making it grow

Boxwood Fungus

Sep 27, 2019

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Boxwoods have always had several problems but overall, they’ve been reliable and invaluable landscape material. Now a contagious fungal pathogen has arrived from Europe and it is devastating to certain cultivars.  Boxwood blight came to the United States 2011 and is spreading rapidly, initially by new plants that arrive at nurseries to be sold.

Spacing Boxwoods

Sep 26, 2019

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. There’s nothing easier than having a landscape company come in and install a complete and mature-looking yard – well, you do have to pay the bill. The real work comes in keeping those plants placed way too close together  healthy as they reach their mature size. I bought two dozen two-dollar boxwood babies to put across the front of our house thirty-three years ago.

Pruning Boxwoods

Sep 25, 2019

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Although older plantings of certain boxwoods naturally acquire a billowing, undulating cloud-like shape, certain popular pruning practices can immolate that effect in some formal highly-managed settings. By removing large branches and sections of individual plants and letting others grow into those spaces, a fascinating almost sculpture-like formation can result.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Some boxwood varieties if left alone grow to their mature size developing  a cloud like appearance with natural undulations.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Trees are considered the lungs of the planet – the byproduct of photosynthesis is life sustaining oxygen. They store carbon in their tissues and cool our summer temperatures by transpiration. The Arbor Day Foundation has a healtier earth goal that relies on yor adding trees to your community – Planting 100 million trees by 2022. The Arbor Day website has a hardiness zone site that shows the difference in hardiness zones from 1990 to 2006.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The U S D A cold hardiness map now comes in an interactive form – you have to prove you aren’t robot to use it, but it’s easy after that hurdle. Search U S D A interactive map then start clicking on your area of interest to make it larger. Almost the entirety of South Carolina is zone 8 (subdivided into a and b, b is warmer) with small outlier pockets of 7 and 9. Contrast that with some western states.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Don’t be fooled into thinking that plants of a particular genus are going to have the same needs for a healthy life. For instance, I’ve talked about Hydrangea paniculata, panicle hydrangeas, as really preferring cooler temperatures than many parts of South Carolina. But the French hydrangeas, Hydrangea macrophylla, mostly have the warmer zone five or even six as their upper limit.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Fall, when it finally comes, is the best time to add new plants to your yard. The tags that are hanging off the branches of plants at your garden centers, or the information about plants offered online, give you the range of cold hardiness zones that plant can live in. Sometimes I search the Monrovia nursery pages as an easy place to get the zones where specific plants should grow well.

Cold Hardiness Zones

Sep 16, 2019

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Plant cold hardiness zones give us the average lowest winter temperature we might expect in a particular part of the country. Statisticians use thirty years of records to get what meaningful number. The USDA plant cold hardiness zone map is based on the average annual minimum winter temperature, divided into different 10-degree Fahrenheit zones.

Ragweed

Aug 31, 2019

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Feel free to bring flowering stems of goldenrod indoors – with insect-disseminated pollen it doesn’t cause allergies. It’s ragweed that makes copious amounts of nose-tickling pollen so light weight that winds blow it far and wide. Our most common ragweed is Ambrosia artesimifolia (no one seems to know why it’s called Ambrosia – the food of the Gods), and usually it tops out at a couple of feet.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow.. You might enjoy hearing some fun facts about goldenrod since it’s blooming everywhere now. Carolina’s AC Moore Herbarium lists over thirty different species of goldenrod, in the genus Solidago, collected here; some grow all over while others occur in only a few counties. Our state wild flower is Solidago altissima, sometimes listed as Solidago canadensis.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. I found a kindred spirit while reading up on golden rod. Althea Fann wrote a charming article, “Reflections of an Accidental Florist,” a College of Charleston. From her experience working for a Charleston florist, Fann delightfully recounts tales about brides and their insistence on having peonies and such out of season.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Clumps of goldenrod are brightening our roadsides and gardens. Garden club ladies don’t want watery eyes or runny noses, so you can bet they did their homework before encouraging our General Assembly to name goldenrod as the state wildflower. Plants with showy colorful flowers are usually trying to attract insect pollinators to carry their relatively heavy pollen from one flower to the next, and that’s exactly what happens with goldenrod.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Although it doesn’t feel like fall, with temperatures in the 80’s and 90’s, many plants we associate with autumn, especially in the aster family, are coming into flower. The roads I travel from St. Matthews to Sumter are made beautiful now by drifts of goldenrod.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow.

Rock Hill's Blackjacks Heritage Preserve provides a protected space for this rare sunflower among many other species.

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