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The Greener View: Plant Hardiness Zones

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: In the past couple of years, we planted several kinds of evergreen and deciduous trees in our landscape. We carefully checked the hardiness zone maps before planting. We are in zone 5, which is supposed to have extreme minimum winter temperatures of -10 to -20 degrees Fahrenheit. During the polar vortex at the end of January, our thermometer ...Read more

On Gardening: Frank Houser camellia blossoms are enormous, offer rare beauty and a glimpse into a hero

Gardening / Gardening News /

It is highly likely that as camellia shows occur throughout the country, the Frank Houser and Variegated Frank Houser will be the ones getting the wows. I would be so bold as to say look for some of them around the winner's table.

It seems that for one reason or another the camellia industry has been associated with heroes and those with a ...Read more

The Greener View: Coffee Grounds

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: My local coffee shop offers five-pound bags of used coffee grounds for free. According to the signs, we can take them home and use them in compost piles, for mulch in our flowerbeds and to prevent insects on the soil of indoor flowerpots. So far, I haven't seen anyone take any, but it seems like a better thing to do than throw them in the ...Read more

On Gardening: Tropical style garden all about attitude

Gardening / Gardening News /

After the Polar Vortex visit, it left many of us thinking about life in the tropics or at the bare minimum longing for summer, gardening, and splashing in the pool. In reality, it will not be long until the backyard becomes our corner of paradise, our secret garden if we add a few tropical plants.

The tropical style garden is about an attitude ...Read more

The Greener View: Polar Vortex

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

"If the thermometer was in inch longer we would have all frozen to death." This may or may not have been said by Mark Twain. In "Following the Equator," he did write, "The captain had been telling how, in one of his Arctic voyages, it was so cold that the mate's shadow froze fast to the deck and had to be ripped loose by main strength. And even ...Read more

On Gardening: Heuchera reaching unparalleled beauty for containers and landscape

Gardening / Gardening News /

If you have found yourself down on heuchera or coral bells then I would like to urge you to give them a new cool season shot. All heuchera species are native to the United States but many of us judge the plant's performance in July's hot, summer sun, which is definitely not their friend; they are really more acclimated to a shady or filtered ...Read more

The Greener View: Testing Soil pH

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I was reading some notes in a garden catalog that said I should be testing my garden soil. I have had a vegetable garden for over 10 years, and I plant annuals around some of my shrubs and perennials. I have never tested the soil before, and I usually have a good crop. Would the soil tester do me any good?

A: A soil test could do you some ...Read more

On Gardening: These plants offer 24-karat gold to your cool season garden

Gardening / Gardening News /

Sometimes I am amazed at the sheer beauty of the cool season garden. The temperatures have pushed us a little closer to the fireplace the past few days but outside it is the 'wonderful world of color'. Pansies, violas, dianthus, heuchera are just a few of the plants giving us a riotous show of color right now. My eyes however immediately go to ...Read more

The Greener View: All-American Selections Vegetable Winners

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Last week, we looked at this year's flowering plant winners of the All-America Selections testing program. This week we have the vegetable winners. There is one pepper, as well as two melons and four tomatoes.

When you see the red, white and blue logo of All-America Selections on seed packets or in catalogs, you can expect those plants to do ...Read more

On Gardening: EverColor sedges equal ever-beautiful grassy texture

Gardening / Gardening News /

The EverColor series of sedges is growing and all are proving to be ideal component plants in mixed containers. They are so dynamic they have the ability to be standalone or monoculture plants in tall European urns, olive jars or modern containers like I have at my house. In the landscape, however, they offer not only color by that fine leaf ...Read more

The Greener View: All-America Selections Winners

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Have your garden seed catalogs started to arrive? I have several so far, and when I see a plant name that I don't recognize, I am always happy if it has the All-America Selections logo in the description. I know these plants have been tested and proved to be excellent. Even AAS winners from several years ago are more likely to prove successful ...Read more

On Gardening: Spineless prickly pear offers incredible beauty and texture

Gardening / Gardening News /

One year after retiring from the University of Georgia's Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens in Savannah I find myself desperately missing cactus. I know what you are thinking if The Garden Guy is writing about cactus, we must get our affairs and lives together as this is a sure sign of the coming apocalypse.

To be honest a hot new vegetable ...Read more

On Gardening: Planting for butterflies and pollinators a most worthy New Year's resolution

Gardening / Gardening News /

This time of the year garden writers all over the country try to reach readers with ideas of New Year's resolutions. Over the years you may have seen topics like hire only licensed or certified landscape professionals, compost, recycle, go native, plant water-wise, all of which are super ideas. This year I really want to reach out to you with ...Read more

The Greener View: New Year's Gardening Resolutions

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Have you ever had a dream where you woke up in the middle of the night and found yourself talking to the ghosts of all the plants you killed over the past year? Me either. But I do think about why some of the plants that I was trying to grow didn't make it. Usually it is my fault for not putting the plant in the proper location for it to thrive....Read more

The Greener View: Christmas Plants

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Just because Christmas is over doesn't mean your poinsettia needs to be thrown out. The bright red and green leaves can help people cope with the gray days of winter. Many of the newer poinsettia varieties will keep the red bracts (leaves) until spring. The actual flowers are small and pea-sized in the center of the plant. They often fall off ...Read more

On Gardening: Lemon Lime leading nandina revival

Gardening / Gardening News /

Lemon Lime is leading the way in what appears to be a nandina revival. It is one of four great nandinas found in the Southern Living Plant Collection. You'll find Flirt, Obession, Blush Pink, and the electrifying Lemon Lime.

Lemon Lime stands out in dramatic fashion with its chartreuse colored foliage. You can spot it a mile away. So, whether ...Read more

The Greener View: Protecting Landscape and Too Much Fertilizer

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: Last year, we lost some shrubs to deer or rodents eating the trunks. I hope I am not too late to do something this year. Is there something I can treat them with to stop the damage?

A: There are many sprays, liquids and powders available at the store and created with home recipes, but all of them require multiple treatments, as they ...Read more

On Gardening: Double play Candy Corn spirea will take your breath away

Gardening / Gardening News /

Candy Corn, a new spirea in Proven Winners Double Play series, may change any opinion you have regarding deciduous shrubs in mixed containers.

It is the foliage that demands your attention. The Proven Winners tag says it all, the foliage color is orange, red, yellow, and pineapple yellow. The flower color is a shade of purple.

My adventurous '...Read more

The Greener View: Bird Feeders, Birdbaths and Birdseed

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

More than 82 million Americans feed wild birds. This isn't a new phenomenon. Wild bird feeders and birdbaths date back to ancient Egypt and other cultures. A 120-year history of American bird feeding is documented in the new book "Feeding Wild Birds in America" by Paul Baicich, Margaret Barker and Carrol Henderson. This book gives a history of ...Read more

On Gardening: Leslie Ann looks as exquisite as rare porcelain china

Gardening / Gardening News /

The beautiful Leslie Ann is a Camellia sasanqua that has had admirers bringing out their cameras for many years. It debuted in 1960, 58 years ago, thanks to nurseryman Ray Davis of Alabama. The next year in 1961 it won the coveted Ralph Peer Camellia sasanqua award. According to one website in Alabama it is one of two Camellias sasanqua to win ...Read more


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