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June 2012
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Lawn & Garden Show good for ideas, lectures

By Carolyn Roof

Lawn and garden shows are good sources for unique plants and garden ornaments, garden design ideas, and lectures. Whether you buy anything or not, the free lectures are always well worth the day's excursion, and that was especially so at last week's Nashville Lawn & Garden Show.

What do you do with grandmother's rusted wheelbarrow or all of those coffee cans that are good for something but you are not sure what? Recycle them into containers. The Recycled Garden was edged in large coffee cans interspersed with smaller ones that doubled as cache pots.

As potted annuals fade, they can be lifted out and replaced with new plants, no digging required. Wheelbarrows and horse troughs make ideal raised beds that blend into their surroundings.

Jason Reeves, University of Tennessee Gardens horticulturist, Jackson, Tennessee, spoke of "A Tree for Everyone," recommending small tree varieties for smaller yards: Eastern Redbud The Rising Sun, and late blooming Magnolias: Blushing Belle (tulip), Gold Star (creamy star-type), Kay Parris (grandiflora 20 foot by 20 foot, fast grower) and Japanese maple Hefner's Red Select (20 foot by 20 foot).

I did succumb to temptation, bringing home new Japanese maples varieties upright (12 foot by 12 foot), oranges and lemons whose fall leaves turn orange and then yellow; and Nanyet (8 foot by 6 foot), whose yellow-lime bark is fully exposed in the winter (plantsource: mrmaple.com).

Carol Reese, University of Tennessee Extension Service, Jackson, Tennessee, added to the list of useful trees and some to avoid. Cedar rust starts on cedar trees and must continue on apples. The extension service is working on apples resistant to rust, and a list of Southern apples recommended by resistance and flavor will be made available next year.

"Warren" pear does not get fire blight but needs a pollinator, has good flavor and has a long span of ripening. She said to mix varieties and types of trees and shrubs for screening rather than one variety. It is better for wildlife, increases beauty, should one plant die, all will not, and replacement is easier.

Sources: Check with your local nursery. All above are available online.

Things to do

The colder weather this week can be blamed on "daffodil winter," according to my mother-in-law. She also blamed a cold snap in April on dogwood winter and in May on blackberry winter.

â ¢ 15 Minute Gardening - Decide where to plant before purchasing a specific plant. Do you want to block or enhance a view? Insert a broom handle in the ground. The broom head is easy to see and gives an indication of the space the new plant will fill. View the "stand in plant" from inside. Is it pleasing or does it need moving? When the right spot is determined, replace the broom with a garden stake and purchase the plant.

â ¢ Garden - The moon signs indicated that today is a good day to kill weeds. Sunday, plant hardy flowers, and place or re-set statuary, large containers and other heavy garden ornaments to prevent them from sinking into the ground.

There is controversy as to native species vs. native cultivars (hybridized natives). Natives support the native fauna while their cultivars lack some to various degrees nutrients needed by animals and insects.

â ¢ Trees - Paducah was fortunate to have relatively little tree damage from the latest storm, whose winds reached up to 110 mph. Check trees and shrubs for split and torn branches. Cut back into the undamaged portion. If cutting back to the trunk or large limb, cut just to the rings where the branch and trunk join. These rings of specialized cells will scab over the cut. Do not paint or otherwise coat the cut as that can seal in disease and insects, causing more damage.

If the damage was extensive enough to have the tree(s) professionally removed, include the cost of having roots ground out and the hole(s) filled with soil, not dirt.

Prune spring blooming trees and shrubs after flowers have died.

Replace diseased trees with resistant varieties or other resistant but similar looking types.

Contact Carolyn Roof, the Sun's gardening columnist, at carolynroof02@gmail.com.

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