Friday, October 29, 2010

Cool Season Weeds

Now that high temperatures are hitting the mid 70’s in my area it is time to start thinking about preventing cool season weeds. Before tackling a weed control program it is important to know that complete suppression of any weed from your yard is not practical. It is only possible to manage (not eliminate) the weeds by reducing the invasion to an acceptable level. The best method for preventing a weed problem is maintaining the health and density of your lawn. Accurate mowing height, irrigation and fertilization of the grass are the best defense against weeds. With that done; pre-emergence herbicides should be applied to well-established lawns in late summer or early fall. In this area sometime around Halloween seems to be a good time.
Keep in mind that you'll never get rid of all the weeds in your lawn. The wind will blow weed seeds from nearby lawns into your lawn, birds will deposit them and kids running from one lawn to the next will transport weed seeds on their shoes. So do what you feel you must to battle the weeds in your lawn, but do it wisely.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fall Garden

Today I used some radishes from my fall garden in my salad. Lettuce is also ready to pick and spinach is nearly ready. My granddaughter picked a pepper from my kitchen garden while she was here visiting 2 weeks ago. A nice surprise since most of my summer peppers had sunscald. Leaving the pepper plants in the ground worked out as now I have at least 6 more peppers nearly ready to pick. Our extended growing season is a nice bonus for living in the lowcountry. I also planted some lettuce and parsley seeds in some of my large flower pots. Some of the cool season vegetables can also make attractive landscape plants this time of year and they can stand up to cold weather. I like to use colorful cabbages and kale's, and giant red mustard in with my fall pansies, snapdragons, and dianthus.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

camellia sasanquas in bloom!

Two of my three camellia sasanquas have started to bloom. I’m not sure of the names because I bought them as an experiment to see if I could grow them in my yard. I wasn’t sure I’d have enough shade but knew sasanquas tolerated sun a little better. Since planting the first two my trees have grown enough to provide more dappled shade. The pink one is 5 years old and was moved once and the white one is 3 years old and also was relocated once. The third one was just planted this year and I’m anxiously waiting to see the blooms. It is supposed to bloom a little later.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tea olives for a fragrant garden

Tea olives are some of the most sweetly fragrant plants in Southern gardens. The word Osmanthus is derived from Greek osma, meaning "fragrant", and anthos, meaning, "flower". That description is very accurate of the Osmanthus fragrans I planted in my yard! This may be their most fragrant year since I planted them. Tea olives grow as dense, evergreen shrubs or small trees and are long-lived and virtually pest free. Occasional disease and insect problems can develop, mainly under stressful conditions. I transplanted 3 shrubs this spring that had been in the ground for 5 years and they are blooming right along with the ones that have been in the same spot for 5 years.
I would never have guessed such tiny flowers could fill my yard with such a wonderful scent often being compared to the scent of peaches, orange blossoms or jasmine. I started out with 4 Fragrant Tea Olive (O. fragrans) when my local county extension agent mentioned the wonderful shrub/tree in a Master Gardener class in 2004. I was given two more from a neighbor who said his wife was allergic. My daughter-in-law was visiting from Colorado and immediately on stepping outside asked about the wonderful scent. I showed her the tiny flowers producing the wonderful smell and like me she was surprised. I love this almost carefree plant it blooms heavily in the fall (about 2 month) and also has scattered blooming through winter and into the spring. My flowers are creamy yellow. Some produce white flowers. There are several cultivars, mostly chosen for flower color (including orange). While some are still uncommon, they are well worth the search.

CultureWild olive is an adaptable, slow growing little tree that thrives in almost any soil and needs no attention once established.
Light: Partial shade to full sun. Wild olive does very well in light, dappled shade, and even in almost full shade.
Moisture: Once established, wild olive is drought tolerant. It also can tolerate moist soils, and even an occasional flooding.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 - 9. Although its native range is restricted to USDA zones 8 and 9, wild olive is known to be hardy in zone 5. This is the most cold hardy of the cultivated Osmanthus species.
Propagation: Seeds should be cleaned and planted outside as soon as ripe; they usually take two years to germinate. Tip cuttings from half ripe wood taken in summer can be rooted under glass.