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A sprinkler with a black hose nestled in light brown pine straw lightly sprays pink flowers.
July 16, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

As we continue to plow through this hot and humid summer, keeping our plants -- and ourselves -- hydrated is critical to maintaining the summer garden and landscape. As I write this column, it's 96 degrees with a heat index of 108. Whew!

A yellow butterfly sits atop a green bush with pink flowers.
July 9, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Like most gardeners, I love watching the various butterflies that visit my garden.

One I really like is the giant swallowtail, with its black body and vivid, yellow stripes. This creature loves my citrus, where she lays her eggs. The developing caterpillars have a unique defense mechanism; they look like bird poop on the citrus leaves.

The leaves of green tomato plants droop on the plants
July 6, 2018 - Filed Under: Tomato Pepper and Eggplant, Vegetable Gardens

Common Diseases of TomatoesCRYSTAL SPRINGS, Miss. -- Conditions have been ideal this summer for a disease outbreak that makes tomatoes wilt and look like they are just too dry.

Southern blight is a fungal disease of tomatoes commonly characterized by white, thread-like growth and brown or tan, round structures known as sclerotia at the base of the stem.

Scaevola – Tiny purple, white and orange flowers can be seen among a mass of green leaves.
July 2, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

I am a committed container gardener for both flowers and vegetables, but today I’m focusing on flowering plants. I firmly believe growing in containers is a fantastic way to enjoy a beautiful landscape and garden.

June 28, 2018 - Filed Under: Crops, Organic Fruit and Vegetables, Soils, Soil Health, Beekeeping, Herb Gardens, Vegetable Gardens

SAUCIER, Miss. -- Producers and gardeners looking for tips on growing herbs and improving their soil can attend a July 20 field day.

A man shows how to supplement supermarket floral bouquets with landscape materials.
June 25, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Let’s face it. Sometimes we need a quick, inexpensive bouquet of flowers to give to a friend or family member or to freshen up our own spaces.

Jim DelPrince, Extension horticulture specialist, shows you how to use landscape materials to supplement those pretty bouquets you see at the supermarket and get more bang for your buck. (Photo credit: Zac Ashmore/Cindy Callahan) 

Variegated burgundy and chartreuse coleus laves fill a container.​
June 25, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Since we celebrated the first day of summer last week, I think this is the perfect time to talk about one my favorite color plants, the coleus.

Coleus used to be that colorful plant that would grow only in the shadows, never exposed to the sun. One of my favorites of this kind is the sun-bashful coleus group, Kong.

A sliced, ripe watermelon sits on a table outdoors.
June 19, 2018 - Filed Under: Watermelon Cantaloupe and Cucumber, Watermelons, Vegetable Gardens

Choosing a ripe watermelon at the market is easy if you know what to look for.  (Photo credit: Jonathan Parrish/Cindy Callahan)

 A brown clay pot contains a small bush with pink flowers.
June 18, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Landscape Plants and Trees Diseases
I love crape myrtles in the landscape. They flower all summer, and their beautiful exfoliating and peeling bark exposes cinnamon-brown trunks in the winter. It's no wonder that somebody way back when called them the Flowers of the South.
 
A butterfly gathers nectar from a yellow flower in a group of yellow flowers.
June 15, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Herb Gardens, Places for Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

PICAYUNE, Miss. -- Pollinators are important to flowering plants and the food supply, but dwindling numbers of some of these creatures, including monarch butterflies and bees, have captured the public’s attention.

Many people want to help. But what can homeowners do to support these important pollinators?

Jennifer Buchanan, senior curator at the Mississippi State University Crosby Arboretum in Picayune, shared her top three tips for creating a pollinator-friendly garden.

A pair of orange trimmers is about to snip off a spent flower.
June 11, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

This past Saturday and Sunday turned into a typical work weekend in my garden and landscape.

It was hot and humid, and, of course, I was soaking wet. As I sat on a 5-gallon bucket taking a break, my mind wandered as I took a visual inventory and looked at the next job that needed doing. I have 25 15- and 25-gallon containers, 136 subirrigated containers and a bunch of 3- and 5-gallon pots.

Image displays colorful gardening posters.
June 8, 2018 - Filed Under: The Story of Plants and People

Geoff Denny, an MSU Extension horticulturist, launched the storytelling series, The Story of Plants and People, hosted by the Mississippi State Trial Gardens. Monthly sessions cover such topics as azaleas, African crops in Mississippi gardens, and William Faulkner’s Rowan Oak.

Orange marigolds grow in a bed with purple blooms and green elephant ears.
June 4, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Landscape Design and Management

Marigolds are my go-to hot weather color annuals. Marigolds are great in-ground or in containers, and they add a cheerful and colorful brightness wherever they are planted.

Sunlight reaches a portion of mostly shaded light green foliage.
May 28, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

One landscape plant I wish I grew more of is coral bells, known botanically as Heucheras.

I absolutely love the colorful foliage with a seemingly unlimited variety of textures that add interest in any garden or landscape. Some have ruffled margins, some have deep cuts, and others feature smooth margins. Texture is certainly on display with coral bells.

Light pink blooms has dark pink centers.
May 21, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

One day right after we moved to Mississippi, I got a call from a homeowner with a question about her althea plant. I was stumped, but soon found that the plant she was referring to was commonly called rose of Sharon.

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)

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