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Your USDA Hardiness Zone

Featured Articles!

Orchids - Methods for Growing the Perfect Phalaenopsis

When beginners tell me they want to start growing orchids, the discussion usually gets around to the question, “ What is the best orchid to start with?” My answer is: “Phalaenopsis because it is so easy to grow and stays in flower a long time, and a greenhouse is not necessary for good results with this plant.”

>> read “Orchids - Methods for Growing the Perfect Phalaenopsis”    
Fall Cleanup Tips
5 Simple Steps to Minimize Plant Diseases in the Spring

One of the most daunting garden tasks is fall cleanup. Most gardeners have spent the majority of the spring and summer planting, watering, fertilizing, weeding and, of course, bragging on their gardens to their friends, neighbors and family. When fall arrives, it’s time to enjoy some R & R… or so you thought ...

>> read “Fall Cleanup Tips”    
Gear Up for Cold Weather Gardening

It’s hard to keep an avid gardener cooped up inside all winter. The gardener starts to go stir crazy and, in turn, drives all those around her – those who are perfectly content to remain cozied up on the couch, mind you – just as crazy. But on the coldest winter days it can be just as difficult for the gardener to put on enough layers to keep out the chill without morphing into an awkward creature that ambles through the garden like the unfortunate love child of Sasquatch and a penguin.

>> read “Gear Up for Cold Weather Gardening”    
Annuals to the Rescue
Fill out your yard with color. Try our featured annuals.

You've just been notified of a cancellation on the home and garden tour and your garden has been chosen as a replacement. To add to the excitement, you have a little over a month to get it into full bloom. Don't panic: It's Annuals to the Rescue!

>> read “Annuals to the Rescue”    
Branch Rot of Annual Vinca

Branch and stem rot can be a major disease problem for annual vinca (Catharanthus roseus) once the disease organism has been introduced into the residential or commercial landscape environment. This disease is caused by a soil-borne fungus called Phytophthora parasitica that can persist in the soil for several years. Under conditions of overhead watering or heavy rainfall, this disease can spread rapidly in a vinca planting. The fungus is often ...

>> read “Branch Rot of Annual Vinca”    
Let’s Stop Pruning with “Shear” Ignorance

What’s one of the most obvious and common mistakes made in landscapes anywhere in the southern U.S.? Improper pruning or excessive shearing (though it’s stretching the definition of pruning) of shrubs. Nothing jumps out of a landscape faster than a once graceful, natural-form shrub that has been sheared into a mathematician’s delight – be it round, square, pyramidal or rectangular. From a horticultural standpoint, unnecessary, form-damaging shearing of shrubs is almost as criminal as the topping of trees.

>> read “Let’s Stop Pruning with “Shear” Ignorance”    
Chinese Che Tree
Cudrania tricuspidata

Grape-size red fruits catch the eye starting in late August on this uncommon but commendable fruit tree known as Chinese che. At first it is slow to grow, a few inches at best. Just be patient – as with many plants three years seems to be the charm ...

>> read “Chinese Che Tree”       #Hot Plants
Cardoon
A plant that really shines in the winter. Try one today!

The cardoon is a fabulous plant that can provide plenty of interest in your garden. Cardoons form a rosette of deeply lobed, nearly 3-foot long silvery leaves. Mature specimens can reach upwards of 5 feet tall, so it is easy to see how this plant can make an impact. While the cardoon is truly an evergreen perennial for us in the piedmont of South Carolina, it really shines during the winter. We typically use cardoon at Riverbanks as a winter-interest plant, often using it as an annual to give some size and texture to winter bedding schemes.

>> read “Cardoon”       #Hot Plants
Selection of Equipment for the Vegetable Garden

There is nothing I like better than discussing, testing and using garden equipment. I am fortunate enough in my position at the University to operate a trial garden in which I test and trial, not only a variety of vegetables, but equipment as well.

>> read “Selection of Equipment for the Vegetable Garden”    
Rose Black Spot

Rose black spot is perhaps the most devastating disease of roses in the South. This disease is caused by a fungus (Diplocarpon rosae) that attacks the foliage of many rose varieties in home landscapes. Many dedicated rose growers battle black spot year after year. The disease can flare up virtually anytime of the year when the leaves remain wet for a period of six or more hours at a time. Frequent rainfall with cloudy days or periods of high humidity can result in disease onset.

>> read “Rose Black Spot”    
Barking Up the Right Tree

Bark may not be the first thing that comes to mind when choosing a tree. Even those of us who are quick to celebrate the practical significance that trees play in our lives often neglect to consider the simple beauty of their bark.

>> read “Barking Up the Right Tree”    
A Walk in the Wild

Andrea Rubinstein moved to Louisiana from the San Francisco Bay area in 2004. Her new Lafayette home came with several mature camellias and azaleas scattered throughout the yard, a yaupon holly hedge hiding the front porch and a white rail fence along the sidewalk. “There wasn’t much more to the landscaping when I moved into the house,” says Andrea ...

>> read “A Walk in the Wild”