"HOW On Earth" – Published in Pink Magazine – March 2009

Discover the Magic of Mother Nature

Earth is here so kind, that just tickle her with a hoe and she laughs with a harvest.  ~Douglas William Jerrold, about Australia, A Land of Plenty

Welcome to our new monthly meeting place. Gardening is such a passion of mine and spring is my favorite time of the year. I get so excited to see those first blooms of the Red Maple and the delicate pink flowers of the Saucer Magnolia. The spring green color of our marshes and oaks brings a warm smile to my face. The sweet scents of Wisteria and  Pittosporum, I find intoxicating.  Spring is the official beginning in the world of plants. It is a time of renewal, of rejoicing, of hope.  I am anxious to get outside and get reacquainted with my garden. I love to reunite with my old friends who lay dormant, let go of those who did not survive and begin my love affair with the pleasures of planting and discovering new plants.

I invite you to join me on this journey to discover together, the magic of Mother Nature. Let us share our knowledge, our delights, and our questions about the world of gardening.


Spring Cleaning: Now is the time to clean up our gardens. I love this process of creating a clean slate. I like to start this rather daunting task by dividing it into (3) separate jobs.

(1)Cut It Out: To improve the look and increase air circulation, I cut back my perennials to 6”. This includes flowers such as plumbago, lantana and ruellia. Ferns, ground covers, and gingers can also be cut back. Watch for the new unfurling growth coming up and be careful not to cut that part.

(2)Raking It In: Next job I tackle is the removal of the top layer of old mulch, leaves and debris Insects and disease harbor here and this is a great way to get rid of last years problems.

(3)Saying Goodbye: Lastly I remove any plants that did not make it through our winter.

Wait to prune spring blooming plants such as Azaleas, Ligustrum and Gardenias until after they bloom.

Planting: March 15th is the average last frost date for our area. I know it’s hard, but please wait to plant geraniums, hibiscus, impatiens and other colorful tender favorites until after this date.


When it comes to tools, I have found it always pays to invest in good quality tools. I love my Felco pruners. The ergonomic design and rubber shock absorbers reduce hand fatigue. They come in various sizes and styles.


Latin name: Raphiolepsis indica

Common Name: Indian Hawthorn

Height: 3-4’

Requirements: full sun or part shade

Habit: mounding, compact shrub

Uses: Foundation plant, good for hedges, handles salt spray

Bloom: beautiful pink or white bloom in March and April

Comments: This is one of those shrubs that if put in the right place is very attractive year round. The foliage is dark green, leathery and evergreen. The flowers are numerous and showy. I prefer the white form, ‘alba’ because it is less prone to leaf spot. Sadly, the deer do love this plant.

Raphilepsis indica ‘Alba’

Raphiolepsis indica ‘Springtime’


Meet Laura Lee Rose, our county horticulture extension agent. Laura Lee is passionate and knowledgeable about gardening. Spring is a good time to take a soil sample of your garden to see exactly what amendments and fertilizers it really needs. Laura Lee has soil kits and can answer questions all things green. She has a wealth of info and handouts at her office. Laura Lee can be reached @ 843-470-3655 ext 117 or LROSE@ Clemson.edu


Why does everyone use pinestraw and are there any other alternatives?

Pinestraw is a readily available mulch in our area. Mulch is important for your plants. It provides warmth in the winter, helps retain moisture in the summer and as it breaks down, provides organic matter for the soil. Pinestraw is great for large spaces and especially suited for areas underneath existing pines. Hardwood mulches are equally effective and much better at reducing weeds. The small pinebark mulch is excellent and preferred in flower borders and containers.

Festival of Houses and Gardens

Charleston, SC
March 19 – April 18, 2009
(843) 722-3405

Chinese and Japanese Gardens: Idyllic Retreats

Presented by Paula Haller

March 23 @ 10:00 am @ Coligny Theatre

Tickets $10

Hosted by the Sea Pines Garden Club

Call Diana Norlander @ 363-6580 or Katy Sonberg 671-3498