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Dave's Garden Articles: By Marie Harrison

Monday, September 20, 2010

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Firespike Lights up the Fall Garden
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Firespike is blooming in gardens throughout Florida and much of the Deep South as fall approaches. Gardeners keep a close watch on it, not only because it is beautiful in and of itself, but also because it brings on a flurry of activity from the hummingbirds and butterflies that frequent the area.

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

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Drying Hydrangea Flowers
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Hydrangeas have been a favorite decorating subject since Victorian times or before. Artists choose the handsome flowers as subjects for their paintings, and fabric designers incorporate their images into beautiful fabrics for home decorating. Ceramic and porcelain hydrangeas can be purchased, and replicas are readily available in artificial, silk-like renditions.

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Friday, August 20, 2010

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Heat-Tolerant Malabar Spinach
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

By late May or early June, most folks in the southern United States and other areas with hot summer temperatures have given up on growing lettuce, spinach, and other cool-season greens. There are some heat-resistant selections, but most of them are simply not happy when summer turns up the heat. Malabar spinach, however, thrives in the heat and humidity that even the hottest summer can dish out.

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Friday, August 6, 2010

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Hyacinth Bean (Lablab purpureus)
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

The hyacinth bean (Lablab purpureus) is an attractive vine that bears showy lavender to purple pea-like flowers. After the flowers fade, the show continues as bright purple beans grow in clusters above the foliage. Outside the tropics, most people who grow this handsome vine save seeds and grow it as an annual because they become accustomed to the tropical lushness that it lends a landscape.

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

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The Standard Flower Show: Collections and Displays
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Collections and displays may be included as a section in the horticulture division of a Standard Flower Show. They add pizazz and distinction to shows, delight the public, and give exhibitors a chance to display the best of their favorite plants.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

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The Standard Flower Show -- Combination Plantings
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Ask three people what constitutes a combination planting, and you’ll get three different definitions. All of them would be right, unless they were entering a Standard Flower Show sponsored by a club that is a member of National Garden Clubs. In that case, there are very specific correct answers.

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

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Hibiscus sabdariffa (Roselle)
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

The roselle is up and growing again this year. While it is pretty enough all summer long with its dark green, deeply dissected leaves and red stems, that’s only the beginning of the show. As the season progresses, it gets better as the flowers bloom and the bright red calyces line the stems.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

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Selaginella, Arborvitae Fern
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Every once in a while the gardener discovers, quite by accident, one plant or another that becomes an all-time favorite. Such is my experience with arborvitae fern (Selaginella braunii). My introduction to this plant happened a few years back when I visited the garden of a neighbor. I was smitten from the beginning.

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Friday, June 11, 2010

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Diamond Frost Euphorbia
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Diamond Frost® euphorbia has captured the hearts of gardeners throughout the world. Its merits are touted at gardening programs featuring dependable plants for the garden, and its praises are sung by friends who share affection for the plant as they relate their experiences in growing it.

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

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Crotons : Codiaeum (koe-dih-EE-um or koh-dee-EYE-um)
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Crotons can be grown as a landscape plant in Zones 10-11. Outside those zones, they make colorful container plants that can be kept for years with just a modicum of care.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

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Eucharis amazonica - the Beautiful Amazon Lily
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

The Amazon lily is a tropical bulb that produces clusters of fragrant, star-shaped white flowers up to three times a year. Although hardy only in tropical regions, it is an excellent houseplant that can add beauty to interiorscapes anywhere in the world.

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Monday, May 3, 2010

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Zinnias, Old and New
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

What is more lovely and indispensable to a flower lover’s garden than a bed of zinnias sparkling in a sunny bed? Not only are they beautiful, but butterflies appreciate the nectar-laden blossoms and can usually be found fluttering amid the flowers. Granny called these colorful flowers “old maids,” and it was many years later before I knew another name for them.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

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Loropetalum, Saucy Cousin of Witchhazel
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Gardens in the southern United States are awash with the magenta colors of Chinese fringe flower (Loropetalum chinense var. rubrum). Introduced into the trade in the 1980’s, it has become one of the most popular shrubs for Southern landscapes. Seemingly a bit of a floozy in the springtime, it calms down for the rest of the year and blends into the landscape like a respectable garden citizen.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

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Stevia, Sweet Stevia
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Stevia is an herb that has been much talked about in recent years. Reportedly many times sweeter than sugar, it attracts the attention of people who are looking for a non-caloric natural sweetener. Herb gardeners are anxious to include this plant in their gardens for its usefulness and novelty.

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Friday, April 2, 2010

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The Other Conradinas
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Besides beach rosemary, which is fairly plentiful in the coastal areas of Florida, Alabama, and Georgia, there are five other species of Conradina. Unfortunately, all of the other species are either threatened or endangered. All except one is native to Florida. An article about beach rosemary was published previously on Dave's Garden. Here is a bit of information about the other species.

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

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The Garlic of Polite Society
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Some plants prove themselves in the landscape. They do so by performing in an exceptional manner over the long haul. Such traits as attractive flowers throughout the summer, low maintenance requirements, and other desirable characteristics combine to make these plants high performers in the landscape. Society garlic (Tulbaghia violacea) is one such plant.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

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Beach Rosemary, a Native Mint
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Beach rosemary is a shrubby evergreen perennial that grows anywhere from one to three feet tall. Endemic to the scrub areas of west Florida as well as coastal areas of Alabama and Mississippi, it is a favorite for native and wildlife gardens within its hardiness range. The beach mouse and other small creatures depend on it for habitat, and hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, and other pollinators sip nectar from it during the blooming season.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

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National Garden Clubs
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Garden clubs exist all over the world, and no wonder. Gardening is one of the most popular hobbies. Many garden clubs belong to organized federations, and many do not. My garden club is a member of National Garden Clubs, the Deep South Region of Garden Clubs, and the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs (the Federation). We choose to belong to these organizations because they offer many opportunities to our club and its members.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

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Sweetshrub, a Necessary Shrub for Fragrant Gardens
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Gardeners may not have thought of sweetshrub for years, but one sniff transports us to yesteryear and memories long buried in the recesses of our minds. In all likelihood, if sweetshrub is not already a part of our garden, a whiff of the heady scent on a spring day sends us off to the nursery in search of one.

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Friday, January 8, 2010

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Perennial Peanut
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Looking for an easy-care, low-maintenance groundcover for a full-sun area of your landscape? Have a berm or embankment that needs some tenacious roots to stabilize the soil? If you live in the coastal South or other temperate areas of the country, perennial peanut (Arachis glabrata) may be a great choice.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

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Florida Anise, An Uncommon Evergreen Shrub
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

When choosing broadleaf evergreen shrubs for Southern landscapes, it is easy to fall back on the ones that we see in neighbors' yards and the ones that are commonly available. Every neighborhood is filled with azaleas, camellias, gardenias, loropetalums, and ligustrums. However, there are some less-commonly chosen evergreen shrubs that will add charm and distinction to your landscape.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

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Japanese Plum Yew Excels in the South
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Looking for a groundcover plant that grows in shade and is mannerly, evergreen, attractive, and that the deer won’t eat? Look no farther. Cehpalotaxus harringtonia ‘Prostrata’ will cover your ground year-round with its glossy, dark green, needle-like leaves. Don’t expect it to happen overnight, though. Japanese plum yew, as it is called, is slow-growing, but those who have it in their gardens agree that it is worth the wait.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

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The Intriguing Fragrance of Banana Shrub
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

When I first smelled a banana shrub (Magnolia figo) in bloom in a friend’s garden, I began an immediate search for one to add to my garden. Sometimes we humans, as enthralled as we become with fragrant plants, forget that they do not produce scents just to please our sense of smell. Scent serves an important biological function for plants by attracting pollinating creatures that are necessary for the survival of the species.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

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Recycling Kitchen Waste
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Every day people send perfectly good natural insecticides and soil amendments to the landfill. Many of them are not gardeners and don’t really realize the gold they’re throwing away, but some of them are gardeners who just have not yet discovered the beneficial properties contained in kitchen wastes. I, too, was a doubting Thomas until solid evidence made me a believer.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

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Sweet Olive, an Evergreen Shrub with Fragrant Flowers
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Sweet olive (Osmanthus fragrans, Zones 8-10) is one of the horticultural treasures that Southerners enjoy in their gardens. We have only to step outside in late winter or early spring when the sweet olive blooms to detect its heady scent wafting on the air. For those of us who enjoy fragrance in the garden and live in regions with mild winters, the sweet olive is a “must have” plant.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

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Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo)
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Arbutus unedo (ar-BYOO-tus YOO-nee-doe), sometimes called strawberry tree or cane apple, is a slow-growing broadleaf evergreen small tree or large shrub. As a member of the Ericaceae (heath) family, it claims such relatives as blueberry and azalea. A number of attributes make it a great selection for landscapes within its hardiness range.

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

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The Incredible ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

The ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) has only recently become a popular houseplant. It was not until 1999 the Florida growers started production of this unusual plant. It caught on quickly, though, and in 2002 was named the indoor foliage plant of the year by the Florida Nurserymen’s and Growers’ Association. Needless to say, it caught on quickly.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

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Hearts A-Burstin' -- The American Euonymus
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Euonymus americana goes by several common names, including American strawberry-bush, hearts-a-burstin’, and bursting heart. Regardless of which name you call it, this plant is a choice selection for shady areas in native and wildlife gardens.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

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Althaea, an Old-Fashioned Shrub
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

The hibiscus-like flowers of Althaea figure prominently in my childhood memories of pretty flowers. Granny grew two kinds at the foot of her back doorsteps. Thomas Jefferson admired them, as well, and collected as many different kinds as he could find to grow at Monticello. These old-fashioned flowering shrubs are no less popular today than they were then.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

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Is it a Huckleberry or a Blueberry?
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Every summer during my childhood, my family and I picked what I always believed were huckleberries. They were the main ingredient in many tasty dumplings, cobblers, pies, pancakes, and jellies. I have since learned, however, that what we thought were huckleberries were actually blueberries. We were not the only ones confused about their identity.

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

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Blue-eyed Grass
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium) is one of our small, native plant treasures. As our sensibilities mature (along with the rest of our bodies), we become more appreciative of little things that add to the quality of our lives. We take time to see the spring violets, the trilliums, and a hundred other small beauties that we may not have noticed during our earlier years.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

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Ornamental Bamboo Muhly Grass
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Have you been looking for something different for your garden? How about a plant that is very fine-textured and almost fernlike, and which arches gracefully from branched, upright stems? How about soft mounds of billowy foliage that wave freely with the slightest breeze? If this sounds like something you might like, then bamboo muhly (Muhlenbergia dumosa) is an ornamental grass that deserves your consideration.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

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Glorious Glory Lilies
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Once in a while a flower grabs the gardener’s attention and screams, “Buy me, buy me!” That’s the way the glory lily did me when I saw its picture on a bulb bin at a garden center one spring several years ago. I’ve never regretted the demand, for the flowers delight me with glorious blooms every summer.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

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Cast Iron Plant Excels in Shady Landscapes
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Aspidistra has been with us so long that we tend to look upon it as one of our own. Introduced into the United States in 1824, it was immediately embraced as a fitting specimen in smoky barrooms and Victorian parlors. It is no less popular today as gardeners are quick to note its cast iron constitution.

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

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Deep South Regional Petite Advanced-Standard Flower Show
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

The Deep South Region (DSR) of National Garden Clubs (NGC) held its first ever Standard Flower Show in Huntsville, Alabama, in March. Participating were designers and gardeners from the six-state region, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Louisiana. The competition was keen and the spirit high as club members throughout the region placed their entries.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

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Garden Tour Lessons
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Those who open their gardens to the public have a right to expect visitors to be on their best behavior, and most guests are very well mannered. Sometimes, though, situations arise that cause concern. Knowing about these unexpected situations and being prepared with a solution can save the day. Conversely, if you are a guest to someone else’s garden, follow the rules of garden tour etiquette very closely .

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

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Native Azaleas for Florida and the Deep South
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Particularly prominent in my childhood memories are flower-picking excursions on the first warm days of spring. Mother delighted my sisters and me when she suggested a trip into the woods to pick honeysuckle. We didn’t know that they were really native azaleas, and we certainly had never heard such words as Rhododendron canescens. Nevertheless, these intoxicatingly fragrant flowers evoke fond memories every spring when they bloom in woods and landscapes throughout the South.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

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Displaying Horticulture in a Standard Flower Show
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

The Standard Flower Show gives gardeners a chance to show what they grow. Find out about flower shows in your neck of the woods to see if opportunities exist to share your successes with others.

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

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What is a Standard Flower Show?
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

The term, “Standard Flower Show” is the official title of a flower show conforming to standards established by National Garden Clubs, Inc. (NGC). The purposes of a Standard Flower Show as outlined by NGC are to educate club members and the viewing public, to stimulate interest in horticulture and floral design, to provide an outlet for creative expression, and to convey to the community the objectives of NGC.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

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Indian Pink: A Wildflower for Your Garden
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

I remember a day last June when Amiable Spouse and I were visiting brother Ronald, who had just purchased a fantastic piece of land just south of Jackson, Mississippi. The fellows were scouting the property, and we girls were reminiscing and cooking up some favorite family recipes. In the midst of it all, Ronald brought a wildflower that he found on the property for me to identify.

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