Archive for March, 2010

Golden Hakonegrass Lights Up The Shade Garden

Light up dark areas in your shade garden with this wonderful golden ornamental grass from Japan. Golden hakonegrass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’) grows 12-18 inches tall and 18-24 inches wide with a mounding cascading form.Very thin green stripes (veins) flow the length of the ½ inch wide golden leaf blade. The cool nights in the fall […]

Viburnums for Privacy Screening

photo: the clean summer foliage of ‘Allegheny’ viburnum Must you plant an evergreen hedge when a semi-evergreen flowering shrub is fine for the task? Leatherleaf viburnum hybrid cultivars ‘Allegheny’ and ‘Willowwood’ are 60% evergreen, dropping their foliage very late in autumn in U.S.D.A. zones 6 and 7-a. ‘Willowwood is preferred over ‘Allegheny’ in areas of […]

When to Prune Flowering Shrubs

Prune spring flowering shrubs and trees immediately within one month after flowering. These plants set their flower buds on last summer’s woody shoots. Common shrub examples include forsythia, lilac, weigela, mockorange, loropetalum, honeysuckle, and many viburnum species. Summer-flowering plants set their flower buds on spring wood (this year) when they bloom. They are pruned in […]

Lo and Behold ‘Blue Chip’ Buddleia Is Late Summer Gem

photo taken at JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh, NC in June 2009 Lo & Behold® ‘Blue Chip’ is a very dwarf butterfly bush (buddleia) for the summer garden. Its compact 3 x 4 foot height and width is an excellent choice planted in a garden bed or in a container on a sunny patio deck or patio. […]

Best of Perennial Veronicas for Gardens

Chicago Botanic Garden (CBG) has published the results of a 10-year study of speedwells (Veronica and Veronicastrum) in its 33rd issue of Plant Evaluation Notes, “A Comparative Study of Veronica and Veronicastrum“. Seven speedwells received good-excellent ratings for their overall performance, including Veronica ‘Fairytale’, V. ‘Giles Van Hees’, V. austriaca ‘Ionian Skies’, V. longifolia ‘Blue […]

Growing Spuria Iris Worth The Challenge

photos courtesy of Iris City Gardens Jimmy Turner, Dallas Arboretum horticultural guru, gave me this idea. Growing spuria iris in the Southern Appalachian region can be quite challenging. Hardy to USDA zone 5, spurias are dormant (asleep) during our usually hot, dry summers. A wet summer is a real “downer” for spurias.Spuria irises bloom two […]

Time to Plant Early Vegetables

Photo credited to University of Illinois Extension Spring weather seems to have finally arrived here in the Southern Appalachian region. While the weather has changed for the better. Night time temps have remained above 30° F over the past 8-9 days. Spring frosts in the morning are common in this region into early May. More […]

Re-blooming Amaryllis — Just Add Water

An amaryllis bulb is nature’s equivalent of a re-chargeable battery. In the fall stop watering to push the bulb into dormancy (sleep). Most leaves wither and die within 4-6 weeks. Remove a dried leaves (for neatness). The bulb must remain dormant for a minimum of 8 weeks. Store the pot anywhere, in a closet shelf […]

“Pruning Cuts –Avoiding the Big Ones”

Question: was this pruning cut a mistake? You judge.Driving home yesterday, I spied upon this extreme pruning cut (see photo). The tree pruner may have read the chapter in the pruning manual about cutting a damaged or broken limb on an angle to shed snow and rain. Had he/she missed the chapter that recommends making […]

Aucuba — Major Shade Garden Shrub

On a recent trip to the Knoxville Botanical Garden, I was re-introduced to a plant not used as much as it should be – gold dust shrub (Aucuba japonica). Hardy to USDA hardiness zones 6b-10, aucuba prefers a partial sun to heavy shaded area of the garden. Direct sunlight, even in the mostly cloudy winter may scorch some leaves. Over the past 20 years […]