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The Family Plot — July 10, 2014


Hi, I’m Chris Cooper. Welcome to “The Family Plot:
Gardening in the Mid-South.” Thanks for joining us. If you thought about becoming
a Master Gardener but weren’t quite sure how to go about
it, stay tuned because today, we’re going to tell
you how to get started. And Carol Reese is here to give
us options for shade tolerant plants you might want to
consider for your landscape. All of that and more
is coming up next on “The Family Plot: Gardening in
the Mid-South” so stay with us. (female announcer)
This is a production of WKNO-Memphis. Production funding for.. “The Family Plot: Gardening in
the Mid-South” is provided by Good Winds Landscape and
Garden Center, in Germantown since 1943 and continuing to
offer its plants for successful gardening with seven greenhouses
and three acres of plants. Plus, comprehensive
landscape services. [soft music] [theme music] Hi, welcome to
“The Family Plot.” I’m Chris Cooper. Joining me today
are Melissa Taylor. Melissa is a master gardener
right here in Shelby County. Sandra Montague is a master
gardener in Fayette County. And Carol Reese is with us. She’s a horticulture specialist
with the University of Tennessee extension. Thanks for joining me ladies. Thank you! The guys are going to be
jealous when they see this set. [laughter] Alright, let’s talk about
the master gardener program. Before we get started, Melissa,
you’re the vice president of the Memphis Area Master
Gardeners Association. Miss Sandra is the president
of the Fayette County Master Gardeners Association, okay. Make sure we get
that information out, okay. Now what does a
Master Gardener do? What does it mean to
be a Master Gardener? We’ll start with you. Well the official definition of
the Master Gardener program is the Master Gardener program is
offered by the University of Tennessee Extension. And the purpose of the program
is to train citizens as hort educated volunteers of
the University of Tennessee Extension as well as the
Tennessee State Cooperative Extension Program. And our volunteers work in
partnership with our counties to expand educational outreach by
providing home gardeners with research-based information. That sounds very serious
but we have a lot of fun. It’s a lot of fun! That’s the official
definition of what we are. So what does a
Master Gardener do, Miss Sandra? Well we provide volunteer
work throughout the county. And some of the things that we
do are we help with the Fayette County plant sale and we
do the homegrown section. All of the proceeds from
the things that we do.. We divide our plants in the
spring and then pot some up and take them there. And all those
proceeds go to that charity. We help out with the 4-H. Most of the volunteer work for
4-H comes from Master Gardeners. So we also take care of
the flower beds around the courthouse square. So we just, you know.. Anything that volunteers.. We also help people, like older
folks that loved gardening and can’t do it anymore. We help with some of
the labor on that. Sounds like y’all
do quite a bit! (Sandra)
We do! Now let’s talk
about the applications. So I understand applications are
available here in Shelby County. You want to tell us a
little bit about that? Sure. For the Shelby County program,
it’s available on the Memphis Area Master Gardner website. And that’s actually.. MemphisAreaMasterGardener-
dot-com. And the applications are
available right now but they are due at the end of
this month, July 31. And part of the program will
start the second week of January and run through about
the middle of April. And the classes here in
Shelby County — I know they’re different from Fayette County. But in Shelby County,
there’s one class a week, which is on Wednesday mornings
from 9:30 to 12:30 at the Agricenter. And you initially will be
trained 40 hours classroom teaching as well as 40 hours
of hands-on experience in the field. And then after that, we hope
that you will continue on as a volunteer in Shelby
County or Fayette County. All the counties need help. Well since we
mentioned Fayette County, what about the
application there? Well the applications, you can
get them at the extension office or on our website, which is.. extension-dot-tennessee-
dot-edu- slash-fayette. And those, you can turn them in. Our classes
start, um, August 22. It’s a Friday. They’re on Fridays this year. So, uh, you can turn the
applications in any time up until that time. We are limited to 20 people. So as soon as the class is
full, then applications cease. Now let’s talk about costs. How much is it in
Fayette County? In Fayette County, it’s $120. And that includes the textbook,
which is produced by U-T Extension. It’s a great textbook. Okay and Shelby County? Shelby County is $150,
also includes the textbook, as well. Okay. Now let’s talk
about the classes. What are some of the
classes that are offered? Oh, gosh. There’s a lot. It’s a really
nice, wide variety. You don’t get too in
depth on any one topic. But you go over
different things from, like, you know,
preserving our water, plant entomology. Carol Reese is actually one
of our speakers who comes and speaks. [laughter] Wave! Just a really nice, wide
variety that you cover with the different topics and everything. What do y’all have? We do weeds and turf grasses. And Carol does the woody trees
and shrubs and landscape design. We also have just
some basic botany. That’s one of the
first classes that we do. And then, just soil. It’s amazing that, you know,
people don’t realize that dirt and soil are two
different things. [laughter] So we have quite a few. You know, plant
diseases, propagation, irrigation. So we’re just introducing you
to the horticultural world. Don’t you enjoy
teaching those classes? I love teaching. There’s nothing like teaching a
bunch of people who really came here to learn and
are enthusiastic. Did you say what time of day
the Friday classes would be? I believe ours is at 6:00. They usually start at 6:00. Now I have to check
on that to make sure. But you will find out if you
call the extension office. They’ll have all
that information. But that’s the normal. It’s usually in
the evening time. Yeah, so 6:00
sounds about right. Yeah. Okay, now let’s talk
about some projects. What are some of the projects
the Master Gardeners are doing in Shelby County? We have a ton of projects,
something for everyone in fact. We’ve got several
community gardens. We have Plant a Row Davies,
Plant a Row Collierville Victory Garden. We also volunteer at the
Lichterman Nature Center, the Memphis Botanic Gardens,
the Dixon Garden and Gallery, the Memphis Zoo. We also work with Habitat for
Humanity and plants for habitat. So there’s
something for everyone, you know, that you can do. We also have a hort line that
you can call and you can help support that and answer
your neighbor’s questions. So they call in and want to know
what’s this insect or what’s this spot on my leaf out
there and should I be worried. I remember telling my mom
here for a second when I first started this job as
an extension agent. She used to always tell
me, “People call there with “gardening questions?” Sure they do, Mom! Don’t you want to call us? Yeah, people actually do
call with gardening questions. You’d be amazed. You’d really be amazed. Here in Shelby County, the hot
line is available from 8:00 to 4:30, Monday through Friday. We get a lot of calls. So what about Fayette County? Actually, I gave you some
of the projects earlier. I’m sorry. But actually, we.. Tonya, our horticulturist
at the extension agent, she likes for us to
answer those questions. Because she says every question
that you guys answer is one that, you know, I
don’t have to answer. Because they get a lot of calls. But we, you know,
judge the 4-H projects. We, um, have one of our master
gardeners leads the after school gardening club for kids. And so, um, we’re just
involved in everything. And, um, anything that
anybody has a question about, they can call one of us
and we’ll help them out. Okay. And usually the age ranges are
pretty much from 18 and older. Mhmm. Okay. And we’ve actually had somebody
in our class this past year who was 18. Did you really? Yeah, we sure did. And she’s actually going to
graduate so we’re looking forward to that. But look, where can you
get these applications? Okay, so you can pick them
up at the extension office, which is located
over at the Agricenter. Or you can go online, MemphisAreaMasterGardeners-
dot-org. Alright. How about it one more time? Same for us. And also, I wanted to say that
don’t be intimidated by that application because
I was like, “Ahh.” I’m not this good. But we don’t need.. We want master gardeners but
we also want to make you master gardeners. If you just have an
interest in gardening, you know, that’s what
we’re really looking in to. Supporting your community. Yeah, uh-huh,
supporting community. I’m always impressed with how
many people come from different backgrounds. Y’all always do a little round
table and talk to everybody in the class and find out who
they are and where they come and their level of expertise. And it is all levels and
all different walks of life. I love that. Judges, doctors,
lawyers, teachers. I mean we pretty
much have it all. C-E-Os. I mean we have it all. So it is impressive
when they, you know, go around the room and just
kind of introduce themselves. I always look forward to that. And in the short
time we have left, what attracted you to the
master gardener program? Honestly, I’ve always loved to
garden and I just wanted to. I love to garden and
I love to volunteer. And I just wanted to learn more. And I know it says master
gardener but I’m learning something new every day. I love that every
time I volunteer. Same thing. My mother was in to flowers. My father did the vegetables. So I kind of had
both sides of it. And I just loved it. I’m not very good
but I still, you know, I keep learning and keep trying. And also, that’s.. My sister actually said,
“You really need to do this.” And so she pushed me in to it. And I’ve been happy doing it. And we have our meetings. I will say that on
our meetings, um, we have a lot of fun. It’s kind of a social
time during our meetings. So we have food and
we have a presenter. Sometimes we get
you to do topics. And then we, you know, we have
our business meeting and plan our, you know,
other volunteer work. Thank you ladies. We appreciate that. There are a number of gardening
events going on in the next couple of weeks. Here are just a few
that might interest you. [theme music] Alright Miss Carol,
shade tolerant plants. But before we get started
with your recommendations, understand now that there’s some
shade tolerant plants that we don’t recommend anymore. True, very true. (Chris)
How about that? I think, you know, we’ll still
find those things sometimes when we get online. And we might want to
reconsider some of these old recommendations that turned out
to be troublesome in the long run. It used to be
people would say, “Well, “you know, grass doesn’t want to
grow in the shade so let’s plant “some English ivy in there. “Let’s plant some Vinca
minor or Vinca major.” And it turned out
over the years, those became too aggressive. And also, it sort of precludes
you planting anything else. I wouldn’t say never
use it but if I plant, say, Vinca minor
with hosta and fern, eventually it crowds them out. (Chris)
Right. So I really prefer
diverse planting. And also, it used to be that we
thought shade plant selections were rather limited. And now there’s enormous
selections of shade plants at the garden centers. So it’s fun. It’s a new, fun place to garden
with a whole different set of textures and colors. Okay. So those plants are aggressive? Aggressive! I bet right now people
listening to this are battling, you know, the old
Bishop’s weed or Goutweed. There’s one that’s also
considered to be aggressive — the Chameleon plant,
which isn’t that old. It came out a few years ago. But that little
sucker will run on you. And then when you
try to pull it out, it smells. You ever had to pull that out? It smells like fish. It smells like
you’re cleaning a Bass. [laughter] So ones that we
would recommend, I like plants that kind of
stay in discrete clumps. You know they may get
bigger over time but they don’t necessarily run and
take over a large area. I mean, unless you just never
want to mow that area again and you’re not trying
to garden there. But there’s so many selections
of hosta and fern that I would suggest you join one
of those societies. There’s the big hosta
society here in Memphis. There’s a great fern society. And you’ll learn
a whole lot more. And also, people tend to share. There’ll be sales. You can start to get those
selections that you really see doing well in this area. (Chris)
Do you have any favorite hostas? (Carol)
I do. I love Guacamole. Guacamole, to me,
is a great color. It’s a brilliant green and it
always looks happy all summer where as some hostas kind of
start looking tattered and sad late in the summer, don’t they? (Chris)
Yeah, they do. And of course, all the
ferns I think I really love, as far as an evergreen fern,
that Tassel fern is one of my favorites. And the Holly fern is very good,
especially here in the Memphis area. But some new plants — and I
like to think about shrubbery a lot of times instead of
just the evergreen perennials, which are so
popular — would be.. Of course you know Hydrangeas. Again, there’s a
whole hydrangea society. But let’s talk about Distyliums. That’s a relatively new
introduction that’s come in from some of Mike Dirr’s breeding
programs down in Georgia. And they’re evergreen. They’re related to Witch
hazel so they have sort of an interesting spring bloom. But they’re really grown
for the evergreen foliage. Shiny, pretty, evergreen and
you can find three forms in the market. One is more spreading.
One is more haystack. And one is more upright. And you’ll find those
even at the big box stores. They’re not that hard to find. Distylium is the name. I’m sorry! Everybody will,
“Give me the real name.” Well that is the real name. It doesn’t have a common name. So Distylium is not that hard. It’s just four syllables. [laughter] So another plant I really
want to mentioned are Gingers. A lot of.. The Chinese Ginger especially
has gotten real popular over the last few years. It’s a beautiful,
shiny heart-shaped leaf. You can also find
native Gingers that do well. And Callaway is an
especially nice brand. But when I saw Ginger, a lot of
people think about the edible ginger in the grocery store,
which is actually Zingiber. And it can be grown and
it can tolerate shade. And you can actually just buy
the ones at the grocery store and grow those. They’re tropical. So you would have to pot it up
for the winter or just repot it again next spring. But you could grow
your own gingers. And then y’all
know a third ginger, right? The old ginger
lily, the Hedychiums, which is.. It’s so confusing. Thank goodness for
scientific names. We love those scientific names. The Hedychiums, old pass-along
plant we find in the South, is the moth ginger
or butterfly ginger, which is white-blooming. It looks sort of like a
Canna leaf but a little finer textured. And it smells like Gardenias,
absolutely fantastic fragrance. There are more ornamental
gingers in the trade now that come in different colors. We’ve got red and
peaches and yellows. And some are
borderline perennial. But here in the Memphis area,
you probably have good luck with them. A really good source, if you’re
interested in collecting some of those, would be the Plant
Delights catalogue if you want to order some. And there may be some local
nurseries here that are carrying more of a range, too. But they’re really
fantastic plants. (Chris)
Okay. So.. Any others that we
need to know of? Well, I think so. We keep talking about
the Solomon’s Seal. We’ve got most native forms. And then the variegated form
is my favorite and it’s not a native form of Solomon’s Seal. And it’s a
beautiful arching stem. And it looks like somebody has
just painted the edges of the leaf very gracefully. Little white flowers in
the spring that dangle. And you’ll buy a pot that just
has two or three little arching stems. But eventually it will form a
pretty nice colony but not too aggressive. Very easily grown and gives a
nice little bright addition to the shade garden. In fact, it was
plant of the month. If you ever go to the U-T garden
archives and look up our plant of the month, Jason Reeves wrote
it up as plant of the month this spring. So you can read all about it and
decide if you want it for your garden and some really
good pictures of it as well. Okay. Now let me ask you this. We’re talking deep shade? I mean how much shade are
we talking for these plant materials. Right, that’s always a good
question because very few plants really like deep,
deep, dark shade. It’s good to get a few hours of
sunlight on most any plant for best performance. And a lot of times, it’s
not that hard to achieve. Maybe if you’ll do just a
little bit of judicious pruning. For example, maybe limb those
trees up a little higher so that the early light can get in
there and the late light in the afternoon or even a little bit
of thinning of the branches. You and I know —
never, never top. But removing a few
branches here and there, uh, can absolutely let
that dapple light in there. And Hydrangeas, for example, are
a good plant that it will not flower as well in deep shade. But if you let it get
a little bit of light, a few hours of light, then
they’ll be a much better bloomer and performer. Okay. Is it best to get that light in
the morning or in the afternoon? (Carol)
Another very good point. Morning light is very different
than hot afternoon light. Morning light, a lot
of times, is great. Like the Heucheras or the
Coral Bells that have become so popular in the last few years,
I found if they get too much shade, a lot of times
they lose that rich color. But if I put them where they get
that morning light and then are shaded during the hot
hours of the afternoon, then they tend to
retain that good, rich color. And they tend to
bloom a little better. And often the blooms on them are
quite attractive even though we mostly grow them
now for the foliage. You’ve probably seen now there’s
a lot of the Tiarellas as well as the hybrids. Tiarellas — excuse me —
Heucherellas are a cross between Heuchera and Tiarella. And those are nice because
that kind of have that Heuchera habit. But they also tend to spread a
little bit and form a little bit more of a ground cover. So look for those, as well. There’s a big selection
available these days. Alright, there you have it, your
shade tolerant plants from Miss Carol Reese herself. How about that? Alright, here’s
our Q and A session. Alright. Y’all jump in
there with us ladies. Alright. Oh Lord, she says. Alright. [laughter] Here’s the first question. My ornamental cherry tree leaves
have little holes in them. Should I be concerned? Miss Carol, what do you think? If you really were worried
about the cosmetic affect, you can start spraying for them
earlier in the year before you ever saw the damage. But is it going
to kill your tree? No. It’s not going to kill the tree. They can actually deal
with that long-term. It’s okay. It’s a little fungus. It’s a fungus, yeah. And of course the fungus lands,
the little spore begins to grow and then the desiccated
part of the foliage drops out. Hence the appearance, shothole. And it’s real common
on Prunus, all Prunus, even the evergreen form. I always love to quote
Plato Touliatos on this. He says, “Just don’t
look at them too closely.” [laughter] Just get over it, right. Just get over it. (Carol)
That’s right. Yeah but it’s not a big deal. And if you’re going
to use a fungicide, you’re going to have to
use that at bud break. Seasons too late now. Mhmm. So what you need to do.. Pick those leaves up that are
on the ground because they do harbor those spores. So get rid of those. Practice good sanitation. And then as far as
cultural control goes, just make sure those leaves are
able to dry out in between wet periods. Because you have this shothole
fungus or it could be a disease anytime you have wet weather. And y’all know
we’ve had wet weather. Yes, we have. We’ve had plenty of that. So it’s not going
to be a problem. Alright, here’s
our next question. I have black spots on the
leaves of my Black-eyed Susans. What can I use to
treat those plants? You ladies want to? [laughter] Well again, it’s
probably a fungal disease. There are a couple of
other things it could be. There’s a couple of little
insects that can feed underneath that suck a little bit of
chlorophyll out that might leave black specks. But honestly, again,
no need for it really. It’s going to clear up
once the weather clears up, as you pointed out. It’s not going to
kill the plants. We really don’t have to worry
about anything in particular killing Black-eyed Susans except
maybe too wet a side would be the only thing, soggy feet. That would pretty much be it. I mean if you want
to use a fungicide, you could. There’s some out there. I’m always about
cultural controls first. (Carol)
Yeah. If those plants are
crowded, that’s a problem. The air can’t get in there
to dry those leaves off. Are you mulching? It’s pretty good to mulch those
areas to make sure that those splashes don’t come up and
hit those bottom leaves, okay. And then practice
good sanitation. I mean if you have
diseased leaves down there, just pick them up. It’s a really good tip. Throw them away. As Mister D would say, double
bag them and throw them away. You know, so.. He’s always
preaching sanitation. I bet he’s a neat freak. You think? How does he say that
and don’t practice it? But yeah, always
practice good sanitation. But again, there are
fungicides out there. That’s the last resort for me. Chlorothalonil,
which is Daconil, you can use. Or if you want to be safer,
there’s a copper fungicide that you can use, sulfur
fungicides that you can use. Read the labels on those. You’d be fine, okay. Here’s our next question. Can Sevin be used on
tomato plants to kill bugs? What do ya think? But here’s my
question to that one. So what bugs are
we talking about? Exactly. Because the major pests of
tomato plants are pretty much tomato horn worm,
aphids and maybe cutworms. And your squirrels when
they eat your tomatoes. And the squirrels when
they eat your tomatoes! How about that? Which is true. So can you use Sevin? Well, you know, Sevin’s not
going to help with those things. And I hate to see
Sevin used, as you know. (Chris)
And explain why. It’s just one of the worst
things you can do for your bees. And our bees are so, you know.. The population of actually all
our pollinators is so far down there. And I feel like anything we can
do to protect our pollinators.. And we can use these more
targeted pesticides like the B-t products for the horn worm. Although the horn worms,
there’s usually like one or two. Amazing! Just happened on
my cherry tomatoes. They were beautiful one day. Next day, they
were just defoliated. One big horn worm, one! I’m like, “Oh my gosh!” So I just pulled that sucker
off and I go put him over on the bird feeding tray that I have. I hope some creature gets a
delicious treat very far from my tomato plants. He’s not going to make it back. I saw a bird trying to get
one one day and just wondered. Man, the bird was
struggling with it. It was so big! But here again,
yeah, not the Sevin. B-t for your tomato hornworms. If you have aphids —
Look, insecticidal soap. A nice heavy stream of
water just to knock them off. Cut worms, you can use
Carbaryl for cutworms. They’re not a
major, major problem. The old timers put
the aluminum foil, you know, around the stems
of the tomato plants for the cutworms and they
can’t cut through it. Or Diatomaceous Earth! Or Distomaceous Earth works. Yeah, so that’s good. Y’all have any problems
with pests on your tomatoes? Or do you grow tomatoes? Oh, yes. Yeah. I just share with the squirrels. I just figure sometimes you
just got to decide to let go. I let the squirrels have some. I get some. We’re all happy. I can recommend
something for that, a Jack Russell Terrier. I have two dogs that
like to get out there. But I think they get
confused by the squirrels. Alright, well there ya have it. Here’s our last question, okay. I have noticed a lot of
browning on my Leyland Cypress. What is causing that? Oh, she’s shaking her head. Miss Carol is shaking her head. That’s on my do not plant list. That’s the problem. The Seridium canker
is the usual culprit. There’s a couple of other
fungal canker diseases. But that’s usually what it is. One of those that
was over-planted, often planted in rows so the
disease could just hop along. So usually you’ll see a
whole limb brown out. And by that time, the vascular
system of the tree is infected and the whole tree
is going to die. You can try to remove that tree
as quickly as possible maybe to keep it from spreading. Well irrigated trees are less
likely to get it if they’re healthy. But yeah, the Leylands are just
one of those trees that we’re not going to
consider long-term anymore. Occasionally you’ll
see some that do. I try to get people. If they’re going to use them,
do a mixed planting of diverse mixed plantings of a
screen is always best. Alright. There you have it. Ladies, thanks for joining us. Thank you! Remember, we love
to hear from you. Send us a letter or an e-mail
with your gardening questions. Send your e-mail to
FamilyPlot-at-WKNO-dot-org. The mailing
address is Family Plot.. 7151 Cherry Farms road
Cordova, Tennessee 38016. That’s all we
have time for today. Thanks for watching. I’m Chris Cooper. Be sure to join
us next time for.. “The Family Plot:
Gardening in the Mid-South.” Be safe! [theme music] (female announcer)
Production funding for “The Family Plot: Gardening in
the Mid-South” is provided by Good Winds Landscape and Garden
Center, in Germantown since 1943 and continuing to offer its
plants for successful gardening with seven greenhouses
and three acres of plants. Plus, comprehensive
landscape services. CLOSED CAPTIONING
PROVIDED BY WKNO-MEMPHIS.

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