Plant blackberry lily seed in April

Q: A friend gave me some blackberry lily seeds. When, where and how should I plant them? — Diana Tope, La Fayette

A: In early January, put the seed, along with some slightly moist sphagnum moss, in a resealable plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. In late April, plant the seed 4 inches apart in a sunny, fast-draining bed. Grasslike shoots will appear in late May. Fertilize with a controlled-release fertilizer (Osmocote, Dynamite, etc). Some of the sprouts may grow large enough to bloom in the fall but, with luck, all will be blooming the second year.

Q: My lawn is in fair to good condition, but I recently heard about pot ash and how it helps lawns to have deeper roots and better drought resistance. Is this true? — Chris Jones, Powder Springs

A: Pot ash is correctly spelled potash, which is short for the plant nutrient potassium. It is true that potash plays a big part in plant hardiness during stress, like drought or cold weather.

Fortunately, potassium is usually mixed with other nutrients to make common lawn fertilizer. The last of the three numbers on a fertilizer bag denotes the percentage of potassium in the mix. A bag of 10-10-10 contains 10 percent each of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. But not all lawns need added potassium. How do you know if yours does? It’s best to have the soil tested for nutrient levels. Details at www.georgiasoiltest.com.

Q: You wrote in one of your books that tires can be used as planters. Is this safe, with no chemicals leached into the soil? — Renee Goddard

A: I shy away from using the word "safe" for any human endeavor. Walking around your yard is usually considered safe but I recently tripped on a limb and fell flat on my back! I wouldn't use a tire planter for plants you want to eat, like tomatoes or herbs, but I see no reason why one couldn't be used for a colorful assortment of annual flowers. Although the practice of turning tires inside out to make a planter has been around since shortly after the first tire was discarded, garden raconteur Felder Rushing has made a career of the demonstration. Learn how at xrl.us/tireplanter.

Q: Any idea where I might purchase some ‘Golden Archangels’ lamium? I saw some at the East Cobb Master Gardeners tour of homes and it was absolutely beautiful. — Courtney LaFon, Alpharetta

A: I try to look for the positive in any pest plant. Poison ivy has attractive fall color. Kudzu provides food and shelter for animals.

Yellow archangel, Lamiastrum galeobdolon, has attractive green and white foliage and it certainly makes a quick growing groundcover.

But I advise extreme vigilance after installing this plant. I have had numerous ferns, hosta and heuchera fall victim to its advances. I planted some in 1995, began killing it in 1998, and it still pops up unwanted in my woodland garden.

Listen to Walter Reeves from 6 to 10 Saturday mornings on WSB-AM (750). Visit his Web site, www.walterreeves.com, for detailed advice on Georgia gardening.