The Magic Garden

Art and nature are siblings, branches of the one tree


You told me six months ago on the radio show to put my Crown of Thorns into a larger pot than the five-inch plastic it is in now. I cannot seem to find clay pots. It has some gooey stuff growing on the top of the soil but still is four feet tall. Any suggestions? Roy, Norwich, CT

Euphorbia splendens is fully grown at three-and-a-half feet. Succulents hold a lot of water in their leaves. That goo could be a polymer used in some soils or more likely the sap of the plant backing up. You can usually find clay pots at florist shops that have house plants at mom and pop garden centers. Clean off the goo and move this plant to an eight- or 10-inch clay pan. Your new soil should be a third sand and good potting soil. You can cut back the plant by six to eight inches.

How can I start an avoca-do indoors? Katie, Marquette. MI

Avocados can be hung over water. Take the large seed and suspend it with four toothpicks barely touching the water under-neath. Use distilled water for best results. The jar of water should have enough space at the mouth to accommodate the picks and seed. Place the jar in a south-facing window. Water should be added as it evaporates to keep the seed and water just touching. Roots should be an inch long before transplanting to a five-inch clay pot. The new soil needs to be a third coarse sand and good potting soil.

What are some of the new rose introductions this year?

Knock Out Roses have been a smash hit over the last decade because of their ease of maintenance and continual blooming characteristics. This year Julia Child is hardy in zone 4-9 and has a buttery gold color. Living Easy from Harkness in England is available for zone 5 south. Easy Living is orange with some pink blush. Both are quite fragrant. A Canadian-bred Party Hardy, as the name implies, is hardy to zone 3 and a lightly fragrant pink. Outta The Blue is hardy to zone 4. Its flowers have magenta spiked with yellow, deep wine with cream and warm lavender to blue - all in one plant. A spicy clove scent is another attraction.

What are some of the other new plant introductions for 2012?

There so many new plants being bred and distributed this year. Some sure to be favorites include Sienna Sunrise Heavenly Bamboo, Miss America Peony, Mary Ann Lantana and Empress Wu Hosta. Heavenly Bamboo is hardy in zone 6-9. Intense red foliage in spring gives to medium green in summer with highlights of red in fall and winter. Ultimate height is only four feet. A semi-double Miss America Peony has soft white flowers and is hardy in zone 3-8. Mary Ann Lantana will grow 30 inches in zone 7 south but makes a great patio plant in the north. This evergreen has distinctive orange, yellow and blue flowers and loves the sun. Billed as the world's largest hosta, Empress Wu grows four-and-a-half feet tall and six feet wide. Leaves are two feet, deeply veined and blue. Pale blue flowers are just above the foliage in mid-summer.

You can listen to Mort's podcasts 24/7 on The live program on Saturday can also be heard on the website from 8:06 to 10 a.m. EST. Mort will be talking about new introductions of 2012.


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