Archive for March, 2011

Update On New Heuchera Hybrids

  The best of the villosa cultivars are ‘Caramel’, ‘Citronella’, ‘Mocha’, and my newest favorite ‘Bronze Wave’.  Blooms are tall and mostly insignificant. I often remove them to accent the foliage. All villosa cultivars are long lived and heat and humidity tolerant. Heucheras prefer a moist, well-drained, compost-rich soil. Plants are heat and humidity tolerant in the […]

When To Prune Spring Flowering Shrubs

Seven reasons why you prune: eliminate dead, diseased, insect riddled branches control plant height and spread shaping such as topiary, espaliered or pollardized trees increase or decrease the numbers of flowers and fruits rejuvenate an old shrub or tree remove low branches over walkways remove water sprouts and root suckers Flowering shrubs bloom from late February thru […]

‘Misty Blue’ Doll’s Eye Will Catch Your Eye

 White baneberry or doll’s eye (Actaea pachypoda) is a strikingly beautiful native perennial. The cultivar ‘Misty Blue’ was first discovered at Mt. Cuba Center in Greenville, Delaware. The bluish-green foliage is multi-stemmed and finely cut from mid-spring thru the summer months. Grow it in a moist shade garden environment. Lovely fringed white flowers appear in April. In the fall clusters of white “doll’s eye” berry fruits sit atop brightly red […]

‘Jeana’ Phlox– no powdery mildew

Photo credit: North Creek Nurseries, Landenberg, PA, USA Our native summer phlox (Phlox paniculata) continues to be challenged here in the Southern Appalachian region (USDA zones 6 and 7) by powdery mildew disease (p-m-d). Over the past decade gardeners have tried new, reportedly disease resistant cultivars. Many have disappointed. To date, the cultivars ‘David’ (white, 3-4 […]

Better Choices for Golden Moon Maple

Photo credit: Mr. Brian Upchurch, Highland Creek Nursery, Fletcher, NC A few months back I asked Mr. Brian Upchurch, owner of Highland Creek Nursery*, his opinion of Golden Fullmoon Japanese maple (Acer shirasawanum ‘Aureum’) in our Southern Appalachian region (USDA zones 6 and 7).  He responded: “I have grown it in the past and it […]


Blueberries (Vaccinium spp.) are healthy for you and exceptionally easy to grow organically (without pesticides). Why?- because blueberries are bothered by very few disease and insect problems. Success in growing blueberries depends upon pre-plant soil preparation. If you’re thinking about growing blueberrues for the first time, then allot this  calendar year for soil preparation. Put off planting blueberries until the early fall or […]

Act Now for Crabgrass-free Lawn This Summer

What grows there? Hopefully, it’s not crabgrass this summer.  Crabgrass (Digitaria spp.) is an annual weed grass that devour lawns, shrub beds and flower gardens. There are lots of effective crabgrass preventatives sold at garden shops, hardware stores, and farm supply centers. There are numerous trademarked products. It is important to read and understand package instructions. […]

Pulmonarias: Wonderful In The Shade Garden

Although my multi-year addiction for hostas has never waned,  I remain equally passionate about the lungworts (Pulmonaria spp.). Lungwort is also called Bethlehem sage and Jerusalem sage. Their uniquely splotched or variegated foliage wakes up a dark patch in any shade garden. Lungworts are planted as ground covers and for color accents. In early spring (March), lungworts send up […]

Prune Some Hydrangeas Now

PeeGee or panicled hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata) and our native Smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens) are pruned now in late winter thru early spring. Why? – because these hydrangeas bloom on new or current season’s wood. Over the years these two hydrangea species grow to enormous sizes. When they overwhelm their garden space, severely cut them back to within 6 -12  inches from […]

Winter Jasmine Rising

Is the worst of winter behind us? Winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) is often confused with forsythia shrubs which bloom 3-4 weeks later in the spring. This hardy winter blooming vine from China frequently blooms in late February and March when daytime temperatures climb into the mid-50s for a week or more. Evening chilling temps down into the […]