GardenSmart :: EPISODES :: 2003 show50
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Show #50

Dr. Rick has some tips on keeping our Perennials looking good all summer long. Heading back extends the life of blooms on our plants. Cut a fraction of an inch above a node, then take one third of the plants and cut them back two thirds of the way. Take one third of the plants and cut them back one third of the way. Then leave the remaining third alone. You will have blooms 6-8 weeks longer than if the plants were left alone and you'll have healthier plants.

Most people associate Azaleas with the plants from Asia. There are native deciduous species as well and they come in a variety of colors as well as yellow and they are fragrant. Azaleas are in the species Thegenus Rhododendron. Hank Bruno, Trails Manager at The Gardens of Callaway, tells us Azaleas in the Gardens of Callaway bloom from the beginning of the season in March through fall and September. Azaleas need well drained, acid soil, a little bit of shade in the afternoon and plenty of room. They are tall plants and like to spread out. We look at several different Native Azaleas such as Alabama Azalea, Rhododendron Alabamense. It is particularly fragrant and is white with a yellow blotch.

Hank Bruno at the Gardens of Callaway reviews several ground covers and companion plants for the Azalea. Be careful about putting vines around Azaleas they can choke the plant and its branches. Allen Lacy, one of our finest garden writers, has several ideas on this topic. Lady Fern or Japanese Painted Fern with Variegated Solomon's seal is up early in the spring, has a nice flower and lasts throughout summer and fall. Foam Flower and Heucheras are both good ground covers for Azaleas. Native Ginger will spread and the blooms become a dense mass, combined with the mottling in the foliage it makes for an intriguing plant. Salaginella, Peacock Moss, has a fern like foliage, it doesn't flower and spreads by spores. It has a multi hued leaf and spreads rapidly. Adisia Japonica or Marlberry will flower several weeks early in the season. It has wonderful foliage and the flowers will ultimately turn into bright red berries in the fall and winter. It is marginally cold hardy, some years it will die back to its' roots, but always comes back in zone 8. There are almost as many ferns as there are Azaleas. And a wide variety of textures, colors and sizes. One example is the Cinnamon Fern. Astilbes come in a variety of colors, they come up early in the spring and have a flower display after your Azaleas bloom.

Mountain Laurels bloom after Azaleas. They have a floral display that rivals the Azalea. It is a large, evergreen leafed plant and grows in zone 8. Getting the plant established is tricky, but once they're in they're a permanent fixture.

To complete the picture of the Azalea garden one needs to explore Understory Trees. Everyone knows about Dogwood. Another native, Forest Pansy Redbud, is distinguished by Maroon foliage in the spring and early summer and also has a decorative seed pod. There are a number of varieties, Hank, likes Forest Pansy Isone.

Helen Phillips, Curator of Mr. Casons Garden at Callaway teaches us about Medicinal herbs. The bark of the Dogwood tree was a one time boiled, then used for Quinine and the treatment of Malaria. Ginko Biloba is thought to help with memory. The leaf is unique and used in jewelry. The Willow Tree has the same chemical as aspirin and has been used as a boiled concoction to cure headaches. Paprika Yarrow was used as a shampoo and thought by some to treat baldness. As well it has an attractive white blossom. Lambs Ear is another of Helen's favorites. It has a soft, velvety, absorbent leaf that feels like a Lamb's ear. It is an attractive edging plant at the front of the border but has an interesting history. Before bandages its' leaves would be wrapped around a wound, something would bind it together and hold it to your body and it made an excellent bandage. For centuries people have made a concoction from Poppies that make people happy. Another use, after they flower a pod is left, once it dries the pod will open and it will resemble a pepper shaker. Turn it upside down, shake it and poppy seeds like those on rolls, muffins or cakes appear. Although we consider it a culinary herb today long ago it was a medicinal herb.

One of the newest gardens at Callaway is the Alphabet Garden. They harvest grape vines every year and weave them into letters from A to Z. Under the letter "A" are all the plants that begin with A - Aloe, Achillea, Asparagus, etc. The theme is repeated through the letter Z. Some are harder than others to find plants but everyone had a great time making the garden and you should find it interesting and great fun for the family, children, grandchildren, etc.

A Conifer garden is for the more discriminating, possibly lazier gardener. Plant it in the fall and include any shrub or tree. You'll love the combinations ranging from yellow-green to blue-green. From creeping varieties to upright to billowing. The softness and the spiciness makes an unusual garden. Several shown are the Juniper Blue Star, Juniper Silver Mist, Fusia Rhine Gold. Whether it's a ground cover or tree, winter, spring or summer it makes an interesting garden.

Helen tours the outdoors butterfly garden. The plants are shaped like a Butterfly. It has Petunias, Pansies, Marigolds and more. Included in the garden are host plants and nectar plants. Host plants are where Butterflies lay their eggs. Nectar plants are plants they eat. Do a little research and find what Butterflies in your area like.

Links: Callaway Gardens

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