Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Are you a frequent visitor of botanical gardens?

We did a poll on goGardenNow.com asking, "How many times on average do you visit a botanical garden in a year?"

You responded thus:

Never - 13
1-2 times - 29
3-5 times - 17
6-10 times - 2
More than 10 times - 9

It's very satisfying to see that the majority of you take advantage of the many opportunities botanical gardens offer to the public. But I'm very surprised that almost 20% never visit a botanical garden during the year. That's a shame.

To help promote botanical gardens, we keep a blog page announcing various events at gardens around the country. I hope you'll visit the page at http://gogardennow.blogspot.com/p/gogardennow-botanical-garden-events.html. You can also check the gardens' event calendars.

Return to goGardenNow.com.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

FAQ: Can dwarf mondo be shipped and planted in winter?

Is dwarf mondo in a dormant state to be able to be shipped and planted at this time of year or should I wait until spring?

Mondo is evergreen, so it never really goes dormant. It just grows slower in winter. It's a very tough plant, though, and can be planted any time of year - even in summer with adequate irrigation. You shouldn't have a problem planting now so long as you can get a shovel in the ground.  Be sure to water them in so soil will be in good contact with roots. 

Return to goGardenNow.com.


Rate goGardenNow at the:
Rate goGardenNow at the Garden Watchdog

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

FAQ: Should I cover my plants during cold weather with a plastic sheet?


Should I cover my plants during cold weather with a plastic sheet? It's getting unusually cold tonight here in Atlanta, so I covered my patio plants. Here's a picture. Is this good enough?

Maybe, but there are better coverings to use. Plastic sheeting has no appreciable insulation value itself. Plants that come into direct contact with it will be damaged by the cold, so it's important to keep the plastic from touching them by using some sort of supporting structure. To keep the plastic from collapsing onto the plants due to the weight of precipitation, the supports should keep the plastic taut allowing water or snow to slide off.


Another problem with plastic is that it doesn't breath, so heat and condensation can build up beneath it. Even on cold days, the heat of the sun can cook your plants.

If you're caught off-guard by cold weather, a cotton sheet or lightweight blanket would be better for covering. The fabric would allow some air exchange to avoid heat build-up, but still provide insulation. Again, if precipitation is expected, provide support. Soggy blankets are heavy!

You should plan ahead and buy some material manufactured for the plant nursery industry. One vendor offers a thermal blanket made of a "white, non-woven, needle punched polypropylene material." It's designed to "allow rain and irrigation through ... while holding in precious heat."

The same advertises a "1.5 oz. fabric [which] is ideal for protecting flowering annuals, bedding plants and vegetables from severe cold and freezing. Temperatures underneath the fabric are 6 to 8° warmer than outside conditions...".

You should be able to find products like these at an independent garden center or by mail-order.

Return to goGardenNow.com
 
Rate goGardenNow at the:
Rate goGardenNow at the Garden Watchdog

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

I think a bear got into my bird feeder...


I woke up to find my bird feeder pole bent over. Even though we live in a subdivision, I think a bear got into it. I also found my garbage cans plundered. There are bears in the mountains a few miles away. Do you have any suggestions to prevent this?

I also suspect you were visited by a bear. It would take a mighty big dog to bend a pole like that. I haven't had any such experience apart from camping, but I'll offer a few thoughts anyway.

I see that you have suet cages on your feeder. Suet could be the main attraction because it's mostly fat. Bears are omnivorous, which means that in addition to fruits, seeds and insects, they also eat meat or fat. Suet, of course, is fat mixed with seeds, sometimes fruits and even insects. YUMMY!

I also see that you have children, judging from the toys around. Bears could become a danger to your little ones as well as yourself if they become accustomed to finding food in your backyard.

So, I suggest you avoid attracting them by doing one or more of the following:
  • Keep your garbage cans in your garage, if you have one; 
  • Stop using the suet cages for awhile, or stop feeding the birds altogether;
  • While you're at it, remove anything else that bears might like to eat;
  • If you must feed the birds, suspend your feeder from a cable strung between sturdy steel posts or trees so the bears can't get at them.
I hope this is helpful.

Return to goGardenNow.com

Rate goGardenNow at the:
Rate goGardenNow at the Garden Watchdog

Friday, November 17, 2017

2018 Perennial Plant of the Year

Photo Credit: Walter's Gardens, Inc.

"The Perennial Plant Association has awarded the title Perennial Plant of the Year® 2018 to Allium ‘Millenium’. This herbaceous perennial, relative to the common onion, is a workhorse of the late summer garden. Bred by Mark McDonough, horticulture researcher from Massachusetts,

"...This cultivar is the result of a multigenerational breeding program involving Allium nutans and A. lusitanicum (formerly Allium senescens ssp montanum), selected for late flowering with masses of rose-purple blooms, uniform habit with neat shiny green foliage that remains attractive season long, and for its drought-resistant constitution.

"Allium ‘Millenium’ has numerous virtues to add to the landscape setting. Growing best in full sun, each plant typically produces an upright foliage clump of grass-like, glossy deep green leaves reaching 10-15” tall in spring. In midsummer, two to three flower scapes rise above the foliage with each scape producing two or three showy two-inch spherical umbels of rose-purple florets that last as long as four weeks. The flower umbels are completely round (spherical), not domed or hemispherical as they are in some Allium species.  They dry to a light tan often holding a blush of their former rose-purple color.  While other alliums can look scraggly in the heat of the summer, ‘Millenium’ does not let the heat bother it!  Easily grown in zones 4-9 (possibly zone 3) makes it a great perennial in many areas of the country.  In very hot summer climates it does appreciate afternoon shade."

Return to goGardenNow.com

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Peggy Lee Hahn Horticulture Garden



The Peggy Lee Hahn Horticulture Garden covers almost six acres of plant displays on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. It was established in 1984 by faculty members of the Horticulture department to serve as a resource for plant, landscaping and environmental education.

The garden featuring perennial borders, aquatic gardens, shade gardens, a native meadow, and a pavilion was named in 2004 after benefactors T. Marshall and Peggy Lee Hahn (1923-2009). T. Marshall Hahn (1926-2016) was president of Virginia Tech from 1962 to 1974.

Ms. Hahn is dearly remembered in her obituary. “During her marriage to Dr. Hahn, she was a successful and much loved First Lady throughout his presidency at Virginia Tech from 1962 to 1975. Her love of flowers and gardening is legendary, evidenced by her determination to see the Peggy Lee Hahn Horticulture Gardens and Pavilion at Virginia Tech brought to fruition. The embodiment of a gracious lady and consummate hostess, she spent many years at her husband's side while he served as President and CEO of Georgia Pacific in Portland, Ore., and Atlanta, Ga. After retirement, they enjoyed traveling around the world, but ultimately returned to Blacksburg and Hickory Hill, which she often referred to as ‘the most beautiful place on earth’ where her greatest joys were tending her gardens and spending time with her family.”

The Hahn Horticulture Garden is set in the magnificent campus of Virginia Tech. In my opinion, the real beauty of the campus is due to the Hokie Stone, a local limestone that forms the facades of most VT buildings. To ensure a ready supply, the university has owned and operated its own quarry nearby since 1869.




Visitors can reach the Hahn Horticulture Garden without difficulty, with the possible exception being “game days”. Any season is a good season to stroll the garden.

Follow me to see what grows behind that garden wall.




























Return to goGardenNow.com.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Kwanso Daylilies Still Blooming

It's September 28 and the Kwanso daylilies are still in bloom.


Return to Hemerocallis at goGardenNow.com.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Woulda, coulda, shoulda planted Spanish Bluebells



 Come spring, lots of folks slap themselves on the forehead saying, "I woulda, coulda, shoulda planted ____." You fill in the blank. If only they had planted those flower bulbs in fall, they would be enjoying them in spring. Here is one of my favorites that you should plant now.

It was early spring and I was walking through a wood near Munich.  Gray clouds had induced in me a pensive mood, when I came upon a clump of bluebells.  The forest at once became enchanted.  In the words of Bronte, they "seemed like fairy gifts."  Such was my first experience with these delightful plants.

Bluebells require very little maintenance.  They are wonderful for bulb gardens, perennial gardens, container gardens as well as for naturalizing in meadows, around the margins of lawns, and in woodlands. 

Buy bluebell bulbs today at goGardenNow.com.

Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden



 Since opening in April 1974, Riverbanks Zoo and Garden has become one of the most successful mid-sized zoos in the United States, winning awards for exhibit design and animal conservation efforts. Original features included the moated exhibits for cats, bears, giraffes and rhinos, exhibits for small mammals and the 22,000-square-foot Ecosystem Birdhouse. My oh my, how it has grown!

Riverbanks, located at Columbia, SC, attracts more than 1.2 million visitors annually. That’s more than the population of Columbia Metropolitan area which is home to about 810,000 souls. It’s an easy 2 to 2-1/2 hour drive from cities such as Savannah, Charleston, Asheville, Charlotte, Fayetteville, and Myrtle Beach.

In the early 1960s, some local businessmen conceived the idea of a small community zoo for children. The initial effort was doomed, but the idea didn’t die. In 1969 the South Carolina General Assembly created the Rich-Lex Riverbanks Park Special Purpose District governed by a seven-member commission. By doing so, two counties joined the city of Columbia in the project. Approximately 100 acres of land on the Saluda River outside the city limits were leased to the commission by South Carolina Electric and Gas (SCE&G) for 99 years at $1.00 per year.

The property is also the site of several interesting historical landmarks and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Points of interest date back to the early 1800s with South Carolina’s textile industry and the War for Southern Independence.

Construction of Riverbanks Botanical Garden began in 1994 and opened in the summer of 1995. It’s connected to the zoo by an 800-foot-long bridge over the scenic Saluda River. The Garden includes a large visitor center, a formal walled garden, an antique rose garden, an education center and a half-mile long nature trail along the riverbank. Visitors may access the Garden by walking or taking a motorized tram.

A recent addition is a modest water park adjacent to the Botanical Garden. Together with the zoo, Riverbanks is a great place to spend a day.

Follow along to see what grows behind the garden wall.

Edgeworthia chrysantha (foreground)

Crapemyrtle allee

Mixed bulb, annual, perennial planting

Hyacinthoides hispanica

Riverbanks Botanical Garden View

Riverbanks Botanical Garden View

Stauntonia hexaphylla

Bignonia capreolata

Rose arbor

Return to goGardenNow.com.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Woulda, coulda, shoulda planted Hyacinths



Come spring, lots of folks slap themselves on the forehead saying, "I woulda, coulda, shoulda planted ____." You fill in the blank. If only they had planted those flower bulbs in fall, they would be enjoying them in spring. Here is one of my favorites that you should plant now.

Hyacinths are ever-popular bulbs for garden and indoor forcing. The large flowers and heady fragrance are well-known to gardeners and non-gardeners alike. Even children come to know them.

The name is said to have been inspired by a much-loved young athlete, Hyakinthos, who was hit and killed by a stray discus while foolishly trying to catch it. Of course, the discus was not blown off course by accident; Zephyr did it. The flowers miraculously sprouted from the blood of Hyakinthos.

Since that time, safer plastic discs have been developed. Still, Zephyr is often blamed for bad throws in disc golf.

Choose your hyacinth varieties at goGardenNow.com.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda Planted - Crocuses

Crocus vernus - mixed colors

Come spring, lots of folks slap themselves on the forehead saying, "I woulda, coulda, shoulda planted ____." You fill in the blank. If only they had planted those flower bulbs in fall, they would be enjoying them in spring. Here is one of my favorites that you should plant now.

Crocuses are among the earliest harbingers of spring.  Like little jewels, they sprinkle the dark moist earth and bring joy to those who find them.  "O, look!  A crocus!  And look, there are more!"

Name(s): Crocus vernus.

Flower Color: Mixed.

Bloom Time: Early spring.

Foliage: Herbaceous, green.

Height/Spread: Approximately 4 inches.

Climate Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.

Soil Condition: Average, well-drained, pH 6.1 - 7.85

Planting Depth: 2 inches to 3 inches.

Features: Deer-resistant.

Uses: Perfect for container gardens and bulb gardens.

Return to Crocus at goGardenNow.com.

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda Planted - 'Ambiance' Amaryllis

Amaryllis 'Ambiance'


Come spring, lots of folks slap themselves on the forehead saying, "I woulda, coulda, shoulda planted ____." You fill in the blank. If only they had planted those flower bulbs in fall, they would be enjoying them in spring. Here is one of my favorites that you should plant now.

The genus Hippeastrum (pronounced "hip-ee-ASS-trum") is native to sub-tropical and tropical areas of South America and the Caribbean. The name is formed from two Greek words referring to "cavalry" and "star." It is theorized that the man who named it in 1837, the Reverend William Herbert, was thinking that the flower resembled a weapon used by medieval knights.


Name(s): Hippeastrum 'Ambiance'.

Flower Color: White with red stripes.

Foliage: Herbaceous.

Height: Up to 18 inches.

Climate Zones: Hardy in zones 9, 10, 11.

Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.

Soil Condition: Organic, well-drained, pH 6.1 to 7.8.

Planting Depth: 6 inches.

Features: Size 34+ cm in circumference. Photo color is approximate.

Uses: Forcing, bulb gardens where hardy.

Return to Hippeastrum at goGardenNow.com.

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda Planted - 'Globemaster' Ornamental Garlic

Allium 'Globemaster'

Come spring, lots of folks slap themselves on the forehead saying, "I woulda, coulda, shoulda planted ____." You fill in the blank. If only they had planted those flower bulbs in fall, they would be enjoying them in spring. Here is one of my favorites that you should plant now.

Ornamental Allium has shiny, glossy foliage and produces 12" - 48" high leafless stalks upon which sit tufted globes of color. The late spring and early summer blooms typically have great potential for cut flower production. The blooms last much longer in a vase than your typical flower. This plant attracts bees, butterflies and birds, but disinterests deer and rodents. It doesn't have any pest problems.

Allium x 'Globemaster' was raised in 1971 by J. Bijl. The flower ball can be over 8 inches across. Like other ornamental allium, they appear exotic, but are easy to grow.

Name(s): Allium x 'Globemaster', Giant Onion, Giant Allium.

Flower Color: Purple.

Bloom Time: Late spring, early summer.

Foliage: Herbaceous, blue-green, smooth, fragrant.

Height/Spread: 48 inches x 15 inches.

Climate Zones: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.

Soil Condition: Well-drained, average, pH 6.6 to 7.8.

Planting Depth: 8 inches.

Features: Deer resistant, fragrant.

Uses: Massed planting, cutting gardens, container gardens, bulb gardens, butterfly gardens, herb gardens, borders.

Return to Allium at goGardenNow.com.

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda Planted - Grape Hyacinths (Muscari)

Muscari armeniacum


Come spring, lots of folks slap themselves on the forehead saying, "I woulda, coulda, shoulda planted ____." You fill in the blank. If only they had planted those flower bulbs in fall, they would be enjoying them in spring. Here is one of my favorites that you should plant now.

Muscari armeniacum, also known as grape hyacinths, are native to Asia Minor. They are wonderful little plants that are very easy to grow and highly adaptable. Muscari are excellent for bulb gardens, perennial gardens, container gardens, rock gardens, mass plantings, or naturalized areas. They look best when planted in large groups. Flowering is mid spring.


Name(s): Muscari armeniacum, Grape Hyacinth.

Flower Color: Blue.

Bloom Time: Mid-spring

Foliage: Herbaceous.

Height/Spread: 10 inches x 5 inches.

Climate Zones: Hardy in zones 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.

Soil Condition: Organic, well-drained, pH 6.1 to 7.8.

Planting Depth: 3 inches to 5 inches.

Features: Abundant flowers.

Uses: Bulb gardens, rock gardens, mass plantings, naturalizing, container gardens.

Return to Muscari at goGardenNow.com.

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda Planted - Blue Anemones

Anemone blanda Blue Shades


Come spring, lots of folks slap themselves on the forehead saying, "I woulda, coulda, shoulda planted ____." You fill in the blank. If only they had planted those flower bulbs in fall, they would be enjoying them in spring. Here is one of my favorites that you should plant now.

Anemone blanda is native to Mediterranean regions. Flowers are among the daintiest in spring. Also known as Grecian Windflowers, they will give you a carpet of spring color.

Name(s): Anemone blanda, Grecian Windflower.

Flower Color: Blue.

Bloom Time: Early spring.

Foliage: Herbaceous.

Height/Spread: 6 inches to 12 inches x 6 inches.

Climate Zones: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.

Soil Condition: Average, pH 5.6 to 7.8.

Planting Depth: 2-1/2 times the height of the bulb.

Features: Blue flowers.

Uses: Rock gardens, mass plantings, naturalizing.

Return to Anemones at goGardenNow.com.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda Planted - 'Cheerfulness' Narcissus

Narcissus 'Cheerfulness'


Come spring, lots of folks slap themselves on the forehead saying, "I woulda, coulda, shoulda planted ____." You fill in the blank. If only they had planted those flower bulbs in fall, they would be enjoying them in spring. Here is one of my favorites that you should plant now.

Narcissus 'Cheerfulness' was raised in 1923 by J.B. Van der Schoot, and is considered to be an heirloom variety.

Name(s): Narcissus 'Cheerfulness'.

Flower Color: White/yellow.

Bloom Time: Late season

Foliage: Herbaceous.

Height: 14 inches.

Climate Zones: Hardy in zones 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.

Soil Condition: Organic, well-drained, pH 6.1 to 7.8.

Planting Depth: 2-1/2 times the height of the bulb.

Features: Double cup. Deer resistant.

Uses: Naturalizing, cutting, perennial gardens, bulb gardens, container gardens.

Return to Narcissus at goGardenNow.com.