Winter Plants of Interest

Winter is knocking on the door across Kentucky. For many gardeners this is a welcome time to sit back and relax. As the brilliant colors of summer gardens and fall foliage fade don’t despair; all is not lost in the winter landscape. With proper planning and planting you can enjoy points of color, texture and contrast in your winter garden. Think of vertical plantings with interesting bark and branch structures as opposed to ground covers. It would be a shame to bury the landscape should we ever get another 23 inch snow fall. If you enjoy watching the birds, don’t forget plants that provide a food source during the winter. Here are several plants to consider as you plan your winter landscape. Continue reading

Gaga for Garlic

Garlic is commonly used as a flavoring for food, as a condiment, and for medicinal purposes.

October is a good time to plant garlic. Choose an area with full sun and good drainage. Before planting, fertilize the area and incorporate it into the area. Once soil is prepared, separate individual cloves from the main garlic bulb and plant cloves 3-5 inches apart with points up and cover to a depth of 1-2 inches. Do not divide the bulb into cloves before you are ready to plant. Leave skin on the clove. Continue reading

Selecting Fast Growing Shade Trees

Trees are a valuable asset to our home landscape.  In addition to blooms, texture, and fall color, trees also help reduce energy bills by casting shade on our homes during summer.  People are often reluctant to plant large shade trees because they don’t want to wait 20 years or more to enjoy the benefit. Selecting a fast-growing tree therefore is a primary concern. However, I would urge you to read about specific trees that are sold as “fast-growing” and any maintenance problems they may have before purchasing.  Bradford Pear trees are an example of a fast-growing tree, but as most people are aware, they are very short lived, often breaking apart in storms after only 20 years of growth. Other fast-growing trees that should not be planted in home landscapes due to weak limbs or other problems include silver maple, eastern white pine, American sycamore, cottonwood, pin oak, and weeping willow. Continue reading