Gardening Q and A

Insect Books – Suggestions

Q: Recently on your television show you mentioned a book on insects. I believe it would make a great gift for our granddaughter. She lives near Savannah and is VERY curious about insects as well as other natural life. What...

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Steep Slope – Controlling Erosion

Q: My sister has purchased a house with a steep drop off from the road to her home. It is eroding badly. Terraces are essentially out of the question for this area, since it is very steep. What groundcovers, shrubs,...

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Mediterranean Heather – Care

Q: I’ve been growing three Mediterranean heather bushes since the tornado in 1998. They have outgrown their space so I need to know about moving and caring for them. A: Two plants are called Mediterranean heather: Erica carnea , which...

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Hammock – Damaging Tree Bark with Chain

Q: A couple of weeks ago, a reader wanted a way to hang a hammock from her trees without harming them. We hang a hammock, with no invasion to our trees, using a chain around each tree’s trunk connected to...

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Bearded Iris – Propagation from Seed

Q: What are the pods on a bearded iris for? Do they have seeds? A: If you are both adventurous and patient, you’ll get lots of enjoyment from propagating iris from seed. The swollen seed pod below the faded flower...

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Tomato – Planting Upside-Down

Q: A lot of my gardening friends think I’m crazy but I have planted a tomato so that it hangs from the bottom of a five gallon bucket of dirt. My plant is doing fine and already turning up toward...

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Japanese Maple – Planting in Container

Q: I have a copper planter that I want to put a Japanese maple in. I do not want to put holes in the planter. What is the best way to prepare the planter or do I have a choice?...

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Maple Tree – Planting flowers underneath

Q: I have a three-year old red maple tree. I would like to make an eighteen-inch high stone wall five feet out from the trunk, fill this with dirt and plant flowers under the tree. My husband said it would...

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Landscape Design – Courses of Study

Q: What credentials should one have to be a landscape designer? In college, I considered studying to be a landscape architect, but I chose accounting instead. After twenty years of income taxes, I’ve realized that my true calling is gardening....

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Soil Conditioner – Replacing

Q: I added soil conditioner last year on your advice and the soil was wonderful to work with! Do I add more this year? If not, do I add lime again? A: Once the soil is soft you can just...

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Soil Temperature – Measuring

Q: What is the best way to measure soil temperature? A: You’re smart to monitor your soil’s warmth. Soil temperature determines when to do many garden jobs…from putting out pre-emergent herbicides to planting summer bulbs. You can buy a soil...

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Love-in-a-mist – Care

Q: I have a mystery flower, grown from a wildflower seed mixture. I am not sure if the pods precede the flower, but I was hoping you could identify it. A: It’s the fascinating-looking love-in-a-mist, Nigella damascena. The dianthus-like flowers...

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Stumps – Preventing resprouting

Q: How do I kill very large stumps that have been cut down to ground level? A: If you need to keep the stumps from resprouting, chop into the edge of the stump with a hatchet and spray glyphosate (Roundup,...

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Magnolia – Cracks on Trunk

Q: I have a mature magnolia tree that has cracking bark along many limbs. Is this a cause for worry? A: I saw the same thing a few years ago: a huge magnolia with longitudinal cracks along the trunk and...

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Ornamental Grass – Cutting Back

Q: On one of your TV shows you demonstrated a good way to cut back pampas grass. Can you refresh my memory? A: I demonstrated cutting the grass with a carpenter’s saw but I’ve found an electric shrub trimmer (or...

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Mexican Heather – Alternatives

Q: A couple of years ago I bought some Mexican heather and planted it in front of some shrubs. Although the tag said it was perennial, it died over the winter and never came back. I loved the shape and...

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Holly – Using soil amendment

Q: I recently planted several hollies. When I dug the holes I removed the old red clay dirt and backfilled the plants with cow manure and enriched garden soil. Now the plants are withering. I remember you saying some original...

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Fly – Control

Q: I was visiting my daughter and she pointed out that the west side of her house was covered with flies. She said it happens every year around this time. Is there a way to get rid of them? A:...

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