This week we visit the Jekyll Island Club Hotel in Jekyll
Island off the Georgia coast. Dee Goode is the concierge
and provides background information for our viewers. This
structure was founded in 1896 by 53 northern millionaires
who wanted a place to get away from their busy life in New
York. They were attracted by the warm climate, natural beauty
and nature. The island is 7 1/2 miles long, 2 1/2 miles
wide yet has 22 miles of bike paths. There is a lot to keep
everyone busy but is relaxing as well. You're still treated
like somebody special, just the way it was when this, then
private, club was founded. The grounds are beautiful, thanks
to the head horticulturist, Kevin McLean.
Kevin first shows us some of the fantastic, old Oaks. There
are 600 different varieties of Oaks. The scientific name
is Quercus. The Majestic Oak, Quercus Virginiana, is a very
long lived tree with strong, hard wood. The USS Constitution
was made of live Oak, its' name "Old Ironsides"
came about because canon balls would hit the ship and bounce
off - all because of the hard wood.
Oaks are readily available at nurseries. Oaks like dry conditions.
Their branches will grow in a horizontal position because
they have hard wood. Kevin doesn't prune them during their
growing season and doesn't prune unless there is a dead
branch. In one instance a branch is touching the ground,
this is common and adds to their majesty and beauty. Birds
and Squirrels seem to keep insects, caterpillars and mites
in check. Sudden Oak Death Syndrome is one problem that
occurs mostly in cooler climates. It is a fungus usually
brought in by boaring bees. To prevent the problem, don't
prune your Oaks in spring when Ambrosia Beetles are most
active. If a tree is dying remove it from your property
ASAP. If you want an Oak tree, purchase one from a nursery
or start one from an acorn. An acorn, placed in the ground
will sprout within several weeks. Make sure you select one
without worm holes. If you transplant a tree make sure to
get a nice root ball. Go out to the drip line - where the
branches end - with your hole. Keep it well watered for
the first two years, then slowly reduce the watering.
Kevin has many trees that are 200-500 years old. With a
tree that old, other things will grow on it. Resurrection
Fern doesn't damage the tree, lives off the excess moisture
in the bark, doesn't remove nutrients from the plant, it
just uses the tree as a support system. When there isn't
excess moisture it turns brown, it looks like it died by
will come back when it rains.
Spanish Moss is another airborne plant and it also doesn't
harm the host plant. It attaches to the tree but doesn't
take any of the nutrients or water away from the Oak. It
picks up its food from pollen and dust in the air. People
collect this Moss, it's not a good idea because it is a
host plant for Mites and Chiggers, Red Bug and little red
Oaks are slow growing. We look at a small tree that is 12
years old. When planting make the hole for the root ball
3 times larger than the root ball but about the same depth,
don't put it in too deeply. After planting, build up a berm
on the top, that acts as a water well and holds water in.
At the top don't put the soil right against the trunk. You
don't want to smother the tree (don't plant too deeply)
and you want good air circulation around the tree. The first
two years are critical in establishing an Oak tree, then
they're fairly self-sufficient.
Kevin has used a watering bag. It goes around the base of
the tree, zips up and is then filled with water. The small
perforations at the bottom allow water to slowly percolate
to the tree. These can be purchased at garden centers. A
trash bag with holes in the bottom could also be used. These
are good ways to get the tree established, slowly provide
water and keep the root system growing.
Genus Nepeta, commonly known as Catmint is a vigorous, spreading
plant with an aromatic foliage. Another variety is Catnip,
it isn't as ornamental, but cats are usually wild for this
plant. Catmint is a super plant especially is you are in
an arid part of the country. It doesn't like wet soils or
damp feet and likes light, well drained soil. There is a
variety -Six Foot Giant - that tolerates higher humidity
and damper conditions. Catmint is excellent if you're looking
for something with green/gray foliage or if you have other
silver plants or a situation that is in full sun. The cool
blue color of the flowers works well with these colors as
well. It is a vigorous spreader, will spread by seed. Catmint
in various parts of the country is used as a substitute
for Lavender. It makes a nice edging or border plant. It
can be sheared back for a nice, full dense look.
If you like majestic trees but don't want a plant that is
deciduous (in other words drops its' leaves) consider Evergreen
Oaks. Kevin shows us a Chinese Evergreen Oak, Quercus Myrsinifolia.
This tree came to this country in 1807 and was introduced
as a street tree. It will grow to 20-40 feet tall. It has
evergreen foliage that changes during the year. The new
foliage is a bronzy, purplish color, then changes to dark
green. The leaves last about 2 years, they then shed but
a new flush will have already appeared, thus the tree always
has leaves. The bark is almost like that of a Beech tree,
very smooth. Woodpeckers are the only thing that bothers
this tree, other than that it's carefree, a strong, hardy
tree. It is heat tolerant and cold hardy through zone 7.
It tolerates acid or alkaline soil, drought conditions and
it can take some moisture.
Elms are another group of trees we typically think of as
Deciduous. Ulmus Parvifolia or Drake Elm holds its' leaves
year round. It is found in the south and in southern California.
It's not as cold hardy as other Elms and doesn't do well
above zone 7. It is a beautiful tree, typically used as
a street tree. It is good around pools and family gathering
areas because it provides a lot of shade. It has a fine
texture so is a restful looking tree. The exfoliating bark
adds interest. The only problem is that they have a deep
crotch and do split in high wind conditions or with a lot
of frost or ice. The tree has a nice green, rich foliage.
It should be left in its natural form, thus doesn't require
a lot of pruning. They had to prune or pollard this tree
because it was next to the pool and it is suffering and
could be lost. Pollarding is when you go back to the trunk,
taking off branches, similar to what is done with Crepe
Myrtles. It is best not to prune or pollard this tree, just
like the Oaks.
Magnolia is another majestic tree. Magnolia Grandifloria
is used a lot in the south, in Arizona and California. The
blooms are magnificent, creamy white, very fragrant with
beautiful dark green foliage. It takes a fair amount of
space, if you need something to fill a large area Magnolia
is the way to go. If you have a small piece of property
the Magnolia would outgrow the space quickly. There are
smaller varieties, one called Little Gem, that work well
for smaller spaces or against buildings. The biggest problem
is the leaves that drop. They drop year round and are almost
like plastic, they last a long time even in a compost pile.
Because it is so dense most everything will have trouble
growing underneath. Kevin just uses mulch under this tree.
Georgia this week visits with Katie Brown a landscape designer.
Katie has designed a beautiful harbor garden. She selected
seaside plants that are salt tolerant. The Hydrangea called
Pia or Little Elf is nice for the front of the border. Another
Hydrangea, Madame Olyeare or Sister Teresa gets large and
is essentially a white, niko blue. In the back is Globe
Thistle which gets a big purple ball and has a lot of structure.
Gaura is an under used plant that comes in white or pink.
We look at a new shrub rose called Carefree Wonder, Carefree
Delight or Carefree Sunshine. It's a yellow shrub rose that
grows most of the summer but must be dead headed. Salvia
is added, a must for a seaside garden, and is great with
yellows or pinks. Salvia should be cut back when finished,
it will then flower another 2 or 3 times. Another Salvia,
Rose Queen, also is stunning in this garden.
This garden has a woman's touch, it is very feminine. It
is Katie's pretty garden as opposed to one with rugged grasses.
She has Lilacs, the Salvia and Peonies. Also she's added
Baptisia, which is almost like a purple/blue Sweet pea.
It's wonderful with the Peonies and compliments the Salvias
because of the wonderful, intense purple color. Katie doesn't
think you could ever have too many Peonies in a garden.
Katie has picked beautiful plants, but as well, plants that
are hardy and that will do well by the seaside.
A Cycad is often mistaken for a Palm, some think it is a
Fern. The Cycad is a member of the grass family and has
been around since the beginning of time. It is a tough,
beautiful plant. It has dark green foliage, nothing seems
to bother it, is deer tolerant and pest resistant. It has
needles on the end with very sharp points. Its diacious,
meaning there are male and female plants, you can tell the
difference in the middle of spring or beginning of summer.
The female has a cabbage like head in the middle and the
male has a cone shape. The female after it has pollinated
produces an orange or red seed late in the season. This
plant could be used as a house plant in a smaller container.
The Canary Island Date Palm is majestic but only tolerates
warmer conditions. It is one of the most majestic palms
that grow in this country and has a globe like feature towards
the top. It is called a Pineapple Palm because with one
pruning method when they take off old branches or old frawns
they cut them straight and on younger plants it almost looks
like a Pineapple. It has that Pineapple shape, then the
frawns coming out of the top look like pineapple foliage.
It is very slow growing. Kevin shows us one that is well
over 100 years old. They are expensive costing about $1,000
Palms can be beat up at the base. If you have a weed eater
or lawn mower and damage the base it doesn't seem to bother
them like an Elm or Magnolia, for example. It is tolerant
this way because it is in the grass family, very fibrous.
It is a Monocot, so its vascular system, the part of the
plant that allows water to be taken up and nutrients to
be taken down, is throughout the entire trunk. On a typical
tree, like an Oak or Pine Tree, all the vascular system
is underneath the bark. The tree needs the trunk protected,
if we girdle those trees we could kill them. With the Palm
Tree not much damage occurs this way.
Cabbage Palms , Sabal Palmetto are slow growing but provide
a lot of different looks. Kevin shows us one that has been
stripped and one left in its natural state. They remove
the frawns as they get old and it gives a smooth appearance.
To create the smooth look take a saw and strip away the
frawn at the base of the tree at the trunk. These Palms
can withstand temperatures to about 20 degrees, if lower
the plant suffers.
Palms are pruned once a year for the seed heads. Kevin does
this typically in July or August. Someone either climbs
the tree or a crane or bucket is used.
Trees are about the most majestic feature in this landscape.
Kevin shows us the Plantation Oak. It is estimated to be
350-500 years old. It is truly impressive.
feels you need to remember to be careful when pruning trees,
be careful when driving around trees and always pay attention
to tree ordinances in your area.
Dr. Rick thanks Kevin for showing use these beautiful trees
Island Club Hotel
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