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Southern Gardening

A green leaf is covered with individual, geometric ice crystals.
November 19, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

This past week, we got a rude wakeup call from Mother Nature saying that winter has finally arrived.

I answered many phone calls and emails asking what could be done to protect landscape plants. I even shared some last-second cold weather protection tips on WLOX television. I want to point out that, except for the most tender, most plants came through the couple of days of cold weather just fine.

Blue-purple flowers on slender, upright stems stand above a mass of green foliage.
November 12, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

This past weekend, I started planting cool-season color in my 25-gallon citrus containers.

I like underplanting in these containers for a couple of reasons. First, I can maintain a color pop through the year. And second, these annuals act as a colorful ground cover carpet that helps keep weeds at bay. I really do hate weeding, and even plants grown in containers need help with weed control.

A cluster of ruffled pink flowers with vivid red centers is pictured on green stems.
November 5, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

I love the annual color we can grow all winter in most of our Mississippi gardens and landscapes, so I'm going to spend a few weeks concentrating on cool-season color. Dianthus is my first choice for fall color.

A wooden and wire basket full of yellow and orange fruit sits indoors with a Christmas tree in the background.
October 29, 2018 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

The fall and winter seasons mean it’s time for colorful pansy, viola and dianthus. But the changing seasons also mean that home gardeners who grow citrus will soon harvest delicious fruit -- satsuma, kumquat, Meyer lemon, oh my!

Small, vivid purple flowers bloom from dark spikes against a green background.
October 22, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Those of you who keep up with Southern Gardening know that I’m a real fan of salvias.

One reason I like them is there are so many different types to choose from. I particularly like salvia farinacea, commonly called mealy cup sage or blue sage, for its landscape performance. These are tough plants, perfect for our Mississippi landscapes.

A mass of pink grasses billows beside a stone bench in a garden with greenery all around.
October 15, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

The 40th Fall Flower and Garden Fest at the Mississippi State University Truck Crops Branch Station in Crystal Springs is behind us, and I have to say that it was one of the best I’ve ever attended.

Two yellow and orange mums bloom on either side of a yellow mum and a purple mum.
October 8, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Finally, we’re going to start enjoying some cooler weather, and just in time. I’ve wanted to start writing about the fantastic cool-season color, but I’ve had to wait until the summertime heat starts to cool.

A single, pink flower rests at the end of a branch seen against a leaf-filled blue sky.
October 1, 2018 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

This summer has seemed endless: hot, humid and just miserable. As a gardener, I know, or maybe hope, relief will soon be on the way.

A rough-hewn, low-sided wooden box filled with four different kinds of green plants rests on a small table in front of a variety of other plants in plastic containers.
September 24, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Herb Gardens

Although we’re finally into the fall season, it’s still 90 degrees outside across Mississippi. Nevertheless, we all need to start thinking about what we’re going to plant and grow for the eventual cool weather.

A brown, plastic container is filled with a variety of plants in varying shades of green. Some grasses stand above the other plants. Other foliage drapes over the sides.
September 17, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

When summer starts to roll around to autumn, some gardens and landscapes nearly start all over, as worn-out summer annuals are composted and new seasonal selections take their place.

Dozens of bright-orange pumpkins sit in rows on the grass.
September 10, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

I came to a shocking realization this past weekend: Even though it still feels like summer, the signs are all around us that fall is about to begin.

First, we see the tropics heating up with storm activity. T.S. Gordon made landfall in Pascagoula Sept. 5 and spread rain all the way up to north Mississippi. Behind it are several more tropical storms that we will have to keep an eye on.

A single branch has bunches of white berries growing at each leaf junction.
September 3, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

I’ve noticed a common characteristic among us gardeners. As we go through the year, our favorite plants in the landscape and garden seem to change from week to week.

Two long, green bell peppers hang from a plant growing in a container above black plastic.
August 27, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Vegetable Gardens

Several weeks ago, I wrote about looking forward to the time of year when ornamental peppers start strutting their gorgeous fruit colors. What I didn’t mention is that late summer is not just for ornamental peppers; I always get my best home-grown culinary peppers from August until frost in the fall.

My tastes for culinary peppers range from the mild and colorful bell peppers all the way to the superhot selections like Ghost, Scorpion and Carolina Reaper.

A large, light pink flower with a dark center fills the frame from its placement in front of a brick wall.
August 20, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Earlier this year, I wrote about an outstanding landscape plant, the Rose of Sharon. The ones I was growing in my landscape included some of the newer selections: Orchid Satin, Pollypetite and Purple Pillar. Since then, I added White Pillar to my collection.

Two hydrangeas are pictured in the foreground of a garden, with one blooming and the smaller one not blooming.
August 13, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

While visiting my parents in Tennessee this weekend, my dad asked why one of their Annabelle hydrangeas was blooming while another -- growing just 5 feet away -- was not. He asked if I had some special fertilizer or bloom juice that could be applied.

I didn't, because the shrubs didn't need any special fertilizer help. It all had to with light.

Several red pepper and a few yellow ones rise above green foliage.
August 6, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

How have we already turned the corner into August? While it’s still hot and likely to continue that way for at least another six weeks, I’m looking forward to one of my late-summer landscape favorites, the ornamental pepper.

These plants have been growing patiently all summer, seeming to wait patiently and soak up the Mississippi heat until our other plants need a breather. If you follow Southern Gardening, then you probably know that I really love the show that ornamental peppers put on in late summer and early fall.

Dozens of yellow flowers fill the frame.
July 30, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Landscape and Garden Design

The last few weeks have been hot and humid, and many of my gardening friends are ready for fall's cooler temperatures.

Dozens of red, yellow and white flowers grow on long stems.
July 23, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Because of the oppressive heat and humidity in my coastal landscape and garden, I spent the weekend in the air conditioning, of course.

A sprinkler with a black hose nestled in light brown pine straw lightly sprays pink flowers.
July 16, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

As we continue to plow through this hot and humid summer, keeping our plants -- and ourselves -- hydrated is critical to maintaining the summer garden and landscape. As I write this column, it's 96 degrees with a heat index of 108. Whew!

A yellow butterfly sits atop a green bush with pink flowers.
July 9, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Like most gardeners, I love watching the various butterflies that visit my garden.

One I really like is the giant swallowtail, with its black body and vivid, yellow stripes. This creature loves my citrus, where she lays her eggs. The developing caterpillars have a unique defense mechanism; they look like bird poop on the citrus leaves.

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