In the garden
QCan you identify this tree for me? Thanks so much. I think birds planted it in my backyard!
APrunus serotina, commonly called black cherry or wild cherry is a very common native tree. While many native plant folks really like it for its blooms and fruit, which are food for many insects and birds, it can become a tad aggressive, since the birds do eat the fruit and drop the seeds. It is great to have in the landscape to attract birds, but learn to recognize it should it start repopulating itself.
QA bed on one side of our house gets shade for most of the day but then, in summer, a big blast of intense late-afternoon light for 2-3 hours. Any advice on what perennials or flowering shrubs might do well here?
AMy guess is that in addition to 2 to 3 hours of intense light, you get pretty bright filtered light for another 2-3 hours or more. If that is the case, you should be able to grow a wide variety of plants. Loropetalum is a spring-blooming evergreen which comes in a variety of mature sizes and does well in full sun to partial shade. It
has purple foliage and pink flowers, or a green-leafed variety with white flowers. Abelia is an old-fashioned evergreen that should do well in your situation and blooms all summer. Althea or rose of Sharon will do well, along with clethra and itea (deciduous mid-summer and late spring/summer bloomers). For perennials I think you should do well with coneflowers, Joe pye weed, daylilies, asters, rudbeckia and salvias. You have plenty of options.
QI have found a flower that I don’t recognize. This plant is on my father-in-law’s farm [with a lot of old home places]. I’ve been following this flower for about three years. It has fans that are about 2 feet high, with a small stem followed by small blooms. When it flowers it looks like a small lily with an orange-looking flower with dark orange spots. Please help me figure out what it is.
AWithout seeing a picture, I would guess bellamcanda, commonly called blackberry lily because of the blackberry-looking seed pods, or leopard plant because of the spots, or candy lily — not sure why this name. The foliage looks like iris leaves and the flower heads pop up. Orange is a common color but there are other colors as well.
QI bought several coneflower plants at the Saline County Master Gardeners plant sale. As they are blooming I have two of these green plants that look to have baby plants shooting around the large flower. What are they? Are they a new kind of coneflower?
APerennial plants do multiply and get larger over time. They produce daughter plants at the base, and if allowed to mature, seed heads in the fall. They can reproduce from seeds as well. In daylilies there is a process known as proliferation, where in addition to the above methods of growth, a little plantlet can grow beneath the flowers of some cultivars. Small roots often form and occasionally a flower is produced while the proliferation is still on the scape. I have never seen that in a coneflower, but that is what it sounds like. It should be easily propagated. Pay attention to this plant, you may have a unique one!
QThis plant was mismarked as a spirea in a package bought from a discount store several years ago. I have been trying to search it out, but I have had no luck. Can you tell me what it is?
ALooks like a burning bush euonymus (Euonymus alatus) — a green plant for the growing season that turns bright red in the fall.
Janet B. Carson is a horticulture specialist for the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. Write to her at 2301 S. University Ave., Little Rock, Ark. 72204 or email her at
Black cherry tree
Burning bush euonymus