Southern Gardening from 2020
Many of the garden center stars that draw the most attention are plants with big, flashy flowers. But there’s a group of plants that can have just as much landscape value: plants with tiny flowers.
To some gardeners, the zonal geranium is an old-fashioned plant, but to me, there’s nothing like having this classic in my landscape.
Last week was the traditional start of the storm season, and as if on cue, Tropical Storm Cristobal paid us a visit.
This storm surprised us with a greater amount of coastal flooding than expected; and the rain, oh the rain. The Gulf Coast collected 6 inches in a 24-hour period, which was less than forecasted, but it still creates havoc in the landscape and garden.
Over the last several months, I’ve been spending even more time in my home garden and landscape, and many of you may have done the same. But the pesky, hot summer temperatures have finally settled in, and now I’m looking for plants that look good in the heat without needing much supervision.
Everyone has a certain color that is their absolute favorite, and I’m no different. And while I really like the entire palette of colors available for our gardens and landscape, the one color I must have is blue.
Each year as we approach Independence Day, my landscape and garden begin a transition to what I like to call “second summer.” This is due to the heat and humidity that set in anywhere from late April to mid-May.
One of my landscape joys is growing plants that share their big flowers with me.
A couple of weeks ago, I gave you my thoughts on the second summer season in our Mississippi landscapes and gardens. In my vegetable garden, the harvest output of my heirloom tomatoes and pickling cucumbers is declining, and I am taking these plants out. But my peppers are stepping up and providing my family with a bounty of brightly colored fruit.
I’m staying with the theme of second summer this week because I was out in my landscape early this morning taking care of a task that was hard to do but inevitable.
It’s the end of July, and much of my vegetable garden is a distant memory due to the summer heat and humidity. But I’m always encouraged by the production I enjoy from my pepper plants.
Last week, I told you about culinary peppers that I like to grow and ultimately consume. This week, I want to share another way to use peppers in our second summer garden and landscape.
In the late summer and into the fall, some of my favorite garden plants are the annual herbs.
On top of my list of annual herbs are basil and dill. These herbs are aromatic and really easy to grow. And have I said they’re delicious?
Late summer means it’s time for another round of garden activities.
This past weekend, I finally transplanted my fall tomato crop. Several varieties of heirloom determinant tomatoes will start producing about the third week of September and continue all the way to the first hard frost.
I’ve been thinking about the whole COVID-19 pandemic experience we’ve endured for the last several months -- like social distancing and face masks -- and the activities we look forward to enjoying once again.
We’re already into our September garden, and lots of great things are going to happen.
As temperatures finally start to moderate -- my fingers are crossed -- most of our summer flowering annuals that look ragged after surviving the heat and humidity will start to perk up. I think of this as our flowering annuals getting their second wind.
Many of my gardening friends are already on the lookout for the annual migration of Monarch butterflies on their way to their Mexico wintering grounds. Witnessing this migration is awe-inspiring.
Last year towards the end of September, clouds of Monarchs made their way through Mississippi.
I write this while contemplating what a wild year 2020 has been. There’s no need to remind anyone about the pandemic that has literally changed our landscape.
The next big thing is Hurricane Sally making landfall on the Mississippi Gulf Coast this week. Every tropical storm or hurricane creates landscape and garden chores that need to be finished before the storm arrives.
My biggest concern is always for the wind blowing loose objects around and causing damage.
What a rollercoaster last week was for Southern Gardening!
My column highlighted the steps gardeners should take ahead of a tropical storm. We cancelled Southern Gardening TV production, as coastal Mississippi was in the crosshairs of Hurricane Sally on Monday and the weather folks were assuring us of a Mississippi landfall.
I like growing snapdragons when the seasons shift to cool weather. The colorful flowers are like a floral kaleidoscope in the landscape.
One of the attributes I look for when choosing annual color plants is how hardworking they will be in my home landscape.
While I know garden chores are an integral part of the landscape game, I like my garden and landscape to be relaxing. I don’t like to change out color every month. If you do, that’s fine, and you might not be interested in what I have to say next. But I personally like easy.