Archive for September, 2011

‘Little Lemon’ Goldenrod Acts Like Late Summer Bedding Plant

  Across the Southern Appalachian region (USDA zones 6 and 7), the native goldenrods (Solidago spp.) are easy to spot, growing 6-8 feet tall in ditch banks along roadsides and in the poorest of soils.  Over the past quarter century short, more compact cultivars have arrived local garden centers. ‘Little Lemon’ grows only 12-15 inches tall with a 18-24 inch spread. This diminutive […]

October Starts Out With Fall Sunflowers

I thank the person who gave me a native swamp sunflower (Helianthus angustifolia). This long-lived perennial appears to have its own internal clock for blooming around the first day of October. Its long narrow rough-textured leaves average 6 inches in length. The 2-3 inch wide flowers appear first on top of the tall 6 to 7  foot plants, and […]

Franklinia Will Survive If…

Franklinia (Franklinia altamaha) is admittedly a very finicky large shrub or small tree. Pure white, five-petal, 2 ½ – 3 inch camellia-like flowers bloom sporadically from August thru mid-October. Flowers are slightly fragrant. In the fall glossy green leaves gradually transition to blends of red, orange and burgundy hues. Franklinia grows best on an eastern exposure […]

Ornamental Peppers Sizzle In Autumn

   Some gardeners call them “Christmas peppers”. In the late summer garden all eyes turn away from most flowering annuals and to the colorful fruits of ornamental peppers (Capsicum annuum). Many are dwarf red hot chili peppers. (No!…not the rock band). Fruits are cylindrical or ball shaped and the brilliant colors range from white, yellow, […]

Fall Is For Planting

  Does your garden need a refresh? Summer’s heat and drought, devastating storms, and disease and pest problems combine to place a pall over your outdoor living space. Perhaps, you desire an entirely new look. Maybe you’re tired of the same old beds of roses, daylilies and other perennials. Maybe your garden saps too much of […]

Steps in Re-Blooming Last Year’s Poinsettia

Part IV. In mid-September bring plant indoors as outdoor temps start to drop below 50°F to initiate poinsettia flowering. Poinsettia is a “photoperiodic” plant, which means that floral buds and colorful bracts are initiated under short daylengths. A poinsettia requires 6 weeks of 10 hours or less of light per day. You must be determined to stay with […]

Re-Bloomers Need Your Help

Re-blooming is an unusual plant trait. Selected cultivars return this time of year for a repeat floral show. In my garden Encore™ azaleas (Rhododendron spp.), re-blooming irises (Iris spp.), and re-blooming daylilies (Hemerocallis spp.) are back for second round of flowering in late summer and early fall. The gardener/landscaper must supply needed soil moisture and nutrition (primarily nitrogen) so that plants don’t struggle […]

‘Chocolate’ White Snakeroot Is A Better Choice

  White Snakeroot (Eupatorium rugosum) is native to moist woodland areas in most eastern and midwestern states (U.S.). It grows in average, moist, well-drained soil in full sun to light shade. It is a long-lived and an aggressive perennial. ‘Chocolate’ (E. rugosum ‘Chocolate’) earns its namesake for its chocolaty or burgundy tinted foliage. ‘Chocolate’ white […]

‘Slender Silhouette’ Sweetgum…Very Few Gumballs!

Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) is a medium to large landscape tree, which matures to 65-70 feet in height and 35 feet in spread. To many people it’s called the cursed “gumball” or “ankle twister” tree, not be confused with the fruit balls of the American sycamore or London plane tree (Platanus spp.). Gumball detractors should look […]

‘Autumn Bride’ Started A Heuchera Evolution

Autumn Bride heuchera (Heuchera villosa ‘Autumn Bride’) is blooming now. This native ground cover, aka “hairy alumroot”, displays wide lime-green foliage which is not as colorful as many new H. villosa  hybrids introduced in recent years. However, the white flowers on Autumn Bride are showier and more numerous. Heucheras prefer a moist, well-drained, compost-rich soil. Plants are heat and humidity […]