BambooThis native of high elevations in central China is a vigorous, rhizomatous bamboo that spreads quickly by runners. It is excellent for erosion control, as a hedge, screen or windbreak, and is also known as “windbreak bamboo”. The strong erect stems (culms) are up to two inches across and have long internodes and a gray-green silvery color. The dark green leaves are about eight inches long and an inch wide. Silver streak bamboo is not for small gardens but is a real asset in a large space where it can grow to its full potential. Because it spreads quickly by runners it should be planted within a root barrier. It is not a good plant for a container as its root system will easily burst the container. [click to read full post]

{ 0 comments }

coreopsisThe large bright yellow flowers of Missouri evening primrose echo the color of the Coreopsis ‘Moonbeam’ while providing contrast in size, shape, and texture. The primrose flowers are funnel-shaped, three to five inches across and have paper thin petals while the coreopsis flowers are daisy-like, one to two inches across, and have substance. Both plants do well in full sun and dry soil and make a stunning combination in summer. The primrose struggles in the heat and humidity of the South so the combination may be of short duration there but even in the South, Coreopsis ‘Meanbeam’ continues to bloom into August. [click to read full post]

{ 0 comments }

Hawthorn-EnglishThis European native is a deciduous shrub or small tree with inch long prominent thorns that are sharp and tough enough to pierce a car tire. In fact, it has been used since the Middle Ages as an animal-proof hedging plant. Thorns, however, are not its only outstanding characteristic; in mid spring it is covered with a cloud of fragrant flowers which are followed by round, half inch fruits that ripen to red in the fall and attract birds. The simple, dark green leaves are lobed and 2½ inch long. The trunk is gray-brown and bears branches that cross in all directions ultimately forming a rounded tree crown. Like other members of the rose family, English Hawthorn suffers from pest problems similar to those of apples and is especially susceptible to hawthorn leaf spot and blight. Cultivars vary in their disease resistance as well as the in color and fullness of their flowers. Prune it for a hedge or screen (with great caution), or use it as a specimen tree. [click to read full post]

{ 0 comments }

Book Review: Frogs

by Karen on April 18, 2014

FrogsWhen spring arrives and ponds come alive male frogs can be heard croaking and frog eggs may be seen floating in the water. What better time to introduce young readers to the life cycle of frogs? Gail Gibbon’s book, Frogs, provides that and more. Written for children in kindergarten through second grade, the book describes the life of frogs from egg to adult. [click to read full post]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Green Roses

by Karen on April 17, 2014

green-rose-three-300x228 (1)

'Green Rose'

A true green rose is hard to come by but there are several roses that might be worthy of note.  Keep in mind that most of the roses that claim to be green are actually white, pink, or yellow with a touch of green some time during flowering. Some roses may have a touch of green in the bud, others as the roses fades. There is only one rose that is green throughout its bloom period but its petals are leaf-like structures. ‘Lovely Green’ is a florist rose and best grown in a greenhouse. American Rose Society ratings are given when available to provide a guide to the success of the rose in the garden; ratings of 6.7 and below indicate an inferior rose. [click to read full post]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Guave pineapple Feijoa sellowianaA native of subtropical South America, pineapple guava is an evergreen multistemmed shrub or small tree that is especially suitable for difficult places in warm climates. It is tolerant of heat, poor soil, maritime conditions and drought, although appreciates occasional irrigation during long dry periods. The oval leaves are dark gray-green with white undersides. The unusual flowers are about one inch across and feature a thick cluster of red stamens surrounded by fleshy pink and white petals that are edible. The egg-shaped green fruits are one to three inches long and have a delicious greenish white pulp that tastes of pineapple and mint. The fruits do not change color with maturity so harvesting when ripe is difficult. Fruit production is best in areas where winters provide some chilling and summers are moderate and long enough for fruits to form. If fruit is the primary concern, pick cultivars that are known to do well in your area. Plants may be espalier or pruned to form excellent hedges. [click to read full post]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Hyacinths blueA summer border featuring salvia, delphinium, Russian sage, wishbone flower, aster, and Browallia all in shades of blue to violet is cool and refreshing. The foliage, of course, adds the color green and sometimes gray, white, or yellow. But what plants are blooming in early spring before these beauties come into flower? Bulbs are a great way to provide color for a blue/violet themed garden from early spring into summer. [click to read full post]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Horsechestnut Red Aesculus x carnea 2This small to medium, deciduous, flowering tree is a hybrid between Aesculus hippocastaneum, native to southeastern Europe, and Aesculus pavia, native to Southeastern United States, probably originating in Germany in the early nineteenth century. The tree is outstanding in mid-spring when it bears showy upright pink to red terminal panicles five the eight inches long. The flowers are followed by capsules 1 to 1½” in diameter with prickly brown husks, usually containing two to three poisonous nuts. The large palamately compound leaves have five leaflets and are dark green, turning brown in the fall. The tree is pyramidal when young and becomes broadly rounded in maturity. Red horsechestnut is a beautiful tree and can be used as a lawn or shade tree. Because it is subject to leaf scorch it does best in moist cool environments and should be protected from wind. More disease resistant and drought tolerant than A. hippocastaneum but both leaves and fruits can cause a litter problem. [click to read full post]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Book Review: The Rain Garden Planner

by Karen on April 11, 2014

Rain Garden PlannerSince the 1990s rain gardens have increasingly attracted attention as a way of managing water quality in an ecologically responsible way. Terry Wallace’s book, The Rain Garden Planner, provides you with the information and details needed to design, install and maintain a rain garden that restores the natural processes for filtering and returning water to groundwater reservoirs. Such a rain garden is well within the reach of any gardener and can reflect a variety of needs and aesthetic tastes.
[click to read full post]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

A native of Europe and Asia Minor, shepard’s purse is a winter or summer annual that has spread throughout the United States including Alaska and Hawai. It is a member of the mustard family and related to broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, and cabbage. Shepherd’s purse prefers full sun, medium to dry conditions, and tolerates many different soils. It is common in highly disturbed sites where the soil has been exposed and may be found in gardens, lawns, abandon fields, hedge rows, and various waste areas such as vacant lots, construction sites and along road sides and train tracks. Shepherd’s purse serves as an alternate host for beet leafhoppers that carry curlytop virus to beats, beans, and tomatoes. [click to read full post]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }