GardenSmart :: EPISODES :: 2003 show42
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Show #42

Often in the south we'll sod an area we don't how to handle. Consider ground covers, like Ajuga Reptans known as Bugle Weed. It has beautiful, thick leaves, is reasonably coarse and adds pizzazz to the landscape. It flowers in late spring, a little blue spike, and covers the ground well. It has a bronze leaf, some varieties like Catlin's Giant, are variegated and have a large leaf. It keeps weeds out, is invasive so establish a border between it and other areas. It's low maintenance, tolerates full sun and likes a moist soil. If in a dry area it can stay fairly dry. Ajuca Reptans is a great ground cover for the south.

Poison Ivy is a member of the Sumac family. All members of the Sumac family are in some way poisonous. The oil on the leaf is what makes Poison Ivy poisonous. The leaves are trifoliate, there are three leaves on the stem. The Petiole or leaf stem is reddish. If you do brush against Poison Ivy, immediately wash with soap and water. If you blister, stay out of the sunlight, sunlight exasperates the problem. Virginia Creeper looks like Poison Ivy but has five leaves. The rhyme: "If it has leaves of three let it be. If leaves of five, let it thrive." Virginia Creeper is a great plant to grow on a trellis or even brick or stucco. It adheres with tiny feet, known as Holdfasts, like a suction cup. They don't penetrate brick, etc., they're fast growing, will reach 40-60 feet tall. They have a coarse texture, turn red in the fall and after the leaves fall off the vine itself is attractive.

Richard and Robert Stoney talk about great trees of the south. American Beech, Fagus Grandifolia, needs a lot of space because it can grow to 90 feet tall. It produces dense shade, making it difficult for anything to grow underneath, with the possible exception of spring bulbs like Hyacinths or Cyclamens. It has gray bark, large coarse textured foliage and will do well in the shade. Young trees hold on to their leaves in winter, in fact until new leaves come out. The tree we're viewing was planted by Barnsley in the 1840's. This is a great tree in the landscape but also good for wildlife. It has nuts that are edible, ok for man, ideal for squirrels and Chipmunks. If you have plenty of room consider a the American Beech, a very majestic tree.

The long-needled Pine, Pinus Palustris, is native to the south. This tree species is in decline. As a young plant it stays small for 3 to 5 years, even suitable for a container. It then for some reason jumps to the next stage, then jumps to a large tree. It then will produce shade.

China Fir or Cunninghamia Lonceocata is a native of southeast China. Barnsley planted this tree in 1859, at that time it was 4-6 years old, so it's approaching 150 years of age. The climate in southeast China is similar to that in the southeast US, so it does well in this climate. It grows rapidly at first, then grows in girth rather than height. If you cut the base, it would sprout from the base and grow more quickly than if started from seed since it has a large developed root system. This tree since it is so old and valuable has a lightning rod that goes all the way to the top. It is made of braided wire and must slightly exceed the tree height. It then comes down the length of the tree and is earthed in the ground.

Another unusual tree at Barnsley Gardens is the large Boxwood, Buxus Sempevirens, Florica Arborescence. It is over 6 feet tall, has longer, pointed leaves. This tree is approximately 160 years old and is 28-29 inches around. They are slow growing and prized for their cabinetmakers wood, hence their name.

Dr. Rick talks with Spence Oliver, director of turf management at Barnsley Gardens. He has used Turfway 419, overseeded with Perennial Rye grass. It is cut below one half inch. He and staff use a riding reel mower, the blades circle versus rotate, which gives a more precise cut, more of a pinching, scissors effect. they cut the grass 4 or 5 times per week. This is not ideal for the homeowner, Bermuda would be a better choice for areas with drought conditions, better than Zoysia or Bahia or Buffalo Grass. To get a great looking lawn it is important to have a sharp blade on your mower. Don't scalp the grass, this is where you are cutting into the stem of the plant, below where the leaf blades are growing. If you do this you will start to get browning or yellowing of the turf. Follow the one third rule. Don't remove more than one third of the grass and leaf blade. Keep your fertilizer levels correct and maintain nutrient levels.

This lawn has stripes, like you might see at a ballpark, etc. This is accomplished with the reel mower, it has both front and rear rollers. The light reflects off the leaf blade. When it is bent one way light reflects off one side of the leaf, cut the other way it reflects of the other side of the leaf. They mow different directions on different days.

Specimen plants serve as focal points in our landscape. We view several at Barnsley Gardens. Cardoon creates a very bold dramatic effect. Its' architectural design is wonderful and graceful. The graceful quality of the stems, the big, bold arching shape create an effect when underneath looking up, like that of a cathedral. Originally it was grown as a vegetable, it is grown as an ornamental now, is an annual and produces thistle-like flowers, like an artichoke. It is in fact a member of the Thistle family, very gnarly and has a leathery feel. It likes full sun and deep well-worked loomy soil. Robert shows us some plants that are stunning in containers. Salvia Argentia or Silver Salvia produces big soft, downy leaves. More dramatic than Lambs Ear and it contrasts nicely with Petunias, in this case Lavendar Petunias. Coleus, this form is Kiwi, contrasts nicely with Caladium, a lovely black or dark purple, the hot colors of the Kiwi contrast nicely with the dark colors in the Caladium. These colors compliment the colors in the Impatiens. The way to create the bold effect is to vary leaf size, a large leaf with the Caladium, the Salvia Argentia and Silver Salvia, next to the frilly, fine textured Coleus. It is a variation of size and texture. Canna would rate a 10 in terms of visual energy. It has 3 characteristics that make it bold. It's upright and upright forms are fascinating to our eyes. It has extremely coarse texture, the leaves are large and far apart. And third, it's got a stripe of orange color, which is very hot or fascinating to our eyes. It is difficult to put this plant with others, so it is typically grown by itself or with some accent plants, like a Coleus or fern, something that serves as a foil against all the really bright color. It loves full sun, doesn't like shade and needs plenty of moisture. It's a heavy feeder and a great choice if you're looking for something that really catches the eye.

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