Until you can plant, read

Help in finding the right garden news

 

   My buddy Sheila and I went to hear garden star Walter Reeves speak Monday night. If you didn't know he was in town and would have loved to have gone, too, it's my bad. I forgot to add it to the garden page last week. Apologies.

   He told how a slanderous statement evolved about him. Reeves _  if you don't know he is the authoritative garden book-writer who also has radio and television shows _ has been falsely attributed with the stupid advice that pouring club soda on a fire ant mound will kill the ants.

   It got me thinking about Web sources and who is trustworthy on gardening issues. With experience you begin to understand certain folks haven't a clue as to what grows in our corner of Georgia and South Carolina.

   So, while shoveling lunch in the other day I thought I'd get my flower fix and seek out some of the best sources for us.

   As a true Master Gardener would _ yes, I'm still bragging _ I immediately sought out educational sites. Don't dismiss the idea too quickly as being boring. Check out what I learned and saw at uga.edu/extension/anr (University of Georgia Extension Service, agriculture and natural resources) and Clemson.edu/extension (Clemson University Extension Service).

   I spend a fair amount of time at the UGA site. There is great information about planting, caring and propagating all things green. But this week, in the deepest part of this flowerless season, I needed to see flowers.

   You can check out pictures and get good information on the Georgia gold Medal Winners. The winners are selected by a non-profit group of horticulture professionals, extension agents and UGA faculty members who seek out the superior ornamental plants each year. They grow well in Georgia and are easy to care for, but they lack bad habits such as that exhibited by kudzu, for example.

   The butterfly weed is this year's winner in the perennial class, and Diamond Frost Euphorbia is the winner in the annual class. The Euphorbia has been popular locally for a couple of years now and it even grew well in one of my neglected flower beds.

   Of course I had to check out the Angelina stonecrop sedum because I've seen it around town and have developed a crush. I just need to figure out where to put it come spring. The Web site also lets you visit winners from other years. There's the 2002 perennial winner, Blue Mist Bluebeard, that I also must have.

    I tooled around the Clemson site, too. The Master Gardener of Georgia and South Carolina, Mr. Bill Adams, recommended the site so I knew it would be good. And it is.

   I checked out the site's information sheets for a few of my favorites flowers. I learned the verbena that leaves me wringing my hands some years will benefit by a one-fourth trim when blooming slows or stops.

   I may now actually be brave enough to try to divide a large pot of hosta that stopped blooming two years ago, most likely because they are too crowded. I also decided after searching for ginger lily that I can transplant them in the spring. Also, it appears the reason a couple of my clumps of Coreopsis moonbeam didn't bloom last year is because they need division, too.

   As my better half asks, why is this column always about work? It's a gardener's way.

   And before you turn off the computer check out Reeves' Web site: walterreeves.com. It's fabulous.

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