I was reading in a garden magazine about a well made train garden. The pictures made me long for my own train garden. I have wanted one for some time. I have put off building one due to the fact that you have to run electric and in my area I would have to take up the tracks every winter, store and them. Show More Summary
If you’re growing an orange petunia this summer, you may be one of the lucky ones. Or the afflicted ones. Orangish petunias were taken off the market several weeks ago, in Europe, when a Finnish watchdog agency, Evira, announced they had discovered that the summer flowering annual had been genetically modified. Frankenflowers? The USDA […]
I’ve long admired designer B. Jane‘s contemporary-style gardens here in Austin, including one I wrote about for Austin Home last year. Last week I visited B.’s personal garden in Central Austin’s Brentwood neighborhood and fell hard for her lawn-free, block-planted front yard. Show More Summary
Q: I mulch my flower garden with colored pine bark nuggets. Is it okay to till in these nuggets to amend the soil? A: To my knowledge there is no harm in the dye used on these chips. I would simply till them into the ground without worry.
Q: I heard that pollen counts are getting high. Is this good for bees? A: Not really. Most of the pollen drifting around is from trees, which are typically wind-pollinated. They don’t need insects to carry pollen from flower to flower. Further, their flowers contain no nectar to attract pollinators.
Q: I plant pickling cucumbers each year but lots of them are short and dumpy and curling up on the end. What causes this? A: Easy – the pickles didn’t get pollinated. On this year’s vines, notice that there are two kinds of flowers. Some flowers have a straight green stem underneath that connects to […]
Q: I saw strawberry plants for sale that had “GMO free” on the label. What fruit plants are GMO? A: As far as I know, only Hawaiian papaya might be fruit that’s a GMO (genetically modified organism), but note that not all papayas are GMO’s. In my opinion, the label is simply a marketing strategy. […]
Q: One of our young Japanese maple trees did not survive the heat and dry weather. Can I replace it now or would it be best to wait until this fall? A: If you’re attentive to watering in dry weather, it would be fine now to plant a Japanese maple growing in a container. Be […]
Q: I heard you talking about using shingles to warm up the ground around your tomatoes. Shingles sound like the perfect weed barrier: won’t blow away, won’t deteriorate, heat up the soil, etc. But are there toxic chemicals in them that would leach into soil? A: I had no problems doing it last year and […]
Q: We bought a spruce tree at a big box store and planted it a year ago after Christmas. It was growing throughout the year but was just recently began drying out top and bottom. A: Spruce trees rarely survive here for long. In my opinion, they should not be sold or planted in this […]
Q: I received an azalea after the death of my father. The label says “Place in a cool location, avoiding excessively hot and cold areas.” Does this mean I can’t plant it outside? A: In my experience florist azaleas are not as winter hardy as the regular Asian azaleas we see so commonly in spring. […]
Q: I planted a long row of Emerald Green arborvitae six years ago. They did well until last fall. Now four have died and the fifth is getting lighter in color. A: Arborvitae and Leyland cypress all over north Georgia are showing effects from last summer’s drought. Those that were planted where the roots could […]
Q: Everyone says that ivy will die if you cut it off at the base. But this has been done on some large trees in my yard and that darn ivy is still alive after a year! A: It may take longer than you expect but if the ivy vine is clipped at the base […]
Q: I saw an article online that listed eight things to add to the soil to grow better tomatoes. I’ve never heard you mention any of them. A: As soon as I saw “Apply baking soda to get tomatoes that are more sweet than tart.” I knew this webpage was “fake news”. Baking soda does […]
Q: My camellia was absolutely covered in buds but now that they’re starting to open they are falling off. By the time they finish I will be able to shovel all of them off the ground without any of them opening all the way. A: A few years ago a gardener reported that his camellias […]