Saturday, February 28, 2009

Green Profit Tells You What Containers Must Have!!

(Okay...this is cheap self-promotion. I got my name in Green Profit! Woohoo!)

I told Green Profit, and I'm telling you, ornamental peppers are unbeatable in containers. Their fruit and foliage will wake up any landscape still drowsy from Winter. Plant in containers that can be protected from any late freezes, and combine with things like Diamond Frost Euphorbia!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Customer News

Hester & Zipperer is your local plant nursery. We are part of your community, and we love hearing about our customers.

This is Carol Foster and her daughter Megan. They are in training for a half marathon that will benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society!

Raising money for such a cause is a big challenge, never mind the actual running, so we are going to help spread the word for them.

You can visit Carol's fund-raising page for more information by clicking here. Carol has also been kind enough to drop off some of those delicious Tangelos at our Wilmington Island store. You can drop by and pick up one for yourself.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sharing At Hester & Zipperer

One of the best things about a stroll through the garden is the smell of fresh herbs. One brush through their leaves and you're instantly on a trip back in time. Are you visiting your grandmother's tomato gravy that had hints of basil and oregano? Maybe you're thinking about how lemon and mint combined in your Nanna's sweet tea.

If you're looking to bring herbs into your garden and your kitchen, then Hester & Zipperer on Skidaway Road can help. Saturday, March 21st, from eleven to two, Susan Reece will be offering live cooking demonstrations as well as complimentary samples of aromatic dishes that are inspired and infused with fresh herbs. Guests will also receive recipe cards so they can prepare their favorites at home.

Herbs are easy to grow and thrive when clipped for frequent use! Don't miss this chance to experience what they can do for you!

Seed, Sprout, and Swap

Many of you are saving money and having a whole lot of fun sprouting seeds. Our Wilmington Island store has heard your stories of too many sprouts of one particular plant. You didn't think you would be so good at this, right? Now you have thirty tomato sprouts and you'd really like some squash or cucumber instead.

Let's solve this problem with a sprout swap. The Wilmington Island Hester & Zipperer will leave room on its bulletin board for swap offers. They should look something like this:

Hi, my name is Gertie Greenbottom. I have 12 Better Boy tomato sprouts I'd like to swap. If you have ___________, _____________, or __________ to trade, please call me at ###-####. (If you're open to other sprouts than those mentioned above-say so.)

Make the paper with your phone number or email address on little tear-offs on the bottom. Give to the person at the counter of our Wilmington Island store, and we'll tack it up for you. If you're out of sprouts, let us know, and we'll take it down. (912-897-5581)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Why Pineapple Guava Is For You

Well, if the blooms don't convince you, maybe I can. First off, you can eat them. That's right, send the husband out to pick some flowers for the salad, cocktails, or dessert (No pesticide here, people).

Did I mention that they can hide things? The neighbors, the shed, the compost pile all will disappear behind this baby. It won't take long either, because they grown really fast! Nascar fast!

Oh and what about the fruit? That's right, folks, this bush from heaven will give you fruits that taste a bit like pineapple! Hello smoothies!

What do you have to put into this fabulous example of evergreen shrubbery? Well, $14.99 and full sun to part shade. Alright, you should amend the soil too. They are actually drought-tolerant when established, but they will fruit more with regular water.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Spread The Love To Those That Share Your Yard

I was fortunate enough to meet with two garden clubs this week. On Tuesday I was welcomed by the Islands Garden Club for a chat about fruit trees, and on Thursday I met with the Wilmington Island Garden Club for a talk on greening up your garden.

It's easy, when you work in a particular field, to take the knowledge that you've gained for granted. It's very rewarding to feel like what you know is useful to others, so I thank you for letting me prattle on a bit.

Above you see the caterpillar of the Monarch Butterfly. It's one of those little critters that you find nibbling on your plants-specifically on your Milk Weed. It's one of those crawly things that we sometimes fear or maybe pay no attention at all.

We had some show up around the nursery in November. Temperatures were growing cold, so I found myself pulling all of our Milkweed plants into the store so that the little fellows could keep munching. Sound crazy for a garden center to let things eat down its plants? Well, the plants would have been killed back by a frost anyway. Had this situation happened, during the summer, in your own yard, leaf after leaf would be consumed until there was nothing left. More would grow very quickly, though, to the caterpillars' delight.

I had a bunch of little guys facing starvation. On slow days in December you might have seen me picking up caterpillars and moving them to different parts of the plants so that they could feed. I even hurt my thumb scraping some of the stems so that the butterflies-to-be could get the sap that they adore.

Hey, don't judge. I've heard from some of you about the lengths you've gone. Spoonfuls of sugar water, trips to far off places in search of Milkweed. You wouldn't drive to the Skidaway for a kidney, but your itty-bitty friend needed food, so off you went.

A lot of the caterpillars didn't make it. Some died on their own. Some met size 12 shoes. It wasn't pretty. Thankfully, around four made it to this stage, the chrysalis. We didn't know where all of these were though. The caterpillars disappeared. You can imagine with all of the house plants how difficult it would be to find them.

Then one day Yoshi saw Rosco paying close attention to something at a sunny window. A Monarch Butterfly! Quickly, she rescued it from our cat's dangerous curiosity. Then one showed up resting on a basket and another on a houseplant. We set them free and watched them fly high into the trees. We couldn't have felt more proud if we'd released Bald Eagles.

More will show up later this year to lay eggs on other Milkweed plants. Will your yard be ready if they pass through?

What I Can Do For Monarch Butterflies And My Yard

  1. Hold the insecticides, please. So what if your Milkweed has aphids. Your caterpillars don't mind. They'll eat the leaves anyway. On plants other than Milkweed, consider whether insecticide is even necessary. Plants that are in healthy environments can often survive insects and react as if they've received a good pruning. Evaluate case by case.
2. Pay attention to active ingredients, not just brand names. Brand names are designed to sell
a product. Active ingredients tell you what is in the container. You don't need a degree in
chemistry to understand these ingredients, just consult the National Pesticide Information
You can even give them a call at 1-800-858-7378
NPIC is open from 6:30AM to
4:30PM Pacific time, daily.

3. Healthy soil means healthy plants. Healthy soil means more than fertilizer.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Big Numbers Show Up For Pruning Advice

Were you at the pruning class held at the Wilmington Island Hester & Zipperer last Saturday? Tell us what you thought of it by posting a comment here. Do you have your own pruning stories to share? Email us stories and photos:

Those of you that missed our class can also post questions, and we'll be glad to answer them.

Sunshine My Only Sunshine

Finally, I'm being reminded of why I moved to this lovely climate. With this warm weather comes the urge to get out in the yard again, but what can you do? Think about some mixed containers. You don't have to go crazy. Just spice up the joint a bit.

Now remember that Valentine's Day is coming up. Ask that special someone about there favorite color, and incorporate it in your plantings! For those of you with relationships that work on the point system, there is no doubt that you will score big with this extra effort.

Just decide where you'd like the containers, and pay attention to the amount of direct sunlight it would receive. We can recommend some beautiful plants based on your light situation.

No time? Don't worry. We also have fresh Cyclamen blooming now. Put them in a basket, and you've got an instant gift. We can also arrange plants in a larger basket to make a nice gift that can be disassembled and planted outside.

Friday, February 6, 2009


CALL: 912-897-5581

AFTER 5:30P.M. 912-220-1855

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Red Plastic Not New-But New To Me

Have any of you tried putting red plastic around your tomato plants to increase their yield? I found this study, from 1998, and I'm curious if any of our customers have tried it.

Read about it here.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

One Of Our Most Senior Customers Passes

John David Franklin McCall of Wilmington Island passed away yesterday, at the age of 99, according to his obituary found in the Savannah Morning News today. Mr. McCall, as we knew him at the store, was a very sweet man who had a slightly mischievous twinkle in his eye. He'd show up in his big white car,year after year, for collards or seed potatoes, and he always had a gift of some sort.

I visited with Mr. McCall for the last time just the other day. He showed up at the store on one of those cold rainy days when you don't feel like going to the mailbox-let alone to the plant nursery. He wore a hat, as usual, and an off-white jacket. Walking wasn't easy for Mr. McCall. He moved confidently, but slowly, with the help of a cane. On that day he pulled a brightly-colored orange from his pocket and placed it in my hand. He had told us many times of his bumper citrus crops. Mr. McCall loved to talk about citrus.

I handed Mr. McCall a couple copies of Grier's Almanac that he had requested. He awkwardly turned the pages until he found the ad for the Mantis Tiller/Cultivator. "That's the best tiller you could ever buy," he said. "I had mine for years." I'm not sure what made him want to share that with me at that particular time, but I was grateful for the recommendation.

As Mr. McCall turned to leave he turned back and put a hand on my arm. "You're a good girl," he said. "You're a really good girl." It was his emphasis that made that stick in my mind. I wouldn't see him again after that.

I hope that Mr. McCall has found himself at the edge of a huge expanse of freshly-tilled earth. I hope the sun is shining and there is an orange tree blooming nearby sending a sweet fragrance through the air. Finally, I hope there is a bucket of seed potatoes by his side, because it's time to plant again.