Darling Deutzias: Great Shrubs

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By Stephanie Hudak, Columnist Darling Deutzias. Okay, maybe I stretched it a bit with the title, but deutzias are a great shrub that isn’t used enough in the landscape. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors with the added attraction of being deer resistant – don’t we love that part – and attract birds. They produce fragrant flowers and then give you beautiful fall color and can tolerate full sun or part shade. There are new varieties that have variegated leaves so even when the spring flowers …

Sustaining Wildlife

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By Stephanie Hudak, Columnist Okay, usually I end my story recommending a book. This time I am going to start the story with a book title. Douglas W. Tallamy has written a great book about sustaining wildlife entitled ‘Bringing Nature Home’. It is filled with wonderful ideas about plants that will entice the good critters to live and thrive in your yard. I know that I have written about native plants before, but by now you must know they are a passion for me. And as we plan our spring …

Great Cold Weather Plants

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By Stephanie Hudak, Columnist Good Grief Charlie Brown, when will this cold, rain, and snow end. My poor pansies in the city containers are struggling to stay in bloom. Let’s hear it for the kale and the parsley though. More on who were the winners and losers in another column. Today I write about conifers – they are happy in cold weather. Let’s be true though that there are some that don’t like our hot, humid weather. Please, please don’t bring an Alberta Spruce here – you can just count …

Garden Notes: Kale, Kale, Kale

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By Stephaine Hudak, Columnist This week marks a year that my partner in life passed away and lots of thoughts have gone through my mind. The one that makes me laugh and will continue to bring a smile to my face is what Tom always said about shovels – “they are the tools of the devil”— he hated yard work. But he was there for me every step of the way….and no matter what I asked of him he was there to for me. Anyone who had seen us working …

New Plants for 2014

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By Stephanie Hudak I was going to tell you how the containers were fairing after that single digit nightmare we had. Well, the short story is — bad. Except for the kale which did great; wait I need to clarify that. The Winterbor kale looks wonderful. Wanna guess why they named it that? The Peacock kale which is mostly around Town Park had leaf burn. The plant itself is alive and will recover but the outer most leaves went from that lovely purple/fuschia color to a ghostly gray. After lots …

Winter Stalwarts

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By Stephanie Hudak, Columnist Don’t we love the weather in Georgia and setting record weather marks: a record amount of rain in 2013, a record low temperature in the single digits; a record high over 100 in the summer of 2012, a drought that left Alabama mad at us because we didn’t share Lake Lanier water, and the list goes on. Well, right now I’m not too happy setting any weather records, and neither are the winter containers. Those low temperatures turned perky pansies and violas into something that looks …

Lenten Roses – A Bright Spot in Winter

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By Stephanie Hudak, Columnist Lenten Roses are wonderful plants. But one thing they are not — roses. So what are they? One of the best shade plants you can put in your garden. They are deer and rabbit repellent and have few diseases problems. Their correct name is Helleborus x hybridus and they are wonderful additions to a shade garden. Blooming anywhere between now and mid spring, depending on the weather – which is where they get their common name – blooming around Lent!!! The Lenten rose is an evergreen …

Winter trees and shrubs have a lot to offer

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By Stephanie Hudack The leaves are off the trees and hopefully being composted somewhere. Well, the leaves are gone from most trees, except those oaks and beech trees which hang on to them until spring. Not a bad thing though. That beige color is kind of nice. But that isn’t the point of this story. It is about the bark and structure. As I drove down my driveway I took the time to look at the trees that I planted last year and was so pleased with their winter look. …

Sweet Box

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By Stephanie Hudak, Columnist I am so lucky to have a good friend who is a great gardener and a wonderful writer. Connie Cottingham is the person who encouraged me to start writing myself – and, thank goodness, mentored me along the way. She has a really good website that you should all sign up for….it’s free and fun (www.conniecottingham.com). I am going to steal some of her recent information about sweet box in the hopes of exciting you about this great ground cover and also letting you know about …

Winter Beauty

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  By Stephaine Hudak Okay, it isn’t officially winter, but it sure looks and feels like it. The intense cold temperatures finally did in the last of the plants in my yard. Well, except for those wonderful winter weeds. Yes, I should have put out that pre-emergent I told you all to do, but didn’t. So as I look out the window I see lovely lines of wild onions and henbit flowing beautifully throughout my yard. Now, while I can enjoy the beauty of henbit in bloom – that huge …

Make Christmas simple, nature’s way!

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By Stephanie Hudak, Columnist Okay, normally I’ve been ending my story by suggesting Christmas gifts, but this time I’m going to start with ideas. Well, heck, the entire column is going to be about things you can give to those you love that are part of nature. But first, I have got to tell you about a great time I had at the State Botanical Garden this past Wednesday….the gift ideas will flow from there. I know that I have encouraged you all to become “Friends” of the Bot Garden. …

Pansies are worth it!

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By Stephanie Hudak, Columnist A couple weeks ago I had some of my northern relatives come to visit me and they were shocked when I told them I would just be finishing planting the city containers. What, they asked, could I possibly be planting in “the winter”? Well, you can tell they aren’t gardeners because even in the cold climate of Ohio, pansies will survive. The only problem is, you have is to dig through several feet of snow to find them. So why would you even spend the time …

Everything you wanted to know about earthworms

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  By Stephanie Hudak, Columnist As I was planting pansies at Heritage Hall last week and digging through some crunchy soil (where is the rain when you need it) — lo and behold I unearthed some worms. Realizing that I hadn’t seen many worms lately I took the time to really “look” at them – ick on the touching part. Being an integral part of our gardening life, I did some research and thought you might appreciate reading some interesting facts about our underground friends. Not surprisingly, there are thousands …

Summer’s steam fading Fall is approaching fast

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By Stephanie Hudak, Columnist The long hot days of summer are fast becoming just a memory as the cool days of fall are upon us. But that doesn’t mean that we can just curl up in front of the fireplace and read gardening books. There is much that can, and probably needs, to be done to put our gardens to bed and prepare for spring. There hasn’t been much rain these last few weeks, so if your yard is like most of ours, it is a hard, dry clay bed. …

Hudak: “Daffodils are the harbingers of spring”

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By Stephanie Hudak, Columnist t’s not even winter and I’m talking about spring! Actually I’m talking about daffodils now because they need to be planted in the fall and we are quickly leaving that season. Even if you don’t like flowers or gardening, daffodils create such a joyful experience in early spring after a long dreary winter that even grumpy ol’ Scrooge might break out in a smile. How hard can it be to grow something that even with total neglect pops out of the roadside ditches all over the …

Gardening columnist on weeds: “They may actually be valuable”

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By Stephanie Hudak Have you been a good gardener and already put out your pre-emergent to keep those winter weeds at bay? Well, you may have missed an opportunity to make some money. “What?” you say. Well, here is the whole story. I attended a wonderful program at the State Botanical Garden in Athens recently. BTW, if you aren’t a member (“Friend” as they call us) you are missing a great opportunity to spend time with nature, attend a wealth of great classes and much, much more. Membership is so …

Columnist encourages: “Attract more birds with winter berries”

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By Stephanie Hudak Summer holds a smorgasbord of energy food for the birds – from insects to your favorite tomatoes. But in winter the pickings get a little slim and that’s where winter berries play a major role in keeping the birds alive until spring. Winter berries come in a wide range of colors, from yummy yellow to brilliant black. And while they are a source of food for the birds, they can also be source of “eye candy” for the gardener. The most common plant that bears fruit is …

Ready tropical porch plants to come inside

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By Stephanie Hudak Well, it’s time to think about those beautiful tropical plants that have been on the porch all summer. You can bet they will be kicking and screaming as you drag the pots into your hot and dry home, but they will thank you for it when those cold days finally reach us. Admittedly we can have a mild winter and even the tropicals will tolerate the cooler temperatures for a while. But if “My Precious” is out there you might want to start the process of bringing …

Grand finale for summer season in the city’s containers

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By Stephanie Hudak This is it folks… The summer season is over, fall is officially here, and the containers will be changed out. I know they look awesome right now. Huge! They are all huge and overflowing the boxes. I must give credit to Erin and his crew for the watering and weekly fertilizing. Keep that in mind when you are doing your containers, they need food. Start out with good soil, add slow release fertilizer but give them a weekly dose of liquid food. But back to the start. …

Gardening columnist Stephanie Hudak: “Natives versus aliens”

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Native Plant Ideas for your Yard Trees Red maples, river birch, American beech, oaks (white, pin, willow, live), white ash and sweet gum Borders and beds Asclepias (milkweeds), Joe Pye Weed Grasses Panicums For the birds and the bees Serviceberry trees, blueberry bushes By Stephanie Hudak Hair salons are wonderful places to meet new people and learn all sorts of great information. And this is where I heard the word “alien” in connection with plants. Now you all know I’m a book fanatic. When I talked with this woman she …