GardenSmart :: EPISODES :: 2003 show45
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Show #45

There are several reasons to use shrubs, which typically grow no longer than 4 feet high, in a typical landscaping setting. They can be used to define circulation, keeping people on a path. They can be used to define space. By placing small shrubs together so that the leaves touch, we create a mass and this is pleasing to the eye. It also reduces the number of weeds in the area. Shrubs can be used as sequencers, as a transition between low ground cover and tall trees for example. People feel comfortable and able to talk around small shrubs. They work well as subordinate members in the composition of our landscape, they're not the main focal point but allow us to rest our eyes as opposed to being the main star of the show. Hollies are shrubs and tolerate sun or shade. Ilex Vomitoria Nana or Dwarf Yaupon Holly works well if your house has gray features. It thrives in full sun or shade and has few insect problems. Vibernum Davidii or David Viberunum, another Holly, reaches 2 to 3 feet height but about 4 feet in width. It has glossy green leaves with white flower clusters in the spring. It has a turquoise metallic berry in the summer, a coarse texture and goes great with ferns and azaleas.

Bulbs are a great way to add color to your landscape. Bulbs are Ephemeral, which means they are short lived but they create bold colors. Narcissus Genus or Daffodil or Jonquil are great in areas where you have mature Deciduous trees. When the leaves are off the trees in the spring, the leaves will come up, they will get light and the flower blooms will follow. In the summertime they'll be in the shade and the leaves will have dropped by then. Rodents and Deer don't bother them. Plant them about 8 inches apart, this will allow them to divide and multiply. They are not heavy feeders, they like a little bone meal once a year. Once the flower blooms allow the foliage to die down. They come in yellow, white, bicolored and Apricot.

Cornis Florida or Dogwood is a beautiful tree associated with the south. It has been called the most beautiful tree in North America. It produces 3 pedal, very white, very attractive flowers. It is a a coarse textured tree with a horizontal habit. It is a small specimen tree that works well in most residential situations. It gives 4 seasons of interest. In the spring, creamy white flowers, in the summer, a good looking roundish or oval coarse texture tree, in the fall the leaves turn orangish-red, in the winter the horizontal branching looks good. They need some shade in the afternoon and like moist, fertile soil. White dogwoods do well in just about every area of the south, the pink ones don't seem to do well in Florida or in places that get very hot. Don't plant them next to concrete where the heat builds up. They can suffer from Dogwood Anthranose, which causes the leaves to die back or drop. Fungicides may work but you may want to consider another Dogwood called Coosa Dogwood, it's a little more resistant to this disease.

A small shrub that tolerates neglect is Nandina. Nandina Domestica Moonbay is a dwarf variety of Heavenly Bamboo. It is a tough plant that tolerates a very intolerable condition in the south, dry shade. It also does well in full sun, there are no berries, it's fine textured, looks good in groupings. It has virtually no insect or disease problems.

Hydrangeas have large leaves and bold conspicuous flowers. The Oak Leaf Hydrangea, Hydrangea Quercifolia, is Deciduous and native to Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Mississippi. it does well in the south without a lot of care. It is coarse textured, reaches 5 to 6 feet tall. It has large white clusters of flowers that are long lasting and it seems to tolerate a variety of conditions. It will take full sun, although it likes a rest from the afternoon sun. It likes its root system to be cool, so mulch around the base of the plant.

Lime Mound Spirea is a Deciduous shrub with interesting chartreuse foliage and fascinating pink flowers. It reaches 1 to 3 feet tall, has a compact, airy look, yet adds a lot of zip to low areas of your landscape. It will draw a lot of attention so put it somewhere like your front door. It likes full sun, use it with a mass of plants. It is coarse textured and works well with finer textured plants.

Rainbow Leucothoe is a native, durable shrub. It has cream and green and yellow, even pink variegation on the leaves. It's fascinating to view and has urn shaped, very drooping flowers, in the spring. It has an arching habit which is attractive and restful to the eye, it works well in masses. It likes organic matter in acidic soils and it does well in deep shade.

Azaleas and Rhododendrons are members of the same genus Rhododendron. There are about 800 species and 2000 different plant selections. They rank among the south's favorite plants. They both like acid soil, need more air in the root zone than other garden plants but need constant moisture. They need soil that is fast draining and moisture retentive. Adding organic matter often creates a perfect environment. Plant both with the top of the root ball slightly above the soil level. Never allow soil to bury the stems. Sun tolerance varies by species. Too much sun causes burning or bleaching of the leaves, though most can take full sun in the cooler parts of the south. An ideal location is filtered sun beneath tall trees. Prune right after they bloom but make sure you prune before the first week in July because buds are forming for the following spring.

Pieris Japonica or Japanese Andromeda is a perfect companion plant for the Azalea. It is a small shrub with drooping white flowers, it is relatively dense and evergreen. It loves an organic situation with shade, especially in the afternoon. It is not a good choice if you have hot, full sun all day long, especially if the roots get warm.

Kavatine is compact but has beautiful white flowers in the spring. It likes full sun and well drained soil.

Juniperus Squamata Bluestar, Bluestar Juniper, is a good choice if you have full sun and well drained soil. It has a blue metallic look that creates a cool restive feeling in the landscape.

Maples come in a variety of shapes and sizes, they range from very tall to medium sized and grow in just about every part of the south. We look at a Japanese Maple, Acer Palmatum, it is a very slow growing plant often only reaching 20 feet tall. It's native to Korea and Japan. It has elegant, finely textured leaves. There are 2 basic types, grafted or old time seeded variety. Grafted are smaller with a more sweeping habit and are a little more rugged. In the south Richard recommends the seedling type, they seem to do better in full sun and the heat. They like some shade and dry soil. It has a maroon colored leaf, it turns greenish in the middle of summer and is often very colorful in the fall.

Lonicera Fragrantisima or Wintersweet will add fragrance to your landscape in the spring or winter. It has oval leaves with creamish flowers that aren't showy. It doesn't look good if shaped so put it in a place where it can grow.

Muco Pine likes full sun and well drained soil. It is not a heavy feeder and retains its dwarf, compact look. It is fine textured and has little upright candles.

Hedera Helix or Ground Ivy is an evergreen, very coarse textured, ground cover. It has large shiny leaves. It can be invasive, some say the first year it sleeps, the second year it creeps and the third year it leaps and will leap over any horizontal or vertical surface. It has deep roots and holds soil well so it's great for stopping erosion. It can spread and get out of control, if it goes up a tree, remove it ASAP. It is not good on wood surfaces because it holds water and rots the wood and allows termites to become interested. There are different types of Ivy, some have smaller leaves and are less aggressive. If Ivy is growing on a sidewalk, just control it with your lawnmower.

Iris is a very interesting, visual element in your garden. It has an upright form, sword like leaves and reasonably coarse texture. There are an enormous number of varieties and colors so you can extend the bloom period for several months. It tolerates heavy clay soil. They are easy to transplant, dig a larger clump, lift it, then place it an inch below the surface with part of the rhizome showing. Cover it with mulch and it should be trouble free. Alfie has used a 5% bleach solution, doused the rhizomes and it tends to cure any disease. Occasionally Aphids are a problem but wash them off with a hose.

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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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