Swedish Ivy’s scent is gone, but not for­got­ten

Pawtucket Times - - HOME GARDEN -

“Who can paint like Na­ture? Can imag­i­na­tion boast, Amid its gay cre­ation, like hues like hers?” —James Thomson

Q : When I pur­chased my Swedish Ivy, it had a beau­ti­ful aroma. What can I do to get it back? —SW, Paw­tucket

A: Plec­tran­thus aus­tralis is the most com­monly sold Swedish Ivy. P. coleoides margina­tus is an­other scented specie. Both have to be kept in good con­di­tion to smell good. Swedish ivy re­quire pe­ri­odic pinch­ing. They should be kept moist. A hu­mid room, which is cool at 55 de­grees is best. A monthly liq­uid fer­til­izer with high ni­tro­gen will even­tu­ally pro­duce sum­mer flow­ers. Al­though the flow­ers are not scented, they will at­test to your dili­gence in keep­ing the Swedish ivy healthy. You will be re­warded with scented fo­liage, if you fol­low the groom­ing.

Q: How do I get rid of sweet clover in my lawn? —Bertha, Cam­bridge, Illi­nois

A: We are a strong ad­vo­cate of keep­ing clover in the lawn. Clover is a mar­tyr grass that will die away when there is suf­fi­cient ni­tro­gen in the soil. Since it at­tracts bees, it is help­ful for pol­li­na­tion of flow­ers in ad­di­tion to adding ni­tro­gen to the soil.

Clover takes ni­tro­gen from the air and breaks down the ni­trates in the roots to feed the other grasses. If you give the lawn suf­fi­cient fer­til­izer the clover will dis­ap­pear. You have an in­ex­pen­sive source of fer­til­izer that you could grow to love.

Q: We have a cone-shaped fun­gus grow­ing on the shade trees in the woods be­hind our house. Is there some­thing that I can spray on them? —Harold, Hope Val­ley A: In the woods, it is best to let na­ture take its course. With the on­set of win­ter, most fun­gus will be dor­mant. Even­tu­ally, some virus will weaken the fun­gus or the in­sects that carry the fun­gus will be de­voured by a preda­tor. In the woods an or­ganic nat­u­ral ap­proach will prove its worth.

Un­for­tu­nately, most home­own­ers do not cre­ate enough nat­u­ral con­di­tions and end up us­ing chem­i­cals, or­ganic and oth­er­wise, to pro­tect their plants.

Q: We have black spots on our var­ie­gated dog­wood. We wa­tered of­ten and put mulch down. How can I cor­rect it? —Deb, Ke­wa­nee, Ill. A: You have a fun­gus on the dog­wood. Rain splash­ing up on the plant spreads the dis­ease from the mulch. Re­move the mulch and put it into a com­post pile for the win­ter. It should ster­il­ize it­self with a heavy frost. Ben­late will ar­rest the fun­gus. Fol­low di­rec­tions on the la­bel. Cart away all the fallen leaves this fall. A hand­ful of 5-1010 fer­til­izer will help boost your plant.

Mort White is a gar­den­ing ex­pert whose col­umn ap­pears weekly in The Call and The Times. For more col­umns visit themag­ic­gar­den.com. For the best so­lu­tions for your lawn, tree and shrub prob­lems, call the ex­perts at SeaS­cape, 800-294.5296 or visit seascapeinc.com.

Mort White THE MAGIC GAR­DEN

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