Recently, I wrote about the trees blooming along our highways this spring. I had several responses.
Ann Castaldo writes: "Guess I wasn't the only one curious about the beautiful blooming trees along the road (sort of smelled like honeysuckle). I took a branch to the local Extension Office and it's 'black' locust (added to my education that there are several different kinds). Anyway, thought I'd pass it along. We're thinking about relocating some of the saplings from the top of our driveway to near the house. They put on quite a show and smell wonderful. (You just have to remember the seed pods are prolific.)
"Also, after 'existing' in Texas for 13 years and enduring Gulf Coast weather, I can tell you even ice plants (succulent) don't make it in extreme heat. I finally quit trying and went to potted cacti. This is more expensive to start but less trouble once they're established. When it gets too cold you can bring them indoors (a sunny spot in the garage is fine) after debugging (put them in trash bag and spray bag interior with house and garden spray, close bag tightly and leave overnight) and they're good to go in the spring. Plan to start some for our deck and porch since they get really hot in midsummer and you don't have to worry about watering if you're going out of town."
Ashley Orr writes: "I was wondering if the flowering trees mentioned in your last column were catalpa trees (not locusts as mentioned). I noticed many catalpas blooming this year and could identify them by their hanging seed pods." I think there are both out there. I've had my tree books out and I think I've seen both.
I enjoyed this note from Maryann Matheny of Clendenin: "I am so surprised you and your readers do not know about hot-weather Kimberly ferns! I have used them for years on my decks and porch - they are wonderful. Do no confuse them with Boston ferns. They take full sun and heat - it will not hurt them. I water mine with one scoop of Miracle-Gro per gallon of water and mine are huge. Everybody comments that they have never seen ferns like mine. I buy mine every spring at Capitol Market or I noticed Lowe's had them this year. They stay beautiful and green till winter!"
My next trip is to northern Kentucky to do the flowers for our dear niece's wedding. Then, maybe, I'll have time to work in my own yard! My husband will be glad to hand over the reins of the lawn mower and the hose.
Sara Busse is a Charleston resident and Master Gardener. She may be contacted at sjbu...@gmail.com.