Southern Gardening from 2020
In the gym this morning, I noticed there were many, many more people exercising than usual. It struck me that these folks were following through on their New Year’s resolutions to improve themselves for 2020 -- at least for a while.
Now that we’re fully into January, it’s time to get serious about planning our gardens for 2020.
I’ve made a long list of vegetable, flower and herb seeds I’ll be ordering in the next several weeks. Many of these will be strictly for one season.
I don’t think you can go wrong with some dianthus in your landscape in 2020.
I love the flower colors that include pink, red, lavenders, white, and bicolors. The foliage of these plants ranges from being grass-like to broader strap-like linear leaves. Plus, the foliage provides contrast with colors ranging from bright green to steely blue-gray.
There are some great selections that will do a fantastic job in our Mississippi gardens and landscapes especially in the cooler months of the year.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of introducing the 2020 Mississippi Medallion Winners at the Gulf States Hort Expo in Mobile, Alabama. This is a special group of selections, as the Mississippi Medallion program is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2020.
The plants selected for 2020 include Colorblaze coleus, beautyberry, Luscious Series lantana and Garden Gem tomato.
Through February, I’m highlighting plants named 2020 Mississippi Medallion winners. Each of these winners is superbly adapted to our garden and landscape environment.
This week, I want to tell you about American beautyberry, a winner that is a native species found across the Southeast. It is known botanically as Callicarpa americana.
One of my favorite easy-care, flowering plants has to be lantana. This low-maintenance plant is highly tolerant of the hot, humid summers in our Mississippi gardens.
It’s no wonder that lantana has been selected as a Mississippi Medallion winner three times.
I’ve promoted the 2020 Mississippi Medallion winners Colorblaze coleus, beautyberry and Luscious lantana for the last three weeks. Now, I want to tell you about the fourth and final 2020 selection, Garden Gem tomato.
This will come as a surprise to the Southern Gardening Nation, but I think I’m starting to like eating fresh tomatoes. I’m certainly looking forward to picking fresh Garden Gem tomatoes this summer.
Zinnias are annual flowers that perform extremely well in our hot and humid Mississippi gardens and landscapes. In fact, home gardeners can have these beautiful flowers blooming from May all the way to frost in fall.
One group of zinnias that I can’t get enough of is the Zinnia elegans. These zinnias are the long-stemmed kind that are perfect for the cutting garden.
March 1 was the meteorological first day of spring, and I found my thoughts wandering to those summer annuals I love so well. One of my cool-season favorites doesn’t last long past the last days of spring, but I know I have summer replacement.
Angelonia is a close relative of snapdragon that blooms all summer and into the fall. It is hard to believe that a plant in the snapdragon family relishes our summer heat and humidity, but this one does. Angelonia is a fantastic, easy-care annual that doesn’t need deadheading, which is always a positive in my garden choices.
Sometimes it seems I need a larger garden landscape because, sadly, I don’t have room for every great plant I write about. But one group of plants I make sure to save space for is perennial salvia.
We are certainly experiencing troubling and scary times right now. “Quarantine,” “pandemic” and “social distancing” have become frequently used words, at least until we get a handle on COVID-19.
As a result, garden and landscape shows are being cancelled all across the South out of an abundance of caution. But that doesn’t mean that gardening has been cancelled.
With much of our workforce telecommuting from home and with school suspended or cancelled for the kids, cabin fever has already become an issue for many households.
As we continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing numbers of people are working and sheltering at home. Although no one even heard of it a year ago, social distancing is a crucial step in reducing the transmission of this very contagious and dangerous virus.
Gardening is the perfect social distancing activity.
Cabin fever can set in with everyone trying to stay home, and some people may think this cure may be worse than the disease. It is definitely not, and gardening can help make it enjoyable.
As we continue to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve read that our eating habits are changing. The options for eating out have been limited as we practice social distancing.
This is the perfect opportunity for gardeners of all abilities to grow vegetable gardens.
Did you know that April is National Gardening Month? In my landscape, every month is gardening month, but it’s fitting to be officially celebrating as many people are gardening for the first time while they shelter in place.
There are a few must-have plants for my summer Mississippi garden and landscape. You can count on me having Vista Bubblegum supertunia, marigolds and all kinds of zinnias to provide color for my yard. But another great plant that doesn’t get a whole lot of attention is melampodium.
I’m sure Southern Gardening Nation knows that Supertunias, especially Vista Bubblegum, are among my favorite summer color because they are reliable performers in my coastal Mississippi garden and landscape.
But there’s another great group of petunias that I haven’t written much about, primarily because I haven’t been growing them lately. That group is the family of Wave petunias.
May 4 marks a milestone for me and my wife as the last Star Wars movie, “Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker,” is being released straight to digital, thanks to COVID-19.
I’m becoming increasingly optimistic about our 2020 Mississippi summer gardens and landscapes. COVID-19 is on everyone’s mind, but an upside to the virus is that more homeowners are gardening than ever before. If you’re looking for summer color that will grow through the summer and beyond, then Profusion zinnia is the plant for you.
One of the landscape views many gardeners ignore is the horizontal plane. Plants that create mats or carpets create a lot of interest and serve an important role in landscapes and gardens.
Let’s look at a few of my colorful carpet favorites.