Lenten rose can tolerate a wide variety of environments

Given the proper environment, Lenten rose (hellebore) can thrive and beautify the early spring landscape. (Walter Reeves for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

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Given the proper environment, Lenten rose (hellebore) can thrive and beautify the early spring landscape. (Walter Reeves for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Q: I’ve got a spot that gets direct sun from 10:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Assuming I have a properly prepared bed with mulch and irrigation, would Lenten rose be able to thrive there? Johnny Cates, Barrow County

A: Whether a plant will die, sulk or thrive in a spot depends on several environmental factors that depend on each other. Drainage, light level, pH, temperature and other factors interplay. A hosta that’s planted haphazardly in heavy clay and dense shade might just barely hang on. But if the bed is well prepared and properly irrigated, it might thrive. In your hypothetical situation, given what I’ve observed about Lenten rose habitat, I think most varieties of Lenten rose could grow well, even in five hours of hot sunshine.

Q: Every year, when the heat and humidity of summer arrive, parts of my fescue lawn suddenly wilt, turn yellow and lay down. I used a Southern fescue mix for overseeding, 8.5 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Three weeks ago, I applied lawn fertilizer. Any suggested remedies? Tom Pinotti, Atlanta

A: I think you spread too much seed and have a nice case of pythium blight in the grass as a result. When you overseed with fescue, scatter no more than 4 pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet. Otherwise, the tiny seedlings can easily become diseased as the weather warms up. At this stage of growth, they are defenseless and any fungi that wanders through will spread like wildfire. At this point in early May, there’s no point in spraying fungicide. Instead, rake out the dead grass and reseed the spots lightly. Apply fertilizer at one-third the rate on the bag.

Q: I recently heard about “No Mow May” on National Public Radio. The idea is to increase food sources for early solitary bees by not mowing early blooming plants like henbit, creeping Charlie, and dandelions. But these are weeds to my eyes and I don’t want them to get ahead of me. Further, shouldn’t it be “No Mow April” in Georgia? My fescue lawn starts growing rapidly in April and is covered with clover for the first few weeks. Bob Ruby, email

A: It’s funny that we listened to the same story and had the same thoughts! You are correct that April is when all the “weeds” bloom. But “No Mow April” doesn’t have the same ring as “No Mow May.” One thing you could do to keep you, the weeds and the bees happy is to mow the weeds as soon as you see the flowers fade. At this point, the bees have no more use for them, and you’ll remove the flowers before they set seed. Thanks for thinking about these helpful insects!

Email Walter at georgiagardener@yahoo.com. Listen to his occasional garden comments on “Green and Growing with Ashley Frasca” Saturday mornings on 95.5 WSB. Visit his website, www.walterreeves.com, or join his Facebook Page at bit.ly/georgiagardener, for his latest tips.