Archive for February, 2016

Native Partridgeberry

  Partridge berry (Mitchella repens) is cherished for its evergreen foliage, spring flowers and fall-winter colorful berries (USDA Zones 4–8). This native groundcover is frequently spotted in moist woodlands along banks of streams and on dry slopes in the eastern and central North America as far west as Minnesota and south to northern Texas and Florida. This […]

Broadleaved Sedges- Colorful Alternatives To Liriope

The broadleaved sedges (Carex siderosticha) make terrific alternatives to monkey grass (Liriope muscari) (USDA hardiness zones 6-9). This species of sedges is a clump growing  perennial and is starting to become more used as a ground cover. Clumps spread very slowly via rhizomes. Foliage goes dormant in late November (zone 6) and is semi-evergreen in zones 8-9. New leaves emerge in mid-spring. […]

Timing Critical For Applying Crabgrass Preventive

              To control crabgrass and other lawn weeds, 1. maintain a vigorous healthy turf so weeds can’t get established, and  2. apply the proper pre-emergent herbicide at the right time. Pre-emergent herbicides do not kill weeds; they prevent weed seeds from germinating. It’s that simple. Timing is important! In many states […]

Attracting Monarchs To Your Garden

            From Canada to Mexico, gardeners are being recruited to halt the decline of the Monarch butterfly populations across North America. One way you can help is to fill your garden with Monarch’s favorite flowering nectar plants and milkweeds (Asclepias spp.). Plants should be sited in open full sun and […]

Little Girl Hybrid Magnolias

              Star (Magnolia stellata) and tulip (M. soulangeana) magnolias are early flowering magnolias. Early spring frosts destroy open flowers. In the mid-1980’s the U.S. National Arboretum released 8 shrub-type cultivars as a series called the “Little Girl Magnolias”. They are hybrid crosses between M. liliiflora and M. stellata. Four cultivars- […]

Changing Bigleaf Hydrangea Flower Color

                Bigleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla), aka “hortensia” hydrangeas, bear pink flowers in low acidic and alkaline soil and blue flowers in mildly acidic soil. Some tips about regulating soil pH and flower color in bigleaf hydrangeas follows. First, a short review about soil pH. Soil pH measures soil […]

Distyliums As Cherry Laurel Or Holly Substitute

Hybrid distyliums (Distylium myricoides × racemosum) are compact evergreen shrubs for full sun to partial shade USDA hardiness zones 7 to 9. They are heat and drought tolerant, and are not fussy, growing in average soil with subpar drainage. Distyliums are members of the witchhazel family (Hamamelidaceae). Their tiny reddish-maroon flowers appear in late January through March, but offer little ornamental value in the […]

Peace Lily And Anthurium Plants Around Home Or Office

            Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum) and anthurium are near perfect foliage plants in poorly lit areas around your home or office. They’re native to the tropical rainforests of Central and South America. Both plants are shade-lovers in their native habitats. Direct sunlight for more than one hour will likely burn leaves. They’re members […]

Growing Orchids Is A Great Hobby

              At one time growing orchids was an elitist hobby for the very rich in our society. Orchids were expensive to purchase. Today, local greenhouses and garden centers sell orchids at affordable prices. Moth (Phalaenopsis) and lady slipper orchids (Paphiopedilum) are the simplest to grow. Here are some easy tips to […]

Coleus Thrive In Summer Heat And Humidity

                Coleus (Plectranthus scutellariodes) is a summer annual treasured for its colorful foliage. Plants thrive in summer’s heat and humidity (USDA hardiness zone 11).  Coleus is a member of the nettle family Lamiaceae. You can create dazzling beds of  color using coleus alone or mixed with flowering annuals. Modern day coleus grow more compact and better branched. […]