Q: I always chased fireflies as a kid. Nowadays I don't see them. Is there a way to increase the firefly population, similar to how people are trying to increase the butterfly population?
A: The firefly is a beneficial predatory insect. It is also known as the lightning bug. It is neither a fly nor a bug: It is a beetle. They are among the most...Read more
Our American Hemerocallis Society Display Garden is in full bloom and while they all are extraordinarily beautiful there are those certain varieties that just keep me fixated. I started noticing a few similar traits and as I researched them I realized they were all tetraploids. So instead of being diploid with each cell having two sets of ...Read more
Q: We have a Japanese maple growing in our yard. It is a dwarf maple that is only about waist-high, and it has weeping, crimson-red leaves. This spring, two new branches have grown at the top of the trunk. They have bright-green leaves with red edges. They are very pretty. Do we have a new variety of Japanese maple that we can propagate? We like...Read more
When it comes to selecting a thriller plant for your mixed container, I would like to put forth the idea of using a banana. They have the ability to instantly capture the imagination of all who gaze upon them and there is an immediate sense of tropical islands and gentle ocean breezes. It really makes no difference if you are using an ornamental...Read more
Q: We have a tall evergreen in our yard. I think it's a juniper. How do we prune it to make it a nice spiral shape? We have some other evergreens that have been pruned into squares, but they are totally boring. I want to do something artistic with them. If I can't, then I will get rid of them. Do you have any ideas on how to be creative with box...Read more
One of my favorite garden quotes comes courtesy of Thomas Jefferson who said 'but though an old man, I am but a young gardener.' Though I am not quite ready to take ownership of the old part, I have been feeling that I too am but a young gardener. This is largely thanks to Jamie Burghardt our Horticultural coordinator here at the Coastal Georgia...Read more
Q: I want to give my mother a window box full of plants, but I can't seem to get plants to grow nicely together. They look pretty together at the beginning, but then something goes wrong and some of the plants begin looking sad. Eventually, half of them die and I get mad and throw them out. What is the trick to getting them to stay alive and ...Read more
Each morning I pull into my parking spot which is right in front of our cottage garden. This time of the year it is the bluest blue greeting me thanks to our native spiderwort. Spiderworts are known botanically as Tradescantia virginiana and native over a huge range of the country covering some thirty states. Those states where it is not native ...Read more
A Song ApartJeffrey H. Baer
A SONG APART revolves around Shannon Kistler, a teenaged pop singer, and Kevin Derow, her 19-year-old biggest fan. They met and fall in love unexpectedly while wishing society would accept them as they are. Then they realize they don’t need anyone else’s approval ...
Hunting orchids reminds me a lot of hunting arrowheads. You have to find a couple and your eyes get trained to the goal or objective. I have treasured these moments as I climbed through rain forest or cloud forest on the Dutch island of Saba and in the National Park on the French island of Guadeloupe and the majestic El Yunque National Forest in...Read more
Q: My wife loves peonies, and I want to surprise her with some for Mother's Day. But I know nothing about them and don't want to ask her too much, otherwise I might spoil the surprise. What do I need to know to pick the best ones?
A: Peonies come in a wide variety of colors and sizes, and they live for a very long time. You may need to ask her ...Read more
Q: We have a can of spray foam that says it can be used to fill cavities in tree trunks. There's a hole in one of our trees where a branch was removed -- it's about waist-high. The hole extends up and down inside the trunk. It seems to be about half the diameter of the trunk, which is about 2-feet thick. Will spray foam protect our tree? I have ...Read more
Recently the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens in Savannah, Ga., has been building bridges, though they might look short, in reality they stretch all the way to Louisiana.
Thanks to almost a thousand rhizomes courtesy of a leading Louisiana iris nursery, we are now showing thousands of visitors, and a region of the country, the incredible ...Read more
Q: Last year, all of the cauliflower heads in my garden were a yellowish-white color. I didn't realize they weren't going to turn pure white until it came time to harvest them. I planted more heads this year, and I want to know how to blanch them. What I have read so far is confusing. Some are self-blanching and some are not. What do you suggest...Read more
Petunias have always been among my favorite summer flowers and when African Sunset made its debut as an All-America Selections Bedding Plant Award Winner in 2014 I couldn't wait to give them a try. Despite my affection for these flowers, not since the Sanguna Atomic Blue petunia came out has another variety captured my attention in such a way.
Q: I know spring is here, but my clematis vines are overgrown and I need to trim them. I think they are supposed to be pruned during the winter when they are dormant. Can I still prune them now while they're starting to grow? There is not much growth yet.
A: It is probably a good thing that you didn't prune them during the winter when they were...Read more
I remember the day we all walked into Benary seed's plant trials in California and saw the BIG begonia for the first time. We knew immediately this plant was something special. My thoughts were centered mostly on whether I could capture a photographic image that would tell the story.
I pretty much failed that day for a couple of reasons. First ...Read more
Q: I am going to be planting several trees for Arbor Day. They are not too big. Their trunks will be about 2 inches thick and about 4 feet tall. Some will be in large plastic pots, and I think the roots of some others will be wrapped in burlap. The area that I'll plant the trees is wet in the spring, but dries up in the summer. I have been told ...Read more
If you are looking for a special wow factor for the spring landscape and you live in zone 8 or warmer then you have to put the Rosalinda Indian hawthorne at the top of the list. If you are thinking Indian hawthornes are ho-hum plants then you haven't seen Rosalinda and particularly the tree form, they will literally take your breath away.
I ...Read more
There seems to be a huge revival of geranium use in my area and perhaps yours, too, depending on when spring arrives near you. In other words, our area just may be ahead of northern zones.
You have to admit there is a lot to love about the geranium. Their flower stalks give a most impressive show, great for landscape and designer-like ...Read more
Easter is coming soon. That means Peeps, chocolate bunnies and Easter lilies are flooding the stores. My love of Peeps is well known. Have you tried the sour watermelon flavor? It's a pink marshmallow covered in green sugar. But my favorites are the ones dipped in chocolate. What can I say? At least they're seedless.
Even if you do not ...Read more