It has been called the world's most colorful shrub which is certainly not an exaggeration and I have been in love with it ever since I made my first visit to the Caribbean 30 years ago. If you are a gardener then you probably know the plant I am talking about is the croton.
Crotons are known botanically as Codiaeum variegatum and though I first...Read more
Q: In the many years I've lived in my home, I'm noticing mushrooms in my front lawn for the first time. There are no dead roots or stumps in the yard, but there is some thatch.
What can I do to get rid of the mushrooms, or at least control them? I've noticed about three different types in the past few weeks.
A: Don't worry about them at all. ...Read more
In the last couple of years, there have been few plants that totally overwhelmed me with their beauty in the garden like Everillo. I briefly touched on this incredible sedge last winter but now after watching it for the second year, and seeing it through a brutal summer, even more, I know this is a must-have plant.
I have always lamented that ...Read more
Q: Could you give me some guidelines for trimming my hibiscus? It is blooming now. I see that some gardeners like to hedge them like a box, but I would like a more natural look. I appreciate the practical information you give each week.
A: Rose of Sharon, other hibiscus and shrubs that bloom on the ends of the new growth in the late summer or ...Read more
Hurricane Hermine came in and was a tropical storm by the time it reached Savannah and while it left a wake of plant destruction it also magically brought us blooms by the dozens. The storm hit on Friday; on Tuesday morning when we returned after the Labor Day holiday we were welcomed by rain lilies.
Friday the day of Hermine's arrival the rain...Read more
Q: I have a long row of azaleas on the north side of my house that has been there for many years and has done great. I always prune them after they bloom. Due to the horrible heat this year, the leaves on most of the top have turned brown. They look sunburned. My question is, after the temperature cools off, can I prune all the dark-brown leaves...Read more
I once stopped to help a man whose car had flipped over and off the road. The car was smoking like it might explode. We moved a distance away. I asked him what happened, and he explained that he had lost control of the car when he tried to dodge a rabbit that had hopped onto the road.
Fall is a dangerous time for animals and motorists. As ...Read more
Growing Cape Plumbago is like having your own personal ticket to the butterfly wild kingdom. Not only will you be the proprietor of the daily nectar cafe but depending on where you live you will also be celebrating young ones as this is a host plant for the Cassius Blue butterfly.
This comes from someone who has become a recent butterfly geek ...Read more
As we finish out summer and begin sending kids back to school, we can start thinking about fall gardening. Fall is a great time of year to work outside. A lot of garden and landscape chores are neglected over the summer, and it's not too hot, cold or wet to do them in fall. Fixing up the landscape will make it look nice through next spring.
This morning in Savannah, the heat and humidity were simply staggering but as I drove into the garden there they were, two acalypha plants, the tropical troopers of the landscape. What I was looking at were Java White and the bright red cat tail like blooms of chenille plant.
When it comes to August temperatures we as gardeners need some tough ...Read more
Q: We have a large pumpkin patch, and most of the leaves have turned white. It appears to be powdery mildew. Is this a problem, or can we let it go? We don't want to spray the plants if we don't have to because we may make pies out of the pumpkins.
A: Powdery mildew is common with many vine crops, but it can also affect beans, peas, ...Read more
You can spot Lime Sizzler a mile away! Well, that may be a slight exaggeration but the new Lime Sizzler firebush is definitely an attention grabber. Ever since firebush was declared a Texas Super Star Winner, 20 years ago, it has captured the fancy of gardeners, hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees. Now with the addition of Lime Sizzler, everyone...Read more
Recently, there has been a lot of news about the Zika virus. Florida is the first state in the U.S. to see cases of the virus, but the two mosquito species that spread it are common in the Southern, southwestern, Midwestern and eastern regions of the country.
Mosquito-borne diseases have been a problem in the U.S. since the beginning. Malaria ...Read more
The princess flower loads up with uncountable blossoms of royal purple, making it unchallenged as the most beautiful plant in the late summer garden. Botanically speaking the princess flower is known as Tibouchina urvilleana and is native to Brazil the site of the 2016 Olympics. The family name is Melastomataceae and is most likely quite rare at...Read more
Q: Just when I thought I was going to get fresh tomatoes from my garden, they stopped turning red. They are mostly green, but a few have a hint of pink. They have been like this for more than a week. I am watering them the same as always, and they don't have too many leaf spots or yellow leaves. What can I do to get them to mature?
A: Tomato ...Read more
Names like Queen Lily and Emperor belong to an incredible group or genera of gingers called Curcuma, and they are among the most beautiful plants you can grow in the landscape. As the names suggest, they are indeed fit for royalty.
In addition to these, there are others that might best be described as the crown jewels. Jewel of Thailand, Jewel ...Read more
Question: I planted a Maple tree a few years ago. It's about 15 feet high now. Recently, I noticed that there are many roots near or above ground level. Is it because it's not getting enough water? We have bad soil, very clay like. Can I change the watering technique to help it grow more roots deeper in the soil? Will the tree be more likely to ...Read more
The last time I reported on the Cora Cascade was in 2010; so much has changed with this trailing beauty, it's now even better than we knew it then, so I thought I'd write an update.
Cora Cascade vinca has been beating the brutal summers in simply amazing fashion and if you are looking for trailing color look no further. Twice this summer I have...Read more
Q: Last week, you said to fertilize flowers that aren't blooming. My rose bushes are supposed to bloom all summer, but they have stopped. Can I fertilize them or is it just too hot?
A: Roses come in several groups and some only bloom once in a summer, including may old-time roses and many climbing roses. Most new varieties will bloom several ...Read more
The variegated tapioca continues to be one of the hottest plants in the garden. First and foremost it is an incredibly showy plant, but the real impetus may have been that it was chosen as a Texas Superstar Award Winner and placed extremely high in University of Georgia trials.
Once again this selection demonstrates that a zone 9-10 tropical ...Read more