Oh, my gosh, I just thought I loved Rajin Cajun ruellia, but after growing it in our Mediterranean Garden I am totally mesmerized. Clumps have been reported to reach about 4 feet but ours are in the 24- to 30-inch rain and about as wide. Our clumps have been bringing in hummingbirds and butterflies at a volume I have never witnessed.
Rajin ...Read more
Q: We live in an area with large lots, some of the area is wooded and there is a stream that has high water quality. Many people mow their properties and dump the grass clippings on the shoreline of the stream bank. Is this a good idea?
A: Is there a reason they are dumping the grass on the stream bank? Are they hoping the grass will wash away ...Read more
Santa Barbara, the terrific dwarf Mexican bush sage, is playing a vital role in Savannah, Ga., as the city is beautifying to Make Way for Monet. This award winning Salvia leucantha is of one of approximately a dozen or so plants designated as part of the Spirit of Monet Collection of Flowers being used to enhance city landscapes.
The impetus ...Read more
Moving Plants Indoors
Q: Last summer, I bought several house plants that I used as patio plants. I spent more money than I had initially planned, but rationalized that it was OK since the plants would continue past the summer indoors and then I could use them again as patio plants this summer. I waited until fall, before the first frost, and ...Read more
The last few weeks the sweet autumn clematis has been among the showiest plants in our cottage garden at the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens. It was the perfect choice to drape over a new lattice fence. If you have an ugly fence or wall that you need to dress up, this may be the perfect vine for you.
The blooming of our sweet autumn ...Read more
If your spring landscape needs a little brightening, fall is the time to plant some bulbs. With a proper selection of bulbs and bulb-like plants, you can have very reliable blooms from February until November, but spring is when bulbs shine the most.
True bulbs, like daffodil, lily, tulip and onion are composed of modified leaves. Cutting a ...Read more
If you are thrilled when a hummingbird comes to your feeder, then you will be ecstatic when they come to the plants you have placed in the landscape. Though much of the country has the first cold front of the year in the forecast, hummingbirds are still feeding, and one group of flowers standing out is the cuphea. If you aren't familiar with ...Read more
Q: I have been told that my flowerbed is becoming crowded and that I should divide some of the perennials. I also have canna, dahlia and other summer flowering bulbs that I am not sure what to do with. What do you think?
A: Without seeing your flowerbed, I am not sure if it needs to have the perennials divided or not, but this is a good time to...Read more
The Knights of Juzhani: The Emerald of the Black CaveBrandon Young
Jimmy is an ordinary kid who is a senior in high school. Except for being a black belt, he is an average kid in every respect, with the same hopes and angst. Little does he know that his life is about to change, starting with his discovery of a strange emerald during his class’s field trip ...
Giant heart-shaped leaves and a cluster of a hundred salmon coral flowers in a pagoda-shaped panicle make the Starshine clerodendrum among the most exotic shrubs for the tropical garden. I first saw this variety a few years ago at the Universtiy of Georgia Plant Trials in Athens, Ga. I knew if I was seeing it there it had dynamite potential in ...Read more
Question: I have started some avocado seeds in water, suspended by toothpicks. Two of them have begun to root and sprout stalks. I intend to plant them soon, but wonder if I should prune them in any way or if they are simply meant to grow straight and tall. Will they grow large? Will it take years? Will they ever grow fruit?
Answer: Avocados ...Read more
If you are into bees, butterflies and hummingbirds, then by all means put the monarda or beebalm species at the top of your must-plant list. I find it amusing that in more than 20 years of garden writing, I've never touted a beebalm. I've always loved the scarlet beebalm, Monarda didyma, especially when hummingbirds come into feed. When examined...Read more
Question: My zucchini plant was doing fine and giving me lots of huge fruit, when all of a sudden it died. It only took a day to go from healthy to dead. What can work so fast, and how do I prevent it from happening next year?
Answer: It sounds like your plant had a borer. The larva of a moth called the squash vine borer is capable of causing ...Read more
As the dog days of summer make many of us cast a wishful eye toward the Arctic for relief and our gardens look a little tired, gingers start to really put on a show. Though it was in the Caribbean that I first developed a passion for them, they have since become an integral part in all of my personal gardens. They are doing that now at the ...Read more
Q: My patio is being overrun with yellow jacket bees. I want to find the nest and spray them, but a friend said they are beneficial insects. Are they really doing good for my garden, or can I just get rid of them?
A: Yellow jackets are not bees, but are small yellow and black wasps up to an inch long. They nest in the ground, in walls, under ...Read more
No plant can stir up a conversation this time of the year quite like the false roselle or African rosemallow. The reason it stirs up the conversation is that a huge percentage of the visitors think it is a Japanese maple. Indeed the selling point of the plant is the incredible foliage.
Those gardeners who do grow it probably don't refer to it ...Read more
Question: I wanted to create a white garden using plants that have white flowers or white on the leaves. Some of the area is shade and some is sun. I am having problems with some of the white leaved plants. They are turning black on the edges -- almost like burnt paper. I am attaching a picture of a leaf. How do you recommend I treat this ...Read more
Chalk up another award for Little Ruby. In a period when we write about, or tout, some new coleus on what seems a weekly basis, there is one little alternanthera out there hitting it out of the park.
Little Ruby is a variety of Alternanthera dentata developed in South America and becoming one of the hottest trends in garden color. If the ...Read more
Q: Our vegetable garden this summer has been a disaster. First, it was too cold, then too wet and muddy, and now the weeds have taken over. I want to start over. Are there short-term crops that will still give me a crop if I plant again soon?
A: It is possible to get three crops in a single year in northern gardens and maybe even four crops in ...Read more
If you love garden fragrance and non-stop bee and butterfly activity, then the sweet almond verbena or tree verbena is a must for your landscape. Those traits, coupled with drought tolerance and ease of growing, were just some of the reasons it was chosen as the Florida Plant of the Year in 2008.
Botanically speaking it known as Aloysia ...Read more
Q: What do I need to do to protect my blueberries, grapes and even my apples from the birds eating them? I can't seem to win. I tried netting, but it just got tangled in the vines and plants and the birds just reach through to eat the grapes.
A: Grapes can't be harvested early to ripen indoors. They must stay on the vine until ripe. Birds seem ...Read more