Sunday, August 13, 2017

Are Climbing Plants Really Bad for Your House?

At a Santa Barbara, California, residence by architect Marc Appleton,
family dog Sunny sits outside the ivy-covered den. Photo by Mary E. Nichols.

We've all heard the ugly rumors: Ivy and other climbing plants will ruin the façade of your home. But according to landscape architect Kim Hoyt and a 2010 report by English Heritage and the University of Oxford, that's not always the case. In reality, it depends on where your house is and what the exterior is made of. Hoyt often tells her clients that if the plant is growing on masonry where there's good sun exposure, there shouldn't be a problem. Climbing vines are more likely to cause issues on wood siding and in damp climates; plants like Boston ivy suction onto surfaces with adhesive pads, allowing them to go up and under the wood, trapping in moisture and eventually rotting the façade.

In short, it's absolutely okay to leave the magical greenery crawling up your walls alone as long as the conditions are right. And it won't just look beautiful—the English Heritage report states, "We now have strong evidence that ivy reduces the threats of freeze-thaw, heating and cooling and wetting and drying (and associated salt weathering) through its regulation of the wall surface microclimate."

Just came to the realization that your residence isn't the best spot for a climbing vine? Hoyt assures us there are other ways to achieve a similarly verdant, old-world look. Your best bet: Grow vines up a screen or metal armature placed in front of an exterior wall to fool the eye from afar.

With the case of the climbing plants closed, here are a few of our favorite exteriors brought alive with lush foliage.
 
 
View examples of climbing plants used for architectural enhancement at:  http://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/are-climbing-plants-really-bad-for-your-house

Friday, August 4, 2017

Free Late Season Classes by Durham Co. Extension Master Gardeners

Outsmarting Critters will be offered Aug. 27 at the Durham South Regional Library.

Here is a listing of late 2017  Extension Gardener Seminars. Presentations by Durham County Extension Master Gardener Volunteers ALL CLASSES FREE!  

Planting Now For a Fall Harvest 
Saturday, August 12, 10 a.m. to noon. 
Durham Garden Center
Presented by Faye McNaull and Lynne Nelson, Durham County Extension Master Gardener volunteers.  Now is the right time to plan your cool weather garden.  A remarkable variety of tasty vegetables (including root crops and greens) can be happy and healthy when the temperature drops and your tomatoes and squash are all but memories.
Durham Garden Center  4536 Hillsborough Rd, Durham, NC 27705.  Requires registration. RSVP by either signing up at the store, calling the store at 919-384-7526, or emailing an RSVP to: Managers@DurhamGardenCenterNC.com.

Planning Now for a Fall Harvest
Saturday, August 26, 10 to 11:30 a.m. 
For Garden Sake Nursery
Presented by Doug Roach, Durham County Extension Master Gardener volunteer. Now is the right time to plan your cool weather garden.  A remarkable variety of tasty vegetables (including root crops and greens) can be happy and healthy when the temperature drops and your tomatoes and squash are only memories.  It's also the time to prepare for crops that will rejuvenate your soil overwinter and those that can be harvested early next summer. We will be offering tips on simple ways to extend your growing season in the Fall.
For Garden’s Sake Nursery  9197 NC Hwy 751, Durham NC, 27713. Requires registration. To register, email ann@fgsnursery.com or call 919-484-9759. 

Outsmarting the Critters: Dealing with Deer, Rabbits, Squirrels, Moles & Voles
Sunday, August 27, 3-4 p.m.
South Regional Durham County Library
Presented by Georganne Sebastian and Darcey Martin, Durham County Extension Master Gardener volunteers. Come learn about the latest techniques and tips for out-smarting the critters who dine on our Durham gardens.  
Programs at the Durham County Public Library - South Regional Branch, 4505 S Alston Ave. - registration is required. Register online at the Durham County Library website durhamcountylibrary.org. Click on "Events" to find the full calendar of events.  Go to the date of the class and sign up. You can also call the Information Desk at South Regional Library to register:  919-560-7410. 

Lawn Care
Tuesday, September 12, 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Sarah P. Duke Gardens
Presented by Charles Murphy, Durham County Extension Master Gardener volunteer.  Maintaining a beautiful lawn in our area is a challenge for many of us.  Extension Master Gardener Charles Murphy will discuss the pros and cons of cool season and warm season grasses, optimal lawn care for our Piedmont climate and soil.  He will introduce you to the best maintenance methods and untangle the confusing range of lawn care products.
Sarah P. Duke Gardens, 420 Anderson St. - Requires Registration. Call 919-668-1707 or email gardenseducation@duke.edu.        
 
Buy Healthy Plants and Plant Them Well
Tuesday, September 26, 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Sarah P. Duke Gardens.
Presented by Chris Apple, Durham County Extension Master Gardener volunteer. 
Healthy plants stand a better chance of thriving in your garden. This presentation will review what you should look for when purchasing and planting plants. Chris will discuss plant sources, how to evaluate a plant, how to correctly plant a tree, shrub, groundcover or perennial and then what is necessary to establish a plant.
Sarah P. Duke Gardens, 420 Anderson St. - Requires Registration. Call 919-668-1707 or email gardenseducation@duke.edu

Raised Beds – If You Build Them, the Veggies Will Come
Saturday, September 30, 10 to 11:30 a.m.
For Garden Sake Nursery
Presented by Doug Roach, Durham County Extension Master Gardener volunteer. This class will cover the advantages of raised bed gardening, including recommendations on locating, preparing, sizing and constructing the bed.  Doug will also offer helpful tips on using journals to record plant successes and failures, crop rotation, companion planting, improving your soil, protection from critters, and plant support. He will discuss such potential problems and pitfalls as contaminated beds or pest infestations.     
For Garden’s Sake Nursery  9197 NC Hwy 751, Durham NC, 27713. Requires registration. To register, email ann@fgsnursery.com or call 919-484-9759. 

Straw Bale Gardening 
Tuesday, February 27, 2018, 6:30 to 8 p.m. 
Sarah P. Gardens
Presented by Georganne Sebastian and Darcey Martin, Durham County Extension Master Gardener volunteers. Growing a successful vegetable garden is challenging enough if you have terrific soil in which to plant, but with poor soils it can be virtually impossible.  Straw Bale Gardening allows anyone, even those with the worst soil conditions, to grow a terrific garden that is productive and much less labor intensive.  Let us teach you how! 
Sarah P. Duke Gardens, 420 Anderson St. - Requires Registration. Call 919-668-1707  or email gardenseducation@duke.edu

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

August Calendar of Triangle Gardening Programs


See a comprehensive listing of educational horticultural programs around the Triangle during the month of August on Triangle Gardener: http://www.trianglegardener.com/garden-events/

Friday, July 28, 2017

Plant Spotlight: Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

Asclepias incarnate. Swamp milkweed can be used in rain gardens and stormwater gardens to filter pollutants and support monarch butterfly habitats. Photo by myiarchus22, CC BY-NC-2.0
























Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) is a native, perennial and toxic pink wildflower plant found in swamps, shores, thickets; marshes, moist meadows. Asclepias is the milkweed family of wildflowers essential as a monarch butterfly food source. The swamp (incarnata) variety of milkweed can be grown in urban rain gardens and other residential areas prone to poor drainage.
Description:
Erect, perennial herbs with milky juice; leaves simple, alternate, opposite, or whorled, narrow; flowers 5-parted, in rounded clusters, white, greenish, yellow, orange, or red; fruit dry and inflated, erect, and with many hair-tufted seeds
Growing Season:
Early to late summer
Height:
2-4 ft.
Foliage:
Up to 4-inch, opposite, narrow, lance-shaped, smooth leaves; milky sap is less juice than most species; short-stalked to stalkless
Flower:
1-to 2-in., dull pink flowers, clustered at the top of a tall, branching stem; five recurved petals; elevated central crown, divided
Habitat:
Weedy in disturbed areas, native or naturalized in waste places, roadsides, fields; landscape in flower gardens as herbaceous perennials
Poision:
All parts of this plant are poisonous if ingested. Symptoms include vomiting, stupor, weakness, spasms. The toxic principle is cardiac glycosides and resinoids. TOXIC ONLY IF LARGE QUANTITIES EATEN.

https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/all/asclepias-incarnata/