Making It Grow

Mon-Sat, throughout the day

Amanda McNulty of Clemson University’s Extension Service and host of ETV’s six-time Emmy Award-winning show, Making It Grow, offers gardening tips and techniques.

Archive: Making It Grow Podcasts, January 2011 - September 2014

Ways to Connect

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).

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Cycads have been used as emergency food in many cultures. In Florida, however, Seminole Indians relied on starch made from the native cycad, Zamia floridana, as a primary source of calories. This plant, which covered portions of Florida, became the backbone of the arrowroot flour industry which flourished from 1850 to the 1920’s.

Coontie, Zamia floridana.
Forest and Kim Starr, Starr Environmental, Bugwood.org [CC BY-NC 3.0 US]

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Cycads have been used for food in many cultures around the world.  A cycad native to Florida, Zamia floridana, or coontie, was almost eliminated by the production of cycad flour; mills churned out 15 tons of arrowroot flour a day.  Since cycads contain extremely dangerous neuro-toxins that cause horrific symptoms in humans decades after consumption, the plant material must be processed with great care to render it safe. 

The Ancient Cyads

Feb 28, 2018
Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Sago palms are the most readily available cold hardy cycads that we can grow in most of South Carolina. Well-established cycads will usually survive temperatures down to 15 degrees, but their beautiful, stiff, pinnately-compound leaves which normally stay green and live through winter are killed when we have unusually low temperatures. It’s best to let those dead leaves most of our sagos now have remain on the plants as they can give some protection to the growth points.

Sago Palm, Cycas revoluta.
John Ruter, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org [CC BY-NC 3.0 US]

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. One plant that really suffered during our December ice age was the sago palm, Cycas revoluta. Sago palms represent some of the oldest living plants on earth and are not palms but cycads. According to Clemson’s Home and Garden Information Center (a great resource –just put the topic you want to know about followed by Clemson hgic), sago palms are hardy in most of zone 8.

Camellia Oil

Feb 24, 2018
Camellia oleifera flower.
John Ruter, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The most cold hardy of the camellia species grown in the United States is camellia oleifera, the oil seed camellia. This camellia has small white flowers produced in masses on a plant that reaches 20 feet in height. It’s been used in breeding programs to develop cold tolerant camellias for use in northern states. We usually hear about camellia oil when we are shopping for fancy cosmetics – skin and hair care products.

Camellia japonica flower and buds.
John Ruter, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. One of the wonderful traits that camellias japonicas have is their ability to produce flowers over a long period of time. The buds which are present in fall are protected by an all-encompassing and protective calyx, the specialized structures at the base of a flower.

Camellia japonica flower.
John Ruter, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Although we are encouraged to plants native plant species that have special value for pollinators, we shouldn’t forget that certain non-native species can be equally valuable. Camellias produce discernable amounts of nectar; they are self-sterile and rely on insects (or in some countries birds) to move pollen from the male stamens on one plant to the female stigmas of another species or cultivar.

Camellia sasanqua (white cultivar) flower.
John Ruter, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. A backbone of Southern landscapes that is still in vogue today is the white, fall-flowering camellia sasanqua. At my husband’s grandmother’s house, some of those long-lived now tree-form specimens are thriving; they were planted by mother-in-law in 1927 and haven’t had a drop of care in the last fifty years. Another in-town relative, Carolyn Wimberly, redid her yard recently and planted several white sasanquas right by the sidewalk where my friends and I pass by on walks.

Camellia sasanqua flower.
John Ruter, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. When I look at photographs of flower-laden trees sent by friends who visit tropical isles, I often think about camellias. When the old camellias in our St. Matthews yard that are the size of small trees are laden down with red or pink and white blossoms in January, February, and March, I think that we are so accustomed to their beauty, we don’t really appreciate what an incredible show they‘re putting on – they are just as spectacular as those tropical plants.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Each week on Making It Grow Terasa Lott gives us a water quality tip. Rain barrels and rain gardens are designed to help stop storm water runoff from properties, water that carries pollutants, invasive plant seeds, and causes erosion. Small steps but they can help. However, Hitchcock Woods in Aiken receives most of the storm water from the City of Aiken via underground pipes. One event resulted in thirty-five million gallons of water rushing into the woods over nine hours.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. It wasn’t hunting that attracted the wealthy Hitchcock family to South Carolina in the early 1900’s; rather it was the well drained sands that provided good footing for horse sporting activities soils that also grew pine trees beautifully but not crops. Their legacy, Aiken’s urban forest Hitchcock Woods, was home to red cockaded woodpeckers until the 1970’s.

Hitchcock Woods

Jan 31, 2018
Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. A recent article in the Department of Natural Resources’ South Carolina Wildlife magazine highlighted a   2000-acre urban forest in the City of Aiken. A wealthy Northern family, the Hitchcocks, bought the property for fox hunting and   related events. In nineteen thirty-nine they gave it to the Aiken community as a gift.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. While reading the Department of Natural Resource’s award-winning magazine, South Carolina Wildlife, I learned about a remarkable organization that DNR partners with.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. We like to think of nature as being in balance and generally native plants can survive feeding from native insects due to coevolution.  Bee keepers who want to produce palmetto honey  have to move hives into coastal areas thick with sabal species, unfortunately they fairly frequently have poor yields when the cabbage palm caterpillar, the larva of an owlet moth, has large outbreaks. Unlike most Lepidopteran larva, these caterpillars don’t eat the palmetto leaves.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Years back we were showering off outside after swimming at Pawley’s Island,   right under a palmetto tree that was in full flower and swarming with honey bees, so much so that the kids were unreasonably afraid of getting stung. Now I’ve found that one of the most popular varietal honeys in our part of the world comes from European honey bees visiting Sabal palmetto, or cabbage palmetto, our state tree.   The honey that comes from these flowers is light in color and somewhat thin.

Types of Honey

Dec 14, 2017
Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The value of the European honey bee’s contribution towards pollination of crops in the US is estimated to be fifteen billion dollars. That doesn’t include the value of honey gathered and sold by bee keepers. There are two main types of honey – The first is poly or multi floral varieties that results from honey bees visiting whatever flowers in their neighborhood are in bloom.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The European honey bee industry in the United States is credited with totally or partially being responsible for the pollination of certain crops at a value of fifteen billion dollars. At a recent meeting of Certified Crop Advisors, Gilbert Miller, watermelon specialist at Clemson’s Edisto Research and Education Center, told us that watermelons are among crops completely dependent on pollinators for fruit set. Watermelons have separate male and female flowers on the same plant.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Clemson’s Public Service & Agriculture division publishes a magazine called Impacts available by request to South Carolina residents. A recent article focused on the efforts of the US Department of Agriculture, the state land grant universities, and bee keepers themselves in collecting data on the causes of the national decline in honey bee hives.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. When thinking about adding native plants to our yards, the Ladybird Johnson Wildlife Society and the US Forestry Department both encourage us to find locally sourced plants. They say that locally sourced plants represent specialized ecotypes – a subset within a variety that is adapted to particular environmental conditions – the soils types, the date of the first frost, the rainfall patterns.

Linden Tree History

Dec 8, 2017
Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The genus Tilia, with the common name basswood, lime, or linden is found across the Northern hemisphere with the most species diversity in Asia. In Europe there are examples of extremely old specimens, The Najevnik linden tree in Slovenia,   700 years old with a trunk diameter of 35 feet, is the site of an annual gathering to celebrate democracy. It also has an association with Carl Linnaeus, founder of the binomial system of nomenclature.

Uses for Basswood

Dec 7, 2017
Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Tilia americana has the common names of linden or basswood. Basswood, b a s s is a corruption of bast – b a s t. Bast is the fibers from the phloem of woody plants, the outer layer of the vascular system. If you search a plant at NRCS Plant Guide, you get the North American ethnobotanical uses of the plant. :    Native Americans and settlers used the fibrous inner bark ("bast") as a source of fiber for rope, mats, fish nets, and baskets.

Tilia Americana

Dec 6, 2017
Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The genus Tilia sometimes has lots of species associated with it, but the AC Moore Herbarium’s SC Plant Atlas lists just one in South Carolina, Tilia americana with several subspecies following it. This tree is the only member of the Malvacea family in North America, and notes I found said that the buds are edible but mucilaginous – okra famously for its slimy potential is also in that family.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. A group of us was talking recently about trees that buzz – that are so attractive to bees that you can hear them from under the canopy. Tilia americana, basswood or linden, is one of those trees and it also has a beautiful fragrance. This is not a tree that you can use in all places, however, it gets to eighty feet eventually and has a dense, shade producing crown extending thirty feet across.   It performs best on rich, moist soils with room to spread and can take shade from surrounding trees.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Davis Sander of South Pleasantburg Nursery came to the show recently with a collection of viburnums. One in particular caught my eye as it has great value for wildlife, especially pollinators and birds. Viburnum dentatum, arrowwood viburnum, gets its common name according to Michael Dirr because the very strong root shoots, this plant can sucker and spread, were used for the shafts of arrows by native Americans.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Durant Ashmore, although a landscape architect and nurseryman by trade, is a naturalist at heart. Recently he brought a native plant to Making It Grow that should be used more in home gardens as it blooms relatively early in the year and is important to those native pollinators that begin foraging when temperatures reach fifty-five degrees.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Although fifty-five degrees feels pretty chilly to me, that’s the magic temperature as spring nears when some native bees and the European honeybees are out foraging for food – and a time when not many plants are in flower. So if you want to attract and support pollinators it’s important for you to install some very early-blooming plants in your yard. We’ve talked about the earliest of the spring bloomers, red maple, Acer rubrum, which also is a larval food host for the Rosy Maple Moth.

Red Maples

Nov 15, 2017
Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The University of Georgia publication Pollination: Plants for Year-round Bee Forage begins its list of chronologically arranged pollinator-friendly plants with red maple, Acer rubrum. Red maples have a complicated sex life, some trees have both male and female flowers while others produce only one gender.

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