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. 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.

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).

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.

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