Southern Gardening from 2022
As I was thinking over the holidays about how my 2022 home garden will look, I was still harvesting heirloom tomatoes and various peppers from my 2021 garden. Can you imagine collecting fresh tomatoes and peppers on Christmas Day, let alone on New Year’s Day?
But that all came to an end when temperatures dropped on Sunday from 78 to 35 with a 27-degree wind chill. Now, I can get back to my 2022 garden planning.
I follow a checklist for many of the plants I consider using in my coastal Ocean Springs garden and landscape each year. The plants need to thrive in heat and humidity, be drought tolerant and not need much garden supervision. In other words, plants in my yard have got to be tough.
Early in the gardening year is the best time to tackle some gardening tasks before we go all-in planting our color and vegetables. Mulching your landscape beds should be at the top of that spring checklist.
If you’re the kind of gardener who has something fresh from the backyard on the table almost every day of summer, January meals can seem a little dreary. One way to keep fresh home produce on your plate all winter long is by growing microgreens. It does not take a lot of effort or space, and the colorful and tasty results can have a big impact at mealtime.
Although daffodils are starting to show their tops through the bare ground, watching them emerge does not give gardeners much to do during the winter months.
But this time spent waiting for spring’s arrival is the perfect opportunity to get ready for the growing season. A project every gardener will benefit from is building a raised bed.
A raised bed is simply a landscape or garden bed that is higher than the surrounding grade. These beds are useful for both vegetables and flowers.
As I sit at my desk on a cold winter morning, I realize that saying “it’s cold” is completely subjective; I also know that spring isn’t far away. There are 41 days to astronomical spring, but meteorological spring is so much better, being only 22 days away. There’s one gardening activity I enjoy at this time of year that beats the wintry mixes, and that is starting the seeds for my garden and landscape.
On this bright, sunny morning, even though it was 30 when I got out of bed, I know for a fact that spring is almost here. That means it’s time to get serious about what I’m going to plant in my home garden and landscape this year.
My wife, Katie, and I just spent a long weekend in central Florida -- Mount Dora to be exact -- for much needed rest and relaxation. I also did a radio interview for the new Southern Gardening book, but more on that later. I love travelling and visiting places that are in a different growing zone from my own.
This week marks the official beginning of meteorological spring, and that means it’s time to start getting our gardens and landscapes ready for the coming year. One of the first tasks may be to get your containers ready, as more and more home gardeners are becoming interested in the joys of growing plants in containers.
When planning my home garden and landscape, I love to combine different plants in containers. My basic practice is to follow the thriller, filler and spiller recipe.
The thriller plants are upright and grow taller than the rest, adding interest and excitement. The spillers are low-growing plants that sprawl out and over the container edges. Filler plants have rounded and mounding growth habits that fill in the gaps between thrillers and spillers.
The beauty of this recipe is that you can leave one of the parts out of the planting.
I have to admit I wasn’t prepared for last weekend’s cold snap. I physically protected those plants that needed protection from the cold snap, but I wasn’t ready mentally for the cold. We have had some really good gardening weather the past couple of weeks, and I was ready to get on with my spring and summer landscape.
It is officially spring, so we can start to get serious about our gardens and landscapes. But this is also the time we enjoy the annual, northward migration of hummingbirds. That means we need to start thinking about plants that will attract hummingbirds to our landscapes.
I spent time outside this weekend enjoying my landscape and garden and trying to get caught up with late-winter/early-spring pruning. I spent a couple of hours in my citrus grove marveling that I can grow such a variety of these delicious fruit trees.
I’ve found that most years, there seems to be a difference in flowering among the trees. I’ve thought that maybe citrus will get into the alternate bearing pattern that is so common in the live oaks here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
I think every gardener -- whether just starting out or a seasoned veteran -- has heard many an old adage related to growing a garden. Most of the gardening folklore revolves around the “best” planting times for various vegetable crops.
I’ve had quite a few things going on this spring, and I’ve come to the decision that I should try to make my garden and landscape a little bit less intensive. Like that is actually going to happen, but I’m going to give it a try.
Hydrangeas are among the most popular flowering shrubs in Mississippi and across the country. But when talking to home gardeners, it seems these beautiful shrubs are shrouded in mystery about how to care for them in the landscape.
While many of my Northern gardening friends are still dealing with freezing temperatures, I spent this past weekend out in my coastal Mississippi landscape appreciating the fact that my tomatoes are planted and my roses are blooming.
It was the roses that really caught my attention. All of my rose plants are blooming their stems off, even though I missed the ideal pruning period of late January/early February. When I finally had time to prune, all the bushes were already pushing new growth, but the pruning still needed to be done.
One of the most confusing things when reading about plants in the landscape or talking to other gardeners about them is the use of common names. White it is understandable that we use common names -- remembering and using botanical Latin is hard -- it does lead to confusion. Some plants have two or more common names, and there are other instances where two different species have the same common name. For example, consider the common name, spider lily.
I visited my daughter who lives in Augusta, Georgia, during the Christmas holidays to help her landscape her new house. I thoroughly enjoyed our trip to the garden center, picking out great plants that would perform well in her landscape. The best of what we bought that day in December was the Sunshine Ligustrum.
May is one of my favorite months in the garden and landscape because so many plants are just starting to hit their stride. Bright-green, new foliage seems to be everywhere among my many hibiscuses and other flowering shrubs. One of my May favorites is the daylily.