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The newest web article for State-by-State Gardening was written by:

Ruth Mason McElvain

Ruth Mason McElvain, retired English teacher, blogger, gardener and writer, lives in upstate SC, blissfully repatriated to her native South after 40 years in California.

 

 

Sky flower
Thunbergia grandiflora
by P. J. Gartin

Sky flower (Thunbergia grandiflora) packs a late summer color punch just when our gardens desperately need one. In late July or early August, just as the crapemyrtle blossoms start to fade and zinnias begin to melt away, this vine produces glorious clusters of 3-inch-wide, periwinkle-blue flowers. As if caught in a perpetual yawn, these bell-shaped blossoms show off creamy white or buttery yellow throats.   >> read article
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Starting Seeds Now
by Laura Mathews

By March, we’ve dog-eared our seed catalogs and sense that the germination of the growing season is upon us. We’ve carefully ordered (or bought at the garden center) the seeds we will nurture from seedling into fruit. Decorated packets that rattle and hiss a bit as we jostle and inspect them, have landed at our doorstep ...   >> read article
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Edible Chrysanthemum
They're yellow and they're tasty. Try the Chrysanthemum
by Mengmeng Gu

Every family in the Gu's village where I spent my childhood had a row of edible chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum nankingense) along the north side of their house and very close to the wall. Starting in early summer we pick the tender tips, about 1 inch long, and use them in stir-fry or soup. It has a very refreshing taste. This continues until early or midfall, depending on whether we want flowers. Picking encourages more growing tips (and flowers later on) and keeps the plant short and rounded. It flowers in late fall if picking stops around early fall. In late fall, tons of tiny, 1/2 inch golden yellow flowers cover and fill the plant. [Edible chrysanthemum brings sunshine to the landscape in late fall.] Edible chrysanthemum is the most shade-tolerant and pruning-tolerant chrysanthemum that I have ever seen. It not only flowers on the outside, but also the inside of the plant canopy, probably because of its shade tolerance.   >> read article
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How to do that… Tidy Tips for Your Evergreens
by Tracy H. Jackson

When we begin to leave winter behind, the time will be ripe to take a good look at the evergreens in our landscapes and begin to prepare them for the upcoming spring spurt of growth. Most of our evergreen plants fall into three general categories – those with needle-like leaves, those with scale-like leaves and broadleaf plants ...   >> read article
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Branch Rot of Annual Vinca
by Stephen Vann, Ph. D.

Branch and stem rot can be a major disease problem for annual vinca (Catharanthus roseus) once the disease organism has been introduced into the residential or commercial landscape environment. This disease is caused by a soil-borne fungus called Phytophthora parasitica that can persist in the soil for several years. Under conditions of overhead watering or heavy rainfall, this disease can spread rapidly in a vinca planting. The fungus is often ...   >> read article
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Simpler Than You Think
Saving and Storing Your Own Seeds
by John McWilliams

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 article
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Outdoor Benches
by State-by-State Gardening

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 article
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Sweet Alyssum Wonderland Series
Lobularia maritima
by Clara A. Curtis

Sweet alyssum, as the name hints, is certainly a sweet-smelling annual, but it’s often grown in such small quantities that the smell is overlooked. Butterflies are drawn to the fragrant small flowers that range in color from blue to lavender, pink, yellow and white.
  >> read article
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