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Dave's Garden Articles: By Marie Harrison

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

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Yellow Butterfly Vine
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Occasionally gardeners come across intriguing plants in unexpected ways. Such was the case with my first encounter with yellow butterfly vine. Clusters of yellow, orchid-like flowers about an inch in diameter shared space with chartreuse, butterfly-shaped seedpods attached to an attractive green vine. That was enough for me to purchase the plant and learn more about it.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

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The Taxonomic Conundrum Unraveled
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

With the introduction of the Mono-botanic Design, National Garden Clubs required its members to learn some new tricks. In the Mono-botanic design type, designers were challenged to create designs using multiple parts of a plant or plants of one family or genus. This has proven to be more difficult than was first thought.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

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Woody Perennials Bring the Fall Border to Life
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Gardeners are ready to get back out in the garden during the fall of the year. The weather has moderated, and many plants are at their best during this season. With just a bit of thought and preparation, the fall garden will rival the newness and beauty of the spring garden.

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Monday, October 3, 2011

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More Trees for Fall Color
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

This is the second article about trees for fall color in the Deep South. All these native trees grow well in the southern United States, and most are hardy in the entire eastern half of the country.

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Monday, September 12, 2011

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Native Trees for Fall Color
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Residents of the Deep South are resigned to the fact that they will never see fall color that equals that of the central and northern sections of the country. Nevertheless, with careful selection, southerners can select trees and shrubs that will fill their gardens and neighborhoods with colorful fall foliage. The native trees in this article offer a few colorful choices.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

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Fiery Firebush
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Firebush is attractive all during the summer months, but in fall it becomes a blaze of glory. The flowers, the stems, the clusters of ripening fruit and the leaves are all glowing red. What a show this Florida native plant puts on at this time of year!

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

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Agapanthus, the Beautiful African Lily
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

For those who love blue in the garden, Agapanthus is an excellent choice. Standing up on tall scapes and announcing their presence in no uncertain terms, the clusters of flowers fill the summer garden with drama and color.

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Monday, August 1, 2011

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Scouring Rush, a Remnant of Ages Past
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Three hundred million years ago, the Equisetums were part of an extensive phylum of plants (Calamophyta) containing many genera. Distinguished by their straight stems with branches or leaves arranged in regular whorls, many of the plyla grew nearly 100 feet tall. The only genus still present is the lowly and sometimes weedy Equisetum, and all that remain are mere remnants of the group’s past glory.

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Monday, July 18, 2011

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Tung-oil, an Environmentally Safe Wood Preservative
By Marie Harrison (can2grow)

Memories of Granddaddy’s tung-oil tree orchard are favorites in my repository of childhood recollections. I recall running among the trees on Sunday afternoons with my cousins. We played war games in their shade, and our weapons of choice were the tung-oil nuts. It took only one or two good hits before we girl cousins threw up the white flag of surrender.

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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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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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