Southern Gardening from 2016
With cooler weather finally showing up over the Christmas holidays, I’m going to share a few thoughts and ideas to start in on the garden this first week of 2016.
It was 50 degrees and cloudy on the coast the first weekend of the year, and I thought it felt too cold to actually get out and take care of a few chores. Instead, I walked around the house and garden and made a list of things I need to do.
Just as it seems I’m finally settling into the winter color season and noticing how good all the pansies and violas are looking, it’s time to start planning for spring.
Recently I’ve written about the diascia and nemesia, but now is the time to get excited about their more well-known cousin, the snapdragon.
One of the grandest and maybe gaudiest garden and landscape shows is the blooming of the Southern indica azaleas, especially in south Mississippi.
For most of the year, these shrubs play a supporting role in the landscape, which they do well, providing a great background for the warmer-season flowering plants. But in the spring when really nothing else is blooming, we can enjoy the Southern indica flower show.
Every gardener I know is asking the same question: When’s spring going to get here?
No doubt we are getting close as we wait breathlessly this week for the prognostication of Punxsutawney Phil seeing his shadow and whether or not we can look forward to six more weeks of winter weather.
As gardeners across the state are starting spring planting, I want to urge everyone to consider the plants selected as Mississippi Medallion winners for 2016: Serenita Angelonia, muscadine, rosemary, Drift roses and Cherokee Purple tomato.
It’s that time of year when gardeners across the state start planning their vegetable gardens.
After I wrote last week about the heirloom tomato Cherokee Purple being chosen as a Mississippi Medallion winner, I’ve dreamed about the heirloom tomatoes destined to become my tasty chili and spaghetti sauce next winter.
What does a warm, early-spring weekend and home gardeners itching to get out and plant something add up to? You’re correct if you answered all kinds of plants ready to go on the racks at your local garden center.
Now, I wasn’t out plant shopping this weekend, but that’s exactly what I saw during my trip to pick up new fence pickets to make some repairs.
As I walked around my landscape this weekend, I was really impressed with how my three winter staples -- pansies, violas and Telstar dianthuses -- are enjoying the lengthening days and a little bit of warmer weather.
They are blooming like crazy, almost in response to what I’ve been thinking: It’s time to start planning and planting the warm-season annuals.
Now is the time to start planning for the color punch that most gardeners want in the upcoming warm summer season.
This weekend will be the first big opportunity to look at the newest and brightest of the summer color when the Garden Extravaganza garden show kicks off March 18-20 at the Trade Mart in Jackson. Shows like this give home gardeners the opportunity to look at a lot of plants in one convenient location. More and more summer color is starting to show up in the garden centers, so don’t get left behind and having to choose from the leftovers.
This past weekend the Garden Extravaganza was held in Jackson, and I have to say I’m feeling really inspired.
There were literally thousands of brightly colored flowering plants all begging to be taken home. Of course, I bought a few flats of calibrachoas (mainly Holy Moly!, which I described in last week’s column) and some new Supertunias.
I have to admit most of my gardening life can be summed up by this saying that someone shared with me on social media: “Real gardeners buy at least 10,000 plants in the course of a lifetime without having the least idea where they’ll put any of them when they get home.”
I guess I’m a real gardener. To tell you the truth, I can’t help it when I go to the garden and see all the annual color each season, along with the perennials promising to return to the landscape.
New Guinea impatiens and SunPatiens are similar in appearance and impressive with their ability to brighten any landscape, but SunPatiens have a much higher tolerance for Mississippi’s summer heat.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of Purple Knight Alternanthera’s designation as Mississippi Medallion winner. That’s a reason to celebrate in our Mississippi gardens and landscapes.
One of the most fun parts of serving as the Southern Gardener is getting to share so many great plants with gardeners all across Mississippi and beyond. Some plants are new introductions, some are old reliable choices, and all get to be called my favorite from time to time.
If there is an herb that my wife and I love to grow, it has to be basil.
There is nothing better for the hot months because it is gorgeous in any landscape and really delicious for fresh summer meals.
A popular question I get when talking to home gardeners is, “If you could have only one flowering annual for the summer, what would it be?”
One of the fun things about being the Southern Gardener is having the opportunity to share new and colorful plants with gardeners all across Mississippi and beyond.
Choosing flowering annuals at the garden center is always an easy task if you have celosias on your shopping list.
Like almost every gardener I know, I want a gorgeous looking garden and landscape that is drought tolerant and requires little maintenance.
I know I should know better, but I want what I want.