The Garden That Keeps On Giving

With the holiday season coming to an end, there is finally time to give your own garden some much needed attention.

I am always spending time beautifying other people's gardens while leaving mine somewhat neglected throughout the year. I look forward to the month of January for that reason alone.

With decorating and gift-giving behind me, I can finally dedicate my time and attention to my own garden.

I like to start in my front yard and gradually work my way to the back. Keeping my neighbors in mind, I decided to create a vegetative buffer instead of putting up an unpleasant fence.

It is basically an evergreen background with flourishing plants that will make a fantastic foundation for an array of spring and summer blooms!

When I work in my garden I try to plant with a purpose using plants that do one of following three things:

1.  Make a foundation for the garden

2.  Add visual appeal

3. Provide blooms or foliage that I can clip and use in my home

*Tip: Before choosing your plants, determine the amount of sunlight the area you're working in receives. Our area is part sunny and part shade so we chose plants that work well in the shade. 

Step 1: Create a layout for your plants. Start with the tallest in the back.

•  Place two Oakland Holly’s toward the back and space them at least 8 feet apart.

•  Next, stagger your three Teddy Bear Magnolia’s in front of the holly and space them at least 12 feet apart to allow room for growth.

•  Lastly, find a place for your Southgate™ Breezy™ Rhododendron.

By staggering your plants you are creating depth that will result in a more professional looking garden.

*Tip: Read the labels for spacing recommendations. It is tempting to plant things too close but patience is a virtue and the results are worth the wait. It will take several years for this to fill in, but don't rush the process!

Step 2: Dig a hole that is three times the size of the pot.

Trace a circle around the pot as your guide then start digging.

After you've created a nice new home for your plant, add soil conditioner to the hole and mix it together.

*Tip: In order to remove the root ball, place your foot on the container and roll the pot with your foot.

Step 3: Place the root ball of the plant 1-2 inches above the ground.

Do not put your plant in too deep. This will allow your plant to breathe and will prevent it from drowning.

Step 4: Use some of the dirt you removed when digging your hole to backfill the container along with some soil conditioner.

*Tip: The loose soil around the root ball makes it easier for the roots to establish themselves.

Step 5: Create a water ring around 1 1/2 feet from the base of the tree or shrub.  

Step 6: Mulch.

I prefer pine straw but pine bark mulch works also. The pine straw is simply to tie everything together making your garden look nice and polished.

This time of year is perfect for planting!

The weather is nice and cool and will not stress your plants. They will have plenty of time to get well heeled in.

Once your border is up, all you have to do is sit back and watch it flourish over the next few years.

All of the plants we recommend work well in the heat and will continue to thrive throughout every season.

Before you know it you will have Holly to clip for holiday arrangements and Magnolia all year long.

While you’re working hard to create your own vegetative border, take pride knowing that you are without a doubt planting with a purpose.

After all, you are making a great foundation for your garden, one that is bursting with beautiful Southgate™ Breezy™ Rhododendron, and will provide you with several wonderful blooms and foliage year round.  


  • 6 Bags of soil conditioner
  • 2  Oakland™ Holly
  •  3 Teddy Bear Magnolia
  • 5 Bales of pine straw
  • 3 Southgate™ Breezy™ Rhododendron


  • A shovel