Archive for December, 2014

Is Your Tree A Hazard?

    Is a dangerous tree lurking in your yard, ready to tumble down on your house or car?  A well shaped landscape tree with a full canopy (top) and undergoes a safety checkup every 3-5 years is rarely at risk. When the weather forecaster is predicting a  hurricane or an ice storm, it’s generally too late to call a local […]

Beware Of Short-Lived And Overly Aggressive Plants

                  Gardening does involve some work, sometimes a lot more if you select the wrong plants. A good purchase may even reduce annual maintenance. Some of them are beautifully tempting at the garden center. Non-hardy woody trees and shrubs often sold by box store garden centers. For example, it […]

Holiday Poinsettia Requires Basic Care

Gifts have been opened and a great dinner served. The holiday season may be waning, but your beautiful poinsettia plant (Euphorbia pulcherrima) will require some minimal care. Generally, the same weekly care that you provide your house plants will keep your poinsettia looking beautiful most of the winter. Here are some basic tips: Place poinsettia in bright natural light […]

Determining A Plant’s Cold Hardiness

On-line nursery catalogs and plant labels at garden centers list the hardiness of the trees, shrubs, vines, and perennials that they sell. Many years ago the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) developed the hardiness rating scale based on geographic location from northern Canada to southern Mexico. Most U.S. gardeners live within Zones 3 to 11. Don’t know […]

New Christmas Roses (Hellebores) Greatly Improved

  Christmas roses (Helleborus niger) is a winter flowering perennial. It is native to central and southern Europe (USDA hardiness zones 4-8) and is not as winter hardy as lenten rose (Helleborus x orientalis). Christmas rose tends to flower 1 to 4 weeks earlier, around the Christmas holidays in southern climes (zones 7-8). New selections of H. niger are better […]

Nellie R. Stevens Holly

  Hollies and the winter season work well together. Female hollies with bright red fruits (yellow-fruited forms also) contrast with their glossy evergreen foliage. ‘Nellie R. Stevens’ holly (NRS), a female form, is a cross between English (Ilex aquifolium) and Chinese (I. cornuta) hollies. NRS is the popular holly choice in Southern landscapes (USDA hardiness zones 6 to 9). Hollies are dioecious, […]

Provide Space For Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar

Atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica) hails from the Atlas Mountains in northern Morocco and Algeria (USDA hardiness zone 6-9). ‘Glauca Pendula’ is a popular weeping form with blue green needle foliage. It is found in limited quantities at full service garden centers. Mature forms of weeping blue atlas cedars take up lots of space. When young its natural weeping form perform as a […]

All About Mulches

                Mulches aid in retaining soil moisture and reducing weeding chores. Over the years organically-based mulches gradually improve garden soils. Organic mulches are basically recycled bark, branches, twigs and leaves (including needles). Frequently they are organic by-products from the logging industry. Grass clippings and straw are also mulch sources. Hay is usually  full […]

Conifers For Poorly Drained Soils

Before planting conifers in your landscape, it’s absolutely important to know the drainage (percolation rate) of the soil, particularly if it is clay-based. Most conifers prefer well-drained sandy and clay loam soils. To determine your soil type and rate of drainage, try the “hole test” recommended by Virginia Tech University horticulturists. Dig a hole approximately one foot deep […]

Emerald™ Arborvitae

Emerald™ or ‘Emerald Green’ arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘Smaragd’) is not new shrub or cultivar. More than 3 generations of gardeners have used this unique form of eastern arborvitae as their “go to” evergreen shrub up and down the eastern coast and through the Midwest (USDA hardiness zones 3-7). Emerald is a semi-dwarf evergreen shrub with a […]