TOO CLOSE TO THE FOUNDATION
GardenLine Profile: Buchanan's Native Plants
This past weekend's radio shows created a firestorm of e-mails on two specific subjects. So, I thought I would take the opportunity in this week's e-mail tip to clarify both topics. Or create a more intense firestorm.
First, was the subject of "when" to put out/put down all the different elements per the fertilization schedule. The "when" in most of the e-mails honed in on the order in which the brownpatch, winterizer and pre-emergence should be put down.
So, based on those questions and many others, here are the important things to remember, not only about the "when" and possibly "what," but also the "can I" and "should I" elements as well.
The other email flurry arose from my "Soap Box Tirade" about bone-headed landscapers planting Magnolia Trees and Pine Trees right next to the foundation of new houses/landscapes. Here's the problem again, as I see it. Since there are very few "certified" landscapers out there, all it takes is one idiot to plant a Magnolia tree next to a foundation, and the "domino effect" happens with all the other uneducated ones. "Hmm, that looks good, I think I'll try that."
While a Magnolia in it's baby years may look cool next to a foundation, 10 years (and beyond) from now it will cause serious problem to that foundation. This applies to all trees. You would think that a "landscaper" would understand that any tree shouldn't be planted next to a foundation. But what has happened with the Magnolias being included in landscapes was the introduction of Little Gem Magnolias - a type of dwarf magnolia. Because they don't get near as big as a Southern Magnolia, it made for that stunning look as an accent on the corner of a house's landscape. Again, it was supposed to be a "smaller version" but what uneducated landscapers didn't understand is that it still has the root system of a tree. Also, in so many cases, a Little Gem and a normal size Magnolia often get mislabeled or misidentified when they are both small. So, big Magnolias are often planted on the corner of a landscape because 1. The landscaper is stupid, 2. They thought it was a Little Gem, or 3. The uneducated landscaper is doing what has seen from others, not knowing it has to be a Little Gem.
Even then, "magnolia experts" as well as foundation experts, bristle at the idea of Little Gems planted near a house. Read more here. So, the bottom line should be to find an alternative tree such as a Crape Myrtle with a less invasive root system for an accent tree near the foundation of a house.
As an aside, to keep a Magnolia tree extremely healthy, it should never be pruned. To the left you'll find a picture that proves my point.
611 East 11th St. at Oxford
Organic gardeners love this place for a list of reasons too numerous to mention in just this e-mail tip. But suffice it to say, if it is organic you can either find it or order through Buchanan's. As an example, they are only one of a couple of places in Houston that you can get fresh Compost Tea. They call theirs "Soil Soup." The reason very few places even make compost tea is because it has to be used right away (no shelf life). But that shouldn't surprise those that understand how Buchanan's works.
Buchanan's has been serving the Historic Heights since 1986. They are located at 611 East 11th St. at Oxford. While they are known for their hard Texas natives, they have also become a great source for specialty annuals and perennials as well as herbs for landscaping and antique roses. And what a friendly and knowledgeable staff they have at Buchanan's. This is the kind of staff that goes out of their way to answer your questions about plant choices or organic alternatives. And, as is the cases with many of the forward-thinking garden centers in town, they have a tremendous gift shop chock-full of decorative and whimsical gifts, pottery, garden art, statuary and of course so much more.
Here's the best inside secret I can give you regarding Buchanan's: Sign up for their weekly email tip!!! (Ironic, huh?) They have a great weekly missive that is colorful and full of great ideas as well as great deals week in and week out. Just click on the purple and pink box on the left of their main page.
Stop on by and find out why we love Buchanan's here at the GardenLine.
Buchanan's Native Plants
611 East 11th St. at Oxford
Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Until next issue, here's to Great Gardening from the GardenLine, heard exclusively, 6-10 a.m. Saturdays and 7-10 a.m. Sundays, only on NewsRadio 740 KTRH.
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