Archive for January, 2010

Ferns in Your Garden

I recommend adding ferns in your shade garden. Ferns offer very fine textured foliage. Plant’em in clumps of three or more. Select the proper fern by your garden site, e.g whether it is likely dry or moist soils. Some grow surprisingly well in full sun, but most prefer partial to full shade. Don’t buy a […]

Better Winter Blooming Witchhazels on the Way

Chinese witchhazel (Hamamelis mollis) are a mid-winter garden delight. Depending on the cultivar, small yellow, orange or red flowers open in early February. Flowers survive many cold nights unharmed over several weeks. Most of the Hamamelis x intermedia hybrid types hold onto their leaves during the winter in the southeast. The popular cultivar ‘Arnold Promise’ […]

Trees for the Urban Environment

Sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, chlorine, fluorine, and ozone are the leading air pollutants that injure tree and shrub foliage in the Tennessee urban landscape. A single tree, depending on species and the genetic (cultivar), may respond differently to particulate and gaseous pollutants. The stage of growth and how close it is growing near […]

Winter Flowering Bulbs

Photo: Galanthus naturalized in woodlands (courtesy of Brent and Becky’s Bulbs) These bulbs are the early birds. Give them a week of warm weather in the 50’s, nights slightly above freezing, and little to no snow cover. A beautiful flowering patch of winter aconite (Eranthis), snowdrops (Galanthus), glory of the snow (Chionodoxa), or early crocus […]

Disease-free Apple Varieties–Judge for Yourself

Weekly spraying of home apple orchards for the dreaded apple scab is a total downer. Over the past half century have come the first scab-free immune apple varieties: Prima, Priscilla, and Sir Prize. However, Prima and Priscilla will never win any taste awards. All 3 varieties are very susceptible to other apple disease maladies as […]

Pruning An Old Nandina

Nandina (Nandina domestica) is often mis-pruned. By shearing or topping nandina foliage, blooms and resulting berries are lost (see photo). The plant eventually becomes leggy and thin. Sharply prune back about a third of the taller stems at the base of the shrub in March before spring growth begins. Stagger the cuts 3 to 6 […]

Why My Tree Or Shrub Doesn’t Bloom

Frustrated by a fruit tree or ornamental tree that does not bloom? There are 5 primary causes: Lack of sunlight – insufficient light reduces flower bud development Fertility – too much nitrogen fed to plants can over-stimulate vegetative growth, either delaying or preventing flower bud development Winter injury or chilling tender flower buds in one […]

Big Begonias

The Benary ‘Big Begonia’ series are a hit, “begonias on steroids”, some gardeners may say. Individual flowers are twice that of other bedding begonias. Colors are vivid with three cultivars currently available . ‘Big Rose Bronze Leaf’ is my personal favorite. (pictured) Begonias grow best in well drained, humus-rich garden soil. Provide tender -loving care […]

Angelonia in the Summer Garden

Tired of marigolds and petunias? Angelonias (A. angustifolia) are superior summer garden annuals. Angelonias require very little care. They possess superior heat and drought tolerance. I prefer the Serena series (seed produced type) because local greenhouse growers produce and sell them more cheaply. Vegetative (cutting) type angelonias grow taller, are heavy bloomers, and are more […]

Root Injury to Container Plants

The 4 most common reasons why gardeners lose outdoor container plants during the winters are:1. Sub-freezing temps2. Soil freezing for long periods3. Waterlogged roots4. Dessication from dry winter winds Roots are not as cold hardy as above-ground shoots, trunks, branches, etc. Evergreen plants become more challenged when the soil media is frozen. Their leaves demand […]