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Landscape Trivia

Viola aka Johnny-Jump-Ups

A member of the Violet family, this small, but popular perrenial is often also grown as an annual.  A native of Europe and eastern Asia, this flower is believed to be the basis for Shakespeare's "Love-In-Idleness" flower, a major factor in the plot of A Midsummer Night's Dream.  Viola's are easy to plant in beds with well-drained soil and partial sunlight.  Many varieties wil re-seed themselves year after year for a bright splash of spring and early summer color.  Oh, and don't be surprised if you catch Puck around those gardens at dawn!

 

Lily of the Valley

This woodland plant is native throughout the cool temperate Northern Hemisphere in Asia and Europe and a limited native population in Eastern USA. They are popular as garden, grown for its scented flowers and for its ground-covering abilities in shady locations. It is often called Our Lady's Tears, as the legand goes that it sprang from the ground when Mary cried tears during the crucifixtion.

Mountain Laurel

Mountain Laurel is an evergreen shrub, popular in our area. All parts of mountain laurel, including leaves, twigs, flowers, and nectar (as well as honey made from it), contain a toxic resinoid and the leaves and twigs also contain a cardiac glycoside (arbutin).

Pampas Grass 

Pampas Grass is a beautiful ornamental grass that can transform the look of your landscape or garden with very little maintenance.  But you may not know that it has an amazing root system.  In fact, a mature plant will have a ball of spaghetti-looking roots that could stretch over 600 miles if each root's length were added together.  No wonder it is so drought tolerant!

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Bamboo 

Once very prevalent across our area, Bamboo (River Cane, Switch Cane or Mountain Cane) was once home to the now extinct Carolina Parokeet and was a favorite food of the Bison that roamed our area.  The Cherokee indians literally had hundreds of uses for the stuff.  From food, to tea, to basket material, to fish hooks, to roofing to weaponry.  Bamboo is a self-renewing resource.  In fact, within 5 years a new plant will produce wood that is harder than oak and structurally stronger than steel!

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Eastern Red Cedar

This evergreen ornamental was often planted around homesteads as it was thought to ward off insects in the summer.