Archive for August, 2012

‘Northwind’ Switchgrass Is Environmentally Tough and Beautiful

  Young Clump of ‘Northwind’ Switchgrass Northwind switchgrass (Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’) is a medium sized 5 to 6 feet tall ornamental grass. This tall native prairie grass grows best in full sunlight for most of the day. Its tight narrow posture seems to fall apart in shade. There are many good switchgrass varieties. Northwind makes […]

Apples Ready To Pick?

This unusually hot summer has sped up the harvest time of your backyard apple crop. Here are five good indicators that the apples are ready to harvest. Change in skin color is one of the easiest for gardeners to spot. The green skin pigment gradually matures to red, yellow or oft green, depending on variety. […]

Winter Hardiness of Crape Myrtles

If you garden in USDA zone 6, certain crape myrtle cultivars are rated as reliably winter hardy perennials. Most dependable are the U.S. National Arboretum cultivars released starting in the 1980’s to date. Each one is named for an Indian tribe. Most of the National Arboretum cultivars are selected for cold hardiness as well as for disease and insect resistance.  Among the […]

‘Senorita Rosalita’ – A Welcome Spider Flower Addition

Cleome or spider flower (Cleome hassleriana) is the 5-6 foot flowering annual that your grandmother grew in her garden. Long stamens extending from the flowers look like spider legs, hence the common name. The old fashioned varieties produced lots of seed pods which meant lots of weed seed in next year’s garden. As summer temperatures […]

How To Re-Bloom a Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis)

Perhaps this past year a friend gifted you a lovely moth orchid (Phalaenopsis spp.). Late summer and early fall is an excellent time to re-bloom it, if you live in USDA hardiness zones 6 through 8. The overall health of the plant should be good. Moth orchids require a fluctuation of between 15 – 20°F […]

Star Zinnias Handle Heat and Dry Weather

    Wanting two seasons of spring-summer color, heat and drought tolerant, and no disease or pest problems? You should be planting Profusion and Zahara zinnias, also called “star zinnias”. They are very resistant to powdery mildew, a disease which plagues many kinds of zinnias. Profusion and Zahara zinnias bloom non-stop for almost 6 months (mid-May thru October) in the […]

Fall In Love With Sweetheart Tree

The late J.C. Raulston introduced euscaphus tree (Euscaphus japonica) to gardeners in the 1980’s. Tennessee nurseryman Don Shadow is credited with naming it “Korean sweetheart tree” which has become its more popular name. It is reliably winter hardy to USDA zone 6-b. Sweetheart tree is a small 15-20 foot tree or large shrub. The pinnately compound foliage is […]

Strong Vertical Presence of Serbian Spruce

  Serbian spruce (Picea omorika) rises as a tall spire in the urban landscape. A mature tree may reach 50 to 60 feet high and it creates a narrow footprint of 15 to 25 feet wide. Lateral branches uniquely bend downward while the growing tips sweep gracefully upward. Annual growth rate is slow at 12-15 inches. Two-thirds of the short dark green needles lay […]

Common Ditch Lilies

A native of eastern Asia, tawny daylilies (Hemerocallis fulva) are often called “ditch lilies”. You see them growing along roadsides, in back alleys, and in old gardens, often in very poor soil. Their tenacious root system helps to stabilize steep slopes. They seem to thrive in places too difficult for most plants. They’re grow so easily […]

‘Hot Lips’ Turtlehead – A Late Summer Flowering Native

Turtlehead (Chelone spp.) is a U.S. native. Turtle-head shaped flowers appear in August and September. The 1 inch flowers open from bottom to top along the stem (s). Colors vary from bright white, creamy white, and white tinged with pink (depending on species and cultivar grown). Pink turtlehead (C. lyonii ) is native to the Southern […]