Southern Gardening from 2021
I enjoy the last part of May in my home landscape and garden.
My small rose garden -- which I’ve started to expand -- is in its full glory. I’ll share my latest rose story in a future Southern Gardening, but I’m also really loving the various hibiscuses I have growing in my landscape.
Here’s a little ditty ‘bout Joey and Lila: two cold-hardy avocados growing up in the heartland. Lila was doing OK in my Ocean Springs yard, but I introduced Joey to bring the thrill of living. With apologies to John Mellencamp’s “Jack and Diane,” avocados have been one of the most interesting additions I’ve made over the past few years to my Heritage Cottage Urban Nano Farm.
This spring, I’ve been getting some interesting questions as more and more homeowners are enjoying their landscapes and gardens. Lots of these questions are about the various caterpillars we find also enjoying our landscapes and gardens.The questions arise because, since we have caterpillars, we have plants being munched on.
With the start of both meteorological and astronomical summer over the last couple of weeks, I’m focused on the hot, humid weather that’s coming and the impact it will have on our gardens and landscapes. Among the best performing plants for this weather are peppers.
Now that we’re officially into summer, I know there will be days when it will be too hot to work in the garden, but I’ll still want to do garden activities. On those days, one easy garden project that I think is perfect is creating combination containers.
We’re coming up on our Independence Day holiday, which marks a change in our gardens and landscapes. It’s not going to be a change in temperatures because we have to wait until September or October to enjoy cooler weather.The change I’m referring to is the beginning of second summer around the Fourth of July holiday.
When summer temperatures soar, remember that irrigation is required for optimum plant growth and proper maintenance of Mississippi gardens and landscapes.
One of the best flowering annuals we can have in the second half of the summer season is the flowering vinca. I made a brief comment a couple of weeks ago about replacing petunias with flowering vincas
Looking at gardens and landscapes across the South in July, there’s one plant that has most gardeners talking. You may have guessed that I’m referring to the crape myrtle. Who doesn’t love the large, showy panicles with their many small, individual flowers?
When Mississippi’s oppressive heat and humidity drive gardeners indoors, there’s one blooming beauty sure to brings us back outdoors: the Rudbeckia. These flowers, also commonly known as black-eyed Susans, make gorgeous cut flowers for indoor use.
This summer has been one of the toughest I’ve experienced in all my years in horticulture. The heat and humidity have taken a toll on our garden and landscape plants, as well as the gardeners. I’m getting older, and I’m wilting a lot faster than in the past.
All the gardeners I know try really hard to keep their landscapes colorful even when the summer temperatures and humidity are keeping them inside. Smart gardeners use a secret weapon for color in the heat of the summer: colorful foliage.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the zinnias I’m growing in the hell strip planting bed out by the street. It is gorgeous; judging by the response we’ve had on social media, an awful lot of other gardeners agree.
After mowing my lawn yesterday and cooling off in the shade, I admired the colorful show from the various zinnias.
As we’re marching through the gardening year, I just knew it was going to happen. I’m not ready for it; it’s still too hot and humid, and I’m behind on the summer projects still on my to-do list. But when I visited a big box store garden center this weekend, I saw them out on full endcap display. Of course, I’m referring to fall mums.
As I wrote this column, I also was watching the weather as Hurricane Ida aimed for the northern Gulf of Mexico. As such, I spent time in the garden picking and harvesting various crops that I don’t want to lose. One group of plants I harvested were my specialty peppers that I’ve been babying all through this hot and humid summer. I brought in both biquinho and aji charapita peppers.
My favorite plants for the fall season are crotons. These beauties have some of the boldest and brightest foliage found in garden centers. Their warm foliage colors of bright yellow, red and orange shades are perfect for autumnal decorations and displays
Lately, I’ve been browsing through gardening social media pages, and I’ve noticed lots of questions about this shrub that seems to have appeared out of nowhere with its beautiful purple berries. I love when people notice our native Callicarpa americana for the first time. Its common name, American beautyberry, makes sense once you have seen the plant.