Leesa Metzger is a landscaper in Northern Indiana and a former agriculture, botany and horticulture teacher. Leesa owns Metzger Landscaping & Design LLC, where her company’s mission is “We Turn Gardens into Art”. To learn more about their services visit metzgerlandscaping.net Leesa is a garden writer, authors the “Ask the Landscaper” newspaper column and serves on the North Manchester Beautification Committee.
 

Recent Blog Posts

Sep 06
FALL MUMS  

May 23
SPRING PRUNING  

Apr 20
Spring Flowering Trees  

Apr 17
The Great Perennial Divide  

Apr 06
Pruning Lilacs   (1 comment)

Mar 22
Creative Landscapes for Country Settings  

Feb 13
Valentine’s Blooms  

Nov 13
Helpful Tips for Overwintering Plants  

 

 

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FALL MUMS
by Leesa Metzger - posted 09/06/19

Fall is for planting! Fall seems to be the perfect season to get a new landscape established.  Cooler weather helps plants acclimate to their new surroundings easier than during the heat of summer.  Less watering is of course a welcome relief for homeowners establishing new plantings as well.  It’s a win-win!

September is a good month to landscape with fall mums, which are available in a rainbow assortment of colors.  Bronze, red, yellow, and white are among the more popular choices.  At Metzger landscaping we even carry mums that are tri-colored—that’s right—you can get three colors of mums all in the same pot!  

The key to successful planting for mums for the landscape is proper site preparation.  Choose a sunny, well-drained spot.  Dig and loosen the soil to a depth of eight to ten inches in a hole twice the diameter of the plant's pot.  Mix organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure into the soil.  If you want to try to overwinter your mums, once plant tops die back after blooming or severe frost, cut the stems even with the ground.  Apply a thick layer of straw or bark mulch at the end of October, removing it in the spring as the frost leaves the ground.  If we have a mild winter, or you live in a mild location, chances are better that they will survive.  The Garden Center at Metzger Landscaping in North Manchester has a fantastic selection of mums to brighten your landscape and perk up your front porch decorations!

Looking for long term fall color for your landscaping? Consider trees and shrubs that turn brilliant colors year after year.  A maple tree called ‘red sunset’ turns a reliable, brilliant red color each fall.  Pair the red sunset maple with a sugar maple or silver maple that turn a yellow golden color for a spectacular fall color.   There are many trees to consider for fall color, other than maples.  Many of the colorful large trees turn variations of yellow including yellowwood, American beech (a yellowish bronze), ash (a reddish yellow), ginkgo, honeylocust, quaking aspen, golden weeping willow, and elms.  For dark red colors in large trees consider some of the oaks such as the white, swamp white, scarlet, shingle, pin, and red oak.  Some of the other oaks' leaves aren't particularly showy in fall.  One of the few hardy flowering cherries for the north, the Sargent cherry, turns yellow to red.  A few shrubs that I use in our landscape projects for spectactular red fall color are Viburnum ‘brandywine’, old fashioned Burning Bush, and Virgina Sweetspire.  Shrubs to plant for yellow color include Buckthorne ‘fine line’, Dwarf Lilac ‘miss Kim’, and False Cypress ‘lemon thread’. 

 

Ornamental grasses and flowering fall perennials add texture and color to landscape beds late in the season.  When most perennials are starting to wane there are several reliable perennials that  homeowners can turn to for a splash of late season color.  Sedum ‘brillance’ or ‘autumn joy’, Gaillardia ‘indian blanket’ and purple asters are stunning are all in the fall.   All ornamental grasses seem fabulous in the fall but a few personal favorites are Panicum ‘shanendoah’, Miscanthus ‘sarenbande’ and Dwarf Fountain grass ‘hamlen’.   Visit us at Metzger Landscaping’s Garden Center for a great selection of fall mums, ornamental grasses and colorful fall perennials.

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SPRING PRUNING
by Leesa Metzger - posted 05/23/19

It's Spring; What Can I Prune? Confused about when and what to prune in the Spring? Spring has its own set of rules and reasons for pruning.

Spring is an awesome time for gardeners. You can focus your attention on lots of different tasks, each day bringing a completely different set of challenges and each task completed a new sense of accomplishment. Pruning is one of those tasks that can be a bit confusing, though. Pruning a plant in the wrong season can cause undue setbacks, but when done in the proper season pruning is extremely helpful. For healthy, tidy plants with great-looking blooms it's important to prune the right thing at the right time.

 

Spring bloomers, like forsythia, quince, lilac and azalea, should be pruned soon after they finish blooming. These shrubs bloom on "old" wood. Pruning early in the season allows the longest amount of time for them to grow next year's buds. Use prudent judgement, however; these plants may not need pruning at all if they are in a good spot and healthy. They often look their best when they grow as naturally as possible. There is no need to prune just because you have time on your hands.

 

Repeat Bloomers is a category of flowering shrubs that produce multiple bloom cycles per year. Each year, new brands of roses, azaleas, hydrangeas and more appear in garden centers presenting the question: When should they be pruned? Many of these bloom on both old and new wood, with the first round of flowers appearing mid-spring. In spring, treat these shrubs as you would the spring bloomers by pruning as soon as the first bloom cycle is complete. If the plants are still well shaped and suitably sized, limit pruning to the removal of spent blooms.

 

When hedges such as boxwood, holly, ligustrum, yews and others which are grown for foliage rather than flowers, put on their first flush of new growth they may look a bit shaggy. For a tightly groomed appearance, shear them. Cut the young foliage only, about half the distance back toward the old growth (for instance, a flush of four inches should be cut to two inches). Pruning in this manner allows the plant to grow slightly larger, which helps the canopy stay deep and full. It will also help to minimize production of long shoots.

 

Old shrubs that have grown too large for their space, or have seen extensive damage from cold, disease or insects, may require renewal pruning. Simply put, they are cut to the ground and allowed to regrow from root suckers. This drastic measure is often used to get a few more years out of shrubs that will in the future have to be replaced. Spring is the time to do this, at the time when the first buds begin to swell at the branch tips but before the new growth starts to emerge.

As the suckers grow back, pinch the tips to force these aggressive shoots to produce lateral branches for a bushier plant.

 

Basic tools for pruning these categories of plants include hand-held pruners, loppers, shears and pruning saw. Hand pruners work well for fine stems and branches up to æ inch in diameter. Bi-cut “loppers” are used for branches between 1/2 inch and 2 inches. A saw is necessary for larger branches. Shears are used to keep hedges and topiaries groomed by cutting through soft green growing tips.  Keep tools sharp and clean. Sharp tools make clean cuts which heal far more quickly than those that are full and leave ragged cuts.  A spring “haircut” or proper pruning will reward you for your diligent work with beautiful foliage and bloom all summer long!

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Spring Flowering Trees
by Leesa Metzger - posted 04/20/18

I'm a Hoosier girl, and spring is one of my favorite times of the year. In the springtime in Indiana bodacious blooms abound. From tulips and daffodils to crabapples, every plant appears to join me in a celebration of the end of winter and the beginning of a new season.

I get the most enjoyment out of all the small trees showing off and vying for our attention. Every vista is picture worthy. Crabapples adorn every branch with a flurry of flowers. Hundreds of crabapple cultivars exist so if a crabapple is in your planting future do your homework to make sure the tree and fruit size, flower color and disease resistance fits your needs.

The flowers of Redbud are a sure sign spring in the Midwest. Redbud, Cercis canadensis, grows as a native under story tree throughout the forests of the eastern US. It can grow to 30 feet tall and a bit wider at maturity. Redbud also blooms at an early age of 4-7 years. Even the trunks of older trees show off in spring as they parade their pink-purple flowers.

 

I would rank Flowering Dogwood as the most commonly desired spring flowering tree. The large white bracts (those actually aren't flower petals) of Flowering Dogwood flowers are held at the ends of branches like chalices waiting for spring rains. Flowering Dogwood, Cornus florida, is native to a large range of the eastern US.  Dogwoods are understory trees so they like afternoon shade, wood mulch, plenty of organic matter and moist well-drained acidic soil. Flowering Dogwoods hate to be too wet or too dry.  We have a great selection of spring flowering trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals at Metzger Landscaping in North Manchester. We invite you to stop by our nursery Monday-Friday 8-5 and Saturdays 8-4!

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