“Native Plants for Birds” lecture voted Best Program of 2015 by Primrose Garden Club Greer, SC

Last year Mary Holcombe of Southern Heritage Nursery had the honor of speaking at many different events throughout the region, including meetings held for conservation groups and garden clubs, and even class programs at continuing education centers.  Community outreach is something she enjoys very much, and it is especially meaningful when a program of hers is voted a “Best Of”!  The Primrose Garden Club of Greer, SC is a wonderful group of local ladies who all have a shared passion of beautifying the area they live in though gardening.  They held over a dozen programs over the course of 2015, so we were blown away when they contacted us to let us know that our “Native Plants for Birds” program had been voted the Best of 2015 by the members of the club.  It means so much to us to be recognized in this way!  Thank You Primrose Garden Club!


If you would like Mary Holcombe of Southern Heritage Nursery to speak at your next meeting or event, please call 864-373-3660, or email info@southernheritagenursery.com



Plant Spotlight – American Beautyberry

Our native Beautyberry, Callicarpa americana, is a show-stopping staple for fall color in the garden.  With bright magenta berries, and a robust growing habit, it a sure winner if given a sunny location.  Once established, beautyberry is remarkably drought tolerant, but is adaptable to moist soils as well, as long as there is adequate drainage.  Beautyberry has a mature size of 4-6 feet depending on the environment, but can get larger the farther south you go, and spreads from beneath to fill in an area.  The dense, spreading habit helps keep weeds at bay, and is great for erosion control.  In spring the plant is covered with cute, little pink flowers, that are great for pollinating insects, but the real show is during the months of September and October as the berries ripen.  Several species of birds eat the berries.  It is hard to beat beautyberry for ease of care and dependable late season color.

Plant Spotlight – Black Chokeberry, Aronia melanocarpa

Black Chokeberry is a handsome, easy to grow shrub, with showy flowers in the spring, as well as large, edible berries in summer.  It’s average mature size is 5-6′ tall, by 5-6′ wide, but it can occasionally grow larger.  In mid-spring the plant is covered with an abundance of white flowers, which contrast beautifully with the deep green foliage, and attract pollinating insects.  In late summer the flowers are followed by dark purple-black berries, that can be harvested for culinary or medicinal uses.  Raw the berries are very sour and unpalatable, after being processed they are delicious, and a great source of vitamins.  The berries have been used traditionally to make jam and wine, and are an antioxidant rich super-food that is gaining popularity in the health industry.  Some notable selections are ‘Viking’, which produces a huge harvest of large berries, and ‘Autumn Magic’, which has stunning fall color.

Plant Spotlight – Gordlinia ‘Sweet Tea’

This outstanding hybrid combines the beauty of the now extinct Franklina, with the adaptability of the Gordonia.  Both plants have many ornamental attributes of there own, and together, they provide unbeatable showy flowers, with dependability in the landscape.  The fall color on this plant is spectacular as well, with all shades of bright red imaginable.  Gordlinia ‘Sweet Tea’ grows to a small tree about 20 feet tall, and 15 feet wide, and prefers full sun-partial shade.  It is hardy to zone 7, and semi evergreen, the farther south you go.  Franklinias are notorious for being difficult to cultivate, but with the improved vigor of the Gordonia’s genetics, enjoying these beautiful flowers is now easier than ever.  We are putting these plants into production at the nursery, and expect our first crop to be available by Fall 2016.

Pollinator Stewardship Council runs article about Southern Heritage Nursery

yellow azaleas

Mary Holcombe, owner of Southern Heritage Nursery, was featured in the early May 2015 issue of the Pollinator Stewardship Council’s newsletter, for her innovative approach on container tree and shrub production.  At Southern Heritage Nursery there are never any synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides sprayed on the plants, which is surely a breath of fresh air for our neighboring insect populations (not to mention our drinking water).  Of most importance, they never spray neonicotinoids – or any other pesticides – organically derived, or not.  The nursery operates in harmony with the good bug/bad bug balance that exists in most natural places, and provides habitat for a stable and healthy amount of praying mantis, who in turn, take care of any pest issues that may arise.  The only active methods of pest control used are with pheromone traps.

“I feel it is our responsibility to raise our nursery stock in a way that coexists with all of our region’s living creatures, especially our pollinating insects, who can use all the help they can get right now.  Many of our plants can actually be used in gardening/farming applications, specifically for attracting beneficial and pollinating insects to your cultivated crops.  It seems counterintuitive to spray bug poison on such plants.”

You can read the article here.



Plant Spotlight – ‘Snow Queen’ Oakleaf Hydrangea

Hydrangea flowers

P1000679This beautiful, mid-sized oakleaf hydrangea is prized for it’s spectacular double flowers.  It is the only double-flowering oakleaf hydrangea available, with impressive 12″ blooms.

The mature size is about 6′ x 6′, and it has show stopping fall color as well – deep burgundy to bright red on the same plant.

Part sun, with moist, well drained soil is ideal for this plant to thrive.  Our oakleaf hydrangeas are some of the most showy flowering natives of South Carolina.

Plant Spotlight – Summersweet, Clethra alnifolia

Summersweet is a beautiful, small to medium sized shrub, that deserves a spot in every landscape.  As lovely as it is tough, this easy to grow native is sure to delight all who plant it.  In the wild, summersweet is found in areas with moist soil, so if you have a soggy part of the garden, this plant can handle it.  It is also adaptable to drier areas though, and is often used in some of landscaping’s toughest sites – along streets and in parking lots.  Either part sun or full sun are acceptable, but you will get heavier flowering in a sunnier location.  In July the plant becomes covered in white or pink bottlebrush flowers that are accompanied by a wonderful fragrance, hence the common name, Summersweet.  It’s fall color is a pleasing yellow, and although it is not it’s primary ornamental characteristic, it is worth mentioning.  One really cool feature of this plant is that it is great for attracting pollinating insects.  When my Summersweet is flowering at the nursery it is always covered in bees, butterflies, and moths.  It is useful in a vegetable garden setting for attracting pollinators, and would be great for planting in a hedgerow.  Available at the nursery are the cultivars ‘Hummingbird’ which has white flowers and reaches 3 feet in height, and ‘Ruby Spice’ with pink flowers and a max height of 4 feet (pictured below).


Fall is right around the corner, and it’s the best time to plant!

We have updated our events page on the website to include the Fall sales we will be vending at.  Come out and show your support for the wonderful organizations the sale proceeds will benefit – the Botanical Gardens at Asheville and the SC Native Plant Society.  Starting in September we will be having a special Fall sale with great discounts on some our top selling plants.  You can enjoy these great savings by dropping by the plant sales we will be at, or by coming out to the nursery.  We look forward to seeing you!

What’s blooming at the nursery right now…

Dogwood branch in flower

Spring is in the air, and all of our beautiful plants are starting to wake up out here.  Buds are starting to swell and burst, and some of our early spring favorites are strutting their floral displays – a welcome sight after a few months of winter!  With the growing season quickly approaching us, it soon will be time to start getting our hands dirty again.  We invite you to come out and see how native plants can fit into your landscaping plans for the year!

Serviceberries, Amelanchier sp. – These lovely small trees/large shrubs are as beautiful as they are delicious, and are a tasteful addition to any landscape.  In early spring the entire plant is covered in delicate white flowers, which emerge around the same time the leaves start to grow.  The scrumptious red berries ripen in June, and are loved by birds and humans alike.  Some selections have show-stopping fall color as well.

Blueberries, Vaccinium sp. – We are all familiar with these beloved classics, and growing them in your own backyard couldn’t be easier.  What many people may not realize is how ornamental these shrubs are both in flower and foliage, with some selections being down-right beautiful.  We have several varieties at the nursery, even some compact types – and a couple of our selections also have fiery red fall color as well.

SpicebushLindera benzoin – Cute little yellow flowers cover this medium-sized shrub in early spring, creating a delicate, yet pleasing display.  The pretty, red berries ripen in early fall, and are relished by birds.  This is also the favored native host plant for the Spicebush Swallowtail, whose caterpillars feed on the leaves.  An interesting fact about this plant – the berries and crushed leaves emit a spicy odor, hence the common name.

SC Native Plant Society’s Spring Plant Sale – Greenville – Sat. April 6th 9:00AM

Tree roots growing in the dirt

Come out and join us for the best native plant sale in the Upstate!  Nurseries and native plant growers from across the region will be there, so no matter what you’re looking for –  you’re sure to be satisfied!  The spring and fall plant sales are the SC Native Plant Society’s main fundraisers, so you’ll be supporting a great organization with your purchases.  For more information about the SCNPS’ efforts to preserve our state’s natural habitats, or to become a member, go to www.scnps.org.

Sale details:  Saturday April 6th at McAllister Square parking lot, just off Laurens Rd.  Sale starts at 9 am.