Amanda McNulty

Host, Producer

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.

Ways to Connect

Managable Wistarias

May 26, 2018
Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The world, or rather the United States, would be a better place if we could get rid of all the Asian wisterias that have gone rogue and are taking over woodlands and abandoned and yards and houses (I’ve seen it growing into an attic when a window pane was gone). Our much less aggressive native wisterias are still vigorous vines that need a well-built trellis to support them but they’re not going to go haywire.

Native Wistarias

May 25, 2018
Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Making It Grow and Clemson Extension . There are two native wisterias I’ve found listed, Wisteria frutescens and Wisteria macrostachya. Sometimes Wisteria macrostachya is listed as a subspecies of frutescens but its inflorescence is longer and looser than in Wistaria frutescens according to the Missouri Botanical Garden. It prefers moist even swampy sites but s perfectly adaptable to normal garden soils.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The National Park Service Exotic Plant Management Teams are responsible duties related to invasive plant species growing in 230 national sites. Recently the seventeenth team was created just for the Southeast coast.  Lauren Serra heads this   team   from her base at the Congaree National Park.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The National Park Service staff wear a variety of hats. One responsibility that we might not think of is keeping invasive species at bay in what are described as some of the most iconic and ecologically important areas of the country. The Exotic Plant Management Teams were created to meet this challenge. Among the plants they must battle are Asian wistarias which overtake trees and shrubs in many locales. Here is their description of the damage they’ve observed.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Recently I visited a historic home near the Wateree River.   Built in the 1840’s, it had a sturdy and attractive trellis which was probably planted with the wistaria still growing on it today. Sadly, the two showy Asian wistaria species, Japanese and Chinese,are both extremely invasive in the United States. Dr.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. One of the native irises that I found listed in the AC Moore Herbarium’s SC Plant Atlas is Iris cristata – dwarf crested iris.   The Herbarium map shows its having been collected in Richland and Kershaw and upwards –probably a good indication that those of us above the fall line could be successfully growing this plant in our garden.

Louisiana Irises

May 18, 2018
Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Louisiana irises have been the subject of major breeding efforts – some natural occurring and others the results of human crosses between several native America iris species. Sadly, their natural habitat – the bogs of Louisiana   – has been dramatically reduced in size. The good news is you can help ensure their survival by adding them to your garden.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. For many years the irises we grew in our yards were Siberian, Dutch, German or Japanese irises. Now, however, with the new interest in native plants,   it’s easy to find North American species that are ethically collected and propagated.     For damp areas or in a good irrigated garden soil, Louisiana irises are ideal.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. If you search Herbarium.org you’ll be transported to the website for the AC Moore Herbarium so beloved by Dr. John Nelson and his botanical friends. Select Plants from the drop down menu and at the next screen go to the SC Plant Atlas. I did that and then selected the letter I for Iris to see what irises had been collected in South Carolina and in what counties.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The Goddess of Greek myths, Iris,  was represented by the rainbow which makes her name perfect for iris flowers which comes in a myriad of colors.  Across the world there are almost three hundred iris species;   in North America we have twenty eight native irises.  Many of them occur naturally or will happily grow here in South Carolina.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Galls caused by insects or other invertebrates can be fascinating.   The interaction of the host plant’s hormones and the chemicals produced by the developing insect can cause growths  that make you think aliens from outer space invaded the plant.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow.   History is filled with examples of municipalities choosing a favorite species for their main street trees to devastating results.  Central Park In the early 1980’s was  losing more than 100 elms every year.   In Denver, 1.45 million ash trees will die from the Emerald Ash Borer unless they are treated every two years with a systemic insecticide.

What Causes Galls?

Apr 26, 2018
Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. A recent caller to the show was concerned about his neighbor’s live oak trees. The leaves were yellowing and they were worried about some shaggy growths appearing on the bark.  Fortunately, Tony Melton interpreted the growths as a common gall that appears on some live oak individuals.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. While reading about galls, I found a reference to iron gall ink being used in ancient documents. One of the four copies of the Magna Carta, the one at the Lincoln Cathedral in England, is officially described as iron gall in on parchment. Certain oak galls are high in tannin, one of the ingredients used in ink production from ancient until relatively recent times.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Galls are abnormal plant tissue growths and can be caused by a variety of organisms, and most of the galls we notice are only cosmetically damaging. But Bacterial crown gall affects a wide variety of orchard fruits and is caused by the pathogen Agrobacterium tumefaciens – tumefaciens meaning causing tumors. This fungus is capable of causing harmful growths on more plant species than any other pathogen. Only monocots are immune.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. A cultivar is a named variety of a particular plant that was selected or breed to have certain characteristics, often they’re vegetatively propagated  so all the plants with that name are exactly the same. It used to be that people often planted seedling dogwoods in their yards and the only downside was perhaps waiting a long time for the trees to bloom.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The dreaded Dogwood anthracnose, Discula distructiva, is a death knoll for that loveliest of native trees. There is another disease called spot anthracnose caused by a different fungus that fortunately is cosmetic instead of fatal. It causes problems when we have a wet spring with high humidity and may just make small lesions on the leaves that you probably won’t even notice it.

Dogwood Anthrachnose

Apr 19, 2018
Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Dogwood anthracnose, with the frightening name Discula distructiva, was first identified in north eastern forests in 1978. Beginning with attacks on leaves and twigs, this disease spreads to branches and trunks and has caused mortality rates well above fifty percent in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. You deserve kudos if you consistently keep you backyard feeders filled with a variety of foods, and for making sure that birds have a constant source of fresh water, especially during freezing weather. But our native wildlife existed here long before we did, taking advantage of natural sources of sustenance and drink.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Riding up to Clemson recently, my husband and I couldn’t stop ohhing and ahhing about the beauty our native flowering dogwood, Cornus florida, in full bloom, gave to the woodlands bordering the highway. Dogwoods are naturally an understory small tree, occurring in open woods or along their margins.

Male Pawpaw blossoms.
Ton Rulkens [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. At the Musser Farm at Clemson we filmed a segment on their pawpaw orchard. Search Making It Grow Youtube Pawpaw and see our interview featuring fruit specialist Dr. Greg Reighard. This orchard had huge clusters of pawpaws, called hands, and sometimes growers actually thin them to prevent branches from breaking.

A "hand" of Pawpaw fruit.
Alice Crane [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. If you have a partially shady area you’d like to use to grow fruits, pawpaw is the plant for you. This native small tree naturally grows in woodlands receiving filtered sun although in full sun it fruits more plentifully. The seeds are large and easy to sprout but fruits from seedlings are not necessarily tasty.

Pawpaw fruit.
Juanita Mulder [CC0 1.0] via Pixabay

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Pawpaws and bananas both are soft fruits that lend themselves to being smushed up for smoothies, custards, and ice cream, and both are relatively high in carbohydrates. Pawpaws, however, come out ahead in overall nutrition, with large amounts of vitamin C, riboflavin, niacin and potassium. The lists goes on and even the fats in pawpawas are the ones considered good guys. 

Polinating Pawpaws

Mar 28, 2018
Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Many fruit crops need insects as pollinators. Peaches, apples, blueberries, and watermelons use different species of bees, sometime native and sometimes the Imported European Honeybee, to transfer pollen from male flower structures to female flowers. Our largest native fruit, the pawpaw, however, is unusual in many ways, including how it’s pollinated, and poor pollination is often a problem.

Pawpaws

Mar 26, 2018
Pawpaw (Asimina triloba).
Linda Haugen, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. If you search Making It Grow Youtube Pawpaw, you’ll see a fascinating interview with Professor Greg Reighard of Clemson. Although Dr,. Reighard travels over the world sharing information with fruit growers, he is a member of the International society for horticultural science, he is still interested in our underappreciated native fruit, the pawpaw, and our conversation took place in the pawpaw orchard at Musser Farms near Clemson.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Bees and wasps and hornets are in the same family, Hymenoptera, but have certain differences. In all cases, only the females can sting, as the egg-laying ovipositor also functions as the stinger. The female bees also are the sex which collects pollen, either in special structures called corbiculae, or in hairs on their bodies. For bees, pollen collection is necessary as bees make a mixture of pollen and nectar which serves as the food source for their young.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The solitary, ground nesting bees that emerge as adults in the spring often cause alarm to people who don’t understand their behavior. Although there may be a hundred small holes in one area of well-drained, sparsely vegetated soil, the bees that exit those chambers with the arrival of spring have no social instinct to guard a  colony.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The small ground nesting bees fall into several categories – mining bees, orchard bees, or digger bees are among them,  and all are important pollinators. They are absolutely no threat to humans or pets – even though several hundred may construct their burrows in the same area, that’s because the ground conditions are perfect.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Ground nesting bees have specific requirements for making the burrows in which they lay their eggs. They need soil that’s relatively dry and has little or no vegetation on it, you won’t find them in a healthy lawn. Although they’re solitary and are not making a hive, several hundred females may select the same site in which to construct their underground brood chambers, each filled with a supply of pollen and nectar for the developing young.

Underground Bees

Mar 19, 2018
Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. A student in our new master gardener training class brought a video taken on February the twelfth  showing of a large number of bees flying around small holes in her yard. What we were seeing  was one of the many types of ground nesting bees whose mothers last year found a patch of soil that was relatively dry and had sparse vegetation (i.e., not a lush, green lawn).

Pages