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Pyracantha, compost piles and more

Q:    Please suggest some plants that will attract birds.

A:    Plants with berries like holly, pyracantha, beauty berry, asparagus fern and sumac can provide food for birds. Many birds are fruit eaters and so figs, citrus, plums and loquat will feed them.

Q:    My compost pile has palmetto bugs in it. Is this okay? How do I get rid of them?

A:.    If your compost pile is heating up to proper temperatures there should not be any bugs in the pile. Palmetto bugs are scavengers so, in one sense, they are aiding breakdown of the organic material.

Q:    What are some plants that will attract hummingbirds? I enjoy watching them.

A:    Just about any plant with tubular shaped flowers can attract them. Try coral honeysuckle. trumpet vine, salvias, Turk’s cap, standing cypress and fire spike.

Q:    I have a weed in my garden beds called betony. I was told that the root of the plant is edible. Is this true?

A:    The betony produces a small white tuber that is edible. It is crunchy like the inside of a radish. They can be used in salads but don’t eat too many since they can act as a diuretic.

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