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On Gardening: Fennel puts on quite a show in the ground or in food

Gardening / Gardening News /

If there was ever a trap crop for the garden, it has to be fennel. If you are not familiar with the term "trap crop," it is normally one that catches or entices insects, diverting them from the one crop that is making the money. Calling fennel a trap crop however is a little tongue-in-cheek.

On the other hand, I challenge you to grow it and see...Read more

The Greener View: Purple Tomato Problems

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I have a question about our tomato plants. I didn't notice it at first, but the leaves are turning purple. At first, I think it was just the veins of the leaves, but now the whole leaf is turning purple. We planted them early in hopes of getting fruit early, but so far there has been a few flowers and no fruit. They are in the same garden, ...Read more

On Gardening: Golden thryallis a must for the long, hot summer ahead

Gardening / Gardening News /

You would think a shrub or summer annual that blooms all summer and is drought-tolerant and deer-resistant would be award-winning across the country. At least golden thryallis is a Texas Superstar winner and one you will want to grow too.

It certainly needs to go far beyond Texas to any area of the country that gets stifling hot over the long, ...Read more

The Greener View: Sidewalk Flowerbeds

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Question: We're adding a sidewalk up to the front porch that will run along the side of the house. I was wondering what kind of plants would be good to use between the sidewalk and the house? There is no soil there, it is pretty much sand. We want something that will not get real tall. Some of the area is sunny and some of it has trees.

Answer:...Read more

L.A./N.Y. couple feels at home with new house and garden

Gardening / Gardening News /

PITTSBURGH: How do you grow a neighborhood with few vacant lots? Gardens and new residents are a good start.

"New Growth" is the theme of a recent local home tour., and most of the seven houses open for the tour have changed hands within the last several years. Among the newcomers are Geoffrey and Erin Smith, who bought their century-old ...Read more

On Gardening: Empress of China dogwood performs like a native Southerner

Gardening / Gardening News /

There is nothing quite like the mid-June bloom of the dogwoods in the Deep South. As strange as that sounds, consider dogwoods partnered with hydrangeas, and dogwoods blooming in sequence with mimosas and crape myrtles. Thanks to the incredible Empress of China dogwood, it is all possible.

Empress of China is known botanically as Cornus ...Read more

The Greener View: Pruning and Japanese Maples

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Question: Recently, you mentioned pruning out one fourth of the oldest branches on spring blooming plants like lilacs. How should I properly prune summer bloomers like spirea, potentilla or crepe myrtle?

Answer: Small blooming shrubs like these can be planted for several different effects. They can be used as small specimens in flowerbeds, as ...Read more

On Gardening: Hail, the hibiscus! Queen of tropical flowers

Gardening / Gardening News /

The first time I traveled to the Caribbean I was stunned at all of the beauty. It wasn't just the crystal clear water but that it seemed hibiscuses were blooming everywhere. Now when I go to a garden center and see one for sale, or perhaps see some innovative gardener using them in the landscape or containers, I have visual memories of the ...Read more

The Greener View: Mosquitoes Bite

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Your landscape and local area may not have been affected by the flooding occurring in Texas and other areas of the South, but there has been a lot of rain in many parts of the country. Even without flooding, summer is when mosquitoes reign. Mosquito-borne diseases killed many settlers and their livestock before wetlands were drained and ...Read more

On Gardening: Tree frogs performing a symphony near you

Gardening / Gardening News /

I saw the beautiful frog and muttered to myself "safe in the arms of mother duck." I then chuckled, thinking how that might sound, as ducks are known to eat frogs. In this case, however, all was well because this bright green tree frog was in Mother Duck, one of the most striking daylilies in our garden.

I love green tree frogs, but to be ...Read more

The Greener View: Wet Soil, Wet Grass, Dead Maples

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: We are not in the really bad rain areas, but we have had a lot of rain this spring. The soil in the whole yard has been waterlogged for several weeks. I have noticed that some of the leaves in the trees are starting to turn yellow and fall off. I thought they did this with dry weather. Is there a problem with the trees?

A: Waterlogged soil ...Read more

On Gardening: Agastache is an underexposed winner for many gardeners

Gardening / Gardening News /

The agastache comes with a lot of common names like anise hyssop, giant hyssop and hummingbird mint, but, I assure you, "outstanding," will be one of your adjectives if you grow it. About a year ago I wrote about Black Adder which was and still is dazzling in our garden. It became the perfect backdrop in our daylily garden, helping show off ...Read more

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