Archive for January, 2012

Leyland Cypress Too Big For Many Sites

Leyland cypress  (x Cupressocyparis leylandii)  grows into a 50 foot tall evergreen behemoth. What happens when the plants (in photo) get too close to the small deck(s)? Access to the deck from the stairs will become impossible as the evergreens swallow up the entire back yard. Looking out from the deck and windows from the home won’t be likely […]

Dawn Redwood Lives On From Its Prehistoric Past

Dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) was thought to be extinct for the past 20 million years. Since 1948 gardeners have witnessed its re-introduction back into the North American landscape from Sichuan-Hubei Provinces in China where the tree was re-discovered.  Dawn redwood prefers a well-drained, compost-rich, acidic soil. This deciduous conifer tolerates standing water for a brief 2-3 day span, not as long as bald cypress […]

Soil Testing Is Fool-Proof Garden Insurance

Soil testing is  a gardener’s best low cost insurance for enjoying a gorgeous garden or lawn. A soil analysis may be a problem solver, informing you of the soil nutrient content and pH. It  accurately calculates how much chemical fertilizer, limestone, manure and other components to add. You save money is your soil is already rich enough or […]

Don’t Crawl /Let’em Weep White Pine

                         In the beginning was a small weeping pine which wanted to crawl along the ground because it had no “legs”. The gardener came along and straightened up the leader and attached it to a tall pole. Straightening and staking continued for several years. Many years […]

‘Little King’ Birch For Small Gardens

Little King, aka Fox Valley™, (Betula nigra ‘Little King’) is a 10-12 foot tall shrubby river birch, which fits into small landscapes. Simple minimal pruning can shape it into a lovely small tree. Little King possesses the desirable traits of  large river birches, including an oft-white exfoliating bark. River birch exhibits good heat tolerance in the Southeastern U.S. (USDA zones 4-8) and has […]

What Can Be Done About Phytophthora

Phytophthora disease (Phytophthora spp.) is the fatal cause of root rots, stem cankers and crown rots. Several hundred species of plants are susceptible, including redbuds, dogwoods, rhododendrons, camellias, white pines, firs, yews (Taxus spp.), and fruit trees. It thrives in warm moist saturated soils. Phytophthora may lie dormant in the soil for several years, waiting for a […]

Phalaenopsis Orchids Easy To Grow

At one time, growing orchids was a hobby that only rich doctors, lawyers and fictional detectives could afford. Today, the very affordable “moth orchids” (Phalaenopsis spp.) are commonly available at supermarkets and big hardware chain stores at reasonable prices. They’re easy to grow and produce large showy flowers which bloom for two or more months. Moth […]

Get Past The Winter Blahs With Paperwhite Narcissus

  A wonderful, easy indoor gardening project this winter is to start a dish (pot) of paperwhite narcissus (Narcissus tazetta). Paperwhites make a lovely white centerpiece on your dining table. Paperwhite bulbs are outdoor hardy in USDA hardiness zones 8 – 10.  Store the bulbs in a warm dry location such as on top of a refrigerator until you’re […]

Volcano Mulching Harmful

Piling up mulch around trees or shrubs, called “volcano mulching”, is a bad practice and is killing them. Perhaps you’ve seen a neighbor or a professional landscaper doing it, and assumed that it must be alright. It’s not! The deep mulch pile smothers the natural buttress flair of the trunk which breathes and absorbs air for […]