GardenSmart :: EPISODES :: 2002 show9
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Show #9

By grouping plants together by color it creates a combination greater
than the individual plants. Dr. Rick has some tips on grouping plants
using a technique called " color echo." An example is a Day Lily with a
strong yellow, he then plants in close proximity a Daisy with a little
yellow in its' bloom. Next to the Daisy he will plant something with
yellow or even white. By weaving colors together we get a sense of
unity. Keep your color scheme simple and try to echo from one plant
group to the next.

Another example is Heuchera Peter Veil and Japanese Painted Fern. If you have a situation with shade in the afternoon, these plants thrive. The Heuchera has a strong purple leaf while the Japanese Painted Ferns have a strong purple stem and purple mid rib of the frond. This combination has an interesting textural contrast as well.

Helen Phillips reviews a seed packet showing the important information
they contain. The California Poppy package has a lot of information. It
lists the botanical name, Eschscholzia Maritima Prustrata-Golden Tears,
it means that worldwide if you see this name you will get this plant.
The information continues with a description - masses of wonderful
golden yellow flowers with blue green foliage. The habit is semi-
trailing. It is a half hardy perennial, that means it most likely will
survive all but the coldest of winters. This seed has an award. This is
important because awards are given out sparsely. It says "sow in March" this tells us that it takes cool temperatures for this seed to sprout. It prefers a sunny, well drained situation and reaches a height of about 8 inches. The packet tells us how deep to plant the seed, this is important and often ignored - not a good move. It likes a cultivated
soil, raked to a fine silt. Simply put get out all clods and make sure
the soil is fine. Sometimes it will have a sell by date. Some seed
packets may say "continue to sow" if you continually plant the seeds
you'll continually have flowers. It may say Germination 75%, this means
not all seeds will come up. The information on these seed packets is
important and helps us be better gardeners.

Helen is digging up some older plants, Pansies, and Daffodils. She uses
a spading fork for the bulbs, it gets under the bulbs, doesn't slice
them and pries them up from the earth. The Daffodils will be planted
elsewhere, the Pansies will go on the compost pile. Leave the foliage on the Daffodil bulbs so they can continue to feed the bulb. She then rakes the bed, moving the Pine Straw, but will put it back on the bed when the replanting is complete. Smooth the soil and she's ready for planting Parsley, which makes an excellent edger plant. Plant them about 1 foot apart, they will grow together and make a tight border, lasting about 2 years. Rake the pine straw back around the Parsley, spread a slow release fertilizer, water and these plants should be set.

Hank Bruno feels we should plant cover crops when our beds are not being used. It helps control erosion and adds nitrogen. Farmers use Rye, it may be too tough and wiry for our tillers. Another option for a cover crop would be Red Clover. Protect against erosion and feed the soil, use a cover crop.

Hank Bruno talks about several invasive plants. Honeysuckle has a
wonderful fragrance. Japanese Honeysuckle is a vine, it twists around
plants and chokes them out. It covers them with such a dense foliage
other plants can't breathe.

Another invasive, Chinese Privet, is a hedging plant, an evergreen. Its
white flowers turn into blue fruit in the fall. The birds eat the fruit,
then spread it throughout the woodlands. This plant forms dense thickets under which nothing else can grow. It is becoming quite a problem. Another is Microstegium, it is an annual grass and grows in shady areas. It becomes a dense carpet, if we keep it mowed and keep it from going to seed it can be kept under control. A light spray of Round-up will keep it under control, otherwise it chokes out native, woodland wildflowers. The Princess Tree or Mimosa has a beautiful flower in the summer. It is prone to several diseases, hence short-lived. It has spread throughout the south.

Kudzu needs no introduction in the South. It was originally imported by
the USDA to stop erosion. It will grow hundreds of feet each year and
covers thousands of acres. Once it is established it is extremely
difficult to stop. A combination of cutting back the stumps and spraying
the cut stumps with Round-up can be effective, but it must be repeated
again and again. Once established it will be a long battle.
Muscadine in the garden is cut back to the stump each year, we're
controlling their vining habit. In the wild they tend to grow up and
over just about anything. They smother more desirable species. Vines in
general need yearly pruning, and kept on trellises.

The Georgia Exotic Pest Plant council has been formed to monitor and report on invasive plants.

Dr. Rick has a good way to keep your hands clean when gardening. To
prevent dirt from getting underneath your fingernails, use a dry bar of
soap. Scratch your fingernails on the soap, putting soap under your
nails. This will easily wash out when cleaning your hands and your
fingernails will be clean. Another idea is to cut off a leg on a pair
of pantyhose, place a bar of soap in the leg, attach the leg/soap to the
outside spigot, when you're finished working you have a place to wash
your hands.

Links: Callaway Gardens and South East Exotic Pest Plant Council

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Photos and story by Monrovia Nursery Company

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