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Showing posts from March, 2018

Red Buckeye is Aesculus pavia

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Our Red Buckeye - Aesculus pavia is budding and leafing out today. Gorgeous in its third or fourth year. 

It's a part-shade understory shrub or bush that is native in our area. Can you see it to the left of the daffodils?

Introduction: Red buckeye, a native of the southeastern United States that produces brilliant red flowers, is the best buckeye for this region. It can be grown in all soil textures and is nearly pest-free. Its flowers, which last several weeks in spring, attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Culture: Red buckeye can be grown in shade or full sun, although its growth is shrubby and open in shade. It does well in all soil textures, and prefers a moist, well-drained soil that is slightly alkaline to acidic. It grows best in good, rich soil. It is moderately drought-tolerant and, if grown in full sun, should be mulched and watered to keep the roots cool and moist. Red buckeye, which is hardy in Zones 4 to 8, is almost pest-free, although it can have severe problems with…

Perennial Divisions to Share and Receive

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When we think of pass-along plants we have received from family and friends, we think of daffodils, salvia, lilies, roses, daylilies, coral honeysuckle, hosta, lily of the valley, iris, crocosmia, blackberry vines, sedums, succulents and a dozen other plants that have to be divided to remain healthy. Those are some of the plants from our yard that now grow in others' gardens.

Pass-along plants are divisions of gardeners' favorites that have been divided from their gardens. Most of us have a wide variety of these local favorites growing in our gardens, yards and borders. 

The one reminder I have for you about pass-along plants is that they are being divided and shared because they spread in their previous garden home. In my case, that doesn't always mean they thrive in the conditions we have on our rocky soil and casual watering schedule.

Pass-alongs are a great way to share and experiment with new varieties because they are proven to survive in your growing zone. One, upcomin…

Propagating House Plants with helpful links and photos

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The Iowa State University Extension posted a good article on propagating house plants this week. Here is the link.

They start the article with weeping fig, rubber tree and other Ficus family members. The recommended method is air layering which is a process of girdling a plant stem in order to encourage new roots along the stem at the point of injury.

The photo is from a Yugoslavian wikimedia post. Garden of Eaden says they propagate these plants by air layering: magnolia, hazel, cotinus, cornus, acer, beech, camellia, chaenomeles, daphne, ficus, forsythia, hamamelis, hornbeam, jasmine, philodendron, rhododendron, azalea, lilac and viburnum.

Next, the article covers dieffenbachia, Chinese evergreen and corn plant propagation by cane or stem cuttings.

And, one that so many of us have done in our house gardening experiments, propagating African violets from a leaf. (Also my frequently-used method of propagating begonias.)

Cut a healthy leaf with an inch of stem attached. Plant it in san…

Downy Serviceberry native shrub is Amelanchier arborea

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The Arkansas Native Plant Society sends a monthly email to subscribers who are interested in native plants. Downy Serviceberry was the topic of the Feb 28 2018 newsletter. At the link, look right and you'll see the sign-up box. I read 80% of them since I'm always on the lookout for an education on native plants for our area and ONPS doesn't have anything like this. 

With branching and suckers they reach 15 by 15 feet in part-shade. Fall color and scented flowers. Bird habitat.

"Downy serviceberry, a deciduous tree to large shrub (referred to as “tree” herein), tends to have several trunks of varying size and, when younger, may sprout nearby suckers. 
Mature trees in full sun have a thickly branched, rounded crown, while those in shadier understories tend to be tall with irregular branching. An average size large tree is 15 to 25 feet tall (state champion tree is 44 feet tall). 
Branches tend to diverge from the parent branch at a sharp upward angle. Spring twigs, green an…

Budget Wise Gardener by Kerry Ann Mendez

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The Budget Wise Gardener has just been released by St.Lynn's Press in time for spring garden planning. It's a great little book that you will probably enjoy reading as much as I did. It's equally good for gift giving (think house warming, new gardener, birthdays, etc.). 

The author, Kerry Ann Mendez is well-known in the gardening and garden writer community. The book's recommendations come from luminaries such as Joe Lamp'l, Tovah Martin, Allan Armitage and Adrian Bloom.

Mendez gardens and consults in Maine so her plant recommendations are primarily for that part of the world (zone 5) and can, for the most part, do well in our zone 7 humid climate.


As indicated by the title, the premise of this book is having a great garden that is easy on your budget. For example, when you are shopping for perennial plants, look for them early in the spring so you can buy the ones that the nursery grew over the winter and therefore have larger root systems.

Also, buy perennials in the…