Middle South

January, 2008
Regional Report

Web Finds

Selling Houses by the Yard
According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, research by the National Association of Realtors shows that landscaping is "very important" to almost 20 percent of buyers. Kathleen Wolf, research director at the University of Washington College of Forest Resources in Seattle, reviewed regional studies that used appraisals or sales data to analyze the impact of landscaping (specifically, trees) on home prices. She found that a lot with trees adds about 7 percent to the selling price of a single-family home. Read the full article here: Selling Houses by the Yard.

Favorite or New Plant

Liatris
When I look over photos of last season's bouquets, one flower stands out: liatris. This native perennial produces tall spikes of bright pinkish purple bottlebrush-shaped flowers above attractive strappy foliage. Common names include blazing star, gay feather, and button snakeroot. Various references offer different pronunciations: LIE uh triss, lie-AT-riss, lee-AY-tris, lie AY tris, so don't be afraid to pronounce it any way you like.

Unlike most plants with flowers on spikes, the flowers on liatris open from the top down. On some varieties the spikes are so tall that you can cut the top 12 to 16 inches to use in a bouquet and the flowers left on the stem will continue to open. I have two varieties in my cut flower gardens. 'Floristan Violet' was bred specifically for cut flowers and has strong stems and sturdy blooms. The plants can get top-heavy and flop but this can be prevented with staking. 'Kobold' is more compact and is useful for both cut flowers and an ornamental bed.

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