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Growing Together, Issue # 81
October 27, 2013

Mahonia Is A Great Shade Shrub

Welcome to the October landscape solutions, Growing Together newsletter. As always, I would like to welcome our new members, and also all of you that join me each month. It is truly a pleasure to be with each one of you. Hard to believe this newslsetter has been in month circulation since 2007.

Today is Saturday the 26 of October. Here in the southeastern part of the US, (South Carolina) we woke up to the temperature at 32 degrees F. (0 degrees C) The sky is clear and the air is so brisk. Hum, I personally like warmer days and nights, but the change in the seasons with nature is gorgeous.

As I was thinking about what insights I wanted to share with each of you, a great accent shade shrub came to mind, the Mahonia.

mahonia shrub

If you live in zones six through nine here in the United States, and have a shaded area, the Mahonia is a perfect specimen for you. This shrub is an evergreen, and in actuality, can take partial shade. Don't put the Mahonia in direct sun light, especially in warmer climates. The leaves remind me of the Holly family. The have little spikes at the end, and they are shiny. The flowers of beautiful yellow color emerge in the last part of the winter months, or early spring. There is a unique aspect of this shrub, in summer it develops purple - blue berries once it is done flowering. The birds have a feast with these berries.

The largest variety is the Leatherleaf and one of the most popular in the family. The Leatherleaf can reach anywhere from six to ten feet tall, and spreads six to eight feet. The Leatherleaf is one of the slower species in developing. Most other varieties reach their maturity at four to eight feet tall and wide. The soil should be well drained, and acid base. Watering is average, and once established, if no drought, let nature take care of the watering.

The Mahonia can be planted in many areas of your yard. I have planted this specie for precious clients near the corner of the foundations, along a decorative wall or fence. It works well in courtyards, around outside air conditioners or heaters. This plant will also do well near a pool or pond. To accent the Mahonia, I have planted Camellias, Pieris Japonica, and other evergreens such as variegated Cypress. (Mop or Lemon Thread) Hollies will also compliment the Mahonia. This is a durable shrub that also can be plant in a row or formal garden setting. If you have some partial shade or shaded area, the Mahonia is a great addition to your garden or landscape.

Tip For The Month

If Tom and I are riding through a neighborhood in the fall season, I tend to always look at how people are preparing their outdoors for the cooler months. A quick reminder to all of you in the northern hemisphere, if you have a bird bath and you get a frost, freeze, or your ground freezes, make sure you turn the bird bath upside down before the temperature drops too low. An option for you is to purchase a small heater for the bird bath. In the springtime, turn back over and clean before filling.

Thought For The Month

This has been a very rough month for Tom, my family, and myself. On October 10th, one of my older sisters passed away. She was 65 and only three and a half weeks earlier diagnosed with stage four cancer. We are a very close knit family, and most of my relatives live in upstate New York. Flew up twice to see her. Once when she was more alert, and the other after her passing. When I came back home the second time, I took the time to nurture my indoor plants, and also see the beauty of the outdoors. We still have a few cherry tomato plants in our garden, as well as ornamental peppers. Don't let days pass by where you aren't in contact with your family and friends. Also, take the time to really enjoy your indoor plants, and all the scenery that surrounds you, Thanks so much for being here with me this month. Have a great November, and I look forward to being with you again at the end of next month. By the way, both grandchildren are doing great. Isaiah will be five months in November, and Blakely will be four also in November.

Happy Halloween to all of you that celebrate, and be safe!

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