Garden Maintenance

2018 Gardening Course Schedule (final) Register now!

2018 Gardening Course Schedule (final) Register now!

Hello Everyone, I'm so excited about this year's gardening classes!   We will be in some of the very best gardens in Greensboro.  It will be a blast exploring them and learning from the successes and failures of the most knowledgeable gardeners around. Here is the final edition of the 2018 Gardening Course Schedule: 2018 Course Schedule Registration information is below and also at the bottom of the schedule.  This is a printable document.  Classes start March 11th!   Please register soon as I anticipate that these will fill quickly. (I may add more one date to each course if there...

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Pruning: “Crape Murder” or “Ugly Myrtle”?

Pruning: “Crape Murder” or “Ugly Myrtle”?

Although you may have heard the term “Crape Murder” used to describe the ruthless way many gardeners and landscapers prune their crape myrtles, the truth is that we rarely kill them with bad pruning practices - we just make them really UGLY. Crape myrtles bloom on new wood.  That much is true. The fallacy is that they must be topped, cut back or otherwise severely man-handled so that they produce more blooms.  This cannot be further from the truth.  In fact the fastest way to ruin the naturally elegant shape of a crape myrtle is to top it. My “Tonto” red crape myrtle has never...

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Is your garden Bugging You?

Is your garden Bugging You?

It is June, the time of year when every kind of bug makes its way to my Summerfield, NC garden.  I have already seen big fat rust colored potato bugs with a brood of newly hatched babies, aphids on my hellebores, flea beetles on my eggplant, slugs on my hostas, cabbage worms on my kale and kohlrabi, and now the cucumber beetles and Japanese beetles have arrived! How do gardeners control these thugs without poisoning themselves or the bees and butterflies that are happily floating around the garden? The number one thing to understand is that bugs are your friends.  Most are beneficial to your...

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Gardeners’ 12-step Program

Gardeners’ 12-step Program

Honestly, April and May ZOOM by me every year.  There are so many spring garden events, seminars, plant sales, and tours – and of course the annual trek to Big Bloomer Flower Farm in Sanford, NC.  (Check my website for a calendar of  local NC Triad gardening events:   http://www.learntogarden.net/ellen-blog/garden-events/) But I cannot wait to get out to my own garden!  Every day there are new plants peeking their first leaves out of the ground.  Every day new blooms appear that I have not seen for a year.  This year I added a totally new garden. Yes, I know that last year I said I was “done”...

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A Gardener’s Plan for Winter

A Gardener’s Plan for Winter

Here I sit inside on a gray almost-winter day, grateful for a rest from cleaning up the garden, reflecting on a gorgeous fall season and already making plans for an amazing spring. While I love my fall blooming Camellias, I have to admit that the divas of my fall garden are the Asters and Japanese maples.  Year after year, they never disappoint. They hold their own among the screaming colors of our North Carolina fall foliage. On October 30 our first hard freeze was forecast - 15 degrees in Summerfield - and every flower in the garden was destined to become mush.  I could not bear the thought,...

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Why Plants Die

Why Plants Die

You have given them the perfect soil, sited your plant in the “right” amount of sun/shade, watered appropriately ... and three months later your beautiful green plant is as brown as toast.  What happened?!  The funny thing is that plants often have the same symptoms whether you over watered or under watered, or if they were sick or just in too much sun.  There are many ways to diagnose the problem, but sometimes even the best gardeners do not always know. The first thing I always check is the soil.  Is it too wet or too dry? Are other plants around the new ones struggling too? Test your...

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Overachiever

Overachiever

Can I just say it? From graduating high school at age 16 to retiring from my sales career at age 48, I have always been in a hurry to “get it done”.  This is not necessarily a good thing, as other things seem to be overlooked as my projects get underway.  So it has been this year as my writing has fallen short.  Nevertheless, this year’s projects have been fun and rewarding (photos below) and I hope you may find some inspiration in them too. A new wall as a backdrop to the cutting garden.  It totally brightened up a dark gloomy wall of Leyland cypress!   A new garden...

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Arrangements that Chase the Winter Blues

It is a quiet time again in my garden as summer perennials are cut back, trees and shrubs have lost their leaves and even the last asters are gone.  This is the season that my reliable favorites really stand out. Evergreens like Chindo Viburnum with its super glossy deep green leaves, Yoshino Cryptomeria with its drapey tassles tipped with tiny straw colored buds, the variegated Osmanthus that looks like a white-leafed holly, and my tall Nandina domestica or “Heavenly Bamboo” with its heavy clusters of red berries, “Gold mop’ Cryptomerias that provide bright yellow color right through...

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Creating the Garden all over again

Creating the Garden all over again

As my friend Candace says, “All you need is 55 acres and 360 employees” and you too can have a landscape that looks like Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia!  Let’s see, that is 6.5 people per acre?! Clearly, we are working at a comparative disadvantage!   But as home gardeners, we are not planting thousands of annuals every season either.  Thankfully there are wonderful shrubs and perennials that can provide year-round color without that kind of effort. If you do want a gorgeous landscape, the time to plant it or change it is NOW.  Now through about mid-December...

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Master Gardener Newsletter & Gardening Gala

Master Gardener Newsletter & Gardening Gala

Our Guilford County Agricultural Extension Agent, Karen Neill, sends out a monthly newsletter with excellent horticultural tips and advice.  The July issue is attached below and subscriptions are available to anyone who requests it.   You can get your own sent to your inbox monthly by emailing Karen at kcneill@ncsu.edu.      Click Here to open the July issue:  GGG_July_15_ 2013 Perhaps the most important news is the Master Gardener’s 12th Annual Gardening Gala and Seminar scheduled for Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:30 am - 4:00 pm.   It is one of my very favorite events of the year. Held...

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