Gardening Q and A

Fragrant Plants

Q: You mentioned daphne in a recent article but can you list other fragrant plants that do well in our climate? A: I don’t think I appreciated the value of landscape fragrance until the last few years in my garden....

READ MORE

Poppy – Planting

Q: When can I plant poppy seeds? A: Poppy seed are most commonly planted in late October. Several kinds of poppy are grown in the South: Shirley poppy (Papaver rhoeas), Iceland poppy (P. nudicaule), Oriental poppy (P. orientale) and the...

READ MORE

Insecticidal Soap

Q: Could you please advise if insecticidal soap is a healthier way to treat pests on plants, trees, etc. than using other chemical pesticides? Is the soap gentler on the greenery? A: I think we have to get away from...

READ MORE

Cottonseed Meal vs Cottonseed Hulls

Q: I recently heard you advise gardeners to mulch with cottonseed meal, saying that it provides nutrients to azaleas, blueberries and raspberries. However, when I went to the feed store to buy some, I was told to use cottonseed hulls....

READ MORE

Pine – Spittlebug

Q: We have several pine trees in a landscape island. At the end of the branches there is a substance that looks like white foam. Each tree has several masses, about one inch in size. Is it a normal happening...

READ MORE

Fertilizer – Mixing Your Own

Q: I had a soil sample from my vegetable garden tested by the Extension service. The resulting report recommended I use ammonium nitrate (34-0-0) and 5-10-15 fertilizer. However, when I went to several garden centers they did not carry the...

READ MORE

Blueberry – Highbush

Q: I have recently moved to a new place and want to plant blueberries. Although I’ve found information about them, I haven’t seen specifics on whether southern highbush or northern highbush blueberries would be the best for my spot south...

READ MORE

Moss – Control On Roof

Q: Could you advise how to deal with moss on a home’s roof shingles? A: Walk through your neighborhood and observe the roofs. Notice that the shingles below a roof-penetrating vent pipe are often a different color from the rest...

READ MORE

Daylily – Evergreen

Q: I saw an “evergreen” daylily offered in a garden catalog. They say it will not flower year-round but plants will keep their leaves in winter. Is there really such a plant and where can I purchase them locally? A:...

READ MORE

Tomato – Deciphering Letters on Tag

Q: I recently bought a tomato plant from a garden center. The label says it is Lycopersicon esculentum ‘Celebrity’ VFFNTASt. Can you decipher the letters after the variety name? A: I’m sure you recognized the Latin words Lycopersicon esculentum as...

READ MORE

Butterfly Nectar

Q: I am looking for a recipe for butterfly nectar. I have a couple of very nice glass butterfly feeder flower stakes but have no idea how to make the nectar. A: Experienced butterfly fanciers are unconvinced that butterfly feeders...

READ MORE

Leaves – Flip Before a Storm

Q: I have a friend who was told that the leaves on trees flip over when it is going to rain, in order to better absorb the rainwater, and this is what gives trees their “silvery” tint before a storm....

READ MORE

Native Azalea – Rejuvenating

Q: In the course of clearing some old heavy undergrowth I discovered several deciduous azaleas. Some have pink, honeysuckle-like blossoms; others have orange blossoms. Because they have been struggling to survive in that shady jungle, they are very spindly…one is...

READ MORE

Loropetalum

Q: My neighbor has a variety of loropetalum in her yard that is very dark purple and stays that way all year. It is not that dull green color that sometimes looks purple. It is very low and bushy. Can...

READ MORE

Mugo Pine – Pruning

Q: I have a mugo pine in front of my house that is out of control. It is seven feet in diameter and encroaching onto the sidewalk in two directions. It needs to be cut back by half to get...

READ MORE

Hosta – Care After Hail

Q: Most of my hostas were beaten down by the hailstorm two weeks ago. Afterwards, I wasn’t sure what to do. Should I cut them back or just leave them alone? A: My hosta, banana and lamb’s ear plants were...

READ MORE

Bradford Pear – Fire Blight

Q: Can you tell me what is wrong with my two Bradford pear trees? They have black leaves and dead ends on many of the branches. A: Your pears have fire blight. This disease is caused by bacteria rather than...

READ MORE

Goosegrass – Control

Q: What is the best way to get rid of (and then prevent) goosegrass in my fescue lawn? A: Goosegrass is an annual grass just like crabgrass. It comes up from seed every summer but it germinates much later than...

READ MORE