• Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • May garden tips & tasks

    GARDEN EVENTS IN MIDDLE TENNESSEE

    May 20: Master Gardeners of Davidson County Urban Gardening Festival, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., Ellington Agricultural Center Demonstration Garden. Free admission. www.mgofdc.org; on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mgofdc.

    June 10: Middle Tennessee Daylily Society show and sale, Ellington Agricultural Center’s Ed Jones Auditorium, 440 Hogan Rd. in Nashville. Sale open at 10 a.m.; show opens to the public at 1 p.m. To learn more about the Middle Tennessee Daylily Society, visit www.middletndaylilysociety.org.

    It’s time to plant those tender herbs and vegetable transplants, such as basil, dill, tomatoes, green peppers, hot peppers, eggplant.

    If tomato transplants are already too tall and leggy, you can plant them on their sides and cover the long stems with soil. The stem tips will turn upward, and the buried stems will sprout roots.

    Sow seeds of bush beans and pole beans, cucumbers, sweet corn, melons, okra, field peas, pumpkin, squash and zucchini. Follow the directions on the seed package for planting depth and spacing. Vegetables grow best in full sun.

    Cut the faded blossoms of peonies. Fertilize the plants lightly in late spring or early summer.

    Remember the basics of watering: morning is best, so plants’ leaves have time to dry before evening. Lawns, perennial borders and annuals like to have 1 – 1½ inches of water per week.

    Many indoor plants enjoy a summer vacation outdoors. Give them a cool, shady spot in the yard, and don’t forget to water them.

    Prune thyme frequently so it will stay full and green in the center.

    Weeding is easiest after a rain. If the ground is too dry and you need to weed, soak the bed first with a hose or sprinkler.

    Whether they’re growing in the ground or in pots on the porch, pinch the tips of geraniums from time to time to encourage them to branch out and to produce more flowers. Geraniums in pots benefit from regular feeding with a water-soluble fertilizer.

    Remember that mulch can be a gardener’s best friend. Pine straw or composted leaves are good alternatives to hardwood mulch.

    Harvest herbs as they reach their peak. Dry small leaves on a screen, hang small bunches of long-stemmed herbs in a warm, dry room out of the sunlight.

    Plants growing outdoors in containers dry out quickly when it’s hot. Check them daily, and water as needed.

    Don’t go near hydrangeas with the pruning shears unless all you’re cutting is dead branches. If the bigleaf hydrangeas look like they’re not going to bloom, it could be that the buds were nipped in a late cold snap, or the plant was pruned too late last year.

    As the flowers of Shasta daisies begin to open and then to fade, keep them clipped off. This prolongs the blooming season of daisies (and most other annuals and perennials), and keeps the plants looking better, as well.

    Watch for aphids on shrubs and perennials. A strong blast of water from a hose will remove many of them, or spray with insecticidal soap.

  • Categories

  • Archives

Clearing up clematis confusion

QUESTION: I am looking for a white, late-blooming clematis. What can you tell me about it? – Franny

Sweet autumn clematis.

You are probably describing the late-summer-blooming vine that is either sweet autumn clematis or the vine commonly called virgin’s bower. They are both deciduous vines, look similar, and bloom about the same time, but there’s a difference.

Clematis terniflora, the sweet autumn clematis, is a vine that is native to Japan. Here’s what the Southern Living Garden Book says about it: “Tall and vigorous (some would say rampant)…Self-sows readily; can become a pest.” They admit it makes a good privacy screen with its “billowy masses of 1-inch wide, fragrant, creamy white flowers in late summer, fall.”

Digging deeper, I found it listed as a “lesser threat” (as opposed to a “severe” or “significant threat”) by the Tennessee Exotic Pest Plant Council, which lists invasive plants. Not long ago, a friend who has it in her garden told me it is covering up other shrubs in the garden, and she will have to pull it up. Consider yourself warned.

© 2002 Steve Baskauf http://bioimages.vanderbilt.edu

Virgin's bower

The vine called virgin’s bower is C. virginiana, and it’s native to the eastern U.S. It’s described as having “bright green foliage; profuse show of sweetly fragrant, 1¼ inch white blossoms in 3 to 6-inch long clusters in late summer, fall.” It also goes by the common name “devil’s darning needles.” It may also self-seed and could get out of hand if you don’t pay attention, but at least it’s not labeled an invasive pest.

The sweet autumn clematis is likely the most readily available in nurseries and garden centers; to find virgin’s bower, you may have to look for nurseries that specialize in native species. Here are three in theNashville area:

Growild, a wholesale nursery in Fairview that welcomes retail customers by appointment (http://www.growildinc.com/); Nashville Natives, which provides plants for sale at Whole Foods and Gardens of Babylon (http://www.nashvillenatives.com/); and Moore & Moore Garden Center, a retail nursery at 8216 Highway 100 (http://www.mooreandmoore.com/)

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: