March 2017

Spring Renewal:The Greenery, Inc. restores beauty to Post-Matthew Landscapes

Author: Linda S. Hopkins | Photographer: Tom Jenkins, Mike Ritterbeck, and Lisa Carroll

Need a hug? You might want to call Hilton Head Island’s premier landscaper, The Greenery, Inc. Since October when Hurricane Matthew blew through and wreaked havoc on our local properties, Tim Drake, business developer and enhancement designer at The Greenery has been doubling as landscape consultant and counselor in chief. “In that first month, I probably hugged more clients than I had the entire year,” he said. “It wasn’t all about how bad their landscape looked, but how distressed everybody was.” And now that spring is on the horizon, Drake is bringing tidings of comfort and joy along with plenty of practical advice for folks looking to revive their beautiful Lowcountry landscapes.

When Drake talks plants, put your ears on. In the landscape business here for 25 years, he has the knowledge and experience to advise you on what to plant where and how to achieve your goals. Whether you need sod, replacement trees, screening plants, a few shrubs, a splash of color or a whole new plan for your property, Drake and the entire team at The Greenery, Inc. can help you create (or re-create) and maintain the landscape of your dreams.

A season to bloom and grow
As Hilton Head Island and the surrounding areas prepare to green up again, it’s natural to anticipate spring plantings and look forward to tending our gardens again. But there’s no denying that some things have changed. Since the storm, the biggest question Drake is hearing is, “What do we do with such an empty space now?” And then there is also the shift from shade to full sun in areas where many trees have come down.

In a recent presentation for Palmetto Hall homeowners, Drake gathered plant materials and demonstrated some ideas for sprucing up landscapes post-Matthew. With a few exceptions, all properties on Hilton Head Island have similar challenges, he explained, and The Greenery, Inc has recommendations for plants to re-establish shade where desired, screen your property from the road or the house next door, and create interest in your landscape design.

For example, he said, “Crape Myrtles will not thrive in a pine forest. Now, a lot of people can plant them. They are great plants for here. They don’t need a lot of care and of course you get the blooms.

“Palms are good screening plants and a good bang for the buck,” he continued. “You may spend $500-$600 on a palm, but it’s instant. You’re not going to have to wait 15 years [for it to mature and give you the look and function you desire].

“In a community like this, you adapt yourself to instant landscaping. Back in school days, it was all about spacing and mature growth, but some of that goes out the window when people want instant. I usually suggest larger plant materials, and we think about five years out. I say to people, ‘In five years, you might be moving the sago palm or thinning something out. But for the first five years, it’s going to look awesome.’”

Trees like Leyland Cypress, even though they came down in the hurricane, are very fast-growing, good for screening—somewhat shade-tolerant, but great in the sun, too, Drake explained. “I’m using a lot of Dahoon Hollies, as well, which are native plants, to block a view. Dwarf Palmetto and Pindo Palms are great screening plants that can thrive in sun or shade, and of course the Palmetto Palm (Sabal palmetto), our state tree.”

Other options for screening include large shrubs such as the Scarlet Bottlebrush, upright Yaupon Holly and Wax Myrtle, Drake suggested. “Even the Anise Shrubs, Wax Leaf Ligustrum or Sweet Viburnum are some of the best screening shrubs we have.”

Sometimes you want to mix things up, Drake said—such as a tree and a shrub—to get screening up high and down low. “Things like Azaleas and Podocarpus, although you can get them quite large, are good for tight areas, too [such as a narrow space between the driveway and your property line],” he said, pointing out that Lavender Formosa azaleas are one of the only azaleas on the island that the deer tend to leave alone.

In addition to standard plants that he knows work well in Lowcountry landscapes, Drake is on top of what’s new. “In the last few years, we’ve had a lot of new plant materials that the deer leave alone that are interesting and not run of the mill,” he said. As a designer, he stays in the know, “because nobody wants the same thing their neighbor has.”

Deep roots, new beginnings
The Greenery, Inc. is a local employee-owned company that has served the Lowcountry since 1973 with comprehensive landscaping services including residential and commercial landscape installation and maintenance, hardscapes and irrigation. The Greenery, Inc. also has a Garden Center with a friendly, knowledgeable staff of horticulturists, master gardeners and small garden consultants. The garden center includes a vast stock of annuals, perennials, shrubs, vines, herbs, tools, organic fertilizers, mulch, pine straw and more. The Antiques and Garden Collectibles shop is housed in a quaint little church building, circa 1873. Inside this restored building, you will find a unique collection of antiques, furnishings and lamps, European garden planters, terrariums, eclectic gift ideas, and home accessories.

In light of the storm, The Greenery, Inc. encourages their existing clients and others* to look for new opportunities and blessings and to be patient as the team works to create, restore and maintain the lovely landscapes we are accustomed to seeing in the Lowcountry. And if you need a hug, just ask. 

The Greenery, Inc. is located at 960 William Hilton Parkway, Hilton Head Island. For more information, visit, call (843) 785-3848 or follow them on Facebook.

*Note: The overwhelming need for landscape support has forced The Greenery, Inc. to focus on the needs of their current landscape maintenance clients first. New clients will be accepted as time permits.

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