Landscaping and Gardening Services in Pismo Beach and SLO County
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15 Nov 2017

How to Know When It’s Time to Give Up On a Plant

It’s frustrating to let go of a plant, but sometimes the money and time spent trying to keep it alive just isn’t worth it. How do you know when to give up on a plant?

Why is the Plant Important?

If you’re worrying over a plant or shrub, stop for a moment and think about why it’s so important to you. Some reasons people spend time and money trying to keep a plant alive are:

• They grew the plant from seed. It’s an accomplishment to nourish a plant from seedling to adult plant and very disappointing when the plant develops a disease or simply doesn’t thrive.
• It was a gift. The plant itself may not be unique, but it’s special because it was a gift.
• It’s an exotic plant. Some exotics can be quite pricey, and no one likes the idea of losing a substantial amount of money.
• The plant is integral to your landscaping. Losing it may make your design uneven, or it may be a centerpiece of your landscaping.
• It’s an old plant. It’s understandable to be attached to your grandmother’s azaleas or irises and to go above and beyond to save them when they start to wane.

How to Know When It's Time to Give Up On a Plant

What Can You Do to Save a Plant?

Identifying the cause of the plant’s decline is the first step. You may be able to see insects on the leaves or grayish spots indicative of a fungus. Older plants may start to fade or die off if they aren’t getting enough sunlight. If you live in an old house, the nutrients in your flowerbed soil may be exhausted.

If the plant is very important to you, call your landscaper. They may be able to eliminate insect pests, treat a plant disease or trim trees to let more sunlight reach your flowerbed. A landscaper can also recommend plant foods and supplements or aerate your flowerbed soil and add new, nutrient-rich soil. Shrubs may just require pruning. If wildlife is dining on your plants, your landscaper has various methods to deter them.

When Should You Give Up On a Plant?

Some plants just can’t be saved. It’s time to give up when:

• You’ve spent more money on a common plant than it’s worth.
• It’s too late in the season for a dying plant to recover.
• The plant has no sentimental value or can be replaced.
• The plant (usually a vegetable) has a disease that can spread throughout your garden.
• It’s a very old plant, like a blooming shrub or irises. Unfortunately, some plants are just too old to save.

If you have to remove old plants, you may want to replace them. You could also consider trying something new to change the look of your landscaping.

Things to Remember:
• No plant is irreplaceable
• Don’t overspend trying to save a plant
• Call your landscaper for help making a decision

We can diagnose what’s wrong with your plant, treat problems and replace plants. Call us today for assistance.

12 Oct 2017

How to Preserve Your Herb Garden All Year Round

herb garden

It’s always depressing to say goodbye to your garden at summer’s end. The easiest way to have a year-round garden is to cultivate herbs in planters.

Starting a Year-Round Herb Garden

If you plan to start seedlings indoors and overwinter the plants, you need a large window that gets the sun most of the day, a Florida room or sun room. Your herbs need light, warmth and TLC to survive winter.

The easiest herb to start and grow is basil. Basil seeds germinate in about a week. The soil should be barely moist to the touch. Misting seedlings with water twice a day prevents over-watering.

You can also start basil from a cutting. After the original plant’s stem gets woody, it’s not likely to last much longer. Using clean scissors washed in soap and water, cut the healthy, green branches at an angle, above joints. Put them in water in your sunniest window. When the white roots start to crowd the bottom of the glass, transplant the new plant into dirt and water it a little every other day. Full-grown basil plants can tolerate three or four days with no water.


Most gardeners use seedling trays when starting herbs because it makes transplanting seedlings easier. Just scoop the dirt and baby plants out of each section with the tip of a sharp trowel. Clay pots are best for all plants, especially new ones. Clay keeps the roots from getting overheated and dying.

Herbs to Grow Outside and Indoors

In addition to basil, some of the best herbs to overwinter are:

• Oregano
• Rosemary
• Sage
• Thyme
• Chives
• Parsley

Oregano is easy to root in water. Rosemary, sage and thyme cuttings must be rooted in potting soil and require humidity. Divide new growth from chive and parsley plants and transplant.

Regularly harvesting your plant during summer will keep it flourishing until fall. If your basil starts to flower, pinch or snip off the flower. Always use clean scissors, and clean them before using them on a different plant to avoid spreading plant diseases.

Wait until chives are around six inches tall before cutting so that they stay lush.

Do you have an abundance of fresh herbs? Dry the extra in separate paper bags. Punch several holes through each side of the bag with a pencil, make sure the herbs are dry, tape down the top of the bag and hang it in a dry, warm place in your house. Chives are difficult to dry. They develop a musty gray growth and aren’t usable.

Some herbs are mild when fresh while others are strong when fresh and lose flavor when dried.

Overwintering Herbs

Start your cuttings or divide plants while the weather is still mild to avoid temperature shock. Your herbs will require nurturing during the winter, may not produce as much and some may go into hibernation. This is normal. Your goal is to have a growing garden ready for next spring.

Things to Remember:
• Some herbs root in soil and others in water
• Use clay pots
• Move herbs inside and outside during mild weather

To learn more about herb gardens and keeping herbs over the winter, contact us.

28 Sep 2017

5 Natural Fertilizers to Help Your Garden and Deter Unwanted Visitors

Natural FertilizersUsing chemicals on lawns and plants is a hot topic. There’s growing concern about the effects of herbicides and pesticides on bees. How do you add nutrients to your garden and control pests without resorting to chemicals?

Go Natural in the Garden

One of the advantages to using natural fertilizers and pest repellents is that you probably have them around the house. Other pluses are:

• A chemical-free lawn is safe for your family
• Natural insect repellents don’t kill bees and their main food sources, clover and dandelions
• You can keep wildlife out of your garden without harming them

Most of these methods of fertilizing and protecting your garden are so easy and safe that your children can help you.

Five Natural Fertilizers and Pest Repellents

• Used coffee grounds are a fertilizer and rodent repellent
• Crushed eggshells are a fertilizer
• Hot sauce sends wildlife running
• Onion peelings repel wildlife and enrich soil
• Used dishwater (from hand-washing dishes) keeps bugs off your plants

How to Use Natural Fertilizers in Your Garden

Before starting to use any fertilizer, it’s best to get a soil test. Your landscaper can assist you. Crushed eggshells add nitrogen to the soil. Your soil may not need that.

It’s easiest to save eggshells in the carton. Keep them in the fridge, or they’ll draw fruit flies. You should wear a filter mask when crushing eggshells. Some gardeners like to break up a few eggshells with a sharp trowel and work them into the soil. This works best for container gardening and potted plants.

Coffee grounds are one of a gardener’s best friends. Dump the filter and grounds into an empty coffee can. You can work the grounds into the soil or sprinkle them on top to keep squirrels from digging up seeds and bulbs.

If you have particularly determined squirrels, place the used coffee filters over newly planted seeds for a few days. Seedlings will sprout under the filters as long as the pot or area gets direct sunlight. Water after applying coffee grounds.

Toss your onion scraps right into pots or your garden. The smell deters pests, and the plant material enriches the soil as it decays.

Hot sauce shouldn’t be put directly on plants. Sprinkle it around the garden border and apply it to the rims and sides of planters to make rodents run. The hotter it is, the better.

Dishwater has long been the secret of a beautiful flowerbed and healthy vegetables. Different gardeners swear by different brands of detergent, but the older, basic versions are recommended. You can throw the water in the dishpan over your flowerbed, pour it on plants that have a fungus, or mix water and dish soap in a spray bottle so you can cover the undersides of leaves. Dish soap gets rid of aphids and other insects that eat your plants. Don’t use soap meant for dishwashers in the garden.

Things to Remember:
• Wear a mask when crushing eggshells
• Get a soil test
• Strongly scented natural materials keep rodents away

Contact us today for all your gardening needs.

21 Jun 2017

Outdoor Gardening You Can Do With Your Kids

Gardening with ChildrenDo you want to pass your love of gardening on to your children or grandchildren? Gardening with kids is a great way to get them offline, outside and give them a lifelong, productive hobby.

Kids and Gardening: Getting Started

It’s easiest to get your children or grandchildren started gardening when they’re around age five. Kindergarten-age children are old enough to remember the difference between weeds and plants that you actually want. They’re also very curious about everything around them and love “helping” you.

It can take some prodding to interest older children in gardening. Online farming games are very popular. If your older child is playing a farming game, present gardening to them as the real-life version. Give them their own plot of your garden or flowerbed. When they start to see seedlings coming up or flower buds appearing, they may find real life gardening more fun than a game.

Kids and Gardening: Tools You’ll Need

Real, sturdy gardening tools scaled down for children are available in dollar stores. One thing all young children love is playing in the dirt. Give your child a shovel so she can help you with your spring flowerbed. Your plants may not be spaced perfectly, but your child will feel a sense of accomplishment.

Another thing young children love is water. Your child will love having his own watering can. Watering plants gives you an opportunity to talk to your children about the importance of caring for plants while not wasting water.

Older children can learn to use pruning shears under your supervision. Kids can help you deadhead flowering bushes. You may feel safer letting your child use blunt scissors and then move up to a small pair of pruning shears as they get older.

With a small rake, your child can help you clean out flowerbeds in the spring. If you have a rock garden, let your child work with you and learn to keep it neat.

Kids and Gardening: Choosing Plants

Before you take your child into your garden, make sure the plants they’ll be exposed to aren’t toxic. Your landscaper can suggest non-toxic, child-friendly plants.

Choose plants that germinate soon after planting so kids won’t lose interest. Sunflowers are a great choice. Their seedlings pop up in about a week, and the “mammoth” varieties can top out at five feet tall.

Sunflowers are drought-resistant and make a classic border for a vegetable garden. If you want your child to love fresh vegetables and herbs, get them involved in growing their own food.

Tomatoes and basil are a perfect combination for a kitchen garden. Basil grows quickly, and you and your child can harvest it almost daily. A tomato plant’s life cycle is interesting, and the fruit, paired with fresh basil, can help your child develop a taste for vegetables.

A landscaper can prepare flowerbeds and vegetable plots for you and help you choose plants kids will enjoy.

Things to Remember:

  • Keep it fun and entertaining
  • Give kids tools made for small hands
  • Make sure seeds and plants are non-toxic
  • You should have fun too

Contact us today and we’ll get your yard in shape so you can start gardening with your kids.


04 May 2017

Plants and Gardens that Attract Bees and Butterflies [Infographic]





































































Plants and Gardens that Attract Bees and Butterflies
Pollinators are dying off at an alarming rate, but you can help them by planting a bee and butterfly garden.

What Are Pollinators?

Pollinators include both insects and birds, including:

• All species of bees
• Butterflies
• Moths
• Wasps
• Birds

Birds carry pollen when they forage flowering shrubs for berries. Hummingbirds are important pollinators. Wasps eat pest insects and get pollen on themselves in the process.

What Are the Elements of a Pollinator Garden?

Start with a variety of plants to appeal to all pollinators. Different insects prefer certain colors, so plant a colorful garden. Hummingbirds need flowers that accommodate their long beaks.

Recommended native California flowers are:

• Hollyleaf Cherry (Pale Swallowtail butterfly)
• Coffee Berry (songbirds, bees and butterflies)
• California Aster (birds and butterflies)
• California Buttercup (native bees)
• Kotolo Milkweed (Monarch butterfly)
• Laurel Sumac (bees, butterflies and birds)
• Purple Owl’s Clover (Bay Checkerspot butterfly)
• Elegant Clarkia (hummingbirds and bees)
• Greenbark Ceanothus (native bees)
• Texas Paintbrush (hummingbirds and butterflies)

These are all drought-tolerant flowers and shrubs.

Pollinator gardens need a birdbath and a butterfly puddle. A butterfly puddle is a sunken puddle with pebbles or colorful stones for insects to perch on while they drink.

We’re ready to help you create your butterfly garden, from plants to water elements.

30 Mar 2017

Toxic Indoor Plants

All parents have been surprised at the things small children will put in their mouths. Every dog owner knows that a dog will eat anything it can reach. Even finicky cats are attracted to greenery. It’s important to know if a houseplant, a bouquet of holiday flowers or garden flowers can make your children or pets seriously ill.

Indoor Greenery that Can Be Dangerous

  • Philodendron
  • Arrowhead
  • Golden Pothos 
  • Dieffenbachia 
  •  Caladium


Philodendrons are some of the most common houseplants in the U.S. They’re easy to grow from cuttings and to keep alive in soil and water. Homeowners may keep hanging varieties inside year-round. Larger plants like Fiddle Leaf Philodendron are typically kept on the patio unless the weather goes below freezing. Philodendron has a high level of toxicity to children and pets. 
Arrowhead is a handsome potted plant. It has glossy medium green leaves streaked with white. Both the leaves and sap can cause digestive upset and breathing difficulties in cats and dogs.  
Dieffenbachia has dramatically colored white and green leaves. Its juice is so toxic that some South American tribes used the juice to make poison arrows. The juice causes skin damage and digestive upset. This plant should not be in a home with children or pets, and you should exercise caution when handling it. 
Golden Pothos is another plant with green and white leaves. It’s commonly given as cuttings because it can live in water alone. Do not keep Golden Pothos in a household with pets. It can cause death due to asphyxiation or kidney failure. 
Caladium is another dangerous potted plant. It has beautiful heart-shaped leaves with deep red veins. It can cause asphyxia in children and pets and burns to the lips and mouth. 

Hazardous Cut Flowers

  • Calla Lily 
  •  Daffodil 
  •  Hydrangea 
  •  Iris
  •  Gladiolus 
  •  Tulip 

Spring is nearly here, bringing with it holidays that often include cut flower bouquets. Some of the most beautiful and common flowers from the florist or your 
spring garden are toxic. 
Vases of flowers pose particular danger to cats because cats love to knock over anything containing water. Cats also habitually rub their faces on things, especially something new. Calla Lily causes choking, drooling and digestive upset in cats and dogs. It should not be brought into a house with pets. 
Daffodils can cause severe digestive upset in humans and pets. 
Keep Hydrangea out of the house. If ingested, it can cause illness ranging from stomach upset to convulsions and even coma. Be careful touching the plant. Hydrangea can cause skin irritation. 
Irises and Gladioli are in the same family and are moderately toxic to dogs and cats. 
Tulips can cause digestive upset, dizziness and, in extreme cases, convulsions.

What to Do About Toxic Plants 

In an emergency, call Poison Control: 888-426-4435 for pets and 800-222-1222 for children. 
For suggestions about non-toxic houseplants or cut bouquets, contact us. We can suggest many safe options so that you can still enjoy plants in the house. 


15 Mar 2017

Toxic Outdoor Plants

You’re probably familiar with toxic outdoor plants like poison ivy and poison oak, but other toxic wild plants may be growing in your own yard. You might even have dangerous plants in your garden.

Toxic Wild Plants

Harmless vines and shrubs are frequently mistaken forpoison ivyandpoison oak.Your landscaper can show you how to identify the toxic plants. It’s not sufficient to cut down poison oak and ivy. They have to be dug up, and that’s a job for a pro. 
Pacific Poison Oak may present as a vine or shrub. It has clusters of three leaves that are quite attractive when they turn bright orange and gold. Avoid wild vines, shrubs and groundcover with clusters of three leaves. 
Other common toxic wild plants found in California are: 

  • Jimsonweed/Jimson Weed 
  • Castor Bean 
  •  California Buckeye/California Horse Chestnut 

Jimsonweed’s white flowers resemble Moonflower. The green leaves are long with irregular pointed edges, and the fruit is green and covered with spiny thorns. Jimsonweed can be deadly if consumed, especially if by children. 
Castor Bean is attractive in late summer and fall when the spiny fruit turns red and the leaves fade to white and pink. The poison ricin is derived from Castor Beans. Call a professional to remove this plant from your property if you have children or pets. 
California Buckeye is a small tree with frilly white and pale pink flowers. The seeds contain a toxin much like rat poison and are extremely dangerous to children and dogs. 

Problems in the Garden 

  • Hydrangea 
  •  Moonflower 
  •  Foxglove 
  •  Wisteria 
  •  Lantana 
  •  Oleander

All parts of Hydrangea are toxic. Symptoms after ingestion range from digestive upset to unconsciousness. It can also cause painful rashes. 
Moonflower’s seedpods swell after the flower dies. They turn brown in autumn, split open and drop white seeds. The seeds cause digestive upset in children and pets. 
Foxglove looks almost exactly like larkspur: tall, spear-like stems covered with beautiful flowers in all shades of purple. Its deadly toxic white berries turn red and are attractive to children. 
Wisteria’s seeds can cause digestive upset, dizziness, slurred speech and loss of consciousness. 
Lantana’s blooms consist of many small flowers and are typically orange and yellow or pinkish-purple and yellow. Lantana is usually problematic for animals rather than people. It can cause digestive upset and liver damage 
Oleander is a shrub with white or pink flowers and is one of the world’s most deadly plants. One leaf can be fatal to a child. Oleander is also deadly to dogs. 
Cats are unlikely to consume any of these plants but may rub their faces on a plant and come into contact with a toxin. 


In Case of Emergency 
If a child or adult ingests any of the above plants, callPoison Controlat800-222-1222.For pets,call888-426-4435. 
Do You Have Toxic Plants on Your Property? 
We’re here to help. We will identify and safely remove toxic wild plants anddiscuss your optionsregarding dangerous garden plants. If you decide to have garden plants removed, we’ll help you choose replacements.Contact usfor an appointment. 


15 Jun 2016

Gardening Terms You Should Know and Understand

On the surface, gardening and planting seems fairly easy. You put seeds or plants in the ground and wait… but there is a lot more to it than that. And that’s where a professional landscaper, such as those at Evergreen Landscaping, can help you. There are several gardening terms you should know that your landscaper will use. Understanding these gardening terms will help you when you’re planning your garden.

Gardening Terms

  • Annual – an annual is a plant that completes its entire life cycle in one year. It grows, reproduces and dies all in one year.
  • Biennial – this plant lives two years. It grows the first year and reproduces and dies in the second.
  • Compost – this is organic material in various states of decomposition. Gardeners create a compost pile from lawn clippings, leaves, and organic waste material from their homes.
  • Dead-Head – Dead-heading a plant means removing the flowers once they have wilted after blooming. This is done by pinching off the flower below the petals. It can help further growth and also prevent the plant from self-seeding.
  • Direct Sow – this means that seeds can be directly planted into the soil or garden where you want the plant to grow. There is no need to start the plants inside first, for instance.
  • Germination – this is the stage where the seed starts to change. It will start to sprout and your plant will begin its growth. It is helpful to know how many days it will take a certain seed to germinate.
  • Hardiness Zone – this is a term you will hear your landscaper use a lot. The hardiness zone is a geographically-defined zone that will determine what plants will grow well in your area. Your zone is assigned a number from 1-11. You want to use plants that are hardy for your zone for best results.
  • Hardy Perennial – Perennials are plants that live for more than two years. A hardy perennial will usually have a lower zone limit to which it is hardy, and that means it will withstand the weather in that zone year-round without having to be brought inside.
  • Mulch – Mulch takes various forms. It can be well-rotten manure, compost, gravel, or other material that is used to retain moisture in your garden, hold back weed growth and/or improve soil composition. This is usually spread in a thick layer either over seeds or around plants. In areas prone to frost and freezes, it can be used to keep tender plants from experiencing those harsh weather conditions.
  • Pistil – the pistil is the female reproductive portion of the flower of a plant. It is the seed-bearing part of the flower.
  • Pollination – this is the transfer of pollen between plants. Pollination is needed for fruits and vegetables to grow. This can be accomplished via wind, pollinating insects, animals or humans.
  • Rhizome – this is a horizontal stem that grows along the ground or underground. New plants can sprout up along these rhizomes, allowing one specific plant to take over an entire garden bed or area. Many ground cover plants spread via rhizomes.
  • Stamen – this is the male reproductive portion of the flower. It contains the pollen.
  • Pruning – If you are unfamiliar with pruning trees, shrubs and plants, it is best to either have a professional landscaper handle the pruning for you, or at the very least let them explain how to prune each of your trees and shrubs. Pruning is more than just cutting haphazardly. It is a careful and deliberate cutting of certain branches or parts of branches to increase tree health and for aesthetic appeal.

Gardening and landscaping do not have to be a mystery. But it is definitely best to start out with a professional landscaper who can help you to understand these gardening terms, and the many other terms regarding gardening and landscaping.

At Evergreen Landscaping we help you do just that. We’ll get the exact look and feel you want for your property while using the perfect plants for the central coast area.

Contact us today or call 805-773-5395.

01 May 2016

Advice to Make Gardening More Fun and Fruitful [Infographic]



Gardening includes many benefits making it an excellent hobby.  From enhancing property value to growing fresh ingredients for cooking, it’s a great way to spend your time.

Here are some tips to get started on your personal garden!

First Time Gardeners

  • Find plants that are good for beginners.
  • Use organic mulches to keep moisture within the soil by reducing evaporation.
  • Consider asking friends or family for clippings using their existing plants.

Landscape designs

  • Where water is scarce, home gardeners need to change to plants that need little moisture.
  • Lawns can be changed to gravel, wood chips or patio decking.
  • Taking advantage of clippings can help you save in landscape designs and gardening costs.

Excessive Amount of Fruits & Vegetables

  • Don’t let your veggies go to waste. Offer then them to family, friends, and neighbors.
  • Preserve for future use by canning, freezing or dehydrating the surplus.
  • Call the local food bank to see if they except donations.

Need a jump start with your gardening? Contact Evergreen Landscaping for a free consultation.

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