Archive for August, 2011

Gaillardia Survival Depends On Winter Soil Drainage

In recent years several hybrid cultivars of blanket flowers (Gaillardia x grandflora) have been introduced. Some are annuals and others perennials. This North American prairie native is hardy in USDA zone 5 hardy. Gaillardias should thrive in the Southern Appalachian region (USDA zones 6 and 7), but they don’t! Soggy winter clay soil is their […]

Sunpatiens Worth The Hype

Sunpatiens™ live up to all their hype, with a caveat. They are still impatiens, which means they love (and can’t go without) water. In the Southern Appalachian region (USDA zones 6 and 7), Sunpatiens prosper in direct full day sun to part shade, but can’t go without weekly watering. The flower bed should be mulched […]

Kousa Dogwood Not Summer Heat Tolerant

Chinese (Kousa) dogwood (Cornus kousa) rates four stars (out of four) as a beautiful small flowering landscape tree. Since the 1970’s, a deadly anthracnose (Discula spp.) fungus disease has threatened to eradicate our native flowering dogwood (C. florida). Kousa dogwood rates as a highly disease resistant alternative. Its Achilees’ heel is its less than stellar foliar heat […]

‘Gateway’ Joe-Pye Fits Most Gardens

On hot clammy August days, towering 6-8 feet in height, there is Joe-Pye* weed (Eupatorium purpureum) to enjoy. It is visually hard to miss when driving along rural roads in the Southern Appalachian region (USDA zones 6 and 7). Joe-Pye’s flowering sends me a timely message that autumn is only six weeks away. For gardens the cultivar […]

Summer Leaf Drop From Trees

  It’s late summer in the Southern Appalachian region (USDA zones 6 and 7). Outdoor temperatures continue to hit 90°F almost daily, and weekly precipitation is low. Over the past 3-4 weeks leaves have been dropping prematurely from landscape trees. Tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), river birch (Betula nigra), willow (Salix spp.), sycamore (Platanus x acerifolia), […]

The Challenge and Reward of Harlequin Glorybower

Harlequin Glorybower (Clerodendron trichotomum) is a rambling 15 foot tall shrub, and can be easily shaped into a multi-stemmed 10-12  foot small tree. Glorybower shines in the late summer and early fall landscape. Its sweetly scented, very showy flowers attract the attention of gardeners as well as hummingbirds and butterflies. Glorybower reaches its northern- most hardiness limit here […]

Old-Timey ‘Royal Standard’ Hosta Still Rules

Kingwood Center is a wonderful public garden in Mansfield, Ohio with several top notch beds of hostas. One glorious bed of ‘Royal Standard’ hosta blooms their heads off from mid-August into September. With over 35,000 registered hostas available, why look back at this vintage variety. Royal Standard was patented and introduced in 1965 by Wayside Gardens […]

‘Kim’s Knee High’ Coneflower For Small Gardens

We are in the midst of an Echinacea revolution. Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) is a popular 5-6 foot tall native perennial commonly planted in meadow and butterfly gardens. Kim Hawkes, former owner of Niche Gardens Nursery in Chapel Hill, N.C. introduced compact growing ‘Kim’s Knee High’  a decade ago. It is still one of the finest cultivars. ‘Kim’s Knee High’ […]

Explode Your Plant Roots

  One of my gardening frustrations is watching a new plant linger and not grow. I dig a proper hole, deep and wide enough. I pour gallons of water on the plant to keep it alive during a dry hot summer. Four months later, the plant is the same size as last spring or it […]

‘Morning Calm’ Trumpet Vine

Our native trumpet vine, aka trumpet creeper (Campis radicans), may instill fear in gardeners. A wild vine may climb a utility pole, 30- 40 feet in one year. The late horticulturist Dr. J. C. Raulston at  NC State University in Raleigh recommended its tamer Chinese cousin (C. grandiflora) and the cultivar ‘Morning Calm’. Trumpetvine climbs and […]