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Southern Gardening from 2011

The Telstar dianthus' flowers have a fringed margin and are available in single, double and semi-double petal arrangements.
October 11, 2011 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

Now is the perfect time to embrace your garden’s ability to support beautiful, colorful fall bedding plants.

American beautyberry is a Mississippi-native shrub that lives up to its name by putting on a show of bright purple berries in the fall. (Photo by Gary Bachman)
October 18, 2011 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Landscape Architecture

If you want something besides leaves to provide fall landscape color, take a good look at the American beautyberry. This Mississippi native shrub lives up to its name by putting on quite a show in the fall, with its clusters of bright purple berries.

Known botanically as Callicarpa americana, American beautyberry is frequently found on the edges of woodlands all across Mississippi. It is widely distributed east of the Mississippi River in the mid-Atlantic and Gulf Coast region. American beautyberry is also quite at home in the landscape.

Mahogany Splendor hibiscus can be confused with purple Japanese maple, as both have dramatic, purple-burgundy leaves with coarse, deeply serrated edges. (Photo by Gary Bachman)
October 25, 2011 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

Plant foliage colors tend to come and go in trends, and right now purple-leaved plants are popular. I think one of the best of the newer purple varieties is Mahogany Splendor hibiscus.

In the landscape, this plant provides awesome color. It is a vigorous grower that adds height and excitement.

Be creative with landscape edges . These empty wine bottles have been pushed in the ground upside-down, where the green and clear glass colors add variety.
October 31, 2011 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

From railroad ties and landscape timbers to rolls of plastic and metal edging, nothing adds interest to the landscape quite like nice, crisp bed lines.

We have all seen and used many types of landscape edging materials. But why not be a little creative? To get you started, here are some ideas for landscape bed lines between walkways and flowerbeds.

Vintage dinner plates placed in the ground on their edge create a bright garden bed edge. Get some from your local thrift store or stop at yard sales and buy chipped and mismatched plates.

Gnomes are the creatures of woodland legend representing the earth, and they make a fun addition to Mississippi gardens. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
November 7, 2011 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

We’ve all seen garden gnomes in other people’s yards -- the creatures of woodland legend that represent the spirit of the earth. Maybe it’s time you put one in your own garden.

Gnome is a derivation of the Greek word for “earth dweller.” Garden gnomes were first used in German gardens in the mid-1800s. Made out of terra cotta, they were painted and clothed like miners of the day, with outfits that included the cute little pointed hats.

The unusual colors and textures of low-maintenance ornamental kale take landscapes from safe to sensational during the winter months. (Photo by Gary Bachman)
November 14, 2011 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

Pansies and viola bring vivid hues to many gardens during the winter months, but adding the engaging colors and textures of ornamental kale takes a landscape from safe to sensational.

These yellow and white tulips provide a nice complement to yellow and white pansies. (Photos by Gary Bachman)
November 21, 2011 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

The weather outside may be frightful, but gardeners who want early spring color get out in it to plant spring-flowering bulbs.

Tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and crocus are among the first plants to give us colorful signs that winter is almost over. Many gardeners refer to all of these as bulbs, even though some grow from underground structures that include corms, rhizomes and tubers.

These spring-flowering plants do not provide the instant color generally associated with flowering bedding plants. Bulb crops make us plan ahead.

Many garden plants can tolerate frost, such as this cool season lettuce coated with frost. (Photo by Gary Bachman)
November 28, 2011 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Vegetable Gardens

I think my garden plants have enjoyed the cooler temps of autumn as much as I have enjoyed them. As the weather becomes colder, we need to think about protecting our garden plants.

Gardeners pay close attention to weather predictions of cold temperatures. We often use the terms “frost” and “freeze” interchangeably because both refer to cold temperature events. In reality, a frost and a freeze are completely different things.

The bracts of healthy poinsettias will be completely colored and fully expanded, such as those on this Ice Punch red poinsettia. (Photo by Gary Bachman)
December 5, 2011 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

Besides the Christmas tree, the poinsettia is the plant most often associated with the Christmas season. You can hardly go wrong with their colorful bracts brightening your decorations.

The color spectrum of poinsettia is truly remarkable. Colors range from red to white to even maroon, making it hard to choose favorites. There are bicolored, speckled and marbled poinsettias. And if that’s not enough, growers are even painting leaves and adding glitter.

While the dark, glossy green leaves of the Nellie R. Stevens are pretty year-round, this holly's real attraction is its bountiful berries. (Photo by Gary Bachman)
December 12, 2011 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

When the weather outside is frightful and nothing is blooming, gardeners must rely on plant features other than flowers for color.

Plants that produce colorful berries can enhance the winter landscape. Mississippi gardeners are lucky because we have some real beauties to help shake up the winter landscape.

A mass planting of Gulf muhly grasses is a beautiful addition to a winter landscape. These billowy flowers resemble pink clouds. (Photo by Gary Bachman)
December 19, 2011 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

I saw one of the most beautiful sights the other morning just as the sun came up. Ornamental grasses, backlit by the sun, seemed to glow in the rich morning light.

I realized at that moment that landscape grasses can have a significant impact in winter gardens.

Most gardeners already know that ornamental grasses are fantastic garden plants, but we tend to take them for granted because they perform so consistently. We just expect them to do their job and be beautiful, and we don’t give them much thought. That ought to change.

The Hilo Holiday begonia's bright foliage with reddish pink, green and silver tones makes it a great option for winter decorating. (Photo by Gary Bachman)
December 26, 2011 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens

The poinsettia may be the quintessential holiday plant because of its bright and colorful bracts, but there are some non-traditional plants that can be just as festive and spread as much cheer.

One of the most unusual I’ve seen is a miniature cherry tomato in full fruit, displayed for holiday sales.

I have admired Rex begonia for many years, and I think this group of plants has the potential to be more than a beautiful indoor plant. It could take its place as a cornerstone of holiday decorations.


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