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story.lead_photo.caption This basket contains (from left back) cyclamen, yellow tuberose begonia, pink African violets and orange kalanchoe. (Special to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

Q I received this planter for my birthday. Can you tell me what the yellow blooming plant is?

A The yellow flower is a tuberose begonia. I love the blooms but they often don't love our outdoor conditions. I managed to keep some alive and thriving last year by putting them in a protected spot where I did the watering, not rainfall. I had them in a shady spot on my front porch protected by the eaves. An FYI, the plants are, from back left, cyclamen, tuberose begonia, pink African violet and orange kalanchoe. Great gift, but separate the plants now.

Q Help me please. My camellias look like they have something terribly wrong with them. The new growth is all deformed. My husband says it looks like herbicide damage, but we haven't sprayed anything. They bloomed so well this year that I would hate to lose them now. Please tell me what is wrong with them.

A Your plant has camellia leaf gall, a fungal disease. It has been a good season for camellia and azalea leaf gall. I have actually seen more on camellias than on azaleas. This is one disease that looks much worse than it is. This disease is more common in a cool, wet spring, which we had. Now that the weather is warming up, the new growth should be normal in appearance and it should cause no major damage to your bush. There is no need for sprays, as they would be ineffective. For now, pick off the damaged leaves and dispose of them. Don't leave them on the plant or the fungus will mature and lead to a re-infection next year.

Q We planted sweet woodruff groundcover over a year ago in a shady area of our garden, hoping for scented white blooms. So far, we have no blooms. Is there anything we can do to promote blooms? We have fertilized it some but have read that it doesn't really need any. Your help is appreciated.

A Sweet woodruff is one of those herbal groundcovers that struggle in the South. It is a shade-loving plant that loves moisture. It doesn't tolerate hot, dry conditions well at all. If your plant is growing well and spreading, there is still a possibility that it will bloom later this month. Keep it watered and keep your fingers crossed. Good luck.

Q We've been told in past years not to cut hydrangeas at particular times since it will be a problem with blooms. We cannot remember the guideline. Right now we have a large number of dead stalks with new growth coming from the bottom. Should we cut the stalks at this time?

A Sometimes winter damage removes the rules of hydrangea pruning. This year, many gardeners are seeing the results of dieback from the cold, erratic winter. If your plants have all of their new growth from the soil line, then you will have limited blooms this year -- unless you are growing repeat bloomers, which bloom on new growth. Cut out all dead wood now. In a good year when there is no winter damage, big leaf hydrangeas should be pruned after their blooms fade in the summer.

Q We were overwhelmed with acorns from multiple oak trees this past year. We painstakingly removed most of the acorns (and dug up sprouts) but we weren't so worried about the caps. Will too many of these acorn caps harm the soil or plants? The beds have a hardwood mulch, and in addition to many mature oaks, we have camellias, Japanese maples and azaleas in these mulched areas.

A I wouldn't worry about the acorn caps. They will just be an addition to your mulch, and they won't be sending up any seedlings.

Q Would you please tell me the name of this tree. I live in Batesville.

A It is one of my favorites, a white fringe tree, sometimes called Grancy Gray Beard. Chionanthus is the genus.

Retired after 38 years with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, Janet Carson ranks among Arkansas' best known horticulture experts. Her blog is at arkansasonline.com/planitjanet. Write to her at P.O. Box 2221, Little Rock, AR 72203 or email

jcarson@arkansasonline.com

HomeStyle on 05/09/2020

Print Headline: In the Garden

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