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(April 2010)

QuestionI would like to try a hardy oleanders in Hot Springs Village. I have heard of Hines Hardy. Is there one you would recommend? Does the Confederate rose grow here? Will trailing Thyme do around stepping stones? I need something that stays alive all winter.


AnswerPrior to this winter, even the common oleander varieties were overwintering in central Arkansas without any damage. This winter some did take a hit, but they should be coming back from the root system even if they were frozen back. Confederate rose (Hibiscus mutabilis) is winter hardy from central Arkansas south--it dies completely to the ground each year and is slow to recover in the spring, but it will come back. Creeping thyme is a wonderful ground cover around rocky sites. It doesn't like rich, wet areas, so should do well around stepping stones and you get the added benefit of it being culinary as well as ornamental. There are actually several varieties of thyme with green, yellow or variegated foliage.

 (Feb. 2009)

QuestionWe moved from Ireland to Rogers, Arkansas a couple of months ago and we purchased a lovely family home with a large back yard. The backyard is currently lawn, with a couple of medium sized trees and a few beds set away from the grass with low stone walls around the house. I used to be an active gardener back in Ireland, but I am new to this area and don't know what grows well here and when one starts planting. Once spring starts here I would love to do some gardening in those beds. I am interested in planting some herbs and maybe some berries as I love raspberries and blackberries especially, but they are so expensive to buy in the shops. I won't be able to spend very much time gardening though, as I have one year old twins and they are a handful! Can you suggest some herbs and fruit plants for our new home?


AnswerHerbs are very easy to grow, and you can do a variety of both annuals and perennials. For dry, sunny areas consider the perennial rosemary and thyme. Oregano, fennel, garlic and sage are also very easy to grow. Cilantro is best grown in the fall as a winter annual. Parsely is a biennial and does well for a couple of years. Basil and dill are both summer annuals and thrive in Arkansas summers with a little bit of water. Blackberries and blueberries are both easy to grow and require little care, other than occasional pruning and water. Raspberries are a tad trickier, but they can be grown. As you have time, you might consider joining the Benton County Master Gardeners. They have a very active group of gardeners in your area. You will learn a lot and get to know fellow gardeners in your community.

 (March 2005)

QuestionSome of your readers have asked about plants for planting between stones in their walk, let us suggest what we did. We planted thyme between the stones. It thrives beautifully, grows out somewhat over the edges of the stones, and immediately gives off a very beautiful and pungent scent of thyme when the leaves are walked upon. It totally recovers from any trauma of walking in just hours, and is then quickly ready for a repeat performance In addition, when we need fresh thyme for cooking, we just pinch some off some between the stones. No matter how much one pinches off, it seems to recover in virtually no time.


AnswerThyme and stepping stones is a great idea where it is dry and sunny. Thyme is not very happy in wet spots or heavy shade. There are numerous varieties with both green, gray and yellow leaves. Thanks for the suggestion

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