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
Fighting for Love takes Relay chili cook-off win
The Relay for Life chili cook-off was held at the Crossville Depot Feb. 22. The first-place winner was the Fighting for Love team. Bill Pressley and Sherry Lawson presented the award to team captain Christy Holt and family.
Another fun day at 127 Senior Center
Another fun day at the 127 Senior Center was held Friday, March 7, to socialize with goodies and chit chat. The members played billiards, dominos and bingo, which was called by Arlene Simmons (with her adorable “bingo” sweatshirt), and the gifts were provided by Quality Health Care.
- Marriage licenses (Published March 12, 2014)
PLEASANT HILL RAMBLINGS: Building a foundation and a place to play
The new church family that has been planted in Pleasant Hill, the Pleasant Hill Baptist Mission, took on a mission of its own.
Seniors can learn to defend themselves at Fair Park
We all know the world is getting more dangerous every day. It would be a good idea to know a little bit about defending ourselves when caught off guard. A fifth Senior Self Defense Beginner Class will be starting the end of this month.
PLATEAU GARDENING: Got questions? Tennessee Master Gardeners have answers
These encounters brightened my week just before that Sunday night ice storm and snowy Monday got March 2014 off to a roaring start: I saw an old friend in a grocery store parking lot. He stopped to chat and during that conversation asked, “What’s the story with azaleas this winter? Mine are protected up by the house but they look bad.” I didn’t have an immediate answer but have been asking around to see if other gardeners in the area have azalea troubles, too.
Womanless beauty pageant coming to Palace Theatre
The sixth annual Parade of Beauties and Chinese Auction Friday, March 21, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Palace Theatre. Some extra things about this event is that the Avalon Center is celebrating 30 years of service.
AROUND THE TOWN: Two childhood faves celebrate milestones
Two pop culture icons are celebrating milestones this year: Mattel’s Barbie doll and the movie The Wizard of Oz. Barbie turns 55, and Oz is 75. Ironically, they are my two childhood favorites.
Master Gardener classes to begin
Once again spring is just around the corner. For all the Cumberland County residents who would like to learn more about plants, soil, bugs (good and bad) and all that it takes to be a successful gardener, the University of Tennessee, through the Extension office, is offering the Master Gardener training course.
Seniors enjoy oldies from Days Gone By
The 127 Senior Center gathered together Friday, Feb. 28, to socialize with coffee, goodies and chit chat. They played billiards, dominos and bingo, which was called by Arlene Simmons and Helen Lord, and the gifts were provided by Dr. M. Stewart Galloway, ophthalmologist.
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- Fighting for Love takes Relay chili cook-off win