The Charlottesville Garden Club




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Monthly Gardening Tips Potpourri: General Garden Tips
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Monthly Gardening Tips


Order trees and shrubs for Mach planting. Spring bulbs can still be planted if the ground is not frozen. Prune beginning in January and continuing through March, tip-prune crepe myrtles by removing the seed capsules to encourage large clusters of bloom in the summer. Fertilize by putting wood ashes from your fireplace on the vegetable garden, roses, lilacs, peonies,l clematis, and daffodils. Do not use on azaleas, junipers, and rhododendrons. Feed daylilies with 10-10-10 and house plants once a month with a fertilizer such as Peters 20-20-20 or Miracle Gro. Water all houseplants with tepid water. Give indoor plants bright indirect light, and place them near a window. Avoid contact between the plants and windowpanes to prevent damage to leaves. Turn pots once a week for even plant growth.


As temperatures rise to above freezing at night, add cool-season annuals, such as pansies, violas, calendulas, stocks, and sweet alyssums, to beds or pots. Sow seeds for sweet pea, larkspur, and bachelor's button when the soil can be worked. Plant lettuce seeds to enjoy early season salads. Prune buddleia,l caryopteris, Russian sage, and artemesia to within 6 in. of the ground. Prune and shape late spring and early summer bloomers, such as althea, pink and red spireas, and abelia, now and into March before growth starts. Cut back Clematic (Sweet Autumn) to 12 in. Cut Clematis Jackmanil halfway back to 18 in. in early spring. Fertilize iris by feeding with bone meal and top with wood ashes. Circle herbs with lime, especially lavender. When daffodil foliage emerges, use a handful of 5-10-10 around each clump of bulbs, and broadcast wood ashes around. Do not use manure or any high nitrogen fertilizer on bulbs. Continue feeding houseplants monthly with liquid fertilizer. As weather permits, clean your graden by removing fall and winter refuse from lawns and flowerbeds. Throw refuse away. Do not compost.


Reseed damaged areas of your lawn and fertilize with a high phosphorous product and water regularly; for established lawns, choose a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer. Plant and transplant bowood. Plant bareroot shrubs after soaking in water several hours. Plant new rose bushes selecting a site which will provide at least 6 hours of sunlight. Plant fruit trees, dogwood, magnolia, and other deciduous trees and shrubs. Dogwoods and magnolias should only be planted in the early spring. Hostas, liriope, daylilies, shasta daisies, astilbe, and coral bells are some of the perennials which can be divided before growth starts. New perennials may be planted in early spring. Prune hybrid tea roses in early March leaving about 5 healthy canes from 18-24 in. long; remove ones that rub against each other. Prune only to remove elongated shoots that detract from the appearance of the plant, to remove dead or diseased wood, to encourage fullness on a leggy plant, and to encourage flowering. Fertilize lily bulbs when sprouts appear above the ground with a little 5-10-5 or 10-10-10 around each plant. Leave muls over the plants to protect them from any cold weather. to promote better blooms, water daffodils if the weather is dry; check first for freeze warnings.


After the danger of frost has passed, remove mulch from perennial crowns on a cloudy day. Clip dead shoots. Pull up any lingering annual stems. Toss yard waste into your compost pile. As new growth emerges on roses, mix a slow-release rose fertilizer into soil around the plants. Once leaves unfurl on stems, remove any canes that didn't yield new growth. Prune climbing roses only after flowering. Plant azaleas; choose them when they are coming into bloom to be sure of color (Robin Hill and Glen Dale do well in our area). Clematis should be planted where they receive 6 or more hours of sunlight. They like their heads in the sun and feet in the shade. Cut all dead wood from lilacs and remove spent blossoms. Fertilize azaleas after blooming but not after July 1. Feed lilacs with dehydrated manure and lime. Mulch your beds to improve the texture of the soil and to conserve moisture. Chips make better mulch than shredded bark. They are much easier to work in and last longer.


Set out dahlias after danger of frost is past. Continue to plant annuals. Set out petunias, marigolds, and dwart ageratum, which are good edging plants. Prune trees that bloom in the spring such as cherry and crabapple as well as shrubs such as deutzie, beauty bush, weigela, kerria, and viburnum. Cut off old peony blooms. About four weeks after planting, feed flowering annuals and tropicals with a water-soluble bloom-booster fertilizer every 10 days. Pull faded flowers from daffodils after blooming and let foliage die naturally.


Grow herbs in containers or perennial beds. Place them in as much sun as possible. Must haves include basil, rosemary, chives, oregano, and mint. In a perennial garden, stake clumping plants with supports that hoist groups of stems. For lilies, try systems that hold a single stem. Climbing roses bloom on old growth; prune after they bloom. This is the last month to prune azaleas. Fertilize azaleas and rhododendrons. Divide and replant bearded iris between June and eptember. You can safely move daylilies this month. Divide phox and primroses planting them in a shady spot. To improve blooms on rhododendrons, carefully remove the old blooms. The best time to do this is about 2 weeks after blooms have faded; best method is by hand.


Do not prune summer or fall blooming shrubs now as the flower buds will be lost. Remove dead, diseased wood, and water sprouts from dogwoods if not done earlier. Cut back new wisteria side shoots to about 1 ft. to encourage formation next year of flower buds. Young vines need to be tied up until they produce tendrils. Feed summer flowering shrubs after they bloom. Watering this month is critical for trees and shrubs; the soil should be watered 4-6 in. deep. Pinch back chrysanthemums and asters once more. Cut faded blooms off petunias and other annuals and cut back straggly stems to encourage new growth. Day lilies can still be divided and moved all summer, but water well.


Late August is the best time to plant Oriental poppies. Christmas rose (Helleborous niger) may be planted anytime from now until early spring, but choose a site that will provide shade in the summer, sun in winter, and protection from high winds. At the beginning of the month trim back and fertilize perennials for the second blooming. Feed roses for the last time thi season. Cut off faded blooms of summer phlox, yarrow, and daylilies in order to have a second bloom. Foliage of bleeding heart and peonies which has turned brown should be cut off and discarded in a bag.


This is the ideal month for establishing, reseeding, and fertilizing the lawn. For our area, grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescues, fine fescues and turf type perennial grasses should be planted. Tall fescues make a tough lawn, tolerate heat, and are the most extensively used grasses for lawns in our area. Use red fescue seed for shady areas. Plant spring-blooming shrubs, ground covers, and new perennials. Clip hedges for the last time this season; make sure that the growth at the base of the plant is wider than at the top. Feed roses with Miracle Gro the first week in September - continue to water and spray to promote healthy plants. Before moving houseplants indoors for the winter, wash them with a strong hose spray and spray with Safer's Insecticidal Soap or Malathion. Clean the outside of the pots with a 1 to 9 mixture of Clorox and water. It is important to bring the plants in now so they will become adjusted before the heat is turned on. Exceptions are plants which require cool nights to set buds - Christmas cactus and some orchids. Prepare new beds for fall and spring planting. Prepare beds for lily bulbs which will be planted in October and November.


Plant spring and summer blooming bulbs in beds now for next year. Choose crocus, tulip, and daffodil for spring, and then add fritillaria, scilla, or snowdrop. Plant Oriential or Asiatic hybrid lilies, giant allium, or tiger lily for extra color. Arrange bulbs in odd numbers for a natural look. Three larger bulbs stage a nice show; smaller bulbs look better in large groups. September & October are the best months to plant tree peonies, but they may be planted at any time of the year if they are in containers. Lily bulbs must be planted as soon as received because they ae never dormant. Daffodils can be planted starting in the middle of the month. This month is best to plant or transplant boxwood. Prune phox stems at ground level and dispose of leaves to prevent powdery mildew; do not compost. Mulch flower beds for winter protection with 4 in. hardwood leaves. Divide phlox, coreopsis, black-eyed Susans, and coneflowers every 3 or 4 years to restore vigorous growth. Remove annuals, roots and all, and add to compost. Christmas cactus should be left outdoors until they have been exposed to several nights of cool, 50 degrees, weather. Water sparsely to force all blooms to open at the same time. Once the buds form, bring plants indoors, resume watering, and feed monthly with Peters 20-20-20. The cooler the location the longer the blooms will remain.


Plant tulips now through December. Continue to plant lily bulbs. Lilacs may also be planted. Cut the lawn for the last time about 2 in. high. Water perennial beds before the plants go dormant. Cut back peony, hollyhock, and iris foliage after it freezes to prevent diseases, and destroy the leaves. Mulch after the ground freezes. Good mulch materials are rotted sawdust, straw, pine needles and ground up oak leaves.


Early in the month prune roses to mid-thigh height to prevent "wind whipping" and bushes bending in winter. Clean foliage of houseplants during short days of winter. Water when they become dry and fertilize monthly with 20-20-20. Clean old leaves and twigs out of boxwood, particularly in the center.


Potpourri: General Garden Tips



Flower Beds

The best time to start a flower bed is in the fall when you would dig up the soil, add organic matter, and then mulch it for the winter. This gives the soil the time to get settled and begin attracting beneficial soil organisms. If you build the bed in the spring or summer, it will still work, but it takes a year or so for the soil to mature, thus your plants might not be so great in that first year. Location of the bed is very important. A bed in full sun offers the best environment for growing flowers, but a flower bed in the shade can be lovely all season long. Plants that grow in full sun will not be happy in a shade garden. Three important issues you need to consider in picking the flowers for your bed are: (1) is the plant appropriate for the horticultural zone; (2) is this plant appropriate for my soil; and (3) is it a plant that will do well in the location of my bed?

A "No Dig" Bed

This type of bed is best done in late summer or early fall to prepare the soil for the bed next spring. The benefit of this is you avoid any sweaty digging to establish your bed. Start off by outlining the area with string and stakes. Do not dig up the lawn grass. Lay a layer of newspaper over the entire area of your new bed. The layer should be 5 to 10 pages of newspaper thick. As you lay the paper, have some dirt available to put on top of the lawyers of paper to keep them secure. Now wet the newspaper thoroughly. What you put on top of the newspaper is a function of what is available to you. You want some organic matter which could be chopped leaves from your own tres, Canadian sphagnum peat moss, straw, or hay. put a layer of organic material one to three inches thick depending on our material. An inch of peat moss is the same as three inches of straw. On top of the organic material put a layer of top soil two to four inches deep. Finally on top of the top soil put another layer of organic matter to serve as a mulch to keep out weeds and keep in moisture. This can be chopped leaves, hay, or straw. In a month or so, the lawn grass has died and the sod will decompose feeding earthworms and soil microbes. In 2-3 months the newspaper has begun to break down so when you begin planting flowers in the spring you can easily dig down 6 to 12 inches. All that organic material is going to feed the soil creatures and the resulting soil a year later will be gorgeous.

Finishing Touch

Once the plants are in the flower bed, you should always add a 2 to 3 inch layer of organic material such as chopped leaves or shredded bark as a mulch. Mulch should remain on the bed all year long. When it breaks down to one inch thick, put another layer on. Mulch is an essential food supply for the soil and will result in a healthy garden.

Plant Management

Staking Flowers

Flowers taller than about 2 feet will often need staking. Some may fall over from the weight of their blossoms or from heavy rains or winds. You an rig your own staking system with bamboo sticks and string or you can purchase ready-made staking devices that are sold in garden centers or catalogs. There are two approches to staking - individual stakes for single stemmed plants like dahlias or larkspurs and group staking for multi-stemmed plants like peonies or lilies. To make your own system from bamboo: insert several stakes about 8 inches apart around the outside edge of the clump of plants. Angle the stakes outward from the plant slightly. Using a ball of green twine, tie the end to a stake and pass it through the middle of the clump then wrap it around the opposite stake a couple times before passing it through the plants to another stake on the opposite side. Do this until all stakes are connected by a web of string. The final step is to circle the clump by connecting the stakes around the perimeter. The leaves should hide the stakes and twine. Set up this system right before the plants start to flop over or just before bad weather is expected.

Watering Properly

If you have matched your plants in the bed to the soil and you have plenty of organic material in the soil, your plants may do fine with natural water from rainfall. You'll need to water new transplants until they become established and if weekly rainfall is inadequate. If you have sandy soil you will need to water more often. Wilting of flowers that occurs in the heat of a summer day is common and temporary, but if your plants wilt in the morning, this is a signal that the plant is suffering a serious water shortage. The best way to gauge whether plants need watering is to mount a rain gauge somewhere on your property. Remember to empty the gauge after each rainfall. Keep track of the rainfall on a weekly basis. If less than 1/2 inch of rain has fallen over a few days, you should think about watering, particularly the annuals or new transplants. Plants like one inch of rain a week. Most people have a tendency to water plants from aove using a sprinker or handheld hose or can. You can actually lose as much as 40% of the water from evaporation and runoff. Overhead watering also encourages disease and fungi. The best technique for watering is: 1) water in the morning so foliage has a chance to dry. This will minimize disease. Avoid watering at midday as too much water is lost to evaporation; 2) water deeply so that the soil is moistened at least 1 foot down; and 3) consider using soaker hoses or a drip system. These use much less water than sprinklers and since the water is coming out so slow the ground will soak up the water better. With soaker hoses it is okay to water at midday and in fact is desirable during hot weather. Cooling the soil in July and August reduces plant stress from the heat.

Tips for Watering House Plants

Although most house plants die if they receive too much water, below are tips for when house plants need water: Before watering house plants, use the fingertip test: Insert your index finger in the top half inch of soil. If it feels dry to the touch, water; if it's even slightly moist, don't. Another good trick is the heft test. If the pot feels light, it could use some water. If it is heavy, wait a few days before you water. For house plants, humidity is almost as important as irrigation. Most homes are dry during the heating season­not an ideal environment for house plants, many of which come from humid tropical climates. Clustering plants closely together helps boost humidity slightly. Even better, keep your indoor plants in a tray over a layer of wet pebbles. As the water, which should not quite reach the top of the pebbles, evaporates, the plants receive some beneficial humidity. But be sure that the pots don't sit in the water; few plants can tolerate soggy feet. 100 Garden Tips and Timesavers by author: Walter Chandoha.

Amaryllis Aftercare

When blooms fade, cut off the tubular flower stems near the top of the bulb, leaving the foliage to continue growing. Water as usual and apply water-soluble fertilizer every 4 weeks. After danger of frost, sink the pot in a sunny place in your flower bed for the summer and continue to fertilize. At the end of the summer, place the pot on its side and allow soil to dry off. Cut off the dry leaves, and in about 6 weeks, re-pot your bulb in fresh potting soil and start the growing cycle again. To improve results, store your bulb at about 55 degrees for 4-5 weeks.

Deer Resistant Plants

A list of deer resistant plants can be found at


Ants at the Hummingbird Feeder - To avoid evaporation of water in the "well" above the feeder use canola oil instead of water.

Bee Repellent - Use scented Bounce fabric softener sheets for outside meals to keep bees away.  Place one near plates.

Moles - Pour a whole bottle of ammonia down the hole and they will disappear!

Japanese and Cucumber Beetles - Jerry Williams, garden columnist, reports "The Avant Gardener" says plain, ordinary sugar is lethal to many insects. It acts like a germicidal soap, suffocating insects or dissolving their waxy exteriors. Insecticidal sugars may be on the market next year. In corroboration, cut-flower growers report that buckets of dilute Floralife, a sugar-containing flower preservative, left in their fields overnight were full of drowned Japanese and cucumber beetles the next morning. 

Forcing Blossoms

Procedure: Crush stem ends, strip lower leaves and mist branches. Wrap branches in newspaper and place in pail of water in cool room with medium light. Buds on branches will develop slowly and stay moist.

Gardenia Care

Temperature: Day temperatures of 65 to 70 degrees and night temperatures below 65 degrees are ideal. Avoid hot or cold drafts.
Humidity: Dryness will cause foliage and bud loss. Methods for increasing humidity are the following: 1. Place the plant on a water tight tray filled with small pebbles. Pour water over the pebbles but do not allow the water to rise above the bottom of the top layer of pebbles. 2. Mist the plant daily. 3. Place gardenia near other plants which require the same growing conditions. Evaporation of water from the soil surfaces of nearby specimens helps increase humidity.
Moisture: Water with tepid water so the soil remains moist. Soak plant thoroughly until water runs through the drainage holes. Discard excess water from saucer. Gardenias prefer uniformly moist but not soggy soil.
Light: The gardenia grows best when exposed to a minimum of five hours of full sunlight each day, in a south or east facing window. If placing outdoors in the summer, put in a shady spot on a patio or in the garden. If kept indoors, protect from direct sunlight.
Fertilizer: Since the gardenia grows best in acid soil, fertilizers recommended for use on acid loving plants should be applied. Fertilize every two weeks at half strength except during the short days of winter when the plant is not actively growing.

Air Cleaning Plants
Plants breathe in dirty air and trap pollutants, then exhale oxygen-rich clean air.  Amazingly, they also rid the air of volatile organic compounds--harmful substances such as formaldehyde, benzene, and ammonia while keeping humidity at proper levels ( a key to keeping allergies at bay). Many homes harbor vapors from carpets, plastics, cleaning products, etc.  A couple of plants per room offers good benefits.  If you are bothered by mold,stop it from growing by putting an inch of aquarium gravel on top of the potting soil. Almost any plant is beneficial, but the following plants do a better job than others: Bamboo palm, Rubber plant, Spider plant, English ivy, Janet Craig dracaena, Dwarf date, Boston fern, Peace lily, Corn plant, Schefflers.
From Better Homes & Garden magazine; March, 2006.

Pruning Crape Myrtles
This is an article from Fine Gardening that describes and demonstrates how and when to prune crape myrtle trees. 



Daffodil Growing Guidelines
General Guidelines for Growing Daffodils

Daffodils are some of the easiest plants to grow. Some daffodils will grow in most parts of the United States, but not all daffodils will grow everywhere. Jonquil hybrids and tazettas do better in the South, as do the little bulbocodium hybrids, while the poeticus hybrids are usually happier where it's a little colder.

For starters, buy your bulbs from a trusted source. A good bulb has a flower in it when it is sold for autumn planting. Bargain bulbs from other than reputable dealers are not bargains. Never buy or plant a soft daffodil bulb, because a soft bulb usually means basal rot or other disease.

Daffodils will grow in light shade, but do better in full sun. Deep shade keeps them from blooming after the first year or two. They will grow well in most soils, but need plenty of moisture from the time they are planted until they finish growing in the late spring. A good soaking once a week is not too much. However, the soil must drain well.

During the soil preparation, a complete fertilizer, low in nitrogen, (3-6-6 or 5-10-10) should be worked in (about 1/4 cup per square foot). Be sure the fertilizer does not come in direct contact with the bulbs. Never use fresh manure. Forget the bone meal; it takes too long to breakdown to ever be beneficial.

Daffodils should be planted in September, or when the soil has cooled, or any time until the ground freezes. Most root growth is done in the fall and early winter. In cold-winter climates, bulbs o fnormal size should be planted about six inches deep. Smaller bulbs should be planted about 3 times their height. A shallow planting will require more frequent lifting and division as the bulbs tend to split up more quickly.

Don't cut the leaves from your plants, since they are essential for building next year's flower. If you need a few to go with some daffodils in a vase, cut a leaf here and there, but never all from one plant. And don't tidy up the garden by cutting off or braiding sprawling green foliage after flowering. The plant needs those leaves! When the foliage has yellowed or dried up, you may remove it, and cultivate the ground a bit, so that insects do not have a path down the hole left by
the foliage directly to the bulbs.

Daffodil bulbs divide, and one bulb will in time become a clump of bulbs. They should be dug and divided when the flowers become smaller and fewer (about every 4-5 years). Dig as the foliage turns yellow, store until fall in a cool, airy place. Do not forcefully break the side shoots off of the bulbs.

A mulch gives bulbs a longer, better growing season. It also keeps the flowers clean and helps to make the ground cooler in summer. Shredded bark, straw, or pine straw are all good.

For more information, visit the American Daffodil Association,


Annuals provide dependable color for months with only occasional attention. Some really tough plants last the entire summer, while others, such as petunias, may go only to the halfway mark but are well worth it. Ideas to get you started:

Annuals are easy to grow. Plant them in well-drained soil. Sprinkle a timed-release, granular fertilizer such as 14-14-14 under each annual when planting. Surround new plants with a light layer of mulch. Water every few days until roots become established and then continue on an as-needed basis. Give them a thorough trim in July. Cut them back by half and feed them twice over the next 10 days with a liquid, blossom-boosting fertilizer such as 15-30-15.

Top Picks: for sun - lantana, coleus, Star Hybrid zinnias, melampodium, salvia, for shade - impatiens , and caladium


Top 10 perennial picks: iris - 'Hortensia' false aster, daylily - "Stella de Oro' and "Happy Returns', 'Goldsturm' yellow coneflower, purple coneflower, 'Common Purple' summer phlox, 'Miss Huff' lantana, 'Autumn Joy' sedum, 'Indigo Spires' salvia, and the swamp sunflower.

Daffodil Attribute - Since daffodils are poisonous to all animals, the deer, ground hog, vole, and mole will not eat them.

Daffodil Plantings That Last For Years - First select a well-drained spot that gets at least a half day of sunlight.
Dig holes that are 8 inches deep. Mix soil with Bulb Booster or 5-10-20 fertilizer mixture and put it in the bottom of the hole to a depth of 2 inches. Place the bulb on top. Fill the hole with dirt and then water. When properly planted, daffodils do not need to be lifted and replanted.

Plant Lilacs in October - Prepare holes for lilacs by digging wide and deep holes and adding well-rotted manure in the bottom. When planting, set the plant 4 inches deeper than it was growing. Fill the hole with soil, sand and compost. For two years, water during dry periods. Add wood askes as they become available. When setting out plants, cut back 1/3 rd. Some lilacs take two or three years to bloom, some even longer. Recommended varieties are Ellen Willmott (white), President Lincoln (blue), Charles Joly(purple), Lucie Baltet (pink), Primrose (cream). An early lilac is Oblata Delatata (pink) and a late bllomer is Henri Lutece (lavendar).

Fertilizer Tips - In the fall, fertilize clematis plants with lime, lilies with compost and bone meal (5-10-5), iris with bone meal, deciduous shrubs with super phosphate. Mulch lily-of-the-valley with well rotted manure; apply wood ashes, manure and bone meal to lilacs. When you rake leaves, remember that composting them makes good fertilizer for next year. Add a layer of 5-10-5 or lime to hasten decomposition. Use 2 inches of dead oak leaves as mulch for acid loving shrubs and plants; however, do not mulch until the ground is frozen.

Low-Maintenance Perennials and Shrubs
If you yearn for a garden that requires minimum upkeep, here are some plants and shrubs that need very little attention:>Perennials: Daylilies, Siberian iris, Iris pumila, platycodon (balloon flower), Michaelmas daisies, veronica, perennial candytuft, lily of the valley, ajuga, all pinks, coralbells Shrubs: forsythia, witch hazel, flowering quince, viburnums, beauty bush, weigelias, cotoneasters and shrub roses.

Tips On Transplanting Perennials
When transplanting hardy perennials, plants should be set in the ground the same depth as they were growing in the nursery. Fill back soil and firm it carefully around each plant by pressing earth with your fist. Do not use foot as this may make the soil too hard. Water carefully and not too much, but do it frequently for the next two weeks.

Dividing Chrysanthemums
It's possible to divide chrysanthemums as late as May, but don't delay. Break new shoots from the outside of the crown. With care, you can get a few roots on the shoot so new growth will take over. Start feeding a week or so later, then feed regularly. Start to pinch off tip growth buds when plant is 3" or 4" tall and continue pinching new growth back until July.

Deadheading Lilacs
Clip lilac seed pods immediately after blooming, being careful not to cut off new growth on each side of the seed pod---these laterals produce next year's flowers. Prune if necessary. Mulch.

The Perfect Houseplant - Peace Lily
Peace Lily Problem Solver

Problem:  Peace lily doesn't bloom.
Cause:  The plant has insufficient light.
Solution:  Move it into a brighter location.

Problem:  Pale green foliage has burned leaf tips.
Cause:  Hot direct sun damages foliage.
Solution:  Move plant out of direct sun.

Problem:  Deep green leaves develop brown tips and edges.
Cause  You have let the soil get too dry.
Solution:  Maintain evenly moist soil.

Problem:  The plant suddenly collapses when the soil is moist.
Cause:  Overwatering and poor drainage are to blame.
Solution:  Empty the saucer beneath the pot and let the soil drain.

Problem:  Plant collapses when soil is dry.
Cause:  Wilt is due to lack of water.
Solution:  Water plant thoroughly, and beg it for forgiveness.

Using a damp sponge or cloth, occasionally clean dust from the leaves.
Peace lilies need at least 55 degree temperature.

Southern Living, February 2006

Butterfly Gardening

The Butterfly Society of Virginia has as its purposes:  education, conservation, gardening and volunteering.  Go to its site to learn how to identify butterflies, the plants that attract them, butterfly gardens to visit, knowledable speakers, and many links to other sources.

Edible Flowers

This is a list of commonly edible flowers and their flavor comparisons. Separate the petals from the rest of the flower just prior to use to keep wilting to a minimum. Roses, dianthus, English daisies, and marigolds have a bitter white area at the base of the petal--break or cut off this portion. The pollen of composite flowers (characterized  by florets arranged in dense heads that resemble single flowers)  is allergenic and may cause reactions in sensitive individuals.  Sufferers of asthma, ragweed, and hayfever should not consume composite flowers and may have extreme allergies to ingesting any flowers at all.
Anjelica:  May cause skin allergies to some; celery flavored
Calendula: saffron-like, spicy, tangy peppery,adds a golden hue to foods
Carnation: spicy, peppery, clove-like
Chamomile: faint apple flavor, good as a tea
Garlic Chives: garlic flavor
Chrysanthemum:  slight to bitter flavor, pungent
Cornflower:  sweet to spicy, clove-like
Dandelion:  Very young buds fried in butter taste somewhat like mushrooms. Makes a potent wine.
Daylily:  many lilies (Lilium species) contain alkaloids and are not edible.  They may act as a laxataive; sweet, crunchy, like a crisp lettuce leaf, faintly like chestnuts or beans
English Daisy: tangy, leafy
Fuchsia: slightly acidic
Gardenia: light, sweet flavor
Hibiscus: slightly acidic; boiled, it makes a nice beverage:
Hibiscus Tea
 1 T. fresh hibiscus flowers
1 C very hot water, heated just to the boiling point
In a heat-proof container, combine hibiscus flowers and water.  Let steep for 5 minutes. Strain and add honey if desired.
Makes one serving..
Hollyhock:  very bland, nondescript flavor
Honeysuckle:  berries are highly poisonous--do not eat them!
Hyssop: should be avoided by pregnant women and by those with hypertension or epilepsy.
Impatiens:  very bland, nondescript flavor.
Jasmine:  delicate sweet flavor, used for teas.
Johnny-Jump-Up:  contains saponins and may be toxic in large amounts; sweet to bland flavor.
Lavender: lavender oil may be poisonous; floral, slight perfume flavor.
Lemon Verbena:  lemony flavor, usually steeped for tea.
Lilac:  lemony, floral, pungent.
Mallow:  sweet, delicate flavor.
Marigold:  spicy to bitter.
Nasturtium:  buds are often pickled and used like capers; sweet, mildly pungent, peppery flavor.
Okra:  similar to squash blossoms.
Pansy:  very mild, sweet to tart flavor.
Pea:  flowering ornamental sweet peas are poisonous.
Primrose:  causes contact dermatitis; bland to sweet flavor.
Rose:  sweet, aromatic flavor, stronger fragrance produces a stronger flavor.  Be sure to remove the bitter white portion of the petals.  Rose hips are also edible.
Safflower:  "poor man's" saffron without the pungent aroma or strong flavor of saffron.
Scented Geranium:  Citronella variety may not be edible; varies with differing varieties from lemon to mint flavor.
Snapdragon:  bland to bitter flavor.
Squash Blossom:  sweet, nectar flavor
Sunflower:  lightly steam petals to lesson bitterness. Unopened flower buds can be steamed like artichokes; leafy, slightly bitter.
Tuberous Begonia:  only hybrids are edible; the flowers and stems contain oxalic acid and should not be consumed by individuals suffering from gout, kidney stones, or rheumatism; further, the flower should be eaten in strict moderation. crisp, sour, lemony flavor.
Violet:  sweet, nectar.

Caution: Do not allow children to eat flowers as many are poisonous.




Recollections of Great Gardeners, Graham Stuart Thomas, $24.95, Frances Lincoln, 2004.
"Walks through gardens designed by Gertrude Jekyll, Vita Sackville-West and others."

Hydrangeas for American Gardens, Michael A. Dirr, $29.95, Timber Press, 2004
"Deals specifically with domestic species."

The Collector's Garden : Designing with Extraordinary Plants, Ken Druse, $29.95,Hardback, $45.00 Clarkson Potter, 1996
"When you take collectors such as John Bartram, Dan Hinckley, Tony Avent, J.C.
Raulston and Rick Darke, add hundreds of stunning photos and a readable and informative text by Ken Druse, it makes a perfect gift for any gardener."

Restoring American Gardens, An Encyclopedia of Heirloom Ornamental Plants, 1640-1940, Denise Wiles Adams, $39.95, Timber Press, 2004
"A library committee member describes this book as a magnificent horticultural reference book covering every type of domestic landscape and garden. There is also extensive resource information on finding heirloom plants."

Gardening on Pavement, Tables, and Hard Surfaces, George Schenk, $29.95, Timber, 2004.
"Only a few inches of soil are necessary with this innovative gardening approach."

The Southern Gardener's Book of Lists
Lois Trigg Chaplin
Taylor Publishing Company 1994
" Includes lists of the best plants to accommodate all your needs. Is filled with advice and anecdotes from horticulturists and real dirt-under-the-nails gardeners."

Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to Gardening
Reader's Digest 1995
"It has everything. If I had one book, this would be it."

Manual of Woody Landscape Plants
Michael Dirr
Stipe Publishing 1995
"Best book on trees."
"Listing of 1,000 species and 2,000 cultivars. Covers hardiness, growth rate, habit, foliage, fruit, flowers, size, and propagation."

Rhododendrons in America
Ted Van Veen
Sweeney, Krist, and Dimm, Inc. Publishers   1969
This book is highly recommended for rhododendron lovers! It includes a brief history of the plant, how to landscape with them, how to buy them, the conditions that they like best, feeding and preventing problems and finally, different species and the hybrids.  It is a beautiful book, filled with good information.
Enjoying Roses
Ann Reilly
An Ortho Book
Richard E. Pile Jr.,  1992
This book includes the history of roses, how to select the right rose, using roses in the landscape, how to plant roses, caring for roses outside, growing roses inside and much more interesting information about roses.
The Natural Shade Garden
Ken Druse
Clarkson Potter Publishers  1992
This book includes information on planning a shade garden, plants to buy for a shade garden and a viewing of many beautiful shade gardens. Great for the home gardener.

Wildflowers of the Blue Ridge and Great Smokie Mountains
Leonard M. Adkins, Menasha Ridge Press, Birmingham, AL 2205
Photographs, Joe Cook
Excellent photographs and text to help you learn to identify the wildflowers of  the Blue Ridge and Great Smokie Mountains areas.

Nature - Friendly Garden: Creating a Backyard Haven for Plants, Wildlife and People
Marlene A. Condon, Stackpale Books, 2006
Planing your garden with plants to attract wildlife and tips to help garden wildlife.


The African Violet Society of America:
Alpine Garden Society:
American Begonia Society:
American Bonsai Society:
The American Boxwood Society:
American Camellia Society:
American Clematis Society:
American Conifer Society:
The American Daffodil Society:
American Dahlia Society:
American Fern Society:
American Fuchsia Society:
American Gloxinia and Gesneriad Society:
American Gourd Society:
American Hemerocallis Society:
American Hibiscus Society:
American Horticultural Society:
American Hosta Society:
American Hydrangea Society:
American Iris Society:
American Ivy Society:
American Orchid Society:
American Penstemon Society:
American Peony Society:
American Pomological Society:
American Primrose Society:
American Rhododendron Society:
American Rose Society:
American Violet Society:
Blandy Experimental Farm
British Pelargonium and Geranium Society:
Bromeliad Society International (ICRA):
Cactus and Succulent Society of America:
The Cyclamen Society:
The Conifer Society:
Cycad Society:
The Herb Society of America, Inc:
Holly Society of America, Inc:
The Home Orchard Society:
International Aroid Society:
International Black Plant Society:
International Bulb Society:
International Camellia Society:
International Carnivorous Plant Society:
International Oak Society:
International Palm Society:
International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society:
The Magnolia Society:
Mediterranean Garden Society:
National Chrysanthemum Society:
North American Gladiolus Council:
North American Lily Society:
North American Rock Garden Society:
Perennial Plant Association:
Rare Fruit Council International:
Royal Horticultural Society:
Sedum Society:
Assn of Societies for Growing Australian Plants:
The Society for Pacific Coast Native Iris:
Species Iris Group of North America:
Virginia Cooperative Extension:
Smithsonian Institution:  and
Children's butterfly web site maintained by the U.S. Geological Survey:
Carolina Butterfly Society: This is a site run by two teachers with beautiful pictures sent in by devotees of the site. You can identify bugs you see in your gardens and other places around your home; you can learn all about them, incuding learning to resist squashing them since you might be destroying predators that are useful to maintain the balance of nature. Yard Enthusiasts of America is sponsored by Project Evergreen, a national
nonprofit organization that promotes the benefits of well maintained green space. The site provides information for and interaction among yard enthusiasts nationwide. It includes photos, blogs, tips, forums and visitors can sign up for a free bimonthly newsletter is a marketplace for buying and selling various breeds of garden, nursery, landscape, fruits, horticulture, flowers, plants, seeds, crops, vegetables as well as agricultural jobs and a wide range of services.