Archive for June, 2010

Culver’s Root (Veronicastrum)

Midwest native Culver’s root (Veronicastrum virginicum) starts the summer flowering season in my perennial garden. It naturally grows in open woods and meadows and thrives in fertile to moist soils. However, this deep rooted plant hasn’t complain about the current dry period in the Southern Appalachian region (USDA zones 6-7). Be aware that culver’s root […]

Agapanthus- Hardiness Issues

Lovely agapanthus (Lily of the Nile) is native to South Africa and is not reliably hardy in the Southern Appalachian region (zones 6 – 7). Many small tubular flowers comprise each ball -shaped (umbel) flower cluster. Tall sturdy floral scapes rise 1 to 4 feet in height, blooming from late spring into late summer depending […]

"My Maple Tree Is Being Invaded"

photo: Dr. Alan Windham, UT Plant Pathologist The following is a real query sent to an Extension agent over the phone: “I have thousands of insects on 8 of my 10 maple trees. I fear they will kill my trees, one has already died. The insects huddle together. I am not positive they have wings, […]

New Hardier Gardenias

Old fashioned gardenias or cape jasmines (Gardenia jasminoides) are reliably hardy in USDA zones 7-b and 8. Plants require immediate protection when the outdoor temperatures dip below 15 to 20 degrees. The new hardier cultivars are compact growers, 2-4 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide. ‘Frost Proof’, Crown Jewel™, and Heaven Scent™ are three promising […]

Smaller Southern Magnolias

The grand Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) thrives here in the southern Appalachian region and along the Eastern seaboard as far north as Boston (USDA zones 6-9). Most homeowners do not have room enough to grow this 60-70 foot arboreal aristocrat. Compact forms are available that need less than half the space. The ivory white flowers […]

Squash Vine Borer

photo credit: Dr. Alan Windham, Univ. of TN Extension Plant Pathologist Squash vine borer (SVB) damages squash, gourds, and pumpkins. Cucumbers and melons are usually not attacked by the SVB. The adult SVB is a clear-winged moth. The 1 inch long adult moth is commonly mistaken for a wasp. Its abdomen is ringed with orange […]

Vitex ‘Shoal Creek’

Chastetree (Vitex agnus-castus) is an 8-10 foot deciduous shrub or 12-15 foot tall small tree (hardiness zone 6-b thru 8). Branching habit is dense and vase-shaped (upright). It blooms over most of the summer, from June thru late August. Its 12-18 inch long blue-violet flower spikes exude a slight herbal fragrance. ‘Shoal Creek’ is a […]

Catalpa Both Loved And Hated

Northern catalpa or Indian cigar tree (Catalpa speciosa) has enormous presence in any landscape setting (USDA hardiness zones 4-8). Finding a 70 – 80 foot tree with a massive trunk and thick sinuous limbs is not unusual from Ohio south thru Tennessee. In summer its huge heart –shaped, pale green leaves may be easily reach […]

Indian Pink is a Summer Sizzler

Indian pink (Spigelia marilandica) is a strikingly beautiful native wildflower here in the southern Appalachian region (USDA zone 6 -7). Beginning in late May, bright red tubular flowers flare open, crowned by five sharply pointed pale yellow reflexed lobes (see photo). Indian pink prospers around rich moist open woodland areas. The well-drained soil should have […]