Reeves bursts into song at the thought of peanuts. David Chambers, garden manager at Callaway Gardens, shows Reeves the odd way peanuts reproduce: The yellow flowers produce a peg-like stem which buries itself underground. The end of the peg swells to form a peanut.
Getting rid of weeds is a never-ending job. But Reeves shows how to do it by using the sun to heat the soil. He tills the soil, then waters it thoroughly. Placing a cinder block in the center of the area, he covers it with clear plastic. Stones and soil anchor the plastic at the edges. After eight weeks during hot, sunny weather, the plastic covers a weedless expanse of soil, ready for planting.
Kerry Smith, garden educator at Callaway Gardens, shows Reeves two ways to make those ugly plastic window boxes more attractive. For one, she uses sheet moss, hot-glued to the plastic. Then she covers her second box with lengths of thin bamboo, once again hot-glued to the plastic. For winter color (and edible plants part as well) she plants the box with viola, calendula, lettuce and licorice-scented acorus.
Plants to Wear, Eat, Admire
What plant family can you wear, eat and admire, all in the same day? Reeves introduces some members of the hibiscus family: cotton, okra, rose of Sharon, tropical hibiscus, scarlet hibiscus and Confederate rose. He points out a new, compact variety of red-pod okra "Little Lucy," which is half the size of the more common "Burgundy."
Most flowering plants have foliage when they produce flowers. Not the surprise lily! Reeves describes how Lycoris radiata, also known as hurricane lily and red spider lily, produces leaves in the spring from an underground bulb. The foliage dies away in summer. Then in September, when you least expect it, strong stems topped by, red spider-like flowers pop up in your garden.
"Gardening in Georgia" airs every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. A Web site provides further information. The show is produced especially for Georgia gardeners by the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and GPTV.
(Dan Rahn is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)