The Plant Prof is In


IMG_9686 Does your indie garden center have a diagnostician on staff with a microscope at the ready?  I had the opportunity, of sorts, to benefit from the services of this one the other day in an attempt to save my Iteas, and wrote about it for his garden center's blog

Gene Sumi here has taught gardening to so many garden clubs over the decades, I think somebody should give him an honorary doctorate or something.  Born teacher.


  1. Good landscape design is about the right plant in the right spot. And more.

    Good soil preparation, shading in summer, sun in winter, something new coming into bloom all year, pollinator habitat, beautiful views from interior windows, paint colors, home value & etc.

    If my clients, students, lecture attendees need a plant diagnostics specialist, I HAVE FAILED.

    Of course most people never hire a professional for their landscape.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  2. Those of us DIYers for whom a garden is a cross between a 3-dimensional sketchbook and a chaotic outdoor laboratory, on the other hand, could often use a good plant diagnostician 🙂

    I don’t suppose Gene makes house calls? To Austin? I’ve got a ‘Ferdinand Pichard’ rose that seems to have caught a near-lethal something-or-other and could use professional help…

  3. I’ve never had to use his diagnostic services, but I always have considered myself profoundly lucky to live near such a great garden center with such knowledgeable people. Homestead Gardens and its staff are really great.

  4. Merrifield Garden Center here in northern Virginia has a great staff. Best of all, they back up diagnosis with good advice. When confronted with a fungus on my magnolia, she showed me the fungicides, but when I asked her what she would do if it was her tree, the answer was nothing–just what I wanted to hear!

  5. If you have an issue with your plants, go to a university web site in your area and cross-pollinate your search with the words “agricultural extension”. You should find answers to your problem. If not, then that plant and you were not meant to be.

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