| by Kenneth Chase | 1 comment

The Family Plot – April 7, 2018

– Hi, thanks for joining us for The Family Plot:
Gardening in the Mid-South. I’m Chris Cooper. Need a perennial with
large green leaves? Try a hosta; today we’ll
look at some varieties and how to take care of them. Also, it’s time
to start planting. We’re going to talk about how to get your soil ready;
that’s just ahead on The Family Plot:
Gardening in the Mid-South. – (female narrator)
Production funding for The Family Plot: Gardening in
the Mid-South is provided by: The WKNO Production Fund, the WKNO Endowment Fund, and by viewers like you,
thank you. [cheerful country music] Welcome to The Family
Plot; I’m Chris Cooper. Joining me today is Jim Crowder. Jim, is a horticulturist at
The Memphis Botanic Garden, and Mr D. Is here with us. – Howdy. – Thanks for joining us. – Glad to do it. – Mr. Jim, we’re glad
to have you here today. – Thank you. – We have a lot of
hostas on the table. Can you tell us a
little bit about hostas? – By jingy, I can,
yes I can, okay? Well, first thing:
hostas prefer shade, all of them prefer shade. There are some that
are quite sun-tolerant, but even by the end of August, even those look a little ratty, so to have your
best-looking hostas, shade is always the best
option, and the nice thing about them is they’ll
tolerate extremely dry shade, right up on the
trunk of an old tree, and they’ll make their own space and come back year after
year where a lot of plants just won’t take the
competition from the tree, so they’re great plants
for dry shady areas, lotta good plants
to go with ’em, but there’s so much variation
in them too, you know, with either veriegated
yellow or variegated white, whether the yellow’s in
the center or on the edge, the height, the flower
color, some are purple, some are white, there’s
one called Aphrodite that’s double white
that’s very fragrant, so there’s a wide range
of options with them, and so we brought a few here
just to give people an idea. We’ll start maybe with the
minis maybe here on the corner. Minis are what it says,
very, very tiny hostas, and most of them don’t
get very big at all. Now, they’re not used
a lot in the garden unless you’ve got really
a little centerpiece where you wanna have
it or a fairy garden or something like that. They’re really used
more for containers. They’ll take abuse;
you can leave ’em in there all winter
long, not water them, and they’re fine as they can be. – (Chris)
They’ll still come right back? – They’ll come right back,
and they’ll come back thicker the next year, so
and most people overlook that in container plants if you’ll
use two or three perennials, even combinations of hostas,
all you gotta add’s a couple a annuals, and you got
season-long color, you know, with the foliage and the hostas, so it’s really a great plant
to complement your patio set, patio plantings or in
the garden, you know, if you’ve got a
really dark area, some, like this one we’ve got
right here, Designer Genes, this is so, so bright yellow, and that’s Designer
Genes, G-E-N-E-S. Now this was one of the first that actually had a red petiole
which you can see right here maybe on the side, and flower
arrangers like this a lot because it really stands out with the yellow and the
red, so it’s a great hosta. Another one here, this is
probably my favorite blue, this is Hadspen Blue, as it
matures, it will be a steel blue and holds that color
all the way ’til fall, absolutely magnificent
and it multiplies rapidly. This one is one of my
favorites, High Society with a yellow variegation
in the center. It’s also an excellent,
holds that color, doesn’t fade in heat, it’s
really really a good one. This one’s been real popular
the last couple years, Remember Me because also
it changes a little color and becomes a little lighter
as the season progresses, but it’s a stunning,
stunning hosta. And then you have all the
ones that are different, okay? Like, this one right here,
this one was hosta of the year a couple years ago: Curly Fries. It first comes out in the
season, brilliant yellow and then greens up as
the season progresses, so it’s really a very
neat hosta, okay, it’s good for the
front of the garden, and of course you use the
taller ones in the back. And this is one right here
that I like, Ivory Coast, for a tall one to have some
darker colors in front of it. It really stands out and
lightens up your shady areas. And this one right here, this
is the mamma jamma of hostas. This one is Empress
Wu, it gets very large. I’ve seen these in pictures
up to four feet tall and that’s just the foliage,
that’s not the flower. They’ll be eight feet wide
and have leaves on ’em that are 15, 16 inches
across, so it’s a huge hosta, and this year, I haven’t
been able to get any, there’s a variegated one
called, are you ready, Wu Hoo, so you know they
name these things, so that they’re attractive
to women and some to men, you know, I had to
have Komodo Dragon, I had to have Captain Kirk,
okay, yeah, that’s a hosta. I had to have Jurassic Park,
you know, but there are so many of them that have names that,
you know, you could care less what they look like,
you just want ’em because of their names, so these
are great, great perennials that come back year after year. – How many varieties are there? – Oh gosh, probably 4,000
or better, you know? – Wow.
– That is a lot. – At the Botanic Garden Plant
Sale, we’ll have 208 varieties and maybe more by the time
the plant sale gets here, but we’ve got all
shapes, sizes, colors, and the really neat thing is
so many of them will sport additional ones, I’ve got
right now, some Francees which is normally a very
light white edge around it. It’s sporting solid white
leaves, so hopefully it will have some green in it to
support that, but, you know, my luck it won’t, it’ll fold,
but it’s really, really cool to see these unique
color patterns come out. One time I had a Sagae which
looks very much like this that turned out solid
yellow and it was great and one that was even half
yellow, half green, you know, it did that for the
first four or five leaves and then it would get out of
it and did that every year, so kinda unique to watch it. – Okay now, we’re talkin’
about hostas of course, let’s talk about voles
because any time you talk about hostas, people
think about voles, okay. – That’s right, you
know, they will pick out your most expensive
hosta and then work right down the price
list, you know, they like to tunnel
under mulch or they like to follow mole runs, okay, so
that’s one of the first things you wanna do, avoid mulch,
okay, that way, they don’t like to get out in the open,
so if you’ll avoid that, and then we’ll show you
in a little while how to use some soil perfector which is basically a ground
up rock to prevent voles from getting access to the pip
and destroying your hostas, so there are some
ways to do that, and we’ll show you
how here shortly. – Okay, what about
any other diseases that we need to know
about with hostas? – Well, there are a few
diseases that hit them. There was one that came out
a few years ago, Virus X, and it manifests itself
differently in different hostas. Some would, you wouldn’t
know it even had it. Some, it would cause them
to be very corrugated, some they would get
streaks or ripples in them. And so it varied from each one, but it was only moved
by man, basically. If you got the disease on
your cutters cutting off, you could pass it
to another one. It did not appear to
be spread by insects, and the nice thing was, you
dig it up, throw it away, you can plant another
one back in there because it doesn’t seem to move back into the roots
in any way, so… – (Chris)
That’s good news! – Yeah, in fact, there were
half a dozen new cultivars entered that actually were
just Virus X mutations of old ones, so once
they figured that out, then they weren’t
cultivars anymore, so yeah, pretty cool things,
and one thing you can also do is some hostas, like, and
this is one right here, doesn’t like to produce pups,
little ones off the edge, and you can see, these right
here are already doin’ it to my right, so what you can
do is when the pip comes up early in the spring and you
just see it, take a razor blade and make an x in it, cut
through that basal plate that you’ll see right there
near the ground level, and you’ll get one to
come off of each of those, so you can get four
pips instead of one. That’s called rossizing,
and it’s a real good way to thicken a hosta quicker
that’s not cooperating. – Okay, so razor
blade, make an x. – Make an x in through the
bud just like you’re cutting straight down into it, yeah. – Okay, now will these hostas
be available to the public? – By jingy, I’m
glad you asked that. Okay, yes, all of these
are grown by our volunteers at the Memphis Botanic Garden,
we have created a little volunteer nursery over there
that’s 100% run and done by volunteers, and every
dollar that’s spent there goes back to education,
so it’s great. This year, we’ll have over
700 varieties of plants and about 18,000 perennials,
so been a lot of natives. – All right, so tell the
folks to come on out. If they’re hosta-holics,
there’ll be plenty of hostas for them, right? – Alright, Mr. Jim,
we appreciate that good information.
– Thank you very much, Chris. – Thank you. – (Chris)
There are a number of gardening
events going on events going on
in the next couple of weeks. Here are just a few
that might interest you. [cheerful country music] All right Mr. D., let’s talk
a little bit about soil prep, so where do you wanna
start with that? – Ah, the best place
to start with soil prep is by getting a soil test,
that’s the best thing, you know, don’t
guess, soil test. And the best time
to do that is now if you haven’t already
done it; it’s always best to do it in the fall if
you’re under ideal conditions. And the main reason that
you wanna do it early is because you’re gonna get a
recommendation on lime probably if your soils tend to be
slightly acidic in our neck of the woods, and
most garden vegetables need a relatively high
pH between 6 and 6.5, and it takes lime
a couple of months, two, three months to
bring the soil pH down. Now, with that being said,
if you haven’t done that, go on and lets do a soil
test now and then you go on and plant your garden, and
it’s best to put lime out now than to not put it out at
all if your soil needs it. Now, the only time
I’ve seen cases where you did not
need lime, you know, once every three years,
two or three years, is if you scatter your
garden ashes regularly, you know, ashes
from your fire place or from your fire pit
out in your garden spot. But, you need to
remove vegetation from where you’re gonna
plant your garden, and you can do that with
a tiller, you can do it with, you know, chemicals
if you want to or a hoe or somethin’ like that, you need to remove any unwanted
vegetation and get in there and till the soil, do not
do that when it’s wet. And, you know, if your soil
has a fairly high level of clay and if you can pick up a
wad of it and squeeze it and water comes out
of it, you don’t need to be out there
working yet, you know, give it a little bit of
time, let it dry off. Because those clots, when they
form, if you work the soil when it’s too wet,
they will stay with you throughout the growing
season, and you know, they don’t just
dissolve, unfortunately, and it interferes with
the seed to soil contact and root soil contact,
so make sure your soil is dry enough to work, you
know, when you get out there and work it, till
it, work it up. If you want to try to
garden a little bit earlier than normal, you can
throw ridges up in the fall, six to eight inches
tall, you know, or pull ridges up with a
rake, you can do all these with hand tools, and
that will allow the soil to dry out a little bit quicker, and it will get a little bit
warmer in the springtime, you know, if you’re gardening
on ridges, you can do that. You know, back in the old
days, we would go in there with a break and
plow and break it, and then we would disc it, and
then we would drag a harrow across it, and then lay
out the rows, and you know, put seed in the ground,
and all of those things could be spread out over
months, you could break it in the fall, you know,
disc it in the spring, or you could do all of that
at once, so there’s a lot of different ways to
prepare your soil. The soils that we have in this
area, here in the Mid-South, for the most part, tend
to be pretty good soils. We do have some soils
that make be a little high in clay content, if you
have a sharky, gumbo, bless your heart, you
do need to mend that with organic matter, maybe
some sand, things like that, but if you have a silt
loam, and you can look at there’s a soil survey in
every county, in every state of the Union, and you
can go and you can, if you don’t know what
type of soil you have, you may think you know
what type soil you have, but if you go look
at your soil survey, you’ll be able to
determine exactly the name and, you know, what
type of soil you have, but, a lot of people in this
area automatically assume they have too much
clay in their soil. Clay is a very valuable
component of the soil; it helps the water-holding
capacity of the soil, so you need some clay. – (Chris)
Helps hold nutrients. – And the only place that
we have really, really the sharky soils and
the gumbos really are in the river bottoms, and
if you happen to have a house that was built on a river
bottom, then you may have a very very
heavy clay soil, but most of the soils
are silt loams, you know, when deposited loess-type
soils, and they’re just ideal for growing things, and
if you don’t believe that, look at the size of the
trees that you have growing around your yards and
in the neighborhood and things like that. – Right, I actually heard
Mr. Jim mention that before in one of your talks, I mean,
you have to have a little clay in your soil, right? – Yeah, clay is good. The main thing is you wanna
grow plants that enjoy that, you know, there are a lot
of plants that don’t like that thing that we
sell in the nurseries, and so a lot of people
fail with plants just because it needs
to be up elevated, needs a much sandier
soil, drain much faster, percolation rate through
our clay is very slow, and when you dig a hole and particularly if you
over-improve it by putting lots of what you think is good
stuff in there, you know, it just becomes a
soup bowl of water, and then the plant
just drowns basically. – (Chris)
Good point. – Yeah, and you need
to be careful about, many times in our landscaping
and things like that, we might interfere
with drainage, you need natural drainage, and
if you have somehow set your, you know, using beds
or by setting up berms and things like that
so that you hold water, then that’s not a good
thing, so you need to allow the water, don’t
allow water to stand basically, if you can help it, and if
you do have water standing where your garden is,
then I would ditch it or try to, you know, fix
some way to get that water on off there, so it doesn’t stand. A lot of plants
don’t like wet feet. – [laughs] Or plant rice! – Yep, plant rice,
rice does okay, yeah, but a lot of plants, most
plants don’t like wet feet. Cyprus trees do fine and rice. – Right, and definitely
a lot of your vegetables don’t like wet feet either. – They do not like
wet feet, they do not, but if you do all
that, soil test. Now, if you haven’t soil
tested, then you can put, I hate to do rules of thumb,
but there is a rule of thumb if you want to put a garden,
and you can garden now. I mean, you could have been
gardening all winter, you know, there are cool season
vegetables, I grow onions and radishes and things like that,
you know, this is not too early to start gardening right
now, however there are a lot of vegetables that you
don’t wanna put out until after the average date
of the last killing frost. And you know, that’s
gettin’ close. It won’t be long and
it’s gonna be time to go with everything,
but a rule of thumb in the absence of a soil
test, use two to three pounds of 6-12-12 fertilizer or its
equivalent per 100 square feet of garden area, you know, if
you haven’t done soil testing, and you’re wanting to
garden pretty quickly, you can put that out
there, broadcasted evenly over the soil surface,
incorporated into the top six inches of the soil, and you’ll
be okay, but get a soil test. And that way,
you’ll know whether or not you did too
much or not enough. – All right, well, we
appreciate that, Mr. D, always soil test, all
right, thank you much. – Okay, I’m gonna show you
how to properly plant a hosta and hopefully protect it
from voles at the same time. The first thing,
when you get a hosta, you wanna dig your
hole about twice as wide as the container,
then loosen this, you don’t have to go deep,
about three inches or so and incorporate some
good organic matter, hostas are not
deep-rooted plants. Then, right in the center
of your prepared area, you wanna dig out just like
a cone shape like this, okay? Then we’re gonna take
a product, this one, there’s soil perfector,
there’s MoleGo, there’s a whole bunch
of products out there and just dump it right
in the hole like that and pack it up against
the sides like this. We’re gonna get a little bit
more there, get in there. And what this does, gives
you a protective barrier ’cause when the
voles are in there, they don’t have any
place to push that. So, we’re gonna make
this cone like so. Then we’ll remove this hosta
from the pot just like this, spread the roots out a
little bit, force it down in the center, and then
we’re gonna come back again with a little more on
the top of it like so to protect the pip, okay, then
bring your little light mulch on top of it, the hosta’s done and you got pretty good
protection against voles. – All right, this
is a Q & A segment. Mr. Jim, you jump in
there with us, all right? – I got it, let’s go. – All right, here’s
our first viewer email: “How do you remove black sooty
mold from crape myrtle bark?” And this is from
Cam via YouTube. – Well, the best thing
to do if it bothers you is just go out there with a
soft brush, a little soapy water like Dawn detergent,
and just scrub it off. You can use, I know people that
have used pressure sprayers if you put the
pressure way down, not destroy the bark,
you can do that. The sooty mold’s telling you
that you’ve got a problem. You gotta address that problem,
and then the sooty mold will go away, you’ve either
got crape myrtle bark scale or some other type scale or
aphids in the top of that tree, the honeydew is dripping
down, and the sooty mold’s growing on it, so fix
the insect problem, you won’t have the
sooty mold problem. – Good point. – Treat the problem,
not the symptom. – Right. – All right, here’s the
next, it’s actually a letter, all right, open this up for you. “What herbs can I plant that
would come back every spring?” And this is from
Kay, Andersonville. You have any suggestions
for Miss Kay? – Well, okay, a lot is
gonna depend on her soil and soil conditions
and drainage. Rosemary, many of the
lavenders are hearty perennials in theory, but,
particularly around here, our warm summer nights,
our slow drainage, our slow drainage
during the winter, does a lot of these plants
in, so I wouldn’t plant 100 of them hoping to have them
all come back, you know, if you do your proper
soil prep, I like to mix a little bark
in it, pine bark, because it’s got calcium in
it, tends to raise your pH, helps keep the soil separated, so you get good drainage
through it, have plenty of air. And if they come back,
hey that’s great, but one of the nice
things about herbs is they’re very inexpensive,
they grow rapidly, so even if you plant a whole
new bed of different herbs each year, you’re not
talking about a lot of money, and you’ll get fresher herbs,
won’t have a woody old plant that you’ve got to do
pruning on, you know, if it were me, I’d
grow my own fresh ones or harvest them at
Kroger, one of them. – [laughing]
All right, one of the two. So what are you talking
about, chives, oregano, thyme? – All those things,
yeah, basil, you know. Basil you’ll want to
watch ’cause it doesn’t like cool temperatures,
it’s not gonna come back, but you know, you can
plant ’em every year, you know, that’s the neat thing. Now mint, you can plant it once and you’re not
gonna have a problem ’cause it’s gonna come
back with a vengeance, all over the neighborhood,
so… [laughs] – What about rosemary, I
mean depending on the winter? – Rosemary, yeah,
it depends on how… I think you’ll have better
luck growing them in containers than you will in
the ground, yeah. – All right, but
definitely good drainage, the bark, puttin’ bark… – I love pine bark, you
know, it’s one of the best… You know, Mother Nature lets
all these trees and stuff fall to the ground and you’re
like, oh gee, what a good plan you know, so that’s
what I try to use. – All right, makes sense. So, hope that helps
you out Miss Kay. Here’s our next via email:
“I have some daffodils “growing all over a
hill by an old house. “How do daffodils get
scattered naturally? Are their bulbs dug up
and moved by animals?” And this is from Miss Elizabeth
from Byhalia, Mississippi, so how do they get scattered
naturally is the first question and then are the bulbs dug
up and moved by animals? Interesting question. – I’m pretty sure your dog’s
not transplanting them, okay? Typically, they come
up from seed, okay, as they produce
seed over the years, those will flow different areas. At some point, there was
an old homestead there, and they planted a few bulbs,
okay, and then they just begin to multiply, they’ll
multiply there in the clump, but usually pile on
top of each other, but they’ll increase that way,
and usually you’ll have seed that will flow away and
they’ll pop up elsewhere, so that’s primarily
the way they spread. – I go along with that, and
one thing that may take place from time to time is if
some cultivation goes on in areas close to home sights
because I’ve seen, like, it scatters down a road or
down a field and I wonder if a bulb got hung on a
disc or breaking flower, some man mechanically
could have moved some of those bulbs accidentally
down through there, but for the most
part, I’d say seed. – And your dog is
not doin’ it, right? – I’m pretty sure he’s
not digging them up and transplanting them. – Yeah, I don’t think squirrels
dig ’em up and move ’em. – I did have a Labrador one time that if I put a little
bacon grease on the ground, he’d dig a hole for me, but
you know, haven’t been able to get him to
plant anything yet. – He can’t plant
anything? [laughs] – He’s looking for
the rest of that hog. – All right, so there you
have it, Miss Elizabeth. All right, here’s our
next viewer email: “Can you tell me
what this bush is?” – (Jim)
Yes, I can. – (Chris)
Mr. Jim knows what that is. – That’s Quince, yep, got
little thorns all over it, beautiful plant, early spring,
flowers before the leaves come out usually, one
of the prettiest ones, there’s a variety
called Toyo Nishiki that blooms white, pink,
and red on the same plant. I have one in my yard,
and people stop to ask me what it is because
it’s really stunning, but there are some new
doubles that are dwarves that have no thorns and
oranges and reds and whites, they’re just spectacular plants. Some of them product the apple
for the quince jelly, okay. Most of the newer varieties
are not fruit-producing, but there are still
some out there. It’s a great plant,
you know, particularly, it’s got so many thorns on
it that I say this is one of the plants, I have a
list of plants you plant under your daughter’s
window, this is one of them. – [laughing] Oh, this
is one with the thorns. – Surrounded by barberry. – How ’bout that, but
you know, the plant produces a lot of
stems as well, right? – It does, it does, and it needs
selective pruning you know? – Okay, so I was gonna
ask you about pruning. – Right, each year, go
in, take out three to five of the oldest canes in
there, they’re gonna pop and go straight up
through it and re-fill it and then you’ll have
more flowers next year. Starts setting its flowers
in late July and August, so do not prune it
after the first of July, gotta be done right
after it blooms. – All right, but if you plant it under your daughter’s
window, don’t prune it. – Don’t prune it at all, nuh-uh. – All right, Mr. Jim,
Mr D., this was fun. – Hey, thank you,
appreciate you asking me. – (Chris)
Remember, we love to hear from you. Send us an email or
letter: The email address is [email protected],
and the mailing address is Family Plot, 7151
Cherry Farms Road, Cordova, Tennessee 38016
or you can go online to FamilyPlotGarden.com. That’s all we have time for
today, thanks for joining us. If you would like more
information on Hostas or getting your soil
ready for planting, visit FamilyPlotGarden.com.
We have links to extension
publications about these and other gardening topics. I’m Chris Cooper, be
sure to join us next week for The Family Plot: Gardening
in the Mid-South, be safe. [cheerful country music] [acoustic guitar chords]

1 Comment

Joe Bradley

May 5, 2019, 1:05 am Reply

I am now officially a Hostaholic and I love it!

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