If you have a question about gardening in the Birmingham area, ask John. John Floyd has been gardening–and learning about gardening–for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience in the garden, John has degrees in horticulture, plant taxonomy, and plant physiology from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.
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Funny you should ask this. I was in Lowe’s – Trussville yesterday, and they had several flats for sale. High filtered shade with well drained soil that can stay moist but not wet are excellent conditions to grow this plant. Mine never last a long time, so good luck and let me know how yours perform.
Variegated pittosporum is an excellent plant and does best in sun. The plants can get large so spacing should be around four feet apart, so buying tiny plants will not make the landscape attractive initially. But before you buy, these pittosporum can be severely injured in a cold winter. If you want another plant that might give you a similar effect, you might want to try the variegated dwarf osmanthus.
My first thought was a camellia or a sasanqua camellia. Bloom color of your choice, and you could underplant it with hosta for summer color. A very sculptural red stemmed semi-weeping Japanese Maple would work, under planted with pansies in winter, too. Other evergreens to consider are Osmanthus (including the variegated one), Gardenia, Chinese Fringe (loropetalum), and Japanese Aucuba. Pieris would be fine, except they do not get tall.
I really do not. The closest is the Alabama Famers Market Bulletin but most of the plants advertised are for sale but generally at a very reasonable price.
They like full sun and well drained soil. So dig big whole and fill with good soil and mulch well in a sunny place and they should be fine.
Of all the small fruit we can grow, fig may be the most care free. The key is to mulch them, remove only the dead wood, unless they are too tall and you want to reduce the height, and fertilize them annually with a pound of 5-10-10 per year of age up to 12 pounds. Prune if necessary now, and fertilize in spring after the foliage appears. While they may not bear at a young age, the older they get, the crop generally get bigger every year.
I think now is fine. Most roses need some pruning, but knock-outs can be pruned just about as much as you need to prune them. Generally, I start by taking out the dead wood. Then I prune it to the height and shape I want. Just make sure you do not cut them entirely to the ground.
If you are mixing the soil yourself, I like 3 parts sandy loam, 1 part peat moss, and one part cow manure. If you are purchasing bagged soil, make sure you get one that is a soil mix, but does not contain a moisture holding material, like the big box home improvement centers have for sale.
I am not sure about the Auburn area, but here in Birmingham, Hanna Garden Center on HWY 280, usually has them in spring.
Not really. A fall pre-emergent herbicide would have probably done the trick, but it is too late to put it out. Now you have to use a product like IMAGE herbicide or 2,4,-D herbicide according to label direction. They will clean up many of the weeds, but not kill Poa annua (called annual bluegrass) which is a common winter lawn weed. See the post under weeds to learn how to control Poa annua.
Don’t ask me why folks do crazy things to trees, but it is not uncommon around here. I think the common reasons are fear (it will get too big or fall on the house) or a “tree guy,” who knows nothing, comes by and sells them a bill of goods. You opened with coral bark maple and closed with Japanese maple. In either case these trees generally recover, but slowly over a number of years. It is typical for pruned maples like this to put up long shoots, but eventually these shoots will form the shape of the non-pruned tree. So here is my advice. Do nothing for several years, except remove crossed branches, and then see how it looks. Good examples of small maples that have been groomed and are beautiful to see and study are the ones in the Japanese Garden at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.
First, I do not consider Gerbera daisies as a perennial in our area, but I have seen some that will tolerate mild winters. There are some new types that have been introduced from Monrovia nurseries in California that look great, but in general they should all be handled the same way. First, they like sun and well drained soil. In fact, that is how you see them in our area most of the time. My son’s next door neighbor has them in full sun with rocks around each plant, and they bloom a lot but never have pretty foliage. So, when I have grown them and the foliage looks good and they flower, I give them at least 4 to 5 hours of sun, and keep them well watered in good fertile, well drained soil. Since they are also subject to spider mites, I like to plant them in areas that have good air movement to help control them naturally. Now that I have given you ideal conditions, they grow fine for me just as long as they have soil that drains well, and are cared for like the other blooming flowers in your garden or containers.
Hopefully. Of course, those blooms now are gone, but for profuse flowering plants we should still have an okay Spring display. However, plants like my Empress Camellias are simply blooming out, but of course they are late winter to early spring flowering plants.
I use Landscape Services and Gary A. Webb Horticulturist. Both are fine companies and are locally owned.
My first thought was the selection Green Giant Arborvitae, as it will get tall and does not get very wide. Additionally, they are not a super expensive plant even if you buy tall ones. If you want a hedge, many of the hollies clipped will do. I especially like tall hedges of Nellie R. Stevens holly and the native Yaupon holly, because they can take a lot of pruning to keep them narrow and will grow tall. As for a small evergreen tree, many folks like some of the dwarf Magnolias, but it sounds to me like a large shrub that will get 15 or so feet tall might do the trick. Upright sasanqua camellia, Burford holly, and Fortune’s osmanthus all fall into that catagory.