May in the Neighborhood
Note the picture showing plantings around two mailboxes observed in May. These are my best guesses as to the vegetation species and varieties shown there. At left front are dark violet-blue salvia flower spikes, which may be the hybrid "May Night" Salvia X sylvestris, 1997 Perennial Plant of the Year. The four- to five-inch diameter double lavender clematis blooms with slightly ruffled edges (mid-photo) are a more recent introduction, Clematis vancouver "Sea Breeze." The vine works in a spot like this because of plentiful flowers from late spring into autumn, a compact form and disease resistance. Golden foliage on the creeping Jenny groundcover, Lysimachia nummularia "Aurea" (at center and in front of the long thin daylily leaves on the right) provides a striking contrast to the purple blossoms.
Reader Donna M’s email gave me the idea of printing occasional photos featuring plants seen while walking our dog, Cocoa. The gist of her message: "We recently settled in this area and are not familiar with many of the beautiful flowering shrubs, perennials and trees. I want to learn the names of plants growing on our property. When we telephoned the Cumberland County University of Tennessee Extension office in Crossville, a visit with a Master Gardener Monday through Friday was suggested."
I replied explaining that Master Gardeners, who man the homeowner question and answer desk at the Crossville UT Extension office weekday mornings, might be of assistance, but their primary focus is diagnosing plant problems rather than identifying flowering shrubs and other ornamentals.
Rhododendron Borer Follow-up
Another reader sent an email after seeing the last article to ask what should be done to avoid borer damage to the huge, beautiful rhododendron in her yard. Good question.
The old riddle is true. What is the one thing always seen in a healthy landscape? Answer: the gardener’s shadow. Check your treasured plants in late winter and springtime. A problem that started early in the season may be beyond help if not discovered until late summer or during autumn. Noticing in February the damaged stem on the rhododendron by my driveway alerted me to the possible presence of rhododendron borers. That was confirmed by our county agent after he saw a photo showing the shrub in question.
As a general rule, don’t use insecticides unless the pest or identifiable pest damage has been observed. If a control is to be employed, make it one proven effective against the particular infection or infestation. Apply when the probability of a successful outcome is highest. Permethrin (sold under Astro and other brand names) or bifenthrin (Onyx) are preventive controls for rhododendron and other clearwing borers. Treat rhododendron trunks and branches in May and late June, when adult rhododendron borers are active and larvae which hatch from eggs deposited on the bark are still out in the open.
Not sure what is making your plant look sick or bad? Your local UT Extension office is the place to go. Physical examples of plant pest or disease problems can be analyzed there and recommendations made for remedies. Cut off a sample displaying symptoms. Put it in a clean plastic bag. Another option is available online. Experts at the UT Extension Soil, Plant and Pest Center post information and photos on the lab’s Facebook page each day about pest and/or disease issues they see. View that page by entering https://www.facebook.com/SoilPlantPestCenter in your web browser.
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Plateau Gardening is written by Master Gardeners for gardeners in Tennessee’s Upper Cumberland Region. Contact UT Extension Cumberland County at P.O. Box 483, Crossville, TN 38557 (484-6743) for answers to horticulture questions, free publications and how to become a Master Gardener. Send email comments or yard and garden inquiries to Master Gardener Rae, MGardenerRae@frontiernet.net.
May in the Neighborhood
Mark your calendars for Historic Homesteads Tour of Homes
The Cumberland Homesteads Tower Association will present its Christmas Tour of Historic Homes on Saturday, Dec. 14, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 15, from 1 to 4 p.m.
Around the Town: The turkey was the easy part!
First of all, let me say a great big thank you to all of you who emailed, called, texted or stopped me in town to either wish me luck on the whole turkey thing or to ask afterwards how it went. I am very happy to report that it turned out pretty well!
Ring in Christmas this Friday with Fair Park
The Fair Park Seniors Center's Ring and Sing group will be ringing and singing Christmas carols at the center this Friday morning at 9:45 a.m. First Baptist Choral Director Faye Brandon has been volunteering her time and talents, working with the seniors to get it just right. They will be singing all those old favorites everyone enjoys this time of year. The chimes are just so delightful! Plan now to get out and join the merry group.
Enjoy early December holiday crafting by Trumbo
Holiday Crafting is a day-long workshop with experienced instructor Mara Trumbo on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Shanks Center for the Arts, Crossville. This workshop is for both the beginning student and those who are experienced. It is simply "fun" to complete a number of small items either for gifts or for yourself.
Supporters gather to raise funds for VORP
The theme was “Music, Munchies and Mayhem” for the fundraiser and awareness for VORP last week in Pleasant Hill. Musicians Ruth and Wayne Lucas sang and led karaoke and dancing. A silent auction caused much deliberation, delicious refreshments were enjoyed by all. The president of VORP, Joe Gittings, master of ceremonies, introduced the Executive Director Rita Young, board members and former President Len Stark who gave a history of Cumberland County’s Victim-Offender Reconciliation Program (better known as VORP).
Losing focus thanks to technology
For better or worse, our use of media, from TV to iPhones and now Google Glass, has exploded. Today, we are daily consuming three times as much information as we did in 1960.
DAR helps you find roots to your family tree
It can be frustrating when researching your family tree. However, there is no need to get discouraged. The Crab Orchard Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution can help.
Learn to play chess
Did you know there is a chess library in Crossville? Yes, people can actually check out books from a library dedicated to chess.
Seniors enjoy Thanksgiving feast
Nov. 22 was the 127 Senior Center's day to celebrate the feast of Thanksgiving. All gathered together to play billiards, dominos and bingo. The bingo numbers were called by Arlene Simmnons, and the gifts were provided by Dr. M. Stewart Galloway, ophthalmologist.
Published Nov. 27, 2013.
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