gardening

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. With my sixty-eighth birthday coming up, combined with a need for stronger reading glasses and various aches and pains, I’ve been feeling a little long in the tooth. But after a case of poison ivy sent me to educational websites, I’m readjusting.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow.  Mulching trees is the best thing you can after you’ve planted them properly; some research shows it can double the rate of growth for  newly established trees. A good tip when mulching trees is to think of doughnuts – there’s a hole in the middle. Mulch should start from four to six inches away from the tree’s trunk, if it touches the trunk it promotes disease and decay.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Properly planting a tree involves knowing basic steps that end with putting down mulch. Mulch actually protects a tree from competition from turfgrass.    Grass has a thick, shallow root system that can out compete the tree’s roots for nutrients and water. But that’s not the only harmful effect when grass grows over the tree’s root zone.  Grass needs to be cut, and many trees are wounded when the lawnmower hits the trunk and skins off the bark. Those wounds are an entry port for diseases and insects.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Moles start with the letter m – m for meat. Voles starts with v and they are vegetarians. Although human vegetarians munch on nothing harder than a raw carrot, voles happily eat the bark off trees. These rodents are active day or night, using underground burrows or heavy vegetation for protection. When trees have mulch piled up around their trunks, volcano mulching, the voles have a safe environment in which to munch away    -they   girdle the tree by their feeding.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow.  The Kilauea Volcano is causing instantly discernable damage as it erupts in Hawaii. Whole neighborhoods have been lost to its larva flows and the vog or volcanic smog from its emissions threatens air quality. Although we don’t have volcanos to worry about in South Carolina, our urban trees, which contribute to healthier air quality for us by reducing carbon dioxide and emitting oxygen, are threatened by volcano mulching.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. As you drive around your city of town, keep an eye out for how trees in commercial settings are mulched.  There’re many places where companies obviously pay landscape maintenance crews a lot of money to keep things tidy and neat. Sadly, some of the no doubt well-meaning workers don’t have a good knowledge of basic horticulture, especially when it comes to mulching trees as volcano mulching is a craze.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Beautyberry can seed down like crazy and be somewhat weedy, but people who like to do arrangements always are grateful to have it when the stems are covered with purple-pink clusters of fruits. If you grow it or have access to some naturalized plants, I suggest you prune it in early spring each year. Callicarpa blooms on new wood and if you cut it low to the ground, it will send out longer shoots, better for arranging, in response to that pruning.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. For many years Ruthie Lacey and I decorated for parties. I was charged with bringing stuff you couldn't order, things gathered from the wild that added more variety and interest to arrangements that also contained typical florist flowers. So sticks, grass seed heads, wooly mullein stalks and such were my contributions. In the fall, our "most favorite" a category that changed with the seasons, plant material was stems of beautyberry, Callicarpa americana.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The USDA NRCS Plant Guide is one of my favorite places to find out neat stuff about native plants. Their page on beautyberry, Callicarpa americana, tells us that this plant is adapted to dry or moist open woods in areas with hot, humid summers and moderate winters. No wonder it was especially prevalent in the zoo portion at Brookgreen Gardens when we visited recently. The small clusters of flowers give no indication of the fabulous clusters of shiny purple-pink flowers that will follows.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. We spent a few days near the coast recently and visited Brookgreen Gardens, where the plants are as interesting as the sculptures. You can use your pass for several days which was perfect - w e got there relatively early one morning and spent a few hours looking at sculpture leaving when the temperature got too high. The next day, we returned to see the native animals housed in the zoo. As most of those exhibits are in a wooded understory situation, we were spared the blazing rays of the sun.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Blueberries, figs,  and muscadines are plants good for  backyard orchard s–   you don’t have to do much as far as insect or disease control goes. Elderberry is another plant you might add to your backyard if you have some room. In other parts of the country, there are lots of both commercial and home orchards of elderberry but for some reason we haven’t used them much in the south. But Dr.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. In the history plant pharmaceuticals, elderberry was an essential medicine across Europe, including Russia and the Scandinavian countries, and among the Native Americans of North America. The traditional uses included numerous respiratory ailments, especially congestion and allergies, digestive problems – especially if a laxative was needed, and to for headaches, fever reduction, and a host of other ailments.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. A Clemson botany professor, the late Dr. John Fairey made learning about the local flora fun with his unusual and often fascinating comments about plants.   We learned that the stems of elderberry, in glorious bloom now, are “weakly lignified.” The outer portion of the stem is truly woody while the interior is filled with pith. Dr. Fairey told us that in the days before synthetic packing material, elderberry pith was used to pack delicate scientific instruments.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. If you’ve been out driving recently, you should have noticed one of our showiest wild flowers in bloom. Elderberry has a coarse texture due to its large, pinnately compound leaves held on stems eight to twelve feet tall. It’s the flowers and fruits that are so eye-catching though. The flowers, although individually small, are borne in flat, broad clusters and with their white color contrasting with the green leaves, are very noticeable.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Elderberries are decorating South Carolina roadways and river banks right now. These clumps of bright green foliage, often eight to twelve feet tall, are topped with large, flat clusters of white flowers. You see them most often in relatively open areas where there is organically rich soil associated water – along ditches or bordering streams and rivers. Interesting, those large clusters of flowers, botanically categorized as corymbs, are not particularly attractive to pollinators.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Some yuccas deservedly have the name Spanish Bayonet or dagger because of the sharp points at the ends of their leaves. But we have two native yuccas that are much less threatening and still have beautiful blossoms. Both Yucca filamentosa and Yucca flaccida are smaller and have somewhat softer foliage than their big relatives, and flowering stalks that top out at five feet. The leaves have threads, filaments, along the leaf margins, like fabric unraveling.

Moths and Yucca

Jun 15, 2018
Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Some hummingbird moths, so named because of their size, visit yucca flowers at night to enjoy their nectar. But the important pollinators are yucca moths. Relatively small white insects, the female moth enters yucca flowers and uses special mouthparts called tentacles to collect pollen, which she rolls into a ball to transport. She lays her eggs in the ovary of a yucca flower, and then places some of the fresh pollen onto the female stigma.

Spanish Bayonet

Jun 14, 2018
Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Like Yucca aloifolia, Spanish Bayonet, the plant called Spanish Dagger, Yucca gloriosa, also is native only to the lower southeastern states. Although it has a similar size and flower display, its leaves aren't quite so stiff and have a less lethal point at the end. John Nelson tells me the margins of Yucca gloriosa leaves are smooth and won't cut your fingers.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Many people who have cut grass with push lawnmowers think that there should be a special place in the hell for yucca plants, as they have backed into them and suffered a painful stab wound. As a matter of fact, an Australian hospital reports it has treated dozens of persons with serious ear injuries incurred while working around yucca plants. The most dangerous yucca we have in South Carolina is Yucca aloifolia, or Spanish Bayonet.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Right now, striking plants that are grown in many yards, and in cemeteries, and along roadsides are capturing our attention. Yuccas are tough, hardy plants that can persist for years and years without care and right now are blooming their hearts out. With flowering panicles that can be three feet by two feet and supported on stalks that can reach twelve feet in height, their masses of showy white blossoms top the charts for the WOW factor.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Chinese wisteria, began its journey to Western countries through the efforts of a British employee of the East India Company. John Reeves was a tea inspector who arrived in Canton in 1812. Foreigners were restricted to the port, travel and exploration were prohibited, but the markets were filled with all sorts of plant and animal treasures and Reeves became an important naturalist. He shipped many plants to England, working closely with one of the twelve approved Chinese merchants.

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.

Pages