Gardenig in state South Carolina. Tips & Guides

Question of the Week – February 28, 2024 - - state South Carolina

Question of the Week – February 28, 2024

This is Carolina jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens). This native, evergreen vine is just starting to bloom.

Sharing Nature with Children: Native Bees - - Usa - state South Carolina - county Garden

Sharing Nature with Children: Native Bees

Many children in my programs at the South Carolina Botanical Garden know an enormous amount about non-native honeybees. However, they are astonished to discover the vast diversity of native bees and their immense importance and efficiency as pollinators. In the United States, there are over 4000 native bee species. They range in size from the tiniest fairy bees (Perdita spp.) (found out west) to the giant carpenter bees (Xylocopa spp.). Here are some suggestions to increase children’s (and your) knowledge about our local native bees.

Bradford and Callery Pear - - China - state South Carolina

Bradford and Callery Pear

Every spring, all over South Carolina, we see yards, abandoned lots, natural areas, roadsides, and, in some cases, forests fill with white flowers. These first white flowers of the year are nearly all from the Callery pear tree (Pyrus calleryana). This tree is native to China, and while they may look the same, many of the trees planted in yards, around businesses, and in other managed landscapes across South Carolina are cultivars of P. calleryana. One of the most common cultivars is the Bradford pear (more information on Bradford pears can be found on this Clemson HGIC fact sheet HGIC 1006, Bradford Pear). Bradford pears, by themselves, cannot produce viable seed. But, if pollen from a different flowering pear cultivar (or a wild Callery pear) pollinates a Bradford pear flower, then viable seed can be produced. The fruit is often eaten by birds, and birds doing what birds do (hint: they fly and poop), spread the seeds across the land. When these new plants grow, they’re now Callery pears, the wild relative of Bradford and other cultivated varieties of Pyrus calleryana.

What Is It? Wednesday – Fava Beans - - Britain - state South Carolina

What Is It? Wednesday – Fava Beans

This crop growing on John’s Island in Charleston are fava beans or broad beans. They are grown in small acreages in South Carolina.

Stay Up to Date with Your Flu Vaccine - - state South Carolina

Stay Up to Date with Your Flu Vaccine

Keep yourself healthy this winter by staying up to date with a flu vaccination. Flu vaccines are your best line of defense against the current flu strains. These vaccines are safe and effective. However, it is still possible to contract the flu even after receiving the vaccine. Here’s why: The CDC partners with state public health departments and healthcare providers across the country each year to track flu strains. Flu vaccines must be formulated periodically to be effective against the most current flu strains. This means two things. First, a yearly flu vaccine is needed for up-to-date protection against the most currently prevalent strains. Second, there are always less prevalent flu strains circulating, and it is possible for you to become ill from a less prevalent strain despite being up to date with a current vaccine. But for most people, even if they do happen to become ill despite receiving the flu vaccine, studies show their symptoms are substantially reduced with fewer hospitalizations and deaths.1 Flu vaccination is especially important for the elderly and those with chronic health conditions who are at risk for more serious flu illness. Since 70-85% of flu deaths occur in people ages 65 and older, several new flu vaccine options are now preferentially recommended for this age group.1 Talk with your healthcare provider about which flu vaccine is best for you.

February 19 Week 3 Garden Photos - - state South Carolina - county Garden

February 19 Week 3 Garden Photos

“As Barbara has injured her ankle and can’t get out to photograph, please enjoy a review of some of her favorite photo blogs. ~ Part 4 ~ ”

The Best Time To Put Out Your Hummingbird Feeders, According To Experts - - Usa - state Florida - state Virginia - state South Carolina

The Best Time To Put Out Your Hummingbird Feeders, According To Experts

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Fire! - - Usa - state South Carolina - county Garden


Fire destroys, but it also purifies and enriches. For thousands of years, indigenous people used fire to manipulate the landscape. Burning was used to clear land for farming and settlement, maintain grasslands for forage and to aid in both hunting and gathering. We use it here at the South Carolina Botanical Garden to manage some of our habitats in the Natural Heritage Garden. In the Prairie Exhibit, fire is used to clear out woody plants that would ultimately shade out grasses. The ashes reinvigorate the soil with a nutrient dump. In the past, the resultant fresh new grasses would attract bison and other herbivores, which would then be hunted for meat and other materials. The Longleaf Pine Savannah Exhibit is also an example of a fire-maintained habitat. Burning consumes the leaf litter, enabling the longleaf pine seedlings to sprout; then, at most stages, they are fire-adapted and resistant. The suppression of fire throughout the United States rendered these habitats extremely rare.

Lungwort for Winter Blooms - - Russia - state South Carolina

Lungwort for Winter Blooms

Brighten up a shady area in the garden with the colorful flowers and silvery foliage of lungwort (Pulmonaria spp.). It pairs well with hellebores, hostas, ferns, bleeding hearts, and other shade perennials. The patterned leaves have a silvery hue that contrasts well with the green foliage of other perennials. Plant it under deciduous trees or along woodland pathways for edging.

January 22 Week 4 Garden Photos - - state South Carolina

January 22 Week 4 Garden Photos

Beautiful South Carolina Sunrises, Winter Skies, and Sunsets

This Month in Your Garden – January 2024 - - state South Carolina

This Month in Your Garden – January 2024

January is a time for starting anew and planning for spring. Take notes and plan what you will do once spring weather arrives. Will you plan to add more flowering plants to attract pollinators? Or will you plan to grow a summer vegetable garden? The possibilities are endless, but no matter what you hope to achieve in 2024, pull out your garden journal and make notes on how to make your plans a reality.

Giant Venus Fly Trap: How to Grow a Big Venus Fly Trap Plant - - Usa - state South Carolina

Giant Venus Fly Trap: How to Grow a Big Venus Fly Trap Plant

Learning How to Grow a Big Venus Fly Trap Plant is an art – from selecting the right soil mix to understanding its unique feeding requirements, we’ll tell you everything to make this carnivorous plant a living giant!

Japanese Sedges - - Japan - state South Carolina

Japanese Sedges

Ornamental grasses are known for the foliage and texture they bring to the sunny garden. Grass-like plants called Japanese sedges can replicate that texture in the shade garden. Both Carex oshimensis andCarex morrowii share the common name, Japanese Sedge. These plants are evergreen in South Carolina, adding year-round interest to the landscape.

Beechdrops - - Usa - state South Carolina - county Garden


Have you ever been walking through the woods and noticed small, brown stems sticking through the leaf litter (somewhat reminiscent of the handles of tiny witch’s brooms)? These are beechdrops (Epif agus virginiana), and if you look around, you will notice mature beech trees (Fargus grandifolia) with their smooth grayish bark.

How to Lower Excessive Phosphorus in a Vegetable Garden with Cover Crops - - state South Carolina

How to Lower Excessive Phosphorus in a Vegetable Garden with Cover Crops

You have received your soil test results and found that you have high phosphorus in your soil. Excessive phosphorus in the soil may be due to where you live, especially in the coastal areas of South Carolina, where there are natural phosphorus deposits present in the soil. If that’s the case, ensuring you don’t add any additional phosphorus products to your soil is important.

Pink Turtlehead - - Usa - Greece - state South Carolina

Pink Turtlehead

Pink Turtlehead (Chelone lyonii) is a native fall-blooming perennial that grows best in organically rich soil in the sun to part shade. In its natural habitat, pink turtlehead is found in wet wooded areas near streams in the Appalachian Mountains. It adapts easily to being planted in home perennial plantings as long as the soil stays moist, a perfect choice for a wet area in the landscape in USDA planting Zones 3 through 8. Due to South Carolina’s hot summer temperatures, plant it in an area that gives some shade protection from the afternoon sun.

Glorious Goldenrod - - Georgia - city Chicago - state South Carolina - county Garden

Glorious Goldenrod

I love this time of year when the roadsides and gardens become full of gold. Goldenrod is everywhere! It brightens the landscape and lifts my mood. Goldenrod comes in all different shapes, sizes, and even colors (Solidago ptarmicoides, for example, has white, daisy-like flowers). A search for goldenrod on the extremely useful and informative website returned 61 tax in the Carolinas and Georgia, a solidago for almost every garden situation. Zigzag goldenrod (Solidago flexicaulis) is an easy-care woodland goldenrod. Unsurprisingly, southern bog goldenrod (Solidago austrina) thrives in sunny, boggy areas. As its scientific name indicates, Solidago odora has fragrant, anise-scented leaves when crushed. Finally, South Carolina’s state wildflower, Solidago altissima (tall goldenrod), is a plant of drier, disturbed soil.

Blue Mistflower - - state South Carolina

Blue Mistflower

Every fall, I look forward to the flowers of Blue Mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum) blooming next to the creek that runs through my neighborhood. The blue flowers resemble the annual flower, Ageratum, and one of its common names is Wild Ageratum. However, Blue Mistflower is a perennial wildflower.

Ironweed - - Usa - state South Carolina


Fall has arrived in South Carolina! Native fall-blooming wildflowers, with their flower colors of intense purple, yellow, orange, and white hues, brighten up the autumn landscape. One of my favorites is Ironweed (Vernonia species), with its vivid, deep purple flowers that bloom in late summer to early fall.

These Dogs are in Crisis. Who Looks After the Guardians? - - state North Carolina - state South Carolina

These Dogs are in Crisis. Who Looks After the Guardians?

On the last Tuesday of August, a vehicle pulled into Providence Farm in McLeansville, North Carolina. Joy Combs had been expecting these guests—they were from the Carolina Great Pyrenees Rescue (CGPR), and they were there to drop off a five-year-old Anatolian Shepherd named Max. Combs planned to work with the rescue to evaluate his behavior with farm animals and help place him in an appropriate home.

A Lazy Gardener Gets Climate-Smart - - Usa - state South Carolina

A Lazy Gardener Gets Climate-Smart

Last year, the United States Department of Agriculture announced a $70 million investment into a Clemson-South Carolina State partnership “to increase the acreage and number of farmers using cover crops, prescribed grazing, reduced tillage, and other conservation practices that will not only reduce greenhouse gases but also improve water quality, biodiversity, and increase the productivity and well-being of our greater farming and foresting communities across the state.” The partnership and initial investment have evolved into Climate-Smart Grown in SC (CSGSC), a program incentivizing South Carolina farmers to implement selected climate-smart production practices. This program is a big deal, but a lot is going on, so it may have been lost in the shuffle for many of us.

Food Safety During Hurricane Season - - state South Carolina

Food Safety During Hurricane Season

The official hurricane season begins June 1st and lasts through November 30th. According to a comprehensive summary by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, South Carolina has an 80 % chance of being impacted by a tropical storm yearly. September has seen the highest total of named storm impacts and landfalls. Hazards of tropical storms and category hurricanes include storm surge, inland flooding, wind, and tornadoes. These hazards can cause road and home damage and power outages for periods of time. When power is out for some time, it can cause foods in your refrigerator and freezer to spoil. If storms impact your area, here are some food safety tips during power outages:

Invasive Plant Spotlight: Sweet Autumn Clematis - - state South Carolina

Invasive Plant Spotlight: Sweet Autumn Clematis

If you’ve been noticing masses of showy white flowers rambling over vegetation along the roadsides, it might be Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis terniflora). Also known as Sweet Autumn Virginsbower, this non-native invasive species was originally introduced as an ornamental but has since escaped cultivation. It is reported to be invasive in at least 10 states, including South Carolina. You’ll often find it invading forest edges, rights-of-way, and the edges of disturbed areas.

September 4 Week 1 Garden Photos - - state South Carolina - county Garden

September 4 Week 1 Garden Photos

Come for a visit to the South Carolina Botanical Gardens to see what’s in bloom!

Prairie dock, prairie rosinweed - - state South Carolina - county Garden

Prairie dock, prairie rosinweed

Prairie dock (Silphium terebinthinaceum) lines the roadside edge of our Piedmont Prairie Exhibit at the South Carolina Botanical Garden. This plant is towering over the grasses and other prairie plants at about 10 feet tall. At this time of year, mid to late August, it is in full flower. The spray of yellow flowerheads at the head of the bare, tall stems is stunning against the blue summer sky. Each composite flower is about 2 – 2 ½ inches across, and each plant will flower for about a month. Today, when I left work, the flowers were covered in eastern swallowtail butterflies dancing in the breeze. Other pollinators are also attracted to the blooms, which are held high above the competing vegetation. Long-tongued bees, many small bees, hoverflies, and hummingbirds are all regular visitors. Goldfinches and probably other small birds and mammals are attracted to the seeds.

Vinca: The Trouble with Common Names - - state South Carolina

Vinca: The Trouble with Common Names

Latin scientific names can be challenging to pronounce but are tremendously important. We can communicate without ambiguity because each plant has only one scientific name. In contrast, a plant may have more than one common name, and common names may vary by region. Although easier to pronounce, using common names can result in a great deal of confusion and even frustration.

Be On the Lookout for The Elm Zigzag Sawfly! - - Usa - China - Britain - state Pennsylvania - state Maryland - state Virginia - state North Carolina - state South Carolina - state New York

Be On the Lookout for The Elm Zigzag Sawfly!

The elm zigzag sawfly (Aproceros leucopoda, SLF) is one of the latest non-native species to take hold in the U.S. It was first found in Virginia in 2021, and active infestations are now established in Maryland, New York, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. EZS has not been detected in South Carolina, but it is an insect for which we need to be on the lookout.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Hammerhead Worms in South Carolina - - state North Carolina - state South Carolina

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Hammerhead Worms in South Carolina

North Carolina State Extension wrote an excellent publication on terrestrial flatworms, with common species around yards and gardens in the Carolinas called land planarians or hammerhead worms:

The Benefits of Seasonal Eating: Fresh, Nutrient-Dense, and Budget-Friendly - - state South Carolina

The Benefits of Seasonal Eating: Fresh, Nutrient-Dense, and Budget-Friendly

As the year passes, and as each new season settles upon us, we are blessed with abundant and various seasonal crops and produce. While in most mainstream grocery stores, we can now find our favorite foods all year round; however, many prefer to eat what is being grown specifically in that season. Here in South Carolina, entities such as Certified SC Grown is just one example of an organization that is working to bridge the gap between field and plate, making finding local, seasonal fruits and vegetables more attainable.

Trader Joe’s Recalls Frozen Fully Cooked Falafel for Potential Rocks - - Georgia - New York - state Kentucky - state Missouri - state Texas - state Illinois - state Pennsylvania - state Florida - state Maryland - state Colorado - state Michigan - state Ohio - state Arkansas - state North Carolina - state Minnesota - state Connecticut - state Massachusets - state Wisconsin - state Maine - state New Jersey - state South Carolina - state Oklahoma - state Indiana - state Vermont - state Tennessee - state New Mexico - state Iowa - state Delaware

Trader Joe’s Recalls Frozen Fully Cooked Falafel for Potential Rocks

Everyone loves falafel—it’s a year-round staple, and the frozen options at Trader Joe’s make it incredibly easy to prepare. But today, you should probably rid your freezer shelves of any Trader Joe’s falafel: In the company’s third food recall this week, on July 28 Trader Joe’s recalled its fan-favorite Fully Cooked Falafel after being informed by the supplier that rocks were found in the food.

What Is It? Wednesday – Bacterial Wilt - - state South Carolina

What Is It? Wednesday – Bacterial Wilt

The row on the left has succumbed to bacterial wilt. In the row on the right are grafted plants that had bacterial wilt resistance.

Plant A Tree - - state South Carolina

Plant A Tree

December is the month we celebrate Arbor Day. So, consider planting a tree in honor of this day. Start by selecting the right plant for the site. First, analyze the chosen site by checking the soil drainage, number of sunlight hours, and amount of available space for a tree to reach its mature height and width. Once these factors are determined a tree species can be selected. CAUTION: Call 811, two to three working days before you dig. This service will mark underground utility lines.

Fothergilla – The Best of the Natives - - Usa - Britain - Washington - state South Carolina

Fothergilla – The Best of the Natives

No other plant native to South Carolina has such fragrant and beautiful spring blooms and stunning fall color as the witch-alders. Fothergilla was named after Dr. John Fothergill, an English physician and gardener who funded the travels of John Bartram through the Carolinas in the 1700’s. These beautiful shrubs have been planted in both American and English gardens for over 200 years, including gardens of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

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