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Pruning Crape Myrtles



white crape mrytle flower


Spring is coming and before it gets into full swing you need to prune your crape myrtles.  Crape myrtles bloom on new growth so the best time to prune them is before they come out of dormancy.  If you wait until the tree breaks dormancy you risk removing future flowers.


Start pruning crape myrtles by removing any suckers (suckers grow at the base or from the roots of the tree) as close to the soil as possible.  Next remove any side branches growing from the main trunks up to 6 to 8 feet high.  Remember to always cut branches all the way back to the main trunks or main branches.  Once you remove the side branches start pruning the branches that are growing in toward the center of the tree.  All cross branches, branches that are rubbing, and dead branches should then be removed.


Now stand back and take a good look at your tree.  Remove any branches that take away from the shape of your tree.  You can remove the old seed heads if you like.  It will give the tree a neat appearance but it is not necessary.


Pruning your crape myrtle will go a long way in keeping your tree healthy and happy!


Happy pruning!

Indoor Gardening




Its hot and it can be tough to get outside to play in the garden.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t get your garden fix!  Indoor gardening is an excellent way to keep your green thumb going all year long.

There are many benefits to indoor gardening.  House plants will add beauty to your home and can be placed in almost every room.  Growing herbs and veggies indoors will provide you with fresh cooking ingredients all year long and one of the biggest advantages to indoor gardening is the health benefits.

House plants will help to give you a sense of calm and can lower stress levels.  Research done in Dutch hospitals show lower stress levels of patients with indoor plants in their rooms, than those without.   Another benefit is adding humidity to your house through a process called transpiration. Transpiration is water movement through the plant and it’s evaporation from the leaves, stem and flowers.  House plants can also remove carbon dioxide and other pollutants from the air.  Peace Lilies, Spider Plants, Dracaenas, Pothos, and Snake Plants are some of the best choices for cleaner air.

Getting started with indoor gardening is easy.  You don’t need a lot of space and you can choose a plant for any light conditions you may have in your home.  After you find the “perfect” spot for your new house plant you will need to observe how much light is coming in the room.  Typically a north facing window will provide low light.  A south facing window will be sunny most of the day and east and west facing windows will be sunny for part of the day.  You will need this information in choosing the correct plant for that location.

Most house plants are of a tropical origin and don’t like cold temperatures.  Keep your house plants away from drafts like an air conditioning vent or a door that is often used.  Because of their tropical nature, house plants also like humidity.  Misting your plants and/or keeping them on a tray with pebbles filled with water will help to increase the humidity.

Over watering is often the cause of a house plant’s demise.  When watering most house plants you should let the soil dry out between waterings.  Keep in mind; you should always learn about your plants water requirements.  Some plants will need to be kept moist and others will require much less water; and don’t forget to fertilize but only when house plants are actively growing.  Always read the fertilizer label and follow the instructions.

Finally pay attention to your plants.  Look them over for signs of duress, pests, or disease and treat accordingly.  If you need help identifying a problem, ask your local garden center (Cooke’s Gardens for example).  The local garden center is an excellent source of information and ideas for indoor and outdoor gardens.

Happy Gardening!

Planning Your Garden


Winter is the perfect time to plan your garden.  With cold temperatures and gray days, what better way to pass the time than dreaming about and planning this year’s garden.

Garden planning is an important winter task whether you are planning a new garden or have a mature garden.  Without a plan your garden could become a hodgepodge jumble of plants and garden art.  Your time spent planning will be rewarded with a beautiful, low stress garden.

Some things to consider while you are preparing your garden plan.  Do you have a theme for your garden?  Some examples of a theme would be a butterfly garden to attract butterflies and hummingbirds.  A native garden using plants that are native to your region.  Or a shade garden in a shady area of the yard.

How will you use the garden?  Will you place a bench in the garden so you can sit peacefully and enjoy nature? Will you have a stone patio with a grill in the garden to entertain your family and friends?

You will need to determine how much sun or shade there is in the garden?  This will help in making plant selections.  Keep in mind that the amount of sun and shade will vary depending on the time of year.  If the garden has full sun you will need to select plants that love sun and perhaps even have some degree of drought tolerance.  If shade is what your garden has it will be necessary to use plants that like it shady.  Selecting the wrong plants will result in you having plants that will struggle to survive and most likely will succumb to pests or disease.

Another consideration is using a focal point for the garden.  A focal point could be a fountain, statuary, or a beautiful tree or shrub.  The focal point should be placed in an area of the garden that will draw your eye.

Keep in mind the size of the area.  You need to be careful in selecting plants of the appropriate size and placing them with enough space in between so you don’t have an overcrowded garden.  This can be a difficult challenge.  It’s easy to place plants too close together when they are young and small.  But pay attention to the plant size at maturity.  You will use this size to determine the spacing between plants.

But the most important part of planning for your garden is having fun!  Use your imagination and dream of warmer days.

Holiday Season

Santa is here Sundays from 1pm-4pm.  Pets are welcome to get their picture taken with Santa.

Gene King of Creative Worth Studio will be taking photos of Santa on December 13, and 20.




Fall Arrivals

The Garden Center has hay bales, corn stalks, and pumpkins for your Fall decorating ideas.

Come in and have us help you with your Fall planters and centerpieces. We have a great selection of mums, pansies, snapdragons, and gourds for the perfect display.

Time to think Spring!

Have some ideas to update your landscaping? Want that outdoor kitchen you have always dreamed of?

It is never to early to start planning. Cooke’s can install that new patio, outdoor kitchen, fountain, or fire pit in time for warmer weather. We are the experts in landscaping, small or large projects.

Contact our landscape office to schedule your free consultation with one of our designers today.

Monthly To Do List


January To Do List:

  • Keep bird feeders filled.
  • On mild days remove winter weeds.
  • Start perennials indoors.
  • Start cabbage, early lettuce, and broccoli.
  • Cut back ornamental grasses.
  • Prune rose bushes while they are dormant.
  • Cut old stems off perennials.  Be careful of new growth.
  • Deadhead pansies.
  • Buy seeds
  • Create a garden plan
  • Clean pots with mild detergent and hot water.
  • Inspect indoor plants for insects and if necessary spray with an insecticidal soap.
  • Mist indoor plants regularly and/or place them on trays of pebbles filled with water to increase humidity.

Time to think Spring

Have some ideas to update your landscaping? Want that outdoor kitchen you have always dreamed of?

It is never to early to start planning. Cooke’s can install that new patio, outdoor kitchen, fountain, or fire pit in time for warmer weather. We are the experts in landscaping, small or large projects.

Contact one of our designers today for your free consultation. As an added incentive we are offering 10% off any new landscape contract signed by 2/28.  It has never been easier to get the outdoor living space of your dreams.

Thank you


Thank you to everyone who voted for Coastal Virginia Magazine’s Best of 2015.  Our garden center was the voted the Best Garden Center on the Peninsula and our Landscaping Division won Best Landscaping Company on the Peninsula. We would have not been here for 25 years without you.


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