Archive for October, 2015

Crocus: A Fine Start To Spring

              Crocus (Crocus spp.) can be your wake-up reminder that winter is coming to an end (USDA hardiness zones 3- 8). They bloom in late winter (in the south); fall blooming varieties are also available. Bulbs (they’re actually “corms”) are available in flower colors from blue, purple, white, yellow, and mixed […]

Avoid Crape Myrtle Woes In Winter

  It’s no secret that in many areas with cold winters (USDA hardiness zones 6-9), hardy crape myrtle cultivars are now available. In northern areas like eastern Maryland and northern VA, crape myrtles have been prospering for two decades and more. However, there is one rule regarding winter care — “Don’t Touch”. Hold off all pruning of crape […]

New England Aster A Great Pick For Fall Garden

                New England (NE) Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae), aka Michaelmas Daisy, is a long-lived native perennial from the east shore west to New Mexico (USDA hardiness zones 4-8).  Flowering time is from August to October. It is a favorite choice for prairie restorations, roadside plantings, and wetland sites. This large aster species […]

Add Alliums In Your Spring Flower Garden

              Ornamental alliums, members of the onion family (Amaryllidaceae), produce flowers that are uniquely ball shaped and stand atop long, graceful stems. Young children marvel about the lollipop or stargazing blooms. Depending on species, alliums come in many colors (white, yellow, pink, purple, blue), shapes (round, oval, cascading), and sizes (5 inches to 5 feet tall). […]

New ‘Black and Bloom’ Salvia Lovely Touch To Late Summer Garden

            Blue anise sage (Salvia guaranitica) is native to central South America (USDA hardiness zones 7-10). It primarily utilized as a garden annual in the U.S., but is rated a tender perennial in protected locations with winter mulch cover in zone 6. Plants exhibit a shrubby, somewhat open habit with upright branching, to 3-5 feet […]

Landscape Trees With Messy Fruits

              Fruit avoidance is on the mind of many property owners when purchasing trees and shrubs for their yard. Many like crabapples, mulberries and Chinese (kousa) dogwoods produce fleshy or pulpy fruits that mess lawns, walkways and stain parked cars. Many, not all, are non-native and foraging birds and […]

10 Winter Care Tips For Landscape Plants

              Fall-planted perennials, shrubs and trees need some additional attention. Here are 10 basic tips to help plants get past potential winter woes: Select balled-and-burlapped (b&b) or container-grown plants rather than bare-rooted stock. Most bare-root plants are planted in late winter or early spring when plants are still dormant. Evergreens, […]

Ripening Tomatoes Off The Vine

The threat of freezing temperatures in the fall has gardeners scrambling to harvest all green tomatoes that may be a few weeks away from regular harvest. You may opt to prepare fried green tomatoes or to ripen the fruits indoors, still a tastier alternative to store-bought tomatoes. Pick green tomatoes that show a tinge of color at the blossom (bottom) end and feel a […]

Paint and Wrap Newly Set Peach Tree Trunks

The bark of young peach (Prunus persica) or nectarine (P. persica nucipersica) trees are sensitive to winter injury caused by rapid drops in daily temperatures. On a winter’s day, the sun may heat up the sapwood under the thin skinned peach bark. Research in Georgia shows that temperatures on the south side of a peach tree may […]

Foxtail Lilies Are Uniquely Different

  Foxtail lilies or desert candles (Eremurus spp.) are beginning to find an audience with U.S. gardeners. Foxtail lilies are indigenous to the grasslands and semi-arid parts of Iran, Turkey, and Afghanistan (USDA hardiness zones 5–8). Tall spires of brightly colored flowers emerge in late spring; small individual flowers are densely packed together. Each showy […]