A Garden to Remember


Gwinnett County Master Gardeners Association May meeting will be a real treat! Martha Tate will join us to tell the fascinating story of a treasured local gardener, Margaret Mosley. Tate, a lifelong Southerner, garden blogger, AJC columnist, creator/producer of “A Gardener’s Diary” on HGTV, and author of ‘Margaret Mosely’s A Garden to Remember,’ will join us to share the story of a gardener who started from scratch at 52 and spent the next 46 years creating an extraordinary garden in Decatur, GA. 7 PM www.gwinnettmastergardeners.com

Through the Garden Gate Tour

This tour is designed to demonstrate to the public how the Master Gardener Volunteers of Cobb County maintain their own landscapes. Each year several private gardens and various projects are selected to be on tour. These are “teaching gardens” providing real-life lessons and inspiration. Includes admission to Smith Gilbert Garden. Gardens are not wheelchair or stroller accessible. Rain or Shine, $25 day of tour, children 10 and under free. 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

http://www.cobbmastergardeners.com or 770.528.4070

“Behind the Garden Gate” A Tour of Lilburn Area Gardens


The Lilburn (Georgia) Woman’s Club will host their annual tour of Lilburn area gardens to bring our community together and showcase our beautiful hidden treasures. This year’s tour includes 7 areas gardens ranging from a charming Charleston style garden to a backyard “staycation” incorporating the beauty of nature with modern amenities. Popular home and garden items will be available for purchase at the Ticket Sale Booth/Will Call. 9:00AM – 4:00PM, $20.00 day of tour, www.lwcgardentour.org, (678) 480-6279.

Tree Selection, Planting, & Maintenance in GA Landscapes


Please join Joe Burgess, Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC), as he addresses trees from A – Z. He is the expert; Joe is a GFC Senior Forester, Certified Arborist and a Registered Forester. He will expound on the benefits and values that trees provide to our environment – they are truly our “friends”. Do we select the right tree for the right location (the baby trees grow into full adults and can surprise us with their height and width). The size of the planting hole – the distance the roots extend from the drip line – astonishing; and we wonder why our walkways and driveways are cracking. 10:00 am – 12:00 pm Please RSVP by calling our office at 770.305.5412 X 7. Free class.

Endearing name, deer resistant flower

My favorite iris is in bloom – and does not require deer repellent.

I believe it is totally fine to choose a plant because its name resonates with you. I planted Blue Jacket hyacinths on the grave of my father-in-law, who was on the first ship hit at Pearl Harbor. I sent an assortment of daylilies with names like “Crimson Pirate” to my nephew, a then budding gardener. (My gifts are usually spot-on, but a box of roots did not thrill the young boy. His mother (my sister) did love them for years until something the guy truly did want – dogs – dug them up. Such is life.)

Numerous, huge, yellow blooms cover this deer resistant plant.

So when I decided to add to my iris collection Goodnight Moon was too sweet of a name to pass up. Now this plant has been divided a couple times, with one rhizome going to friend who raves about it every spring. Last year I moved a few rhizomes into a new bed by our deck and this spring it is reminding me why Goodnight Moon is my favorite iris. As I write this, she stands about three feet tall with at least five blooms. Although each bloom does not last long, they are so huge and numerous that this iris has been a show-stopper for quite some time. And, being an iris, no deer repellent has been needed.

That deer resistant foliage is a great addition to the garden even when the blooms have gone. I think that once you cut back the stem, the linear, upright leaves add an architectural accent to the planting bed. And in a few years you can divide the iris and add that accent throughout your garden.

I would call Lenten rose deer proof

It is risky to call any plant deer proof, but there are a few I would give that tag. One is Lenten Rose (Helleborus xhybridus or ), which seems like the perfect plant to me. It is evergreen, tolerates part to deep shade, resistant to deer and other pests, and blooms when few other plants bloom. Not just any flower either – sculptural, perfect blooms that entices me to pull out a sketchbook and concentrate on their beauty.

Lenten Rose is hardy from Zones 4-9 and is one of the longest blooming perennials in cultivation, with blooms that last for six weeks or more. To make it even more desirable, it is one of the earliest blooming perennials, with blooms starting as early as January in Georgia and lasting into April. Who couldn’t love a plant that blooms even before the daffodils?

Glossy, bold, leathery foliage is a year-round asset to the shade garden. Leaves are divided into seven to nine segments, falling away from the central stem like an umbrella. These coarse leaves are a great contrast with ferns and bleeding hearts. Although they are evergreen, the leaves can look a little ragged before the new growth emerges. This is just a little winter burn and aging foliage. Trimming off some of the older foliage in January or February not only makes the plants look better; it shows off the blooms better too.

The perfect spot for a Lenten Rose would be in deciduous shade, protected from the wind, in rich soil with plenty of moisture but good drainage. They would like the bank of a creek, along a woodland path. Lenten roses do better planted among hardwoods than pines, because they appreciate winter sun and pine needles accumulating around them can hinder growth. One thing Hellebores cannot take is soggy soil.

These plants are disease and pest resistant and prefer to be left alone. Once established, Lenten roses reseed to form a colony, creating a dramatic woodland groundcover that blooms in various colors. Seedlings can be dug up and moved, but established plants resent being moved or divided and may not bloom the following year.

My first few plants have reseeded to create a colony in my shade garden, with each plant producing slightly different blooms. The blooms come in many colors, including white, pale yellow, pink, maroon, purple and speckled. These are subtle, beautiful, nodding blooms on evergreen plants that are eighteen to twenty-four inches tall.

I love my colony of reseeded Lenten Roses but, oh my, what are available in nurseries now are stunning. The breeders have been working on Lenten Roses and now offer double blooms in bright colors with their faces rising upward, or pale pink fluffy blooms comparable to an English Rose, or blooms that look like they were hand painted in a porcelain factory. Just do a search on Pinterest to be amazed at the variety and beauty. These new Lenten Roses can be pricey – and worth every penny. Once in your garden, they will become your favorite plant, asking little and giving so much.

I suggest you shop for these plants locally, when they are in bloom. Then you know exactly what the bloom will look like and buy a plant that is already at blooming age.