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Freeze Damage & Ice Storm Breakage on plants & trees

freeze damage on plants

What to do if your landscape was hit by the snow and ice of Winter 2014

Record breaking low temperatures caused a sustained deep freeze this winter. This was followed by an ice storm and cover of sleet and snow that lasted for days. Most of the plants that are used in our landscapes in zones 7a & 7b are not rated to handle this type of weather. Some damage is likely. The extent of the damage won't be known till late April or May. Wait until then to determine what needs to be pruned or replaced. The exception would be any plants or trees that may have broken or become uprooted due to the weight of the ice and snow.

As the snow and ice melts, again, I venture outside to observe what affect this has had on my landscape. There's obvious leaf damage on azaleas, loropetalum, indian hawthorne and other broadleaf evergreen shrubs. My beloved rosemary looks sad too. All of these plants have leaves that have turned black, grey or another peculiar color. Some have lost a few leaves, others have lost most of their foliage. The cold damage is most obvious on foliage. Severely affected foliage will drop off of the plant so be prepared to rake and remove this foliage. Don't prune the bare branches now. They might resprout leaves. Wait and see what happens. 

Atlanta landscape freeze damage
Azalea foliage with freeze damage

What you may not notice immediately is damage to flowers, flower buds, bark and roots. Flowers on camellias certainly did not make it. Flower bud damage on camellias is easy to spot due to the size of the bud at this time of year. If the buds are black, they are obviously dead and will typically fall off the plant. The debris from flowers and buds should be removed from the ground so as not to harbor fungal diseases.  Other plants with developing buds may have sustained damage thus there will be less flowers this year. Some plants and trees experience split bark which then causes the limb following the split to decline or die. This happens often on indica azaleas and yaupon trees. Root damage is harder to detect. I will be observing plants throughout metro Atlanta and will share typical findings in future blog posts, so stay tuned!

freeze damage on camellias
This camellia flower is damaged,
but buds and foliage look fine

Some pansies have damage, especially red & white ones. The bleached leaves and stems can be pinched back to remove that damaged foliage. The pansies will recover quickly.

atlanta landscape freeze damage pansies
Frost damaged Pansy. Image thanks to Simply Flowers

If a young tree or shrub became uprooted due to the soft soil and weight of ice and snow, it should be straightened as soon as possible. No need to rush out in the snow to do this, just get it done in the next week or so. Do not yank on the trunk to pull it upright. Instead, the root ball should be dug and shifted to the upright position. Stakes will be needed to hold the plant upright. Pruning is recommended to reduce the weight of the canopy and the limb-to-root ratio. This plant then needs to be treated as a newly installed item so be sure to water it and give it some tender loving care.

Major broken limbs on large shrubs and trees should be pruned soon also. Additional pruning might be needed to reshape the entire tree or shrub to return it into a balanced shape. Always make pruning cuts at the branch collar. Do not use black pruning paint over the cut. The trunk of the shrub or tree will heal on it's own if you prune it as indicated. Make your first cut where indicated. This reduces the chance of the limb ripping off the tree. Your second cut (2) will remove most of the limb and weight so that it is easy to make a clean third cut at the branch collar. 

how to prune large tree limb
How to prune a large limb

Schedule a "Garden Walk and Plant Consultation" if you need assistance with pruning. I can advise what needs to be done or teach you how to do it. Later in the spring I can evaluate what needs to be replaced and help you decide if the same plant should be reinstalled or a different species chosen.

Danna Cain, ASLA
Home & Garden Design, Inc.
To schedule an appointment, complete this form


Atlanta City Biz picks up our news

More great press!

Home & Garden Design's recent receipt of 4 awards has caught the attention of Atlanta City Biz. See the article

Atlanta Business Chronicle recognizes us in "People in the News"

Professional recognition given to Danna Cain

Exciting things are happening when the Atlanta Business Chronicles notices! We're thrilled about being included in "People in the News". See what was published in the .BizJournal


"Best Of Houzz". HGD wins for second consecutive year!

"Best of Houzz 2014" Customer Satisfaction Award given to Home & Garden Design, Inc. - Atlanta.

We are beyond excited to receive this for prestigious award from the Houzz community for a second consecutive year. We were chosen to receive this award by the more than 16 million monthly users that comprise the Houzz community. Only 3% of all Houzz professionals receive this prestigious award that comes with a “Best Of Houzz 2014” badge on their profiles, showing the Houzz community their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz. You can see our profile here.

Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish - online or from a mobile device. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community powered by social tools, Houzz is the easiest way for people to get the design inspiration, project advice, product information and professional reviews they need to help turn ideas into reality. For more information, visit
This national recognition is so significant, as it is based solely on our clients’ satisfaction. We work closely with our clients throughout the entire design process to make sure that they are happy with every decision. In fact, we encourage them to utilize the inspiring photos on Houzz to communicate with us about their dreams. The Houzz database is easily searched for plants, hardscapes and design styles which our clients can assemble into digital "Ideabooks". These quickly and clearly enable us to understand the look that our clients prefer.
best of houzz danna cain

We then start the design process by providing multiple concepts for them to choose from, and then build on each decision until the entire project pulls together. Creating a beautiful and functional outdoor space is a thoughtful process that requires both artistry and technical knowledge. We truly love what we do and thankful to Houzz for this wonderful resource.

You can see our profile here.


2 "Awards of Distinction" received from UAC

HGD wins first professional awards from UAC

Our first entries into this professional annual awards competition earns HGD two "Awards of Distinction". Hoover's front yard makeover and Urquhart's discovery play garden both received honors. We're honored to have our work recognized by both our peers as well as the public.

You can also see Hoover's project which was recently won 1st Place landscape by Home Improvement Magazine

Urquhart's discovery play garden was recently featured in the AJC Homefinder

"Green Star Award" received for environmental sustainability

Urquhart project by HGD receives more honors!

The Urquhart discovery play garden in Alpharetta was awarded the coveted "Green Star Award" by UAC, the Urban Ag Council of Georgia. This professional landscape award is given once a year to projects that exhibit innovative and sustainable solutions.

This back yard was created to provide a healthy and safe place for the children to play and discover nature. Everything is eco friendly from the raised beds of chicken manure compost & worm castings to the selection of plants for an organic vegetable garden, butterfly garden plus other plants in the landscape that will attract pollinators and beneficial insects. Hardscape are permeable. The design is water wise with drip irrigation that has state-of-the-art weather monitoring system for automatic adjustment based on current weather conditions.


Three Awards just presented to HGD

Milestone Night!

Danna and Conrad Cain of Home & Garden Design, Inc. won three professional awards last night at the Urban Ag Council of Georgia's annual competition. Here we are with Walter Reeves who was the presenter and master of ceremonies.

Flashback to 1997 when we received three awards in one night from the Georgia Green Industry Association.


Rolling Planters move with the sun

Rolling planters present an opportunity to grow flowers and edibles in places never before possible.

What if the sunniest place in your yard happens to be in the middle of the patio where your tables and chairs are? Since you rarely sit there every day and certainly not all day long, consider this ... push the furniture aside and roll your planters to that location so your plants can benefit from the rays of the sun!

I discovered these planters while searching for a solution for a family living in a mid century Modern home. The industrial look of these planters fits their style perfectly. The general concept is workable, however, for any style. Choice of materials, trim and color can easily modify the idea to work with a Traditional or even a Zen garden.

The key is heavy duty wheels that swivel so the planter can be moved easily in a small space. A light weight soil mix would be a benefit too, such as the soil used for roof top gardens, green roofs or hanging baskets.

I can't wait to find more uses for these planters along a driveway, near a pool, or even to transform the parking lot of a church or school. There are so many paved areas that are very sunny and unoccupied during the week or during the summer. Let's make that space productive and beautiful with edibles, flowers, and even fragrant small shrubs.

Get details about the planters shown in the photo above at and Both are shipping from the West coast. I will be looking for other planters from suppliers located closer to each job site. Let me know if you discover anything.

Read more about us and my ecological, sustainable landscapes.

Danna Cain, ASLA
Home & Garden Design, Inc., Atlanta


2 Sided Landscape - Hidden vegetable garden in front yard

Vegetable garden in front yard can not be seen from street.
This is view from owner's driveway

Plant food, not lawns. Pretty front yard salad gardens

This salad garden is positioned in the sunniest part of the front yard in an area that is hidden from the neighbors. It's visible from my driveway and all windows across the front of the house. These edibles plus others scattered thru the front yard are combined with flowering shrubs and perennials that attract beneficial insects and pollinators. The plants occupy 90% of the space with only 10% remaining lawn.

The front lawn at my house is a very small drift of zoysia that flows along the curb and blends with the neighborhood. The entire remaining front yard is landscaped with edibles mixed with perennials and shrubs. The photo below shows the view from the street. The edible garden with the 4 stone raised beds is located behind the pink azaleas. Other low growing vegetables, dwarf blueberries and strawberries are located behind the purple verbena in the upper, left corner of the photo below.
drifts of flowers minimal lawn
This is what the neighbor's see. 
Edibles are behind the pink azalea.
boulders for raised beds vegetable garden
This is the other side where the main edible garden is located.
See more organic edible gardens. Contact me soon to have yours designed in time for the next planting season. Most fruit trees and berries are planted in February. Majority of vegetables are planted either mid - late April for warm season crops and mid - late October for cool season crops.

Looking forward to creating something perfect for you!
Danna Cain, ASLA
Home & Garden Design, Inc., Atlanta

Edibles are fun with "Food Head Fred". Let's get creative with food!

Ideas for vegetable gardens, kitchen gardens & edible landscapes.

creative illustrations of food, food faces
© Food Head Fred, Elaine Callahan
"Food Head Fred", by artist Elaine Callahan, helps me to look at fruit and vegetables in a different way. Just as this artist presents tasty tidbits in ways never before imagined, I strive in my designs to combine food into the landscape. Vegetables, herbs and berries can be planted alongside flowering shrubs and perennials in any sunny to part shade niche in the landscape.

Besides, when combined with other flowering plants that attract beneficial insects and pollinators, you will have a more healthy and vibrant garden. The vegetable garden does not need to be crammed into the far corner of the rear yard. Imagine it conveniently located near your new outdoor kitchen and part of your outdoor living experience. What if the only place in your yard with adequate sun is in your front yard? No problem! I've created many front yard edible gardens that are absolutely beautiful. So whether you want an herb garden, salad garden, home orchard, or edible estate, there are ways to integrate that into your landscape. Look at this idea ...
raised beds front yard edibles
Pretty front yard, organic salad garden

hidden vegetable garden front yard
Edible garden is hidden behind the pink azaleas
where it can't be seen from street
I have many more ideas to share with you. See upcoming posts to this blog from my recent seminar "Interesting Edibles: New, Unusual and Creative" that was first presented at the 2014 GGIA Wintergreen Conference. Discover how edibles are being incorporated intro trendy urban & suburban landscapes. Learn how to attractively integrate perennials, annuals and herbs that will attract pollinators & beneficial insects. Enjoy examples of how the design principles of color, texture & form are utilized to create beautiful results. 

If you're too anxious to wait for the upcoming posts, you can peak at a few photos of  organic edible gardens on our website.

Be sure to also visit  to discover more "fresh art available in several delicious flavors". I'm certain you'll enjoy her refreshing illustrations.

Let's have some fun with edibles!
Danna Cain, ASLA
Home & Garden Design, Inc., Atlanta
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