Q: Is there a alternative to leaving plants like tropical hibiscus outside instead of bringing them inside? I recently moved and do not have the room I once had in the garage.
Walt Goddard, Clermont
A: Trying to get a tropical hibiscus to survive winter outdoors in Atlanta means you're fighting Mother Nature. My colleague Theresa Schrum notes: "Mother Nature always bats last."
Tropical hibiscus simply does not have the physical capacity to tolerate freezing temperatures. If you can keep it in a place where the temperature does not go lower than 50 degrees, it will drop many leaves but it will survive. At temperatures slightly lower than that, cell damage becomes too great. If you have a sheltered corner outdoors where two stone or brick walls come together, you could put the hibiscus there and hope the dense materials radiate enough heat at night to keep your plant alive. It might work in a mild winter.
Q: We are transplants from southern California. I want to landscape my grandson's new home with a hedge in between his yard and his neighbor's. He is 21 with no interest in gardening and I will not be around forever to help him.
Kathleen Wasik, Paulding County
A: Welcome to Georgia! You are astute to realize that our plant palette is very different from California. Much depends on how big your screen needs to be. Fortunately, I have lots of options at bit.ly/GAscreen.
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.