Archive for May, 2013

Determinate Vs Indeterminate Tomato Varieties

There are many tomato varieties from which to select. You may find 100 or more varieties listed in garden catalogs. Depending on your garden space and needs, the two categories of tomato varieties to grow are determinate or indeterminate types. Short bush type growers are called determinate tomatoes. They require no support and you can […]

Pest Alert – Gardeners Should Avoid Planting Garden Impatiens

Downy mildew in impatiens (Plasmopara obducens) infects garden impatiens, double impatiens and balsam. However, New Guinea impatiens, SunPatiens™, and most annual summer flowering plants are not susceptible. Impatiens are the favorite flowering annual used in shady garden areas. Double impatiens and balsam are favorites in hanging pots and other types of containers. U.S. greenhouse growers […]

Pest Alert- Protect Young Trees and Shrubs From Cicadas

No insect creates more newspaper headlines than the periodical cicada (Magicicada spp.). Their sudden emergence, every 13 or 17 years reads like a chapter from a science fiction novel. Their high-pitched noise or “mating call” fills the late spring air. Both the 13-year and 17-year cicadas are uniquely common in the eastern U.S., found no […]

‘Florida Sunshine’ Anise Tree

Florida Sunshine anise tree (Illicium parviflorum ‘Florida Sunshine’), aka Ocala yellow star, is a southeast U.S. native which grows well on moderately shaded sites. Its evergreen, chartreuse colored, spring-summer foliage turns golden yellow in the fall. As its common name hints, the evergreen foliage emits a licorice scent. The overall fall-winter show is nothing short […]

‘Bikini-tini’ Colocasia Creates Movement in The Garden

Colocasia (Colocasia esculenta), aka taro, ape plant, and elephant ear, among other names, is marginally hardy in the Southern Appalachian region (USDA hardiness zones 6 and 7). The 2011 colocasia introduction ‘Bikini-tini’ has garnered high praise from neighbors and friends visiting my garden in the summer.  Bikini-tini is a strong stemmed thick-leaved plant that grows 4 to 5 feet in height. […]

Australian Fanflower A Hot Choice in U.S. Southern Gardens

Fanflower (Scaevola aemula) is a relatively new annual bedding plant choice. This Australian native thrives in tough environmental conditions, including the hot, humid summers in the Southern U.S. Fanflower grows well in hanging baskets, containers or garden beds. It grows in average, moderately acidic, well-drained soil and prefers full or partial sunny areas in the […]

Floral Fragrance Of Native Fringetree Fills The Spring Air

Fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus) is treasured for its billowy masses of fragrant white flowers in the spring. It commonly grows as a large 15-20 foot tall shrub, but can be easily trained into a 20-25 foot multi-stemmed small tree. Most gardeners call this native “fringe tree” or fringetree. Regionally, it goes by a number of colloquial […]

‘Thailand Giant’ Elephant Ears A Tropical Wonder

In many areas of the U.S.’Thailand Giant’ elephant ears (Colocasia gigantea) is classified as an annual (USDA hardiness zone 8-10). It grows best in full to partial sunlight (6-hours minimum) and planted in a compost-rich well-drained garden soil or good container potting media. A young plant should be moved outdoors and brought back indoors when […]

Chenille Plant Hot For The Summer Garden

Chenille plant (Acalypha hispida), aka firetails and redhot cattail, is a hot tropical plant which has jumped from house plant to garden plant use. Their pendulous vibrant red (other colors are available) tassel-like flowers mimic the furry tails of pets. Its lush dark green foliage is heart-shaped. Stems arch downward under the weight of the […]