Dear Master Gardener: I have recently acquired a piece of property with a small pond. Do you have any suggestions on how I should treat this valuable asset to my property?
Dear Riparian: The most valuable management practice I can suggest to you is the development of an un-mowed vegetated buffer strip around the pond. This is an area surrounding the pond that is left un-mowed or mowed only once or twice a year, so the grass or plants grow about knee high. This can be accomplished by planting wildflowers or grasses to attract butterflies, hummingbirds, dragonflies and ground nesting birds. It will also discourage Canada geese. Canada geese can be a real problem, so don’t be tempted to feed and encourage them. You may need to put up wire fencing to prevent their entering your yard. By having a buffer zone, you will filter any runoff from nearby fields or your lawn where chemicals might be used.
Use only water and aquatic plants to landscape on the easements so they will provide a better fish habitat. Exotic trees and plants and ponds don’t mix. Don’t be tempted to introduce lily pads, as they are invasive and can take over your pond.
Using any chemicals can be dangerous, so consult a professional or your Clemson extension agent. Proper regulation of dams is mandatory in South Carolina.
Ultimately, I hope you catch a big one!
Dear Master Gardener: I love my daylilies and they are easy to grow. However, I still have a few questions. First, I have planted daylilies in interesting colors in my yard. Yet, I still get the original orange from time to time. Why? Secondly, what should I do now that they have stopped blooming?
Dear Hemerocallis aficionado: I love daylilies, also. The bloom only lasts for one day but there are other buds on the stem just waiting to open on another day, Granted, daylilies are not useful in floral arrangements because when the sun goes down, they are like chickens going to roost. They go to sleep until the next day. There are many, many, varieties of daylilies because they are easy to hybridize and create new colors. Last year I planted a raised bed full of stella d’oro daylilies and they all came up orange this season. Whether it was the potting soil I used or the fact they reverted to the original old orange, I don’t know. Since I have a granddaughter at Clemson, I have decided to just embrace the orange. To care for your daylilies this time of year just let the stem dry and pull it out. Do not cut back the green portion of the plant. If you see a fungus, spray with a fungicide. If you see a pesky insect, spray with an insecticide. Unfortunately, deer love daylilies, mexican petunias and hostas, so don’t plant these plants where our “deer” friends have access to them.