Monday, December 23, 2013

The Many Faces of Ben's Creek Nursery

Christmas greetings from all of us to all of you, our customers and friends! And when I say 'all of us,' I really mean all of us:

In this season of wondrous Hope, we wish you and your families peace, health, and happiness!

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Daunting Prospect

When we begin a project, frequently we face a daunting prospect.

This customer's Japanese Maple is not one of them. I included this picture here just 'cause I like it.

But other yards have not been so inviting. Herewith photos of some recent projects our guys will be working on. 

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Color of Thanksgiving

Something often overlooked are the distinctive colors of the Thanksgiving season. They run the gamut of what's called 'earth tones,' rich browns, deep oranges, and dusky yellows....

....all captured  in the incredible collage of autumn leaves as their summer youth fades into winter's twilight.

Courtesy Matthew Wingram, some rights reserved

But these seasonal colors are more than just a calm beauty to look upon. They evoke in us a recurring time of year when mankind harvests and stores up its abundance in preparation for the winter, and gives thanks to God for the bounty His Earth has produced.

And that, of course, is what Thanksgiving is all about, giving thanks for our abundance. An abundance not in just food or other material goods, but also family, friends, and faith.

So in grateful appreciation of our own abundance, we at Ben's Creek Nursery wish all our family and friends a happy, healthy, and safe Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Fall means Install!

We had a surfeit of installations in October. Herewith an over-abundance of photos.

Front foundation planting
Front foundation plants

Property line plantings
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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

November Garden Tips

Witch Hazel in the wild
Photo courtesy of the US Forest Service
The blooming witch hazel reminded us that November is here and it's time to look up some seasonal garden tips. Much of November's work involves preparation for the coming winter. But there is planting to be done and even colorful flowers to be enjoyed.

For the flowers, see this take on autumn blooms from Southern Living.  For Fall vegetable and herb planting, The Old Farmer's Almanac has a quickie list.  And for general November bullet points, we have this from the NC Cooperative Extension and this from the Clemson Cooperative Extension.

That ought to keep you busy through Turkey Day.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

When in Doubt, Mulch!

Mulch is one of the best all purpose, all around garden tools, whatever the climate or season. It both preserves and nourishes the plants throughout the year, and gives a good clean look and feel to your landscape design. Here are some recent examples from one of our commercial sites:

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Walking the Walk

A quick look at a recent walkway we installed.....

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

You Can Feel the Earth Move!

I give you the first photos of another large project our stalwart crews are working on right now. These pictures give you a sense of the magnitude of the task as we begin with the installation of a comprehensive irrigation system. 

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

A New Member of our Team!

Caylie among 8-10' Tonto Crape Myrtles and Nellie R. Stevens Hollies
We are pleased to report that Caylie Ussery joined our team this Fall! She is working in our Nursery division, selling large trees wholesale to landscapers and garden centers across the Mid-Atlantic region. An ECU grad, Caylie brings a sunny disposition and great energy to our sales team, and we feel very fortunate to have her.

Caylie is decidedly hands on with the material she sells, and here are some pictures to prove it.

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Monday, September 23, 2013

News from the Nursery

The Nursery is having a nice fall this year, mainly due to the beautiful, full grown Hollies and Crape Myrtles we have available.

12-14' Biloxi Crape Myrtle
We are quite proud of our Crape Myrtles (as evidenced by the fact that we have posted about them herehere, and here). Our collection includes a full array of whimsical names - e.g. Natchez, Catawba, Sioux, Tonto, Osage, Potomac, Dynamite, and Tuskegee - with colors ranging from white to pink to lavender to vivid red.

One rarity we have are our large Acoma Crape Myrtles, which have a shrub like growth habit and bright white flowers. This slow grower can take years to reach 5', so the 6 or 7 we have in the 8' range are what is known in the trade as 'hard to find.'

Acoma Crape Myrtle
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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Photos from the Field

As we've said before, there is no sod like new sod - and here are some pictures from this past summer which prove the point.

For this customer, we installed some plant material, some trees, and even helped wash some windows! But the eye-catcher here is the lush, green grass we installed. Take a look ....

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hardscape & Landscape

Thankfully, whether to go with hardscape or landscape installations is not an either/or proposition. Stonework, walks, and patios can and should blend seamlessly with new plant installations. Here are some pictures from a recent project which illustrate this point.
Natural Stone and Steps
New Plant Installations
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Tuesday, August 6, 2013


10-12' Biloxi
August is many things, but for those of us with Crape Myrtles - it's a time of colorful blooms exploding across our landscapes! For those of you without Crape Myrtles - here are some photos of what's happening right now at our Iles Farm.
Acoma & Osage
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Friday, July 19, 2013

July Roundup!

So, while the rest of you were sitting inside cooling off, what was Ben's Creek Nursery up to?

Herewith a round up of pictures from the past couple of months, which prove that when the going gets hot, the crews of Ben's Creek Nursery get going!

From shopping malls to residential homes, these pictures show some of the problems we faced and the solutions we provided.

Question: what's missing from these pictures?
Missing Dwarf Burford Holly
Missing Juniper
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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Year Without a Summer

Wish the summer heat would go away? Be careful what you wish for.

Here is what happened way back in 1816, the so-called Year Without a Summer. In that year, there was an historic low in solar activity. At the same time, there was a series of volcanic eruptions ending in the largest in 1,300 years, Mount Tambora in the East Indies. As a result, Summer was canceled. Here is the quick rundown on what a year without summer looks like:
As a result of the series of volcanic eruptions, crops in the above-mentioned areas had been poor for several years; the final blow came in 1815 with the eruption of Tambora. Europe, still recuperating from the Napoleonic Wars, suffered from food shortages. Food riots broke out in the United Kingdom and France, and grain warehouses were looted. The violence was worst in landlocked Switzerland, where famine caused the government to declare a national emergency. Huge storms and abnormal rainfall with floodings of the major rivers of Europe (including the Rhine) are attributed to the event, as was the frost setting in during August 1816. A major typhus epidemic occurred in Ireland between 1816 and 1819, precipitated by the famine caused by "The Year Without a Summer". It is estimated that 100,000 Irish perished during this period. A BBC documentary using figures compiled in Switzerland estimated that fatality rates in 1816 were twice that of average years, giving an approximate European fatality total of 200,000 deaths.
So, as you toil in the hot sun, be thankful! It could be worse.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Summer Watering Tips - from Popular Mechanics?

Popular Mechanics is the go to source for technology and new innovations. But in this article we get some old fashioned advice: 9 tips on watering your yard and landscape effectively in the summertime.

You will find nothing techie here - just simple advice on things like choosing the right tool (hint: garden hoses and nozzles are wasteful and inefficient) and the dangers of over-watering. So grab some sunblock and lay down some H20 - your yard will thank you for it.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

It's Not Rocket Science!

Well, in certain respects lawn and landscape work is like rocket science. Proper yard design and the care and nurture of lawns, plants, flowers, and shrubs certainly requires a good bit of education and experience. Even basic clean up and mulching benefits from expertise and an eye for design.

But in many cases, lawn and landscape work is simply....hard work.

Here are some pictures which illustrate this point. The 'before' photos show that this was a very nice yard on the lake, with some attractive design elements - pathways, some island and foundation plantings, all leading down to the lake. We did some plantings, but for the most part, we simply supplied fresh mulch, pruning, general clean up - and lots of hard work. The result, I think, is to make a good yard better.

First, the 'Before'

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Free Stuff!

Free is rare these days. But Ben's Creek Nursery gives something away for free all the time - an assessment of your yard and garden by our own Robert Neville.
Do you have ideas for new plants or designs but are unsure how to implement your vision? Robert Neville has over 20 years of experience in lawn maintenance, landscape design, and installation. He regularly meets with people - for free! - and walks their yards, offering assessments and advice on maintenance, improvements, and other options. Most of these visits do not produce paying customers; but that's okay. Bread upon the waters and all that .... and anyway, Robert simply likes to do it.
One of the things Robert does is take pictures of the properties he surveys. So herewith are pictures of various properties Robert has visited this last month.  Some we've been hired on, some not, but take a look and consider: what would you do to improve these properties?

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