Upper South

June, 2011
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Hayes Starburst Hydrangea
Native to much of the eastern half of the United States and into several states west of the Mississippi River, Hydrangea arborescens is best known in gardens in the cultivar called 'Annabelle', with large, showy heads of white flowers in June and July. In recent years, several new varieties have been introduced. Among these, one of the standouts is 'Hayes Starburst'. First opening as a typical white lacecap hydrangea, it then proceeds within days to have the outer florets open double, with a starburst effect. These are followed by the interior florets following with the same starburst. The flowers are wonderful for both fresh and dried arrangements. 'Hayes Starburst' grows in both sunny spots and lightly shaded locations and requires well-drained soil. It is hardy to -20 degrees F and grows 3 to 4 feet tall.

Clever Gardening Technique

Recycle Cardboard for a New Shrub Bed
When creating a new trees and shrub border, I mow or string trim the grass as short as possible. If so inclined, one could also apply a safe herbicide, such as the ones based on vinegar. Then I plant my trees and shrubs and apply fertilizer to the area. Next, I lay down my saved-up stash of cardboard, several flattened boxes thick and overlapping. Finally, a 4- to 6-inch layer of hardwood mulch is applied. Although the cardboard disintegrates fairly rapidly, it seems to inhibit weed growth much more than mulch applied alone. This method could also be used with a perennial border, but it would be slightly more difficult as perennials are usually spaced more closely than trees and shrubs.

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