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  • March garden tips & tasks

    If your fescue lawn looks a little skimpy, overseed early this month. Fescue grows best when the weather is still cool.

    Clip dead stems from perennial herbs – thyme, sage, lavender, rosemary. Pruning encourages vigorous new growth.

    Prune nandinas, flowering quince and other airy shrubs by reaching in and removing about a third of the branches at ground level.

    Remove mulch or leaves that may be covering perennials in garden beds.

    Prepare a new garden bed: Have the soil tested (check with your county’s Extension service). Remove grass and dig or till soil 8 to 10 inches deep and mix with soil amendments and organic matter to improve drainage.

    Add fertilizer lightly to perennials as soon as you see new growth. Too much fertilizer may result in lanky growth.

    Herb transplants that don’t mind cool weather -- parsley, cilantro, sage, oregano – can go in the ground now.

    When you cut daffodils to bring inside, cut the stems at an angle and place them in water right away. Change the water in the vase daily to keep them fresh longer.

    Save the date - Middle Tennessee garden events

    The Perennial Plant Society's annual Plant Sale will be April 8, opening at 9 a.m. at The Fairgrounds Nashville. The sale offers newly released and hard-to-find perennials from top local nurseries -- more than 450 varieties of perennials, vines, grasses, shrubs and annuals. The event supports local scholarships for Tennessee horticulture students and monthly gardening programs, open to the public, at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens. For information visit www.ppsmtn.org.

    The Herb Society of Nashville's annual Herb Sale will be April 29, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. at The Fairgrounds Nashville. The sale will offer heirloom vegetables, rare varieties of perennial and annual herbs, handmade pottery herb markers and more. To learn more, visit herbsocietynashville.org.

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Sparking interest in Fireflash

QUESTION: I have a new houseplant known as a Fireflash. How should I take care of it?

Fireflash. Photo by Maja Dumat - flickr.com

Fireflash. Photo by Maja Dumat – flickr.com

Fireflash (Chlorophytum orchidastrum is the botanical name) is a houseplant that you don’t see often, but sounds like it would be a nice addition to any indoor garden. It’s a striking plant, with large, green pointed-oval leaves and bright orange stems. The Flowers & Plants Association, based in the UK, describes it as “a very easy plant.”
Fireflash is related to the more familiar spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) and enjoys similar growing conditions: it’s tolerant of a range of light conditions (but will probably do better in low light than spider plant) and normal room temperatures. Water Fireflash sparingly about once a week during warm weather, less in winter; don’t allow the soil to dry out completely, but don’t let the plant sit in water, either. The Flowers & Plants Association suggests feeding it every two weeks during the growing season and not at all during winter.

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