Making It Grow

Mon-Sat, throughout the day

Amanda McNulty of Clemson University’s Extension Service and host of ETV’s six-time Emmy Award-winning show, Making It Grow, offers gardening tips and techniques.

Archive: Making It Grow Podcasts, January 2011 - September 2014

Ways to Connect

Redbud Flower Seed Pods are Edible!

Apr 4, 2015

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson extension and Making It Grow! My drive on the Sumter Highway coming and going form St. Matthews has been made more beautiful than usual by the many flowering redbuds   growing on the roadsides. This native tree has an open shape and somewhat crooked branches and as the flowers hug the branches it doesn’t disappear into a poof but retains its character.  An added bonus to this adaptable native is that the young flowers seed pods are edible.

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. We plant peoplealways want something new and it is exciting when lots of breeding work is done on a native plant whichis not only beautiful but easy to grow. Redbud, Cercis candensis, has new cultivars popping up all over.The most popular is Forest Pansywith new leaves of deep purple, fading to green as the temps go up.Other offerings exhibit extreme cauliflory - flowers coming right out of older branches and even thetrunk.

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Cercis canadensishas the misleading common name of redbud even though it's flowers are purple. Another peculiarcommon name is Judas tree. The genus Cercis is found in North America, Europe and Asia with 22species. The redbud species Cercissiliquastrum lives in Mediterranean and Asia minor countries and issupposedly the tree Judas Iscariot hanged himself from after betraying Christ. Redbud is not stout orstrong or tall so would be a poor choice for that purpose.

  Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Redbud, CercisCanadensis, is a remarkably adaptable native tree. It's hard to imagine a yard where you couldn't growone successfully except an area with high salinity in the water or occasional salt spray. They thrive infull sun or shade - slightly less flowering in a shadier spot, and aren't picky about pH or soil types happilygrowing in well-drained fields or along flood plains. The straight species are small trees, up tothirty feet tall and across, and are often multi-trunked.

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. One of our earliestspring blooming native trees is redbud, which really proves the point that common names are peculiaras redbud is so NOT red. The flowers are pink, pea-shaped, and emerge in March and April before theheart-shaped leaves appear. The bark is dark so the contrast between flowers and stems is dramatic.Redbud is a florist's dream as the stems change direction slightly at each node - so there are no boring,straight branches looking for all the world like a football umpire.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The flowers on mountain laurel, Kalmia latifolia, are usually a delicate pink and are borne in showy clusters. Upon closer examination, they are fascinating structures – the petals are fused like a cup and have small depressions that look like dots of deeper pink scattered all over – sometimes they are called calico flowers for that reason. These depressions are   actually stamen pockets.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Mountain laurel was given its scientific name, Kalmia latifolia, by the father of the binomical naming system, Karl Linnaeus. who named it for one of his botany students, Peter Kalm. Kalm was sent to North American  to look for plants that might   have economic importance  , and he sent Kalmia specimens to  Sweden during his collecting trip to North America in the 1740’s. The specific epithet latifolia means broad leaf, although the leaves aren’t particularly broad when you look at them.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Isn’t it interesting that gardeners like twisted and contorted plants for accent and interest in their gardens. One native plant that fits that bill very nicely is mountain laurel. Not only do the trunks and branches grow all catty whumpus but the bark is somewhat shredded, too. This habit of growth makes it impossible to walk through laurel thickets – people caught in them in the mountains call them laurel hells – but is also makes the branches prized for rustic furniture building.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Mountain laurel is the topic of my upcoming column on native plants in SC Department of Natural Resources magazine called Wildlife. Many people think that this large shrub only grows in the upstate – after all it’s called mountain laurel. But it grows all over the state and actually all over the eastern coast and even inward a few states – even into the panhandle of Florida. So you can probably plant and  grow this beautiful native in your yard if you have well drained, acidic soils and light shade.

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension. The best way to control weeds is to have a healthy turf grass - growing grass in sunlight is key - and to use mulch in your shrub beds.

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and making It Grow. Perennial weeds and even certain annual weeds - chamberbitter is my worst nightmare - present special problems if they get established in your turf grass. Fortunately, Clemson's home & garden information center has fact sheets on some of the toughest of those weeds.

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Once you have identified the weeds that are growing in your yard, you can make some plans to try to get them under control. Most - not all but most - annual weeds can be kept at manageable levels with a pre-emergent herbicide if it is applied early enough and activated. Better to err on putting it out a little too early than too late - -once the weed has germinated - no matter how tiny it is - the herbicide won't help.

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. If you have a yard full of weeds right now, there are a few things you can do to help reduce that problem next year. The first step is to identify the weeds. Weeds are divided into several categories - winter weeds and summer weeds. Winter weeds usually germinate in October and die or go dormant when summer comes.  Summer weeds begin to grow in March and complete their cycle when cold temperatures arrive.

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The University of Maryland's Extension makes a bold statement in their fact sheet about environmentally responsible weed control strategies. It is perfectly acceptable to have a tolerable level of weeds in a home lawn -really. "Really" is their word although I agree 100 %.

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow! Oh, my goodness, some people are just having a fit about how their lawns are looking. Winter weeds, which germinated back in October, grew slowly for several months without anyone much noticing them. But as we get closer to spring - yes, in spite of this cold, spring is coming- those weeds get big and really showing up against the brown turf grass. The bad news is that it’s too late to do much about those winter weeds. Big weeds are hard to kill and many have already set seeds so the damage is done.

Amanda's favorite biennial plant.

Selective breeding led to today's Cabbage.

Once a Collard plant "bolts," it doesn't taste very good.

Some folks think that Collards, like Okra, came to America from Africa. But, that simply can't be...

What is a biennial plant?

Turnips...Bitter?

Feb 7, 2015

Are turnips bitter? Or, is it a matter of taste?

The brassicas genus has more members that are important to agriculture than any other.

Mustard, for Greens and for Seeds...

Turnips vs. Rutabagas--turns out, they are more like cousins than siblings.

The roots of Turnips are sweet and delicious.

Co-existing with the "diggers."

Cat Tale

Jan 16, 2015

The cats, the Voles, and the Shrews.

Controlling Voles

Jan 15, 2015

Tips for keeping Voles at bay.

Mole problems can be mitigated by the way you water your lawn.

The misunderstood mole.

Pages