Southern Gardening from 2023
I usually write the Southern Gardening column about how the different seasons change the look of our landscapes and gardens, what seasonal plants look great and when it’s time to transition with new plants for the next season. Just like in the garden, a career has a season for everything, and there comes a point when you realize it’s time for a change.
I don’t know about you, but I have been bombarded with seed catalogs this winter. Since about age 12, one of my favorite hobbies has been looking through catalogs at all the new plants.
Some new plants have forever changed the horticulture industry, while others disappear after just one season.
All of us gardeners are super eager to get things moving in our landscape. And who wouldn’t be, with sunny, 70-degree January days? Of course, everything looks horrible from the “freezemageddon” that we experienced just a few weeks ago. It is still too early to start pruning and cleaning up our plants, but I must confess that I don’t always follow the rules. There may be a few plants that I just could not look at anymore.
As you walk around the landscape in January and look forward to the joy of starting a flower or vegetable garden, don’t overlook what you are stepping on. Healthy, productive plants require healthy soil. While soil may not be as eye-catching as narcissus or redbud flowers, it does require your attention.
Exceptionally low temperatures this winter caused more cold damage than our typical, milder winters. But try not to panic and prune as soon as you see damage. It is best to let the plant heal and recover what healthy tissue it still has, and then prune the dead parts a little later.
January can feel like a long month for me. The holiday bustle is over, cold temperatures settle in, and the sky turns grey for days on end. But it doesn’t stay that way for long.
Valentine’s Day is a time for people around the world to profess their love for someone or, like most of us, our love for our gardens!
After a dreary winter comes every gardener’s favorite time of year: spring! Here are some hot plants you should try this season. Some varieties are fairly new, while others are making quite a comeback.
Go down the garden section of any home improvement store, and you will find a dizzying array of fertilizer options available to help you reach your garden goals. But which one should you choose?
The numbers on each bag of fertilizer mean something different, so let’s take some of the confusion out of this common problem.
It’s time once again to clean those hummingbird feeders and cook up the sugar water. In Mississippi, we can set our feeders out in early March as hummingbirds are migrating north from southern climes. Providing food in backyards is important, as these birds need to consume half their body weight each day.
Azaleas are starting to produce their beautiful flowers in my landscape, and it is a welcome sight after a few months of cold weather. Like many of your azaleas, mine had some tender, new growth that suffered cold damage from the freezing temperatures we got last December. I hope you did the right thing and did not do any pruning to your azaleas yet.
I’m a fan of whatever plants happens to be in bloom at any given time, but sunflowers are definitely one of my top five favorites, especially for use in arrangements. Last summer, I decided I wanted to have sunflowers every week until frost.
Weeds are often defined as being any plant out of place, but that definition never sat well with me. This simplistic definition seems to emphasize the aggressiveness of plants that don’t behave in the garden. For example, I’ve never heard anyone having problems with hydrangeas popping up in the landscape unexpectedly.
I believe the geranium is one of the most popular landscape plants in the South. I see them at almost every garden center or nursery I visit. I also remember as a kid seeing my grandmother’s potted geranium in a container on her front porch. It had bright-red flowers.
One thing we know we can count on in the South is that it’s going to get hot. It is useful to include plants in your landscape that can handle the hot and dry conditions.
Loropetalum is a drought-tolerant plant that adds rich color and charm to your landscape.
Every year, I look for ways to add interest to my front porch with colorful hanging baskets, and there are many different plant choices and combinations that make this possible. One of my favorite hanging basket combinations is Supertunia petunias and Superbells.
Mother’s Day will be here before you know it. If you are struggling to find a present for your mom, consider a mixed succulent container planting. There are hundreds of types of succulent plants that make beautiful combination container plantings. Most local garden centers and nurseries I see typically have many selections of succulents from which to choose.
Fresh herbs have a lot of home uses, and I love growing them in containers. Herbs can be used for cooking, fragrance, landscaping, crafts and decoration, and they can have medicinal properties if you contact your doctor before utilizing them for this purpose. Many herbs also perform well in containers.
If you want to add a tropical feel to your deck, porch or patio, consider bringing in some tropical vines, such as mandevilla and black-eyed Susan vines. These annual beauties create impressive flowering displays and look incredible in containers.
I don’t think there is anything more inviting or beautiful than a colorful combination container prominently displayed on the deck, porch or patio. I recently visited Bud and Blooms Greenhouse and Gardens in Wesson, Mississippi, looking at some of their beautiful combination containers. These elaborate containers come in all shapes and sizes, and they might seem challenging for the home gardener to make.