Archive for May, 2011

Does Mulch Attract Termites?

 Mulching, in itself, does not attract termites to your home. That’s the conclusion of two university studies. Soil moisture appears to be the key factor that attracts termites to the home.  The subterranean termites found in scattered, localized areas are routinely found in wood chip mulch. While landscape mulches are good for woody and herbaceous […]

Wild Epaulette Tree Can Be Tamed

Epaulette tree (Pterostyrax hispida) is a small flowering tree which quickly grows to a mature height of 20—25 feet. Winter hardiness here in the Southern Appalachian region (USDA zones 6 and 7) is no problem.  A newly planted tree grows an average of 15-18 inches per year and blooms early. Epaulette prospers in a moist well-drained […]

Is Paulownia Invasive?

Paulownia or Empress tree (Paulownia tomentosa) is a medium to large 30-50 foot tree. It is extremely fast growing, brittle wooded tree, as much as 4 feet per year.  Across the Southern Appalachian region (USDA zones 6 and 7), the large pale violet flowers of paulownia are easily visible in May, perched on branch tips. Its […]

Yellowwood Not Every Year Bloomer

  American yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea) is a medium-sized flowering tree. In the month of May, a beautiful yellowwood tree is in bloom somewhere in the Southern Appalachian region (USDA zone 6 and 7). The 1- 1 1/2  inch white pea blossoms comprise the 8-14 inch long wisteria-like panicles which drape from branch and twig tips. Yellowwood may bloom 2 to 3 consecutive years […]

Summer Wine™: The Taming of The Ninebark

Over the past 25 years our native Eastern ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius) has been reborn. Its overly vigorous nature has been tamed. Latest up is Summer Wine™ ninebark with small, deeply cut, wine burgundy leaves, quite different from the medium green foliage of old-fashioned ninebarks. Summer Wine is a more compact (5-6 feet in height and width) grower. Grow ninebark in […]

Select Hollies for Privacy

Ilex opaca ‘Greenleaf’ I continue to witness the overplanting of Leyland cypress (Cupressocyparis x leylandii) across the Southern Appalachian region (USDA zones 6 and 7). This is followed by Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) and western arborvitae (Thuja x plicata). These three evergreen species have a rapid growth rate and eventually attain heights of 40-60 feet, […]

‘Janet Blair’ Rhododendron

Here in the Southern Appalachian region (USDA zones 6 and 7) rhododendrons can be challenging. Of critical importance is to choose a good garden spot and to plant a hardy cultivar. Over the past 25 years ‘Janet Blair’ has been one of the most reliable varieties in my Northeast Tennessee garden.  ‘Janet Blair’ bears medium-sized […]

Growing Azaleas in Outdoor Containers Year-Around

In the Southern Appalachian region (USDA zones 6 and 7), if you desire to grow azaleas in above ground containers year around, you must select winter hardy cultivars. Two of the best for containers are ‘Elsie Lee’ (2½- inch wide semi-double light lavender blooms) and ‘Herbert’ (1 ¾- inch wide bright purple with dark blotch). […]

Stop Ignoring Enkianthus

From the photo, looks like a pieris? No, it’s redveined enkianthus (Enkianthus campanulatus) and its brightly colored bell-shaped flowers are attention getters in the early May garden. Lovely cream yellow to orangy red bell shaped flowers are faintly red veined. The bell shaped blooms exude a slight scent, one that you may like or not. From the start, growth rate […]

“Mary, Mary, How You Do Grow in My Garden”

‘My Mary’ is a hybrid deciduous azalea (R. ‘Nacoochee’ x R. austrinum) ending its flowering cycle in my spring garden. ‘My Mary’ has been a steady performer, averaging 4-5 feet in height in 10 years. Its clusters of bright yellow orange tubular flowers measure 2 1/2” across. Its early morning sweet fragrance is a gentle […]