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What Light and Soil are Best for Roses?


“We will be planting roses on the north side of the house this summer. We have clay soil. What do you recommend mixing into the soil?” question from Roseanne of Rockford, Illinois
Answer: Roses grow and resist disease best when grown in full sun. The north side of your home may not be the best spot for roses unless you plant them far enough from […]

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What are the Best Perennials for Foundation Plantings?

Large, showy perennials with a long season of interest make the best foundation perennials.
“What are the best perennial plants to use for foundation planting? [I need] something to cover a fairly tall, 5ft swath of concrete foundation. Thank you!” Question from Trish of Newton, New Jersey
Answer: There are lots of wonderful garden perennials ideal for foundation plantings. Those that I recommend the most are long-lived, […]

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How Do I Remove Whiteflies?


“What can I use for whiteflies on Jatropha plants?” Question from Susan of Pembroke Pines, Florida
Answer: I recommend physical methods of removal for whiteflies followed by the use of an insecticide approved for organic gardening.
What are Whiteflies?
Whiteflies are fast-to-produce sucking insects that remove the juices from plant leaves and stems. Tiny whiteflies can be very destructive when populations are high–causing leaf drop and decline. […]

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I Am Looking For a Deer-Proof Chartreuse Ground Cover

Golden lemon thyme is a great groundcover that is disliked by deer.
“I planted a chartreuse ground cover, I believe it was a sedum, not sure.  Very low growing.  It looked great & then the deer discovered it – they ate it all.  Can you suggest another chartreuse ground cover that perhaps the deer wouldn’t – the little darlings.” Question from Peggy of Canton, Michigan
Answer: Many […]

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How and When Should I Prune Lavender?


“When should I prune lavender?  I tried it at the end of summer last year, but I think I might have cut too far back.” Question from Manda of Florence, Kentucky
Answer: In my experience, lavender has the best regrowth results if one waits to prune until the plants begin to produce fresh spring leaves. It simply bounces back best when it has begun to […]

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Why Isn’t My Hydrangea Flowering?


“I have hydrangeas but each year they only get leaves and no flowers what can I do?” Question from Nancy of Campbell, Ohio
Answer: Generally when gardeners have trouble with hydrangeas that refuse to bloom, they are largeleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla hybrids). These survive just up to USDA Hardiness Zone 5, your zone, but you should be able to get them to bloom.
Largeleaf hydrangeas bloom […]

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How and When Should I Transplant Daffodils and Iris Growing In My Lawn?


“I have had some Iris’s and Daffodils shoot up in my yard. I love these flowers, and would like to know when would be a good time to dig them up and move them so I don’t cut them down with a lawnmower.” Question from Stacey of Hueytown, Alabama
Answer: Bulbs are pretty when they flower in lawns, but mowing their tops does disable them […]

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Why Is My Lavender Dying?


“This is the 2nd lavender I am having problems growing.  I can pull up part of it like it’s rotting.  What am I doing wrong?  There is another Lavender about 3 feet away that is looking great.” Question from Jacklyn  of Portland, Oregon
Answer: When lavender (Lavandula spp.) struggles, it is almost always due to a problem with soil quality and drainage. If fungal rot […]

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How Do I Keep Mushrooms from Growing In My Mulch?

Pine needles or pine straw mulch do not encourage mushroom growth.
“I buy fairly expensive mulch each year but continually experience mushrooms growing in it.  What causes this and is there anything, (non-toxic), I can use on the mulch to stop mushrooms from growing?” Question from Diane of Newark, Ohio
Answer: Traditional bark mulch is the perfect medium for mushroom growth, especially if it’s kept moist. The […]

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What Are Good Garden Flowers for Partial Shade?

Nothing beats classic impatiens for color in shady gardens. (Image by Jessie Keith)
“What are the best flowering plants for a mostly shady spot with some morning sun?” Question from Brigitte of Arnold, Missouri
Answer: There are so many wonderful garden flowers that grow well in partial shade but can tolerate a little sun, too. Here is a good list of long-blooming perennials and annuals that will […]

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