If you pause to observe, you’ll find a lot of life happening in the garden. Most of us are completely unaware of the sheer number of insects that interact with our garden installations, let alone the web of organisms branching out from connections to each of those insects. The life stages th…

As many of Greenwood’s kids head back to school this week, it got me thinking about my role as an educator. Extension serves to provide research-based, non-biased information to the public. I love sharing resources and helping folks learn about plants and insects, amongst other things. But t…

Pruning shrubs is always a stress-inducing topic for home gardeners. Well, at least it is if you know there are best practices to follow but aren’t very confident about the details. One key element of pruning flowering shrubs is timing impacts next year’s blooms. A window of opportunity for …

Now that we are into July, it seems like summer is on fast forward. It has been a tough year for vegetable gardens with the heat we experienced. Additionally, most of Greenwood County is currently in moderate drought status. And just as it seems production is at its peak, believe it or not, …

Since it’s pollinator week and flies, in general, get a bad rap, let’s talk about some largely unknown heroes in the garden. What if I told you that members of one family of flies would lessen plant-damaging pests in your garden and increase pollination? As a bonus, you’ll hardly even know t…

Of course, we expect summer to be hot. Still, extreme temperatures over prolonged periods can really stress plants in our landscapes. Be mindful of the effects of extreme heat on various tasks in your garden and take care to avoid overheating yourself. Some activities will need to wait until…

Perhaps as you’ve strolled through your garden lately, you’ve looked over at a plant and thought, “What’s eating you?” It happens to me all of the time. It can be tricky to discern who is doing the munching when the muncher is nowhere to be found. Some telltale signs paired with a little kno…

Maybe you noticed it got a bit hot and dry here in mid-May. And perhaps, like me, your friends and neighbors all breathed a sigh of relief with the rain’s arrival this week. Rightfully so, because as of May 17, we were “Abnormally Dry,” according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

A home lawn requires proper maintenance to become healthy and full, and proper mowing, weed management, irrigation, and optimally timed fertilization all play a part. Having a luscious lawn is not a mow-and-forget-it endeavor; instead, it requires consistent oversight and care throughout mos…

At times, being an Extension agent is like being a detective. Clients send in pictures and call in to describe various phenomena. Many times, it’s plant-related, sometimes it’s critter troubles, and more frequently than I care for, it’s insect issues. This week, a photo of a startling, red-e…

Now is a great time to go ahead and sow marigold seed directly into the garden. This popular summer annual produces cheery pom-poms in shades of yellow, orange, red, or cream throughout the summer. There is a general buzz, though, about how marvelous marigolds are at warding away all sorts o…

I have gotten several calls regarding azalea lace bugs in recent weeks. They all start similarly. There is something wrong with my azaleas. The leaves are fading and dropping off. If you’ve noticed the same, there may be an insect causing the damage. But fighting back might not be the best c…

As I write this, Greenwood is experiencing some lovely warm days. It might seem like the perfect time to pop some seeds into the garden. Take care to wait on some of the warm season species since it is still a little early. Warmer soil temperatures lag behind the warmer air temperatures. So …

It’s the height of spring planting season, and Greenwood has plenty of great options for adorning your landscape with plants. However, keep in mind that there is typically a chance of cold damage for our area through about mid-April. As I write this column, the forecast shows a low of 35 deg…

In honor of this column occurring on April Fool’s Day, I thought we’d take a look at some plants that employ deception. The complicated interactions that occur in nature often astound me. Some organisms, including plants, go to great lengths to appear to be something they are not.

Have you seen the meme about all of the “seasons” packed into winter in the South? It goes something like winter, fool’s spring, second winter, spring of deception, third winter, the pollening, actual spring, and so on. And while winter officially ended March 20, it is too early to predict i…

Hopefully, the festivities surrounding St. Patrick’s Day have not left any of you feeling green around the gills this morning. While March might be the only month where green beer makes an appearance, that is not the only green item that inspires celebration. March 26 is National Spinach Day…

A couple of small patches of daffodils in my yard bring me joy each spring. A few years back, I purchased a couple of pots of declining plants in late spring at the local box store and plunked them in the yard. They didn’t look like much at the time, but I knew they had potential. The blooms…

This beautiful, mild weather we have been experiencing is certainly enjoyable. Spring-blooming plants are certainly putting on a show. The bluebirds have been out scouting for nesting sites. The urge to get out in the garden is strong, but keep in mind that we are not yet frost-free.

It seems like everyone is enthusiastically installing pollinator gardens these days. I love to see folks appreciating the nature around them, especially when it includes our invertebrate friends that facilitate pollination. Flowering perennials are often the go-to pollinator garden plants si…

At one point in my career, I spent many hours in the greenhouse. The time I spent hand-watering plants was often nearly meditative. The sound of the water and the time alone with my thoughts as sunlight streamed through the greenhouse glass was borderline therapeutic. On occasion, though, my…

Mid-February is upon us. With Valentine’s Day falling on a Monday, many couples will be out celebrating their love this weekend. Roses and chocolates will be everywhere you look, and the restaurants are going to be crowded. But for those whose hearts long for the garden, Feb. 14 is a good be…