Spider Azaleas - A Web of Confusion?

3/11/2024 9:08 am


Upon moving into my first house in April 1993, I was rudely met with a large grouping of small-leaved evergreen azaleas in randomly mixedshades of red, white and Pepto-Bismol pink. I know some folks like this look, but I am not one of them. So I set about moving them around the perimeter of the back of the property as hedgerows, one side red, the back white, and the other side pink. One year later, with the aid of a chainsaw and shovel, I ditched the Pepto-Bismol pinks altogether. Eventually, I planted intensely and hid all the remaining azaleas so well they stopped bothering me. Well, not entirely, obviously.


When I purchased my current home, I was determined that I would only suffer the neighbors' mishmashes of mixed color azaleas, including the dreaded Pepto pink. Along with scads of invasives, I removed all hints of these small-leaved evergreen azaleas. With a blank palette, I visited my friends at Piccadilly Farm for shrubs. I quickly discovered an attractive plant with lavender flowers labeled "Spider Azalea" - Rhododendron macrosepalum ‘Koromo Shikibu’.  

Edgeworthias Light Up the Winter

1/14/2024 5:44 pm



Every winter, Georgia Facebook garden groups (except Georgia Perennial) are filled with repetitive posts asking what the shrub pictured above is. I'm glad people are excited by it, but I confess I wish they would scroll down a few posts to see if someone else asked moments earlier. The Metaverse has many flaws. That said, this is a shrub that merits a lot of attention.


Edgeworthia chrysantha (Paperbush) is a botanic relative of Daphnes. Like many Daphnes, Edgeworthias are winter bloomers and very fragrant. Edgeworthias also don't love soaking wet roots, but they are not as temperamental as Daphnes.




Demystifying Daphnes

1/2/2024 2:24 pm




 Daphne odora 'Aureomarginata'


Daphnes bear a reputation for being difficult. Is that reputation fair? Does it even matter if you can enjoy the fragrance and bloom of these delights in the dead of winter? Let's dive into Daphnes. Maybe when you are done reading, you'll dive in and try one for the first, second or even third time!


A Hummingbird Slot Garden - A Step by Step Approach

8/7/2023 1:19 pm

Let's get real. It's too darn hot to garden. It's too darn hot to be outside. That's just August in the South and lately, in July too (we had 21 days above 90 in Atlanta in July 2023). 


That's also why each year, I try my hand at creating what I call a "Hummingbird Slot Garden," an area for wildlife viewing focused on hummingbirds that can be viewed in air-conditioned comfort from a chair positioned at my front windows. 

Aster Yellows and Coneflower Rosette Mite Disease

8/7/2023 10:08 am

 Helenium 'Mardi Gras' - the party is over!

If you are like me, you will say it wrong two out of three times: Asters Yellow. Yellow Asters, Aster Yellows. However, how you say "Aster Yellows" matters less than recognizing this insidious disease, because once you see it, disposal in the trash is the only correct response. Caution or composting will only give it a chance to spread. That said, there is another insect caused disease that impacts Echinaceas (Coneflowers) that resembles Aster Yellows that calls for less drastic action. If mites are the issue, then removing the flower heads in a timely fashion may spare the spread of the disease. The challenge: identifying which is which, because both affect coneflowers.

Hydrangea Pollinator Madness

6/27/2023 5:07 pm

Two native Hydrangeas stand out as pollinator favorites. Our native oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) is literally abuzz from May through June, vibrating with visitors. A few weeks later, as the oakleaf hydrangea begins to fade, Hydrangea arborescens (Wild hydrangea) takes center stage.

A Deep Dive into Pollinators

6/27/2023 3:12 pm

June is National Pollinators Month. That means it is time for a deep dive into pollinators. How much do you know about pollinators? Do the facts line up with what you think you know?

Below, just for the sake of knowledge, I'll examine who the best pollinators actually are. We can be assured people will continue to favor the "pretty" pollinators regardless of their actual importance. Does it matter?  Probably not much, since many plants have multiple pollinators, though not all. Some fascinating plants only have one pollinator.