Dear Garden Problem Lady


Can I grow a knockout rose in a pot?
As Jim Shelar, a master of gardening in pots, so succinctly puts it, “What have you got to lose by trying?” You can wheel the pot into a sunny place – and move it around to follow the sun.

I am crazy about heliotrope, but every part of it is poisonous. Also, it is only an annual. Is there any warmer hardiness zone in which it is a perennial? If yes, I’ll try to move there!
You’ll be moving to Hardiness Zone 12, somewhere in Central America. Its deadly poisonousness is not a problem if you use it in a hanging pot, where Fido and children can’t reach. Interesting how many annuals become perennials in southerly zones. Heliotrope – in pretty purples and whites – has a heavenly scent, like vanilla or cherry pie – and really deserves to be in your garden.

Is it possible to transplant moss? I have about two square yards of moss on the patio bricks closest to our back faucet. I must now scrape them off (again).
Moss can definitely be transplanted. Prepare a moist shaded area by removing any grass, weeds, or plants that are struggling to grow in meager light. Rake the soil to remove stray roots. Then water the ground until it is muddy. Transplant by picking bunches or sheets of moss and pressing them into the soil. Push a stick through each piece to hold it in place. Keep the area moist. Within a few weeks, the moss will establish itself and spread. Another way is to put a handful of moss into a blender. Add a cup of buttermilk and a cup of water. On low, blend the mixture into a slurry. Pour or paint this slurry onto soil, or even rocks, in deep shade, and keep moist.

We learned at a recent Garden Club program that salvia is not long-lived. Ours are a beautiful purple-blue, but ratty. We’ll get more now. How does one actually use salvia in cooking?
Culinary salvia is not the same as yours. Nor is culinary salvia the kind that can make you feel a little high and wonderfully peaceful smoked around a campfire. No. Culinary salvia is called sage. Find it as a seedling in the herbs section of a garden center, or in the produce section of a supermarket, or on the dried spices shelf. Place several fresh sage leaves over roasting meat, or sprinkle dried sage into poultry dressing.

The next public meeting of the Capitol Hill Garden Club occurs on Sept. 12 at the Northeast Public Library, corner of Maryland Avenue and Seventh Street NE. Meetings start at 7 p.m. and are free and open to all. Membership details:

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