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Southern Gardening

August 20, 1998 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Even though the dog days of summer make many of us cast a wishful eye toward the Arctic for relief, late summer is also when gingers really strut their stuff.

Scads of books will tell you that ginger can only be grown in coastal areas which have the mildest winters. Yet as I travel through Mississippi and other Southern states, it is definitely clear that much of Zone 7 and 8 can grow gingers with the best of those gardeners in Zone 9.

August 13, 1998 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

The bright orange-red fruit on the roses mystified gardeners at last year's Fall Field Day at the Truck Crops Experiment Station in Crystal Springs. Since most gardeners have opted for hybrid teas, they have never seen anything but flowers on roses. While peaches, plums, apricots, apples and blackberries are all from the rose family, we hardly consider the fruit of the rose itself.

August 6, 1998 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Three-foot tall Country Girl chrysanthemums, six-foot tall Indigo Spire salvias and five-foot Mexican bush sages should have been pretty awesome for my garden last year. Unfortunately, there was not a single bloom despite all the lush green foliage. The blooms were practically nonexistent on my goldenrods and Joe Pye weeds, too!

July 30, 1998 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

A recent, almost unbearable hot trip to the Truck Crops Experiment Station in Crystal Springs reminded me how pretty the various plantings of liriope were. When I got home, I realized in my everyday rush I hadn't noticed the gorgeous flower spikes in my own yard.

July 23, 1998 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

With the return of oppressive heat, gardeners may be wishing for an extended solar eclipse. That just happens to be one of the names of the hottest new groups of coleus to come out in years.

The Solar Series boasts eight cultivars of bold striking foliage for our landscape. Coleus plants are gaining widespread popularity not only for shaded areas, but also for full sun, and the Solar Series gives us a lot more choices.

July 16, 1998 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

The recent heat wave with indexes near 110 may make us want to wilt, but established lantana plants don't even flinch at the scorching temperatures.

While the 1996 Mississippi Medallion award winning New Gold Lantana is still recommended, there are many more to choose from in various shades of colors, leaf variegation and growth habits, from trailing to upright.

July 9, 1998 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Palms can give a tropical feeling around the pool or patio like no other plant can. I used to poke fun at people who tried to grow certain plants far outside their preferred habitat, then I realized that palms made me one of those people.

July 2, 1998 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

The botanical name of Periwinkles is Catharanthus, which means pure and without blemish. That is pretty much how we use to feel about them. You may remember them as Vinca rosea, but the official name is Catharanthus roseus.

They were such a favorite of the Southern garden that many people started planting them too early in the spring, making them much more susceptible to disease.

June 25, 1998 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Throughout the South they are called gazing balls, gazing globes and garden globes. You have probably seen those brightly colored Christmas-like balls in the landscape and wondered what they were all about. Are they heavy, are they breakable and what do you do with them?

June 18, 1998 - Filed Under: Herb Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Basil is as pretty as a coleus in the flowerbed, yet yields the key ingredient to many favorite dishes. Whether you say "bay-zil" or "baa-zil," we can agree on one thing. Juicy tomato chunks mixed with olive oil, freshly torn basil and garlic spooned over hot pasta is a true feast.

June 11, 1998 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

While "in the heat of the night" can refer to crime and passion, it also can be a time of miracles for the Southern gardener. Night blooming plants are very exotic yet much overlooked by everyone but the ardent gardeners.

June 4, 1998 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Having lived all but two years of my life with alkaline soils and lots of water, I relished the opportunity to come to Mississippi a little over three years ago. The chance to finally grow azaleas, camellias and dogwoods was icing on the cake.

May 28, 1998 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

"They re-seed prolifically" is a warning I give quite often when discussing various plants. Even though I said "warning," more and more gardeners are looking at it as a blessing, and the same when we tell them a particular plant may have invasive tendencies. It seems gardeners are ready for those plants that are so happy to "be fruitful and multiply" as the Bible says.

May 21, 1998 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Two relatively new flowering plants are attracting attention across Mississippi. They are Husker Red penstemon and angelonia.

Husker Red penstemon was the Perennial Plant of the Year a couple of years ago. On a recent trip to Verona, I saw it in a Mississippi State University test garden, and it looked awesome!

May 14, 1998 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Now that Mother's Day is over, I would like to pose a question. What is the perfect rose?

When I was executive director of the American Rose Society, I loved to ask that in a group because it was almost certain to start a skirmish. If there were a few more rose growers in the world, we could probably start a small war with the question.

May 7, 1998 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

There was something about the recent Garden and Patio Show in Jackson that really surprised me. Gardener after gardener was walking out of the show carrying a trellis, tower and even arbors. Climbing plants are back in business.

April 30, 1998 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

For years I have been hooked on growing salvias like this year's Mississippi Medallion winner Victoria Blue, as well as the Mexican bush sage and others. But this is the first year I have grown Salvia elegans, or pineapple sage, which is a must in your garden or on your patio.

April 23, 1998 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

The buddleia has fragrant blossoms, attracts butterflies and excels as a cut flower. It is referred to as the butterfly bush in the United States, while in its native China they call it the Summer Lilac.

April 16, 1998 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

The Mississippi Medallion winners are proven, season-long performers in climates where summers are tough with heat and humidity. The three 1998 winners are Zinnia angustifolia, Salvia farinacea Victoria Blue and the Natchez crape myrtle.

April 9, 1998 - Filed Under: Landscape Architecture

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Temperatures are fairly moderate now as are utility bills, but we all know what is ahead. We can take decisive action today which will pay great dividends in subsequent years.

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