Jenkins and her son have created a botanical paradise in
the front and back yard of her South Carolina home. Jo's
favorite place is her back porch that overlooks two goldfish
ponds and a running brook. The yard was designed so she
could enjoy it as much from the inside of the house as the
Form, Texture and Color
Color is the most personal, immediate and emotional quality
of the plants in our garden. 75% of purchases are based
solely on color. The ability to put color together in our
gardens is not a horticultural skill but an artistic skill.
Take this into consideration when choosing plants.
We look at a simple color scheme - blue and white that is
effective because it picks up colors in the house. This
is very effective, creating a unified composition.
Also, look at plants in terms of their basic elements: form,
One example on the show has a vertical form next to rounded,
cascading plants. It is a fascinating look. There is also
a textural difference. There are finely textured plants
next to medium textured plants, next to glossy leafed plants,
next to coarser textured plants. It is a good look.
If you have dramatic color changes then keep the texture
the same. When putting seasonal color in your landscape
pay attention to several things. One is the out curve of
planting beds, where the bed line juts out into the turf.
Our eyes linger there thus it is a perfect place to consider
color. As well make sure we can enjoy color from inside
Dr. Rick points out Flowering Kale, Parsley Pansies, Violas
and discusses Flowering Cabbage. All are a great choice,
they offer a wonderful combination of color and texture
in your yard and garden.
Drawing Attention to the Front
Research shows we spend 60% of our time between
the car door and front door. That corridor is an important
element in our landscape plan. As well the front door should
be a focal point. One way to accomplish that is to utilize
upright forms near the front door. An example is Ligustrum
Coreaceum. In addition use coarse textured plants by the
door. A plant with large, shiny, well spaced leaves will
command attention. Fatsia is such a plant.
the South we have just about 365 days a year of color. Plants
like Pansies, Flowering Cabbage, Flowering Kale offer a
good value. They offer more months of color than warm season
annuals like Begonias and Marigolds, for example. They go
into the ground in September or so and last till May. By
now they're hungry, a good slow release fertilizer now is
helpful. Look for a fertilizer with a high first number,
indicating a high amount of Nitrogen. The numbers refer
to Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. This time of year
the Nitrogen has leached out of the soil more than the other
two. A 20-7-8 works well this time of year. This will add
a lot of green growth to the plant, will feed the root system
and add flowers to the plant up until about May.
winter, early spring is a good time to take care of your
indoor plants. These plants will start growing. When you
see new growth, green leaves at the top, it's a good indication
your plant could use a little care. Take them outside and
give them a bath, it removes dust and a fresh start for
spring. You might want to pull the plant out of the container
and check out it's root system. If it's showing signs of
outgrowing the container, take a sharp knife and remove
1/2 to 1 inch of the bottom layer of roots. Then add fresh
soil and the roots will grow. If you want to move the plant
to a larger container don't move up to a significantly larger
container, probably just to the next size pot. In this instance
just make several vertical cuts in the roots. Place into
the new container about 1/2 inch below the top rim, add
new potting soil. There is a new soil with vermiculite,
peat moss even some products have "coir" a coconut
mixture that holds moisture. Don't pack the soil, add water
and your plant should be ready for the summer.
Bag of Blooms
This is similar to a Strawberry jar, but flexible
and smaller. It is a bag with pre punched holes in the side.
Fill it with soil then add plants. Keep doing this to the
top. You can place as many or as few plants in the bag as
you wish. Fill it with Wave Petunias or other plants and
you have a beautiful hanging container.
Stack A Pots
Containers are a wonderful addition to our gardens,
porch or elsewhere. This product allows containers to be
stacked together. Use it for vegetables, flowers or herbs
even grasses. Dr. Rick shows us one planted with Petunia
Million Bells. They're rated an annual but it's really a
tender perennial and should come back season after season.
Also in the mix is Acorus, a grass that gives the arrangement
a nice vertical effect, as is Lamium, a nice ground cover,
that offers a little silver effect. Also in this mixture
is Heuchera (a deep purple) and Ivy Stack A Pots, is a great
way to use a lot of different plants in a collage, for a
very dramatic, bold effect.
Sparkleberry has a lot of winter interest and is great for
the birds. It is a cross between Ilex Verticillata and Ilex
Serrata and was released by the U.S. National Arboretum.
The plant on our show is Carolina Cardinal introduced by
J.C. Ralston of the North Carolina State Arboretum. It grows
to about 6 feet tall, with some specimens reaching 12 feet.
The plant loves wet soil. These plants are Diaceous meaning
that there are male and female plants. A male pollinator
is needed for berries or at best berries will be very sparse.
A couple good choices for male pollinators include Winter
Red, Apollo, Jim Dandy or Southern Gentlemen.
you're looking for a distinctive, long-lived evergreen ground
cover, look no further than Heliborus. The plant we view
is Heliborus Orientalis and it comes in a lot of colors.
It comes in Purple, Greenish-white or cream. It's a great
cut flower, very long-lived. Cut the flower, immerse it
in boiling water for 10 seconds, then immerse it in ice
cold water. It will last for a couple of weeks, indoors.
Heliborus is a great ground cover. They like natural PH,
add a little lime, to bring the PH up because the acidity
of the soil in the south is a little low, don't overfeed
it, add a little organic matter and then careful neglect.
A great coarse textured look for the southern garden.
By Justin Hancock, Costa Farms Horticulturist,
Photographs courtesy of Costa Farms
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