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Southern Gardening

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.

Tiny pink buds cluster in groups on a bare branch.
March 12, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Landscape and Garden Design

One of my favorite spring flowering trees is our native redbud.

This small tree flowers early in the spring before most other trees have started to leaf out after their winter naps. It’s good that redbuds blooms so early because they are usually found as understory trees. While driving around the state, it’s common to see a redbud framed or silhouetted by leafless hardwoods.

Deep pink blossoms cover the mostly bare branches of a shrub.
March 5, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Landscape and Garden Design

We're finally emerging from the "freezemageddon" we experienced earlier this year, and the garden and landscape are emerging with a vengeance.

A small tree with leafy green growth on the bark
February 26, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Landscape and Garden Design

Spring has sprung, at least in my Ocean Springs landscape, and gardeners once again are venturing out and taking an inventory of plant damage from this winter’s cold. Performing this yearly garden task is easier when many plants haven’t started their new growth yet.

Saucer magnolias bloom before the leaves emerge, making their huge flowers the main attraction. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
February 19, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

I came to a conclusion after a series of events reminded me that spring is really close.

Small red berries and green leaves line a distylium branch.
February 12, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Distylium Vintage Jade is an exciting new plant that brings pizazz to the traditional role of foundation planting.

Upright stems of a low-lying chartreuse plant sprout from a landscape bed.
February 5, 2018 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

As we're working our way through this year's Mississippi Medallion Winners, I now want to look at Sedum rupestre, which is commonly called lemon sedum. The sedums are also called stonecrop, because they are native to the mountainous regions of central and western Europe.

White flower pots containing green lemongrass are lined up on the ground.
January 29, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Last week, I focused on the 2018 Mississippi Medallion Winner fancy leaf kale. This week, let’s look at a second 2018 winner: lemongrass.

A small bush with bright red leaves contrasts against a rock-filled garden.
January 15, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

The weather to start 2018 has certainly been crazy. We had more than a week of temperatures in the mid-20s (Freezemageddon) followed by a week of moderate, more normal January temperatures. Now, we’re freezing again this week.

This crape myrtle shows the smooth tops of crape myrtles that have been sliced through knobby ends.
January 1, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

As gardeners make New Year’s resolutions for their landscapes in 2018, I want to encourage all of them to resolve to correctly prune crape myrtles from this day forward.

In the current vernacular, severe pruning of crape myrtles is called “crape murder,” reflecting the seemingly random nature of the pruning cuts. To me, this type of pruning is very unattractive in the landscape.

A bouquet of small, orange and yellow flowers.
December 25, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

For the last Southern Gardening column of 2017, I want to take a look back at some of my absolute favorite plants from my home landscape this past year.

I have been talking for several years about what fantastic garden performers Supertunias are. But my absolute favorite -- and it has been my favorite for several years -- is Supertunia Vista Bubblegum. This plant is so reliable it was chosen as a Mississippi Medallion winner in 2012.

A man’s hand reaches into a bouquet of bright yellow flowers.
December 18, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

If you’re thinking about gardening this Christmas holiday season, it’s probably about poinsettias and other decorative indoor plants. I’m right there with you, as I’m looking at a bookcase lined with red, pink and white poinsettias as I sit here writing.

But a plant that I just love for spring and summer landscapes is rudbeckia, which you probably know as Black-eyed Susans.

Orange vine flowers resembling black-eyed Susans straddle the top of a wooden gray fence.
December 11, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Most folks have poinsettias and entertaining on the agenda during the holidays, but for this week’s column, I want to highlight a plant that has been an outstanding performer for me all year.

It took this past weekend’s hard freeze to finally shut down my black-eyed Susan vine (I’m going to use the abbreviation BES for this flower), known botanically as Thunbergia alata. For many gardeners, in their experience this is traditionally a basket plant that deserves to be grown more often.

red poinsettias
December 4, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

It seems like I've seen Christmas decorations in stores for at least a couple of months. They really accelerated after Halloween, completely ignoring Thanksgiving, which was when I noticed early poinsettias out in force.

Along with Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, the appearance of these poinsettias means we are in the full swing of the Christmas season.

In my opinion, the poinsettia is the quintessential Christmas plant. With its brightly colored bracts, it is a plant truly full of holiday cheer. I think most people will agree that the poinsettia is second only to the Christmas tree in essential Christmas season decor.

Four stone statues are seen representing ancient Greek goddesses.
November 27, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends got me thinking about traditions and beliefs, some popular in the distant past but gone by the wayside today.

In agriculture, some of the most popular myths revolve around the changing seasons.

Purple viola flowers grow in a container.
November 20, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

The last two weeks, I've told you about two of my top three cool-season flowering bedding plants. Today, I'm going to complete the trifecta with another plant everyone should have in their landscape: the viola.

Violas may have smaller flowers than their cousin, the pansy, but they're maybe even tougher and more tolerant of cold, winter weather than pansies. These plants are beautiful massed in landscape beds, and they can be great performers all the way to Easter.

A close-up of white and pink dianthus blooms.
November 13, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Even though the air is still warm in many parts of Mississippi, it’s time to plant annual winter color. Last week, I wrote about pansies being a great color choice. Another sure-fire pick is dianthus.

A close-up of a pink pansy with a dark maroon blotch in the center.
November 6, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

These days, I have to wear my hoodie sweatshirts and long pants for anything below 60 degrees. But the falling temperatures also signal something great: racks and racks of great, cool-season color as pansies fill local garden centers.

A head of cabbage grows in the center of a gorgeous red cabbage plant.
October 30, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

This year, I’m getting an early start on my ornamental kale and cabbage planting for the fall.

A couple of weeks ago, I found these plants being marketed in variety packs, so I picked up a selection of kale and cabbage. What an easy way to select plants for your landscape this weekend.

Confederate rose is an heirloom plant that blooms prolifically in late summer and fall.
October 23, 2017 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens
I have weekly favorite plants, as you may know, and one of my favorites started blooming in earnest over the last couple of weeks. The sheer number of flowers on the Confederate rose makes this plant a must-have in our Mississippi landscapes.

Confederate rose is sometimes called Cotton rose and Cotton rosemallow. Despite the references to cotton, this plant is actually a hibiscus that originated in Asia.


Southern Gardening Archive