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Show#3

Clent Coker is the historian and museum director at Barnsley Gardens and shares with us some of the Barnsley history. Godfrey Barnsley landed in Savannah in 1824 at the age of 18. He made a fortune in cotton and shipping. Barnsley carved from the wilderness a showcase estate and gardens. He brought in trees, shrubs and plants from all over the world. Some of these plants have been in this setting for more than a century and a half. The house and gardens represent mystery, adventure and romance and are a living legacy of the south, and they're absolutely beautiful today.

Robert Stoney and Dr. Rick spend some time in the rock garden, one of the first in the country. All the rock is local, a hard type of Quartz. Andrew Jackson Downing, the father of landscape design, designed this rock garden. He believed in combining the beautiful with the picturesque. He took elements of the natural environment and incorporated that with garden design. This garden is carefully planned, some rocks are completely hidden, some half hidden, some on top. It looks like a natural strata. Robert calls this micro gardening. You
create the environment you want for particular plant needs. There is a boggy area with peat that is acidic. Pitcher plants and Sundews thrive in this environment. A lettucy plant, Saxifrage, is elegant and ornamental in spring, later on it will have a yellow carpet of flowers. There is also an Ice Plant, as well as Cactuses and Succulents. You
can put anything in the pockets or nothing. You can incorporate any type soil or pea gravel or scree, which is a little larger rock. There are Evergreens in the rock so there is interest almost year round. In the winter there are lovely Mosses and Lykens, in the spring Violas and Wallflowers and a few Narcissus. In the summer the garden is different, it has Geraniums and Alpine Saxifrages. Hen and Chickens, House Leek, because of its' rosette form and strong purple color gives a coarse textured look and softens the look. Moss and Ferns, add to the diversity of plants.

You can encourage the weathered, mustard look of the stone by smearing on yogurt or soured milk. These act as a colonizing food for the algae which later changes to Lykens, then Moss. At first the rock will look black and sooty but that will change to the green of Moss and Lykens. This same process can be applied to containers as well to make them weather more rapidly.

When putting plants together in a container, consider value. Value refers to lightness or darkness of a color. Coleus has a deep or dark value. Artemesia has a high value. When there are differences in plants, that is dramatic and causes a lot of fascination. It's interesting to our eyes. So instead of a lot of color change consider lots of different hues, go with value changes. You get a lot of harmony, but a lot of energy as well.

Robert shows us some native Azaleas. A native Azalea hasn't been affected or improved by breeders. They are as natural as nature designed them. Piedmont Azalea or Rhododendron Canescens has a beautiful shape, it has 12-15 little florets with a lovely rosette and long curving stamens. It is a delicate, dainty looking plant and slightly fragrant. It will eventually grow into a substantial small tree or tall bush. It will grow up to 15-20 feet tall after 20 years or so. The Piedmont Azalea has color variations, from white to pink. They will survive in deep shade but will be more free flowering if they have half sun or full sun.

Florida Azalea, Rhododendron Austrinum, ranges from yellow to orange. It has a great fragrance, will produce a nice spreading bush, has a great shape and grows to about 12 feet tall.

Rhododendron Flammeum, Oconee Azalea, is another native. It has orange flowers that eventually produce a ball of orange, but it has no fragrance.

Korean Azalea, Rhododendron Yedoensis Poukhanese, blooms are almost blue. As the sun rises is looks almost magenta. It has a typical Azalea shape of flower, slightly asymmetrical with 5 stamens instead of 10, which is the norm for Rhododendrons. It has a more open flower, a low habit and looses its leaves in winter. Its leaves remain glossy throughout the summer and produces rusty colors in fall.

About the only color Azaleas or Rhododendrons don't exhibit is pure blue.

The Dogwood is particularly beautiful in the spring although it is beautiful all year long. In the winter the bark is beautiful, in spring
the "flowers" are just a showy bract, the true flowers are in the center. The cluster of green nondescript objects are actually the flowers, the white is the bracts.

Cherokee Princess is resistant to Anthracnose, mildew and canker. Anthracnose is a fungus and a dreaded disease for Dogwoods. It's
flowers are an inch or so larger than a normal Dogwood. Dogwoods do well in full shade or full sun. They probably flower more heavily in full sun.

Double Flowering Dogwood, Cornus Florida variety Plena, has multiple
bracts or petals instead of four simple bracts. It is very distinctive and beautiful. All native dogwoods and most other cultivars produce fruit, a little red berry in the fall. This is a good source of feed for birds in the winter.

Silver Bell, Halesia Diptera, comes out about the same time as the Dogwood. It's not a large tree and has a delicate, snowball type flower. It prefers full sun or half shade, can exist as an understory tree as long as the soil is on the acidic side and it likes well drained soil.

Snowball Viburnum, Viburnum Macrocephalum, looks like a Hydrangea. It is larger, will grow into a monster, 15-20 feet tall. The flowers can be 10 inches across and last for a week to 10 days. The bud is lime green with a cream snowball. They're easy to grow but require a sheltered site. It must be protected from the wind otherwise the heads won't last. It likes well drained fertile soil. Some people give them a hard prune after 4-5 years, they won't bloom the next year, but the following year they will produce a much larger, spectacular show. They flower a little in the fall.

A fog nozzle is ideal for spraying house plants that like a lot of humidity. The brass nozzle fits on the end of the hose and produces a very fine mist to syringe or completely humidify your plants. It's a great way to solve spider mite problems and keeps thirsty plants happy.

For many of us our lawn is the most important part of our yard. Spring
is the time to fertilize warm season grasses like Bermuda or Zoysa. When should you fertilize in the spring? Look for green up. Warm season grasses turn brown or cream colored in winter. It doesn't mean they're dead, just dormant. In many parts of the country they retreat, they hide in the soil, they are still alive. When you see green blades starting to emerge, that is the time for fertilization because the green part of the grass needs the most amount of Nitrogen. Look at the fertilizer bag. The first number is Nitrogen if the number is 28 that means 28% of the bag is Nitrogen. The second number refers to Phosphorus and the third number is Potassium. Most lawns don't like a balanced fertilizer, 8-8-8, for example. Grass likes more Nitrogen than Phosphorus or Potassium. Thus we need to look for a high first number, or Nitrogen. That amount should be 6,7 or 8 times more than the Phosphorus or Potassium number. If you look at the back of the bag you'll notice the numbers don't add up to 100%. The remaining elements are inert products, carriers that hold the fertilizer and allow it to spread evenly and accurately. When applying fertilizer consider - do you want to grow grass or simply maintain your grass? If you want a real green grass or if you've got kids playing on it causing a lot of wear and tear you might want to over fertilize. The default amount is 1 pound of Nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per application. So bump that up a little, it will allow your grass to recover quicker, however you will probably need to mow and water more frequently. If you just want to maintain a good look drop down to just under a pound per 1,000 square feet. You'll get a good look but won't need to mow or water as frequently. One thing we strive for in a lawn is a monoculture, meaning the same type of grass. That is a challenge in the parts of the country where there are warm and cool season weeds. A pre-emergent is a product put on the soil surface that produces a gas barrier. When the weed seeds germinate, it kills them. When determining when to put out a pre-emergent look for other weeds that are germinating. For example
Dandelions are easy to spot, put out your pre-emergent when Dandelions are in the puffball stage. There are many pre-emergents, look for one with Pendimethalin, it provides long lasting protection. When applying a pre-emergent make sure the ground is completely dry. You don't want it to stick to the grass blades, they need to get to the soil surface. Before a hard rain or before you turn on your sprinkler is a good time to apply a pre-emergent.

The easiest way to determine what setting you should use on your spreader is to purchase products from the same company that makes the spreader. That way the product bag will tell you exactly what settings to use and it will coincide with the spreader settings.

If you wake up one morning and it appears that a lot of weeds jumped up overnight, that is not unusual. Those weeds have been growing all winter long, especially in warmer parts of the country. In this case a pre-emergent won't work, you need a post emergent. We don't want to hurt the lawn so use a selective herbicide that kills weeds not turf. 2-4-D is a product that kills broadleaf plants, things like Chick-Weed, Dandelions, Clover. When using a post-emergent make sure the grass is wet when applied. That way the granules stick to the weed surface and are absorbed into the weed. Use a product that has small granules, they stick to the weed and control is better. There is some research that says weed and feeds aren't as effective as feeding and controlling weeds separately. That may be the case but it certainly takes more time to do it separately, so if time is important to you a weed and feed will work just fine.

Link: Barnsley Gardens

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By Kate Karam, Monrovia, Photographs courtesy of Monrovia

It’s not only coastal gardens that have to deal with persistent winds – inland gardens at higher altitudes and those in flat, wind-prone areas get regularly battered, too. Since there’s nothing good about plants stripped of their foliage or rendered dry and desiccated by a gale force tempest, the solution might be as simple as using specimens that are just fine with it. Here are a few we recommend. But first, some advice. Read more...


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