Georgia Gardener Newsletter Cool Plant, Design Tip and Highway Horticulture

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To access previous newsletters in their entirety, click on the dates below.

Cool Plant: A plant that will be "cool in your garden."
Design Tip: An idea that you may want to incorporate in your landscape.
Ask an Arborist: Questions submitted that concern choosing and caring for trees.

April 1, 2010

Cool Plant: Fringe Tree
Ask an Arborist: Vines in Trees

March 18, 2010

Cool Plant: Woodland Phlox
Ask an Arborist: Tree Profile: Red Buckeye

March 4, 2010

Design Tip: Graded Slopes
Ask an Arborist: Winter Damage to Trees

February 18, 2010

Cool Plant: New Dawn Rose
Ask an Arborist: Trash Trees

February 4, 2010

Cool Plant: Smoketree
Ask an Arborist: Tree Pests

January 21, 2010

Cool Plant: Harry Lauder's Walking Stick
Ask an Arborist: Choosing/Planting Shade Trees

January 7, 2010

Cool Plant: Needle Palm
Ask an Arborist: Girdling Tree Roots

December 22, 2009

Cool Plant: Color Guard Yucca
Ask an Arborist: Mistletoe in Trees

December 10, 2009

Design Tip: Moss Lawns & Gardens
Ask an Arborist: Cutting Tree Roots

November 24, 2009

Cool Plant: Gold Mop False Cypress
Ask an Arborist: Winter Pruning

November 12, 2009

Design Tip: Bulbs
Ask an Arborist: Tree Identification

October 29, 2009

Cool Plant: Professor Sargent Camellia
Ask an Arborist: Slime Flux on Hardwoods

October 15, 2009

Design Tip: Composting Attractively
Ask an Arborist: Mysterious Tree Damage

October 1, 2009

Cool Plant: New York Aster
Ask an Arborist: Floods and Fallen Trees

September 17, 2009

Cool Plant: Russian Sage
Ask an Arborist: Trees Struck by Lightning

September 3, 2009

Cool Plant: American Linden Tree
Design Tip: Flower Spikes

August 20, 2009

Cool Plant: Virgin's Bower Clematis
Design Tip: Wall and Fence Borders

August 6, 2009

Cool Plant: Goshiki Osmanthus
Design Tip: The Color Purple

July 23, 2009

Cool Plant: Tenor Phlox
Design Tip: Crape Myrtles in the Garden

July 9, 2009

Cool Plant: Turk's Cap Lily
Design Tip: Hydrangeas in the Garden

June 25, 2009

Cool Plant: Ornamental Onion
Design Tip: Ferns in the Garden

June 11, 2009

Cool Plant: Asiatic Lilies
Design Tip: Easy To Grow Summer Annuals

May 28, 2009

Cool Plant: False Indigo
Design Tip: Mosquito Control

May 14, 2009

Cool Plant: Hearts of Gold Redbud
Design Tip: Mailbox Plantings

April 30, 2009

Cool Plant: Kaleidoscope Abelia
Design Tip: Plant a Row for the Hungry

April 16, 2009

Cool Plant: Black-eyed Susans
Design Tip: Plant Natives for Earth Day

April 2, 2009

Cool Plant: Foam Flower
Design Tip: Native Spring Wildflowers

March 19, 2009

Cool Plant: Carolina Jessamine
Design Tip: Flowering Trees

March 5, 2009

Cool Plant: Seersucker Sedge
Design Tip: Growing Grass in Shade

February 19, 2009

Cool Plant: Ninebark
Design Tip: Fertilizer Use

February 5, 2009

Cool Plant: Redtwig Dogwood
Design Tip: Native Azaleas in the Landscape

January 22, 2009

Cool Plant: Weeping Winged Elm
Design Tip: Surface Roots of Trees

January 8, 2009

Cool Plant: Winter King Hawthorn
Design Tip: Flowers from Fall to Spring

December 18, 2008

Cool Plant: Yaupon Holly
Design Tip: Hollies in the Landscape

December 5, 2008

Cool Plant: Cool Tool: Felco Pruners
Design Tip: Cool Tool: Long Handle Bulb Planter

November 27, 2008

Cool Plant: Bald Cypress
Design Tip: Dwarf Plants

November 13, 2008

Cool Plant: American Beautyberry
Design Tip: Evergreen Foundation Plants for Shade

October 30, 2008

Cool Plant: Yuletide Camellia
Design Tip: Plants with Interesting Bark

October 16, 2008

Cool Plant: Angel's Trumpet
Design Tip: Mulch in the Garden

October 2, 2008

Cool Plant: Shady Lady Anise
Design Tip: Cool Season Annuals

September 18, 2008

Cool Plant: Fireworks Goldenrod
Design Tip: Maples

September 4, 2008

Cool Plant: Spider Lily
Design Tip: Rock Gardens

August 21, 2008

Cool Plant: Toad Lily
Design Tip: Rain Gardens

August 7, 2008

Cool Plant: Cardinal Flower
Design Tip: Southeastern Natives For a Tropical Garden

July 24, 2008

Cool Plant: Liatris - Blazing Star
Design Tip: Coneflowers in the Garden

July 10, 2008

Cool Plant: Southern Bush Honeysuckle
Design Tip: Shade Trees

June 26, 2008

Cool Plant: Black and Blue Salvia
Design Tip: Give Up The Grass

June 12, 2008

Cool Plant: Blanket Flower (Gaillardia)
Design Tip: Hostas

May 29, 2008

Cool Plant: Indian Pink (Spigelia)
Design Tip: Wind Damaged Trees

May 15, 2008

Cool Plant: Sweet Kate Spiderwort
Design Tip: Fragrant Plants By Season

May 1, 2008

Cool Plant: Midknight Blue Agapanthus
Design Tip: Preparing Your Landscape for Sale

April 17, 2008

Cool Plant: Green and Gold
Design Tip: Perennials for Dry Shade

April 3, 2008

Cool Plant: Ashe's Magnolia
Design Tip: Cutting Garden

March 20, 2008

Cool Plant: Florida Flame Native Azalea
Design Tip: Variegated Plants for Shade

March 6, 2008

Cool Plant: Piedmont Native Azalea
Design Tip: Garden Bugs

February 21, 2008

Cool Plant: Purple Pixie Loropetalum
Design Tip: Butterfly Gardens

February 7, 2008

Cool Plant: Bright N Tight Cherry Laurel
Design Tip: Ornamental Herbs

January 24, 2008

Cool Plant: Seersucker Sedge
Design Tip: Dealing with Ice & Snow

January 10, 2008

Cool Plant: Arborvitae Fern
Design Tip: Botanical Names

December 27, 2007

Cool Plant: Armand's Clematis (Clematis armandii)
Design Tip: Pruning

December 13, 2007

Cool Plant: White by the Gate Camellia
Design Tip: Rain Water Collection Systems

November 29, 2007

Cool Plant: Viburnums
Design Tip: Screening Plants

November 15, 2007

Cool Plant: Emerald Arborvitae
Design Tip: Garden Fences

November 1, 2007

Cool Plant: October Glory Maple
Design Tip: Raised Beds

October 18, 2007

Cool Plant: Autumn Joy Sedum
Design Tip: Drought Information (By County)

October 4, 2007

Cool Plant: Forsythia Sage
Design Tip: Poisonous Plants

September 20, 2007

Cool Plant: Tiger Eyes Sumac
Design Tip: Mums The Word

September 6, 2007

Cool Plant: Arkansas Blue Star
Design Tip: Landscaping River, Stream and Lake Banks

August 23, 2007

Cool Plant: Variegated Radicans Gardenia
Design Tip: Landscaping a Slope (Note Special Update)

August 9, 2007

Cool Plant: Forest Pansy Redbud
Design Tip: Fall Flowers

July 26, 2007

Cool Plant: Swamp Hibiscus
Design Tip: Wildflower Meadows

July 12, 2007

Cool Plant: Summersweet (Clethra)
Design Tip: Ferns in the Garden

June 28, 2007

Cool Plant: Crippsii False Cypress
Design Tip: Blue Gardens

June 14, 2007

Cool Plant: Phlox Volcano Series
Design Tip: Irrigation Systems

May 31, 2007

Cool Plant: Butterfly Milkweed
Design Tip: Plants for Bees

May 17, 2007

Cool Plant: Bear's Breeches
Design Tip: Plants Between Pavers

May 3, 2007

Cool Plant: Coral Honeysuckle
Design Tip: Freeze Damage Follow-up

April 19, 2007

CP: False Rosemary
DT: Tools of the Trade

April 5, 2007

CP: Magniflora Silverbell
DT: Don't Plant That! Invasive Plants

March 22, 2007

CP: Celandine Poppy
DT: Vines in the Garden

March 8, 2007

CP: Autumn Fern
DT: Plants from Seed

February 22, 2007

CP: Japanese Aralia
DT: Plants for Wet Soil

February 8, 2007

CP: Ivory Prince Hellebore
DT: Winter Interest

January 25, 2007

CP: Winterberry
DT: Year Round Blooms (Fall to Spring)

January 11, 2007

CP: Wintergreen
DT: Container Gardens

December 28, 2006

CP: Blue Arrow Juniper
DT: Ground Covers 101

December 14, 2006

CP: Needle Palm
DT: Moss Lawns and Gardening

December 7, 2006

This was a special edition of the Georgia Gardener Newsletter issued to warn gardeners of the approaching abnormally cold temperatures expected December 8-9. On the morning of December 8, I recorded a low of 17.7 degrees, a full 16 degrees below average for this time of year.

November 30, 2006

CP: Iceplant
DT: Evergreen Foundation Plantings for Shade

November 16, 2006

CP: Golden Variegated Sweet Flag
DT: Conifers for Georgia Gardens

November 2, 2006

CP: Harry Lauder's Walking Stick
DT: Using Stone in the Garden

October 19, 2006

CP: Autumn Sage
DT: Bulbs in the Garden

October 5, 2006

CP: Purple Muhly Grass
DT: Deer Resistant Plants

September 21, 2006

CP: Mt. Airy Fothergilla
DT: Ponds

September 7, 2006

CP: Prairifire Flowering Crabapple
DT: East To Grow Annuals

August 24, 2006

CP: Pickerel Weed (Pond Plant)
DT: East To Grow Perennials

August 10, 2006

CP: Sum & Substance Hosta
DT: East To Grow Trees & Shrubs

July 27, 2006

CP: Obedient Plant
DT: Planting a Berry Garden

July 13, 2006

CP: Bottlebrush Buckeye
DT: Amending Soil

June 29, 2006

CP: Pagoda Dogwood
DT: Using Mulch

June 15, 2006

CP: Mexican Feather Grass
DT: Xeriscaping: Gardening for Drought

June 1, 2006

CP: Blue Danube Stokes' Aster
DT: Garden Arbors

May 18, 2006

CP: Early Sunrise Tickseed (Coreopsis)
DT: Dry Streambeds

May 4, 2006

CP: Screaming Yellow Baptisia
DT: Hydrangeas galore

April 20, 2006

CP: English Bluebells
DT: Sun-loving Native Combination

April 6, 2006

CP: Balloon Flower
DT: Mixed Coleus

March 23, 2006

CP: Red Buckeye
DT: Shade Combination

March 9, 2006

CP: Redtwig Dogwood
DT: Daffodils with Pansies

February 23, 2006

CP: Variegated Boxwood
HH: Winter Ryegrass

February 9, 2006

CP: Variegated Winter Daphne (Daphne odora 'Aureomarginata') Any day now, the dark pink buds of my Variegated Winter Daphne should burst open to reveal light pink flowers that are so fragrant they can be smelled 50 feet away! I don't believe the approaching cold weather will cause much harm but if the temperature is forecasted to drop below 25 degrees, I will cover my plant as it's in a container. Daphne odora can be tricky to grow. They require partial to medium shade with protection from the hot afternoon sun, extremely well-drained soil that is rich but slightly alkaline. They do best in containers or raised beds where the soil composition and moisture can be easily controlled. If planted in the landscape, the soil should be heavily amended, mixed with lime and the plants installed somewhat high. Even in the best of soil, they can be short-lived, but they are well worth the effort and occasional loss. image

HH: Cattails (Typha latifolia). Despite their tendency to aggressively colonize shallow water, cattails are an important part of the ecosystem. They filter water and can trap both sediments and pollutants. So efficient are their capabilites to uptake heavy metals and radioactive waste from commercial activities, they are often intentionally planted in industrial retention ponds solely to help clean the water. In less caustic situations, they provide food and cover for many aquatic creatures. They were also extensively used by Native Americans and early Colonists for medicinal purposes. image. Isn't Montana pretty!

January 26, 2006

CP: Chinese Fringe Flower (Loropetalum chinense) One of the most common landscape mistakes that I see is planting the larger varieties of Loropetalum in the wrong spot. In the next few months, look for cultivars of Loropetalum that will remain small, some under 4 feet tall. Plant Loropetalum in full sun to light shade in almost any type of soil that is well-drained. They mix well with contrasting colored plants such as 'Gold Mop' Chamaecyparis and Goshiki Osmanthus. The plant has no pests or diseases that I know of. It's only fault is that some can get upwards of 12 or more feet tall. image

HH: Leatherleaf Mahonia* (Mahonia bealei). Sad to say that another landscape shrub has become an alien invader. Even if it weren't invasive, I still wouldn't use Mahonia. I simply don't like the way it looks. To me, it looks angry and angry is what you'll be if you get too close to it. The leaves, which are actually large compound leaves, have leaflets that are sharp to the touch, much like a holly. Leatherleaf Mahonia blooms with bright yellow flowers in mid to late winter followed by blue-black berries in summer. Removing the spent flowers after blooming will prevent the formation of berries and the unwanted spread of the plants. If you are looking for an evergreen woodland shrub, try Doghobble (Leucothoe), Rhododendron or Anise (Illicium). If you want yellow flowers in the winter, try either Winter Jasmine or Vernal Witchhazel (Hamamelis vernalis) Mahonia invasion image.

January 12, 2006

CP: Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia spp.) These carnivorous plants are not only a curiosity, but are quite attractive with their brightly colored pitcher tubes and flowers. The tubes remain upright through the winter, but will lose some of their color. Remove old pitcher tubes in the spring as new ones begin to grow. Never feed pitcher plants as they are well-adapted to luring prey into their pitcher tubes, from which escape is practically impossible. Grow pitcher plants in a full sun bog that contains a mixture of 50% peat moss and 50% sand. It's easy to build a bog and pitcher plants can also be grown in containers. All pitcher plants are protected in Georgia and removing them from the wild is illegal. However, they are easily grown from seed and are available legally from retail nurseries. image

HH: Chinese Privet* (Ligustrum sinense) . Chinese privet is often sold in its variegated form of yellow/green. Plants often revert partially or totally to green and produce berries which cause infestations nearby. Plant any of the following as a substitute for Chinese Privet:

Southern Wax Myrtle (native)
Holly (native or non-native)
Variegated Boxwood (non-native)
Goshiki Osmanthus (non-native)

The variegated privet pictured on the left in this link is being overtaken by Japanese Honeysuckle* (Lonicera japonica), another unwelcome pest plant.

December 29, 2005

CP: Soft or Curve-leaf Yucca (Yucca recurvifolia) Plant Yucca in full sun in well-drained soil. All Yuccas are very heat and drought tolerant. As such, they are great in rock and xeric gardens. They make wonderful specimen plants and can be mixed with other full sun, hot weather plants such as Salvias, Sedums, Hardy Cacti, Herbs and Ornamental Grasses. image

HH: Broomsedge (Andropogon virginicus). I would like to encourage the Georgia DOT to switch to Broomsedge as the seed of choice for hydroseeding newly disturbed areas near road projects. Broomsedge germinates readily in the spring and summer and can be too aggressive in a garden setting. However, this plant is an important component of native grasslands and provides not only food, but cover for wildlife such as quail, deer and songbirds. Open fields of broomsedge are quite attractive when set in motion by the wind. image.

December 15, 2005

CP: Bloodgood Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood') Bloodgood Japanese Maple reaches a mature size of about 15 feet tall and wide. Plants prefer organic, well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade. I have found that some protection from the hot afternoon sun is best. Use Bloodgood Japanese Maples as specimen trees in small gardens or landscapes mixed with shrubs, perennials or annuals. image

HH: Silver Plume Grass (Saccharum alopecuroides, aka S. alopecuroidum). As a wild grass, this tall edge of the road grass has very attractive and large seed heads which remind me somewhat of fluffy cattails. The foliage often takes on a rid tinge as we get to the cooler weather of fall. I think this plant has potential for use in large landscapes and at the edge of natural woodland gardens. Perhaps some breeding can be done on the plant to give it a more "domesticated" appearance for the average gardener. image.

December 1, 2005

CP: Gold Mop False Cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Mops') Mix Gold Mops with Loropetalums, Knockout Roses, Weigela or other shrubs in a border or use them as the evergreen "foundation" for seasonal color beds of annuals and perennials. Few pests are noted with this plant and they are drought tolerant once established. Prune as needed to maintain desired shape and size. image

HH: Boxelder Tree (Acer negundo). In leaf, it has a scary resemblance to Poison Ivy. Yep, this tree also has leaves (leaflets) of 3 and when young can often be confused with poison ivy. Boxelder will not give you a rash like PI. To differentiate boxelder from poison ivy, carefully examine the plant without touching it. The "leaves of 3" clusters on boxelders will be directly opposite from each other on the same stem. The leaves of 3 on poison ivy alternate up and down the stem. When in doubt, avoid contact with the plants altogether. seed image.

November 17, 2005

CP: Southern Shield Fern (Thelypteris kunthii) Although this fern is the last to go dormant in my garden (often remaining green in temperatures in the upper 20s), it is also the last fern to break dormancy in the spring leaving me to wonder if it made it. Southern Shield Fern is worth the wait with its light green fronds reaching almost 36 inches in length. SSF can tolerate alkaline soils and a fair amount of direct sunlight if it receives adequate moisture. Each clump will slowly spread and can be divided every few years in spring. Mix SSF with Hostas, Hellebores, Impatiens, Caladiums and other shade-tolerant perennials and annuals. It looks especially nice mixed with Variegated Solomon's Seal (before frost). image

HH: Leaves Galore.. The fallen leaves in the landscape can be a source of free mulch and soil amendments if you use them correctly. A large amount of fallen leaves can mat down and prevent plants from getting air and water to their root zones. A thick layer of leaves will harm turf grasses, perennials and annuals. Leaves can also collect around the crowns and in the branches of shrubs, where they can cause problems. Leaves should be removed from these areas, but they can be recycled and used in other parts of the garden. Whatever you do, don't put healthy leaves into the trash. Our landfills have too much as it is. Remember, they are called "leaves" because you're supposed to leave them in the garden. image

The Do's and Don'ts of Fall Leaf Removal:


*Remove them from lawns where they can smother the grass.
*Shred them and use a 1-2" layer around shrubs and perennials, but don't cover the crowns.
*Put them in the compost pile for next season's soil amendments.


*Blow/rake them into the street or storm drain.
*Blow/rake them into your neighbor's yard.
*Bag them for the trash unless you have a disease problem.
*Burn only as a last resort and if its legal in your location. Use the ashes sparingly.

November 3, 2005

CP: Tulips (Tulipa spp. and Cultivars) Plant tulip bulbs in November in organic, well-drained soil that is in a sunny location. Planting depth should be 3 times the diameter of the bulb. Sometimes it's hard to tell which end is up. When in doubt, plant them on their sides and they will figure it out. Squirrels may be a problem as they like to dig up newly planted bulbs. If the problem is severe, you may have to purchase bird netting to lay over the beds. Cut small holes in the netting to allow for the foliage to grow through. If you see foliage emerging now or anytime through the winter, have no fear. Rarely does our cold weather harm tulips as most of them are hardy into zones 3 and 4. image

HH: Moss in Lawns. I'm always amazed at how hard people want to grow grass in areas too shady to support turf. Unless you can improve the soil and light, grass will continue to fail. Of course, there are some that will cut down trees in order to have a lawn. To me, cutting trees to grow grass is like cutting off your toes to wear smaller shoes - dumb! Moss is gaining in popularity as an evergreen groundcover and lawn alternative for shady areas. To maintain a moss lawn, simply keep it free of leaves and debris. You can use weed killers on it, including pre-emergent herbicides in spring and fall. The moss lawn pictured in this link is a full 3/4 acre in size and the front "yard" of a home in Stockbridge. The moss is lush and free of weeds, including any turf grass. It needs no mowing or fertilizer. The homeowner simply has his lawn care service blow the leaves off it. As you can see from the trees, this picture was taken in winter, yet notice how lush and green the moss remains. For more information on cultivating moss, visit the web site of Moss Acres.

October 20, 2005

CP: Japanese Anemone (Anemone x hybrida) I'm often surprised at how much shade Japanese Anemone can tolerate although blooming will be reduced. Plant Japanese Anemone with Asters, Mums, Toad Lily and cool season annuals. image

HH: Fall Color. To shorten your drive to see fall color, check out some of these locations:

South Fulton County: South Fulton Parkway
North Fulton County: Chattahoochee National Recreation Area
Cobb/Cherokee Counties: I-575 North, I-75 North past the 575 split
Gwinnett County: I-85/985 north of the Mall of Georgia

Of course, any of your local or state parks should have fall color which I expect to see peak sometime the first or second week of November. Maple Fall Color

October 6, 2005

CP: New York Aster (Symphyotrichum novi-belgii) Prior to blooming, many Asters tend to have a "weedy" look which give some gardeners the urge to pull them, especially since they are so late to bloom. If you can just wait, they will reward your patience. Just like Mums, pink back Asters by 1/2 in June to encourage bushiness and profuse blooming. Asters are great additions to a perennial bed, butterfly garden, cottage garden or at the edge of a woodland garden. They mix well with 'Fireworks' Goldenrod, Salvia and other late season bloomers. image

HH: Maiden Grass* (Miscanthus sinensis). It's really disheartening to see escaped Miscanthus grasses growing alongside the roads as you drive into North Carolina along the Blue Ridge Parkway. I've begun to see the problem moving southward into Georgia as Miscanthus grass can be seen growing wild near Clayton. It will be a real shame if the grass invades the Tallulah Gorge area with its population of rare native plants. Alternative grasses are Pink Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) and any of the Switch Grasses (Panicum virgatum and its cultivars). Miscanthus image

September 22, 2005

CP: Gretchen Garden Mum (Chrysanthemum morifolium 'Gretchen') Mums are usually pest free and should be divided every few years to maintain vigor. They also make excellent container plants. Mix Gretchen Mums with other late season bloomers such as Salvia, ornamental Kale and Pansies. image

HH: Pampas Grass* (Cortaderia selloana). Pampas grass should be cut back as close to the ground as possible in the late winter. Wear protective clothing as the blades are extrememly sharp. Older plants often begin to die in the middle, which decreases the attractiveness of the plant. This plant can be invasive in warmer climates and should not be planted in the Coastal South, Florida or the West Coast. image

September 8, 2005

CP: Autumn Joy Sedum (Sedum spectabile 'Autumn Joy') Autumn Joy Sedum requires little care and in full sun, should not require staking. Mature size is 18-30 inches tall and 12-24 inches wide. Plants can be pruned back to the ground after the first hard frost or left in place for winter interest. The flower heads will became a reddish-brown color in winter. Divided Autumn Joy Sedum in early spring. image

HH: Anthracnose on Sweetgums (Gloeosporium nervisequum). In my own garden, I've never seen this problem before and suspect it's due to the excessive amount of rain this summer. In drier summers, the fungus is probably not that common. Trees that are in full sun and have better air ciculation will probably not be as badly affected. image

August 25, 2005

CP: Joe-pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum) Joe-pye mixes well with other late summer perennials such as Goldenrod, Black-eyed Susans and Obedient Plant. Several species of Eupatorium share the common name of Joe-pye weed and all are equally outstanding and tall. A dwarf cultivar called 'Gateway' has been developed to stay around 4 feet tall. Another way to shorten the plant is to put it in drier soil or prune it back in May. image

HH: Lichens. Lichens are in fact a symbiotic community of two or more distinct organisms: a fungus and an algae or cyanobacterium, or both. They are harmless to plants and simply colonize a plant that's already weak from other causes. Therefore, don't attempt to remove the lichens, which may cause more harm to the struggling plant. As the plant loses foliage, the lichens take up residence on the trunks or branches were sufficient sunlight will allow them to perform photosynthesis. Once the plant becomes healthy with a thick canopy, the lichens will disappear. On a positive note, lichens are sensitive to air pollution, so the presence of lichens usually indicates fairly good air quality. Lichens have several distinct forms: Fruticose or "Shrubby", Foliose or "Leafy" and Crustose or "Crusty" image

August 11, 2005

CP: Silver Mound Wormwood (Artemisia schmidtiana 'Silver Mound') As with many plants that have silver foliage, this one originates from a client drier than Georgia. Make sure to provide the plant with excellent drainage such as with coarse sand. Artemisias tend to become leggy and open in highly organic moist soils. This low-growing variety of Artemisia is excellent at the front of bed or near paths and mixes well with Black-Eyed Susans, Rudbeckia and a wide variety of herbs. image

HH: Dogwoods with Septoria Leaf Spot (Septoria cornicola). This has been one of the wettest summers in recent years. Fungal diseases abound. To help plants combat these problems, there are fungicides available. However, simple changes in the immediate environment can also help. Prune plants to allow for better air circulation and sunlight. Remove old mulch that may allow fungal spores to over winter. Maintain the health and vigor of plants with adequate moisture if drought occurs and with fertilizer at least once a year. image

July 28, 2005

CP: Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis) Mix Cardinal Flower with other part shade, moist soil bloomers such as Obedient Plant (Physostegia virginiana), Turtlehead (Chelone) and Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica). Even though Cardinal Flower is perennial, most plants only live for a few seasons, but the seedlings they produce should keep them abundant for years to come. Please note that all parts of Cardinal Flower are poisonous. image

HH: Powdery Mildew. While powdery mildew rarely causes permanent damage to a plant, repeated infections year after year can evenutally weaken some plants leaving them susceptible to other problems. To get ahead of powdery mildew, treat previously infected plants with a fungicide labeled for powdery mildew early in the season BEFORE the signs appear. Follow the label instructions for concentration and frequency. Other ways to combat the disease are to allow for good air circulation around the infected plants by opening up the plant or thinning nearby plants and removing the mulch and replacing it with new mulch in the fall. image

July 14, 2005

CP: Turk's Cap Lily (Lilium superbum) This native tall lily looks great at the back of perennial bed or along the edge of a sunny creek or pond. Plant with another tall native, the Swamp Hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus) for a stunning combination. Cut the plant back to the ground after frost. If you wish to keep the plant shorter, place in drier soil and/or prune back by 1/3 in early May. image

HH: Common Georgia Mushrooms There are hundreds of species of Fungus among us, many are beneficial and others can be destructive. The Mushroom Club of Georgia is dedicated to learning about, identifying and collecting mushrooms. If the presence of mushrooms bothers you, the underlying fungi can be controlled by aerating the soil and applying lime. In mulch, simply use a rake to loosen and turn the mulch. The mushrooms themselves can be kicked over or dealt with using either a tennis racquet or 5-iron. Fungicides are not recommended to control harmless mushrooms. Remember, the fungi are doing you a favor by breaking down organic matter and returning the nutrients to the soil. image

June 30, 2005

CP: Nora Leigh Phlox (Phlox paniculata 'Nora Leigh') Tall phlox is practically a must in any perennial, cottage, meadow or butterfly garden where it fills a niche in all these garden styles. Easy to grow and native, there are more and more cultivars each year. This variegated variety with its bright creamy white and green leaves really stands out especially against a background of darker plants. The flowers are light pink with a dark pink center. Seedlings of this plant may not resemble the parent. Propagation is by division in early spring. Mix with Liatris, Black-eyed Susan and Monarda in the summer garden. image

HH: Daylily Seedpod (Hemerocallis species) Once ripe, the seeds can be gathered, dried and planted either directly into the garden or in pots for next year. Remember that daylilies from seed may not resemble the parent plant. But who knows, you may get the next big selling daylily variety. image

June 16, 2005

CP: Sunrise Coneflower (Echinacea 'Sunrise') This plant is part of the "Big Sky" series. The companion coneflower 'Sunset' boasts reddish-orange petals. Both are quite a change from the standard purple and recently developed white coneflowers. image

HH: Golden Rain Tree* (Koelreuteria paniculata) Hopefully due to our climate, these trees will not become the pests that they are in Florida. However, as our climate continues to warm, we may find ourselves dealing with these as another potential pest. image

June 2, 2005

CP: Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia uvaria) It's easy to see how the plant got its name as the flowers do resemble a poker red hot from the fireplace. There are several cultivars with other colors ranging from cream to bright yellow. Put this plant at the back of a sunny border as the spikes can get quite tall. They usually do not need staking unless we've had one of our famous hail storms. image

HH: Weeping Love Grass* (Eragrostis curvula) It's a shame that government agencies can't get on the same page. They spend our tax dollars to "vegetate" roadsides using non-native invasive species only to have another government agency spend more of our tax dollars to remove the invasion. I encourage you to write to the Georgia DOT and tell them to quit "seeding" the roads with non-native invasive plants. Weeping Love Grass is not the only problem plant they use. image

May 19, 2005

CP: Sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus) This native shrub is also known as Carolina Allspice. Because of its tough nature, it can be planted in full sun to moderate shade, in good, wet or even nasty clay soil. I've never seen any pests on my plants. In good growing conditions, the shrub will sucker and can get 6-8 feet tall, Deer resistant due to its aroma. It also makes a great plant for difficult sites or where soil erosion is a problem. image
There is a cultivar that blooms with cream-colored flowers called 'Athens'.

HH: Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) If this plant didn't have its own intensive self-defense mechanisms, it would be a wonderful plant for the garden. It has all the attributes: native, colorful foliage, flowers, berries, fall color and beneficial for wildlife. Even though an enounter with the plant can cause serious reactions in many people, its wildlife benefit should be considered. I leave a small patch at the back of my acre lot in a section that is fenced away from the neighboring yards where no one ventures but me. image
Benefits to wildlife.

May 5, 2005

CP: Mouse-eared Coreopsis (Coreopsis auriculata) Low-growing native perennial with bright yellow flowers from early to late spring. Plants spread slowly by stolon or seed. Non-invasive. Grow in full sun to partial shade in organic, well-drained soil. Plants mix well with spiderworts and blue-eyed grass. closeup.

HH: Wild Blackberry (Rubus spp.) Arching, thorny bramble native to the Southeastern U.S. Although native, it's not usually welcome in most gardens due to the excessive numbers of thorns. Outside of its native range, the plant has become an unwelcome invader. Tasty, edible fruit is produced in late summer and is a food source for wildlife. Domesticated and even thornless cultivars do exist. image

April 21, 2005

CP: Red Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) Charming native perennial with orange/red flowers with a yellow interior that will attract hummingbirds. Plants start easily from seed on their own, but are easily transplanted to new areas. Leaf miners are a common and unsightly, but harmless problem. image.

HH: Oxeye Daisy* (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum) A pretty little plant which has now worn out its welcome. Illegal to sell in several western states. It is commonly seen along the highways in Georgia. Use native alternatives or the well-behaved, non-native Shasta Daisy. image

April 7, 2005

CP: Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) A lovely native spring ephemeral which begins blooming in late March and continues into April. Flower buds start out pink and open to blue. Mix with Celandine Poppy (Stylophorum dipyllum), Ferns or even Hellebores in a rich, shady environment. In favorable conditions, the plants will reproduce by seed. The plants will go dormant by late spring. image.

HH: Dogwood Tree (Cornus florida) The common native dogwood tree has been loved for generations. This weekend is the annual Dogwood Festival downtown in Piedmont Park. Several diseases commonly afflict dogwoods and are usually not that severe: Powdery Mildew, Spot Anthracnose and other diseases noted here. The worst disease, which is causing widespread death among dogwoods in the Appalachians, is Dogwood or Discula Anthracnose which is not to be confused with the relatively harmless Spot Anthracnose. Discula anthracnose is more than likely a foreign pathogen that was introduced sometime during the 1970's. Dogwood trees weakened by harsh conditions such as drought or air pollution are often more susceptible to disease.

March 24, 2005

CP: Spring Starflower (Ipheion uniflorum) Spring Starflower looks great at the front of a perennial bed or near a path. Plants die back by summer, so don't forget where you planted them. Reliably perennial and deer resistant. image.

HH: Georgia Department of Transportation Wildflower Program Now is the time to prepare your soil and plant wildflowers from seed. Remember, it's important to plant NATIVE wildflowers as not all wildflowers seen on the roadsides are native. Annuals or perennials can be planted now. Some of the easiest native wildflowers include: Coreopsis (any variety), Gaillardia, Black-eyed Susans, Showy or Evening Primrose, Purple Coneflower, Blazing Star, Obedient Plant, New England Aster and Butterfly Weed. Avoid wildflower mixes which often contain non-natives that can be invasive. Image courtesy of the Georgia Department of Transportation.

March 10, 2005

CP: Georgia Blue Speedwell (Veronica peduncularis 'Georgia Blue') I've had great success using this plant as a filler between and at the edge of a stone path. It does best in full sun with good drainage. Make sure to rake or blow all mulch or leaves off of it in the fall or it may suffer some dieback in the center. Looks great mixed with early season bulbs like daffodils and tulips and mixed with brightly colored pansies. Georgia Blue Speedwell (Veronica) is also a 2005 Georgia Gold Medal Winner.

HH: Henbit* (Lamium amplexicaule) Henbit can also be controlled by repeated mowing to prevent seed formation. Applications of herbicides with 2,4-D (Weed-B-Gone) will kill it without harming turf grasses. image.

February 24, 2005

CP: Lenten Rose (Helleborus orientalis) In good growing conditions, plants will multiply by seed. Give young seedlings one year before transplanting them to another location. Flower colors range from green to pale yellow to purple to nearly black. Those with darker colored flowers make the best show in the landscape. image.

HH: Flowers of Red Maple (Acer rubrum). Flowers will produce "winged" or "helicopter" seeds that can be seen twirling from the trees in summer. Germination is rather quick and in some locations the trees can be quite aggressive colonizers. Red maples should be given plenty of room in full sun. Because of their shallow root systems, don't plant them near structures or in the middle of a lawn without a large bed around them. image.

February 10, 2005

CP: Florida Anise (Illicium floridanum) Not only is this a fine evergreen shrub for a shady area, but it is extremely deer resistant. I have seen a young deer take a bite and spit the leaves out in just a few seconds, never to be touched again. Looks very nice along the upper slopes of streams and lakes. Mix with another evergreen native shrub: Leucothoe for a tropical look. Also mixes well with ferns and hostas. image.

HH: Misuse of Leyland Cypress (x Cupressocyparis leylandii) Even the largest dinosaurs started from fairly insignificant eggs! Obviously the owner of this house never imagined that one day his Leyland Cypress would eat the mailbox. I have seen them planted two feet from foundations, driveways, garages and each other. Don't make a "Leyland" mistake. Plan ahead or use a smaller plant. image.

January 27, 2005

CP: Amethyst Mist Coral Bells (Heuchera 'Amethyst Mist') In mid spring, plants produce spikes of white to coral-colored flowers (hence the name). However, I think the foliage is what make the plants so attractive. New cultivars are being developed every year. They are surprisingly drought tolerant once established. image.

HH: Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana) They can spread rather quickly by seed from female plants. Seeds are very attractive to many birds. Much more drought tolerant and less susceptible to the diseases and pests which plague Leyland Cypresses. Eastern Red Cedars are coming back into favor due to the development of new cultivars. image.

January 13, 2005

CP: Allegheny Spurge (Pachysandra procumbens) (closeup) Our native Pachysandra is much prettier with showier flowers than any non-native Pachysandra. Unfortunately, only specialty nurseries carry it. Mixes well in a shade or woodland garden with ferns and early spring perennials. For nursery sources, check out this link.

HH: Japanese Honeysuckle* (Lonicera japonica) Unfortunately, still used and allowed to grow by many gardeners who like the fragrance and its evergreen nature. However, its effect on forests across the south (image) has caused the decline of many native plant species. Alternatives include our native Coral Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens), Carolina Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) and my favorite: Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata).
One note of caution, Carolina Jessamine and its cousin Swamp Jessamine (Gelsemium rankinii) are very poisonous.

December 30, 2004

CP: Color Guard Yucca (Yucca filamentosa 'Color Guard') Color Guard Yucca mixes well with other full sun perennials such as Black-eyed Susans, Purple Coneflower, Artemisia, etc. Place at the front of a border. Plants can be massed together as a barrier plant since the end of the blades are very sharp. Winter Image

HH: Heavenly Bamboo* (Nandina Domestica) There are cultivars of Nandina that have better foliage and produce no berries, such as 'Firepower' and 'Gulfstream'. Use these instead of berry-producing varieties. For berries, native alternatives include: Winterberry Holly or Cranberry Bush (in colder parts of Georgia).
"Bad Nandina" Image

December 16, 2004

CP: Yuletide Camellia (Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide') Plants can also be massed for a screen in partial shade or planted alone as specimens. I have also seen them with the lower branches removed and shaped into a tree form. Prune after flowering and fertilize in the spring. Image courtesy of Ed McDowell of the American Camellia Society

HH: Mistletoe (Phoradendron spp.) The Latin name Phoradendron means "thief of tree" which refers to its semi-parasitic growth habit. The State Flower of Oklahoma. Often found in oaks, this specimen was photographed on a River Birch. I have also found them growing on Bradford Pears. Poisonous, Image

December 2, 2004

CP: Ginkgo or Maidenhair Tree (Ginkgo biloba) One of the oldest living tree species with fossil records going back about 200 million years. Spectacular golden fall color. Plant only male trees such as 'Autumn Gold' or 'Princeton Sentry' to eliminate messy fruit produced by female trees. Image

HH: Azaleas in Bloom (Rhododendron spp.) Sporadic fall blooming is not indicative of disease or stress, simply a curiosity more than likely genetic in nature. Some plants produce more flowers than others. Note the still unopened buds surrounding the fall flower on this 'Hino Crimson' Azalea. These buds will open in the spring.

November 18, 2004

CP: Arkansas Bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii) Perennial native to Arkansas. This drought tolerant plant produces blue blowers in the spring. In the fall, the plant turns brilliant yellow just before frost. Plant in full sun with other fall blooming perennials.

HH: Groundsel Tree (Baccharis halimifolia) A large shrub to small tree with an open structure, it grows very quickly from seed reaching upwards of 6 feet the first season. Female plants produce fluffy seeds in the fall which are dispersed by the wind. Plants are very attractive when covered with seeds. Older plants develop peeling bark. Does best in full sun with well-drained soil. Image

November 4, 2004

CP: Angel's Trumpet (Brugmansia spp.) This tender perennial which can grow 5 or more feet is really a spectacular sight in full bloom. Fragrant flowers come in a variety of colors. Use Angel's Trumpet as a specimen plant. To propagate, take 12 inch cuttings before frost and place in water in a sheltered location. Cut the plant back after frost and mulch. The plant is somewhat poisonous. Image

HH: Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) Leaves of dark purple hues often make this tree stand out in the fall. I can't wait for practically seedless cultivars, such as 'Rotundiloba' to be more widely available. Image

October 21, 2004

CP: Swamp Sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius) There are dwarf cultivars available, such as 'First Light' which can be more easily used in a perennial bed or butterfly garden. Blooms from late September to late October. Image

HH: Goldenrod (Solidago spp.) Cultivars of Goldenrod make nice additions to a perennial bed or butterfly garden. They mix well with Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii) as well as Asters and other late season bloomers. Image

October 7, 2004

CP: Pink/Purple Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) Perennial grass. Native to the Eastern United States. Absolutely one of the most beautiful ornamental grasses around. Plant in full sun with well-drained soil and combine with Sedum 'Autumn Joy' or Asters. Image

HH: Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans) Perennial vine. Native to the Eastern United States. An aggressive vine, it can quickly overtake a garden situation. This vine is growing on a telephone pole just across from a Georgia Power substation and appears to be pruned regularly at the top and bottom. Kudos to this person for preserving a vine great for hummingbirds. Image

September 23, 2004

CP: Silvervein Creeper (Parthenocissus henryana) Vine. Native to China. Silvervein Creeper is a deciduous vine cousin to our native Virginia Creeper which is often mistaken for Poison Ivy. The variegated vein variety is slower growing and develops great fall color, even in shade. Use on a fence or arbor in full sun to medium shade. Image

HH: Tuberous Vervain (Verbena rigida)* Perennial. Native to South America. This is another non-native verbena that has marched steadily northward along highways from the coastal areas. Reaching about 12 inches tall, it blooms from spring to fall, especially after being mowed. A better substitution is the native Homestead Purple Verbena. Image

September 9, 2004

CP: American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) Shrub. Native to the Eastern/Southeastern U.S. A rather non-descript arching shrub until early fall when it bursts forth in the garden with clusters of pea-sized bright magenta berries at the base of the leaves, which may last into winter. A white-berried cultivar also exists. A real favorite among birds. Plant in full to part sun with well-drained soil. Image

HH: Bur Marigold (Bidens aristosa) Annual. Native to the Eastern U.S. Sometimes reaching 4 feet tall, it produces scores of 2-inch yellow sunflowers in the early fall. It grows on roadsides in disturbed soil. This is one tough yet attractive plant often used by the Georgia DOT. If you can find seed, I recommend it for your garden. Image

August 26, 2004

CP: Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium) Perennial. Native to the Eastern/Central U.S. Not commonly found in nurseries (although it should), this undemanding perennial reaches about 36 inches tall and resembles a yucca until it blooms with white "spiky" balls about 1-inch in diameter. Makes a great statement in a full sun perennial bed mixed with Coneflowers and Black-eyed Susans. Image

HH: Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis) Biennial Native to Eastern/Central U.S. Often considered a weed, this 3-5 foot biennial has showy yellow flowers the second year and is often seen on roadsides and disturbed areas throughout Georgia. Although attractive in a wild setting, this plant may be too weedy for even the most unconventional garden. Image

August 12, 2004

CP: Ginger Lily (Hedychium coronarium) Perennial. Native to tropical Asia. This 4-6 foot perennial blooms with lovely white fragrant flowers in the late summer. Foliage resembles that of canna lilies with an aroma similar to gardenias. Plant in the back of a full sun perennial bed and close to outdoor entertainment areas to enjoy the fragrance. Image

HH: Ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis) Perennial. Native to the Eastern U.S. This 5-7 foot perennial with its deep purple flowers makes its home in sunny, moist to wet locations usually alongside Joe-Pye weed. Use in a rain garden or perennial bed with ample moisture. Mixes well with goldenrod or swamp sunflower. Very attractive to butterflies. Image

July 29, 2004

CP: Chocolate Snakeroot (Eupatorium rugosum 'Chocolate') Perennial. Native to the Eastern half of the U.S. This cultivar of our native roadside snakeroot has purple leaves that hold their color well in full sun and moist to average garden soil. Small clusters of white flowers appear in the late summer. Mixes well with purple coneflower and goldenrod. Please note all parts of this plant are highly toxic. Image

HH: Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) Perennial. Native to the Eastern half of the U.S. Pokeweed can reach 12 feet and is considered a weed by many. It has dark red stems and deep purple berry clusters in the summer which seed everywhere. It is a favorite food of birds, which often leave purple stains after eating the berries. Please note all parts of this plant are highly toxic. Image

July 15, 2004

CP: Loblolly Bay (Gordonia lasianthus) Tree. Native to the Southern Coastal U.S. The Loblolly Bay is usually seen growing in the coastal areas of Georgia and the Carolinas. This evergreen tree has 3-inch magnolia-like flowers in the summer. It prefers full sun with moist soil and reaches a height of about 30-50 feet. Image

HH: Sourwood (Oxydendron arboreum) Tree. Native to E/SE U.S. The Sourwood is one of our most lovely native trees with "fingers" of white flowers in the summer followed by white seeds that persist as the bright crimson fall color appears. It prefers full sun to partial shade and reaches a height of about 30 feet. Image

July 1, 2004

CP: Bee Balm (Monarda spp.) Perennial. Native to E/SE U.S. Bee Balm, a better-behaved member of the mint family, has a variety of colors and cultivars and is very attractive to butterflies and pollinators. The leaves can be used for tea or potpourri. Use in a perennial or cottage garden. Buy mildew resistant cultivars. Image

HH: Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)* Biennial. Native to Europe and Asia. Often resembling huge Foxgloves with yellow flowers, this plant was brought here by settlers and has spread all over the U.S where it usually invades pastures, meadows and open areas. Cultivars in different colors may prove to be as weedy as the yellow variety. Image

June 17, 2004

CP: Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) Perennial; Native to the Central/Eastern U.S. No perennial garden is complete without purple coneflower. Drought tolerant and usually pest resistant, they are a magnet for butterflies and small birds that eat the seeds. Purple cultivars include: 'Magnus' and 'Kim's Knee High'. White cultivars include: 'Alba' and 'Kim's Mophead'. Image

HH: Mimosa Tree (Albizia julibrissin)* Tree; Native to Asia. Once considered a Southern pass along plant, now considered an invasive non-native weed. Seedlings will appear in lawns, flowerbeds and at the edges of woods. Usually short-lived due to a fatal Fusarium wilt disease, which doesn't kill them before they can reproduce, unfortunately. Image

June 3, 2004

CP: Rocket Larkspur (Delphinium ajacis) Annual; Native to Europe. For those in Georgia who have suffered from "Delphinium Disappointment," this is your plant. Easily grown from seed, it produces spikes of dark blue to white flowers beginning in early May. Re-seeds to return year after year. Image

HH: Queen Anne's Lace (Daucus carota)* Biennial; Native to Europe. This plant has spread so prolifically across the United States that it is now considered an invasive weed and should not be planted. Image
There are several native look-alikes that can be used instead: Hairy Angelica (Angelica venenosa) and Cow Parsnip (Heracleum maximum).

May 20, 2004

CP: False Indigo (Baptisia australis) Perennial native to E/SE U.S. Reaching about 3 feet in height, Baptisia makes a bold statement in the garden. The pea like flowers are an intense blue. Grow this perennial in full sun with well-drained soil. It combines well with taller varieties of Coreopsis, Gaillardia and Shasta Daisy. Image

HH: Butterweed (Packera glabella formerly Senecio glabellus) Annual or short-lived perennial native to E/SE U.S. These bright yellow 1-3 foot tall flowers are seen along roadsides from April to May. Unfortunately still considered weeds, they make a fine addition to the garden combined with False Indigo (Baptisia australis), Spiderwort (Tradescantia) and Purple Homestead Verbena. Image

May 6, 2004

CP: Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus) Native to Eastern/Southeastern U.S. Small tree. Also known as Grancy Graybeard, it makes a wonderful statement in the landscape with showy fragrant white flowers resembling whiskers in late April to early May. Separate male and female trees. Pollinated female trees will bear a dark blue fruit in the fall. Image

HH: Showy Evening Primrose (Oenothera speciosa) Native to Eastern/Central U.S. Perennial. These are the pink flowers seen on the roadsides as part of the DOT's wildflower project. This groundcover spreads quickly to cover an area with blooms starting in April. Be careful, this plant will crowd out other plants that get in its way. Image

April 22, 2004

CP: Woodland Phlox (Phlox stolonifera) Native to S.E. U.S. A deciduous groundcover producing 12-14 inch stalks of blue (or white) flowers in early April. It spreads quickly in loose, moist soil in partial to medium shade. Mix it with Green n Gold or ferns. Don't allow it to become buried with too much leaf litter or mulch. Image

HH: Pine Pollen: Early in April, everything gets covered with a yellow/green dust from nearby pine trees. Pine pollen is often blamed for exacerbated allergies, but the pollen grains are very large and easily fall to the ground with the true allergy culprits being oaks and elms. Simply hose off the pollen (but follow outdoor watering restrictions).

April 8, 2004

CP: Needle Palm (Rhapidophyllum hystrix) Native to the Southeastern U.S. An evergreen palm reaching about 8 feet in height. One of the most cold hardy palms withstanding -10F or more. Makes a wonderful accent plant for a tropical look in a partial shade location. Can be massed together for a screen or grown in a large container. Image

HH: American Holly (Ilex opaca) Native to the Southeastern U.S. This holly is a true tree form reaching upwards of 60 feet. Female plants bear the berries when a male plant is nearby for pollination. This ~50-foot female with hoards of feasting robins was seen growing in Buford on North Price near Peachtree Industrial Boulevard. Image

March 25, 2004

CP: Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflora 'Autumn Brilliance') Native Eastern U.S. tree. The Serviceberry is a nice replacement for the ubiquitous Bradford Pear with white flowers in the early spring followed by edible fruit that goes from red to violet. Sweeter than blueberries, you'll be lucky to get them before the birds. Brilliant orange-red fall color finishes the season. Image

HH: Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia x soulangiana) Native to Asia, this tree is hard to miss in the early spring. Sporting tulip-like flowers that range from pale pink to dark purple, the tree is a mass of flowers before the leaves. Alas, early flowering is often its downfall as late frosts often damage the flowers or buds. Image

March 11, 2004

CP: Autumn Fern (Dryopteris erythrososa) Native to Japan and China. An evergreen fern with an iron constitution. It remains upright and evergreen, but develops a light bronze color in the winter, hence the name. It has shown no cold damage down to 5 degrees in my garden. Use it in a shade garden, containers or even as a foundation plant. Image

HH: Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda) Native to the Eastern U.S. The most common pine seen in the Piedmont. The first pine to usually move into disturbed areas. Severely under rated for its landscape and wildlife value. Can be used as a screen, windbreak or specimen in the full sun landscape.

February 26, 2004

CP: Carolina and Swamp Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens and G. rankinii) Native to Southeastern U.S. Fast-growing, evergreen vines that produce scores of yellow flowers in the early spring (February to April) and then again sporadically in the late summer. Great for covering a trellis, arbor or fence. Drought tolerant. Deer resistant. Image

HH: American Beech (Fagus grandifolia) In the winter, you will often see forest trees that still have brown leaves. Young American Beech trees and the lower branches of mature ones will retain their leaves in the winter. The American Beech leaves will start out brown becoming tan and finally cream just before dropping as the new leaves emerge in spring. Image

February 12, 2004

CP: Red-Osier (Red Twig) Dogwood: Cornus sericea (formerly Cornus stolonifera) This native dogwood is a suckering shrub with scarlet red twigs that stand out in the winter garden. It grows in full sun and wet soil making it great for the edge of a water feature. Showy clusters of white flowers are produced later in the spring. A yellow variety also exists. Image

HH: Chinese Privet (Ligustrum sinense)* Because it is evergreen is easily seen in the winter choking out plants in forests and wetlands all over the state. Still sold as a landscape plant, it will shortly surpass kudzu as the state's worst non-native invasive plant. There are better native and non-native alternatives. Image

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