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Carpet Your Landscape With Pachysandra

ONE GROUP OF HARDY PLANTS comes alive in the spring, slowly and almost without notice: the groundcovers. This broad category consists of any plant that can be used to cover the ground like a carpet. The plants can be evergreen or deciduous, flowering or nonflowering, and grow in sun or shade, but generally they are less than 12 inches in height when mature.

ONE OF THE MOST WIDELY PLANTED groundcovers is Pachysandra terminalis, Japanese pachysandra. This shade-loving evergreen groundcover makes an impressive carpet and is often used in traditional as well as contemporary landscapes. Growing only 6 to 12 inches in height, this upright groundcover spreads by underground roots called rhizomes.

THE FOLIAGE IS A GLOSSY DARK GREEN in the shade and a lighter green where it gets more sun. Too much sun and the foliage will become pale and will decline over time. Pachysandra is one of the best groundcovers for deep shade.

PACHYSANDRA CAN BE AN EXPENSIVE GROUNDCOVER to establish due to the number of plants required for a large planting. When working on a budget, simply plant a small area each year. Once the new plants are established, you will not know where the older planting was and the new planting began. That is the beauty of pachysandra.

Shelly Nold is a horticulturist and owner of The Plant Kingdom. Send stories and ideas to her at The Plant Kingdom, 4101 Westport Road, Louisville, KY 40207.


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by Angie McManus

How do you grow eggplant?

Growing eggplant is very rewarding, and it is a tasty treat to put on the summer dinner menu. Eggplants are considered warm-season vegetables. This means they should only be planted after the frost-free date has passed and the soil has had time to warm up. They are susceptible to cold damage, so planting them at the right time is the first step to a healthy crop.

Other factors to consider include the amount of available sunlight, nutrients, and space. As with other vegetables, eggplants require a minimum of six to eight hours of direct sunlight daily. The soil should be nutrient-rich and not too compacted to allow good air circulation for the roots.

Eggplants should be spaced a good 30-36 inches apart. Smaller fruited types will require less space, so when you purchase starter plants, make sure they have a grower’s tag in them so you will know what you are growing and how much space they will need.

Purchasing transplants as opposed to growing from seed is a better option for Kentucky gardeners because of the length of our growing season. Seeds will take eight to 10 weeks to produce a starter plant, and 50 to 80 days to harvest. You might consider having your soil tested before the planting season arrives. Contact your County Cooperative Extension Service for more information.


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