Archive for Plants

Lowbush Blueberry Shrubs

Lowbush blueberry plants grow well in the colder, northern climates of USDA zones two through six. Lowbush cultivars are generally wild blueberries although some commercial farmers will plant lowbush varieties purposefully. These blueberries make nice additions to home gardens because they are low to the ground (one to two feet in height) and consistently produce lovely flowers and fruits.

Popular varieties of Lowbush Blueberries:

  • Burgundy
  • Claret
  • Jonesboro
  • Cumberland
  • Fundy
  • North County
  • Northsky
  • Tophat
  • Pretty Yellow
  • Spring
  • Verde


Highbush Blueberry Shrubs

Highbush blueberry varieties grow throughout the United States. Northern highbush blueberries prefer colder climates (Zones 7 through 9) while southern highbush shrubs prefer the warmth of the south (Zones 3 through 8). If you do not know your zone, review the USDA Zone map. When you are choosing your plants, pick several cultivars to promote cross-pollination in the garden. Cross-pollination is not required for highbush varieties; however, it will help your blueberry bushes to grow larger with more abundant blueberry fruit over a longer growing season.

Popular Highbush Blueberry Varieties that Ripen Early Season (May and June)

  • Northland Short
  • O’Neal

Popular Highbush Blueberry Varieties that Ripen Mid Season (July and early August)

  • Patriot Short
  • Bluetta
  • Spartan
  • Blueray
  • Meader
  • Patriot
  • Cape Fear
  • Bluecrop
  • St. Cloud Short
  • Rubel
  • Northland
  • Blue Ridge
  • Georgia Gem
  • Bluecrop
  • Nelson
  • Blue Gold Short
  • Legacy
  • Summit

Popular Highbush Blueberry Varieties that Ripen Late Season (late July through early September)

  • Jersey
  • Elliot
  • Ozarkblue

Holy Mushroom!

The warm weather here in the south left a breeding ground in my yard for the biggest mushroom EVER! The good thing about mushrooms is that, while they may be ugly, they are not usually detrimental to a lawn. Mushrooms usually grow from the presence of dead organic matter and high moisture in the lawn. Dead organic matter that supports mushroom growth is often manure, thatch, sawdust and plant debris like leaves, needles, bark or stumps.

There are no confirmed chemical treatments for mushrooms; although, you can perform control measures to help reduce their appearance in your lawn. First, inspect your lawn during periods of high rain and pick the mushrooms as soon as they begin to grow. Picking the mushrooms will not remove the fungi that allow them to grow, but it reduces the number of spores that spread from the mushrooms to other areas of the lawn.

You can remove or treat the dead organic matter using a garden trowel, shovel and aerator. Remove a section of grass that is deep enough to reach through the lawn thatch and into the soil. If the thickness of the thatch and fungal mat is less than three inches thick, simply treat the lawn with an aerator. You can repeat this process several times each year to promote air movement, which will help to reduce the thatch and dry the lawn by allowing water to penetrate through the grass into the soil.

If your lawn has buried wood or extremely thick thatch, you can fully remove the material with a shovel. The fungus cannot thrive if you remove the source material for their growth. In addition, the water drainage will increase through the grass and dry soil when you remove the thatch and wood, inhibiting mushroom growth. If removing the thick thatch or the wood is impossible, apply nitrogen to the area to help break down the material. Once the fungal source is completely decomposed, you should see a decrease in the appearance of our friends, the mushrooms.

Hanging Basket Dilemma

Hanging Basket

Hanging Railing Basket


Up first in my garden transformation is to fix the problem with the hanging baskets on the front porch. Every year, my kids help me pick flowers to grow in our hanging baskets. We have long planters on the railings (shown left) and hooks for hanging pots above.

In the past, we grew flowers from seed and young plants that we purchased at heights of 4 to 6 inches with blooms. I’ve tried begonias, zinnias, marigolds, morning glory and several others. None of these flowers made it through the summer. We live in the suburbs of Charleston, South Carolina and when the temperatures reach 100 degrees F, I have not been able to save any of the flowers. I also use upside down pots above the railing baskets with the same success rate for similar plants.

Front of My House

Front of My House

As you can see from this photo, the front of our house around the porch is fairly plain. We have a white house with a black door. My new strategy is to plant perennials in the fall. First, I must research which plants can survive the climate here. Because the house is plain, I need something with color and texture to spice up the front of the house.

I also want to find an inventive way to use some rock in the front of the house to add some more interest in the design. Step 1 will be to research the perfect plants for my railing and hanging baskets. Stay tuned!

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