Category Archives: Favorite Plants

Favorite Flowering Shrubs for Greensboro

I have several favorites and Limelight Hydrangea and Wine and Roses Weigela are two of them. In order to make the list of favorites I look at overall form, length of bloom, pest problems,water requirements and general maintenance.

For larger properties, Limelight Hydrangea is a must have in the landscape.

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Limelight Hydrangeas grow to 8 feet around in part sun and prefer some shade from afternoon sun. Chartreuse cone-shaped blooms fill the plant in mid-summer and remain on the shrub until autumn when the color changes to a pinkish rose. If planted in good composted soil, once established, requires minimal water during dry periods. It makes a great specimen plant or hedge. This shrub is mostly pest free,  but if insects are noticed, just spray them with a powerful dose of water.

Wine and Roses Weigela is a smaller shrub growing 4-5 feet around with great impact. It blooms from April to June with deep fuchsia pink flowers that hummingbirds love. When planted in full sun the foliage retains its deep purple coloration and is a pest free plant. The stunning foliage combines well when planted adjacent to light green colored plants like Emerald n Gold Euonymous or Golden Barberry.

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This shrub has a round upright growing habit and works well towards the rear of a perennial bed or in a mixed shrub border.

wr3 For more favorite landscape plants, check here

cornerstone-garden1 Visit Cornerstone Garden by Diana Digs Dirt 414-B State St from Thursday through Saturday 11-3:30. Diana is a certified landscape designer providing landscape plans, installations and consultations.


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Longest Blooming Landscape Plants

Who doesn’t like plants to bloom for weeks on end. Here are some of my favorites.

Best Blooms for Your Buck-Top 10 Plants  

All plant material have their place within our landscapes, but some yield more than just long flowering periods including winter interest, fall color and other ornamental value. Below is a list of plants recommended with more value for Triad gardens of zone 7.

Perennials are those plants coming back year after year being planted only once. Clara Curtis Mums are a delight for informal landscapes with soft pink blooms from spring until late summer. They are drought tolerate, deer resistant, attract butterflies and a great cutting flower. Walker’s Low Catnip has violet spiked flowers with a mounding habit ideal for rock walls. They do well cascading over planters, are drought tolerate and rabbit resistant. Gaura or the common name, Whirling Butterflies is extremely drought tolerate with its delicate flowers resembling small butterflies. This plant does not like to be transplanted and will be happy in full sun in the back of perennial borders with pink or white blooms swaying in the breeze. Heuchera, or the common name Coral Bells are for shady gardens and planted mainly for its undulating foliage with various colors of purple, green, chartreuse and variegated. Because of their coarse texture, blend well with ferns, sweet woodruff or creeping jenny. Angelina Sedum does not have a bloom but is worth planting because of its chartreuse color. It is drought tolerate, deer and rabbit resistant, great groundcover is sunny areas with poor soil and turns burgundy in the winter.

clara curtis Gaura

Oakleaf hydrangea is a large shrub for the partial shade garden where their extremely large white blooms illuminate darker portions of the garden. They make great cutting flowers, have wonderful red fall color and the exfoliating bark is very ornamental for winter interest. Encore Azaleas are relatively new in the landscape world and offer two blooming periods in spring and fall and only grow to four feet in diameter. Knockout Roses will bloom from spring until frost and only require six hours of sunlight. Kleim’s Hardy Gardenia is perfect for part shade gardens and covered in highly fragrant white blooms for about a month in spring. This shrub is small in size and the foliage is glossy dark green all year long. It will bloom again if prune immediately after its flowers have faded.


The annual called Potato Vine, even though doesn’t bloom, the foliage comes in several colors and is a quick groundcover for the partial shady spots within landscapes. It does well in vases and will root within days for you to plant elsewhere in the garden. They can also be trained to climb other plants or structures. The foliage is dramatic and this one may come back the following year. Chartreuse colored potato vine planted with dark purple Heuchera is a fabulous combination.


Diana Digs Dirt is a landscape designer located at 414-B State Street in Greensboro Thursday-Saturday 11-3:30 and can be reached at 392.4031.



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DianaDigs Balloon Flower

The balloon flower (above)is commonly known in the landscape world, but its cousin is definitely worthy in my garden.

 Botanical name, Campanula glomerata is low maintenance and blooms for 2 months, at least.

This perennial needs some shade from the hot afternoon sun, drought tolerate, deer resistant and if deadheaded, will bloom again. It is not invasive and works well in cottage style gardens or other informal landscapes in the backyard.

The size of this perennial is about 18 inches around and fits into the front of a perennial bed nicely.

DianaDigs Campanula glomerata!

at Cornerstone Garden 414 State Street in Greensboro

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Posted by on March 3, 2011 in Favorite Plants


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Cleaning with Herbs in Greensboro

Diana Digs Dirt, but cleans with Green-The Clean G

    Harness the power of nature to clean!  Blending essential oils with vinegar and a bare touch of a surfactant (to mix oil with water in a manner in which it will not separate), these cleaners are natural, safe and effective  Eco-friendly or “green” cleaning is a truly pleasant experience with the aroma-therapeutic properties of the essential oils.
Some of the cleaners I have tried are:

They are fantastic, especially for those touched by S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) in the winter months. This type of aromatherapy can be enjoyed through the year.

The Clean G also offers beeswax candles. Couple of my favorites are Lavender Dream 

and Vitality

They firmly believe in the Reduce Reuse Recycle school of thought and work to decrease our consumption of packaging materials by buying in bulk as much as possible.
They reuse anything possible, including; shipping materials, packing peanuts and bubble wrap. If they cannot reuse something, they make every effort to Recycle it.

Nothing will go to the landfill that can be Recycled.

Thank you to The Clean G for supporting Just a Cloud Away, Inc.™ Journal


Posted by on November 15, 2010 in Favorite Plants, Herbal/Green Cleaners


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Changing Pink Hydrangea to Blue Flowers

Hydrangea macrophyllas are spectacular in bloom and are show stoppers within the landscape. Pink or Blue, this early summer blooming shrub will last for weeks.

People are always wanting the hydrangea color they do not have. It is much easier changing the color from pink to blue rather than vice versa. So take a good look at your lovely hydrangea plants and determine if the color is appropriate for the space. The two hydrangea shrub pictures are of the same plant, but installed in 2 different locations.

This large hydrangea shrub, probably Nikko Blue, has bloomed this color for many years. 2 years ago a cutting was taken and planted on a different property. Below is the bloom of the cutting.

Quite a difference in color.

Absolutely fabulous that from one plant 3 or 4 different shades of pink/lavender/periwinkle can be enjoyed.

How do we go about changing color? First, the change from pink to blue. These amendments can be added to the soil to increase acidity or lower the pH number:

  • peat moss
  • ammonium nitrate
  •  ammonium sulfate
  • sulfur coated urea
  • iron sulfate

Pink hydrangeas favor a high phosphorus content and a more alkaline soil with a higher pH, try adding:

  • dolomitic lime
  • ginger
  • kidney beans
  • calcium
  • sand
  • baking soda
  • fertilizer such as 25/10/10
  • ripe bananas
  • planted by a concrete walkway or garden ornamentation (lime from concrete leeches into the soil)
  • mix 1 tablespoon vinegar with 1 gallon of water

Hydrangea macrophyllas can be used as filler plants, foundation plants, hedges or for cutting flowers, especially weddings. They prefer morning sun only and like a good drink of water each week. So if you do not have an irrigation system, plant your hydrangea by the house in close proximity to a water source.

Happy Planting!

Diana Gardner-Williams

Landscape Design and Installation


Posted by on June 3, 2010 in Favorite Plants


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Natural Evergreen Holiday Centerpiece

Cut your own holiday centerpieces  for your dining room tables. They are free and unique adding colorful warmth to the festivities. Select a container and insert floral foam. You will want some foam exposed for a more grandiose flower display.

Once you have cut the foam to the desired size, gather evergreen foliage, twigs, berries, and other natural elements you may want to incorporate.

I choose Japanese Snowbell Tree twigs because of their fine texture. Consider the size of your container when selecting items. For example, magnolia foliage would overwhelm this small container.

Coarse textured evergreens I selected were Indian Hawthorn and Osmanthus.

Use what you have in your own garden and make sure you select fine, medium and coarse textures.

Cedar was inserted around the rim of the container to soften the edges. I snipped a few rose buds for the center.

Cranberries were inserted into toothpicks and placed throughout for color. You could use nandina, pyracantha or holly berries.

Make sure you water your centerpiece.

Yuletide Camellia is blooming in my garden and is perfect for this holiday centerpiece. If nothing is blooming in your garden, purchase a few flowers from your local florist and insert into the floral foam. They will last 1-2 weeks depending on the flower selection.

Yuletide Camellia is available for purchase, please contact This plant is perfect for December weddings.

When the flowers have faded, just replace with a fresh bouquet and your centerpiece will last till Valentine’s Day, if watered.

Happy Planting and Happy Holidays

Diana Gardner-Williams

Landscape Design and Installation

Divine Weddings and Beyond™


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November Thanksgiving Landscape Flowers

If you are having guests over for the Thanksgiving holiday or wedding photographs taken at your home, make sure your landscape is bursting with color.

You will notice I have many favorite plants, but this tree really is one of them! The Autumn Cherry Tree. If a plant blooms more than one season, it is a favorite. Autumn Cherry Trees bloom in spring and in October/November.


Some annuals with a very long bloom time. This double petunia is fantastic.

My white blooms on the begonias are still strong. Perfect for wedding photographs.

Salvia, Rhea is really a show stopper! This annual is also called Mealycup Sage.

Yellow marigolds are hanging in there.

Below is a hanging pot filled with the annual, verbena.

Another hanging pot annual.

This is an amazing perennial/annual vine. Yes, it is invasive and I love it.

The black-eyed susan vine is behind the potato vine. Removing it is quite easy too.

A few perennials, like this yellow canna lily ready to give us one last bloom.

Perennial geranium below has been sporadically blooming the entire growing season.

Hardy garden mums are just about finished blooming.

“Baths Pink” Dianthus has a few flowers left. I did shear these perennials after their showy display in spring.

This perennial verbena blooms from April to Frost and is only available at Gethsemane GArdens. Janice has named this beauty, Barnyard Verbena.

Shrubs with autumn blooms like Camellia sassanqua. This will bloom for several more weeks.

Knock out roses are another favorite of mine.

There will be another round of blooms before they go dormant.

Gardenia shrubs have a few flowers.

Red knock out roses.

“Little Gem” Magnolia trees with flower buds, fragrant too.

Have a wonderful holiday and think about incorporating some of the autumn blooming plants within your landscapes in early spring.

Happy Planting!

Diana Gardner-Williams

Landscape Design and Installation


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