will produce more blooms and bounce back quite well. They have even been seen peeking through a light dusting of snow.
  When pansies get established and begin to thrive they will mound to about 9 to 12 inches across and 6 to 9 inches tall. They are a great addition to the edge of your potted evergreens or just in a pot alone as their colors are so bright and cheerful.They make any space a happy space.
  Remember to water your pansies regularly, even in winter. the ground is never frozen for long around here. While they will tolerate some dryer conditions for short periods of time you will see them thrive if they are not allowed to stay dry for too long. A slow-release fertilizer is recommended to help your pansies grow but you want to stay away from fertilizers with a high nitrogen content as this may hamper the bloom production and you will end up with more foliage than blooms. We recommend adding the timed release fertilizer when planting and again in the early spring. If you  pinch off the faded blooms, this will encourage the plant to produce more blooms and it will help to prolong the blooming season.
 Pansies will survive the winter and will begin to thrive again in the early spring until the temps get too hot. So if you plant pansies for fall you can enjoy them through the following spring which will cut down on your spring planting chores.
  You can create some beautiful yardscapes for fall using pansies and pumpkins sitting among corn stalks or straw bales and fall mums and gourds. Or if you are hosting Thanksgiving at your house you can snip a few blooms to add to florist foam or a short vase to bring some of those colorful smiling faces to your gathering. Pansy blooms are edible! You can add them as a beautiful garnish to your fall dishes or you can dress up a cake or apple pie. Their beauty is full of endless possibilities.
 When you look out your window and see the upturned faces in your pansy garden or pots, it is sure to make you smile. Sometimes you just need some color in the middle of a dull, dreary fall and winter setting. Pansies- the flower that smiles back!


Check out this beautiful collection of pansy photographs and some insight into their quirky personality.
By: Scott D. Appell

Wednesday, September 18, 2019


The Therapist is in
Many of us dread the chore of weeding in our gardens, with good reason. But there is definitely some therapeutic value to being among the plants and flowers. The summer heat may keep you from getting too involved, but as the evening cools the air a bit, you should grab a stool and a bucket. Plop down right in the middle of the garden and begin pulling the nasty little weeds that have tried to overtake your precious plantings. As you begin, it may seem that the chore will never end. However, I assure you that with every pull you are one step closer to a beautiful garden. Take notice of all the pollinators and the tiny bugs that are beneficial in many ways. This is also a perfect time to take note of any bugs that may be doing harm to your beloved plants and take action accordingly.
 As you pull weeds from the soil, look at the soil and be able to diagnose issues before they affect your garden.
Beyond all of the possible problems, it is important to take time to just appreciate your blooms or vegetables and look around at the beauty of every living thing, even if that means a weed or two. We must admit that some weeds are quite lovely in their own right, but we don't want them mingled among our planted posies. So, here is where the work starts.

We become more than gardeners- we become groundskeepers, horticultural manicurists, landscapers, and plant doctors. Deadhead spent flower blooms as you weed. As we examine our soil for pests and fungus problems, we search the blooms and foliage for problems that may threaten the well being of our plants, being very careful not to pull our plants out of their nests when we pull out the nearby weeds.
As we sit among the inhabitants of our garden space, we are often lost in thought, but how many of us are thinking about anything too stressful? That's just it, we aren't. If we go to the garden in a negative state of mind, you can rest assured that we will not leave that way.
Weeding is therapy! The plants are our therapists. Quite cheap therapy sessions, also, I might add.

If you find yourself dreading the task, just take it a little at a time. You don't have to do it all in one day and you don't have to meet any deadlines. Just allow yourself some one on one time with your garden and when you finally get the weeds gone, I am sure it will thank you with ongoing beauty. Lose yourself in the perfection of a flower's petals. Get swept away by the scent that lingers in the air or the butterfly wings as they silently travel through. Or, if you are like me, you can revel at the enormous sound generated from a tiny bee.
No matter how you look at it, if you love your garden, you won't mind pulling weeds. If you love nature, you won't mind being in it. If you love all that the day has to offer in life, you won't mind enjoying the moments that you spend in your garden, even if it is spent pulling weeds.

Monday, August 26, 2019

How to Care for Your Fall Mums

  It is Time to Get our Minds into Fall.

 We will soon be seeing pumpkins and mums appearing everywhere. Though we hate to see summer end, it is always a relief to get a break from the heat of the summer months.
   Our mums are starting to show color and some of us with an inside track know that the prettiest colors come a little later than others. No matter what your color choice, these fall blooms are often the highlight of the fall garden with their bright colors showing off amongst a world that is fading into the grey doldrums of late summer and early fall.
  The blooms often keep going until the first frost. A lot of our customers ask if mums are annuals or perennials. Unfortunately, there is no clear cut answer as they can be both depending on the variety that you buy. Mums can be divided into two main categories. florist mums and hardy mums.
  Florist Mums are exactly what the name implies. These are the mums you find at your local florist that are grown in greenhouses and are used for cut flowers or special occasions. These are specifically grown for annual use. Florist mums do not produce underground runners and produce larger blooms with longer stems. Florist mums can be planted outdoors in spring after the last frost but may or may not overwinter.
 Hardy Mums are grown for perennial uses. These plants will grow a bit more compact and their blooms tend to be smaller but more plentiful. They will produce underground runners that will help them to survive the winter temperatures. When selecting a hardy mum, be sure to know your zone as some varieties are more cold tolerant than others. Most hardy mums are cold tolerant in zones 5 through 9. 
  Both of these are derived from a single parent plant. It was a golden yellow, a daisy-like mum from China. Through generations of hybridization with other cultivars from Japan and China, we have come to these two, very distinct varieties, grown for very different purposes.
  So, now that you have purchased your mum, you will need to tend to it to keep the beauty going into the cold. Mums love full sun but all that heat means you must be vigilant about watering. Too much water can cause root rot and too little can cause the plant too much stress and it may die. If your mum is in full sun, be sure to water daily soaking the soil thoroughly. Mums will wilt if they get dry. Don't water the foliage as that can cause disease. Mums make excellent container plants, but will need to be planted before winter hits, if you want it to survive.

  As your mum produces blooms you will find that deadheading is beneficial to the production of new blooms and making the blooms last longer.  
   When putting your hardy mums into the ground, keep in mind, they love rich well-drained soil. Lots of sunshine and water will keep them lovely. Be sure to mulch well with pine needles or hardwood mulch, working it around the stems at ground level. You don't want to cut off the spent growth until spring as the new shoots emerge. Divide your mums about every two years to keep them from getting too crowded. 
   As was mentioned before, not all hardy mums are tolerant in all zones, so do your homework if you want to plant your mums in a perennial capacity. If you are only interested in their short term appeal as an annual, the sky is the limit. Use your imagination and go wild. Either way, you are sure to enjoy these fall favorites no matter how you choose to use them.

Apple Dapple Cake

Apple Dapple Cake


  • 3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup chopped pecans-optional
  • 1 cup of vegetable oil
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups of raw diced apples 
  • Sauce:
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar for the sauce
  • 1/4 cup milk for the sauce 
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine  


  • Mix oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Sift together flour, salt, baking soda. Add to the first mixture. Fold in pecans and apples. Bake in tube pan at 350 for 1 hour.
  • For the sauce, mix and cook ingredients 3 minutes after it begins to gently boil, stirring constantly. Pour mixture over cake after removing it from the pan. (after it is completely cool).


Note: Any type of apple will do great in this cake so use your favorites! I prefer to use a firm sweet apple such as gala or honey crisp. For added personality, you can add raisins.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Mitchell's Nursery
Located in King, NC.

We hope you enjoy our photo gallery. Every day produces new beauty