Southern Gardening from 2018
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.
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.
Last week, I focused on the 2018 Mississippi Medallion Winner fancy leaf kale. This week, let’s look at a second 2018 winner: lemongrass.
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.
Distylium Vintage Jade is an exciting new plant that brings pizazz to the traditional role of foundation planting.
I came to a conclusion after a series of events reminded me that spring is really close.
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.
We're finally emerging from the "freezemageddon" we experienced earlier this year, and the garden and landscape are emerging with a vengeance.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.