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The Greener View: Magnolia Trees Not Flowering

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I have a magnolia tree in the backyard that is about 9 years old. It is very tall and seems to be in fair condition but hasn't bloomed. It is facing the east side and I do use the tree and shrub stakes. We do have water restrictions, but I do use a tree ring for watering. Can you suggest anything? Also, when do you prune Magnolias?

A: ...Read more

On Gardening: Elephant ears leave a large footprint in tropical landscape

Gardening / Gardening News /

No matter where you go this summer the tropical look will be hot, and one of the key ingredients for this Caribbean style garden is the elephant ear, the drama queen of the landscape. With leaves that defy logic for their size and proportion vs. other plants it's not hard to see why this plant is so loved by Southern gardeners. It is not ...Read more

The Greener View: Fungus on Hedge

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I sure could use some advice on my red tip photinia; the shrubs have been planted since 2004.They are planted around the house facing the very hot west side. They did pretty well for a few years and then began having black spots and growing very sparse.

I have tried several things suggested from the local garden centers, but nothing is ...Read more

On Gardening: Spicy Jatropha prized for its non-stop blooming until winter

Gardening / Gardening News /

Spicy Jatropha Offers Blooms Birds and Butterflies

Blooms, birds, and butterflies are the attributes everyone experiences when growing the award-winning spicy jatropha. Spicy jatropha also commonly known as peregrina and firecracker jatropha is really a must have plant for the long hot season ahead. No amount of heat will deter it from ...Read more

The Greener View: Tree Buying

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Question: Our tree died and we want to replace it with a small tree, but we don't know anything about trees. What do we need to consider for picking a good tree for our yard?

Answer: Often, the best tree to plant is the one that no one else in the neighborhood has. If an insect or disease comes along and the neighbors don't treat their trees, ...Read more

Spring visit to Keukenhof's gardens exceeds all expectations

Gardening / Gardening News /

LISSE, Netherlands -- As we're driving toward Keukenhof, the sweet scent of hyacinths drifts through our bus of 26 travelers. Our tour guide thought we might like to see the growing fields filled with blooming bulbs. She was right.

No one could believe the seemingly endless rows of flowers, the sights and smells. Think of driving through field ...Read more

On Gardening: An easy-as-pie perennial with an unfortunate name

Gardening / Gardening News /

Sitting at your local garden center right now just waiting for adoption is one of the most easily grown perennials, the lanceleaf coreopsis known botanically as Coreopsis lanceolata. You might be thinking, "Just how easy is it to grow?" Would you believe it is so easy it is native to all but 7 of the lower 48 states? This means you can grow it...Read more

The Greener View: Spring Shrub Pruning

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

The best time to prune flowering shrubs is the month or two after they bloom. Most shrubs in North America are spring bloomers, so now is the time to begin pruning.

Spring bloomers get pruned in late spring and early summer, not in the fall when many people do prune them. Fall pruning of spring blooming shrubs cuts off flower buds, reducing the...Read more

On Gardening: Amistad salvia gives your beds the royal treatment

Gardening / Gardening News /

Until something unseats it, Amistad salvia is the most beautiful salvia to ever hit the market. Amistad is a Salvia guaranitica or anise sage and is a rich purple violet color fit for royalty. You can't fault a name like Amistad or Friendship salvia. This plant is special and deserving of something regal.

But as Shakespeare said, "What's in a ...Read more

The Greener View: Finding a Pond Leak

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: Our water garden pond seems to have a slow leak. Over the winter, when the pump wasn't running, the water didn't go down. There is a main pond that is about 10-by-10-by-2.5 and an upper pond that is only 2-by-2-by-1. They are separated by about 6 feet of stream. How do I find the leak?

A: Finding a leak in a pond can be really frustrating. ...Read more

On Gardening: In praise of a $5 butterfly and its mistletoe

Gardening / Gardening News /

I remember it like yesterday. I returned from a Rotary Club meeting in Mission, Tex., to see a good sized group with cameras gathered around a patch of flowers at the National Butterfly Center there. I quickly went in and asked what were they seeing? The answer was a Great Purple Hairstreak butterfly. Today when I give a presentation on ...Read more

The Greener View: Finding Value in Trees

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

How would you like to increase the value of your home from 5 to 10 percent? What is your home worth today? Let's just use an easy round number like $100,000. Ten percent of that is a cool $10,000. You can make five to 10 grand just by planting trees in your yard. Maybe money does grow on trees.

Now, of course, they need to be the right trees ...Read more

On Gardening: Giant leopard plant a spectacular member of the aster family

Gardening / Gardening News /

Members of the aster family can be described by a lot of wonderful adjectives, but "lush" and "tropical" are typically not among them. Yet that is the case with the giant leopard plant. Botanically speaking, I am referring to Farfugium japonicum 'Giganteum,' and though it is found growing on rocky cliffs in Japan, Korea and Taiwan, it is turning...Read more

The Greener View: Easter Lilies and Manure

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

If you still have an Easter lily, you can keep it as a perennial plant in your garden. Removing the flowers as they die will help make the plant's food production go into enlarging the bulb and not producing seeds. They will rebloom easily if planted outdoors in hardiness zones three through seven.

Keep them in bright, indirect light until the ...Read more

On Gardening: Native cross vine creates picture-perfect arbor or trellis

Gardening / Gardening News /

My jaw dropped as I stared at the most beautiful cross vine used to perfection. It is a rare garden I visit where the native cross vine is used to its true potential, but such is the case at home in Savannah, Ga.'s beautiful historic district. The Victorian Style home was painted a golden apricot that served as a stunning backdrop.

I've got ...Read more

The Greener View: Sharp Shovels and Spring Bulbs

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I was talking to a neighbor the other day about getting his garden ready, and he mentioned sharpening his shovels. I have never sharpened a shovel, but he made it seem like they should be practically razor sharp. Isn't the soil just going to dull it as soon as he uses it? Am I crazy or is he?

A: I know gardeners who sharpen their shovels ...Read more

On Gardening: Red Buckeye blooms in rhythm with hummingbird's return

Gardening / Gardening News /

The southern roadside and forest are alive with the spectacular blooms of the red buckeye, Aesculus pavia. You have to admit it is pretty amazing how nature times blooming in sequence with the return of the hummingbirds. Last year I wrote about the coral honeysuckle that is also blooming now, and both are providing nectar to the first ...Read more

The Greener View: Gardening Myths

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

In honor of April Fools' Day, let's take a look at some foolish gardening advice gardeners. Have you read that hairy-leafed plants like African violets can be sunburned by water droplets sitting on the hairs above the leaf? Sunlight is supposed to be concentrated by the water droplets like magnifying glasses and the light is focused on the ...Read more

On Gardening: Invest in crinum lilies for long-term beauty and fragrance

Gardening / Gardening News /

It was love at first sight that day in Brookhaven, Miss., when I came across the grand crinum lily, Crinum asiaticum, I fell in love even though it wasn't blooming. The tree-like structure of the stem or stalk and the large exotic foliage sold me with its texture before I had even experienced the beauty of the white blooms or tantalizing ...Read more

The Greener View: Bolting Lettuce and Moving Rhubarb

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: Last spring, I planted lettuce early in the spring. We didn't get to harvest much as they started flowering and the heads of lettuce were not heads anymore. What can we do to prevent this from happening this spring?

A: There is nothing you can do except pray for a cooler spring. Lettuce is a biennial. Biennials live two years and are only ...Read more