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The beautiful, daisy-like flowers and airy fern-like foliage of the cosmos make it an ideal plant for the cottage garden. They are easy to grow from transplants or seeds. Plant now for late summer and fall color.
July 1, 2002 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

An old-fashioned plant at the New Orleans Botanical Garden recently just blew me away with its beauty. It was an old cosmos variety called Sensation. Cosmos are native to Mexico and related to coreopsis and rudbeckias.

The blue flowers of caryopteris combine well with the Profusion Orange zinnia, and both plants are tough in Mississippi's sweltering heat. Other good companion plants would be lantana, salvias and purple heart. Try growing large drifts of bluebeard in front of purple coneflowers, rudbeckia or tall selections of gomphrena.
June 24, 2002 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

It seems that unless a plant is a flashy bloomer like New Gold lantana, then it really doesn't get the recognition it deserves. One such plant is the bluebeard, known botanically as Caryopteris x clandonensis, and called caryopteris by most gardeners who grow it.

Spiderman is a hit at the theater box office with the movie and is a hit in the garden with the bright red blooms of the Spiderman daylily.
June 17, 2002 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Gardeners, get your checkbooks out and start shopping for daylilies. Ideal planting time was a couple months ago, but daylilies are blooming everywhere now, and this will aid you in making your selections.

I'll confess that in the past, I have looked at daylilies with tunnel vision. I have only wanted those that give the best landscape impact for massing as a bedding plant. For this type of use, one has to admit that Stella d Oro is No. 1.

Rose-Form Impatiens -- Sparkler Cherry will be introduced in 2003, but it is part of the Fiesta Series of rose-form impatiens that have more than a dozen color varieties available at nurseries today. Some of the varieties include Salsa Red, Burgundy Rose, Coral Bells, Purple Pinata and Stardust Lavender.
June 10, 2002 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

This time last year I accepted a new challenge, horticulturally speaking, when my family moved into another home with a sun-challenged yard. Shade inspired us to plant azaleas, hostas, ferns and cast-iron plants like crazy, but some of the most enjoyable flowers have been the impatiens, especially the Fiesta double or rose-form impatiens.

With antique shades of cream, yellow and rose, Margarita Cream grows well in a sunny garden with well-drained soil.
June 3, 2002 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

One of my favorite plants since I was a child has been moss rose. Moss rose is known botanically as Portulaca grandilfora and has green fleshy succulent leaves with unbelievable flower power.

Moss rose is native to Brazil and has a ground-hugging habit, which means you cover much more space with fewer plants.

 The tall, airy-looking flowers of the gaura give the appearance of butterflies floating above the other flowers in the garden or mixed container.
May 27, 2002 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

It seems no new plant has captured the fancy of gardeners this year like the gaura. From Picayune to the Madison County garden tour and right on up to Oxford and Tupelo, everyone has been admiring the gaura.

Gaura is still a new plant to the majority of gardeners, but leaders of garden clubs and horticulture tours are catching on to the enthusiasm for this plant's unique floral display.

The small-flowered French Marigolds and blue-flowered lobelia create a dazzling landscape display when planted together.
May 20, 2002 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

If there was a poster child, or in this case poster plant, for the most taken-for-granted plants, the recognition would have to fall to the marigold. Incredibly, we can plant marigolds from spring until fall. If mass planted, they will give some of the showiest color in the landscape.

The native Virginia sweetspire with its long white blossoms looks like a natural in all Mississippi landscapes and especially along this dry creek bed.
May 13, 2002 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

The past couple of weeks have been awesome at our office thanks to a group of native plants that has everyone inquiring about them. They are Virginia sweetspires, and we have them growing along a natural-looking creek bed lined with rocks.

This pink french hydrangea combines beautifully with the Mississippi Medallion award-winning, native oakleaf hydrangea.
May 6, 2002 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

The burgundy and pink foliage of the Mississippi Summer sun coleus works well with many plants including this bright pink bougainvillea.
April 29, 2002 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

The phrase "Mississippi summer" brings visions of torrid heat and humidity to the minds of most gardeners, but that will not be the case after the spring of 2002.

The yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers of the Night Jasmine give an enticing fragrance during several bloom cycles from spring until frost. Here it is grown with Petunia integrifolia.
April 22, 2002 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

If someone told me I could only grow one plant, I would probably choose several night blooming jasmine, but not because of their beauty. It is their fragrance that makes them a must-have in every landscape.

This Giant Swallowtail butterfly has found New Gold lantana, the 1996 Mississippi Medallion winner, to be the perfect feast. New Gold is one of those plants that is tough as nails.
April 15, 2002 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

The contagious excitement of spring planting is everywhere. In addition, families are starting to plan long, relaxing vacations away from home, and this is when the nasty dilemma rears its ugly head. What do you plant when you are planning to be away a lot during the summer?

Dragon Wing red begonia
April 8, 2002 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Many people consider the Dragon Wing red begonia to be the most beautiful begonia on the market for planters or the landscape, and the Mississippi Plant Selections Committee unanimously concurred by selecting it as a Mississippi Medallion winner for 2002.

The Dragon Wing red begonia works great in full sun or partial shade. In full sun, the plant is more compact and the foliage develops a reddish cast. In partial shade, the look is lush, tropical and exotic.

All America Rose Selections winner Rio Samba's reddish-orange and yellow blend offers outstanding beauty for this year's rose gardens.
April 1, 2002 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

In 600 B.C., the Greek poetess, Sappho, described the rose as the Queen of Flowers, and it became our National Floral Emblem in 1987. It is safe to say roses are much loved and are here to stay.

The American Rose Society lists 56 official classes of roses, so you know there must be some you can enjoyably grow and beautify your landscape with as well as provide fragrant and colorful bouquets for indoor displays.

March 25, 2002 - Filed Under: Trees

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Not all award-winning plants for 2002 are new, and the Mississippi Medallion Plant Selections Committee is announcing this spring that a small, heirloom tree is a 2002 winner.

Vitex, or lilac chaste tree, is native to Sicily and is a member of the verbena family. It was recognized by the Greeks for its medicinal properties, and it is recorded to have been in cultivation in British gardens since 1570.

Ruellia has bluish-purple flowers that radiate color from the plant. The deep-green foliage with hints of burgundy is attractive and works well in combination plantings.
March 18, 2002 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Few plants are as tough or more deserving of a place in the Mississippi flower border than the ruellia. In our high heat, it not only endures but is also a star performer and one of those plants that gives everyone the green thumb.

The fiery red Lucifer, a variety of crocosmia, looks exceptional in a tropical garden with bananas and cannas or in a perennial garden with daylilies and salvias.
March 11, 2002 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Since many of you are shopping for summer blooming bulbs, I want to break from telling you about new plants to remind you of one that is old and wonderful - the crocosmia, or monbretia.

Botanically speaking, it is known as Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora and is related to the gladiola. Its name comes from the Greek words "krokos" meaning saffron and "osme" meaning smell, referring to the saffron aroma the dried flowers give off when immersed in water.

By transplanting certain plants such as this basil, gardens can harvest a crop much sooner than by growing plants from seed.
March 4, 2002 - Filed Under: Vegetable Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

As vegetable gardening season rapidly approaches, it's time to decide whether to use transplants or direct seed. If you are as anxious as I am to get underway, then you might consider growing transplants.

Almost everything can be sown directly into the garden, but there are some vegetables that do better when transplanted. These include several of the most popular vegetables.

Many people find Pride of Mobile azaleas irresistible. They are not alone as butterflies, such as this swallowtail, are attracted to the Southern Indica group of azaleas including Pride of Mobile, Formosa, G.G. Gerbing, Judge Solomon and George Lindley Tabor.
February 25, 2002 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

With all the new neighborhoods springing up everywhere, I'm sure I'm not alone in the panic that we will soon miss out on the floral displays of this spring's azaleas. Some disparage the azalea, but I am not one of them; I need azaleas at my new home.

The bright scarlet and glowing yellow make the Indian Pink one of the top native flowers for beauty and an exotic form.
February 18, 2002 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

My 11-year-old son, James, went for a bike ride late last spring in our new neighborhood filled with forested areas, creeks, bogs and even deer. He came back out of breath from riding to tell me with excitement about a patch of flowers he discovered.

Though he had never seen them before, he immediately recognized them as something special. He was right. They were native Indian Pinks, known botanically as Spigelia marilandica.

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