Everything About Azaleas
by Donald W. Hyatt

Azaleas are more than a harbinger of spring. All across the Southeast, masses of red, white, pink and purple azaleas boldly proclaim that the season has arrived. Many people think azaleas come in just four colors, and some may even criticize their use as commonplace. Discriminating gardeners know better. This article cannot possibly discuss everything about azaleas, but it may foster an appreciation for their amazing diversity while providing some practical advice.

All azaleas are really rhododendrons, and fall into two general categories: evergreen or deciduous. Evergreen azaleas are very common in American gardens but they are not native plants. They all originated in western Asia, primarily Japan and China. North America is home to 17 native azalea species and they are all deciduous shrubs. Surprisingly, most are native to the Southeast! Admired in Europe since the 1800s, they have been woefully underrepresented in our gardens.   >> read article
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Little Gem Magnolia
Magnolia grandiflora
by Peter Gallagher

Little Gem Magnolia, a cultivar of Magnolia grandiflora, is a great option for those more restricted spaces or smaller landscapes, where the traditional Southern Magnolia would be far too large. This cultivar normally reaches a height of only 15 to 20 feet with a spread of 10 to 15 feet. As such, this can fit quite nicely somewhat closer to the home or as part of a border planting along a fence or property line.   >> read article
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Loquat
Eriobotrya japonica
by Kerry Heafner

Kerry Heafner profiles the loquat (Eriobotrya japonica). Watch as he tells us all about this underused fruit tree that makes an excellent (and delicious) addition to the landscape.   >> read article
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Oleander (Nerium oleander)
by Peter Gallagher

Oleander, also known as Nerium oleander, is a summer-flowering evergreen shrub, native to Asia and the Mediterranean region. It is hardy to about 15 F. This is an excellent plant for tough sites, tolerant of heat, drought and air pollution, drying winds, salt spray and sandy, dry soils. It can be found growing very well in bright exposed sites with no irrigation and minimal maintenance.   >> read article
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Holly Fern (Cyrtomium falcatum)
by Peter Gallagher

Holly fern (Cyrtomium falcatum) is native to Asia and southern Africa it performs quite nicely in zones 8-10. This one with a minimum temperature of about 10°F. It makes a fine 18-24 inch ground cover or container specimen. It will typically fail to thrive in wet or poorly drained sites. Holly fern prefers partial shade to deep shade. Try to avoid southern or western exposure. Holly fern is propagated from spores found on the undersurface of mature leaves, but it is usually planted or transplanted as one or two gallon plants.   >> read article
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Lilac Chaste Tree
Plant Profile
by Peter Gallagher

Lilac chaste tree also known as Vitex agnus-castus provides a dramatic flower display at a time when spring flowering plants have faded and prior to most of the summer flowering shrubs. In fact it has the potential for reblooming in the heat of summer.

The overall growth habit and twisted multi-stemed truck lend an aged look to the landscape similar to that of ancient olive trees of Italy or old established grape vines. Lilac chaste tree makes a great plant for the zones 7-10. Tolerating a minimum temperature above 0°F. This plant might be found in an older established garden where it performs very well in a dry exposed sunny spot. A loose sandy soil is quite suitable. A fresh layer of mulch is always helpful to avoid extremes of temperature and moisture loss.   >> read article
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Tree Ivy
Plant Profile
by Peter Gallagher

As much as one might the oddity of tree ivy, or x Fatshedera lizei, this cultivar Angyo Star is an even brighter addition to the garden with its variegated white and green foliage. This introduction from Japan was brought to the United States by Ted Stevens and is hardy in zones 7 through 10 with a minimum winter temperature of 0°F. Dr. Michael Dirr made a note of the cultivar Angyo Star a few years ago predicting a successful market, and it looks like that is beginning to happen.   >> read article
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Midnight Marvel Rose Mallow
by Susan Martin

If you’re looking for something to liven up your tired landscape in the dog days of summer when many other plants are past their peak, try the new Midnight Marvel rose mallow(Hibiscus hybrid). This breathtaking beauty will be the highlight of your garden with its dramatic wine-purple foliage and huge 8-9-inch round, deep scarlet red blossoms, which burst open from shiny, near-black buds ..   >> read article
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