Citrin Cardiology

Author: MOBILE MASTER GARDENERS

Mobile’s other bloom season

By Brenda Bolton, Mobile Master Gardener | [email protected] Q: I’m new to this area and miss my garden peonies, but I see the camellias in bloom here and want to know more about this beautiful flower. A: Welcome to a year-round gardening city, where naming the best flower or bloom season is a challenge. Is it traditional springtime with its first blush of pastel rose petals, azaleas and asters, or June’s striped crinums and big blue hydrangeas, or the butterfly’s September celebration of vibrant sages? But consider for a moment a quieter season, when the clamorous colors of summer...

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Holiday tablescaping

By Brenda Bolton, Mobile Master Gardener | [email protected] Q: I am hosting my first “extended family” Thanksgiving. I’m wondering if you have any centerpiece advice. I want a “tablescape” that is decorative but not tacky. A: A successful holiday dinner is created by good company, good food and a warm atmosphere, which is all about managing the environment for your guests. Your best gift to guests is a sense of time and place that says “home for the holiday,” and nothing says “home place” better than nature. You may risk “tacky” with an overload of Pinterest, but abundant nature...

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The how and when of using horticultural oils

By Brenda Bolton, Mobile Master Gardener | [email protected] Q: The shrubs in my yard have been attacked since last spring by whiteflies and scale. I read that spraying with horticultural oil would help, but when I went to buy the oil, there were so many choices that I couldn’t figure out which would be best to use. I hear that neem oil may be best for organic gardening. Which oil would you recommend? A: Horticultural oil is petroleum-based or plant-based oil that contains an emulsifier enabling it to be mixed with water for spray application. When it comes to...

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‘Charlotte’s Web’ in your garden

By Judy Stout, Ph.D., Mobile Master Gardener | [email protected] Q: It seems like this time every year there is an increased abundance of spiders. While the exterminator eliminates them in my house, what should I do about those in my garden? A: I’m reminded of E.B. White’s 1952 classic, “Charlotte’s Web,” in which the writing spider, Charlotte, tells Wilbur the pig, “I’ll be a friend to you.” And later, when Wilbur gets to know her better, he asks Charlotte, “You mean you eat flies?” and Charlotte responds, “Certainly. Flies, bugs, grasshoppers, choice beetles, moths, butterflies, tasty cockroaches, gnats, midges,...

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Ornamental grasses come alive in autumn

By Nancy Adams, Mobile Master Gardener | [email protected] Q: Ornamental grasses have become popular in residential as well as commercial landscapes around Mobile and in Baldwin County. They have a fresh, uncluttered look that I find appealing. Can you tell me about their variety, availability and hardiness in Climate Zones 8 and 9? A: A great benefit of autumn in South Alabama is the myriad ornamental grasses that are at their peak. These grasses, which range two to 15 feet in height, require little maintenance, are exceptionally hardy and have an endless variety of possible uses. They grow in...

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Explore the world of cool-weather herbs

By Nancy Adams, Mobile Master Gardener | [email protected] Q: Please share information about growing and using herbs, especially those that do well in cool weather on the Gulf Coast. A: Ask and you shall receive. Members of the Gulf Coast Herb Society shared their knowledge with us about growing herbs on the Gulf Coast. We gathered more information from “The Herb Bible” by Jennie Harding and “Southern Herb Growing” by Madalene Hill and Gwen Barclay. History of herbs Herbs have been useful to humankind for food, flavoring, fragrance, household activities and medicine for some 60,000 years. Around 460 B.C.,...

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Attract monarch butterflies to your garden

By Alice Marty, Mobile Master Gardener | [email protected] Q: My daughter and I planted a butterfly garden this spring. We have had quite a few visitors to our garden, but no monarchs have been attracted. We planted butterfly bushes, lantana, verbena and many other suggested butterfly plants, but so far no luck. Is there another plant they are more attracted to? A: Your plant selections are great nectar plants for all butterflies. Let me share a few key points about what is arguably our national butterfly, the monarch. Almost half of our population could recognize this orange and black...

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Mosses: Gardening with patience

By Judy Stout, Ph.D. / Mobile Master Gardener | [email protected] Q: I visited an acquaintance recently and enjoyed all of the uses of mosses in her backyard. This may be what I need for the failed lawn in my very shady backyard. How can I get this look? A: Mosses are an excellent substitute for grass in areas too shady for grass to grow, and require much less maintenance. The low-growth habit of mosses means no mowing and there is no need to fertilize or use other chemicals. They are visually soothing and give an impression of age and...

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