The Perks of Outdoor Living


Photo by Jon Collier.

Your living space is your sanctuary—a place for peace, leisure, and tranquility far removed from the stress of professional and social obligations. You’ve probably set up your living room, kitchen, and bedroom exactly how you want them to be: the right fabrics, the perfect lighting, and all the amenities needed to make you feel comfortable and relaxed. Most likely, you use and enjoy these spaces nearly every day. However, your yard and landscape may be getting less use, especially during the winter months. It’s time to stop neglecting your outside space; making an investment in your property means you should be using and enjoying all of it. Sprucing up your landscape by installing some Outdoor Living features—such as an outdoor fireplace, an outdoor kitchen, a patio, or a deck—is a simple way to get more out of your property: more space, more fun, more leisure, and more relaxation.

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“What’s Blooming” with Mark Burton

Over the last couple weeks, you may have noticed some early blooms popping up around your neighborhood. Though it’s still February, unseasonably warm, wet weather has inspired a rush of spring growth. Our horticulturist, Mark Burton, has made note of some of the plants he’s seen blooming in his garden, and what other gardeners should look out for as February transitions into March.

Winter Jasmine

winter jasmine

Photo by Amanda Slater.

Winter Jasmine is a viny, green shrub that sprouts odorless yellow flowers in late winter. Typically, winter jasmine blooms in March or April, but warm weather can cause blooms to appear in late February or even earlier. This shrub prefers ample sunlight and can grow in a wide range of soil conditions. Mark has noticed these vines popping up in yards across Roanoke County.



Photo by Joy Yagid.

Hellebore or “The Christmas Rose” produces large, bowl-shaped pink and white flowers. These plants ae highly frost resistant, and many produce flowers in the dead of winter. They prefer moist, partially shaded soil, so you may find them popping up under bushes or trees. Hellebore has long been known as a plant that can brighten even the gloomiest of winters, but this wet and warm weather has it shining in full force.



Photo by Tejvan Pettinger.

Daffodils are one of the most popular kinds of spring flowers; up to 60 different kinds can grow in the wild. Typically, daffodils bloom is early spring and are considered harbingers of the season. However, some daffodils have been known to bloom in the snow. They prefer well-drained, sunny soil. Patches of wild daffodils can be found around Roanoke County, and many home and business owners cultivate daffodil patches throughout the winter.

Hairy Bittercress

Mulch prevents weed growth

Mark’s Mulching Technique

Hairy Bittercress

Hairy Bittercress by F.D Richards.

Hairy Bittercress, an edible weed that belongs to the mustard family, can be found across the United States. It typically produces small white flowers in early spring, but Mark has noticed bittercress blooms popping up everywhere lately—even in his own yard! This weed typically grows in damp soil, open ground, or turf. If you’ve seen it in your garden, a 2” layer of mulch may prevent it from germinating.

What have you seen blooming? Comment and let us know!

Your Definitive Guide to Flower Giving


Photo by Liz West.

Is it just me or did Valentine’s day sneak up on us this year? It seems like it was only a few days ago when I first started noticing the flower aisle of my local grocery store lit up with evanescent heart-shaped balloons and cutesy love propaganda. Or maybe I’ve just been avoiding thinking about it…..purchasing the perfect V-Day gift is hard work, after all. You don’t want your present to be too commercialized, but you also don’t want to risk buying a unique present that turns out to be a totally dud. In my mind, a bouquet of fresh flowers is the perfect medium: classy, timeless, and free of the cheesy love puns that companies are now plastering all over chocolate bars and stuffed teddy bears. But even then, there are thousands of different flowers to choose from. Where to begin?

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Landscape Water Features: Now for All Budgets


Photo by Karl on Flickr

Incorporating a pond, waterfall, or fountain into your landscaping plan is a great way of adding excitement and interest to your yard. However, for many people, water feature installations have traditionally been too expensive or complicated to pull off. Now, technological advances have made ponds, waterfalls, and fountains cheaper, more energy efficient, and more accessible for all budgets. As water features become more popular, landscapers and developers are working hard to give customers the diverse design options they want, which, in turn, has created higher quality products that can fit a more diverse set of needs. If you’ve been considering a water feature install, now is the perfect time to make that leap. Here are some tips to get you inspired:

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The H2B Program Under Trump



Photo by Gage Skidmore.

A shift in political power always brings about changes for small business owners. In the Landscaping industry, many hiring managers rely on the H2B immigration program to provide work visas during peak season so that they have the manpower they need. Now, Landscapers are wondering what kind of changes to expect under a new and, at times, unpredictable administration.

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