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Southern Gardening from 2016

Confederate Rose is an old-fashioned heirloom plant that is actually a hibiscus, not a rose. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
October 31, 2016 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Heirloom vegetables get their fair share of gardening attention, but many homeowners don't realize that some ornamental plants are considered heirlooms as well. We often call heirloom ornamentals "pass-along plants."

Dianthus is a great choice for fall garden color. This bicolor Telstar Pink picottee selection is perfect for mass planting in the landscape. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
November 7, 2016 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Even though outside temperatures are still quite balmy, we are moving into winter. Maybe this year we will actually have a winter. That makes now the perfect time to start planting dianthus.

In fact, the perfect time to plant dianthus is when you plant your pansies. Dianthus and pansies are wonderful fall and winter companion plants.

Cool Wave pansies are more vigorous than standard pansy varieties and have a trailing growth habit that makes them ideal for filling landscape beds or spilling from hanging baskets. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
November 14, 2016 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Like many other home gardeners in Mississippi, I'm in the full swing of planting cool-season annual color. And like everyone else, I've been planting my favorites, which are Matrix pansies and Sorbet violas. You really can't go wrong with these easy-to-grow landscape plants.

But the last couple of years, I've been kicking the pansy planting up a notch, to borrow the catch phrase of a famous New Orleans chef. I've been using Cool Wave pansies more and more in some nontraditional settings.

Red poinsettias are the traditional choice for many holiday gardeners, but other possibilities include these Jingle Bells poinsettias. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
November 21, 2016 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

I've noticed over the last couple of weeks that a few early-season poinsettias are showing up on garden center shelves. And while we're celebrating Thanksgiving this week, the appearance of the poinsettia means we are in the full swing of the Christmas season.

Traditionally, the red poinsettia is the first choice of many holiday gardeners.

Using quick hoops is a good way to cover and protect vegetable crops from potential cold weather damage. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
November 28, 2016 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

We hit December this week, and it seems like we haven't really had a fall season yet. Hot summer weather really overstayed its welcome, infringing on the mild temperatures I know gardeners were expecting.

I've been writing about cool-season color replacing the summer color in my garden, and I recommend that my readers plant them, too. Now, however, I'm being stubborn with my heirloom tomatoes.

A quality garden tool is a good gift idea to encourage a gardening friend to grow vegetables and fruits. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
December 6, 2016 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

We're now officially in the Christmas season, and holiday shopping is in full swing. So, instead of an ugly sweater or a pair of reindeer socks, consider gifts that the special gardeners in your life could use in their landscape and garden.

So, here are what I consider some nice gifts for the gardener.

The outer leaves of Pigeon Purple ornamental cabbage maintain a darker green with purplish veins, and new center leaves emerge with a purplish-red color. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
December 12, 2016 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Ornamental kale and cabbage are in a group of my favorite plants for the winter landscape, and I find them to be among the most reliable, as well. They are really easy to grow, and now that we’re getting cooler weather -- as in frost -- kale and cabbage are starting to show some great color.

Garden centers often lump ornamental kale and cabbage together, and it is true that they are the same species. However, there are a few differences that I think should be considered.

The Mississippi native yaupon holly can be seen popping out of woodland edges everywhere. Its distinctive berries have a translucent quality that imparts a gem-like appearance. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
December 19, 2016 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

The Christmas season is a time for decorating, as we put up wreaths, poinsettias and trees. But Mother Nature is always in on the plan, too. I love the timing that allows our landscape hollies to get into the decorating action with their bright and colorful berry displays.

The most prevalent holly berries we see right now in Mississippi are on our native yaupon holly.

Bright Lights Swiss chard is a cool-season plant that does double duty as a beautiful landscape attraction that is edible and tasty. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
December 26, 2016 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

As we prepare to head into a new year of gardening adventures, I've been thinking about a variety of landscape questions and quandaries that pop up from time to time.

A common question in the spring concerns starting plants from seed.


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