GardenSmart :: EPISODES :: 2002 show18
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Show #18

Building a Rock Wall

First the type of rock is chosen, in this case Judy wanted something
heavy, natural looking and something that echoed the stone in the house. She chose Alabama Fixed Stone. The foundation must be laid. The area must be cleaned, then the edges defined. A trench is dug about 6-8 inches deep, to get beneath the organic matter and to allow for 2-4 inches of gravel. Tamp the gravel so it is solid. On the bottom she used ugly rocks because they won't be seen and made sure they were level. It is important that they be level side to side but angled slightly towards the back. For every foot of height you will need a tilt of 1-2 inches. The second row of rocks is set back a little and touching at least 2 rocks on the first row. This adds strength to the wall and looks better. In some instances it is necessary to use a chink. This will level rocks if necessary. It would be possible to plant perennials or evergreens in the wall. In this case it would be necessary to pull dirt forward into the hole around the rocks. At the back of the wall, between the rocks and earth behind the wall, Judy has filled the area with 57 gravel. It is a coarse, drainage rock and typically will fill an area with a width of 8-12 inches. It will allow water to run off the hill behind and
percolate through the soil, down through the gravel and out through thefront of the rocks. When putting the backfill gravel in it is important
to tamp it in with a bar or rod. This will fill all cracks, packs the
gravel tightly and adds to the structural integrity of the wall. On the
top layer place the capstone and make sure it is level. Use an S-type or
waterproof mortar for this. The mortar should be the same color as the
rocks or it could be died. It is a good idea to have the rocks delivered to the area where you'll be working and to categorize the rocks by size.

Butterfly Bush or Buddleia Davidii, is a mainstay in the southern
garden. It's flowers bloom all summer long and some varieties grow to 12 feet tall. Other varieties like Manho Purple only reach 4 feet tall. It
is a versatile, adaptable plant. Purple is common but it is available in
white, lilac, even yellow. Add it to a border because it gives depth and
weight to any setting. The combination of scent and flowers is attractive to butterflies. They like full sun, for profuse flowering,
but will tolerate a little shade. Once established, which may take a
year or so, they like average soil, they're drought tolerant and they're
vigorous growers. This means they need drastic pruning every year. If
you have a healthy plant take it down to the ground every year. Identify
5 or 6 main stalks or stems that go directly to the base of the plant,
prune those to the center of the plant. Leave branches with a "Y"
because they will offer double the number of flowers and branches the
next year. Prune late fall, after 2 or 3 hard freezes. Other plants like Parsley, Bronze Fennel, Yarrow will attract butterflies because they are a source of food. Plants like Purple Cone flower, Lantana, Garden Zinnia produce nectar and that will attract butterflies. Water is essential. Put out a bird bath or shallow pool so butterflies can drink, they don't like deep water, they like it shallow. Put stones halfway immersed in the water so butterflies can land.

Celia Whitman is the Butterfly Center manager Callaway Gardens, and an entomologist. She talks to us today about integrated pest management. Since we all deal with bugs in our garden it is best to know a little about them. There are good bugs and bad bugs, she will talk about the difference. Bad bugs are those that eat your plants, some eat the roots, some eat the leaves, still others have piercing, sucking mouth parts that pierce the stems of plants and suck out the juice. Bugs like the Praying Mantis, the Ladybug or Green Lacewing will kill bugs that are predatory, sometimes that is not enough. Integrated Pest Management combines a number of different ways to control these pests in your garden. One of the ways is biological control, this is when you bring in one insect to control another. Ladybugs are an example. If you have Aphids on your Roses or other plants you can control them with Ladybugs. Ladybugs are predators to aphids in the adult and the larval form. Ladybugs can be purchased in bags of a hundred or more at your local nursery or biological control companies. Cultural control is another area of pest management. By planting plants in the proper place you can control pest attacks. Pests attract weaker plants, an example would be a sun loving plant in a shady area. This is a problem because the plant gets more water than it needs and less sun thus is weaker. Pests will attack this plant. Mechanical control is one of the cheapest, easiest way to control pests. This is simply smashing the pests between your fingers. If you see them squash them. You could also wash the leaves if there is a lot of waxy secretions or webs from insects. This will keep them from growing.Pest Identification. How do you tell the difference between a good bug and a bad bug? The best tool is a field guide. The National Audubon Society Field Guide For Insects is good, there are others. All you do is find the bug in the book, start with the pictures in the front and match it with the one in your garden, underneath the picture will be a page number, flip to that page and learn about that bug. What is its' habitat, what does it eat, what is its' life cycle, does it feed on your plants or other bugs, is it a good bug or a bad bug? Then you know whether to kill it or not.

Some people won't garden because of their pets. If we understand the
needs of our pet and our garden it is likely they can coexist. divide
your yard into different areas, one for your pet, one for gardening. Use
the concept of a "fence in fence." For example use the upper area for a
garden, the lower for your dog. The dogs space allows him to run, it has
shade and a place for water. Most dogs like to hang out around the
perimeter of the property, they can look and see what's going on both on and off the property. Therefore it is a good idea for the fence to have at least some holes so he can see out. Have something soft on the ground, something like Ivy or mulch, something tough and durable.
Consider putting your dog in a space where he can see you, even a doggie door so he can go in and out. If your dog likes to chew plants consider Hollies or Junipers, plants that can be pruned 365 days a year.
Invisible fences work well after some training and are less expensive
than a regular fence.

1 out of 200 people is allergic to bee stings or insect venom and
between 50 to 100 people die every year in the U.S. from bee stings. A
Florida Extension bulletin said that most of the time when we get stung
we get redness, some swelling and itching but generally nothing serious
happens. As long as nothing happens to our throat or mouth in terms of
swelling it is nothing to be alarmed about. In fact remove the stinger,
put on a cold compress and you're ready to go. However this report went on to say that those folks that have no reaction are as susceptible or more so to Anaphylactic Shock. Because these people ignore a bee sting over time the effects build up and could cause problems. The message here is take all bee stings seriously. If you feel dizzy or are nauseous or if your throat swells be sure to consult a doctor.

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GardenSMART Featured Article

By Delilah Onofrey, Suntory Flowers
Photographs courtesy of Suntory Flowers

As summer transitions to fall, one plant that will still be in its glory is bracteantha “Granvia Gold.” Delilah has written a great article about this plant. click here to read.

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