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"George the Garden Guy" Owner of Holiday's Nursery & Landscaping

  • 03/22/2020
    Stone Features & Fountains

    How To Accent Your Yard

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  • 03/22/2020 - "George the Garden Guy"
    How to grow "Knock Out" Knock Out Roses

    Are you frustrated because your Knock Out Roses look like old news?  Are they yellow, brown, scraggly looking?  Well here's some tips to make you the "Knock Out" envy of the neighborhood!

     

    The first thing you need to know about Knock Outs is that there's a myth that all you need to do is dig a hole and plant them.  False!  While the Knock Out Rose is about the best rose to choose as far as limited maintenance, it still requires some attention.  When you first plant a Knock Out make sure you water it every day.  The only way for a new potted plant to absorb moisture is from the root bound ball that has been trapped inside that pot where it was grown.  Since the plant hasn't had a change to get rooted in it'll dry out very quickly even after it was just watered.  Therefore, in the heat of the summer, you should water the Knock Out every day for at least 30 days.  Then back it off the every other day for the next 30 days.  After that, your irrigation schedule should suffice.  Obviously adjust watering when it rains.

     

    The second thing you should do very shortly after you plant is apply and rose and floor care product that covers fertilization, insecticide, and fungicide.  Roses are very susceptible to insects and disease.  I have found a great easy to apply product is by Bayer.  It's called "All in one rose and flower care."  Follow the directions and this will be a quick easy way to have great Knock Outs.  Apply as directed.

     

    As your Knock Outs bloom out they'll leave a brown dead flower.  These become somewhat unattractive.  More importantly they drop onto the leaves after time and cause rotting and yellowing.  These dead buds also prevent the rose from putting all its strength into forming new buds for continual flowering.  This is where the term "Dead Heading" comes from.  While this is not absolutely essential to do, if you're going to grow "Knock Out'" Knock Outs it should be a routine.  

     

    After a while Knock Outs can become tall, straggly, and unsightly.  Don't be afraid to prune them.  Depending on how long you've waited will determine just how much.  On landscaping jobs, when a customer has really let their Knock Outs go, I have literally chopped off the entire rose straight across the top and half way down the plant!  Not to worry, Knock Outs are very resiliant and will begin to shows signs of new growth within weeks.  This also helps keep the Knock Out shorter, thicker and more like a rose bush which is what it is supposed to be.

     

    The best way to prune Knock Outs is to do it slightly and more often.  When the blooms turn dead and you go to dead head the plant, just snip the dead bloom and the few leaves under it.  Not much, just about 1/2 " under the bloom.  This will keep the plant healthy and full.  If you do this the Knock Out will reward you with consistent color year around.

     

    Don't give up on your Knock Outs!  Even if they have become eye sores you can bring them back.  Just follow these tips and it's only a matter of a few weeks and you'll being to see the signs.  There's nothing that can beat Knock Outs for class, color, and making a statement in your landscape.  For more information about Holiday's Nursery & Landscaping or "George the Garden Guy" call 904-613-9918.  We can come to your home, give you a wonderful plan, and make your home a garden paradise!

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  • 03/22/2020 - "George the Garden Guy
    Basic Landscaping for Homeowners

    Whenever a homeowner asks me what they should do with their landscaping I usually tell them, "Less is more."  The reason is homeowners typically don't know what they're planting is going to do 5, 10, & 20 years from now.  Most of the time when I go to a customer's home that has invited me to give them a design and estimate they ask me what can they keep of the landscaping they've already done.  Unfortunately its usually such a hodge dodge mess with no rhyme or reason, I tell them, "not much."  On many occasions I tell the customer that it would be best to just remove everything and start with a blank canvas.

     

    New home builders are the worst!  They just have someone throw some inexpensive shrubbery in with no regard for the future homeowner and we get tons of calls from customers that say, "We hate our landscaping," or "My landscaping looks like a jungle."  The only thing a new home builder cares about is what it looks like before closing.  Its a basic and cheap as they can make it.  

     

    Here's a few tips to follow when doing your own landscaping project if you have little to no experience:

     

    1. Stay basic in your plan.  Don't try to coordinate 10 different plant species into your landscape.  Stick with 2 or 3 main choices, with possibly a feature type plant incorporated here or there.  Such as a palm, topiary, or something to accuante corners.

     

    2.  Do not go to big box stores for advice!  The employees there are well intentioned but have no idea what they're talking about.  Even thought the plant tags have info tags you can't rely on them.  Plant info tags are based on a mid Atlantic plant zone.  You live in a much different plant zone.  If you don't talk to someone who knows any given particular plant will do something totally different than the tag instructs.  I could go on but just trust me on this one.

     

    3.  Don't always assume "Your landscaper" knows what they're talking about either.  Honestly, most "Landscapers" are guys with a pickup and a lawnmower.  THEY DON'T KNOW!  I can't tell you how many "Landscapers" come into my plant nursery and have no idea what they're doing and ask me for advice.  I'm happy to help them. They're patronizing Holiday's because they know they can get knowledgable help and then they buy their plants from me.

     

    4.  Look at the picture attached to this blog.  You see how simple yet classy that looks?  Think of it as if you're selling you're home.  You don't want your landscape to look like its so personal to you that someone else can't imagine living there.  If you want to get more of a "Wow" factor then this, you need to call me!  That's where I'll come to your home and take over!  

     

    5.  Go with a multi level effect.  it shows off better.  Something tall in the rear, medium height in the middle, smaller ornamentals in the front.

     

    If you need help and just want to turn your project over to me give me a call at (904) 613-9918

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  • 03/22/2020 - George "The Garden Guy
    How to Replace Sod

    Perhaps the most frustrating thing a home gardener enthusiasts encounters is not achieving the results for that lush, green, beautiful lawn so many of us desire.  You're looking at your lawn and realize some of your sod needs to be replaced.  Well you've come to the right place to get some help!  First lets talk about some of the reasons why sod/grass dies or looks unbecoming.  After all, if you're going to replace your sod, you want to know what to look for so your not in the same place in the near future.

     

    1.  The biggest reason sod dies is because it is not getting irrigated properly.  Many people think sod only needs water maybe once or twice a week.  While differing varieties of sod, climate, soil conditions, sun/shade exposure, temperature, and season all play a part, sod needs water on a regular basis!  Obviously you need to consider all the above mentioned conditions before you decide on how much and how often.  I know in Jacksonville Florida, we use predominatly "St. Augustine" sod.  Contrary to what the local officials tell you, this sod needs to be watered more than twice per week in the hot summer months.

     

    2.  Insect infestation is a close second to lack of irrigation as to why sod dies.   All sod needs to be treated for insect control.  Depending on where you live and type of sod will dictate what to use.  In Florida, chinch bugs and mole crickets are the primary culprits.  If you have a spray company servicing your lawn make sure they're treating often enough.  If you see any beginnings of brown, dead patches, immediately check to make sure its getting covered with your irrigation.  If so, call your lawn spray company immediately and get them out there or this small patch will run crazy like the plague throughout your entire lawn if not addressed.

     

    3.  Over watering or not enough sun.  If you have a primarily shaded area don't believe what your lawn guy or landscaper tells you that if you replace the sod it'll be fine,  It won't.  Even special "shade tolerant' sod won't do well.  I can't tell you how many customers I've talked to that have spent $$$ replacing sod in these areas only to be frustrated.  Typically when a customer calls me out I offer other solutions to remedy difficult areas that do not include re-sodding

     

    As for replacing the sod itself:

     

    1.  Dig out all roots, thatch, etc and put a layer of fresh top soil so that when you lay the new sod on top it'll be at the same level as the existing sod.  DO NOT LAY SOD ON TOP OF OTHER DEAD SOD!  For larger wide open areas rent a sod cutter.  

     

    2.  Before choosing the sod put your eyes on it before you get it delivered.  Most sod companies will try to pawn off their oldest marginal sod first.  Especially to unsuspecting homeowners.

     

    3.  Do not fertilizer new sod or let your lawn be sprayed for at least 30 days after installing

     

    4.  Tell your lawn guy not to cut the new areas of sod until its rooted in.  Approx 30 days.

     

    5.  If you had insects in these areas prior make sure it was treated about a week ahead of time before laying new sod and water in treatment so it doesn't effect the new sod

     

    6.  In hot climates water sod twice a day!  Between 6-9am and again between 7-9pm.  Sod must stay moist and hydrated or ill fry.  Do this for the first 30 day.  Then once a day for the second 30 days.  After this regular irrigation cycles should be fine.  

     

    There ya go!  Take it from me George "The Garden Guy," there is a bit of an art to having a beautiful lawn.  For more information on how we can help you with your landscaping just give me a call at 904-613-9918.

     

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  • 03/22/2020 - George the Garden Guy"
    Butterfly Gardens

    Everyone loves butterflies and hummingbirds!  So why not make a part of your landscaping a butterfly garden?  But where do you start? Typically a butterfly garden does well in full to part sun.  If you're going to invest the time, work, and cost of materials for a butterfly garden the very first thing you should consider is the soil.  It doesn't make any sense to plant a butterfly garden in poor or average soil.  If possible mix in some organic compost in your already existing soil.  Or better yet, remove about 12" of soil in the area where you are planning the garden and refill with good potting soil or at least mix in 50/50 with your current soil.

    Second is select your plants.  Here's a list of pants that draw butterflies and hummingbirds in Jacksonville.  While its not exhaustive, its a great place to begin.  


    Lavender, Firebush, Lantana, Iris, Calla Lily, Canna Lily, Begonia, Dahlias, Delphinium, Fox Glove, Geranium, Phlox, Daylily, Texas Sage, Buddleia, Dianthus, Pentas, Blue Daze, Gaura, Salvia, Sage, Verbena, Firecracker.  For specifically attracting the Monarch Butterfly try, Milkweed, Large Zinnia, Agastache, Buddleia, and Bottle Brush.


    Keep in mind hummingbirds are especially attracted to red and blue.


    When staging your plants where you want them to go, keep in mind you need to know the overall height, width etc. of each plant.  Not what it looks like now, but what about 2 or 3 years from now?  Give enough room for them to fill in together accordingly.  Most butterfly gardens are planted so that when they grow in a few years they're packed in tight with a hodge podge of colors, varieties, shapes and sizes.  Just keep in mind to place the taller varieties toward the rear of the garden.  Also make sure you fertilize with a timed release product and use as directed. Osmocote works well.  Also approx. once a week a liquid application of something like miracle grow does wonders.  Keep in mind that butterflies and hummingbirds are attracted to nectar.  So if you have a lot of dead and dying blooms they'll see whats on the menu elsewhere.  Its a good idea to dead head and trim plants accordingly.  


    If you plant the correct plant varieties you should see butterflies patronizing your garden almost immediately.  Hummingbirds take a little more patience.  Maybe add a canister of nectar to seduce them to where they can't resist.  Before you know it your butterfly garden will become the envy of the neighborhood and a great conversation piece.  


    If you'd like us to do it right and plant your butterfly garden just give us a call at Holiday's Nursery & Landscaping.  904-613-9918

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  • 03/22/2020 - "George the Garden Guy"
    How To Install Your New Plants

    You're all ready to go!  You have all your plants purchased and now what?  Installing your plants properly can help you avoid the pitfalls many homeowners experience with failed efforts.  In any "how to" blog, it can be as helpful to know what not to do as much as the proper way to proceed.  Nothing can be more disappointing than all this energy and optimism in planting your flower bed than going through all the work, expense, and high hopes of a new and enduring landscape than things going South fast. The following is a list of do's and don'ts for installing your new plants.  

     

    1. When purchasing your plants, be ready to install them immediately!  I run into so many homeowners that have purchased plants on a particular day with the thought that they'll just put them in the driveway until they're ready.  Bad choice!  You will never be able to keep up with watering them sufficiently in those pots exposed out of the soil especially if its warm.  At the nursery, we irrigate containers sometimes up to 3 and 4 times a day in these pots to keep them moist.  Potted plants dry out quickly as their root systems are usually root bound in the containers.  They also dry out quickly when exposed on top of the ground with no mulch or soil.  Wait until you're ready to go in the same day to purchase.

    2.  When you take the plant out of the pot, (do not plant while in the pots) break up approx 1/2 inch of the bottom roots to promote quicker growth and attaching to the soil around it.

    3.  Water the plant well before you install.

    4.  Make sure you leave proper spacing according to the varieties your installing and keep in mind the personal preference you have in accomplishing the end result you're looking for.

    5.  Make sure the hole you dig is twice the size of the root ball.  Put potting soil in the bottom of the hole so that when you place the plant inside the top of the soil in the container it's level with the current level of the soil already there.

    6.  After placing the plant in the hole, fill in around the sides with potting soil as well.  Gently pack soil in but not too much.  You want to try to keep the soil from settling around the plant but don't want the soil so compressed that the roots system cannot easily push through to establish itself firmly and quickly.

    7.  Dead head any fading or dying flowers.

    8.  Perhaps this is the most important point:  Water a newly installed plant EVERY DAY for the first 30 days.  Don't skimp on this!  The compressed root ball cannot absorb moisture as a well establish plant as the roots are not established in the surrounding soil.  Also don't just sprinkle the top with water this does no good at all.  Put the hose directly where the root ball is to get the water to where it matters and be able to water much quicker.  Depending on what type of plants you install, you may need to take a little pressure off the flow of water.  After the first 30 days then you can go to every other day in watering.  Then after two months, your regular irrigation cycle should be fine.

    9.  Always add mulch, pine straw, organic material etc. all around the base of the plant at ground level.  Usually approx 3" deep.  Mulch is just like insulation in your home,  it keeps the plant insulated from harsh temps in both winter and summer.  It also help the roots maintain moisture.  

    10. Fertilize your new plants with a time released product and follow direction on the lable. 

     

    There you have it.  If you follow these simple guidelines it will greatly enhance your success rate.  If you would like Holiday's to come to your home and give you an estimate on having all this done in a professional way with a warranty, please give us a call at 904-613-9918.

     

     

     

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  • 03/22/2020 - George the Garden Guy"
    Cold Tolerant Palm Trees

    Sometimes folks think that when they live in a Southern climate that most plams will do fine in their area.  This is not the case.  Theres a wide range of temps that various palms can thrive.  The first thing you should do is find out what plant zone you live in and discover what palms will survive in your average high and low temps.  For example, in Jacksonville Florida we have a plant zone of 9a.  Many consider this to be quite the tropical climate.  However our winters here can get down to the low 20's in some rare cases.  It could be typical to get low temps in the winter of high 20's to the low 30's five to ten nights per year.  Most palms won't survive this.  When you discover your plant zone you can see what your average temps are and select a palm accordingly.  The following is a list of palms that will do reasonably well in Northeast Florida.  Keep in mind that the proximity of your home and the distance to a large body of water can have a drastic effect on temp fluctuation.  If you live close to a large body of water, say within 3-5 miles, a gain in temp of approx. 5 degrees on average in the winter isn't uncommon.  With these things to consider, here's a list of alms that generally do well in Northeast Florida.

     

    1. Palmetto Palm
    2.  Queen Palm
    3.  Roebelinii Palm
    4.  European Fan Palm
    5.  Windmill Palm
    6.  Chinese Fan Palm
    7.  Sylvester Palm
    8.  Canary Island Palm
    9.  Sego Palm
    10. Queen Emma Palm
    11.  Coontie Palm
    12.  Washingtonia Palm
    13.  Cabbage Palm
    14.  Pindo Palm
    15.  Silver Bismarkia Palm
    16.  Blue Mediterranean Palm

     

    In the event of a severe frost should cover smaller palms with either nursery cloth or a regular bed sheet will do.  Just make sure you anchor the covering down to the ground with a brick, log, block, etc. so that the potential wind doesn't blow it off.  If you really want to get energetic you can run an extension cord under the cloth with a regular light bulb.  Tis is just about a guarantee your palm is going to do fine.  

     

    There you have it.  Stick with one of these varieties and for the most part they will do fine in the 9a plant zone.  The roebelinii palm may need to be covered if temps get down to below 30 but its well worth the effort because of their small yet very tropical looking appeal.  Just keep in mind, all those beautiful palms you see in South Florida won't make it in our climate.  But not to worry with this selection of 9a cold tolerant palms you should be able to find one that fits your taste.

     

    For information on how you can incorporate a few palms into your landscape give us a call at 904-613-9918.

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  • 03/22/2020 - "George the Garden Guy"
    Privacy Hedges

    There are many different kinds of plant materials you can use as a privacy hedge. The two most commonly used here in Northeast Florida is Sweet Viburnum or Ligustrum. These two shrubs grow very dense, about 1 ft per year, and do not break the bank depending on what size you start with. Part of the determination of cost is do you want immediate gratification as in an instant privacy wall or can you wait for a few years. Here's a basic rule of thumb for with Viburnum or Ligustrum. A 3 gal container will take about 6-7 years if planted about 3' on center under normal growing conditions. A 7 gal container would take abut 4-5 years. 15 gal size you should look at approx 2-3 years. 30 gal will give you an almost immediate

     

    There are many other shrubs that can be used for a privacy wall here in Jacksonville.  Here are some other options to name a few:

    1. Loropetalum
    2. Bottle Brush
    3.  Jack Frost Ligustrum 
    4. Howard Ligustrum
    5.  Podocarp

     

    You can also do a privacy row of more of an upright growing plant that will be more expensive initially but has a more uniform elegant look to it.  Some options include:

     

     

    1. Italian Cypress
    2.  Spartan Juniper 
    3. Leyland Cypress
    4. Arizona Cypress
    5. Green Giant Arborvitae

     

    Just remember one thing when  you're installing a privacy wall, give plenty of room based on the growth characteristic so as not to encroach on your neighbors property line.  Also if you have a small yard with a pool or patio, even the slab to your house do not plant too close!  The root systems can be very aggressive and damage these surfaces over time.  

     

    If you take these general tips you can be a successful "privacy wall" homeowner.  For more information about Holiday's Nursery, or if you would like us to help you with your landscaping project please give us a call at 904-613-9918.

     

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  • 03/20/2020 - "George the Garden Guy"
    Raised Gardens

    There are many reasons why a raised garden is a viable alternative rather than a traditional garden.  In order to have a successful raised garden, there's a few things you need to know to get started.  

     

    1.  Probably the most important thing when planning a raised garden is placement of the garden itself.  I've seen many people get energetic about putting in a raised garden with visions of fresh veggies and flowers while placing their raised gardens in an area where it was destined to fail.  A raised garden must be placed where it will get either full sun or at least 8 hours of sun per day.  Nothing halts the production and dreams of a flourishing raised garden than to put it in primarily shade.


    2.  Just as important as the placement is the soil medium you're going to use.  If you fill your garden with any old dirt you can expect similar results in the produce.  Your garden needs to have a mixture of mediums to get you to where you need to be.  Remember the soil needs to breath so the roots can as well.  So don't make the soil so heavy it doesn't drain well or enable air to get in.  Use a mixture of peat moss, Canadian Peat if you can get it, also something organic would be a must.  If you don't have a means to do any composting than Composted Cow will suffice in a bag.  If you really want to get fancy you can add a little vermiculite.  Lastly, you need something to keep the soil from packing down too much and allowing drainage.  Either perlite or mulch fines work well.  Of the above three main components of the soil, do a 1/3 amount of each.  If using vermiculite just add about 10% of the overall soil volume.  One last thing, this combination of soil must be mixed thoroughly!


    3.  Another thing you need to make sure of is that the bottom of your raised garden can drain through holes in the bottom.  Don't be stingy with the amount of holes you put in.  


    4.  If you're the typical homeowner watering your garden can be very sporadic with the busy schedules we all keep.  Therefore I highly recommend putting in an irrigation system so that the garden gets watered on time every time.  It can be very simple.  You can just use a hose timer to be set on the times you want irrigation to happen.  You can use either drip lines or small spray heads.  Don't compromise on this unless you're retired and this is a real hobby you don't mind tending to every day.  But watch when you have to go out of town!  Many a garden has met its demise from gong on vacation.


    5.  Fertilize your plants.  I always recommend Osmocote time released fertilizer.  Get a product specifically for veggie gardens and follow the direction on the table.


    6.  When your veggie plants have finished yielding remove them from the garden and loosen up the soil again.  You can chop them up and add them to your compost pile if you have one.  This would be a good time to add a little organic matter you've been storing up for your garden.  Don't think you can continue to use the same soil without conditioning it before every planting.  Soil looses its nutrients.  


    7.  Another thing to keep in mind is how to get the best yield out of your garden.  In some areas you can have three different crops every year and turn your garden over multiple times!  Here in Jacksonville we can do this.  In the early spring, say around March 1 we can plant tomatoes, squash, beans, egg plant, herbs, and the list goes on.  These plants should be done yielding around June.  Then replant the same types of hot tolerant veggies which will end around the end of October.  And guess what?  Then its time to plant cool weather crops like all kinds of lettuce, cabbage, kale, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.  This should come off around the end of Feb. and you start your cycle all over again.  Gardening this way keeps you in fresh veggies all year!


    For ideas on how to lay out your raised garden as far as where to put the plants, google for some ideas.  Nothing beats a raised garden for fun,  fresh food, a sense of accomplishment, and a stress reliever.  


    For more information on Holiday's Nursery & Landscaping, or if you want us to come and help you install your raised garden just give us a call at 904-613-9918.

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9100 Philips Highway

Jacksonville, FL 32256
Ph: 904-448-1208

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