One of my most enjoyable garden experiences involves plants that just randomly pop up in various places in my home garden and landscape. Some gardeners call these weeds, but many others call them volunteers. I love my plant volunteers, and I let them grow in some unexpected places around my landscape.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy the garden and landscape is to buy various plants and make combination planting containers.
This is one of the easiest ways to have garden fun even in the hottest Mississippi summer. And this type of gardening works even if you don’t have any gardening space. All you need is a porch, patio or back deck.
Growing plants in containers also makes it easy to move the plants around to get more or less sun to meet their needs. Or you can simply move them to change the way your garden looks.
Some of my favorite summer flowering annuals are petunias. I like petunias because they tolerate our hot and humid Mississippi summer weather very well. There are great selections of petunias available in the garden centers, but I have to admit that I’m partial to Supertunias. These plants have never failed to be great performers in my home landscape.
Most gardens and landscapes are planned for either beauty or utility. We want pretty places to live in and look at, and we like to eat fresh fruit and produce that we have grown. But there are other reasons to prepare a garden or landscape. One of the most fun and rewarding reasons is to make room for butterflies and other pollinators.
If you like trumpet-shaped flowers, you may be familiar with both Mandevilla and Dipladenia, and you may even have them in your landscape. If you do, you probably realize they are very different, even if their blooms are a lot alike. Dipladenia and Mandevilla are both great choices for Mississippi landscapes.
Those who know me know I have lots of favorite plants because I don’t think anyone should be limited to just one or two choices. Today, I want to tell you about my late-spring to early-summer favorite, the hardy hibiscus.
Several years ago, many businesses and organizations began offering digital badges to replace the traditional certificates that signify the successful completion of some specialized, non-accredited course or workshop. These badges are icons or symbols that offer instant recognition of the expertise of the individual. If you’re a fan of social media like I am, then you certainly know about group badge icons.
There is a lot of attention being paid to helping Monarch butterflies, and why not? These amazing insects are the only butterfly species known to have a migration pattern much like birds. Using environmental cues, they migrate south in the fall to overwintering grounds in Mexico. In the spring, they migrate north to breeding grounds all across North America.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.