Tips and Tidbits

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March 2020 GNO Gardening Newsletter

Posted on March 26, 2020 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)


The LSU Ag Center produces an interesting monthly newsletter specific to our area. 

Attached is the link for your convenience:" target="_blank">http://

We Are Working During the Coronavirus Quarantine

Posted on March 24, 2020 at 5:55 PM

 Yay!!! Your Happy Garden is Here!!

Your Happy Garden wants to help you enjoy your outdoor space during this strange and serious time. We are ready to beautify your green space so you can take pleasure in the outdoors while the weather is nice, and in spite of our current social constraints.


Your Happy Garden offers contact-free service without threat to your health. Call, e-mail, or text to set up an appointment, and include a “to do” list for us. We will arrive, call you to let you know we are there, use our own tools and materials to perform the work, call you to let you know we have completed the job, and send an e-invoice, payable via Venmo, e-payment, or mailed check.


The LA Department of Agriculture has determined that landscape and horticulture businesses may remain open provided that employees follow social distancing guidelines of 6.’


Contact us today and let us “grow you some peace of mind,” with no risk to your health.


October 2017 Update

Posted on October 9, 2017 at 1:50 PM Comments comments (11)

First, let's all count our blessings that Nate was "all bark and no bite!" It's been a busy hurricane season.  Let's hope it slows down here on out.

Speaking of slowing down, plant growth also starts slowing down this month, so be sure to cut down on the amount of irrigation you have going.  If we have regular rain, you can turn off the sprinkler entirely for your grass.  As the weather gets cooler and cooler, you can also bring down the irrigation to other plants and shrubs.

The garden might be slowing down, but LSU AgCenter is chugging along with helpful information.  Check out their October newsletter at the following link:

Also, they have also posted an interesting article about a palm disease affecting silver date palms and Chinese windmill palms, which, unfortunately, has made its way to Louisiana.  You can read it here:

September 2017 Update

Posted on September 28, 2017 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Your Happy Garden is proud to embark on our third year of business!  Thank you to all of our clients who have made these last two years a success.  And a big shoutout to all of our crewmembers with whom we could not do without.  Rain or shine, hot or cold, sunny or cloudy -- we are here to brighten your world with natural beauty and share the secret to a happy garden!

Contrary to conventional wisdom, fall is THE BEST TIME TO PLANT; if you are putting off updating your landscape until spring, wait no longer.  You will gain approximately 18 months of growth by planting in the fall instead of the spring. Call us or get digging.  October and November are excellent times to install a landscape.  December and January are the best times to plant trees.  

Take a look at the new photos I've added on the website.  Spring and Summer 2017 were busy times for us, and we did some pretty interesting projects. Enjoy!

Happy Gardening!!!

Your Happy Garden Earns "Best of" Badge

Posted on May 3, 2017 at 5:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Check it out at

Your Happy Garden was just awarded Home Advisor's Best of Home Advisor 2017 badge!

Thank you to all of our clients for your positive response to our work!!!!

April Tids and Tidbits

Posted on April 2, 2017 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Dear Gardening Afficiondas and Friends,

Spring is here, and we are all busy as bees cleaning up the winter detritus and beautifying our yards.  Pulling weeds, cutting back the dead stuff that couldn't survive the barest of winters we experienced this year, planting new flowers and shrubs, remulching, resodding, etc., etc.  We're full of ideas and the possibilities to create beauty seem endless.  It is both back breaking work and incredibly fulfilling; kind of an oxymoron here, but if you love it, you know what I mean.

Before going out and spending a small fortune buying your latest horticultural favorites, take stock of the sun/shade in your planting area and how it may have changed.  Try to remember where you planted things and how they fared - did they like the space, are they thriving, or have they grown leggy, and don't bloom?  Use this information to guide your purchases.  Full sun means a lot of sun - like 6-8 hours of strong, hot sun.  Not a few hours of dappled sun breaking through oak tree branches.  Same for shade.  Full shade means full on shade.  Part shade/part sun give you a lot more flexibility.   

I woulud like to make a plug for the LSU AgCenter, which is the best source of information for plants for our area.  Click on the following link to get to their latest newsletter:

Happy Gardening!  And remember -- call us if you need us.  We are there to help, come up with ideas/solutions, and above all do what you need done to make you and your garden happy!

Shelley and the YHG team!

September Tids and Tidbits

Posted on January 22, 2017 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (1)



"The garden is a love song, a duet between a human being and Mother Nature." - Jeff Cox


If you agree, as we do, with this sentiment expressed by American garden writer Jeff Cox, then why not gift a garden to a loved one who enjoys a garden or gardening Give the unique gift of a garden for Christmas, Mother's Day, a birthday, or to celebrate a new home. Surprise a spouse!! Mark any special occasion with a garden — a gift that keeps on giving and will never be relegated unused to a back closet. Contact us, and we'll gladly help you select the garden that best suits the property. Below we’ve put together a sample of the garden “gift packages” we will offer. They will come with an assortment of the plants described below based on the amount of sunlight the area receives. Packages will include the labor to install.


Look for photos, pricing, size and other details about YHG's “gift gardens” in our next newsletter. If you are very curious and can’t wait, please call Shelley at 504-264-6033, to discuss!


A "Made in the Shade" Garden

Any spot that is either fully shaded or gets no more than two to four hours of direct morning sun (called "lightly" or "partially" shaded) can be filled with with aromatic gingers, the blooming fatsia japonica shrub, an oak leaf hydrangea, lady palms, bleeding heart vine, hostas, caladiums, walking Iris, variegated vinca or many variety of ferns. In addition, the partially shaded gardens can also hold eye-popping foliage plants and bloomers such as coleus, pentas, torenia, impatiens, salvia, and even some carefree, evergreen day lily varieties like our grandmothers grew. These are also wonderful locations for a birdbath or a favorite lawn and side table for relaxing and watching the birds and butterflies who visit the garden.


A "Make Some New Shade" Garden

When shade is needed where none exits, why not give the gift of a new tree? We can help you choose a tree that complements any surrounding landscape and get it planted this winter, which is the ideal time to install trees in south Louisiana. As the tree grows and begins to throw shade, the area underneath can be mulched or a shade garden installed.


A "Sun-Loving" Garden

The spots in a landscape that get at least six to eight hours of sun a day offer the best opportunities for planting most new trees and many popular shrubs, including gardenia, sasanqua, sweet olive, azaleas, nandina and viburnum. (These will also grow well in most lightly shaded spots as well, though perhaps with less flowering). Full sun is always best for hibiscus and crepe myrtles, both of which come in a world of colors and are a mainstay in our subtropical landscapes. Sun-friendly bedding plant could include fuzzy blue ageratum, piercing Blue Daze, celosia, cosmos, impatiens, marigolds, moss rose, ornamental sweet potatoes, salvias and zinnias. In the heat of south Louisiana summers, we try to give these flowers full morning sun but some protection from the blistering afternoon sun. In our cooler months, these same beds can also hold pansies, violas, petunias, dianthus, snapdragons, straw flowers and heavily perfumed stock.


A "Boost-Your-Curb-Appeal" Garden

This is gift you may want to give yourself if you are hoping to sell your home, lease a rental property or even boost the odds of a favorable property appraisal. There are shrubs and bedding plants that can be easily installed for a quick shot of curb appeal in any season. Often, just some mass plantings of seasonal bloomers and a layer of fresh mulch can add enough eye-catching color to turn a head.





If you haven't done so before, it really is time to embrace the fact that our cooler months are the ideal time to plant almost all trees, build or rework tired flower beds or install the shrubs and hedges that help give definition to the landscape. Not only will these additions brighten spirits all winter, plantings that go in during the kinder weather that begins in early October will be miles ahead of those traditionally planted in spring. Planting during cooler weather allows trees, shrubs and hardy bedding plants to put down roots and settle in before the heat and stress of our hard summers - and the potential for high winds, damaging winds during hurricane season. Another advantage? By following this planting schedule, your yard will be alive with color and healthy foliage by the time you are ready to host football parties and entertain guests over the holidays. There is simply no downside to making fall and winter your primary planting season.


Granted, you may not see the over abundance of blooming things in your local nurseries - especially the big box nurseries - during the fall and winter because their buyers are responding to the traditional demands of consumers who think they can only plant in spring and summer. But we will work on your behalf to find the plantings needed to develop or refurbish your gardens during the cool season.



Written by Your Happy Garden’s contributing writer, Sheila Grissett

July Tids and Tidbits

Posted on July 11, 2016 at 6:10 AM

July is all about Heat, Heat, Heat, and MORE Heat…


As we swelter to keep flower beds, potted plants and young trees/shrubs watered, mulched and alive in spite of the vicious heat, we should remember that it isn't easy being green here in summer. It may not sweat and swoon like an overheated gardener dragging a garden hose, but like us, our landscape is also under assault by the extremes of climate.


Plant the wrong plant here, (or even the right plant in the wrong place or in the wrong season), and it may limp along for a while during our more temperate months. But in the teeth of a subtropical south Louisiana summer, those plants will suffer and likely die, even if we're keeping them hydrated.


In winter, there's often a rush to protect favored plantings against plummeting temps when the rare, hard freeze is forecast. But but all too often, there is no thought given to our gardens as they bake and broil in summer. And yet, too much heat is as deadly as too much cold; it just generally delivers a slower death. While freezing weather can kill in a cold snap - with physical damage immediately visible - death-by-heat is more like wasting away.


"Plant death from heat is slow and lingering ... Flower buds may wither, leaves may drop or become more attractive to insects, leaves may appear white or brown (chlorotic)," advised the American Horticultural Society (AHS). "The plant may survive in a stunted or chlorotic state for several years. (But) when desiccation reaches a high enough level, the enzymes that control growth are deactivated, and the plant dies."



The sad fact is, hundreds of the plants that call to us from the pages of national magazines cannot tolerate the heat and-or humidity of our summers. We may be able to grow some of them during cooler months, but others demanding cooler weather or dryer conditions will never survive in this land of heavy rain and high humidity. We know it takes just the right people to survive in our coastal Louisiana climate, and it takes just the right plants to survive along with us. Don't throw away money to watch ill-suited-plants and flowers needlessly sizzle into oblivion. We must understand our climate, and we must accept that climate dictates what will survive and thrive in our yards.


It all begins with the numbers, in knowing how hot it generally gets here in summer, how cold in winter, and how long those those extremes generally last. Lots of smart people have already done the research and answered these questions in a trio of maps that can help guide landscaping decisions. Just triangulate the data.




The American Horticulture Society's (AHS) Plant Heat Zone Map divides the United States into 12 zones based on the number of "heat days" expected to occur yearly in each zone. The communities surrounding Lake Pontchartrain are all in Zone 9, meaning we experience from 120 to 150 "heat days" with temperatures above 86 degrees, which is the point at which the AHS says "plants begin suffering physiological damage from heat." These are numbers to remember. By way of comparison, for example, Seattle is in Heat Zone 3 with only seven to 14 heat days. Obviously, our terrain experiences a lot more heat stress than Seattle and much of the country.




The Heat Zone Map is NOT the map we have seen printed for years on the backs of seed packets and routinely referenced by people who grow, sell, plant, lecture or write about plants and gardens. That one is the USDA's storied Plant Hardiness Zone Map, which provides data about the coldest expected temperatures in each region. On its latest updated map, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) divided the country into 13 zones that reflect a 10 degree temperature change from the adjacent zone; each is is then subdivided into five-degree sub-sections noted as "A" and "B."

In south Louisiana, that means expect low temps of 20 to 35 degrees, depending on whether you are in zones 9A, 9B or 10A. Just enter your zip code in the USDA map, and check your designation.


Together, these companion maps provide temperature parameters, the expected highs and lows, by zip code. Ah, it sounds so simple. If only cold hardiness and heat tolerance were the only variables in the balancing the equation of successful gardening. Instead, they are but the beginning.


CLIMATE MAP explains a more holistic Climate Zone Map based on multiple variables. "A plant's performance is governed by the total climate: length of growing season, the timing and amount of rainfall, winter lows, summer highs, wind and humidity," according to Sunset researchers. Their map divides the country into 28 zones and puts south Louisiana in Zone 28, which encompasses a band of land along the Gulf of Mexico running from the Houston area east through south Louisiana and Mississippimand north Florida to south Georgia and the Charleston, S.C., area on the Atlantic Coast. In delineating this zone, Sunset considered year-round rainfall and humidity, and our region's virtually frostless winters that are nevertheless subject to periodic blasts of frigid Arctic air.


The American Horticultural Society says thousands of garden plants have now been coded for heat tolerance in accordance with the AHS map, and more will be coded in future. Heat Zone map information is expected to become commonplace, right alongside the USDA cold hardiness information, in gardening literature and in nurseries.


But go ahead and start checking now. When planning and shopping for new garden plants and flowers, start looking at plant tags and labels for four numbers that look like this: 3-8, 8-1. These particular numbers mean that if you live in USDA Zone 7 and the AHS Zone 7, you can plant tulip bulbs in your outdoor gardens and leave them in the ground year round. Of course, here in south Louisiana, we're interested in plants for Zones 9A and 9B, even a bit of 10A in some small areas along the water.


(You can access both the USDA Hardiness Map and Sunset Climate Page on the AHS website at or google them directly. Although the AHS map is not available online, you can order a hard copy of the map via the AHS site.)



Written by Sheila Grissett, Your Happy Garden Contributing Writer