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A glossy brown buckeye seed in your pocket is supposed to bring good luck. A buckeye seed in your mouth is poisonous. A buckeye plant in your garden can provide years of pleasure with attractive flowers in spring and early summer.

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Tipton County Master Gardeners Sale & Expo: April 6, 9-4 p.m., Brighton High School, 8045 US-51, Brighton, Tenn. Plants, garden art, herb gardening, composting, vegetables, speakers and visits with the Master Gardeners. Door prizes. Free admission. A special garden provided for children.…

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When you need lawn and garden advice, you can find it in just about any format you like: books, websites, classes, tours and individual conversations with experts.

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If you enjoy fragrance in your garden, you need to have at least a little bit of sweet alyssum – or as my parents jokingly called it, “sweet asylum.” Sometimes it seems the smallest flowers in nature are the ones that have the most fragrance. This makes sense because flowers are in the busin…

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Many older gardeners have found a laborsaving way to clean up fall leaves: pay someone else to do it. Four years ago, I persuaded my husband to let me, as a gift to him, hire a neighbor’s yard crew for our leaves. We watched in amazement as the crew of men with blowers and riding mowers took…

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The first time I saw a bright blue orchid I emailed pictures to Charles Wilson, one of my earliest friends in the Memphis Orchid Society. He said it was “kind of like dyeing Easter chicks. We believe orchids are beautiful without doing anything extra.”

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Most gardeners enjoy the company of other gardeners, sharing plants and knowledge. They also enjoy helping novice gardeners learn skills. This is why so many retirees find pleasure volunteering at school gardens. Please indulge me in sharing my experience at the Eleanor Roosevelt Memorial Ga…

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One of the most sweetly fragrant flowers in my garden is the ginger lily, given to me years ago by a Master Gardener neighbor. It spent several years in a shaded area far from the house before I moved it to a better spot in full sun. Now it blooms better and I can see the flowers from the ba…

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Every year in my large garden, there’s at least one area that needs renovation, and fall is a good time to tackle the job. This year it’s a shady bed between two pairs of crepe myrtles. Some of the perennials have died, and others need dividing. Weeds have taken over parts of the bed, and th…

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One of the most pleasant things to do on a hot August day is to sit inside a nice cool house and watch hummingbirds outside your window. If you haven’t put out a hummingbird feeder yet, this is still a good time.

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The first ornamental pepper plants I ever saw were on a neighbor’s porch when I was about six years old. I remember the compact plants in pots with the small, bright red fruits shaped like tiny Christmas lights. The neighbor warned, “Don’t eat them. They’re poisonous.”

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I looked at the wilted plants for sale at Kmart one day many years ago and thought, “If they only knew about that secret formula: H2O.”

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Last fall I saw a small demonstration of the Native American “Three Sisters” farming method when I visited the Roger Williams National Memorial in Providence, Rhode Island. The technique is an early example of the companion planting and minimum tilling practices that are gaining popularity today.

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When a gardener hears the doctor say, “no bending, no stooping, no heavy lifting,” the first impulse is to ask for a second opinion. It’s hard to imagine gardening without doing those things and more. When you’re in a wheelchair, it’s hard to imagine gardening at all, but many people use the…

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When people say, “I don’t have space for a vegetable garden,” they usually mean, “I don’t have space for a traditional vegetable garden.” Today’s gardeners are setting aside images of the long, straight rows that occupied half of Grandfather’s large backyard. They’re finding more unconventio…

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The classification of plants is a complicated process that is a lifelong career for some scientists. These scientists – taxonomists – engage in heated debate at times, and sometimes a plant will be reclassified as a result. Gardeners can enjoy learning about the basics without straining our …

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If you enjoy having a bright red flower in your home this time of year but don’t want a poinsettia, consider an amaryllis. The tall bare stalk is topped with a cluster of trumpet-shaped flowers that last several weeks. If red isn’t your color, you can buy an amaryllis with snowy white blooms…

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During Thanksgiving week Americans consume close to 80 million pounds of cranberries. Last September, my husband and I traveled to Cape Cod, and I made sure to choose the tour option that included a cranberry farm. There was no opportunity for a selfie in a red field of floating berries, but…

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The Memphis Area Master Gardeners calendar has a handy chart showing when to plant and harvest a long list of vegetables. The time for planting fall vegetables ends in mid- to late-September with one notable exception. During October and November with Halloween in the middle, we can plant ga…

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Pretty, pink, six-petal flowers appear sporadically through the summer and into fall on a small grassy plant in a corner of one of my flower beds. I wouldn’t call them stars in the garden, but it’s always a delight when another bloom opens on this modest plant.

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This summer I’ve enjoyed growing several species in the genus Ipomoea, pronounced “ih-po-MEE-a.” It’s one genus name I have no trouble remembering because I associate it with “The Girl from Ipanema.” This genus includes morning glory and its relatives.

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When a friend showed me the leaves in this picture, I didn’t find any evidence of insect or mite activity. I also noticed that the culprit didn’t show preference for any particular group of plants, as insects sometimes do. The cause of these brown spots didn’t discriminate between broadleaf …

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Is a daylily a lily? Lilies and daylilies aren’t the same species, and they aren’t the same genus. True lilies are in the Lilium genus, and daylilies are in the Hemerocallis genus. Climbing farther up the family tree, we find lilies and daylilies are in different families (Liliaceae and Asph…

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The Hosta Trail at the Memphis Botanic Garden is one of seventeen American Hosta Society National Display Gardens, one of only two such gardens in the South. Nearby is the Hydrangea Garden with one of the largest, most diverse collections of hydrangeas in Memphis. Both gardens are supported …

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Mother Nature played tricks on us as winter led into spring. During February, there were only five days when the temperature went to 32 or below, and only two of those days were consecutive. We saw twelve days with highs from 70 to 79, including a six-day stretch.

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Gardening is a wonderful solitary activity, but it can be even more beneficial when you’re part of a group of gardeners. Gardeners who participate in plant societies, garden clubs, and educational programs enjoy exchanging ideas, sharing plants, helping each other with big projects, making n…

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A few years ago at Master Gardeners' Spring Fling garden show, I brought the friendly little fellow in this picture. He smiles at me from the windowsill over the kitchen sink. Sometimes I turn him around so he can look out the window - no, actually I rotate him so his "hair" will grow evenly…

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If you think poinsettias are everywhere this time of year, you’re right. Over 100 million of them are sold in the United States each year in just six weeks. More poinsettias are sold than any other houseplant. Pronunciation note: poin-set-ti-a.

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In the introduction to their book, “PassalongPlants,” Steve Bender and Felder Rushing explain the philosophy of the Passalong Club: “You’ve got something, I know what it is, and I want a piece of it.” They quickly point out that this isn’t a demand but only a belief that beautiful things in …

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