November 2020 Issue of The Scoop Print


Welcome to this month's edition of The Scoop, the official newsletter of The Garden Club of South Carolina, Inc. 

For easier reading or to print it out to share, please click here to read it directly from our website. 

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Calendar of Events

Friday, November 6th, 10:00-12 noon

Charleston area: South Windermere Garden Club's Annual Bake Sale  at the home of Nancy Carter
42 Indigo Point Drive, Charleston SC 29407
(Covid protocols will be observed, masks required.)


November 6 - First Friday conference for club officers via Zoom: An Arbor Day Primer 

Get ready for Arbor Day with SC TREES, TREE PROJECTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS. GCSC Arbor Day Chair Nancy Odom will present Arbor Day ideas for your clubs. 

Special Guest, NGC Climate Chair, Victoria Bergesen, will also present PLANT AMERICA'S EACH ONE PLANT ONE INITIATIVE, an overview of the program as well as recommendations for the best native trees to plant in your area. 


November 11 - The Memorial Garden of South Carolina turns 75!

Join us for a special Veterans' Day presentation of America's First Memorial Garden by GCSC Chair Peggy Little with special guests from the Governor's office and SCPRT.  Designed by Loutrel Briggs and lovingly maintained by GCSC, this special garden now houses an honor walkway to memorialize veterans of each war. 

December Awards Deadlines

Club, Council and Youth Contest Awards are all due next month. For detailed information on these awards, visit 

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President's Message

November is a favorite month of mine. Not only do I find myself eternally grateful for the rich orange-browns and reds of falling leaves, but who can resist the rich spectrum of yellows. This year particularly, I am surrounded by a brilliant array of yellows. From the almost ripe yellow of Meyer lemons weighing down our trees to the orangy yellow of goldenrod hanging over the borders, the sunshine yellow of helianthus reaching high into the sky and the mustard yellow beggarsticks and tiny wildflowers along the edges of our garden.

In the trees there are flying yellows as migrating warblers hunt seeds and insects, along with the rare yellow of the crested flycatcher, almost gone by now.  Perhaps my favorite yellow this year is the creamy yellow stripes of the Zebra Longwing, a species that has expanded its territory all the way into the middle parts of our state. 

In many cultures, yellow represents sunshine and good cheer, a welcoming color to brighten your outlook. This season, I take it as a sign of better days to come. Like the saying goes, "no one ever strained their eyesight by looking on the bright side."

As this is also the month that America celebrates gratitude for the year's bounty, here is a favorite prayer: 

Happy November Gardeners! May we all be blessed with a grateful heart this season. 

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Month by Month Gardening

Piedmont by Gina Ginther


  • Bulbs, trees and shrubs
  • Plan your pollinator garden by planting flowering perennials now



  • SEEDS - this is the perfect month to collect seeds for next spring. 
  • Garlic, onions, and your late season vegetables. 



  • Aerate your turf areas and over seed with winter rye 
  • Final pruning and clean-up of beds
  • Leave the leaves and save those pruned stalks for your wildpile
  • Bring in your houseplants before the frost 
  • For tender outside plants, have plankets (plant blankets) ready 
  • Enjoy your incoming garden catalogs!


Sandhills by Gail Watkins Ford


  • Pansies, snapdragons, calendulas, candytuft, sweet William, violas and pinks.
  • Spring bulbs between mid-November and mid-December. Southern Living recommends using colored golf tees for marking color and location of bulbs.
  • Wildflower seeds
  • Sow seeds of hardy annuals for spring blooms; larkspur, forget-me-nots, stock, foxglove, bachelor’s buttons and Shirley, Iceland and California poppies. Lightly rake in poppy seeds.
  • Decorative kale and cabbage.
  • Pot bulbs for forcing.
  • Spring-flowering shrubs.
  • Lettuce and spinach.
  • Continue to divide perennials.
  • Roses, camellias, azaleas, laurel and rhododendron. Do not plant too deep.
  • Garlic bulbs for next year.
  • Fruit trees, blueberries, blackberries and bunch grapes.
  • Add parsley and creeping Jenny to containers of pansies and snapdragons for great color.
  • Plant pansies over the top of bulbs in containers.
  • Plant or transplant trees. Fertilize:
  • Boost fertilizer to pansies, etc.
  • Top dress all shrubs and evergreens. Use NO nitrogen fertilizer; 0-20-20. This promotes root growth.
  • Lawn with 8-8-8 for last time.
  • Bulbs now.



  • Cut back chrysanthemums to just above the ground.
  • Cut back leggy roses.
  • Pinch tips of snapdragons so they won’t get leggy.
  • Cut back perennials after finish blooming.
  • Cut back water sprouts on trees.
  • Do not prune spring flowering shrubs in the fall. Nip if leggy.
  • Dig up unhappy shrubs and replace



  • Dry or freeze herbs.
  • Garlic.
  • All late vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, beans and squash.
  • Seeds from annuals, perennials, day-lilies, iris and vegetables for spring propagation. Store seeds in cool dry place; they will last for years in glass jars.
  • Leave seed heads on hardy annuals and the seeds will scatter and germinate in the spring.
  • Add leaves to the compost pile, water and turn frequently for well rotted manure.


Routine Care:

  • Tidy up the garden.
  • Pull weeds and unwanted plants.
  • Clean out nesting materials from birdhouses.
  • Mulch biannual beds.
  • Apply mulch to roses for winter protection.
  • If autumn is dry water deeply.
  • Bring in houseplants, orchids, Thanksgiving and Christmas cactus. Check for insects.
  • Bring in tropical plants before the temperature drops below 50 degrees.
  • Chop up Halloween pumpkins and put in compost pile.
  • Add tea and coffee grounds to tree and shrubs as a soil conditioner.
  • Use the water that eggs are boiled in for house plants. It contains many needed minerals.
  • Look at the bones of your garden. Does it have style or design? Review and analyze. Dream and plan for next year..


West Low Country by Anna Sheets


  • Spring blooming bulbs now - hyacinths, crocus, snowdrops, daffodils and jonquils.
  • Onions and garlic can be planted now for a quick season
  • This is the last month to plant kale, collards and lettuce
  • Cover crops for your winter resting garden to renourish the soil 
  • Acorns - You can pot up acorns this month for free tree giveaways next spring 



  • Camellias - the Southern rose of fall and winter will start blooming now
  • Mushrooms - many edibles will bloom this month. If you're not 100% sure, don't. 
  • Leaves - these make great additions to fall tablescapes and compost piles. For non-turf areas, consider keeping them as a renourishing mulch and butterfly habitat 



  • Remove acorns from your lawn-squirrels will dig holes to bury their acorns if left on turfgrass 
  • Leave perennials with interesting seed heads for your winter landscape and to feed the birds.
  • Check for scale on camellias- treat as needed 
  • Provide water for birds and late season migrating butterflies 


East Low Country  by Kate Copsey


  • Shop the Sales: Every nursery and box store want to sell this year’s stock before winter. Take advantage of the sale on shrubs, perennials, and bulbs.
  • Everything except annuals and bulbs: The ground is warm and we should get lots of rain in November for healthy roots to grow quickly. The ground is still too warm for most of us to plant bulbs.
  • You can still plant radishes, lettuce, and other greens for winter consumption



  • Seeds for next year's garden 
  • Late season vegetables
  • Camellias for your arrangements and tablescapes 
  • Persimmons ripen this month 



  • Clean up - Tomatoes that drop onto the soil can cause problems next year so clear all those cherry tomatoes that you didn’t quite get to harvest. The same is true for potatoes. Some perennials have seed heads that can be left for birds and winter interest, other should be cut down so that you don’t get overwhelmed with seedlings next year.


Enjoy the garden: The temperatures are lower and it is pleasant out there to do some weeding but also great temperatures cause roses and perennials to bloom again, so take time to smell the roses and enjoy the fall garden.


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Native Plant of the Month

With Arbor Day approaching, we asked our favorite growers which trees they recommend for each region of South Carolina. Here's their favorites. We hope you will plant at least one of these in a garden near you this season. 

Winged Elm

by Gina Ginther, East Piedmont 

“A native plant is one that occurs naturally in a particular region, ecosystem, or habitat without direct or indirect human intervention…” (The United States National Arboretum)

It is fascinating to think that plants were finding their place and thriving on our planet in an orderly, scientific progression long before humans. As one explores natives, it is fascinating to discover their history, not only from a botanical standpoint, but also from the standpoint of early discovery and use by both indigenous people and new settlers.

Merriam-Webster defines “winged elm” as an elm (Ulmus alata) of the U.S. having twigs with prominent corky projections. The first known use of the description winged elm to describe the tree was in 1820. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the fibrous inner bark was made into rope for fastening of cotton bales and for making baskets. It was given the name Wahoo by the Creek Indians. The Indians also seeped the inner bark for medicinal use for gastrointestinal issues and to ease childbirth. Mature elms have hard, difficult to split wood. This toughness made it ideal for use during the age when farm implements, wagon wheel hubs and even auto chasses contained a fair amount of wood. Today, commercial uses for winged elm include flooring, boxes, crates and furniture. The wood is flexible and thus particularly useful for chair rockers. Again, due to its resistance to splitting, the winged elm is also used for hockey sticks.

The winged elm is a deciduous tree native to the southern woodlands of the United States. The most characteristic feature of this elm is the pair of opposite corky outgrowths produced on twigs and small limbs. These corky wings may be as much as one-half inchwide. The name “alata” or “alatus” in botanical names, always refers to some type of wing. The winged elm is USDA Native Status is L48(N). The tree is found in native habitat in both wet and dry areas, and in rocky ridges, making it a very adaptable tree for urban planting. Winged elm can grow 30-60 feet high, with a width of 20-40 feet. The bark is red-brown to ashy gray with flat topped ridges that are separated by irregular fissures. It has an erect crown with an oval form with stray branches protruding.

The leaves are alternate with a doubly toothed margin and unequal base. In the fall the leaves turn golden yellow.

Insignificant small, brownish green flowers appear in clusters in late winter to early spring before the foliage emerges.


The Winged Elm is a host plant for the Question Mark and Red Spotted butterflies. Question Mark butterflies are unique in that they may diapause, (overwintering as adults), especially near their host plant. If you have an elm, be sure to leave the leaves around the base of the tree until spring. 

The seeds are eaten by songbirds and small mammals.

Winged elm tree information suggests that the trees are not difficult to grow and require little care in the USDA plant hardiness zones 6 through 9. The winged elm is the least shade tolerant of the North American elms, but you can plant it in either full sun or partial shade. It adapts to almost any type of soil and has a high drought tolerance. Winged elm tree care includes pruning, early and often, to eliminate multiple trunks and narrow-crotched branches. Your goal is to produce one central trunk with lateral branches spaced along the trunk.  

How about a winged elm bonsai? Apparently, this species grows attractively well as a miniature!  

Editor's Note: 

According to the DIY network, to root an elm tree cutting, execute the following three steps:

  1. Take the cuttings from a healthy branch of your elm tree where two branches intersect. Immediately place the fresh cuttings in water to preserve viability.
  2. When all cuttings are acquired, prepare separate containers with nutrient rich potting soil for each of the cuttings. Make sure that the soil is moist, but be careful not to saturate the growing medium. The cuttings will require moisture in order to establish themselves. Root growth, however, is dependent upon available water. The more available water, the less the roots will grow.
  3. Take a cutting and allow all the excess water to run off. You want the cutting to be damp. Take turns lightly coating the exposed wood of each cutting with root hormone and place them in their respective pots. After all of the cuttings have been placed in a growing medium, the cuttings will begin to grow roots.



By Laurie Churchill, West Piedmont 

Magnolias are an ancient group of plants that developed long before bees and are actually pollinated by beetles. Fossils have been found that are over 15 million years old and have virtually the same structure and DNA as our present day Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora). But, along with the ubiquitous large, evergreen magnolia that we are all familiar with, there are other magnolia species native to South Carolina.

The most common native, deciduous magnolia in South Carolina is the Frasier magnolia (M. fraseri) usually found in the upper half of the state. It’s a medium-sized tree with 12 inch long, kite-shaped leaves and 9 inch wide white blooms in April.

The cucumber magnolia (M.acuminata) is found all over North America, but frequently goes unnoticed since its blooms are yellow and blend in with the canopy.


Umbrella magnolia (M.tripetala) has even larger leaves and blooms than the Fraiser magnolia. It is easy to cultivate and use as a deciduous ornamental.  M. virginiana, known as sweetbay magnolia is a small, evergreen, multi-stemmed tree that grows well in the coastal plains of South Carolina.   It produces very fragrant, small white flowers from May to July. They can be found in most local nurseries and are easy to grow. While not as showy as their non-native counterparts, native magnolias should still have a place in our South Carolina landscapes.



The Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana)

by Karen Galloway, West Sandhills 

The red cedar is an ancient tree as evidenced in fossil findings throughout a large portion of North America. Actually, the Red Cedar is a juniper as cedars aren’t native to our continent. Over fifty bird species utilize this tree as an important food source along with habitat for squirrels and other wildlife.

The cedar waxwing’s appetite for the cedar berries in winter provides excellent photo opportunities. These birds are vulnerable to window collisions so please consider purchasing reflective decals to help the birds avoid striking the glass.

The  Eastern Red Cedar is  a tough, handsome evergreen tree that thrives where few other trees will grow and has multiple uses.  The red cedar is dioecious with the male trees producing tiny brown cones while the female trees bear clusters of tiny, silver blue, berry-like cones, a favorite food of many birds.  The scented wood repels moths for cedar chests where we store our sweaters.  Part of the reason the cedar is aromatic is because it bears thujaplicin, a natural antibacterial and antifungal agent.  The wood has even been used for making pencils. It is sound resistant, porous to absorb noise, doesn’t shrink, swell, warp or decay and is used in construction and building furniture. The red cedar can withstand adverse conditions. It takes full sun and tolerates most soils, wind, heat and salt. However the red cedar should not be planted near apple trees due to cedar apple rust.

Overall, the Eastern Red Cedar provides years of nesting and food for wildlife.  And for us, you all remember the wonderful memories of gathering fragrant cut branches for decorating during the holidays and the simple quiet beauty of the tree. In conclusion, the Eastern Red Cedar is a native woody plant suitable for the modern landscape with many years of enjoyment for you and your outside creatures.

Source: “The Trees of North America” from the New York Botanical Gardens.  It is considered the American masterpiece on Michaux and Redouté.  Featured in the book are plates of North American Sylva arranged alphabetically.


Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum)

by Bonnie Disney, East Sandhills District

Do you have a tree with knees?  If not, you probably do not have a bald cypress in your landscape.  Known for living in swampy settings, the bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) thrives in our warmer South Carolina climates near wetlands with organic and clay soils but also can grow in moderately well-drained sandy loam soil. Our town, Sumter, has many native bald cypresses at Swan Lake Gardens as well as in home landscapes that have lawns bordering creeks, rivers, flood-plain forrests and streams that have slow-moving water.

The native bald cypress is a deciduous, large, slow growing tree that can survive for centuries.  It can reach 130 feet with a possible diameter of 13 feet or more.  Perhaps the most interesting features of the bald cypress are its “knees”, or knobby root structures that protrude from the water or land.  The structures, known as pneumatophores, may allow the tree access to oxygen during floods or help to keep the tree stable in soggy swamps.



Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia)

by Anna Sheets, West Low Country District

The red buckeye (Aesculus pavia),  also known as the firecracker plant or scarlet buckeye, is known for its striking red tubular flowers that greet migrating hummingbirds and butterflies in the spring. It is a small, rounded bush/tree 10-20 feet tall and wide that ranges from Florida to N. Carolina. The red buckeye is one of 6 species of the horse chestnut family that are native to North America and include the horse chestnuts, American chestnut and Ohio buckeyes which can mature into much larger trees.

Many gardeners consider the red buckeye a messy plant. It has many clusters/panicles of non- scented flowers 6-10 inches long that create lots of leftover petal debris in the spring. The glossy green leaves form fans of five leaves that are 3-6 inches long, are the first to drop at the end of September (not much fall color) and decompose very slowly.

Consider the red buckeye an ornamental plant. It does well in full sun or shade but prefers sunlight 2-6 hrs. a day. A naturalized area, woodland or pond area that features a butterfly garden, pollinator garden or a rain garden would be ideal. It can be pruned as a tree, a hedge or a flowering shrub. Plant in the spring or fall in an area with acidic, loamy, high organic matter and well- drained soil and never plant it too deep-below the soil line, it will rot. Seeds, when planted, will produce a flowering plant in 2-3 yrs.

In late summer, seeds form that are about the size of a prune in a leathery capsule. The seeds are brown and shiny with a whitish scar that Native Indians described as deer’s eye, hence the name buckeye. Popular belief states buckeyes brought good luck and many people carried a buckeye in their pocket as a charm. All parts of the red buckeye, if ingested, are poisonous to humans, cats, dogs and horses and can cause death. The one exception are squirrels who use it as a food source.


Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

by Kate Copsey, East Low Country District

Every spring, gardens burst into bloom and the bright pink from the Redbud is one of the most beautiful out there. The Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) is native to the eastern half of the continent from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico and is small enough for most gardens.

The redbud makes a great focal point in the garden when in bloom, with the attractive, often scented, pink blooms arriving early, before the leaves emerge. It retains a neat vase-shape throughout the rest of the year so it works well in the back of the perennial border and blends well with early spring bulbs. Even the fall foliage is remarkable with hints of reddish-orange leaves. Overall redbuds get to about 12-15 feet so it fits easily in any front lawn or anywhere in the back garden.

Redbuds tolerate a wide range of conditions and will grow well in southern clay as well as beach sand although it does appreciate some well amended soil to keep it well drained. Winter conditions from zone 4 all the way to zone 9 make it happy throughout all of South Carolina. About the only condition that the redbuds are not happy with is shade. Part shade, such as being typical understory conditions are fine, but so is full sun. 

Redbuds are also a favorite nectar source for pollinators as well as a food source for birds and many native bees when there is very little else in bloom around. The early bloom is a favorite for Cedar Waxwings and there are several insects that inhabit the tree or cracks in the bark making this an additional food source for young birds.

The native redbuds are various shades of pink but there are some that are closer to a red and a few varieties that put out white flowers – some are nativars, others are native to other areas.

The pretty pink flowers are edible and similar in taste to peas. Use to snack on in the garden as you pass by or decorate your early salads with a few pretty pink buds.

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Pollinator Habitat Gardening

As we prepare our gardens for winter, please leave the leaves! Ever since modern landscaping techniques set the standard for immaculate monocultural lawnscapes, pollinator populations have plummeted. Why? Because every fall we remove one of the key ingredients to pollinator habitats - LEAVES! 

While some butterflies like the monarch migrate through our state, most will overwinter in your leaf litter as eggs, larva, and chrysalids. Some will even seek shelter as adults. Many of our earliest spring citings are overwintered species such as the fritillary, the luna moth, the swallowtail and the tiny hairstreaks. Of course, they're so well camoflauged gardeners don't notice them when reaching for the rake. 

If you've ever really looked at a chrysallis or a large moth cocoon, they resemble dried leaves for a reason. This is nature's way of keeping them protected and camouflaged until spring. Some cling to dormant stems while others tuck themselves into the leaf layer for a winter's nap.  Many of our South Carolina moths drop down from their hardwood hosts as larva to hide among the leaves that will blanket them all winter and then feed them in the spring.

Native bees also benefit from a leaf layer as many are ground nesting species for a majority of the year. This graph from the Xerces Society charts the ground dwelling periods of our native bees. 

So much lives in the leaf litter- spiders, snails, worms, beetles, millipedes, and much more - and each of these breaks down the leaves with the help of microorganisms like bacteria and mycorrhiza while also providing food for larger species like chipmunks, frogs, toads, turtles and birds. The most successful wildlife habitats include a rich leaf layer. 

Leaves are great fertilizer! Up to 80% of a tree's nutrients end up in the leaves. When leaves fall, they naturally return those nutrients to the tree's root system through a system of decomposition. 

Leaves also make better mulch. Provided the leaves were not infected with diseases before they fell, most plants and trees will benefit from the 6" thick covering of leaf mulch as wide as their canopy. Air captured between layers keeps the soil warmer and protects roots through the winter. Leaf mulch also retains moisture and suppresses weeds while feeding the soil. 

Not every leaf breaks down the same way and this is nature's way of selectively capturing and releasing carbon in stages. Oaks, beech and birch leaves will break down rather quickly and can be left alone around the tree where they will form a natural blanket and nutrient rich habitat. Thicker leaves like sycamore, maple, and holly can be partially raked into piles to break down near compost piles or tucked under shrubbery for added nutrient recapture.

Some of the easist ways to leave the leaves is to place them in between garden rows, under shrubbery, or around tender plants as added mulch. If your HOA disapproves, throw a light covering of pine needles over top and let the leaves break down underneath and out of site. Better yet, talk to your HOA about the benefits of leaf mulch, especially for our endangered pollinators.   

For more information about the benefits of leaves, read more here.

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This Month's Contributors

If you enjoy this newsletter, you have the following people to thank:

Trish Bender, Kate Copsey, Laurie Churchill, Bonnie Disney, Gail Watkins Ford, Karen Galloway, Gina Ginther, Meg Lee, Rue Lucas, and Anna Sheets.

Special thank you this month to the following: 

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Plant for Fall Color

In case you missed these in last month's emailed issue, these articles are repeated.

Set “the table” with Bottlebrush Buckeye

by Gina Ginther

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Texas describes the Bottlebrush Buckeye as a “mound-shaped, thicket-forming, deciduous shrub with picturesque, ascending, candelabra-like branching. Lowest branches are horizontal and often rest on the ground”. The operative word, to this writer, is “candelabra”. With a light requirement of part shade, the Bottlebrush Buckeye is the perfect plant to set your “understory table”. In the summer, there are twelve-inch feathery white cylindrical blooms standing atop the foliage. They are punctuated by pink stamens and red anthers that bloom in the heat of the summer. There is also a smooth shiny seed that resembles chestnuts or buckeyes, enclosed by a bright yellow husk. In the fall, the large palmate leaves consisting of five to seven leaflets change from deep green to a glorious bright, buttery yellow.

Bottlebrush Buckeye (Aesculus parviflora / USDA Native Status: L48 (N), needs moist, well-drained soil and although it will grow in full sun, it is partial to full shade. It thrives in USDA Zones 5 to 9A, and can be planted year around. The plant propagates from suckers but can be grown from seeds. Seeds must be planted as soon as the husks open, don’t allow them to dry out! Plants grow 6-12 feet tall and when happy, can grow just as wide and form thickets. Basal shoots can soar two to four feet their first season. Mature stems grow much more slowly. It can take ten years to reach mature height. Pruning is rarely required because the shrub looks best in its natural shape, but you can prune lightly when flowers fade, cutting at a node shortly below the tip of the stem. It is drought sensitive and should be watered in dry periods. Bottlebrush Buckeye attracts hummingbirds, butterflies, and honeybees and has been called a pollinator heaven. There are no serious insect or disease issues and it is deer and rabbit resistant. 

The Bottlebrush Buckeye is a vastly underused plant that is a standout in the garden or alone as a specimen. It can be used for borders or scattered throughout an understory garden. As we enter the fall planting season, think of your garden as a table and consider Bottlebrush Buckeye as the perfect “candelabra” centerpiece!

Fall Color Blues

by Laurie Churchill West Piedmont District

We all think of asters, goldenrod, chrysanthemums and deciduous trees turning colors as Autumn, but there are many more plants we can add to our landscapes to bring a last pop of blue, purple and pink hues and attract pollinators before the cold weather sets in for the winter.

Caryopteris, also known as bluebeard or bluemist, brings deep lavender blooms to the early fall garden. It is drought-tolerant, deer-resistant and beckons all kinds of pollinators. The plants grow 2-3 feet tall and the only maintenance needed is to cut them back in the early spring since they bloom on new wood.

Another fall blooming plant bursting with purple flowers is Russian Sage (Peroyskia atriplicfolia). Gray-green leaves in the summer and silver-white stems in the winter make it even more appealing. The leaves and stems are intensely fragrant which helps to deter deer and rabbits.

Japanese anemones start blooming in late summer and go straight through until frost. The plants are covered in white or deep pink poppy-like blooms waving 2-3 feet in the air. Perfect for a bank or an area where they can naturalize, these proficient bloomers give a dazzling show in sun to part shade. They are deer-resistant and attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.


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