Archive for July, 2011

A Canna Lily Revival

                    Depending on where you garden, Canna lily (Canna spp.) is a tropical-looking, herbaceous annual or perennial. Its colorful foliage and long blooming time leaves a huge visual impact. Canna is not reliably winter hardy in the Southern Appalachian region (USDA hardiness zones 6 and 7). […]

Native Plumleaf Azalea Blooms In The Heat Of Summer

Plumleaf Azalea (Rhododendron prunifolium) From my garden here is a look today (July 28th) at plumleaf azalea (Rhododendron prunifolium). Plumleaf is an Alabama native, and its orangey red flowers has been growing in my east Tennessee garden for the past 15+ years. It is hardy to zone 5-b (- 15°F) which includes most of the mid-Atlantic and southern New England states. Plumleaf handles Southern […]

Move Over AJ, Here Comes T-Rex

For nearly half a century, ‘Autumn Joy’ has been the leading “stonecrop” or “live forever” sedum cultivar planted. More than once I’ve heard this saying: “if Autumn Joy won’t grow in your garden, you should try another hobby.  ‘T-Rex’ is a terrific new hybrid and ‘Autumn Joy’ is one of its parents. ‘T Rex’ has […]

Torch Lily Has Long Bloom Life

Torch lily (Kniphofia spp.), aka “red hot poker”, is an easy to grow long-lived perennial from South Africa. Its colorful floral spike (and a little imagination) resembles a fiery torch or sizzling poker, visited often by hummingbirds, bees and butterflies. New cultivars are mostly hybrids and vary in plant height and flower color. Starting in […]

To Grow Crocosmia Or Not?

This South African native, also called ‘montbretia”, thrives in full sun in  well-drained average garden soil. A richly composted soil tends to boost foliage size and bloom count, but often weakens bloom stems, requiring some staking. Crocosmia may struggle in a wet soggy wintry soil. Established plants are exceptionally summer heat and drought tolerant. Brightly colored […]

Panicled Raintree Promises Showy Lantern Pods

Chinese flametree (Koelreuteria bipinnata) is also called bougainvillea raintree. This rare tree, available primarily from internet nursery commerce, deserves to be planted more. It has performed well in the Southern Appalachian region (USDA zones 6-b and 7) and is questionably hardy further north. Flametree is less popular in Southeastern landscapes than goldenrain tree (K.paniculata). Low branching […]

Galinsoga -The Gardener’s Weed

Thirty plus years ago a gardening friend passed along this tidbit: “galinsoga (Galinsoga parviflora) is the gardener’s weed”.  Galinsoga grows only in cultivated soils such as in your vegetable and/or flower garden from part shade to full sun. It prefers moist soil but grows almost anywhere, even between cracks in a sidewalk. Its thin leaves may wilt […]

Summer Blooming Oyama Magnolia

A friend on vacation sent me the attached photo from Wooster, Ohio.  When I told him that it was Oyama magnolia(Magnolia sieboldii), he asked why gardeners are not growing it. Good question! Oyama is a 10-15 feet tall (and equal spread) deciduous tree or large shrub from eastern Asia. It prefers to grow in partial […]

Invite Sonata Cosmos Into Flower Beds

Over the past few years a flower bed containing cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus) has become a rare sight across the Southern Appalachian region (USDA zones 6 and 7).  Not so, at the recently visited BuGa National Gardening Show 2011 in Koblenz, Germany. Called by some “Mexican asters”, cosmos produces big 3- inch wide red, white, pink […]

Tough And Reliable Chinese Astilbes

Astilbes (also called “false spireas”) are favorite late spring flowering perennials.  The Astilbe x arendsii hybrids from Germany are most popular and available at local garden centers. Astilbes are very hardy in the Southern Appalachian region (USDA zones 6 and 7). If low maintenance is your goal, try Chinese astilbe (Astilbe chinensis var tacquetii). Their […]