For nearly a quarter of a century, members of the Arbor Day Foundation have contributed to the replanting of forests throughout our nation that have fallen victim to wildfires, insects, storms, or disease.
Every day I give thanks to those in Beaufort County who care enough about trees to try to save them. These folks know the value of trees, and their importance helping save birds, bees, butterflies and, perhaps unfortunately, squirrels.
Trees give us the shade to get through the Lowcountry's long, hot summers. The sunny day you dine or shop and find a parking space in the shade, you count as a lucky day.
Is it too late in the season to plant a tree?
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That depends on what you are planting the tree in -- the ground or a good-looking container?
Unless you plan to live to be 180, the tree in a pot may well outlive you. I have a citrus tree in a large container that was planted so long ago that I'm not sure of the variety. Like so many plants this peculiar spring, it has not flowered and it was late leafing out. It might be a tangerine, or something called a 'tangelo'.
If you've a mind to plant a tree on Lowcountry Arbor Day -- the first Friday in December -- you consider the Eastern Redbud (Cercis Canadesis) as your choice.
This spring flowering tree has blossoms that appear before the leaves and are found on the trunk and branches as well as on thinner twigs. Don't ask me when it flowers. All predictions on this subject have vanished after the crazy, mixed-up flowering spring we have just had. Unlike other years, this April/May gave us flowers before leaves or leaves before flowers, a performance heretofore not seen. Some native shrubs appeared to be dead in late April; that's how long it took them to leaf-out.
Why are you getting all this tree information now instead of just before tree planting time?
It never hurts to get your order in early, and I recommend the Peach tree 'Elberta', America's most popular peach; and 'Kiefer', a hardy pear that is heat tolerant.
Sunpatiens are this spring's hot flowering plant.
Grown in part or full sun it just keeps right on flowering.
THE HERB GARDEN
Herbs are almost the easiest plants you can grow.
Grow them in pots near the kitchen door.
I grow them in a row. While dinner guests converse with their drinks in the living room, I can flash out and cut three or four varieties for plate decoration, for the salad dressing or sometimes to add to the floral centerpiece.
Meanwhile, the guests are nibbling on appetizers that feature a cracker spread made from our local Herb Society's secret recipe and purchased at one of their sales.
Lemon verbena is a favorite, right behind is pineapple sage. All the vinegars I use in salad dressings are made from vinegars with three or four varieties of herbs.
I don't much use rosemary, I think it dominates all other flavors. It is tasty when used to flavor roast poultry. Stuff lemon slices and rosemary in rock cornish hens. That's a great company dish.
Sixty-year master gardener and environmentalist Betsy Jukofsky has spent three decades on Hilton Head Island learning the peculiarities of Coastal Lowcountry gardening.