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Your USDA Hardiness Zone
Woody Plants That Attract Birds
As we transition to winter weather, we start waiting – we wait for bluebirds to brighten our days. We wait for robins, the harbingers of spring, to return. What to do? Perhaps you should think about planting some trees or shrubs.>> read “More Backyard Birds”
Year-round color in shade or partial shade is not easy to find. Heucheras can provide that color. Newer varieties can take more sun, making heucheras even more important in home landscape design.
The common name of Heuchera spp. is coral bells. It is a member of the Saxifragaceae family. These perennials have a natural insect and disease tolerance. Include this shade-loving perennial anywhere a splash of color is needed ...
Saving and Storing Your Own Seeds
My grandfather’s shed was a mysterious place. Tools I didn’t recognize lined the walls over shelves of coffee cans filled with rusty hardware. Most interesting to me were the dozens of blue glass jars tucked carefully toward the back of each shelf, with seeds of every color and shape imaginable tightly sealed inside. Seed saving seems to have gone the way of horse-drawn plows. Many gardeners opt for ...>> read “Simpler Than You Think”
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
Erythrina herbacea is best known in Louisiana as mamou, but it also answers to coral bean, Cherokee bean and cardinal spear. A member of the Fabaceae (bean) family, mamou has compound (trifoliate) leaves, thorny stems and showy red flowers on tall spikes in late spring to early summer, followed by long slender pods opening to reveal bright crimson-red seeds.>> read “Mamou” #Hot Plants
Getting Them Ready for Next Year
Caladiums generally begin to decline in late September or October, and then it’s time to decide what you want to do with them. If the bed where the caladiums are planted will stay relatively undisturbed and continue to drain well, you may have luck by simply leaving the caladium tubers in the ground. Keep the area mulched this winter to protect the tubers. If your ground doesn’t freeze, they will probably survive and come back up next year and provide a beautiful display.>> read “Keeping Caladiums”
Closely related to bald and pond cypress (Taxodium spp.), the dawn redwood is a fast-growing beauty that not only makes a dramatic horticultural statement, but is also bound to spice up the neighborhood gardening chatter. This is definitely an “Oh, wow” tree, but be sure to keep its plant tag handy because most people don’t believe dawn redwood grows anywhere other than California.>> read “Dawn Redwood”
The threat in your own yard
Plant exploration has been an alluring and exciting facet of the horticultural world for millennia. Centuries ago, exotic plants moved along the Silk Road between Europe and Asia. During the age of sailing, individuals paid a king’s ransom for rare specimens for their glass houses and royal estates. During the Victorian era, the up-and-coming ...>> read “Invasives in the Trade”
Captured by the Spell of the Smell
I was walking on a Caribbean beach one evening heading toward a favorite spot for jerked chicken when I was captured by the fragrance of a large, blooming shrub. Now if I were relegated to growing only one plant for the rest of my life, it would be that plant, the night-blooming jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum).>> read “Fragrant Gardens”
A Place For Harmony And Balance
It seems that now, more than ever, people are trying especially hard to make their busy lives less stressful and more meaningful. Gardening can help in a subtle way that few other activities can manage, and the guiding principles of Zen gardening can lead to the creation of a truly calming, harmonious, and uplifting environment. These gardens are not designed to excite the senses in the way that Western plots do but are places for the spirit to find peace and tranquility in which to grow. Zen Buddhism requires that every task is performed with love – and it is the love and care that is put into them that gives them a serene and kindly atmosphere.>> read “Zen Gardens”
Battling Invasive Species
Have you checked your backyard lately? You may be harboring dangerous aliens. No, these are not creatures from outer space. The aliens I’m referring to are plants – exotic plants. Also referred to as foreign, non-indigenous, introduced or nonnative, these invasive exotics are noxious weeds according to the following definition: A noxious weed is a plant alien to a geographical area whose presence threatens natural and agricultural ecosystems. Like their science fiction counterparts, these weeds are a major threat.>> read “Alien Invaders”
By now, many gardeners have planted their winter gardens and are already harvesting tender broccoli, fresh cabbage and lettuces. If you live in the warmer areas of the Southern states, there’s still time to get seeded crops into the ground. Parts of Louisiana, Florida, southern Texas and southern Georgia can still grow from seed. Areas farther north can still plant gardens using transplants ...>> read “Winter Garden Crash Course”