Here We Go Again!

I’m in serious landscaping mode again and I may have bitten off more than I can chew. That’s usually my modus operandi, dive in head first and when it appears I’m in over my head, start digging my way out. Only this time I’m just plain digging! πŸ™‚

Before we get to the digging, I am busting to share some absolutely adorable stuff I found in a local nursery this weekend. I love shopping at a Pike Nursery near my home because it almost feels like I’m on one of those elegant garden tours. They have really pretty music playing at this particular location I visited so it’s super relaxing strolling up and down all the isles looking at the pretties and imagining creating the garden of your dreams. It’s amazing how much music can affect your mood when shopping.

I came across the neatest Hibiscus. If this was the beginning of summer, one of these babies would have gone home with me. It’s called Luna Pink Swirl and the blossoms are huge! Per the Monrovia website, hummingbirds love it. I think I’ll look for this one next spring…so pretty!

Luna Pink Swirl Hibiscus


I didn’t have my camera with me this day, so these pics were taken with my cell phone. Aren’t these guys a hoot!

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Garden Accent and Topiaries8


I came really close to buying one of these…barely resisted. They remind me of a Chihuly piece. They each had a solar-battery thingy on them, so the battery absorbs sunlight during the day, then lights these beautiful glass pieces up at night. They came in a variety of colors…this was the blue/orange section. If I’m remembering correctly, they were around $40 each. Wouldn’t they be wonderful throughout a garden in the evening? Imagine strolling a garden path at night and coming across one all lit up. I would so love that!

I wonder if the glass is strong enough to stand up to our occasional tornado hail. We had the best spring and summer this year. I don’t remember the tornado sirens going off even once and the temps were so nice all summer. I wish every summer was like this past summer!

Garden Accent and Topiaries3


These I love! They had the cutest topiaries in various shapes. They would make a wonderful focal point along a garden path or in a special spot in the garden. Below you can see star shapes and a moon with a face/nose on the left.

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This one was in the shape of a snowflake. Wouldn’t he be cute on the front porch at Christmastime?! They look better in person than in my camera-phone pics.

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It was the butterfly ones that reallllly captured my heart. This one was a medium size butterfly…still pretty big, though.

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This butterfly was over near the entrance to their building/store and it was huge!

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A view from the back.Garden Accent and Topiaries13


I would love coming across this in a garden!

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Okay, switching gears, remember when I had the front yard sodded last summer? At that time, I had a large holly removed from the right corner of the house. This is the “Before” picture before I reclaimed my home from the overgrowth of the trees and shrubs.

The holly was an original planting and despite having it cut way back a few years ago, it completely blocked the two windows (upstairs and downstairs) on that end of the house.  You can see that in the picture below. It was just a giant blob of a shrub/tree and did nothing for the front of my home.

Also, notice the dark tunnel off on the right, that was my side-yard. Thiry-foot tall Leyland Cypress trees that were no longer looking so great created that dark side yard where nothing would grow, including grass.

House Hidden and Overwhelmed by Trees and Shrubs 1


Here’s how everything looked once the yard was sodded and the holly and Leyland Cypress trees were removed. I decided last year that I wanted a Savannah Holly on the right where the other holly used to be. I love a Savannah Holly. It’s an evergreen and the foliage is the prettiest color of green. And I love the bright red berries it gets in fall/winter. They are beautiful covered in red berries. The birds love them, too!

Zeon Sod in Front Yard_wm


I also needed to put something back in the side-yard where the Leyland Cypress trees had been because this is the current view coming down the walkway…the side of the next door neighbor’s home.



This morning Pike Nursery delivered four, 30-gallon Savannah Holly trees. I’m guessing they are around 12-15 feet tall. One will go here on the corner and will have shrubs in front and behind.

Savannah Holly_wm


And the other three will go here in the side-yard near the lot line. They will be spread out across this area. I’ll create a nice bed/island for them and I’m thinking I’ll add some Encore azaleas in front once I have them in place since both love an acid soil.

I thought I might be able to plant them by myself but after seeing them here in the yard, I may be chickening out. It’s going to take some really big holes for these 30-gallon trees.

Yesterday, I planted three much smaller Leyland Cypress trees along the lot line in the back yard and I was pretty exhausted after digging those holes!  I’ll share where those went real soon. Right now I’m headed back out to stare at the holly trees and think about the four monster holes I need to dig. Or, not.

Savannah Hollies

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  1. Susan, was the music playing “Big Spender”….”Hey Big Spender….spend a little time with me!!” πŸ™‚
    We shall watch your trees grow in splendour!!

    • LOL! No, but that would have been appropriate as much as those trees cost! Actually, I bought the trees earlier in the day at another location where they don’t have beautiful music playing to put you in a buying trance πŸ™‚

  2. Those bears are adorable. Hardy Hibiscus or Rose Mallows are common here. I have several. Unfortunately , this is the first year in 13 they didn’t bloom. I am sure it is related to the wicked winter we had. On the other hand, the Rose of Sharon, a relative, bloomed profusely. Go figure!
    Hire someone to plant those, Susan! Not worth putting your back out doing it. I m sure it will look beautiful!
    I have to replace a Blue Spruce in the front of my house. It is the 3rd try, we even raised it and had a slate wall put around it, but it still looks sick. I have to find something that stays green, but that deer don’t eat!

    • Kathleen, I bet they would make up for it next year and bloom like crazy! I love Rose of Sharon…funny it bloomed and the other one didn’t! You’re probably right…not worth risking the back, although I could the exercise. I read about a tree recently when I was doing my research and I remember it said deer didn’t eat it. If I can remember which one it was, I’ll come back and leave another comment. It may have been tea olive since I considered it at one time for this area.

  3. I am thinking that paying someone else to dig those holes would be money well spent! You can sit back and supervise. I know you will be glad to have greenery back in place to separate your house from your neighbors.

  4. You were at one of my favorite places…I LOVE Pike Nursery! I haven’t been since early summer but I’m always overwhelmed at the large selection and everything is just so perfect! I’ll just take at least one of each plant! LOL
    I assume you will get someone to dig those holes…what an adventure that would be…but they will be so worth it. I LOVE ready your posts every day…please don’t ever stop!

    • Thanks so much, Diana! I know…they have so many great things! I love going there around Christmastime to look at their live wreaths and greenery.

  5. I love those glass sculptures. We saw a Chihuly exhibit in Dallas and the pics are breathtaking, no way I could share them all I look so many! If I could only get some for my yard….. and a gardener.

    • His works were on display here at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens for a while and they were beautiful! I think one of his chandeliers still hangs inside their main building.

  6. pam ~ crumpety cottage says

    Susan, after planting the Leylands, please have some else dig the holly tree holes! My goodness, you are a bundle of energy.

    Now, let me tell you something about that hibiscus. I’m not sure that is one, but did you know they now have perennial strains of hibiscus?!! I got three this year. They are amazing, just as your picture shows. The only colors they had left by the time my fatheaded landscaper told me about them were white and a deep rose, so I went with the rose. I would have loved the pink because I have pink crepe myrtle trees and pink knock out roses, but I guess the deeper color provides some ‘interest.’ πŸ˜‰ I hope you’ll be able to get some next season.

    Those animal topiaries are adorable!! Hee. They make me smile just looking at them. And yes! That glass garden spike does look just like a Dale Chihuly piece! My goodness, the blue ‘flowers’ look just like his platters and the spirals are just like one of his chandeliers. I’ve always loved glass and particularly blown glass. Were these expensive? I’ve not seen anything like them at my nearby nursery.

    Seeing the before and after pictures of your house reminded me of how sad it is to cut down trees, but how awesome your place looks now! I guess some trees just go crazy and instead of looking like a tree, they look like an enormous shrub. The curb appeal of your house is extra nice, now that the yard has been cleared. But those hollies will be great there along the side. My husband doesn’t like hollies because he thinks they’re ‘too prickly,’ but they provide the prettiest greenery and berries for winter decorations. Besides, I’ve always heard that hollies under windows discourage burglars.

    You sure had a great day at the nursery. It looks to be a very beautiful one and I like the image of you strolling along, discovering all these goodies and enjoying the music. Thanks for sharing these.

    • Pam, I totally meant to include the price on those glass art pieces and I forgot…I’ll add that to the post. If I’m remembering correctly, I think they were right at $40 each, which didn’t seem like a bad price for something so pretty. I can’t wait until the hollies get even bigger. They already have berries for this winter but once they are a little bigger, they will be covered up in berries! Thanks for the tip about the Hibiscus. I’m not sure if the ones I bought this year are perennials or not. They are in large heavy pots, so I hope they survive the winter.

      • pam ~ crumpety cottage says

        Thanks, that’s not too bad! Like you though, I wonder how well they would stand up to inclement weather. It’s not so bad if you have enough warning to remove things, but you can’t always be at home on stand by, lol. They would provide so much interest though, and I bet the sun gleaming off them would be beautiful. Thanks for letting me know.

  7. Gaaa…if I lived closer…I’d help you…so…HIRE SOMEONE…you will be doing two favors (three if you count how gorgeous this will be soon!!) I’m off to look up “Savannah Holly” since we need to replace a tree and looking for “all season” beauty… franki

    • Awww, thanks Franki! I found someone today but he won’t be available for two weeks and since he’s saying two weeks, I bet it will be longer. I may have to get out there start digging!

  8. Jeanie Neikirk says

    I loved all the items you showed us. I would have got all caught up and surely bought things. Please hire someone to plant your trees and other items you are wanting to plant. I had a huge tree removed from my front yard several weeks ago. I decided I would dig up a few Knock out Roses and replant. It took me all day. The Knock out’s are in shock….maybe never to come back. The area looks ugly. I’m thinking about getting some colorful mums and plant. I may even put a few pumpkins in the area to give it some color. Oh my……….I can’t believe it took all day. My body is sore 3 days later. πŸ™‚

    • I hope your knockouts recover Jeanie…just keep them watered for a while until those roots kick back in. I know what you mean about sore! lol It’s a good sore, though. πŸ™‚

  9. Jean from Georgia says

    Oh my goodness. I live near a Pike nursery, and hope they have the topiaries at the one nearest me. I love the star!!!! Gotta have it. Do you think it was a trained Leland or some type of juniper? Piggy was the cutest, too.

  10. More nursery tours, please! That was a lot of fun.

  11. What a wonderful nursery. I love all those topiaries. Your yard is going to look wonderful.

  12. Susan, the trees are going to look amazing. Your home is so beautiful.

  13. All your efforts last year paid off. Your house looks fabulous!

    Pike’s Nursery looks like a wonderful place to visit and fantasize. Such unique items, not the least of which are those topiaries, and those little animals are way too freakin cute! About that glass…am I the only one who thinks the glass looks like a body part (which I shall refrain from mentioning)? They are pretty though ;).


    • lol Do you mean the skinny ones…they look a little like a snake to me. Or, do you mean the flower-looking ones? I may have to go back for one of those topiaries!

  14. That’s my kind of Nursery! I usually see those hibiscus for sale in the late summer/fall because that’s when they bloom. I don’t remember seeing them in the spring. Mine still haven’t bloomed but are close. I don’t know which variety I have- I just love their big flowers. I’ve seen those sculptural looking topiaries but I figured they’d be fussy to keep looking nice. Boy I know what you mean about digging holes for trees- it’s always more than you imagine. Perhaps one a day? I always drop a hose at the base of the tree and turn it on slow trickle to make sure water gets all the way down to the roots once they’re planted. Leave it on for an hour for each tree every so often. Those glass pieces are pretty- I thought the same about the Chihuly artist. Sigh…they probably would break if hit by hail. I’d help ya dig those holes if I lived a thousand miles closer!

    • Liz, that makes sense! One of the guys in Pikes told me recently that they always stock whatever is blooming…so if there’s a plant you want, the best time to visit and see a good selection is during the time it blooms. So I guess that’s why they have them now. I need to think of a spot for one…wonder if it would survive outside during the winter here. That’s a good idea for watering the trees. I will do that!

  15. Sue in Texas says

    I have a hardy hibiscus like the one pictured. You could plant it now to have it next spring. Just be aware that it doesn’t sprout until late spring, so don’t think it’s dead. Ours (reds and peppermint) grow to 4-6 feet tall with beautiful 8 inch blooms. We’ve had the same bushes for 7 years now. Stunning!

  16. Bobbi Duncan says

    Hi, Susan. We so need to add something to our front yard…thinking maybe a crape myrtle, and the back needs work as well. I’m so knee deep in projects around here that it may have to wait until next year. At this point, I feel I’m accomplishing something outside just setting up our new front entry trees and adding orange lights for autumn. LOL. Wish I had your energy!

  17. Maybe someone from the nursery will come out and dig the holes for you! Surely a landscaper company would be glad for the job. I hope you find someone before two weeks. You will have to water those hollies everyday.

    Did Pike’s recommend Miracle Gro Quick Start? It is a GREAT product for new shrubs. It is different than the Miracle Gro that comes in the blue crystals. Quick Start helps new shrubs to really get established.

    Good luck with your planting!

    • They did recommend a starter fertilizer. I used when I planted the Leyland Cypress in back. I also bought some fertilizer tree stakes that are specifically for evergreens…and something called Hollytone that is just for Hollies. Pike Nursery wanted $210 per tree to plant them; they charge $7 per gallon and they are 30 gallon trees. $800 is just too much to plant 4 trees! I think if I keep them watered, they will be okay for two weeks. I just hope they don’t get blown over by then.

  18. Wow…it looks like the Pike’s that you go to is way better than the one that I frequent (Acworth). Are you part of their garden club? It’s pretty neat. They send you notifications for Tuesday sales, Saturday classes, and sometimes they have special events where they serve wine or beer and appetizers! Fun!

    • Luisa, you need to come check it out. The one with the music is on Johnson Ferry Road…down close to where it hits Shallowford Road. The other one I sometimes go to because it’s HUGE is the one on Roswell Road…about 2+ miles from the Big Chicken…if you were headed away from the square.

  19. SharonFromMichigan says

    Susan – I do love everything hibiscus! I have many Rose of Sharon’s along my back fence line. I had one with the very large blooms in a previous house. It came back every year. If they can survive a Michigan winter, I’m sure they will survive a Georgia winter. (I wish I would have dug it up and took it with me; the new owner dug out ALL the perennials and put in rocks! I don’t drive by that house anymore – it makes me sad)

    • Thanks, Sharon…I should go back and get one…have to figure out where to put it. πŸ™‚ That’s amazing they survive even in Michigan! Yeah, that would kill me to drive by and see the changes. When I move one day, I’m never driving back by. I’m afraid the next owner will cut down this humongus magnolia in my front yard. I didn’t plant it there and it’s too close to the house, but I can’t cut it down. Can’t believe they dug everything out and put in rocks. I bet they are from Arizona or CA or one of those places where they don’t get much rain and like a low maintenance yard.

  20. Jill Brewster says

    Susan- Just had to tell you that you are my most favorite Blogger. Your’s is always the first that I read, it takes me to places that I may never visit in person and always sparks my interest whether it be a home tour, garden tour, table setting, project that you are working on, or decorating for the Seasons. You go beyond the pretty pictures, you ask questions that make me wonder what living there would have been like. Today’s blog with your tour of the nursery had me wondering what this nursery will look like when the Christmas season rolls around. Boy, would I like a tour of it then. Loved the hibiscus. I am going to try to Winter my two large hibiscus plants in my utility room this year as the past two Winters covering them on my back patio did not lead to good results. Any suggestions? I have already started working on new Christmas stockings for all the family and planning my neighbor gifts of love. You can never be too prepared. I look forward to your blogs for the upcoming Fall and Christmas season and send a big “Thank You” for taking me along…..Jill

    • Aww, thanks so much, Jill! You are so kind to say…appreciate it so much! I will be sure and take some pictures when I visit them closer to Christmas. I usually go there to check out their live wreathes and garland each year. Do you remember the snowflake wreath I had for Christmas a couple of years ago? It came from Pike. I keep hoping they’ll get those back in again! Best of luck with Hibiscus. Last year one of mine survived and the other didn’t…have no idea why. They were on the same deck in identical pots. Lucky are your neighbors…to be living near you! I need to start thinking ahead…Christmas will be here before we can turn around!

  21. Nurseries are filled with so much temptation, and I always come home with more than I intended. I’ve even given in to small topiaries, but unfortunately they’ve never lasted very long making me think I don’t have the magic touch. Have fun with your gardening efforts.

  22. Susan I love your house, yard and everything you post about. As for the digging….get that husband out there to help you. πŸ™‚ That’s what I do!

  23. KathleenfromCA says

    Happened upon your blog while looking for a Halloween sign (flying lessons by appointment). Love the nursery tour and feedback it created. Your home is beautiful.

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