Botanical Reboot

The drought of 2016 was rough. We lost many trees and shrubs, and we are still seeing damage as a result of stress even though we have had good rainfall this year. Many trees have dead limbs, and in our storms we have lots of dead limbs coming down. Some…

Daylily ‘Autumn Minaret’

In Alabama, the daylily is the workhorse of our sunny borders. She puts so much energy into producing all those blooms (daily, for weeks) that by the time the last bloom shows, the foliage is yellowing, the scapes are a collection of brown sticks, and the seed pods are forming,…

Formosa Lilies

By September, I am running out of steam. I am weary of cutting this grass, and now my lawns are covered with the first leaves off the deciduous trees. It takes a lot to impress me right now. So, let’s take a look at the wonderful Formosa Lily. This cluster,…

Pruning vs. Shearing

I just finished my final grooming of the year for this espalier cotoneaster and a tea olive. With the cotoneaster, I make careful cuts with my trusty Felco bypass pruners. I removed the long, soft shoots where they branched off the main, trained branches. I was careful to preserve the…

Foliage Color in the Garden

This is the time of year most of our Birmingham gardens are at their peak. It seems like every day something else is starting to bloom. The crepe myrtles, those great stalwarts of summer, are showing color. Lilies and daylilies are starting to bloom. The hydrangeas are about to put on…

Bring on the Bugs!

Despite our desire to have a beautiful garden, all gardeners would do well to consider the role our plant selection plays in nurturing our soul AND the environment. How many of us would go running for the pesticides when we came upon these caterpillars chewing up our vine? But, would you kill…

A Simple, Homemade Container

Courtesy of the North Carolina Arboretum, here is a handsome, easily assembled container. This one is constructed of heavy duty treated pine, 2 x 10 inch lumber, cut to the desired length and screwed together. Planted without a bottom, and sunk in the earth several inches, this simple container will provide years of…

Seedling Clematis Up and Over Almost Everything

In our old garden, we have lots of seedling clematis. We started out with several varieties from nurseries. That’s how you get those insanely large, colorful flowers. But over the years, as a result of some plant sex, we have been able to score some free offspring. Most NEARLY approximate the…

Planting Your Spring Purchases

I’m just back from the Spring Sale benefiting the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, where I bought a species camellia. The first thing I have to do when planting camellias is decide where to site the plant. A little research shows that camellias do best in well drained, acid soil with shade from the direct afternoon sun….

Reconsider, Remove, Replant

Well, that dry spell devastated many gardens, most especially those with limited watering capabilities. Here in Forest Park, many evergreen conifers have bit the dust, and more will succumb in 2017 as added stress takes its toll. In the front of our bungalow, a semicircle of false cypress frame a handsome weeping…