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Your USDA Hardiness Zone

Featured Articles!

Bringing Home the Birds
Keep your feathered friends flocking to your yard

Soon, the pallet of the landscape will be transforming from subtle browns and tans and exploding into splashes of hot pink, white, yellow and purple. The sweet-smelling crabapple blossoms will shower papery petals in a gentle breeze, blanketing the landscape. The rustling chatter and singing of wildlife will fill the once still air. Soon, spring will be here!

>> read “Bringing Home the Birds”    
Less Work, More Fun

Some gardening tasks are a lot of fun. I love picking out plants and creating beautiful container combinations, and I enjoy planting flats of pansies in early fall. Other tasks, like weeding, are tedious, but you have to do them. Then there’s another group of garden tasks many consider necessary, but I consider bad ideas. Crossing them off your to-do list will give you more time to focus on the enjoyable aspects of gardening. Here’s my list of the top three things you should NOT be doing in your garden...

>> read “Less Work, More Fun”    
Outdoor Benches

Placing a bench in the garden is not a simple matter of carrying it from the delivery truck to the patio. To really incorporate it into the overall garden landscape, there are a few basic considerations.

First, you should determine whether or not you really intend to sit on the bench. Are you showcasing it for garden tours, or do you want the bench to serve as your own private retreat? Do you see it as place to exhibit containers, or a spot to write a letter to a friend? Answering these questions will help you determine appropriate size, design and materials.

>> read “Outdoor Benches”    
Japanese Stewartia
Stewartia pseudocamellia

Are you looking for a pest-free, small- to medium-sized landscape tree with multi-season beauty? Would you like to have a variety that does not show up on every list of The 25 Most Common Trees? Does the idea of showy summer flowers on a tree appeal to you? If so, you may want to consider planting a Japanese stewartia (Stewartia pseudocamellia) ...

>> read “Japanese Stewartia”       #Hot Plants   #Trees
Space Saver Tips for Winter Vegetable Gardening

Like most gardeners in the South, you probably maintain a vegetable garden for three seasons: spring, summer and fall. But if you’re not living in Zone 9, where plants can grow all year round without much protection, you might think that keeping a winter garden is difficult at best ...

>> read “Space Saver Tips for Winter Vegetable Gardening”    
High Octane Vines
Garden Rooms Exhibit Creativity

Many gardeners today are transforming their landscape with “high octane” vines that grow with extreme vigor, climb easily on their own with tendrils or disks and provide almost instant cover. These hot, new vines may be annuals or perennials, depending on the selection.

>> read “High Octane Vines”    
Building Garden Art Using Ferro-cement

Garden art is important in every garden but not everyone has the budget to commission pieces in bronze or marble. And, if you have an artistic vision it is not always easy to find just the right piece. But, if you have minimal artistic skill and a bit of perseverance, you can build your own garden additions using a technique called ferro-cement construction. Ferro-cement projects can be built in any shape or size. All it consists of is a steel frame (called an armature) covered with two or more layers of cement.

>> read “Building Garden Art Using Ferro-cement”    
How to Plant and Care for Lavender in the Southeast

Lavender is one of the most popular fragrances in the world, and many people long to enjoy it in the garden. Whether along a sidewalk, by a mailbox or in a sunny garden, you can learn how to properly plant it for years of enjoyment. Lavender is very drought tolerant once established, and spring is a perfect time to plant this lovely and oh-so-fragrant herb. There are hundreds of varieties of lavender that grow throughout the world. There are a proven dozen that grow well in the piedmont of North Carolina where our farm is situated, and we're still trying to find more.

>> read “How to Plant and Care for Lavender in the Southeast”    
Cover Crops in the Vegetable Garden

If you have harvested everything from your vegetable garden and decided not to plant cool-season crops, then now is the time to start a cover crop, which just means planting something to cover up the dirt. Big-time farmers plant cover crops such as clover and rye, and backyard gardeners can reap the same benefits for their dormant gardens during the winter months with a cover crop.

>> read “Cover Crops in the Vegetable Garden”    
First Aid for Summer Squash

As we enter mid-July with August right around the corner, there are some pretty rough-looking summer squash patches that I have visited around the state in my role as a vegetable specialist. From backyard gardens to commercial growers, everyone that has grown summer squash knows the challenges that the late season can dish out ...

>> read “First Aid for Summer Squash”       #Advice   #Disease   #Pests
Selection of Equipment for the Vegetable Garden

There is nothing I like better than discussing, testing and using garden equipment. I am fortunate enough in my position at the University to operate a trial garden in which I test and trial, not only a variety of vegetables, but equipment as well.

>> read “Selection of Equipment for the Vegetable Garden”    
Sneeze-free Gardening
Avoiding allergy problems in the landscape

Let’s face it – it is almost impossible to avoid plants that cause allergies. For one thing, pollen can travel many miles in the wind. It is also unreasonable to expect our neighbors not to use certain plants in their landscapes just because we are allergic to them. However, with a little care it is possible to avoid heavy exposure to the pollens of allergenic plants and be able to enjoy our gardens most of the year.

>> read “Sneeze-free Gardening”