Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Upper South

May, 2005
Regional Report


Native Trees
For information about choosing and growing native trees, I frequently turn to Landscaping with Native Trees: The Northeast, Midwest, Mid-South & Southeast Edition, by Guy Sternberg and Jim Wilson (Chapters Publishing, 1996). This book is now out-of-print but available from used booksellers. However, there is a "bigger and better" alternative from the same authors that is now on my shopping list. Native Trees for North American Landscapes (Timber Press, 2004; $59.95) includes information about 650 species and varieties plus over 500 cultivars. Each entry includes an overall description plus information on the leaves, flowers, and fruit, best season, native and adaptive range, culture, problems, cultivars, and similar and related species.

Tool or Gardening Product

Soil Knife
My newest tool is a soil knife, which has a concave blade about 6 inches long and 2 inches wide, with saw teeth on one side of the blade. The 4-inch-long handle is bright orange (thus difficult to lose), and a leather sheath is available separately. After using it for several weeks, I can say that the soil knife lives up to its reputation. Its many uses include digging weeds efficiently; removing weeds out of cracks in stone paths; planting bulbs, annual flowers, vegetables, and herbs; loosening soil; chopping tops off root vegetables; digging shallow furrows for planting rows of vegetables; mixing in soil amendments; mixing water into potting soil; digging out stones; and cutting and/or sawing through roots.

It is available from A. M. Leonard's Gardener's Edge (1-888-556-5676 or


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