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Pink coneflowers which are native to Mississippi.
May 18, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Landscape Architecture, Trees

Native plants are excellent choices for any landscape. They are adapted to the climate, which makes them low-maintenance. Planting native varieties of flowers, plants and shrubs provides food and shelter for native wildlife. (Photo by Tim Allison)

May 14, 2018 - Filed Under: Crops, Insects-Crop Pests, Plant Diseases

Two half-day training sessions next month will provide expertise on pest and disease control on small farms.

A short papyrus plant grows in a metal cauldron.
May 14, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Landscape and Garden Design

With all of the bright, colorful summer annuals we’re planting this month, I find myself looking for more out-of-the-ordinary plants for my landscape. One that always creates a bit of a stir and generates questions is an old plant called papyrus.

Papyrus, similar to the plant grown and used by the ancient Egyptians to make paper, is easy to grow and has few pests. If you’re intrigued by this plant, you will be happy to learn there are three selections suitable for use in our Mississippi landscapes.

Colorful flowers are planted next to a sign at the entrance of the North Bay Elementary School garden.
May 11, 2018 - Filed Under: Master Gardener, Herb Gardens, Vegetable Gardens, Youth Gardening

BILOXI, Miss. -- Students at North Bay Elementary School in Biloxi got another hands-on learning component this spring with the addition of a school garden.

Magnolia leaves star in a small floral arrangement with white flowers.
May 10, 2018 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

Magnolias are synonymous with Mississippi, and the leaves and flowers are popular materials for all kinds of floral arrangements – wreaths, swags, table runners and other seasonal arrangements. (Photo by Zac Ashmore)

May 7, 2018 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Agricultural Economics, Flower Gardens, Herb Gardens, Vegetable Gardens

GULFPORT, Miss. -- Mississippi producers and gardeners who want to learn more efficient planting methods are invited to a May 18 field day.

The Alliance of Sustainable Farms will host “A Garden Tour and Square Foot Gardening/Intensive Planting Demonstration” at the 34th Street Wholistic Gardens and Education Center. The event will focus on the square-foot gardening method, which is designed to save time, work, space and water.

White flowers with deep purple centers  lie above green leaves.
May 7, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

If you’re still looking for a favorite plant for our hot summer landscapes, consider Superbells. I love their funnel-shaped flowers and great growth potential. Their variety of colors can even rival petunias.

Superbells are tough plants with good summer heat tolerance. One of their attributes that I like best is, after a rainstorm, these plants recover and perk up faster than many other summer-flowering annuals, even my vaunted petunias.

These plants look great in containers, hanging baskets and mass plantings in landscape beds.

Fiery red blooms reach upward against a brick wall.
April 30, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

When I was beginning my horticulture journey after making a career transition, I thought I had some idea about color and planting combinations. I would alternate colors and sizes because all my neighbors were planting that way. But this approach changed for good one afternoon.

A group of horticulture club students was helping our advisor, Dr. David Bradshaw, add color annuals to the entrance beds of the horticulture building.

Long, red radishes rise above the soil beneath leafy green tops.
April 23, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

When I have visitors to my garden, I like to tell plant stories. It seems that almost everything I grow has a story associated with it. The stories behind the plants make them more interesting.

One of my favorite stories is about my White Profusion butterfly bush that I originally propagated in class in 1989. Another story is about my variegated Duet beautyberry, a mutation I found in 2000. I also grow a lot of heirloom vegetables, and the stories surrounding many of these varieties are interesting.

On the left is a close-up photo of a worker bee specimen, on the right is a close-up photo of a Southern yellow jacket specimen.
April 19, 2018 - Filed Under: Insects, Lawn and Garden, Insects-Pests

A yellow-gold insect buzzes around your head and your first instinct is to swat. Or run. Or swat while running.

The fear of being stung can send me into fight or flight mode in seconds . . . and I’m a beekeeper. True story. No one likes being stung! (Photo by Mississippi Entomological Museum/Joe Macgown)

Spikes covered with small purple flowers extend from a green bush.
April 16, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

One of my true favorites for the early summer season is coming soon to our Mississippi landscapes. Starting mid-May through June, this plant will have some of the few, almost true-blue flowers in the plant world. So what is this plant?

The common name is chaste tree or vitex, and it was named a Mississippi Medallion winner in 2002. The bloom period begins around Memorial Day on the Gulf Coast and soon afterwards in north Mississippi. The main flowering period lasts up to six weeks.

April 13, 2018 - Filed Under: Insects-Human Pests, Lawn and Garden, Herb Gardens

Growing herbs in containers on your porch or doorstep gives you a lot of bang for your buck.

Most herbs grow without fuss, look lovely, smell wonderful, and add fabulous flavors to your home-cooked meals. More flavor means you can cut back on salt and fat! (Photo by Canstock Photo)

Several deep blue flowers line the upright stem of a plant.
April 9, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

I'm becoming a fan of salvias for their performance in the landscape.

This group of plants has such a wide variety of selections available from annuals to perennials that I'm sure you can find the perfect plant for your garden. Today, I want to tell you about the salvias I'm growing in my own home landscape.

Rockin' Playin' the Blues salvia is a selection I grew as a trial last year, and it didn't disappoint. The plant produced beautiful blue flowers all summer long.

An air plant terrarium is a hollow, vented glass container with decorative sand and pebbles, twigs or driftwood, moss, and a dusty green tillandsia plant, also called an air plant.
April 6, 2018 - Filed Under: Houseplants

Air plants are popular, easy-to-care-for decorations. They are ideally suited for dorm rooms, apartments, and offices where watering plants may be more challenging, but are a lovely addition to any space. They also make great gifts, because you can buy materials in bulk. (Photo by Kevin Hudson)

Four separate cucurbit crops grown in a field.
April 3, 2018 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Lawn and Garden, Plant Diseases, Vegetable Diseases

MSU scientists are on the lookout for a cucurbit crop bandit. And they need your help!

Cucurbit downy mildew is a sneaky thief with the ability to quickly and significantly reduce yields or wipe out entire crops of susceptible cucurbits, including cucumbers, melons, pumpkins and squash. (File photo by Rebecca A. Melanson)

A white and pink honeysuckle flower floats in the foreground with green foliage in the back.
April 2, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

There’s no doubt that spring is here when the Southern indica azaleas start to put on their show.

These showy -- some may even say gaudy -- flowering shrubs seem to just take over our southern landscapes before fading back into an evergreen supporting role for the rest of the year.

But this column is not about the beautiful Southern indica azaleas, which, by the way, are from Asia. This column is about a couple of azaleas native to Mississippi and other southeastern states -- the deciduous azaleas.

Clusters of bright red flowers are seen on a background of green leaves.
March 26, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Landscape Design and Management

I took a look at my landscape this weekend trying to decide how many plants, if any, I’m going to have to renovate or replace after our hard winter. I have to say I was really impressed at the regrowth so far this spring.

 A tiny brown moth sits beside a penny for scale.
March 21, 2018 - Filed Under: Green Industry, Insects-Pests

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A new moth has become a serious pest to the greenhouse and nursery industries since it entered the state in 2010.

Blake Layton, an entomologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the European pepper moth was detected in California in 2004 before showing up in Mississippi six years later. Its caterpillars attack a wide range of ornamental plants and vegetables.

A piece of hardware cloth encircles a small, layered pile of organic waste.
March 20, 2018 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens, Vegetable Gardens

Compost is a great soil conditioner. It helps the soil hold water and improves clay and sandy soils. Starting your own pile is easy and can help keep organic waste out of landfills. (Photo by Gary Bachman)

A cluster of small pink verbena flowers with white centers is seen above a bed of green.
March 19, 2018 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

This past weekend, I had the great pleasure of speaking at the Jackson Garden Extravaganza. They had a huge selection of colorful plants on display and for sale, and I left with quite a number of colorful annuals to plant before I hit the road again this weekend.

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