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Natural Supports for your Garden

White azalea with pink freckles

You may have noticed that I've taken a hiatus from the blog the last two weeks. There was a lot of grief over losing Milkshake. It's been less than a month. Mother Nature hasn't been easy on us this month either. February was warmer than March, "According to WRAL meteorologist Mike Moss, March was colder than February this year by the biggest drop recorded in Raleigh's history." We are in Durham, but Raleigh is just down the road. We've also been rated as abnormally dry by the NC Drought Management Advisory Council. Yesterday, we had a dreary, but much needed day of rain. Long story short, I'm feeling better today. So, I'm back in the garden blog business. :)

I've always been envious of English gardeners and their seemingly endless supply of willow and hazel. This winter I had the realization that I too have a natural source for supports. Last year my husband cut down a small ligustrum "tree", but left the stump behind. Tall shoots sprung up that were very flexible. Ian cut these to about 4 foot lengths. They were invaluable this winter in protecting our early blooming azaleas. Each year the azaleas produce many buds and then a cold spell turns them brown. We used to use towels and sheets to cover the azaleas which helps protect the plants from frost, but the use of supports and fabric is better. We simply placed the branches in loop fashion over the azaleas and laid fabric on top in the afternoon. This helped trap some warmth before night fall.

These early bloomers were free. I spotted a neighbor digging them up for disposal, so naturally, I asked if I could have them. So, glad I did.

We found another use for the ligustrum branches using the simple hoop design. This gorgeous plant was also a freebie. My sister wasn't having luck with this clematis. She generously, donated it to Ian and me. We potted it up and voila! It likes it here.

We don't have a green thumb with everything. Note the daffodils in the background. These are Mount Hoods and they haven't bloomed in a couple of years. I'll move them next year and see what happens.

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