A tip for gardeners: Naked Ladies are not the same

Naked Lady Lily is sometimes called Surprise Lily because it emerges in fall when no leaves are present.

Credit: Walter Reeves

Credit: Walter Reeves

Q: I am confused about plants called Naked Lady Lily. Some are listed as Amaryllis belladonna, but other catalogs list them as Lycoris squamigera. Can you sort this out? Fred Pittenger, email

A: They are both commonly called naked lady lily, but they are different plants. The Amaryllis is not common in North Georgia because it is often damaged by cold weather. The Lycoris is much more hardy. If you are not sure which pink flower you are seeing, the Lycoris has six petals that are unequally spaced around the bloom, with a noticeable gap between the bottom two petals. Also, it never produces seeds after the flower fades. This situation of there being two different plants called the same name is why we have botanical Latin to differentiate them!

Q: I’m having a problem with small ants on my figs as they ripen. Nothing I spray helps much. Seymour Levine, email

A: The easiest control is to use a sticky material to trap them on the trunk. One such product is Tanglefoot. Or you could use a wide band of double-sided sticky tape. In either case, wrap the trunk tightly with one or two layers of masking tape in a band 4 inches wide before you do anything else. Make sure there are no cracks underneath the tape that the ants could use to bypass the sticky stuff. The Tanglefoot can be painted on the masking tape. Or apply one layer of sticky tape to the masking tape. Check the trap daily and renew the application when it’s no longer trapping ants.

Q: Is it possible to have soil that is too rich? I’ve had a vegetable garden for 30 years and I’ve amended it each year but my yields are declining. I had my soil tested and all levels were very high. Betsy Dodson, Peachtree Corners

A: If you have amended your soil every year with compost, it may have too much organic matter in it. This would make it drain poorly, and that could lead to plant disease or decline. Your county Extension office can facilitate a soil test for organic matter. It costs around $10. If your garden soil seems a bit spongy, my recommendation is to add expanded slate (PermaTill). Many Ace hardware stores carry it.

Q: Would a ‘Sharpblue’ blueberry bush work well with a ‘Sunshine Blue’ blueberry? Dinny Gujral, Peachtree Corners

A: Both of these blueberries are Southern highbush varieties. They bear fruit earlier than our common rabbiteye blueberries. They will partially pollinate themselves individually, but they fruit a lot better with a different variety nearby. These two make a good combination.

Listen to Walter Reeves’ segments at 6:35 a.m. on “Green and Growing with Ashley Frasca” Saturday mornings on 95.5 WSB. Visit his website, www.walterreeves.com, follow him on Twitter @walterreeves, on Pinterest, or join his Facebook Fan Page at bit.ly/georgiagardener for more garden tips.