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Dave's Garden Articles: By Marie Harrison

Thursday, July 7, 2011

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Santolina
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Three species of santolina are identified by the APG III system of taxonomy. They are rosemary santolina (Santolina rosmarinifolia syn. S. virens), gray santolina or lavender cotton (S. chamaecyparissus), and S. neapolitana. All three are excellent landscape specimens provided they are given appropriate growing conditions.

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Monday, June 20, 2011

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Confederate Rose (Hibiscus mutabilis), the Changeable Beauty
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Some people might be led to believe that the Confederate rose is a rose that is native to the South. It is, in fact, a hibiscus that hails from China. Fortunately, the Confederate rose found a friendly climate in the South. With fall comes remarkable flowers that change color almost by the hour. We gardeners of the South are proud to adopt the Confederate rose as one of our own.

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Friday, June 10, 2011

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Plectranthus
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

The GRIN Website lists 24 species of Plectranthus. However, other references suggest that more than 350 species are known. Obviously much reclassification of the genus has taken place, and even the ubiquitous coleus, until recently known as Solenostemon scutellarioides, is now in the Plectranthus genus.

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Friday, May 27, 2011

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Cuphea
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Many gardeners have learned the value of Cuphea for summer long flowers. We value them not only for the small, attractive flowers, but also for the hummingbirds, butterflies, and nectar-feeding insects that swarm around them.

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

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Old Man of the Woods
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Strolling through the woods and around the neighborhood on a beautiful spring day is a popular activity. Strollers delight in the mild weather and in the new flowers and emerging green foliage of deciduous shrubs and trees. Not the least among the attractions is our native grancy gray-beard that graces landscapes and woodlands in many parts of the United States.

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Thursday, May 12, 2011

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Glimpse into a Standard Flower Show
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Every year Valparaiso Garden Club of Valparaiso, Florida, stages a Standard Flower Show. This type of show differs from others in that it meets all requirements as listed in the Flower Show Handbook, a publication of National Garden Clubs. Members and visitors find much to admire as they meander through the show looking at the exhibits.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

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Plant Climbing Aster Now for Incredible Fall Color
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Climbing aster is one of the delights of the fall garden. Hundreds (or even thousands) of nickel-sized lavender daisy-like flowers literally cover the vines if planted in a favorable spot.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

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Gopher Apple
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

A drive down most roads in the Deep South gives the driver and passengers a glimpse of gopher apple. Patches of this bright green, ground-hugging plant occur with frequency in sunny places along the roadside.

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Friday, April 8, 2011

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Partridgeberry: A Steppable Groundcover
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Partridgeberry (Mitchella repens) is a non-climbing herbaceous to woody vine that forms an evergreen, ground-hugging groundcover. A member of the Rubiaceae (madder) family, this prostrate vine is native to North America and hardy from USDA Zones 4-9.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

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Autumn Fern
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Autumn fern is evergreen in tropical regions and root hardy over large areas of the United States (Zones 5-9). Consider adding this adaptable plant to a shady corner in your garden.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

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Bracts: Leaves, Petals, or Something Else?
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Gardeners often come across terms that are a bit confusing. One of these terms is “bract.” Is a bract a leaf, a petal, or is it something entirely different?

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Friday, February 18, 2011

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Is it a Petal or a Sepal?
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

As gardeners we often come across terms that are a bit confusing. Hydrangeas and clematis, for instance, do not have petals. They have colorful sepals that look like petals. Some double flowers have stamens and even pistils that have transformed into petals. How can an ordinary gardener with just a bit of curiosity about such terms sort out the differences?

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Friday, February 11, 2011

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Reflective Designs
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

The Creative Arrangers group of my garden club meets once a month to study and do a specific design type. The topic of December’s lesson was “Reflective Designs.” Members in the group range from experienced designers to those for whom these classes are a first exposure to floral design.

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Friday, February 4, 2011

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A Phlox for Every Garden
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

What better time to remember the beauty of the spring and summer phlox than in late winter when the sights and scents of blooming flowers are either a pleasant memory or a much anticipated delight for gardeners in most of the country? Dream on and enjoy the memory and the anticipation.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

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A Kalanchoe for Christmas and Forever After
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Kalanchoe blossfeldiana is a succulent perennial with dark green, rounded leaves that have scalloped edges. Clusters of bright red, pink, orange, or yellow flowers bloom on stems held well above the foliage. Blooming pots of these plants can be found in supermarkets and nurseries during the Christmas season.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

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Moss Phlox Paints a Pretty Picture
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Moss phlox (Phlox subulata) blooms reliably in gardens across the country every spring. In my garden, the florescent pink flowers erupt into a showy ground-hugging mass for three or four weeks. For the rest of the year it takes a backseat, but the evergreen, needlelike foliage makes a solid bright green mass that is a perfect background for the brightly colored summer flowers that follow.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

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The Black and White Sheep of the Wandering Jew Family
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

The wandering Jew or spiderwort family (Commelinaceae) consists of 41 accepted genera (APG III) and several hundred species. Many of them are cultivated ornamentals, but others are landscape thugs that we avoid and attempt to banish from our gardens.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

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Aucuba, a Shrub for Shade
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Aucuba figures prominently in gardens in temperate climates. And why not? It offers color year-round, attractive, evergreen leaves that light up a shady garden and prime cutting material for floral designers.

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

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Horticulture Division - The Standard Flower Show
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Gardeners take delight in growing plants. Opportunities to show their most beautiful specimens to the public are offered at Standard Flower Shows. Not only are these events showcases for beautifully grown horticulture; they are also educational forums that the public can access to determine what kinds of plants can be grown in their own gardens. Read on to learn more about the Horticulture Division of a Standard Flower Show.

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Thursday, September 30, 2010

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Fatsia japonica, a Shady-Loving, Evergreen Shrub
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Fatsia japonica is a landscape shrub that adds a bold, tropical look to the landscape. Large 12-inch wide leaves liberally cover the plant. Gardeners and floral designers alike treasure the glossy, dark green leaves and the imposing presence that it lends to both landscapes and floral designs.

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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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Monday, June 7, 2010

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Love in a Mist
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Nigella is one of my favorite biennials. Most people call it Love-in-a-Mist, but others refer to it as “Devil in the Bush.” I cannot imagine why this comely flower would be called such an uncomely name. For me, the first appellation is much more fitting. In spring its misty loveliness graces gardens throughout the country and beyond.

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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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