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Occasionally I am asked what my favorite shrub (or tree or perennial etc.) is. On the shrub issue, they are visibly shocked, most of them anyway, when I answer it is nandinas. The usual response is, “You’re kidding” or “Surely you jest.” 

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Our azalea treatise the last three weeks has, so far, neglected the deciduous (not evergreen) so-called “native” azaleas. Most of the ones on the market are not native at all, but may be hybrids with native azalea blood in them. 

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The last two weeks we have here discussed some of the best azaleas, or at least ones that I think are best, for our region of the country. We considered such criteria as dependable bloom, growth habit for varying situations, and resistance to, or susceptibility to, cold temperatures. 

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The term “climate change” has been bandied about so much recently that many people think it is something new. No, it has been going on since Day One and will go on after the rapture. Only then, it won’t be as excruciating as it is now. 

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For fully two months now, we have picked away at spots of color here and there, mostly from isolated oriental magnolias, daffodils, ipheion (you’ve got to get some), witch hazels and a number of other things. 

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With the ides and the astronomical first day of “spring” fading into the  past, we now are faced with all that stuff we should have accomplished last fall or since. There, for instance, lie the oak and sycamore (!$&*#^&) leaves, crouched into nooks and crannies and up under shrubs, w…

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March flowers, they are often called. Daffodils they are, though some are jonquils and others narcissus. Here they are mostly (mis)called “buttercups.” Whatever, they are right on time. 

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Computers are a curse or a miracle. For me they are, most of the time, a curse. Now, however, that I have spent some 25 years or more using them (as word processors, mostly) their blessings have grown to outnumber their bane. 

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Now that we are securely ensconced into the oft-maligned month of February, I think it would be apropos to take up two of the most distasteful subjects in the gardening world, at least as it pertains to us in northwest Tennessee. The two? Tree topping and deer, or horned rats. 

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My late, great friend and dentist, Dr. Charley Beard, said to me some time ago that it seems every time we start to tell something we have experienced we preface it by “Years ago … ”

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A wise philosopher once said “As you slide down the bannister of life”. . . .what? Well, he advised us to be sure the splinters are pointed in the right direction. Good advice, I would say. 

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“Horrors may,” was an old Williams expression that my Uncle Ernest used with considerable efficaciousness whenever some sudden event or awakening occurred. Here it is mid-November and, horrors may, tomorrow will be Christmas. 

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Many of the questions I get concern faltering plants, from those with meaningless spots on their leaves to others already in the grave, and yet others somewhere in between.  

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So you think you have weeds? Well, everybody does. It comes with the territory if you do any serious gardening. Everybody thinks their plantation is more weed prone than anybody else’s. 

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Succession planting is a subject that has been broached many times by many garden writers, including this one. Practiced well, any given piece of ground will yield more with succession planting than when given over to one crop per season, be it ornamentals or vegetables and, yes, even large …

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A review copy of a new book with the simple title Moss, made interesting reading during recent hot days. The author refers a lot to mosses in foreign countries, including particularly the Baltic areas and Japan, where mosses have long been appreciated more than in the west. 

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“Attitude adjustment” is a relatively new phrase that has entered our vernacular English. It has to do mostly with adjusting one’s mien from disgust or disappointment of a day or days into a feeling more appealing. 

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After last week’s somewhat pedestrian thesis on mulch and mulching, we might as well get my obligations, two of them, over in the same month. 

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Happy Independence Day. You remember, July 4 is the anniversary of when we sent the Brits home packing and set this nation up as a republic, just 243 years ago. Thursday will be a time for watermelon cuttings, picnics, fishing, swimming and other hot weather activities. Don’t forget the fire…

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Here we are, just five days out of the summer solstice, and the days are already (minimally) getting shorter. Sure enough, summer is here at last, and the few people who thrive on horrible heat and stifling humidity are happy. Those who dote on cool breezes and crisp nights will just have to…

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Yes, I know it is a bit after the fact, and yes, I know that the flowering of almost all azaleas has passed, but I can’t help but put in a word for a few kinds that flower at the end of spring, which doesn’t expire, astronomically, for two more days. 

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Even as daffodil season fades from memory, catalogs for fall bulb planting begin to arrive. There are a couple of reasons for that. The merchants want daffodils and other spring blooming bulbs to be fresh on your mind in hopes you will order soon and also because they would like to have orde…

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It must have been some quarter of a century ago in April when I was driving down the hill on West Wood Street west of the court square. A patch of bright mauve (an oxymoron?) caught my eye in a front lawn. The grass was almost obliterated with little star-shaped flowers of pale blue or, more…

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A few days ago, I was standing in our front garden, smugly gazing upon the flushing green leaves of one of my favorite shrubs, a ‘Rose Creek’ abelia. Why smugly? Well, it was set new last fall and was actually still alive, for one thing. And for another, I knew the little plant had a whole s…

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April was termed “the cruelest month” by the esteemed poet T.S. Eliot. He had been born in St. Louis, Mo., but moved to England in his 20s. So he had sufficient exposure to April from both sides of the Atlantic to make such an observation in his poem, “The Waste Land,” back in the 19th century. 

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Back in the day, it was almost unheard of for gardeners, of both the edible and ornamental variety, to get their plants into the ground any other way than direct seeding. Exceptions were cole crops, such as cabbage, and others started with sets, i.e. onions. 

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Tree Toppers International has started their robo calling, trying to induce suckers into paying good money for their services. They’re most into it on weekday and Saturday afternoons when it is too cold and wet to be outside. One of their representatives is a guy on television with a silly g…

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Old Janus has reared his ugly head again. The Roman god Janus had two faces, one seeing forward and the other back, as is apropos for the first month of the year. We’ve already looked back (last week) and so let us help Janus by looking toward the future. 

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