Proven Perennial Selections
Mary Snoddy
by Mary Snoddy
2d ago
Thanks to pleasantly warm temperatures and plentiful rains, my garden is thriving right now. So are the weeds, meaning that much of my outdoor time is spent in uprooting little monsters before they become big monsters. Recently, I have received numerous inquiries from new gardeners, asking for plant recommendations. Every one of these gardeners has told me that they want to plant perennials only and no annuals. I get it. Annuals need to be replaced yearly, a recurring expense and effort. Yet, gardens benefit from the additional of a few annuals to add a lush appearance while the perennials are ..read more
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Garden Fencing for Privacy and Safety
Mary Snoddy
by Mary Snoddy
1w ago
Why fence your garden? As population growth booms in the southeast, so does the need for housing. Many modern developments of single-family, standalone homes in our corner of the world feature smaller lots than in past decades, putting neighbors closer to each other than before. No matter how fond we are of our neighbors, sometimes we feel the need for more privacy. Homeowners Association Covenants usually have specific rules on height, type, and placement of fencing. Even those that prohibit “front yard” fencing usually are more lenient in back yards. Back yard fencing can benefit the gardene ..read more
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Stinkhorn Mushrooms Live Up to the Name
Mary Snoddy
by Mary Snoddy
3w ago
A crowd gathered in the garden of a friend recently. I assumed they were admiring a new plant, so I hustled over to share in the appreciation. But no, this was no new perennial. Emerging from the mulch was a group of orange finger-like growths wearing dark brown caps. Their slightly naughty appearance spurred a lot of jokes. When I bent down to take a closer look, the nasty odor caught me by surprise. My brain churned a minute until I was able to dredge up its proper identity: Stinkhorn Mushroom. There are several forms of the stinkhorn fungus, ranging from rounded to those in front of my grou ..read more
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Agapanthus or Lily-of-the-Nile for Containers or Ground
Mary Snoddy
by Mary Snoddy
1M ago
Agapanthus (pronounced ag-ah-PAN-thus) or Lily of The Nile makes me think of Allium, but the leaves are more substantial and the bloom appears more robust. Given a choice between the two, I would choose exotic-looking Agapanthus. I attempted to grow this plant many times in the past. My plants would last a year or two, and then would dwindle away or even die outright during a cold, wet winter. New cultivars are on the market now, with enhanced cold tolerance, so I am trying again. Some varieties are evergreen while others are deciduous. Check the label to know what you are buying. Agapanthus i ..read more
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The Sweet Scent of Summer Rain
Mary Snoddy
by Mary Snoddy
1M ago
My garden welcomed the recent rains after almost a week of dry weather. Along with the rain came that wonderful, earthy smell known as “petrichor.” This scent is noticeable when rain falls on dry soil. The smell comes from a combination of factors. Texas A&M University described the main source of the odor thus: “The main contributor to petrichor are actinobacteria. These tiny microorganisms can be found in rural and urban areas as well as in marine environments. They decompose dead or decaying organic matter into simple chemical compounds which can then become nutrients for developing pla ..read more
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Keep Cast Iron Containers Cool
Mary Snoddy
by Mary Snoddy
1M ago
A traditional favorite gardening container material is cast iron. Cast iron urns are beautiful and elegant, but are very heavy. Painted cast aluminum is a popular substitute because it does not rust and it is not quite as weighty. In the deep south, the walls of metal plant containers capture heat in summer. They transfer heat to the soil within, to the detriment of the plants growing within. One way to prevent hot metal from damaging tender roots is to provide an insulation layer between the pot and the potting soil. I have tried several different strategies. The most effective insulator I ha ..read more
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Caladiums for Color in Shade
Mary Snoddy
by Mary Snoddy
1M ago
Caladium (pronounced ka-LAY-dee-um) is a genus of tubers grown for their colorful summer foliage. Heart-shaped leaves grow up to 15 inches long and 10 inches wide, in freckled or streaked shades of pink, white, rose, red, green, burgundy, and occasionally yellow. Plants are perennial in zones 9 and warmer. Some gardeners opt to grow them as annuals. They look fabulous in shady beds or hanging baskets. They can also be grown as houseplants by those who enjoy a challenge. Caladiums prefer moist, acidic soil that is high in organic matter. They prefer shade or partial shade, and pair well with Be ..read more
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Turn Trash Into Treasure
Mary Snoddy
by Mary Snoddy
2M ago
I enjoy recycling ugly things into beautiful things, especially garden decorations. So, when I spotted four weathered concrete statues in a thrift store last year, my “fix it” alarm sounded. Below is the step-by-step transformation. Follow my steps on your own weathered piece to produce a passable imitation of bronze. Here is the forlorn foursome, positioned in the rear of a thrift store and priced to sell. The Four Seasons in concrete, found at a thrift store for a few dollars each After transporting them home (ugh–heavy!), I used water and a stiff brush (kitchen dish brush for larger areas ..read more
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Moss Phlox or Thrift Provides a Blanket of Spring Color
Mary Snoddy
by Mary Snoddy
2M ago
“Common” names often cause confusion about plant identity. The spring-flowering groundcover at my childhood home was always called Thrift. It wasn’t until I started working at a garden nursery that I learned that its true identity was Phlox subulata, pronounced FLOCKS sub-yoo-LAH-tah. Then a customer asked for Thrift but meant Armeria, also known as Thrift. The two Thrifts are completely unrelated. Armeria juniperifolia (juniper-leaved thrift) and Armeria maritima (sea thrift) grow up to one foot tall. One has sharp foliage like a juniper while the other has grassy-like foliage. Both are ..read more
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Sassafras Signals Spring
Mary Snoddy
by Mary Snoddy
3M ago
Spring’s arrival in evident in the woodlands: the reddish tint of maple trees, the yellow-green of new leaves on others. From a distance, I spotted a haze of yellow that I assumed to be flowering Carolina Jessamine, the SC state flower. But no, it was the early flowers of Sassafras, pronounced SAS-ah-fras. Sassafras is a deciduous native, found in more than half of the states, and is hardy in zones 4-9. It can be either a tree or a multi-stemmed shrub and will grow in neutral to acidic soil of almost any texture. It prefers full sun to partial sun. Flowers on female trees produce blue-black se ..read more
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