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Site Selection and soil preparation for perennials

Consider the site before selecting your plants. Although many perennials, such as ferns, tolerate heavy shade, most perennial plants require abundant sunshine. Air circulation is important for avoiding diseases; stagnant, warm, and humid air creates ideal conditions for diseases. Perennial plants also require properly prepared soil, and a few have specific drainage and fertility requirements.

Soil preparation for perennials is similar to soil preparation for annuals. However, you should devote some special attention to perennial bed preparation, because plants may occupy the site for several years with little opportunity to correct any problems. When possible, add sand and organic matter such as bark, peat, or compost to soils well ahead of planting time.

A layer of organic matter 3 or 4 inches deep, worked into the soil a shovel's depth, is usually adequate. Since different types of organic matter work and decompose at different rates in the soil, it is best to use a little of two or three kinds of organic matter than a lot of just one.

Soil testing provides specific recommendations for fertilizer and lime needs. Since lime lasts for several years depending on the type used, never add lime without a soil test. Many fertilizers, such as phosphorus, are best applied and mixed into soils before planting. Perennials need a balance of several nutrients, including nitrogen, phosphorous, and potash; most garden supply stores carry a wide variety of fertilizer mixes. Keep in mind that phosphorus, including that found in bone meal, lasts for several years and need not be applied regularly.

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Filed Under: Flower Gardens January 14, 2019

Many home gardeners look forward to this time of year to browse catalogs in search of great new plants to enjoy in their 2019 landscapes.

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Filed Under: Flower Gardens January 7, 2019

This January’s temperatures have been drastically different from what we saw during last year’s first month.

The colorful covers of about 20 gardening catalogs are fanned out on display.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens December 31, 2018

As I'm writing this last Southern Gardening column of 2018, I'm trying to take one more look back before plunging headlong into the 2019 gardening season that's just around the corner. But I'm having trouble concentrating because the mail carrier is distracting me.

Two-tone, yellow flowers bloom on green foliage at the base of a small tree planted in a container.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens December 24, 2018

2018 was quite a year in our Mississippi gardens and landscapes: hot and dry, humid and rainy. Every year, there are winners and losers when we garden, and such is the nature of the gardening game. 

A small pink stocking with a white fuzzy top hangs from a Christmas tree inside a house.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens December 17, 2018

With the Christmas celebration approaching, I’ve been thinking about favorite traditions, past and present. It probably comes as no surprise that many of these traditions are food related.

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