Triangle Gardener-September-October 2019


The September-October 2019 issue of Triangle Gardener magazine - the local guide to enjoyable gardening in Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina



Fall Planting!

it’s the perfect time for plants




Plant Focus: Beautyberry

Unique Trees: For Small Spaces

Natives: Fall Beauties

Save Money: With These Plants


ON THE COVER: Black eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)

/ Pixabay.


Was it Witches or Killer Fungus?......................................3

Plant Focus: Growing Beautyberry...................................5

Best Bang for the Buck: Try These Flowering Plants......6

Why I Raise Monarch Butterflies........................................8

Building Resiliency for Drought and Deluges.................10

10 Unique Trees for Small Gardens.................................12

Native Plants to Add to Your Garden This Fall............14

Be Careful of Fake Information.......................................17

Fall Strategies to Manage Our Hot Summers..............18

Native, Exotic, Invasive, or Aggressive Plants?............19

Exploring the Gardens of Madison, Wisconsin...............20

Visiting Mason Farm..........................................................22

How Plants Use Light for More Than Just Energy.........24

Book Review: Smaller Plants for Smarter Gardens.....25

Garden Tips & Tasks..........................................................26

September-October Garden Events.................................27

Evening Light Snowbell / JC Raulston Arboretum

It was a summer to remember.

Heat, rain, more heat, and then cool

fall-like temperatures in late August.

Whew. That was wild.


Thankfully, we have the fall to

regroup and make new plans for our

gardens. It’s also time to plant; the

fall is the season that many say is

the best time to add new shrubs, trees and perennials to our gardens.

Watch our for the plant sales and get shopping.

How was your garden this past summer? If it didn’t live up to

your expectations because of the weather, the fall is the perfect time

to make some changes. We can count on continued heat and rain

and humidity here, so why are you still growing a garden that will

survive only in several zones north of here?

This fall I plan to move several plants from the containers on my

deck (that serve as my plant nursery) into the landscape, plus rearrange

a few garden areas for better impact. And of course, I’ll go

shopping to pick up a few new beauties to add to my garden. What

do you plan to do this fall?

This summer I had the opportunity to visit several other cities

to discover their gardens, including Madison, Wisconsin. I saw

some beautiful places there, and learned that summer gardening in

Wisconsin isn’t much different from here because it does get hot and

humid there. Winter is a different story, thankfully. You can travel

along with my Madison story in this issue.

I hope you enjoy your garden during this magical season of fall.

TO ADVERTISE CALL 919-926-7501

Beverly Hurley

Publisher / Editor

Rosemarie Wilson


Triangle Web Printing




Dale Batchelor

Val Engel

Kit Flynn

Karen Guy

Melody Hughes

Lise Jenkins

Matt Jones


Tina Mast

Jeana Myers

Michael Pollock

Christine Thomson

Mark Weathington

Helen Yoest

REACH US AT P.O. Box 91132, Raleigh, NC 27675. 919-926-7501

Triangle Gardener is a free bi-monthly publication distributed in the Raleigh-Durham-

Chapel Hill area of North Carolina. Distribution sites are listed on www.TriangleGardener.

com. The views expressed in the publication by contributors and advertisers are not necessarily

those of the publisher Triangle Gardener, LLC. Triangle Gardener assumes no liabilty for

errors or omissions, including typographical errors. Reproduction of articles, photography,

artwork or the compilation thereof is prohibited without written permission of the publisher.

Copyright 2009-2019 by Triangle Gardener, LLC. All rights reserved.



Was it Witches or Killer Fungus?

Is it easier to believe in

witches or killer fungus?

Personally, I’m scared of

killer fungus, because I know

it’s real. But many people

find it easier to believe in witches.

At least they did in Salem, a long

time ago.

In December 1691, two young

girls in Salem, Massachusetts, succumbed

to an attack of violent “fits.”

They screamed, threw things, their

muscles contorted into strange positions,

and they uttered odd sounds.

Others started to develop the same

symptoms and a perplexed doctor

blamed supernatural causes. Fear

gripped the small village while local

magistrates frantically searched for

the cause.

By blaming three local women

for their illness, two of the victims

sparked a fire that burned through

the community. Events unfolded that

resulted in over 200 people being

accused of practicing witchcraft and

20 women executed.

Historians have scrutinized

written records searching for clues

as to the cause of the outbreak,

which led to accusations of witchcraft.

Possible and impossible explanations


As a gardener, I’m captivated by

the explanation that the fungus ergot

(Claviceps purpunea) had infected

the Salem grain supply. Ergot is

powerful stuff—today we use it to

manufacture LSD.

Ergot thrives in cool, damp conditions.

Historical records suggest

Salem experienced below average

temperatures during the 1691-92

growing season. Some of the farmland

in Salem bordered swampy

areas. We also know that the Salem

villagers grew rye—a grain especially

vulnerable to ergot infestation.

Unlike plants, fungi lack chlorophyll

to manufacture their own

food so they feed upon their host

plant. Ergot develops a hard shell

encasing the food it has extracted

from the host plant. This protective

coating looks like a malformed seed.

Because ergot infects the reproduc-

The first documented illnesses began

in the winter and by the following

summer the strange sickness left Salem.

tive parts of the grain, these malformed

“seeds” likely went unnoticed

during Salem’s harvest.

Inside these malformed “seeds”

ergot produces alkaloids which

interfere with human cardiovascular

and neurological functions.

Ingesting the toxin is cumulative—

the more exposure to the toxin the

greater the effect.

Historians think that younger

people in Salem showed symptoms

first because they ingested more

toxin from the infected rye grain per

body weight. Gradually, as adults

ate the contaminated grain, enough

toxins built up in their bodies that

they too became ill. People speculated

the witches were getting bolder

and the hysteria spread.

The first documented illnesses

began in the winter and by the following

summer the strange sickness

left Salem. Had the villagers

vanquished the witches or were they

now able to harvest fresh food from

their fields and no longer consume

the infected rye grain?

As we head towards Halloween

I’m left to wonder, which is scarier:

witches or a killer fungus? Darn

it. Now I’m afraid to go out to my


Lise Jenkins, a newspaper

columnist, volunteers

her time as a Durham

County Extension Master

Gardener. You can find

her on Instagram



In a garden designed for relaxation,

meditation, and renewal.

Now is the time to design

your new garden!

CenterPeace Garden Design

Mary Pat Peters -

The Central Carolina Chrysanthemum Society & Duke Gardens present

A Festival of Fabulous Mums

Nov. 3-5, 2019

Hours: 12-5 p.m. Sunday,

9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Tues.

Free admission. Parking fees apply.

Doris Duke Center, Duke Gardens

Duke University, 420 Anderson St.

Durham, N.C., 27705



© 2019, The Scotts Company, LLC. All rights reserved

Fall in love with your garden,

all over again.

It’s time to revisit the garden with fall plantings. Don’t forget to nourish

with Osmocote ® Smart-Release ® Plant Food. It will feed your plants essential

nutrients consistently and continuously throughout the autumn season.

When perfection matters, why trust anything else?

Plant Focus: Growing Beautyberry

Fruiting shrubs are among

the top treats for the

autumn garden especially

in the south where

fall foliage can be pretty

poor in most years. While the reds

of the hollies and oranges of pyracantha

are lovely, the surprising

purple of beautyberry is a breath of

fresh air in the garden. Callicarpa,

more commonly known as beautyberry,

is a widespread group of

shrubs and trees found in Asia

and North America and into South

America and even Australia and

Madagascar. The temperate species

from Asia and North America are all

deciduous medium to large shrubs.

Although it is a large group,

around 150 species, there are relatively

few which are typically found

in gardens. They all bear dense

clusters of small white to lavender

flowers in summer followed by very

showy glossy fruits, typically purple

with a metallic sheen, but white,

pink, and dark red-violet species and

selections occur. The flowers on all

garden species support a diversity of

pollinators and the fruits are eaten

by birds, although they are generally

not most birds’ first choice. Three

main species make up the most

commonly found forms in nurseries;

one is a Southeastern U.S. native,

and the other two are from Asia.

Our native beautyberry,

Callicarpa americana, makes a

large shrub growing to 6 feet or

more tall and wide with large, felted

Callicarpa ‘NCCX2’ Pearl Glam / Mark Weathington

leaves. The lavender flowers are

attractive up close but are mostly

obscured by the foliage at a distance,

but the fruit show is simply

glorious. Tight clusters of brilliant

purple BB-sized fruit appear at each

leaf node along the stem. It fruits

best in full sun, but will tolerate

considerable shade. Plant it in a

moist, well-drained to permanently

damp spot. An odd characteristic

of American beautyberry is that if

you rub the foliage on your skin, it

deters mosquitoes as well as most

spray repellents.

Both Asian species of beautyberry

commonly seen in the U.S.

are native across most of the southern

half of China and into Japan.

Callicarpa japonica is generally

smaller than our native beautyberry

in all respects growing to about

5 feet tall and wide with a somewhat

upright habit and mid-sized

leaves. The flowers are often paler

than either of the other species and

give rise to clusters of small purple

fruits. C. dichotoma is the smallest

of the beautyberries, generally

only growing to about 4 feet tall and

wide. Although more diminutive

in most respects, leaf size and fruit

size, it actually has larger clusters

of flowers and fruit than its Asian

counterpart. Both of these species

can be grown like their American

relative, but have less of a tolerance

for permanently wet soils.

There are a variety of named

selections of beautyberry including

the beautifully white-margined

C. dichotoma ‘Duet’ released by

the US National Arboretum. While

this form is lovely all summer, it

rarely sets any fruit. A new selection

has been released from Dr. Tom

Ranney’s breeding program at NC

State University. Pearl Glam grows

upright to about 5 feet tall and only

3 feet wide. The foliage is purple

and has light pink-white flowers followed

by a heavy purple fruit set.

If you find yourself bitten by the

beautyberry bug, other selections

are available through better garden

centers and specialty mail-order

nurseries. All beautyberries flower

and fruit on new wood, so plants

can be cut to the ground each winter

to control size and promote more

flowering and fruiting.

Mark Weathington is

the director of the JC

Raulston Arboretum at

NC State University in



Distributed by

Top Choice ® Premium Tall Fescue blend is

available at your local, independent

garden center and hardware store.

Visit to



Best Bang for the Buck: Try These Flowering Plants

While no plant list

is ever complete,

here are some of

the best flowering

plants for our

region which feature long bloom

times. You should be able to find

most of these in garden centers in

early to mid-fall.

Autumn sage (Salvia greggii

cultivars) – This perennial (technically

a subshrub) is a powerhouse

bloomer and tough as nails. The

common name is a bit of a misnomer

since the plant begins blooming

as early as March, weather permitting,

and goes on through summer

and into fall. Drought resistant, pest

and disease resistant, deer resistant,

heat tolerant, and beloved by bees

and hummingbirds, autumn sage

gives great value in the garden.

You can find varieties that bloom in

red, pink, white, yellow, peach, and

purple. Plant in sun.

Repeat-blooming azalea – All

the vivacious, saturated color of

classic azaleas but with two, or even

three, bloom times! Look for varieties

from the Encore, ReBLOOM,

and Bloom-A-Thon series. Most varieties

bloom in spring and again in

late summer or early fall. Loads of

colors available in a range of pinks,

purples, coral, white, and red. Plant

in morning sun with afternoon shade

or bright filtered light.

Fall-blooming camellia –

Large, beautiful flowers in white,

red, and many shades of pink cover

these evergreen shrubs for a stunning

fall display. Bees and other pollinating

insects happily visit them,

and many offer the sweet scent of

daffodils and fresh dirt. Most fall

camellias can be easily trained into

a small tree or espalier, or left on

their own to form rounded shrubs.

Spring-blooming camellias qualify

here, as well, but it is easier to find

a good selection in spring. Plant in

morning sun with afternoon shade

or bright filtered light.

Coneflower – A drift of coneflowers

are enchanting on their own,

but they are also lovely companion

plants to other perennials. Bees

and butterflies drink the nectar and

goldfinches perch adorably on the

flower heads to enjoy the seeds.

Cut back the first round of blooms

to encourage repeat bloom. We

like the Sombrero, PowWow, and

the Cheyenne Spirit series, which

offer more vigor and more colors to

gardeners and greater capacity for

re-bloom. Plant in sun to part sun.

Lenten rose/Hellebore – From

late February until mid to late April,

Lenten roses are perennials that

provide heaps of blooms of great

variety. They are workhorses in

the garden, too, being evergreen,

drought tolerant, deer resistant, and

long-lived all while providing an

important early season food source

for bees. Plant in morning sun with

afternoon shade or bright filtered


399 Dairyland Road

Dwarf Butterfly Bush – The

number of new varieties of butterfly

bush that have come out in the last

10 to 15 years has been astounding.

There has been an expansion

of colors to include more cranberry,

pink, lilac, purple-blue, and magenta

colors, and many dwarf varieties

that obliterated the need to prune the

plants every year to keep them to a

reasonable size. Some notable varieties

include ‘Purple Haze’, ‘Blue

Heaven’, the Pugster series (which

has the fattest bloom spikes ever),

and the Buzz series. As advertised,

these plants are butterfly magnets.

They are also easy to grow with few

pest or disease issues and will happily

grow in sun to part sun.

Dwarf crepe myrtle – We

all love crepe myrtle trees, those

heatseeking blooming machines that

they are, but how about the dwarf

shrub types? They sport all the heat

tolerance, disease resistance, and

long bloom time (at least 60 days)

of their taller brethren, but in plants

that grow 2-3 feet or 3-4 feet tall

making them excellent for use in a

A Full Line of Landscaping Products



Quality Mulches:

Hardwood, Pine & Cedar

J.V. Brockwell

A family-run business for over 60 years offering high-quality

landscaping materials and friendly service.

Railroad Ties






Camellia Autumn Sunrise/ Tina Mast

Designer Mulch Organically Dyed

in Red, Black, Dark Brown

Pick Up or





& River Rock





Pugster Pink Buddleia/ Tina Mast


Cheyenne Spirit/ Tina Mast

mixed flower border. Some of them

also have great fall color. Plant in


Perennial hibiscus – The word

“showy” barely does justice to these

bombshells. Massive, 8-12 inch

wide, colorful blooms in pink, red,

white, or dark wine erupt over the

plant in June and keep coming into

September. Pollinators, especially

bees, are attracted to them, and their

handsome palmate foliage, especially

of the wine-colored varieties,

often provides nice contrast to other

plants nearby. Their only real pest

is Japanese beetles. Avoiding those

and watering during dry spells will

keep the plants attractive and robust.

Honorable mentions – ‘Ms.

Huff’ and ‘Ham ‘n Eggs’ lantana.

The only reason these are honorable

mentions is because they need to be

planted in late spring or summer and

one cannot usually find them for fall

planting. However, these are powerhouse

perennials that bloom all

summer and into fall, attract many

pollinators, and are easy-to-grow

plants that are heat and drought

tolerant as well as pest, disease, and

deer resistant. Plant in full sun.

Tina Mast is

Communications Director

for Homewood Nursery

& Garden Center in

Raleigh, NC, and and

can be reached at (919)

847-0117 or info@




With Our Seeding Packages


DELIVERY Cost Included

Package 1

Covers up to 4,000 sq.ft.

Price: $239.99

(was $267.89)


• 1 cubic yard BigYellowBag Soil 3

organic humus compost

• 25 lb. bag Blue Tag – Elite Tall

Fescue Seed

• 50 lb. bag Fast-Acting Lime

Package 2

Covers up to 8,000 sq.ft

Price: $439.99

(was $491.85)


• 2 cubic yard BigYellowBags Soil 3

organic humus compost

• 50 lb. bag Blue Tag – Elite Tall

Fescue Seed

• 50 lb. bag Fast-Acting Lime


At your local super-sod

Package 1

Covers up to 4,000 sq.ft.

Price: $95.99

(was $102.89)


• 25 lb. bag Blue Tag – Elite Tall

Fescue Seed

• 25 lb. bag 18-24-12 Starter


• 50 lb. bag Fast-Acting Lime

Package 2

Covers up to 8,000 sq.ft

Price: $145.99

(was $155.90)


• 50 lb. bag Blue Tag – Elite Tall

Fescue Seed

• 50 lb. bag 18-24-12 Starter


• 50 lb. bag Fast-Acting Lime





$100 OFF

Projects Over $700*

$200 OFF

Projects Over $1700*

$300 OFF

Projects Over $3000*

*Not Valid with other offers. Expires 10/31/2019


For All Of Your Tree Work, Call The

Triangle’s Best Tree Service Since 1996!


Tree Removal & Trimming,

Pruning, Stump Grinding,

and Demolition

Call Today for a

FREE Estimate!



(after hours & emergency)

$2 Million Workers’ Comp &

General Liability

Our Customers Say It Best

” ...we were impressed with

the professionalism of the

entire crew - they arrived on

time, knew what they were

doing, completed the job

quickly and efficiently, cleaned

up the area ... All the workers

were friendly & courteous. I

would recommend A+ Tree

without hesitation.

They are top notch!”


1900 NC Highway 55

Cary, NC 27519

Deals End October 31

919- 836- 0492



1225 Farmers Market Drive

Raleigh, NC 27603


The flight of the monarch

butterfly has given merriment

to millions of

observers. Their striking

orange color could

be part of this reason; monarchs are

quite lovely. Most likely knowing

about their migration navigation

fascinates you. It’s hard to wrap our

heads around the thought of a single

insect making its way 3,000 miles to

the mountains of Mexico to hibernate

on oyamel fir trees.

Each year, fewer and fewer

monarchs return to their winter

hibernation site. In the last 20 years,

the monarch butterfly population has

declined by 90 percent with blips of

growth in random years.

Year to year, it is hard to predict

the numbers of growth or decline. In

2018, there was an actual increase in

the numbers of monarchs in Mexico,

but the question now is can this be

sustained. With so many factors

contributing to the decline, it is

impossible to say.

How You Can Help

If we raised eggs or larvae in

our garden, will we help the cause?

If you read the experts, and I do,

Chip Taylor, emeritus ecology professor

at the University of Kansas

and director of Monarch Watch

tells us, “The real reason for raising

monarch butterflies is for the enjoyment,

the education.” Taylor doesn’t

believe individual efforts to raise

monarch butterflies to adulthood

will do much to restore the monarch

population. His focus is on helping

build habitats. But I ask you this: if

we grow more milkweed aren’t we

helping build habitats as well? Of

course, we are.


Why I Raise Monarch Butterflies

Raising monarch butterflies can

be for more than just enjoyment or

education. Did you know monarch

eggs only have a five percent chance

of reaching adulthood. Maybe I

alone won’t make a dent in increasing

the populations, but what if a

thousand people did? What if a million

people did? Triangle gardeners

can be leaders.

By growing more milkweed

and raising eggs or caterpillars to

adulthood, we will increase the adult

survival rate from just five percent

to nearly 95 percent. Don’t you

think this is a worthy cause?

Fountains • Pottery Containers • Water Features

Located at the State Farmers Market

Life Cycle Duration

All butterflies have four life

cycles: egg, caterpillar, chrysalis,

and adult. The amount of time spent

within each cycle varies, and is

very much temperature dependent.

The warmer it is, the faster an adult

monarch will emerge.

Egg: The egg cycle lasts from

one to three days. I don’t tend to

find a monarch at any stage until the

larvae are big enough for me to find

their frass. I guess I don’t have an

eagle eye. But once I can see their

poop on the milkweed leaves below,

I know they’re there.


Monarch growing chamber / Helen Yoest

Caterpillar: The caterpillar stage

can last from five to 15 days. As

the caterpillar grows, their ending

weight will expand to 3,000 times

its initial weight. These little guys

are eating machines. The monarch

caterpillar has five instars (molts),

each one lasting from one to three

days each.

Chrysalis: The chrysalis stage

lasts from 10 to 14 days.

Adult: An adult is expected to

live for two months. When the adult

monarch butterfly emerges, it is in

a very vulnerable state. It takes two

to four hours for its wings to fill and


2nd Annual Pine Knot Farms

Fall Open House

We’ll have a wide variety of

Hellebores available, plus a

great selection of plants from:

-Superior Plants Nursery (Benson, NC)

-Putnam Hill Nursery (Forest Hill, MD)

-John Lonsdale (Exton, PA)

October 4 and 5

9am ‘til 4pm


Just over the NC

state line in

Clarksville, VA


A Word of Warning

A recent study using egg, larvae, and adults found that those

purchased from a breeding house have lost their navigational

abilities to fly south. The conclusion was mail-order butterflies

come from stocks that haven’t migrated for generations, and

they probably accumulated genetic changes that broke that

ancestral ability.

The bottom line, don’t purchase monarch eggs or larvae from a

breeding house. If you want to raise monarchs, do so from eggs

or caterpillars from your own backyard or local vicinity. There

has been no evidence that educators and home enthusiasts raising

monarch eggs or larvae from their own garden are contributing

to this problem. The problem lies in purchasing eggs or

larvae to raise at home.

dry and is often done so by sunning

with its wings open in the dorsal

state. In this state, they are obvious

and defenseless.


Predators may feed on eggs,

larvae chrystalis, adults, or all the

stages. A few to know are ants,

aphids, assassin bugs, lizards, mice,

lizards, mice, and mites as well

as spiders, stink bugs, toads, and

tachinid flies.

How to Raise Monarchs

We at Bee Better Naturally raise

our monarchs in two chambers.

A smaller chamber for eggs and

the larvae up to one week old is a

recommend. Keep them separate or

otherwise they will be cannibalized.

First Chamber—Raising from

eggs to one-week caterpillars:

Check your milkweed daily for newly

laid eggs. Remember, they will be

on the underside of a milkweed leaf.

Pluck the leaf with eggs and put it in

the bottom of the first chamber.

After a couple of days, the

caterpillar will emerge. After about

a week as a caterpillar, transfer



going out of

business sale!

c25% off Sept. 2 - Sept. 22

cSept. 23 - Oct. 18 ... all

plants 50% off (or more!)

cOct 18 last day of business

Open every day 9/2-10/18

1111 Dawson Road CH 27516

(West of Carrboro off Old G’boro Rd.)

the young caterpillar to the second

chamber to feed out the remainder

of their cycle and to form a chrysalis

within the second chamber.

Second Chamber—Raising from

one-week caterpillars to chrysalis:

Refresh milkweed as needed. Floral

vials come in handy to keep milkweed

clippings fresh longer. As the

caterpillars exhaust the milkweed,

refresh. With a tall enough chamber,

you can also put a plant in there for

feed. I keep extra one gallon plants

around for this purpose. Once the

Come see Camellias

in bloom at our

Open House



4-6, 11-13,


Fri & Sat


Sun 12-5pm

25% off all



milkweed of one plant is exhausted,

I trade it out for a fresh one.

It is essential to keep the bottom

of the chamber clean. I recommend

putting newspaper at the bottom to

catch the frass. Change out as needed.

Young caterpillars won’t poop

big, but as the caterpillars grow, so

does their frass. Replace the paper

daily for good housekeeping. Good

housekeeping is key to reducing the

spread of disease.

If you choose to raise monarchs,

grow lots and lots of milkweed.

Stop by Homewood


Locally grown pumpkins

Locally grown pansies

Fall containers

Sign Up For



to 77948



1-2 msgs/mo

opt out anytime

Think of it this way: while you may

think you have a lot of milkweed

for those monarchs in your garden

now, it may not be enough if you are

rescuing them, thus increasing their

chances of survival. More will live

to adulthood. Plant extra milkweed.

Ornamental cabbage & gourds

Homewood-grown mums

Fall gifts & home decor

Helen Yoest is the executive

director of Bee Better, an

area non-profit 501(C)(3)

designing and educating

area homeowners about

building better backyards

for birds, bees, and


Don’t Miss Our September Fall Plant Sale

25% OFF Shrubs, Trees & Perennials

August 30-September 14

10809 Honeycutt Rd., Raleigh

(919) 847-0117

Sign up for E-news at


Building Resiliency for Drought and Deluges

In the southeastern United

States, we have always dealt

with short term droughts

interspersed with copious

rainfall. Climatologists are

predicting this will continue, but

with more of both. Since dry heat

and heavy rainfall events in the last

couple of years have already tested

our landscapes, how do we build resiliency

into our lawns and gardens

to withstand these extremes?

When It’s Hot and Dry

Plants have varying degrees of

tolerance for dry or wet roots, so

choosing the right plant for the right

place is always the first step. This

includes trees and shrubs. They may

be slower to die than an annual or

perennial, but three weeks of no rain

in a hot summer can severely damage

roots especially if the plants are

at the top of the slope, in full sun, or

near concrete. Give these sun loving

plants a good 2 to 3 inch layer of

mulch and consider having a drip

irrigation system ready if needed.

Drip irrigation lines are more

efficient than overhead or pop up

sprinklers, and can be repaired if

they leak, unlike soaker hoses. They

do require a pressure regulator, but

can be nicely customized to your

garden, fit with a timer, and provide

water directly to the rooting area,

which minimizes evaporative loss

and saves you money. You can put a

light layer of mulch over the lines to

make them invisible.

Water barrels and cisterns are

excellent for capturing rain, but try

to install the largest one your space

and budget will allow. A 50-gallon

barrel will only water a 10 by 10

foot area for one week at the recommended

rate of 1 inch of water. But

a 1 inch rainfall will easily fill the

two 350-gallon tanks against our

house. Watering from a cistern will

usually require a pump to provide

pressure equal to a city water line.

Offer afternoon shade to your

landscape via trees, arbors with

vines, shade cloths, and fencing.

We need more trees to keep our

landscapes cool, so if a large tree

won’t fit, plant several smaller trees

– maybe some with edible fruit.

Fescue lawns generally require

irrigation during the heat of summer,

so if you want to move towards less

water expenditures, a warm season

lawn like Bermuda, zoysia or centipede

may be a good option.

When It’s Soaking Wet

We have less control over

Shade and water cover

heavy rains than we do drought, so

prior planning is important. How

your landscape is contoured will

determine water flow, and anything

you can do to slow that movement

will protect your soil and plants

from erosion. Arrange planting

beds against the flow of water and

consider planting swaths of fibrous

rooted plants like ornamental

grasses to act as water dams and

filters. Tree and shrub cover reduce



















Building swales and rain

gardens to capture and help with infiltration

may be useful where large

amounts of water tend to flow. Rain

gardens support plants that tolerate

short term excesses of water, but

should completely drain in 24 hours.

They can be both functional and

quite beautiful.

The more trees, shrubs and

plants we have in our landscapes,

the more cooling and infiltration

impact we get. This is great news

for those of us who love to garden –

plant more! And do some planning

for those super dry and super wet

days we are sure to have here in the


Photos by Jeana Myers.

Jeana Myers, PhD, is

the Horticulture Agent

for Wake County. For

gardening questions,

contact the Extension

Master Gardeners of

Wake County at 919-

250-1084 or email



Grasses, ground cover and stones slow water

A cistern

droplet impact and improve infiltration

of water.

Flower and vegetable beds

should be raised 4 to 8 inches to

allow for root drainage. Trees and

shrubs need to be planted above

grade as well because the soil will

settle over time and poor drainage

often leads to root disease or

drowning. Try to raise the general

area around a tree, rather than just a

tiny hill, to ensure the tree roots will

have a well-drained area to grow

for many years. Container gardens

are always an option as they drain


Mulches protect the soil but

keep applications to 2 to 3 inches to

avoid a shortage of air to the roots.

Shredded mulch and pine straw tend

to stay in place better than wood

chips when on a slope, however,

shredded mulch may take longer to

dry as it packs tighter. Small to midsized

stones work well as mulch

with heat-loving plants although

they will still require the occasional

weeding. Cover crops such as

crimson clover and annual rye can

provide ground protection during

cool months in areas where other

plants are not growing.

We specialize in the rare and wonderful.

With a wide range of unique landscape

shrubs, trees, camellias, Japanese maples,

perennials, and tropicals.

Be among the FIRST

to own our new patented

Magnolia figo ‘Stellar Ruby’

- a fantastic specimen plant

or great for screening.


25 00

Per 3-Cubic

Yard Scoop

Trucks and trailers only.

We load, you tarp!

Orange County Landfill

1514 Eubanks Road, Chapel Hill • Mon-Fri 7am-4pm • Sat. 8am-Noon

(919) 968-2788

Open Fridays, Saturdays 9-5 and Sundays 1-5

October 4 - November 30

3500 Edgemont Road, Wendell NC 27591

(Google map use 3504 Edgemont Road)


10 Unique Trees for Small Gardens

The go-to dwarf tree

these days is without

a doubt the Japanese

maple, but if you’re

looking for something

a bit different and don’t have a lot

of space, consider one of these other

specimen trees that won’t outgrow

your garden.

Little King River Birch (Betula

nigra ‘Little King’): While most

River Birches will quickly outgrow

a small garden, Little King keeps

a dwarf habit, reaching only 8 to

10 feet tall and 9 to 12 feet wide in

10 years. Cinnamon colored bark

exfoliates to reveal pale inner bark

underneath. Because River Birches

are tolerant of flooding, this is the

perfect choice for a wet area of the

garden, although it is also tolerant of

drier soils as well. Fall color is yellow.

Grow in full sun to part shade.

Rising Sun Redbud (Cercis

canadensis ‘Rising Sun’): One

of the first bloomers of spring,

lavender-pink blossoms cover the

branches of this stunning tree before

foliage emerges. Then, heart-shaped

leaves burst forth a pale orange,

transforming into various shades of

yellow and gold and then lime green

in summer. If your specimen is

kept sufficiently moist, new growth

should continue to flush throughout

the growing season, giving your tree

a gorgeous three-toned color palette.

By fall, flowers have developed into

seed pods that attract a variety of

songbirds, and leaves turn gold. Rising

Sun grows 8 to 12 feet tall and 6

to 8 feet wide in 10 years. Grow in

full sun or part shade.

Yadkin Creeper Fringe Tree

(Chionanthus retusus ‘Yadkin

Creeper’): First discovered in a

small nursery in western North

Carolina, the first specimen of this

dwarf Fringe Tree was grown at the

JC Raulston Arboretum, and is now

available to the retail market. This

unique tree has a spreading habit

similar to a small Japanese Maple,

reaching just 6 feet tall and 8 feet

wide in 15 years. In spring, white

fringe-like flowers blanket the bare

Free Shred and Recycle Event

for Raleigh Residents

Residents and small businesses will get an opportunity

to protect themselves from identity theft by

recycle event.

branches. Bark is exfoliating and

ornamental in winter. Grow in sun

or part shade.

Mariken Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba

Mariken’): Perfect for a modern

or Asian-themed garden, Mariken

Ginkgo reaches 6 feet tall and 6

feet wide in 10 years. Believed to

be the oldest living species of tree,

Ginkgo dates back over 200 million

years in China, Japan, and Korea. Its

uniquely shaped fan-like leaves turn

a stunning golden-yellow in fall.

Grow in full sun.

Inspiration Michelia (Magnolia

laevifolia ‘Inspiration’): This

small evergreen Magnolia (formally

classified as a Michelia) grows

8 to 10 feet tall and 5 feet wide.

In spring, white sweetly fragrant

flowers emerge from fuzzy buds

Rising Sun redbud

that have been providing interest all

winter. Grow in sun to partial sun in

acidic, moist soil. This tree is hardy

from zone 7b to 9b – mulch heavily

to preserve heat during winter and

plant in a protected spot.

Kojo no mai Cherry (Prunus

incisa ‘Kojo no mai’): Also known

as Fugi Cherry or Contorted Cherry,

is the perfect flowering cherry for

small spaces. Reaching just 8 feet

tall and wide, it will add interest to

your garden for three seasons. In

spring, bare branches are covered

with crimson red buds, blossoming

into pale pink flowers that fade to

white. Fall color is a brilliant red orange.

The zig-zag habit of branches

provides architectural interest to the

winter garden. Grow in full sun in

well-drained, moist soil.


Wilders Grove

Solid Waste Services Facility

630 Beacon Lake Drive, Raleigh


Here’s what you should know:


November 16, 2019

9 a.m. - 12 noon

• Limit 3 boxes or bags of documents per person.

• Only paper products will be shredded.

• Magazines and catalogs should be recycled.

• Computers, TVs, phones and other electronic

devices are welcome for recycling.

Fall is the

BEST time

to plant!


2704 Burlington Mills Rd.

Wake Forest, NC 27587

Your Local Garden Store in Wake Forest

Annuals, Perennials, Shrubs, Trees, Houseplants and Garden Décor



looms that develop into pale green

drupes later in summer. Grow in full

sun to part shade in moist, welldrained

soil. If kept moist through

summer, Evening Light may rebloom

in fall.

Kojo no mai cherry

Crimson Cascade Weeping

Peach (Prunus x ‘Crimson Cascade’):

This incredible specimen

tree will make your garden the

envy of your neighborhood. Stunning

double crimson-pink blossoms

cover the bare, weeping branches

in spring, followed by leaves that

emerge maroon before fading to

summer green. Mature size maxes

out at 10 to 12 feet tall and 8 feet

wide. Don’t plan to harvest any

peaches, however – the fruit is small

and of low quality – but leave if for

wildlife. Grow in full sun.

Green Bullet Umbrella Pine

(Sciadopitys verticillata ‘Gruene

Kugel’): This eye-catching conifer

is one of the more unique conifers

available to the retail market. Habit

is dense and well branched, with

thick, dark green and shiny needles

that are arranged in a whorl resembling

an umbrella. Green Bullet

is a dwarf cultivar developed in

Germany reaching only 4 feet tall

Mariken ginkgo

and 3 feet wide in ten years. Umbrella

Pines grow slow, but the wait

is worth it. Grow in full sun to part

shade in well-draining soil. This

plant does not like wet feet.

Evening Light Snowbell (Styrax

japonicus ‘Evening Light’): Add

drama to your garden with this

Snowbell that grows to just 10 feet

tall and 5 feet wide with a compact,

vase-like habit. Leaves emerge

dusky purple, followed by a profusion

of fragrant white bell-shaped

Peve Miniaret Bald Cypress

(Taxodium distichum ‘Peve Miniaret’):

One of the few conifers that

loses its leaves in winter, Bald Cypress

are native to North Carolina,

where it grows naturally in swamps

and marshes. If you have a wet area

of your yard, this is an excellent

plant to address the problem without

spending lots of money on drainage

systems. Unlike the species, Peve

Miniaret reaches just 6 feet tall and

3 feet wide in ten years. Fern-like

foliage transforms to burnt orange in

fall. Bark is reddish in color, adding

winter interest to the garden.

Photos by the JC Raulston


Val Engel is the

Marketing Director

at Atlantic Gardening

Company and can be

reached at vengel@

Royal Flush


Camellia 'GNC CAM1' PPAF

Compact growth habit. Rose & pink blooms. Blooms in Fall & Winter. USDA Z7

Only at


Maryland golden aster / R.W. Smith-LBJ Wildflower Center

Native Plants to Add to

Your Garden This Fall

North American native

plants have been

making their way

into horticulture and

gardens since at least

1783 when Philadelphia’s Bartram

Nursery published their first “catalog,”

a list of 220 trees, shrubs, and

herbaceous plants they were offering

for sale.

William Bartram traveled

extensively in the Southeast collecting

specimens for propagation at

his family’s nursery. William’s finds

included many regional treasures

still in gardens today such as oakleaf

hydrangea and bottlebrush buckeye.

One discovery, Franklin tree

(Franklinia altamaha), has never

again been located in the wild, but

descendants of the original plant

still flourish in gardens.

Today, North American

botanists continue to explore and

discover unidentified species, while

botanic gardens and other institutions

propagate and trial native plant

species to select those suitable for

gardens. Responding to the demand


for plants that have co-evolved with

our pollinators, local garden centers

and nurseries offer an ever-increasing

variety of native species.

Nevertheless a number of native

plants that I consider cornerstones of

my garden are not readily found in

some parts of the U.S. Fortunately,

those of us living in the Triangle

have a number of options for adding

these little known treasures to our

home landscapes.

Almost 25 years ago, I began

removing the English Ivy that

covered most of our heavily shaded

front and side yards. I was amazed

to find a small-leafed, low-growing

evergreen groundcover emerging in

the areas cleared of ivy. The plant

was a new and exciting discovery to

me, prompting my continued interest

in Southeastern native plants;

however, my husband knew it as

a common plant his mother called

“Turkey Berry.” Later I learned the

plant’s more widely used name, partridgeberry

(Mitchella repens). Both

names refer to the bright red berries

that follow twin white flowers in

spring. It’s hard to imagine this tiny

groundcover could be in the same

family as gardenias unless you get

close enough to smell the flowers.

An excellent avenue for learning

about native plants already growing

on your property is membership

in the North Carolina Native Plant

Society. Local chapters organize

outings to natural areas and statewide

meetings include plant sales

and swaps. While no one should be

collecting plants in the wild as in

Bartram’s day, NCNPS members

have opportunities to participate in

organized plant rescues from areas

slated for development.

Triangle gardeners can take

advantage also of public garden

plant sales as a source for hard to

find natives. Two plants topping

my list of “hard to find natives that

should be in every garden” came

to me through the North Carolina

Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill.

Each year the NCBG partners

with the Garden Club of North

Carolina to name a North Carolina

Wildflower of the Year. I cannot

imagine gardening without two of

those winners. Selected in 2014,

hoary skullcap (Scutellaria incana)

starts producing its icy blue flowers

as the summer heat peaks and other

flowers start to fade. It continues

blooming into fall, thriving in my

full sun border without irrigation.

The plants seem to buzz all day with

bumblebees crawling in and out of

their helmet-shaped flowers.

Last year’s winner, Maryland

golden aster (Chrysopsis mariana),

produces a mass of bright-yellow,

button-like flowers from August to

October. The flowers are welcome

when they arrive, but the plants

are an attractive feature throughout

the growing season with bluegreen

foliage and a neat, mounding

habit. Golden aster is easily grown,

tolerating clay soils, in sun or part

shade. I added golden aster to my

garden by propagating it from seed I

acquired from NCBG’s annual seed

distribution for members.

Gardeners in our area are also

fortunate to have local plant nurseries

that feature or specialize in na-


Euphorbia corollata / Dale Batchelor

Yellow sundrops (Oenothera fruticosa)

Stephanie Brundage-LBJ Wildflower Center

tive plants and some private gardens

that feature open days with plant

sales. Two stalwarts in the least

hospitable spots in my garden have

come from these sources.

Flowering spurge (Euphorbia

corollata) occurs naturally from

New England west to Minnesota

and south to Florida, but is rarely

encountered in gardens. While it

lacks an appealing common name,

flowering spurge offers just about

everything else a gardener could ask

for: the ability to thrive in sun or

part shade, drought-tolerance, flowers

from April until September, and

brilliant fall color. The tiny, starkly

white flowers look cool on the

hottest days of summer. Euphorbia

stems contain a milky sap, so typically

they are not browsed by deer.

I first encountered yellow

sundrops (Calylophus serrulatus)

during a visit to Montrose Gardens

in Hillsborough. Though native

to more western states, this plains

species is closely related to our

local sundrops (Oenothera fruticosa).

Yellow sundrops form a

low-growing, shrubby mound with

needle-like bright green foliage. A

flush of brilliant yellow flowers in

May is followed by sporadic blooms

throughout summer. An annual cutback

in late winter to keep the plant

in bounds is the only maintenance

required. Their extended season

of bloom and year round presence

make yellow sundrops a must-have


Alan Cressler

LBJ Wildflower Center

for my sunny and dry front border.

I recently saw a selection

of Calylophus serrulatus called

‘Prairie Lode’ on a Virginia wholesale

grower’s availability list. While

I’m excited to see more hard to find

natives become widely available, I

am grateful to live in this area that

has other unique sources.

Dale Batchelor owns

Gardener by Nature LLC,

a residential design and

consultation company

in Raleigh emphasizing

sustainable landscapes

and native plants. With

her husband, John

Thomas, she co-created Swiftbrook Gardens,

a habitat certified by the N.C. Native Plant

Society and the National Wildlife Federation.

Hoary skullcap / Dale Batchelor




Fake information is

all around us—and

I’m getting tired of it.

Surprisingly, it exists in

many of the national gardening

magazines, especially in lists

compiled by writers who obviously

know little about gardening. As

readers—and gardeners—we have

to beware of some of this.

I believe that a good gardening

article should educate the reader.

And therein lies the problem: Often

editors of general-themed magazines

will assign a gardening topic to a

non-gardener. This is a bit akin to

a non-cook writing out a recipe on

how to make crème brûlée, resulting

in the novice cook throwing up her

hands in failure.

I recently came across an article,

“The South’s Best Fragrant Plants

for Your Garden,” leaving me to

shaking my head in disgust as this

article could only lead to disaster.

“Climbing roses” headed the list.

Now I know a lot about climbing

roses. Some are fragrant and some

are not. Just because a rose throws

out long canes does not mean it carries

an aroma.

In second place, “wisteria” sent

shivers up my spine. Our native

wisteria, W. frutescens, is not as

aggressive as the Asian wisterias,

but it still is a beast that needs to be

tamed. As Alan Armitage, renowned

horticulturalist at the University of

Georgia, famously said, “Within

five years it will have covered half

of your house.” As gorgeous and

fragrant as they are, the exotic wisterias

should never be planted in our

gardens—and the native wisteria is

not for the inexperienced gardener.

Be Careful of Fake Information

Ken’s Produce & Garden Center

Your Place for Fall Decorations!

And much more!

Clematis terniflora (sometimes

listed as C. paniculata) also made

the list. I once lusted after Sweet

Autumn Clematis, a particularly

dangerous plant because it is so

lovely. It is also an invasive seeder

that has escaped into the wild in

the Midwest, the East, and the

Appalachians. Once you have it, you

will never be able to get rid of it.

Fortunately, I did my homework

before purchasing it, saving me

from a lot of aggravation. There are

so many wonderful clematises out

there so why select one that should

have no place in our gardens? Try

our native C. virginiana if you’re

dying to have a clematis that grows

25 feet in length and puts out small

white flowers.

Oriental lilies also made the list.

Now I love lilies and would love to

grow the gorgeous—and fragrant—

oriental lilies in my garden, but they

want a cooler summer than we can

supply them here in the Piedmont.

The asiatic and orienpet lilies do

well here and many of the orienpets

perfume the air. Anyone who tries

to grow the oriental lilies here is

doomed to failure after a few years.

The last item on the list was

Elaeagnus pungens, a plant that is

on the Federal Noxious Weed list.

Need I say anything more?

Another list I came across was

one recording plants that showed

3175 Benson Highway, Garner • 919-779-4765

well at night because they were

white. Listed was the previously discussed

Clematis terniflora and garlic

chives. Now garlic chives are a great

herb to grow—if you are diligent

about cutting off the flowers. Allium

tuberosum will seed all over your

garden, producing young garlic

While I admit to reading these lists at

times, I expect the writer to do a minimum

of research before putting pen to paper.

chives that are so firmly rooted in

that they are impossible to pull out.

Instead, try planting regular chives,

A. schoenoprasum, whose purple

flowers are not excessively seedy.

Anyone can make up a list of

plants that has a shared characteristic,

such as fragrance or color.

While I admit to reading these lists

at times, I expect the writer to do a

minimum of research before putting

pen to paper. All too often the

Farmers Area

Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables,

Seasonal Trees, Shrubbery,

Flowers, Herbs, Honey and More!

Market Shoppes

NC All Meats, Natural Cheeses, NC Meats Fresh & Cheeses, Seafood,


NC Products,

Wines, Baked





Baked Goods, Fruits and

Vegetables, Ice Cream, Candies,

Vegetables, Custom Framing,










lister has given little thought to the

accuracy of the information.

These articles—and they are by

no means the only ones—simply

encourage us to plant unsuitable

plants that will either overtake the

garden or are guaranteed to disappoint.

A simple search on the web

would have rectified many of these


The best thing to do, I think,

is to read these articles as though

they were editorials. Otherwise, you

might find yourself the proud owner

of a scentless climbing rose or a

wisteria that has buried your house.

After joining the

Durham County

Extension Master

Gardeners in 2003, Kit

Flynn now has emeritus

status. She writes

gardening articles for

the Durham County

Extension Master

Gardener newsletter, an online magazine

“Senior Correspondent,” and “The Absentee

Gardeners” column for “The Blowing Rocket”

with Lise Jenkins.

Nahunta Pork


Market Imports

State Farmers

Market Restaurant

NC Seafood


Super Sod

I-40, Exit 297

Lake Wheeler Rd.


Fall Strategies to Manage Our Hot Summers

This last summer was

hot! Consecutive days

in the mid-90s were

tough on my garden

and left me with a few

casualties. Many of the plants in the

garden were stressed and needed

extra attention (not something I am

fond of doing.)

So, this fall I am getting an early

start and with a better plan. Here are

some guidelines and plant suggestions

that will lighten your work

load and maximize your success this


First, try to stick with native

plants. They are less demanding,

and using native plants helps to

sustain native butterflies, beneficial

insects, and many species of birds.

These birds and insects will then

help control many of the diseases

common in our landscapes.

Second, make sure you are

installing any new plants in the best

conditions possible. Do your research.

If the tag says full sun, know

it won’t do well without 6 to 8 hours

Up and Doing It


We specialize in Organic

Gardening using

all organic


Other services:

Planting, Pruning,

Mulching, Maintenance,

Design & Installation

Lisa Longerich

(919) 949-8764

of sunlight; roses are a good example

of this. Part sun or part shade

means 3 to 6 hours of sun a day and

full shade means lack of sun or less

than two hours per day. Personally, I

would only expose a shaded plant to

morning sun, which is not as harsh

as the afternoon sun.

Lastly, plant any trees or

shrubs in fall, or early this winter.

Technically, you can plant all year

long in the Triangle, but the amount

of effort to establish a new plant will

be drastically more difficult in the

summer months.

Temperatures reaching the high

90s for an extended period of time

will cause most plants to struggle,

making them more susceptible to

disease and requiring more time to

become established. This, in turn,

will require more effort on your


Black eyed Susan

Butterfly weed

In general, a new plant is established

once the root system is developed;

and in order to know this,

you should see new growth on the

stems. However, keep in mind that it

can take a shrub up to a year to get

established in its new environment

and up to three years for a tree.

Native Plants To Use

Common Witch Hazel

Hairy coreopsis

Virginia Sweetspire

Wild blue phlox


Black Eyed Susan

Maiden Hair Fern

Wild Indigo

Wild Columbine

Jo-Pye Weed

For a list of more great

native plant options check

out the North Carolina

Native Plant Society website


Start planning now for your

summer garden and have all your

new plants in by winter so they will

be rooted and healthy before the

summer begins.

Avoid planting any trees or

shrubs in the summer, as it will

make your life a whole lot harder

than it needs to be.

Gardening is a labor of love, but

it can also be a lot of work. Wise

planning now will not only make

your life easier, but your plants

healthier and you happier.

Melody Hughes is a

Wake County

Extension Master

Gardener and

also writes garden

articles for the

“Cary Citizen.”


Visit these vendors at the

State Farmers Market for

plants and garden decor!

Open 7 Days a Week!

Lake Wheeler Rd., I-40, Exit 297

Black Bamboo, Clumping &

Screening Bamboo

Over 60 varieties. 919-370-6375.



J&C Greenhouses

North Carolina grown one-of-a-kind

succulents & cacti. Spaces 68-70.

Market Imports

Fountains • Pottery • Water Features

• Birdbaths • Trellises • Garden Benches.

McLamb Nursery/

Kevin Ingram

Wide variety of trees & shrubs.

Delivery and planting available.


Annuals • Perennials • Herbs • Veggies



All Campbell Road

grown plants.

Not to be combined with any

other offer or sale. Expires 10/31/19

Shrubs • Container Gardens


2804 Campbell Rd, Raleigh

perennials, shrubs, grasses, trees,

vines, ferns & bog plants


Retail by appointment: 919-444-9902

880 Buteo Ridge, Pittsboro, NC 27312


Cure Nursery 2016 AD oakleafs.indd 1

7/9/2018 7:31:15 AM

Native, Exotic, Invasive, or Aggressive Plants?

Native plants are

species that were

here before gardeners

started carrying

plants into their gardens

from other parts of the world.

They are indigenous.

As soon as European settlers arrived

in North America, they began

bringing plants from their homelands

and introducing new species.

Humans have bred, shared, and

moved plants from one region of the

globe to another since well, since

they started growing plants. We do it

all the time, so what’s the problem?

Well maybe there isn’t a problem

for some plants. They are well

behaved exotics or introduced

plants. They provide more benefits

than harm. Tomato sandwich anyone?

Like many of our favorite vegetables,

tomatoes are an introduced

species. Or how about crapemyrtles,

though there is disagreement on how

to spell these.

The value of exotics can’t be

disputed, however there are some

that cross the line. They are known

as invasive. We aren’t talking about

native plants that have aggressive

behavior, like spiderwort or bee

balm and bergamot. These plants

may be a bit too vigorous for some

gardens, but they are species of

Tradescantia and Monarda that

originated in North America. We

call these plants aggressive natives.

They do have a place in the landscape,

just not next to your prized

peony or pricy perennial.

So, what’s the big problem with

exotic plants that behave badly?

These plants escape the garden,

moving into natural areas where

Make us your Destination for

Houseplants and Gifts

$10 off $30 or more

City Garden Design

117 W. Chatham St, Cary (Ashworth Village)


they outcompete and displace native

plants. They may have been valued

in the past, but now we know they

do more harm than good.

Examples include the once

recommended Bradford pear, Pyrus

calleryana ‘Bradford.’ We now

know this tree as an invasive threat

that forms thickets, choking out

native trees. The attractively named

Princess or Empress tree, Paulownia

tomentosa, is another problem. It

reproduces prolifically and survives

difficult situations including fire.

While the flowers may appeal to

you, this tree is one of the most difficult

to control and is on the top of

many invasive lists. Japanese stilt

grass, Microstegium vimineum, is

another very difficult to eradicate

plant that can be seen throughout the

Triangle. It covers the floor of natural

forests, producing tons of seed

that can remain viable for years.

There are many invasive plants.

You may be dealing with them in

your own landscape or wondering

what you can do to help with the

situation. We want to be smarter gardeners

and not plant anything today

that will be tomorrow’s problem.

The value of plants is subjective.

Every gardener will have their

own perspective. If you want to

attract pollinators, visit gardens like

Chatham Mill’s Pollinator Paradise

for inspiration. Debbie Roos, the

creator and curator, is an awardwinning

Chatham County exten-

sion agent. The Pollinator Paradise

Garden in Pittsboro has 215 species

of plants, 85 percent being native to

North Carolina. Visit

for Debbie’s

plant lists and inspiring photos.

If you are creating a formal rose

garden, you want to avoid any plants

that are known to be problems, thuggish

aggressive plants or harmful

So, what’s the big problem with

exotic plants that behave badly?

invasive plants. If you are interested

in creating a sanctuary for yourself

and wildlife, it makes sense to focus

on native species that are known to

provide benefits to native fauna.

So how do you know if a plant

is native, exotic, aggressive, or invasive?

There are websites that can

provide good information. The U.S.

Department of Agriculture has an

online database of plants. Visit their

website and browse to the characteristics

page (

where you can search

for plants that are native to the lower

48 states. You can also find nonnative

plants, indicated by the letter

I for introduced. The USDA website

lets you search by common and scientific

name and contains the entire

classification from kingdom Plantae

through family, genus, and species.

For a website more specific to North

Carolina, here are two options.



Garden Hut

Quality Plants • Home & Garden Accessories

Locally Owned & Grown

1004 Old Honeycutt Rd • Fuquay-Varina

(919) 552-0590

So now you’ve looked up

your shrubs and realize your privet

(Ligustrum) that blooms in May is

an invasive species. What are you

going to do? That’s up to you. What

do you value more? The shrub or the

possibility that it’s producing seeds

that getting into the natural habitat.

It’s not an easy decision when

you are appraising existing plants

that provide value to you, but

when you decide it’s time to add

or replace plants you can make an

informed decision.

Karen Guy volunteers

as a Wake County

Extension Master

Gardener. She

completed the

certificate program in

general horticulture at

NCSU. She is a certified

rain garden designer

and an instructor for Landscape Maintenance

(HOR-3307E3) at Wake Tech. Follow her on

instagram @wakeforestgardener.

Get rooted


Big job, small job!

Let us create a garden

you’ve always wanted.

- Low maintenance garden

- Perennial garden

- Tree and shrub installation

- Patio, wall, walkway

- And more!

Right Plants - Right Place!

Big job, small job.

What you've always wanted.

A beautiful low maintenance garden.

Right Plants - Right Place!

Catherine Ward






Since 1976

Creating beautiful landscapes since 1976

Catherine Ward




Exploring the Gardens of Madison, Wisconsin

You might recognize

Madison as the

capital of Wisconsin

or as the home of

the University of

Wisconsin at Madison. After a

summer visit to this capital town,

I discovered that Madison is also a

city with some gorgeous gardens.

The downtown area is brimming

with floral displays, including

a must-visit garden on the top

of its convention center – Monona

Terrace. Conceived by famed

architect Frank Lloyd Wright back

in 1938, Monona Terrace eventually

took shape on the shores of

Lake Monona in the late 1990s, just

steps from the state capitol building.

The rooftop gardens cover 68,000

square feet and include mostly prairie

plantings of echinacea, native

grasses, phlox, cleome, liatris, and

daylilies. Planted in drifts of flowers

interspersed with interesting steel

sculptures, the gardens and the view

of the lake make Monona Terrace

a prime destination in downtown

Madison. There is no admission to

the rooftop, though it might close if

storms are in the area.

I love a city that includes unusual

street trees, and Madison doesn’t

disappoint. The street connecting the

capitol building with the convention

center is lined with gingko trees.

How cool is that? I can only imagine

the stunning yellow foliage display

come fall.

The University Garden

UW-Madison is the home of the

state’s horticulture school. The Allen

Centennial Garden on campus is a

living lab and outdoor classroom for

the school, plus a community gathering

spot in the heart of the campus.

While small at 2.5 acres, the

garden houses over a dozen themed

areas, each packed with plants to

enjoy. Easy-to-follow paths wind

through the space, and at each turn a

new garden area is revealed.

Near the entrance is the

Japanese garden with a stunning

European larch tree as the backdrop.

Behind it is the New American

Garden with layers of colors and

textures created by the plants that

hug the hillside. Divert up a small

hill through the Dwarf Conifer

Garden to see its many interesting

specimens. The nearby Rock Garden

is the Frank Cabot Public Rock

Garden award winner for 2019. It’s

easy to see why with the selection

of alpine and succulent plants that

cascade down the hillside.

The Pond Garden features

water lilies and other aquatic plants.

A red Japanese-style bridge anchors

one end of the pond, while a

lovely Japanese maple ‘Wolf’ and

gazebo anchors the other. An Iris

Meadow greets you (in season)

just before you step through the

opening in a manicured hedge and

into the French and Italian Garden.

Boxwood topiary in the shape of a

fleur-de-lis is the prime planting on

the French side, while dry-loving

plants including a foxtail agave are

the centerpiece of the Italian section.

Other stops include the

Wisconsin Woodland Garden, a

respite filled with spring ephemerals,

and Sally’s Garden named for

the donor who pays for this lovely

Cottage Garden. Both are adjacent

to the 1890s-era Victorian Gothic

house that was the home of former

deans of the agriculture school.

Allen Centennial Garden is free and

open daily from dawn to dusk.

A City Showstopper

The Olbrich Botanical Gardens

is the signature garden of Madison.

Plans for the garden go back 100

years when UW-Madison graduate

Michael Olbrich envisioned a park

and flower garden on the shore of

Lake Monona. While he didn’t live

long enough to see his dream come

true, Olbrich Botanical Gardens is a

lasting tribute today to his vision.

Once inside the gardens’ visitor

center (the garden is free) you

will want to first visit the Bolz

Conservatory ($2 fee), a 50-foot tall

glass pyramid filled with tropical

plants, flying birds, and in summer

the Olbrich’s Blooming Butterflies.

From here, grab a garden map,

hang a right when you go outside,

and start exploring, though be

The Pond Garden-Allen Centennial Garden / Beverly Hurley

UW-Madison Arboretum native plants / Molly Fifield

prepared to get lost in the Olbrich’s

16-acres of gardens filled with masses

of plants everywhere you look.

First stop is the Sunken Garden,

which features the earliest structures

in Olbrich—twin fieldstone shelters.

An 80-foot long reflecting pool is

now the centerpiece with paths and

garden beds layered with perennials

and shrubs around the large rectangular

pool. Check out the creative

plant containers overflowing with

succulents and heat-loving annuals.

The garden offers plant lists for its

containers on its website. Several

smaller gardens edge the Sunken

Garden: the Atrium Shade Garden is

filled with hosta and a ‘Jack Frost’

dawn redwood tree. The opposite

side features the Rock Garden and a

Wildflower Garden, among others.

Even though I had several hours

planned at the Olbrich, I decided to

focus my visit on two main gardens

– the two-acre Rose Garden and the

Thai Pavilion and Garden. On my

quest to find these, I stopped off in

the Herb Garden, mostly because of

its artfully-decorated tree.

Before reaching the Thai garden,

I was easily distracted by the

Prairie Dropseed Meadow and the

Sedge Meadow. My Kansas roots

were poking through.

I eventually saw an unusual

building through the trees – the

Thai Pavilion. A quick jaunt over

a bridge took me to another world

and a don’t miss stop at Olbrich.

The gold-leaf pavilion was a gift

from the Thai government and the

Thai chapter of the UW-Madison

Alumni Association; the university

has one of the largest Thai student

populations of any U.S. university.

Three serene pools flank the front

of the pavilion, and once inside

make sure to look up at the intricate

wood carvings in the ceiling.

Lush tropical plantings (Wisconsin

winter-hardy varieties) surround the

pavilion. Take the side path back to

the bridge. It’s planted with hinoki

grass, canna, and hosta.

I had a difficult time finding the


Thai Pavilion / Olbrich Botanical Garden

Courtyard garden at Taliesin / Beverly Hurley

A Monona Terrace garden/

Beverly Hurley

Rose Garden. I’m not sure why; it’s

two-acres. I almost gave up until

I saw a sign for it near the Great

Lawn area. Then I learned the key to

the map. Stay on the paved paths to

find the gardens, and explore these

on the gravel paths once there. Easy.

Unlike most rose displays in public

gardens, this one is creative in its

plantings by placing the roses—

hybrid teas, grandifloras, floribundas

and hardy shrub—in the landscape

with other plants. You have a birdseye

view from the top of a 30-foot

tall tower built of native stone.

The Arboretum

You could spend the day at the

UW-Madison Arboretum with its 17

miles of walking trails, paved roads

for cycling, and several garden areas

to discover. The concept for the

Arboretum was started in 1911, and

later promoted by Michael Olbrich

in 1925 to create a wildlife sanctuary,

forest preserve and a refuge

from the city on land that was mostly

cleared by farming. Today, it’s an

ecological restoration with prairie

and woodlands, along with the

horticultural gardens. A good place

to start is at the Visitors Center for

a short movie on the history. Then

step outside on the back deck for a

panoramic view of the Wisconsin

Native Plant Garden. Take time to

explore this 4-acre garden on the

paved paths that weave through

native plants and tall grasses; a

recreation of the prairie that once

dominated this area.

The adjacent Longenecker

Horticultural Garden is just a small

section of the 1,200-acre arboretum,

yet it takes up 35 acres and is filled

with 2,600 types of trees and shrubs.

Considered a living museum of

plants, including the largest flowering

crabapple collection in the

world, you can wander this garden

for hours enjoying seasonal blooms.

Free tours are offered here. The

arboretum is open year round from

7am-10pm. Admission is free.

A World Treasure

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright

built his home in the rolling hills

of Wisconsin where he was raised,

35-minutes from Madison. Now

a UNESCO World Heritage site,

Taliesin is the quintessential Wright

design of blending buildings with

the land. Originally 3,000 acres now

pared down to 800, the estate is a

collection of structures that span

the entire career of Wright from the

1890s to 1950s. What many may

not realize is the importance of the

landscape and gardens in Wright’s

building designs. Taliesin is a showcase

of these.

Guests first arrived at the house

from the lower level and walked up

the steps through a shade garden.

The back of the house overlooks a

courtyard garden that connects the

main house to Wright’s studio. This

garden enclosed with stone walls

is filled with colorful plants, and

features a small pool of water that

was the horse trough when this side

of the house was the main entrance.

Every view from this back of the

house and from Wright’s adjacent

studio looks out on this garden

scene. The path to the right of the

courtyard takes you to a plunge

pool and a shady terrace adjacent to

Wright’s bedroom, designed with

windows on three sides to take in

nature. A small path from this terrace

descends through another shade

garden and onto a lower area where

you can see the birdwalk that juts

outside from the living room.

The interior of the house is

classic Frank Lloyd Wright with

stone pillars, varied ceiling heights,

custom woodwork, and many windows

to view the outdoors. Taliesin

is accessible by tour only, including

a garden tour offered the last

Friday of the month June through

September. All tours start from the

Visitors Center, where you can dine

on food grown on the estate in the

Riverview Terrace Café.

When You Go

If your visit is on a Saturday

from April into November, make

sure to include the Dane County

Farmer’s Market. Hundreds of vendors

selling locally-grown produce,

breads, artisan cheese (including

local cheese curds), and plants are

set up on the sidewalk encircling

the state capitol building. Curiously,

people only walk counter-clockwise

around the capitol to experience the

market. Go with the flow and enjoy,

but arrive early as many vendors sell

out before the close of the market.

Another garden stop is the

Period Garden Park in the Mansion

Hill District at 110 E. Gorham

Street. This pocket park used to be

the front yard of the 1854 house

behind it, but it is now owned by the

city and proudly maintained by the

neighborhood association. Carved

sandstone steps lead you up into the

park that features a small boxwood

parterre, brick paths, fountains and

statues, stone walls, benches, and

many gardens sections overflowing

with sun and shade plant varieties.

Dining at a Wisconsin supper

club is a must when you visit,

and the Tornado Steak House in

Madison is a classic with drinks like

a brandy old-fashioned and a hearty

menu ranging from to steak to seafood,

all served up with white tablecloth

service in the rustic interior of

this Madison original. Downstairs

is a throw-back to the 1940s in a

lounge with entertainment.

Madison is a foodie town with

many options for dining, including

farm-to-table cuisine at Harvest in

downtown, Italian-inspired dining

at Cento near the university, and

Everly for a casual brunch near the


The Park Hotel is Madison’s

only Capitol Square hotel, offering

great views of the capitol dome

from its plush rooms.

Before turning in for the night

stop at State Line Distillery for its

line up of botanically-infused drinks

like Groves & Roses, Rocket Power

or a custom drink using their Five

Flavor Syrup of hibiscus, lemon

grass, heather, elderflower and


For more information, check out

Beverly Hurley is the editor of Triangle Gardener

magazine and

When she is not gardening, she loves to travel.



Experience the Richness of Mason Farm

A dry field / Michael Pollock

Thousands of acres of

mostly wild public

lands extend from the

University of North

Carolina-Chapel Hill to

the waters of Jordan Lake, of which

the most storied is Mason Farm

Biological Reserve. It began when

the Mason family donated 800 acres

to UNC in 1894.

An Early History

Mark Morgan and his family

came from Pennsylvania to settle in

the area in the 1740s, at first living

inside a colossal sycamore tree. One

of his descendants married a Mason

family member in 1854. It was

Mary Elizabeth Morgan Mason who

bequested the property to the university

with the stipulation that the land

would never be sold or divided.

Farming continued here until

a few decades ago, while some of

the areas are still old wood lots that

had never been farmed. A section

of the farm was used to create the

Finley Golf Club in the late 1940s.

Naturalist John K Terres’ award

winning classic From Laurel Hill to

Siler’s Bog: The Walking Adventures

of a Naturalist, describing wildlife

at Mason Farm and beyond, was

published in 1966.

The 367-acre reserve was


formally created by the University

Trustees in 1984. This, along with

contiguous areas of other land,

creates 900 acres and connects to

vast gamelands surrounding Jordan

Lake. Despite urban sprawl, much

of the landscape Terres described in

his book still exists there today.

What to See

Entrance to Mason Farm begins

on a winding one-lane gravel road

as you pass through the parking

lot of the Finley Golf Club. Tall

hackberry trees shade the course’s

clubhouse, which is the former site

of the Mason home. In Terres’ time,

a pileated woodpecker still came out

of the bottomland to roost in these


The farm’s cemetery is behind a

stone wall by the clubhouse, and the

Hackberry-Warbler loop trail begins

here; though this trail hasn’t been

maintained in years.

Tall Indian grass rescued from

the 15-501 highway expansion and

other native grassland plants grow at

the access road entrance. Go slowly

for wildlife.

Around July riotous yellow

bearsfoot starts blooming along the

road, attracting many swallowtail

butterflies and bumblebees. Further

A bit of whimsy at Morgan Creek / Michael Pollock

on, yellow composite crownbeard

blooms into September. Beavers created

a pond on the left and abundant

dogbane attracts butterflies.

Most of the Mason Farm reserve

is on the west side of generally

shallow Morgan Creek. Be careful

crossing the low concrete bridge if

it is submerged after heavy rains.

There may be too much water flowing

over the bridge to safely cross it.

The clear, shady pools at the

bridge are a good place to fish

watch. There are sunfish, wild guppies,

occasionally large carp, and

even bowfin and other more eastern

fish – 28 species can be seen at

Mason Farm. Farther upstream at

the Meeting of the Waters Creek

there are many shiners, chubs,

killifish, and darters. Lucky visitors

could see otters or mink. An

OWASA wastewater treatment plant

is nearby, so the creek level can rise

a few inches without rain.

I think the first time I came here

the entrance gate was open and I

didn’t know the fenced area was offlimits

without a permit, so I went

in. There is a large pond originally

called Muskrat Pond, today called



Stephanie Brundage

LBJ Wilflower Center

Female monarch /

Michael Pollock

Partridge peas /

Michael Pollock

Yellow crownbeard/

Stephanie Brundage

LBJ Wilflower Center

Botany Pond. The shady path from

the parking lot passes under ash and

boxelders. Check out visitor observations

at the bulletin board before

starting your hike.

Visitors barely have to leave the

parking lot to see an abundance of

wildlife. Up to 67 butterfly species

can be seen and when it is quiet coveys

of bobwhites or foxes come out.

Turning left, some of the

reserve’s 23 species of amphibians

and 28 species of reptiles live in

the silty drainage channels. Until

recently the old farm road was surrounded

by large multiflora roses.

Mason Farm is very biodiverse,

though some natives seem absent, at

least near the trails.

During migration, the hedgerows

and thickets are full of yellowbreasted

chats and other warblers,

while hawks and vultures circle over

the vast fields. Some 216 bird species

and 29 of mammals, including

bobcats, have been recorded here.

At the border with Durham

County the path turns south. A field

of yellow partridge peas and a few

sennas support various sulphur butterflies,

and in the distance there is a

woods Terres calls the Finley Tract.

The path circuits Big Oak Woods,

65 acres of bottomland swamp forest

used for wood and grazing, but

never cleared, with trees exceeding

300 years old.

The path roughly parallels

Morgan Creek, somewhere out in

the trackless Willow Oak Swamp.

Former fields merge with vast

wetlands; possibly the impoundment

of Jordan Lake has increased this

flooding. Large snags are inhabited

by talkative red-headed woodpeckers.

This area is probably Siler’s

Bog described by Terres, though it is

really marsh and swamp.

The trail next enters drier fields.

Where the trail turns back to the

parking lot there is a side trail and

the state champion Carolina shagbark

hickory (Carya carolinaeseptentrionalis)

grows here. Laurel

Hill Woods or Southern Shagbark

Hickory Slope is on the left and the

trail crosses little Yancey Brook.

Masses of yellow tickseed, a

flower uncommon west of Mason

Triangle Area

Corn Mazes

and Pumpkin


Make a memory. Take a trip to a

local pumpkin patch or corn maze.

Discover elaborate mazes carved

from corn and fields of pumpkins

ready to pick. Great fun for all ages!


Corn Maze

3937 Louisbury Rd., Wake Forest, NC

27587 - 919-747-1324

October 4 - November 3

Fri: 1-9m, Sat: 10am-9pm,

Sun: 1-7pm

This 5-acre corn maze in Wake Forest

will be the best family event this fall!

Along with the corn maze there will be

free activities such as hay maze, lawn

games, bonfires, s’mores, pumpkins,

hayrides, vendors, and much much

more! Up for a challenge? Bring your

flashlights 7-9pm to conquer the maze

in the dark!

Farm, attract migrating monarchs

in September. Many wildflowers

color these fields in September and

October, attracting late-season pollinators.

In winter woodcocks display

over the stalks.

When You Go

Access to Mason Farm is open

every day of the year from dawn to

dusk and requires a permit to enter.

Visitors can get a free one-year

entry permit at the North Carolina

Botanical Garden’s visitor center

Phillips Corn Maze

6701 Good Hope

Church Rd.

Cary, NC 27519


Open Sept. 14 - Nov. 3

Fri: 3:30-6:30pm, Sat: 10am-6:30pm

Sun: 1-6pm

Two acre pick your own pumpkin patch,

we also have a prepicked lot as well.

Seven acre corn maze and family fun

park with over 30 family-friendly

activities to do. Please check our

website out. See you all in the fall!

Hubb’s Farm

Fall Festival,

Corn Maze &

Pumpkin Patch

10276 N US421, Clinton, NC 28328


Sept. 14 - Nov. 9

Visit for times,

pricing, and event updates.

Voted one of the TOP 25 corn mazes in

America by Country Living. Eastern North

Carolina’s Largest Fall Festival! 10+ acre

maze, pumpkins, flashlight maze, Animals,

Hay Rides, jumping pillow, giant slides,

lots of fall favorite activities, & more. Home

of Cranky the Combine ride! Open to the

public on weekends and for pre-booked

educational field trips during the week.

or online at


The North Carolina Botanical

Garden ( and the New

Hope Audubon Society (

both organize hikes

throughout the year. Check their

websites for dates and details.

Michael Pollock gardens in Durham and has

written for publications such as Chatham

County Line, Carolina Gardener, and The News

& Observer.


Corn Maze

3175 Benson Hwy.

(Hwy. 50 South)

Garner, NC 27529


Sept. 21 - Nov. 9

Fri: 4-10pm, Sat: 10-10pm, Sun: 12-8pm

Garden Center Open Daily:

Mon-Sat: 9am-6pm, Sun: 1-5pm

North Carolina’s Original Corn Maze.

6-acre corn maze, hay rides, corn crib,

hay barn, playground, photo opportunities,

rope maze, concessions, picnic areas

and much more! Pumpkins, mums, fall

decor & produce! Haunted Event - see

website for updates & times!

McKee Cornfield


5011 Kiger Road

Rougemont, NC 27572


Sept. 28 - Nov. 3

Fri: 3-8pm, Sat: 10am-8pm,

Sun: 1-7pm

Family Tradition since 2001. One of the

largest mazes in NC. Large maze for

family adventure and smaller maze for

children. Animals, Hayrides, Barrel Train,

Corn Hole, Sand & Play areas, Pumpkins

different shapes, size and color, Mums,

fall decorations, Concessions and Picnic

Area. Fun for all ages! It’s a place where

kids can be kids and adults can be kids as

well. See website for updates / times.



How Plants Use Light for More Than Just Energy

Graph of Phytochrome Absorption


Capturing the energy

in sunlight and converting

it into forms

other organisms can

use is the fundamental

function of plants in nearly all

ecosystems. Substances that absorb

light are called pigments. Pigments

vary in the wavelengths of light they

absorb, reflecting the rest.

Chlorophyll a and chlorophyll

b are the most abundant pigments

found in plants, absorbing light

in the violet, blue, and red wavelengths,

reflecting back the green

wavelengths we see. In photosynthesis,

chlorophyll captures the

energy of light and passes it along a

series of enzymes (like a relay race),

that ultimately convert that energy

into forms that plant cells use to turn

carbon dioxide into sugars, cellulose,

and other complex organic


Plants contain another class of

pigments called carotenoids, including

carotene and xanthophyll.

Carotenoids play some role in capturing

and transferring light energy

to chlorophyll for photosynthesis,

but mainly function to prevent light

and oxygen byproducts from causing

cellular damage.

Chlorophyll is far more abundant

than the carotenoids, but since

it is degraded first in autumn, the

underlying orange and yellow colors


of the carotenoids are revealed,

producing the vibrant fall colors we

see in temperate deciduous trees and

shrubs (reds are produced by anthocyanins

- that’s a tale for another


Capturing light for energy,

however, is not the only way plants

use light. Special enzymes evolved

to use light as a signal for physiological

processes that affect several

kinds of plant behavior.

Phytochromes are a type of photoreceptor

that respond to red and

far-red light. Phytochromes change

forms depending on how much and

what kind of light they are exposed

to, oscillating between active and

inactive forms, and therefore acting

like a biological on-and-off switch.

When exposed to red light, phytochrome

is turned on to its active

form; when exposed to far-red light

or lacking red light, phytochrome is

turned off into its inactive form.

Seeds of some species use lightactivated

phytochromes as a signal

for germination. Ever wonder why

you barely cover lettuce or radish

seeds? While larger seeds have

sufficient energy stores to allow the

seedling to grow in the dark through

several inches of soil, small seeds do

not have as much stored energy, and

therefore only germinate when close

to the surface where they harness

more energy from photosynthesis.

Sufficient levels of red light are

required to activate phytochromes.

A lack of red light, or the higher

ratio of far-red light often found in

Phytochromes also help some plants

determine what time of year it is, and

therefore when to trigger flowering.

shaded areas, will not trigger germination.

In fact, the on/off switch

behavior of phytochromes were

discovered in experiments with tiny

lettuce seeds - scientists found they

could start and stop the germination

process by flashing red and far-red

light. This dependence on light for

germination is called photodormancy,

and is the reason why mulch can

be so effective in preventing germination

of weed seeds.

In other species, phytochromes

regulate a behavior called shade

avoidance, which promotes plants to

grow taller to avoid light competition.

This can be a disadvantage in

agricultural settings, where lanky

growth and sensitivity to crowding

can reduce yields. Modern varieties

of corn have been bred to have lesssensitive

phytochromes, increasing

their tolerance to crowding and

increasing yields per acre.

Phytochromes also help some

plants determine what time of year

it is, and therefore when to trigger

flowering. Due to the tilt of the

Earth’s axis, the length of the day

and night varies through the year,

with nights becoming increasingly

long in winter the farther you are

from the equator.

Phytochromes can detect this

change in day length and use it as a

signal for fall flowering plants like

mums, poinsettias, and christmas


The reverse is also true for some

spring flowering species, like lettuce

or coneflowers, while tomatoes and

other species are considered ‘dayneutral’

plants because flowering

is not strongly linked to changes in

day length.

Image credit: byr7.

Matt Jones is the

Horticulture Extension

Agent at the NC

Cooperative Extension

Chatham County Center.



Smaller Plants for Smarter Gardens

The fall equinox will

not instantly introduce

sweater-wearing coolness,

but this gradual

weather change offers a

new beginning for avid gardeners.

introduced specific plants. Forty thin

trees, diminutive bushes and short

perennials are introduced in the

“Plants for the yard and landscape”

section. Each plant’s description

includes a photograph and its care.

Some will use the two months

before the first frost to produce a

fall vegetable garden. Before early

November, carrots, beets, turnips,

kale, lettuce, spinach, garlic and

onions can replace the struggling tomatoes

and peppers in your garden.

Fall is also the best time to add

new bushes, perennials, and trees to

a yard. Fall planting allows the roots

to establish during the damp, cooler

months ahead. Another plus is that

good plants at lower prices are

available at nursery sales now.

This year I plan to hit the sales

searching for plants like those

recommended in Gardener’s Guide

to Compact Plants (Cool Springs

Press, 2019) by Jessica Walliser.

Compact plants are usually smaller

in height or in width or in both, but

their blooms remain the same size as

their larger relatives.

To help those searching for a

smaller type plant not mentioned in

her book, Walliser explains how to

recognize compact plants from the

language on plant tags. Descriptive

phrases like “container friendly,”

“low growing,” or “small statured,”

and botanical names containing

terms like “nana,” “minor,”

“minima” or “alpinus” are clues to a

reduced-size plant.

After presenting instructions

for basic plant care, Walliser offers

advice on how to use small plants in

gardens. Ten design plans are shown

for common areas, such as entrances,

patios, kitchen and herb gardens.

Next, plants are suggested

to solve eight problematic areas

including planting on slopes, in too

much shade, or to hide an unsightly

view. A photograph of each suggested

plant provides an image of how

the improved garden would appear.

The most interesting portions

of the book to me were those that

The last chapter will satisfy

vegetable gardeners searching for

petite “fruit and vegetable” plants.

Fifty smaller versions of fruit trees,

berry bushes, fruit vines, herbs and

vegetables are revealed alongside

a photograph of each. These plants

and seeds can be ordered from companies

in the book’s Source List.

If your older large plants are

smothering parts of your garden

despite a heavy pruning each spring,

consider moving on to using compact

plants. Smaller bush roses, less

enormous hydrangeas, and a bed

now filled with diminutive azaleas

have already made my garden more

open, sunnier and easier to manage.

The resulting increased light on

the patch in which I annually plant

vegetables might actually produce

future edible results.

Christine Thomson is

a Raleigh gardener

obsessed with plants.

She is a volunteer at the

JC Raulston Arboretum

and fills her spare time

reading books, especially

volumes about vegetation.

Planning Your Next Vacation?

Visit our website for ideas on public gardens

to include in your travel plans.



What Are “Boutique” Soils?

Did you know soils could be

“boutique?” The Soil Science

Society of America (SSSA)

explains how this group

of soils can challenge your


Soils are unique by nature.

Part of this is wrapped up in

how the soil was formed. The

solid rock (bedrock) found in a

place partially influences the

soil ‘born’ from it.

“A soil’s appearance and its

chemistry largely mirrors the

rocks it came from,” explains

Justin Richardson, an assistant

professor at the University

of Massachusetts-Amherst.

“For most soils, they inherit a

wealth of inorganic nutrients

from their parent rocks. This

includes elements like potassium,

calcium, magnesium, and

iron. They also inherit their

earthy colors from the weathering

of their primary minerals

like iron.”

Richardson says for most soils,

parent bedrocks create the

opportunity for growth. “They

can provide structure for roots

and retain water and minerals

to feed the plants. But not

all bedrocks give rise to these

types of soils. There are ‘boutique

bedrocks’ found across

the world that would challenge

your idea of soil.”

Boutique soils occupy a

natural niche. One example

is serpentine soils, formed

from serpentinite rock.

“Serpentinite is quite rare,”

Richardson says .“It is formed

by minerals exposed to high

temperatures and pressures of


And colors? “I found a light

blue layer of soil formed from

the weathering of phyllitelimestone

metamorphic rock.”

Source - Soil Science Society of America


In the Garden Sept – Oct

• Remove tired and leggy summer

blooming annuals and replace these

with colorful cool weather flowers

like pansies. Spray these with a

repellent if you have deer problems.

• Now is the time to plant new perennials.

Add a slow-release fertilizer

lower in nitrogen so you don’t

encourage top growth. Make sure

the plants are well watered before

and after planting.

• Remove and store summer blooming

bulbs before the first frost.

• Buy spring-flowering bulbs, but

don’t plant these until the soil

temperature drops below 60 degrees

– usually in November. Store the

bulbs in the refrigerator until ready

to use.

• Continue to divide plants like

hosta, daylilies, phlox and Shasta

daisies and replant or share these

with a friend.

Fruits and Vegetables

• Fall is a great time to plant fruit

tress and blueberries.

• Vegetables such as mustard greens,

onions, radishes, turnips and more

can be planted in September.

• Start planting the fall garden.

Turnip, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower

can be direct seeded into the

garden in August.

• If you don’t plant fall vegetables,

consider planting a cover crop of

annual rye or clover. This will add

nitrogen to the soil, control weeds,

and be instant compost when you

turn it over for spring planting.

• Try planting vegetables in containers

so you have easy access to them.


September is the time to renovate

your lawn. Core-aerate and

add lime. Tall fescue and bluegrass

lawns should be seeded now. Remember

to mulch any newly seeded

bare-ground areas with wheat or

barley straw. Keep watered. Add a

winterizing fertilizer in late October

or November.

• Do not fertilize Bermudagrass,

Zoysiagrass or Centipedegrass. Let

these go dormant.

• Apply pre-emergent herbicides

when the temperature drops below

50 degrees. Do not apply herbicides

on newly planted grass.

• Watch for cool season weeds. Two

of the worst are wild onion and wild

garlic. Hand pulling is often ineffective.

Digging is more effective and

chemical control is another method.

• Evaluate other lawn options if

your grass continually struggles. Try

ground covers or new landscaping.

Trees and Shrubs

• Fall is the best time to plant trees

and shrubs. They put down good

root growth in the cooler weather.

Remember to keep these watered.

• Limit pruning woody plants until

they acclimate to the cooler season.

Pruning now will encourage new

growth. Prune only for minor shaping

of the plant.

• Premature fall color or premature

leaf drop could be a sign of stress on

the tree. Determine the cause of the

stress – injury, lack of water, poor

nutrients – and remedy accordingly.


• Butterfly larvae need to be identified

before spraying any insect

control products this time of year,

especially on flowers and herbs. If

not, you may kill a future butterfly.

• A number of insects start to make

an appearance including fall webworms,

fall armyworms, azalea

stem borers, and two-spotted spider


• Control scale and mealybugs with

horticultural oil. Try a proactive

treatment 3-4 times a year on trees

and shrubs to prevent this.

• Fire ants begin to forage with the

cooler weather. Once they are in this

stage you can apply bait around the


For a complete list of garden

activities, visit the NC

Cooperative Extension web

site at




Fall Plant Sale

Through September 14

25% off shrubs, trees & perennials. Homewood

Nursery and Garden Center, Raleigh.

Going Out of Business Sale

September 2-October 18

Big discounts on native plants. Niche Gardens,

Chapel Hill.

Gardening in the South

September 7, 8am-12noon

Join NC State University gardening experts on how

to identify and manage weeds, plant diseases, and

plant pests in your landscape. Free. Pre-register. JC

Raulston Arboretum, NC State University, Raleigh.


Pollinator Workshop

September 7, 10am-11am

Learn pollinators and their plants. Course includes

a take home pollinator plant. Fee. Bee Better

Naturally with Helen Yoest.

Gardening for Wildlife

September 7 & 14, 10am-12noon

Learn how to provide habitat elements like food,

water, cover, and places to raise young while also

creating colorful gardens that appeal to aesthetic

preferences. Fee. Preregistration. North Carolina

Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill.

Certificate Program Annual Celebration

September 8, 2pm-4:30pm

A celebration of the graduates of the Native Plant

Studies and the Botanical Art & Illustration programs.

Includes a reception and the opening of the

Botanical Art & Illustration student exhibit. Free.

Preregistration. North Carolina Botanical Garden,

Chapel Hill.

Caring for Your Home Landscape: A

Month by Month Approach

September 9-November 4, Mon 6:30pm–8:30 pm

From landscape maintenance, to planting, to

propagation, this course covers all gardening

activities from January to December. Each week we

will discuss the appropriate activities that should

be performed in a month-to-month window. Fee.

Pre-register. JC Raulston Arboretum, NC State

University, Raleigh. 919-515-3132.

Garden Symposium

September 14, 8:30am-4pm

“Birds, Bees, Butterflies and Growing a Pollinator

Garden” will feature guest speakers. Hosted by

the Johnston County Extension Master Gardener

Volunteers. Johnston County Extension Office,

Smithfield. Register at jocomastergardeners@gmail.

com or

Crepe Myrtle Pruning Class and


September 14, 9am–11am

We will use the crepe myrtle to teach the basics

of pruning, including terminology and biology, the

three basic cuts, the overall goal of pruning, plus

a demo on a crepe myrtle. Fee. Pre-register. JC

Raulston Arboretum, NC State University, Raleigh.


The Perfect Lawn

September 14, 10:30am

Learn the basics of lawn care, the different seed

blends and their requirements, basic maintenance,

amd the best techniques for getting that new lawn

established fast. Free. Atlantic Gardening Company,


Must-Have Perennials for Fall

September 17, 1:30pm-3pm

Learn to add impact to your garden with these

fall plants. Fee. Pre-register. Sarah P. Duke Gardens,

Durham. 919-668-1707 or gardenseducation@

Find more garden events at

Cool Season Vegetables

September 19, 7pm-9pm

Presented by Durham County Master Gardeners

and the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service:

Durham County Center. Free. Pre-register. Sarah

P. Duke Gardens, Durham. 919-668-1707 or

Houseplants: Grow A Green Thumb

September 25, 7pm-9pm

Learn to choose the right plant for the perfect

location in your home and then pot it to take

home. Fee. Pre-register. Sarah P. Duke Gardens,

Durham. 919-668-1707 or gardenseducation@

NC Gardening for Newcomers

September 28, 10:30 am

Let us share our expert advice on soil preparation,

plant selection and planting methods for gardening

in zone 7b. Whether you are new to the area or

new to gardening, this class is for you! Free. Atlantic

Gardening Company, Raleigh.


The Great American Garden Tour

October 2, 10:30am-1pm

Brie Arthur will present a pictorial review of her book

tour. Raleigh Garden Club. Fee. Open to all. NC State

University Club, Raleigh.

Fall Open House

October 4-5, 9am-4pm

A wide variety of hellebores plus a great selection

of other plants. Pine Knot Farms, Clarksville, VA

one hour north of the Triangle. 434-252-1990.

Open House

October 4-6, 11-13, 18-20

See camellias in bloom, plus discounts. Camellia

Forest Nursery, Chapel Hill. 919-968-0504.

Fall Gardening Symposium

October 5

With guest speaker Brie Arthur on sustainable,

local food production. Fee. Pre-register. Warren Co.

Courthouse, Warrenton, NC.

Fall Plant Sale

October 5, 8am-12noon

Plant sale in the morning followed by a tour of

the Garden 1pm-2pm. Paul J. Ciener Botanical

Garden, 215 S. Main Street. Kernersville.

Plant Sale

October 5, 8am–12noon

Large variety of plants, including natives, at bargain

prices. Hosted by the Davidson County Master

Gardener Volunteer Association. Lexington Farmers

Market at the Depot, Lexington, NC. Contact

Frankie Mefford at 336-407-2853.

Friends of the Arboretum Annual Plant


October 5, 9am–9:15am

Each fall, we offer thousands of choice and rare

plants to our members, and give them away freely.

We will be selling membership starting at 7:30am.

JC Raulston Arboretum, NC State University,

Raleigh. 919-515-3132.

A Walk to Paradise Garden

October 6, 3pm

A musical fundraiser performed by the Salem

Community Orchestra with the music of Strauss,

Joplin and Vivaldi. Social at 3pm, concert 3:30pm-

4:30pm. Tickets online or call 336-996-7888. Paul

J. Ciener Botanical Garden, 215 S. Main Street.


Lunch and Learn: The Bird Garden

October 10, 12noon-1pm

Fee, bring your lunch. To register, email carlila1st@ Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden, 215 S.

Main Street. Kernersville.

Harvest Festival

October 12

Logan’s Garden Shop, Raleigh.

Fall Festival

October 12, 9am-5pm

Food, games, sales, giveaways. Atlantic Gardening

Center, Raleigh.

Fall Tree Ramble

October 12, 9:30am-11:30am

Learn more about trees interaction with each

other and how they influence our lives. Fee. Preregister.

Sarah P. Duke Gardens, Durham. 919-668-

1707 or gardens.

The Nature of Drawing: Autumn

October 12, 10am–4pm

If you’re curious about the joy of drawing outdoors,

join Preston Montague for a full-day workshop

using the arboretum as a studio. Designed for

the beginner, but open to all skill levels. Fee.

Pre-register. JC Raulston Arboretum, NC State

University, Raleigh. 919-515-3132.

Early Autumn at Mason Farm

October 12, 1pm-4pm

A tour of Mason Farm’s Old Farm Trail that travels

through some 260 years of cultural and natural

history,. Fee. Preregistration. North Carolina

Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill.

Swiftbrook Gardens Open Day

October 13, 1:30pm-6:30pm

Visitors are welcome to stroll Swiftbrook Gardens,

a restful retreat with native plants and wildlife.

Details at

Sorting Out Plant Names

October 16, 7pm-9pm

Explore the system of plant names and the

organization of plant kingdoms to understand more

about plants and their needs. Fee. Pre-register.

Sarah P. Duke Gardens, Durham. 919-668-1707 or

Oaks of North Carolina

October 24, 9:30am-3pm

Learn more about our native oaks, including

their biology, how to identify and distinguish

them, and how they interact with other species

and native plant communities. Fee. Pre-register.

Sarah P. Duke Gardens, Durham. 919-668-1707 or

BOOtanical Family Festival

October 25, 5pm-8pm

Celebrate the fall with a fun evening of hands-on

nature activities. Come dressed in your favorite

plant or animal costume. Food trucks. For all ages.

Fee. Preregistration required. North Carolina

Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill.

Propagating Woody Plants from Seed

October 26, 9am–12noon

A class devoted to understanding how trees,

shrubs, vines, and ground covers reproduce from

seed and how gardeners can take advantage of that

science to propagate new plants. Fee. Pre-register.

JC Raulston Arboretum, NC State University,

Raleigh. 919-515-3132.

Alamance Artisans’ Extravaganza

October 26-27, Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12noon-5pm

Arts and crafts by 30+ area artisans plus

refreshments and artist demonstrations.

Vailtree Conference & Event Center, Haw River.

Early November

A Festival of Fabulous Mums

November 3-5

See mums of all types on display. Hosted by the

Central Carolina Chrysanthemum Society. Sarah

P. Duke Gardens, Durham. 919-668-1707 or


in the Garden

JC Raulston Arboretum

at NC State

With Southern Lights of Raleigh

& the NC Agricultural Foundation

November 7–9 and

November 14–16

JC Raulston Arboretum

4415 Beryl Road, Raleigh

(919) 515-3132




Advance Tickets


Thursday, Friday, and Saturday


Live Music • Food Trucks

Fire Pits • Marshmallows

A magical



for the entire


Proceeds from the Moonlight in the Garden benefit daily

operations of the JC Raulston Arboretum. Moonlight in the

Garden is cosponsored by and fund-raising efforts operate

under the auspices of the North Carolina Agricultural

Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit (tax ID 56-6049304).


Make mice

• Mouse repellent derived

from natural ingredients

• Made from essential oils that

trigger the escape/avoidance

instincts in mice

• Use in your home, potting

sheds, cottages, garages,

basements, stored boats,

campers, cars or

farm equipment

• Powerful but pleasantly scented

place packs are easy to use

• Lasts for weeks

Scan here for your

free lawn and garden

problem solving app

available where

lawn garden products are sold

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines