Friday, October 29, 2010


in Mixed Border
The Arboretum is a great place to visit before you begin planting.  In our Certified Professional Plant area, the Mixed Border, and around the Ag Center Building you will find plants that do well in our climate.  Additionally you will see how large some trees and shrubs may grow from their small 1 gallon pot.  You may visit the Arboretum from dusk to dawn any day and do a self-guided tour.  Or join Master Gardener Volunteers on the first Thursday of every month starting at 10:00 AM for a Free Guided Walking Tour.

Before planting, take a moment to read Planting Techniques to help get your purchases off to a good start.

According to the North Carolina Nursery and Landscape Association these are 
Fall-planting benefits: 
·         Landscapes established during the fall months conserve North Carolina’s precious resources by requiring less water during the establishment period;
·         Trees, shrubs, perennial flowering plants, and turfgrass are well adapted to planting in North Carolina during the fall months — especially if those plants were grown locally in North Carolina;
·         Landscapes established during the fall months exhibit superior growth during the following years.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Muhlenbergia capillaris
 As seen earlier this week.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


The fall clean up at the Arboretum has produced a lot of leaves, spent flowers and stalks from perennials, and summer vegetable plants that have stopped producing.  All of these are added to our compost bin along with coffee grounds and vegetable and fruit waste from the Ag Center Kitchen.  We have a three bin system.  The first bin holds all the new waste.  After it has decomposed some, it is turned into the middle bin.  Finally, it is moved to the last bin when it is dark in color, crumbly, and has an earthy smell.  It is then available to amend the soil in our gardens.  Instructions for making your own compost can be found by clicking here.  It is a simple way to reduce what goes to the landfill.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

More on Saving Seeds

A few weeks ago, Master Gardener Volunteers led a tour group through the Arboretum and gave them a chance to collect seeds from perennial and annual flowering plants.  If you would like to try saving seeds, read this "Seed Collecting and Storing" to pick up some helpful hints.

Friday, October 15, 2010


The containers around the Ag Center at the Arboretum have been changed out for their fall/winter arrangements.  We have 12 large winter proof containers.  Gone are the warm season annuals and in their place are plants that will provide color, texture, and structure over the colder months.  Our containers have a variety of plants one might not consider growing in a confined place.  In two we have Hetz Midget arborvitaes (Thuja occidentalis 'Hetz Midget') which have been in the same container for several years.  Other evergreens we have grown are the Sky Pencil Holly (Ilex crenata 'Sky Pencil') and Emerald Green arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis 'Emerald Green') both which were subsequently planted in the beds around the Ag Center after they outgrew the containers.  These evergreens are the focal point of the containers, the thrillers.  Surrounding these tall plants we have planted fillers which are compact, bushy plants such as pansies, dianthus, heucheras, to name a few.  To complete the look you will find spillers such as Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia).  

Additionally, several Extension Master Gardener Volunteers assisted 'Uptown Greenville' in selecting plants for large planting beds in Greenville along Evans Street between 4th and 5th Street.  Planting Day is Tuesday, October 19th starting at 2 PM.  If you would like to be involved, click here Uptown Planting Project .

Check out all these new plantings for some inspiration.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


A large group of Master Gardener Volunteers was busy this week tidying up the perennial beds, the Wildflower Garden, the Vegetable Garden, the Mixed Border and the Children's Garden.  In addition to removing plant debris, pulling weeds and treating fire ant mounds, time was spent cutting back some perennials that have finished blooming for the year.

Our Wildflower Garden is mainly populated by the seeds left behind from this year's flowers.  Dried flowerheads of the gaillardia (pictured), rudbeckia, and salvias are left over the winter.  The birds enjoy the seeds and there are more than enough to fill the garden next spring.  Annual vines that cover the Rabbit Hole in the Children's Garden produce seeds used to replenish next year's plants.  Some of the vines grown are:  Purple hyancinth bean  (Lablab purpureus), Love In a Puff  (Cardiospermum halicacabum), and the Moonflower Vine (Calonyction aculeatum). 

People that came out today for the monthly Walking Tour were able to take home some of the seeds from our plants.  If you are interested to learn more about saving seeds, read this article for some quick tips.

Friday, October 1, 2010

WHAT'S IN BLOOM - Swamp Sunflower

If you are searching for some bright rays of sunshine after several days of rain, you need look no further than the swamp sunflower, Helianthus angustifolius.  It is just coming in to bloom in the Wildflower Garden at the Arboretum.  The cheerful yellow blooms often stretch up over 10 feet tall and will be in bloom for several more weeks.  This is a native plant that does well in rain gardens, clay soil, loves the sun, and mulitplies readily in the garden.  Butterflies and bees are attracted to it.  More information can be found at this link.

To see more fall blooming plants, join the Extension Master Gardeners this Thursday, October 7th for a FREE Walking Tour of the Arboretum.  The tour begins at 10:00 AM, lasts about an hour, and is given rain or shine.  Meet them under the Green Roof Shelter in front of the Ag Center for the start of the tour.  Click on the MAP link in the right hand column for directions.