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A Native Spring

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March 18, 2018
There’s a lot of gardening interest in native plants. Let’s take a look at a few of my spring favorites. One of my favorite native plants is yaupon holly which has very distinctive berries. And boy are they red and I mean bright candy apple red. They’re translucent with a gem-like appearance. Yaupons are garden jewels that will sparkle in your landscape. The bark is a bright gray and accentuates the berry color. I really like this weeping selection. Our native Oakleaf hydrangea is a Mississippi Medallion winner that begins flowering in mid-spring into the summer. The up to a foot long flowers are show-stopping white clusters of florets. I love the exfoliating bark. As the thin layers of outer cinnamon brown outer bark peels it reveals the lighter colored inner bark. Another spring flowering native I love is the native azalea. I don’t think you can beat the pinkish-white flowers of piedmont azalea or the flame azalea flowers ranging from yellow to fiery orange. These two species bloom on nearly naked stems in the spring. The floral bud swell before opening. The flowers can be up to 1 ½ inches across, and I like how the stamens and pistil extend out of the flower. And who can the ignore saucer magnolia, that eternally optimistic harbinger of spring with its beautiful pink to purple flowers. Now saucer magnolia isn’t a Mississippi, but I think technically it should because it has been around long enough and certainly adds spring beauty. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman and I’ll see you next time on Southern Gardening.

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