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Southern Gardening

September 4, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Many people believe purple coneflowers are worthy of awards, but now it's official.

The Perennial Plant Association named Magnus purple coneflower as its Perennial Plant of the Year for 1998.

Purple coneflowers, known botanically as Echinacea, have long been favorites with gardeners in the South and now have found their way to the health food aisle in stores as a medicinal plant.

August 28, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central MS Research & Extension Center

From the simplest backyards to the most complex gardens, any landscape can be made more beautiful by the presence of birds.

Birdbaths and feeders are readily available at all garden centers and can put you on the road to identifying birds you never knew were around. Attracting an assortment of colorful birds to your lawn is an effortless project the whole family can enjoy.

August 21, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Harvesting flowers is as much fun as picking tomatoes. Many of us began our flower design efforts as children when we picked dandelions or other wildflowers for mom.

Many of our ancestors had special sites for cutting flowers. I suppose they not only took time to smell the roses, but brought them indoors for enjoyment.

August 14, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Nandinas are among our very best shrubs for fall and winter color, and the next few weeks hold great planting opportunities.

Sometimes called heavenly bamboo, nandina indeed appears somewhat exotic. It is actually in the barberry family.

Our ancestors planted the old-fashioned nandina domestica which is still outstanding. You can't find a better nandina for berries, which are almost as pretty for fall color as the leaves on the newer varieties.

August 7, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

There is always one new plant or something related to gardening that will keep the best of us humble. Sometimes these new discoveries await us at trade shows; sometimes they are already in your neighbor's yard.

Angelonia is just such a new plant that is all the rage in garden centers across Mississippi.

July 31, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Passing motorists should view Black-eyed Susans beside the road like billboards proclaiming "THESE WILL WORK IN YOUR YARD, TOO!"

Mother nature has been putting on a beautiful show this year with the Black-eyed Susans. These Rudbeckias are native to Mississippi; in fact, there are 30 to 40 species native to the United States.

July 24, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

The first spring in my Mississippi home, built in the late 1800's, several plants really humbled this horticulturist. Although I probably destroyed some thinking they were weeds, many survivors have endeared themselves to me.

One timeless classic I immediately fell in love with had bright orange-red flowers. It kept me guessing for a while, but turned out to be crocosmia, or monbretia.

July 17, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Tropicanna just may be the most beautiful canna ever developed and is renewing interest in this traditional Southern plant with its brightly colored, variegated leaves and orange flowers.

While I am not much of a fan of orange flowers, the foliage of this new variety is awesome enough to make you want to grow the plant. Most Southern natives grew up with cannas.

July 10, 1997 - Filed Under: Cole Crops, Vegetable Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Most Mississippians think spring is the best time for gardening. But if you haven't tried a fall garden, consider putting one in now because it can be the best garden you have.

Fall-grown produce is better because it ripens in a cooler, less stressful time of the season. It suffers less from sunburn or sunscald, and fall has fewer insects and diseases.

July 3, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

A cup full of fresh cilantro is the herbal key to success when company is coming over for fajitas. As a horticulturist who got his feet wet on the Rio Grande and spent considerable time in the Bad Lands of New Mexico, I know cilantro is the secret to fajitas, salsa or pico de gallo.

June 26, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Want to enjoy flowering plants all season without labor-intensive care? Zinnia angustifolia Crystal White, one of the All-American Selection flowers for 1997, is the answer.

This group of zinnias have proven to be heat and drought tolerant and have superior flowering in spite of weather conditions. Additional colors include golden-orange, yellow and another white variety named Classic white.

June 19, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Gardeners are always asking me what they can plant for color in the shade. Many people overlook foliage plants like coleus, and the new varieties of coleus will amaze you.

With the advent of the SuperSun coleus, we have varieties that will work right out in the middle of a pasture. Texas A & M has been evaluating coleus for full sun conditions in scorching hot cities like El Paso, Houston, Amarillo and Dallas/Fort Worth.

June 12, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Heirloom plants are making huge comebacks for gardeners everywhere, particularly in the South.

One heirloom plant regaining attention is the Vitex agnus-cactus, or the Lilac Chaste tree. They are for sale at many nurseries, but you probably don't recognize this member of the verbena family.

The gorgeous, lilac-blue flowers are fragrant and produce over a long period during the summer. Even the leaves release a spicy odor when crushed.

June 5, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Weeds by any other name often do smell as sweet. The name "weed" conjures up thoughts of nutgrass, Johnson grass, crabgrass and dandelions. Weeds we love to hate.

Butterfly weed and Joe Pye weed are at least two instances where taxonomists or botanists gave plants names that turn off gardeners, but butterflies (and many gardeners) love these two Mississippi natives.

May 29, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens, Landscape Architecture

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

California is home to two of the most beautiful trees in the world, the redwood and the giant sequoia. If you have ever seen them, you were probably like me and just stood there in awe.

More than likely you returned to Mississippi wishing you could grow such spectacular trees. You can. Both the redwood and sequoia are in the redwood family.

May 22, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Some of our best summer color can be grown in the shade or partially shady areas.

Impatiens are impressive with their vibrant colors that can yield tremendous floral displays in the fall if watered thoroughly throughout the summer. The plants need a well-drained, organic amended bed. Space plants 15 to 20 inches apart depending on the variety.

May 15, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Many of the tropical plants grown in the beautiful Caribbean islands are for sale at your local garden center and nursery. With careful thought and planning, you can create your own little garden of paradise.

Thanks to 250 plus days between freezing temperatures, and more than 50 inches of annual rainfall, Mississippi is a great place to create a mini Montego Bay in the landscape.

May 8, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Many plants are good for attracting butterflies.

The hummingbird clethra is a butterfly plant you need to try for beauty, fragrance and ease of growing. It provides spicy-fragrant flowers during July and August when color and fragrance are limited.

May 1, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

A reader asked me to put together a list of my top 10 flowers to try in 1997. Since people accuse me of never meeting a plant I don't like, selecting favorites was a huge challenge.

But here's my list.

April 24, 1997 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

By Norman Winter
Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

Strawberry jars can be the focal point of your porch, patio or deck. Before you're distracted by visions of tiny plants in glass jelly jars, let me explain what a strawberry jar is.

A strawberry jar is a terra-cotta pot with fairly large holes around it. They come in 1, 2, 3 and 5 gallon sizes. Many of you pass them by because those holes look like more of a problem than a wonderful opportunity, or you have no intention of planting strawberries.

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