A: Many landscape plants and houseplants are "poisonous" to one degree or another. It is always important to remember that "the dose makes the poison." One chewed and spit out berry from a particular plant might be harmless but a fistful that are chewed and swallowed could be dangerous. Nandina, holly, liriope and viburnum berries are all common but are not particularly dangerous, although all can cause stomach upset when consumed in large quantities. Several often-used landscape plants can be dangerous if their leaves are consumed, including boxwood, azalea, arborvitae, and hydrangea. Most, but not all, poisonous leaves are quite bitter, which limits the number that might be accidentally eaten. More poisonous plant lists at bit.ly/GApoison.
Q: Can variegated English ivy do damage to a cinder block wall? My house has a tall concrete block foundation in the back.
Randy Harrison, email
A: I don't think the ivy will physically damage the cinderblock but it does provide a nice pathway for insects to crawl into the siding of your house. And if you decide you don't like it after all, the hold-tight tendrils are the very devil to remove from a rough surface.
Listen to Walter Reeves’ segments at 6:35 AM 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.