GardenSmart :: EPISODES :: 2003 show48
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Show #48

Interview with Jo Jenkins

Jo 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 outside.

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, texture and

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 the house.

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 Door

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.

Cool Color

In 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.

Repotting House Plants

Late 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.


If 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.

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GardenSMART Featured Article

Photos and story by Monrovia Nursery Company

Lavender is the on-trend plant for gardeners this year. Click here for an article that details a top-tier selection of lavender that ensures success.

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