The Benefits of Fallen Leaves

It’s too bad autumn’s fallen leaves are seen as a nuisance, something to be gotten rid of as soon as possible. In truth, they are a boon to landscapes, serving as mulches, benefiting soils, and boosting our compost piles. Not only are leaf piles fun to jump in and make for great leaf fights, by…

September Flower Power

September doesn’t have to be about chrysanthemums and asters alone.  There is a plethora of other, lesser-known, counterparts that can add flower power to the late season garden. Turtlehead, Chelone lyonii, has light pink to dark pink flowers that resemble, you guessed it, a turtle’s head. Serrate leaves are pointed, shiny and dark green. People…

Spiny Solanums

Over the last few weeks I’ve talked about perennials and how common names can inherently hurt them.   However, this week the plant that has caught my eye and has recently become a new obsession is the porcupine tomato Solanum pyracanthos.  Unlike other plants with a misleading common name, this one delivers.  Yes this is a…

Two More Weeds

I have a soft spot for weeds.  I get asked on a weekly occurrence if a plant is a weed or a flower.  I know it is frustrating to answer a question with a question but I like to ask the client if it is growing where it belongs.  When you think about it bluegrass…

Late Summer in the Landscape

Late summer/early fall brings us a host of “to-do’s and not to-do’s” in the landscape.  First, a couple of not to dos: *Avoid fertilization of trees, shrubs and perennial flowers.  Fertilization at this time tends to promote new growth, which would likely be injured by upcoming fall frosts. *Don’t water with the same frequency and…

Two Weeds

Common names are misleading.  I often talk to clients about planting regionally native plants and two standouts are Joe Pye weed and western ironweed.  Both plants are great additions to the late season garden and benefit pollinators.  However, the first question I get after recommending them is “. . . but why do I want…

Surprise & Toad

Nothing signals the start to the end of summer like seeing the surprise lily (Lycoris squamigera) bloom.  We will start to get calls here shortly from clients asking what are those pink, naked, flowers blooming in people’s yards.  Unlike most perennials that produce leaves and blooms at the same time, surprise lilies will produce long,…

Going Native?

Hello friends – Work has been a little hectic and Its been a few weeks since I have posted my last blog.  Inspiration struck the other day when I had posted a picture of my globe thistle (Echinops sp.) in flower on a Facebook page.  Someone posted that it was pretty but it was not…

Freshen Up Patio Planters

In midsummer, patio plants, window boxes and other containers can get a bit bedraggled looking.  In order to help them look new and fresh again, consider the 5 R’s:   Reduce – Trim out the growth that has become scraggly.  Carefully cutting away the tissue that is wayward allows for sunlight penetration and air flow…

Japanese Beetles—They’re Colorful, They’re Hungry and They’re Here

The most important thing to understand about Japanese beetles is their feeding doesn’t kill trees, shrubs and flowers.  Granted, it isn’t fun to see the lacy leaves they’ve created, but pesticide management options require thought and planning before you set out for revenge. Systemic insecticides, for instance those containing the active ingredient imidacloprid, are taken…