Master Gardener Favorites

Master Gardener Favorites

  • By Liz Sutphen
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  • April 2021-Vol.7, No.4
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  • 1 Comment

In this section, we highlight the all-time favorite plants of our Piedmont Master Gardener group members, why they love these plants, and special tips for growing. Our goal is to give the Garden Shed reader a view into the gardens (both indoor and outdoor) of our fellow Master Gardeners,  and perhaps the inspiration and knowledge to grow the same plant.

RALPH MORINI,  Current President of Piedmont Master Gardeners

Favorite Plant:  Curly Kale

Why Your Favorite:  Essentially very versatile and tasty. “Saute with garlic, oil and a little balsamic vinegar or slice into strips for a great slaw. Especially good in a salad with lemon/orange citrus dressing, toasted pecans and dried cranberries. Let the salad marinate in the dressing for an hour or two to tenderize the kale and brighten the color.”

Growing Tips:  “Plant directly outdoors in mid-March and again in August. Work a couple of inches of compost into the soil at both plantings and add a balanced organic fertilizer per label directions. Cabbage worms are the major pest. Use a row cover from mid-May to frost to minimize damage.”


Curly kale in Ralph’s garden. Photo: Ralph Morini.


FERN CAMPBELL chairs PMG’s Project Committee and was awarded 2018’s Master Gardener of the Year

Favorite Plant:  ‘Fluffy Duffy’ fern (yes, a fern!), a cultivar of Nephrolepsis exaltata

Why Your Favorite: “It has full, thick, but fine-textured fluffy foliage that has extensive overlapping, a dense appearance in regular pots but also when in hanging pots. The fronds can reach about 3 ft. It is a houseplant that was given to me by my mother when we were first married in the mid-1970s and I keep dividing, and propagating giveaways.”

Growing Tips:  “It can tolerate relatively low light, but also a lot of light. It does well in a variety of pots and looks beautiful as a hanging plant as well as being so attractive in a regular pot sitting on a stand or table. Fertilize with fish emulsion, once monthly, April to November. It likes being watered regularly and likes some humidity.”

Fern’s fern. Photo courtesy of Fern Campbell.




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