It seems like if something stings or bites, it likely makes its home in North Carolina. From those maddening no-see-em biting flies to disease vectoring mosquitoes and ticks, there is no shortage of critters that can make life outdoors a very unpleasant experience. Read more

Wave® is the most popular petunia family, both for nursery plant sales in spring and seed sales from catalogs. Since 1995, I’ve used more than a dozen Wave types and colors successfully in beds, containers, and mixed planters. Five Wave petunia types are currently available in a wide variety… Read more

The internet is full of advice for gardeners. But many of these websites and blogs are loaded with incorrect information. And even if the advice is good in general, it might not apply to gardens here. Read more

Winter will be upon us before we know it. The vibrant colors of spring, summer, and fall will give way to grays and browns and fog and snow. But you can brighten your winter landscape with plants that have displays of foliage, bark or fruit. Here are some to consider. Read more

They are about to be among us, big time. Every June and July swarms of Japanese beetles attack all kinds of valuable plants. As they feed, female beetles release pheromones that attract additional beetles to the site. Read more

Plant roots need moisture, air and nutrients to grow, and a loose soil to provide room for that growth. “Double digging” is the best way to improve your soil; it improves drainage and aeration and adds organic matter. There are several good double digging methods; here’s what works for me: Read more

In the mountains, wild garlic (Allium vineale) and wild onion (Allium canadense) appear in late winter and spring in lawns, along roadsides and seemingly everywhere else. Read more

Oregano (the “pizza herb”) is a well-known ingredient in tomato sauces, but is also used for flavoring meats, bread stuffing and vegetables. Supposed benefits also include treatment of respiratory tract and gastrointestinal disorders, headaches, skin conditions and a litany of other problems. Read more

It happens every year in the mountains. A warm spell in mid-winter causes daffodils to poke their heads out of the ground, causing people to believe that the plants could die when cold weather returns.The only problem with these plants is that the floral display is often limited to just a we… Read more

Do you have a shady spot that needs some perking up? Here are two of my favorite shade perennials, including one that can be easily grown from seeds. Both have year-round interest. Read more

I’ve been collecting precipitation data at our place for a decade to ensure that my garden gets the moisture it needs (and because I have OCD and just HAVE to know). And while the monthly and annual averages for my garden are not that different from the official Waynesville numbers, the vari… Read more

Spring is coming fast, and it's time for gardeners to start planning and plotting for the growing season. Several free programs are coming to the Canton and Waynesville libraries during the month of March for gardeners looking for a jumpstart. Registration is recommended. Read more

We wanted to hide the pressure treated posts holding up our deck, so installed trellises in front of the posts to support some vines. Initially three different clematis varieties were planted, but the blooms were sporadic and not visible from a distance. And the foliage was not sufficient to… Read more

Dahlia lovers go to great lengths every year to get the biggest and best blooms.In the fall, they carefully dig up the tubers; store them in controlled conditions; and replant in spring. They attach stems to sturdy stakes with special tape. And if they are entering the flowers in a competiti… Read more

The purpose of Master Gardener programs nationwide is to multiply the efforts of Extension agents to get horticultural information to the public. Haywood County Master Gardeners volunteer over 4,000 hours each year, in activities like:— Organizing the biennial Haywood County Garden Tour.— Tu… Read more

In 2005, I planted a 25-foot row of blueberry bushes — three each of three different varieties — in a 12-foot wide space between two retaining walls in full sun. I conscientiously removed all the flowers for the first two years so that the plants’ energies would be focused on root developmen… Read more

We were looking for easy-to-maintain plants that could provide seasonal color to a fairly steep slope in part shade. A catalog arrived picturing several varieties of iris, something we’d never tried, and we placed an order. Here’s what happened.Iris is the name of the goddess of the rainbow … Read more

A lot of homeowners around here head south for half the year; many take no precautions to keep their home secure. There are lots of things you can do — two of the more obvious are to install a home security system and join a neighborhood watch group.Yet your landscaping can also prevent pote… Read more

My chef likes shallots for their mild onion flavor, so (guess what!) I grow them every year. For several years, I started seeds indoors in February, transplanting outside in May for a fall harvest.But although seeds are much less expensive than sets (small shallot bulbs), yields were inconsi… Read more

Last year I grew a new sweet basil named Dolce Fresca and loved its self-branching, compact habit. Its flavor was just like Genovese, the standard for all large-leafed basils.But in late August, the leaves suddenly turned brown and the plants looked like they were dying. Diagnosis: downy mil… Read more

Last year I bought something from a local nursery called‘Clio Magenta’to fill in an open spot in a flower bed. The pixie stake mentioned pretty pink-lavender flowers, but other than that I knew nothing about it. Yet it grew quickly; bloomed continuously from early June to the first hard free… Read more

Grandbabies are amazing. Kathryn is our only one, so we tend to dote and go more than a little overboard. So I wasn’t surprised when my wife did an Internet search for plants with Kathryn, Katy or Kate in the name. She found a perennial named‘Sweet Kate’and we planted five of them in a group… Read more

Jim: People rave about your butternut squash soup. What’s the secret? Jackie: The secret is apple and just a hint of sweet spice. Here’s the recipe. Butternut Squash and Apple Soup¼cup olive oil 1 two to three pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes (about 6 cups) 1½… Read more

Some time ago, I wanted to create a mass of color visible from our deck and the golf course. I planted 100 daylilies on a moderate slope, alternating bright yellows (‘Buttered Popcorn’) and deep reds (‘Frankly, Scarlet!’). But a year later when they started to bloom I realized my mistake—Whi… Read more

This is the time of year that lawn care ads overwhelm your mailbox and TV screen. Pallets of fertilizer are prominently displayed at the home center with exhortations to feed your lawn now. But the local experts say that fertilizing your lawn in spring or summer can do more harm than good. W… Read more

Jackie Blevins: Let’s talk about cherry and grape tomatoes. They are a staple in my kitchen all summer until frost. Jim Janke: Growing tomatoes from seeds is easy. Pick a variety that has good disease resistance and that is less susceptible to cracking. In early April, plant three or four se… Read more

Gardening in last year’s drought was challenging, especially between Labor Day and Thanksgiving when less than 20 percent of normal rainfall fell at my place. When it gets this dry, you obviously want your plants to survive, but probably don’t enjoy spending every waking hour with a hose in … Read more

I’ve grown more than 15 varieties and colors of Wave petunias from seeds over the past 20 years. More recently I’ve used“Rose Wave”and“Tidal Wave Silver”for containers on the deck and the original“Purple Wave”for a narrow 50-foot row at the base of our driveway wall. But while looking throug… Read more