In the garden: Discoloration on climbing hydrangeas isn't life-threatening — but it's worth investigating

In the garden: Discoloration on climbing hydrangeas isn't life-threatening — but it's worth investigating

s: We planted two climbing hydrangeas last summer on trellises at our house in Bentonville. I shepherded them through the bitter cold of February by covering them with tarps and hanging a light bulb on each trellis. They came back this spring but have those brown edges on the leaves and vines, even on this year's new growth. They face about 30 degrees east of north and receive some morning sun but not much direct sunlight after that. Considering what we paid for these things, we'd really like them to thrive. The yew and vinca bushes and the plants beside them seem to be in good condition. Any suggestions?

a: The pattern on the foliage looks more like a burn than a disease, but to be sure, I recommend taking a soil sample (a pint of soil) and some leaves to your county extension office. Have you fertilized too much this growing season? Have the brown edges been happening all season or recently? It doesn't seem life-threatening at this point, but I would investigate to see if you can find the cause and then correct it.

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s: I'm having a problem with my geranium leaves turning yellow and dying. I still have a lot of buds and flowers. Do you think you are watering too much, too little, or inconsistent? Or anything else?

a: Geraniums can suffer in very hot and humid weather, and we certainly have had that recently. Keep it watered, but well-drained. Fertilize lightly, and they should be active with cold weather.

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s: Purple peas aren't blooming, I'm wondering why?

a: I assume that the plants get at least six or eight hours of sunlight per day. The usual cause of reduced number of pods or blooms in southern peas is over-fertilization, especially with nitrogen. Peas are able to fix nitrogen from the atmosphere, so they don't need as much fertilizer as other vegetable crops.

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s: Can you tell me the name of this beauty? I know it's a type of begonia. I ate it outside and not in the sun at all. The place didn't seem to like the outdoors, so I brought it in. It gets a lot of indirect light. Also, how do I take care of this, other than not getting the leaves wet?

a: The Begonia family is one of the largest families of flowering plants with about 1,500 species and hundreds of hybrids. From your photo I think it is one of the cane-like varieties because of the strong stems or canes shown in your photo. One of the oldest cane begonias is Angel Wing. They will perform well outdoors in the shade during the summer months with no direct sunlight, especially afternoon sun. They like adequate humidity but not wet feet. Easily propagated by leaf or stem cuttings. If the plant becomes too tall, it can be cut back to encourage fullness. Indoors they will be fine with brighter light.

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s: I created raspberry plants, a hybrid of Sunshine and Duke, 3 to 5 feet tall, which produced well for a number of years. I'm losing my place in gardening and will try to move some. Because of its size, is it possible to prune it, lift it, and divide the roots in half with a cutting tool?

a: Mulberry plants are cane-producing plants, which means there is not just one stem but a series of canes. When you plant them, you can divide them. Now is not the time to do that. Wait until they are dormant when it will be less traumatic for them. Pay attention to soil moisture this winter and water when dry — especially before a cold snap — to help the roots reestablish.

Janet Carson has retired after 38 years with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service and ranks among Arkansas' most respected horticulturists. Her blog is located at Write to her at PO Box 2221, Little Rock, AR 72203 or email (email protected)

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