GardenSmart :: EPISODES :: 2003 show49
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Show #49

American Beech

This tree has Persistent Leaves, they stay on the tree until the new leaves come out in the spring. This tree provides a great screen year round. It's a native plant to this part of the country, has cream colored leaves in winter. It is a huge tree, can be 30 or 40 feet tall and thrives in the shade. It's an under story tree, thus needs something over the top of it to thrive, has a course textured leaf and produces nuts.


Bulbs create change in our gardens and create a bold display. Tulips are a bulb and in some parts of the world are considered a perennial, meaning they will come back year after year. In the South we need to treat Tulips like Annuals, plant them in the fall, enjoy them in the spring and dig them up afterwards. Daffodils, are a great perennial and should come back year after year. To encourage them we need to feed them bone meal and give them an organic fertilizer (something with a high middle number - like 5-10-5). This will encourage flowers and roots to grow. Cut the blooms at the base. Never cut back their foliage before it dies because this allows the plant to photosynthesize and retain the energy it lost when blooming. Use bulbs, they make a bold display and encourage change in your garden.

Bulb Planting

Stooping to plant bulbs can be a chore. Use a portable drill with a bulb augur, it's a simple way to dig a hole for a bulb. You can make it as deep as you like and widen the hole by making another hole next to the first. If clay soil, go back and forth so you don't have a glaze effect. Drill down about two times the diameter of the bulb, place the bulb then cover with soil. It's easy, fun and fast.

Winter Daphne

A great winter plant is Winter Daphne. It's fragrant, beautiful and doesn't need a lot of care. You'll find varieties with pink or cream blooms and you'll find them with variegated leaves. They like dry, shady areas with good drainage. When planting use some pine bark mix in the soil or gritty stones. It's a great plant for the winter garden in the south.


It is a deciduous plant, it has no leaves but does have bloom pods - clusters. These develop in late summer and last all winter. The blooms are yellow and have a nice fragrance. When the plant grows it splits into three branches, then again into three. If you're looking for something different, something that blooms in winter look at Edgeworthia, also known as Rice Paper Plant.


If you're looking for a grass for a shady location, look at Rebel 3 Fescue. Apply one pound of Nitrogen per thousand square feet and one or two pounds of seed in the cool time of the year (early spring or fall). Cut it tall in the summertime. During hot summer months it may die out. For a situation where you've got really deep shade probably nothing will do well, if you've got high shade or light shade, Fescue's the way to go in the South.

Hiding Sprinkler Heads

Philip Jenkins, in order to hide his sprinklers or to get them over different objects, has decided to hide his sprinkler heads in unusual locations. He has put them in birdhouses, urns, columns. It is functional, yet attractive.

Look Inside The Pot

Often time when we buy a plant we look at the flowers, foliage etc. We would be better served to look at the stem taper - the size of the stem at the base of the plant compared to the size as it moves up the plant. If it is thicker at the base of the plant it indicates there is a lot of energy stored at the base of the plant. Another place to look is the stem root interface. That is just below the soil surface, there should be plenty of roots coming out of the base of the plant, right below the main stem. Also check out the roots and root hairs. there should be an enormous number of white, crisp, healthy roots at the base of the plant. Take the plant out of the pot and look at things you normally don't see.


If you're looking for something different look at Rosemary. It has been used in kitchens for years, it has a great aroma but it also has beautiful grey-green foliage. It has a fine texture, plays well against coarse textured plants and plants with large, shiny leaves. Put Rosemary in well drained soil and make sure it has full sun. Put it along corridors or along walkways. It will be a nice addition to your yard and garden.


Providing food and water for your birds will keep them coming to your property. If you want them to stick around for a while, provide lodging as well. Birdhouses can be utilitarian, interesting or whimsical. In selecting a birdhouse decide which of these you want. If functional, small birds like Chickadees and Nuthatches prefer an entry hole about 1 &1/8 inches across, medium sized birds, like Swallows need a nest box 1 & 1/2 inches across, White Brested Nut Hatches need 1& 1/4 inches and larger birds such as Flickers require 2 & 1/2 inch entry holes. Bluebirds like houses about 6 inches wide and about 6 inches deep and a bright blue color. It's best if the birdhouse faces East or South, if it faces West it will get hot in the afternoon, which is deadly for baby birds.


If you want maximum flowers, pruning at the proper time makes a difference. For a Flowering Crabapple now is a good time to prune. We must pay attention to the desired form of a tree and to the desired boundaries for the tree. Then prune accordingly. Another consideration is branches that cross one another, thus rub against each other damaging the bark. Remove one limb in this case. Suckers should be removed. Open the tree up allowing sunlight and air inside. Cut close to the base without cutting the main trunk. Prune beneath a bud, thus saving that growth. Pruning is not something to fear or avoid, it is good for the tree.

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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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