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Welcome to the "Ask Janet Carson" portion of our website. Here you will find Janet Carson's current "In the Garden" Questions and Answers found weekly in "The Arkansas Democrat/Gazette" Saturday edition. Have fun reading these pages and check back with us weekly. This page is constantly updated and new questions are added on Monday following their appearance in the paper. So stay tuned...

All of the Questions & Answers that Janet writes for all publications are archived.

In the Garden with Janet B. Carson


February 17, 2018


I have had my butterfly bush for going on 4 years. The second year, two blooms appeared.  It hasn't bloomed since. What can I do to get the butterfly bush to bloom? We trim it every year the end of February.



Buddleia or butterfly bush blooms on the new growth.  Pruning it hard in late February is the correct practice.  The only reason I would think you would have no blooms is if it doesn't get enough sun. They need at least 6-8 hours per day to bloom well.  If it is in too much shade, you can move it now to a sunnier location.


I’ve had this amaryllis for about 30 years, it has been divided several times with a lot given away.  I take good care of it and it appears to be healthy.  It started out as red, but the last several years has been this color.  How do I get it back to red?  
Amaryllis in container


Your amaryllis is beautiful. I think your amaryllis has the same pigments in it that it always had, but the depth of color may be affected by how much sunlight it gets during the blooming period. See if increasing the light might intensify the color.  Light during blooming is not necessary to have a flower, since the flowers are set during the growing season. When you buy a new bulb, the flowers are already set inside. It is the care they are given after bloom which determines if it blooms again. I think you have healthy plants, which get the light they need to set blooms.  Let me know if it helps.


I recently came upon a large batch of picked tulips at the children's library greenhouse. They were mostly purple and yellow and had wilted to extinction. The caretaker at the greenhouse cut off the bulbs of all and offered them up so I just took home a bag of 30 of them. I'm not a flower person and have no idea if these bulbs are still viable, whether they have to dry out for a year or even when to plant them. Many still have the remnants of what appears to be new growth on them. Can you shed some light?



AnswerI would add them to the compost pile.  Tulip bulbs that were forced (bloomed out of their normal season) are hard to get to re-bloom with good care. Bulbs need at least 6-8 weeks of green growth in bright sunlight after flowering to set a flower bud for the next year. Tulips are tough to re-bloom when planted in the ground and given full sun.  Since yours were wilted to the point of extinction immediately after bloom, there would be no flowers from these next year. Sorry.


The slug/snail question from a week ago generated quite a bit of responses.  Many responded that they had tried a variety of methods. One I failed to mention that does work is shallow trays of beer.  From a reader: Get three or more mayonnaise lids (others said cat food can) and dig a hole to put in lid so that the open end is level with ground. (It can also just be sitting on the ground) Fill the lids with beer (snails are not picky so it does not matter what brand of beer).  The next morning go look and you will be amazed at all the dead snails/slugs. Repeat three or four days until clear. Just keep check and in a week or two you may have to repeat. 
As a bonus you get about 3/4 a can of beer to drink each night!!  Another slightly more unusual approach:  You should have told the person with the snail and slug problem to buy a duck.  I knew some people once who had a duck and they would walk around and lift up the low limbs on shrubs and the duck would gobble up the snails.  


 Arkansas Flower and Garden Show Information

Arkansas Democrat Article


How to Sessions

**Several people have written in trying to register for the Azalea 101 workshop scheduled for April 5 at the State Extension Office that I wrote about a few weeks ago.   Depending on the search engine you use, the shorter link may not have worked.  If you would like to register try this link: 

This program has a registration fee of $45 which includes all course material, excellent educational programs and lunch.  If you need more information, let me know.


Tip:  If you know of a graduating high school senior who plans to major in horticulture or related field, applications are now being accepted for $1000 scholarships from the Master Gardener Advisory Board County 76 for the Janet B. Carson College Scholarship.  The deadline to apply is March 10.  Applications and more information is available at:





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