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A native honeysuckle

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Why would a Clemson agent suggest planting honeysuckle? Because, as Paul Thompson told us recently, we have a native non-aggressive honeysuckle wonderfully attractive to pollinators, including hummingbirds and butterflies. Lonicera sempervirens is a modest grower with whorls of terminal clusters of red flowers. (There’s also a yellow variety.) It isn’t a thick vine, won’t cover a structure well, and needs good air circulation to prevent powdery mildew. The upper leaves are fused – perfoliate- , and the backs of all leaves are a bluish green. I planted one at my Aunt Liza’s house in Saluda on some chicken wire attached a block wall – it tumbled over and welcomed us every summer when we went there to escape the heat of the midlands. Paul said if you cut off those terminal clusters when they fade, you’ll have a succession of flowers all summer.

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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.