May 12, 1993

Clematis, Queen of Vines

Clematis vines are woody members of the buttercup family Ranunculaceae. The colorful portion of the flowers is made up of sepals instead of petals. Petals are absent. Flowers may be single, double, or even triple. All colors are available. The one drawback of the Queen of Vines is their lack of fragrance in the large flowered varieties. Small-flowered species offer a range of fragrances from almond to hot cocoa. Besides having attractive flowers, clematis seedheads are attractive as well. Foliage ranges from a medium to dark-green.

Use of Treated Wood in the Home Garden

Some people have expressed concern about using treated wood in close proximity to plants. Specifically, individuals are worried about chemicals leaching from the wood and being absorbed by the plant. The type of treated wood generating this uneasiness is material pressure impregnated with CCA (chromated copper arsenate). CCA is by far the most commonly used inorganic arsenical preservative. Proper treatment procedures developed and monitored by the American Wood Preservers Bureau should allow this material to be used without any fear of leaching of chemicals.

Ant Mounds in Lawns

This must be a particularly good year for ants to dig in lawns and cause unsightly, unwanted mounds, based on the number of calls I am receiving. There are many species of ants which occur in lawns and other turfgrass areas. Most are considered beneficial and do not require control. However, ants may become a nuisance by constructing mounds or small hills in the lawn or by invading the home from the yard in search of food.

Growing Snap Beans

Beans are one of America's favorite garden vegetables. Early bean varieties were stringy, hence the term "string" beans. Modern varieties are stringless, tender, and crisp. Since they snap easily, these new varieties are referred to as snap beans. Snap beans may be classified as bush or pole beans. The bush-type beans are low growing plants that may grow 1 to 2 feet in height. The pole beans are vining plants which must be supported by a fence or stakes.