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Southern Gardening

 A pink and white poinsettia is surrounded by small, decorative Christmas trees.
December 14, 2020 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

“’Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the yard, not a plant was left standing, and the ground was hard.” So begins Karen Geisler’s gardener adaptation of Clement Clarke Moore’s Christmas classic “The Night Before Christmas.” We’re just days away from the big day, and I know there are still folks trying to decide on that perfect Christmas gift for their favorite gardener.

A Christmas tree is hung with red and white ornaments.
December 7, 2020 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

We are fully into the holiday season, and most people are getting into the holiday spirit. But this year is very different, thanks to COVID-19.

Frost covers the ruffled leaves of young lettuce.
November 30, 2020 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Well, it happened again this week. It seems every year, home gardeners get surprised by the first cold snap. Whenever weather forecasters utter the words “frost” or “freeze” for the first time each fall, you can bet there will be cases of landscape panic and questions about how to protect our garden plants from the onslaught of Jack Frost.

Red poinsettia leaves sport white centers.
November 23, 2020 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

This week, we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving and the “official” start of the holiday season.
In this year of COVID-19, we will celebrate our holidays differently than in past years. But despite any accommodations we have to make, there’s one thing that will always be associated with the Christmas season, and that is beautiful poinsettias.

Flowers with white and yellow petals bloom above lush, green leaves.
November 16, 2020 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

This past weekend, I planted the last of my Big Four must-have, cool-season color annuals: violas.

Violas are tough, and I think they tolerate cold winter weather even better than pansies. They perform well in landscape beds as well as in containers. They grow right through the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and are still shining in the garden at Easter and beyond.

A single red bloom rises above green leaves along with white and purple blooms.
November 9, 2020 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

This week, I got to get back gardening after cleaning up the Hurricane Zeta debris. While visiting a garden center upstate, I was reminded that if you haven’t done so already, now is the time to get your pansies planted for great cool-season color.
Stop in your favorite garden center now to find all kinds of colorful pansies ready for their new home landscapes. Pansies are among my go-to annuals, and there are some great selections available in the market.

 A tree lays on the ground with its entire root system exposed.
November 2, 2020 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Landscape and Garden Design, Trees

I had planned to write again this week about more great cool-season color options, but we had a landscape and garden crasher named Hurricane Zeta make a mess on the Gulf coast.

This storm surprised most folks with its intensity and property damage. It also did a lot -- and I do mean a lot -- of damage to trees that resulted in widespread power outages. My family and neighbors were lucky that our power was off for only 48 hours.

Ruffled edges of lichen cover the top of a wooden birdhouse.
October 26, 2020 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

Lots has changed during this year of the COVID-19 pandemic. For one thing, there has been a dramatic increase in interest in the home landscape and garden. People are spending more time in the garden and actually taking a look at what’s going on. In fact, gardeners are taking very close looks, which can result in them finding things that some think can only occur in the crazy COVID year. And believe me, I gets calls and emails about them all.

One thing that causes the most landscape consternation is lichen.

Small, leafy greens grow in a blue container.
October 19, 2020 - Filed Under: Other Vegetables, Flower Gardens

Last week, I sang the praises of my favorite cool-season vegetable and explained how it is both edible and ornamental. Kale is a multitasking super food that is really easy to grow from seed. But there are other great cool-season vegetables like lettuce and collards. I consider these must-haves for my garden, and they also are easy to grow from seed, especially in containers.

Plants with ruffled, purple leaves and ruffled, green leaves.
October 12, 2020 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

This weekend, I was excited to see that one of my favorite fall/winter vegetables is beginning to play a prominent role -- if not center stage -- in my ornamental landscape and culinary garden. Of course, I’m referring to kale.

An individual red bloom is in focus in front of other, scattered red blooms.
October 5, 2020 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

One of the attributes I look for when choosing annual color plants is how hardworking they will be in my home landscape.
While I know garden chores are an integral part of the landscape game, I like my garden and landscape to be relaxing. I don’t like to change out color every month. If you do, that’s fine, and you might not be interested in what I have to say next. But I personally like easy.

Orange flowers are arranged in rows on vertical stems.
September 28, 2020 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

I like growing snapdragons when the seasons shift to cool weather. The colorful flowers are like a floral kaleidoscope in the landscape.

Three panels display colorful green, yellow and purple foliage.
September 21, 2020 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

What a rollercoaster last week was for Southern Gardening!

My column highlighted the steps gardeners should take ahead of a tropical storm. We cancelled Southern Gardening TV production, as coastal Mississippi was in the crosshairs of Hurricane Sally on Monday and the weather folks were assuring us of a Mississippi landfall.

A clear panel covers a window on the exterior of a house.
September 14, 2020 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

I write this while contemplating what a wild year 2020 has been. There’s no need to remind anyone about the pandemic that has literally changed our landscape.

The next big thing is Hurricane Sally making landfall on the Mississippi Gulf Coast this week. Every tropical storm or hurricane creates landscape and garden chores that need to be finished before the storm arrives.

My biggest concern is always for the wind blowing loose objects around and causing damage.

A yellow-and-black-striped caterpillar rests on a stem in a cluster of orange and yellow flowers.
September 7, 2020 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Many of my gardening friends are already on the lookout for the annual migration of Monarch butterflies on their way to their Mexico wintering grounds. Witnessing this migration is awe-inspiring.

Last year towards the end of September, clouds of Monarchs made their way through Mississippi.

Dozens of pink flowers in clusters rise above green foliage.
August 31, 2020 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

We’re already into our September garden, and lots of great things are going to happen.

As temperatures finally start to moderate -- my fingers are crossed -- most of our summer flowering annuals that look ragged after surviving the heat and humidity will start to perk up. I think of this as our flowering annuals getting their second wind.

A plant with dark, almost purple leaves has large, pink blooms with red centers.
August 24, 2020 - Filed Under: Coronavirus, Flower Gardens

I’ve been thinking about the whole COVID-19 pandemic experience we’ve endured for the last several months -- like social distancing and face masks -- and the activities we look forward to enjoying once again.

Round, orange blooms cover a plant in a landscape bed with purple blooms and large, green foliage.
August 17, 2020 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Late summer means it’s time for another round of garden activities.

This past weekend, I finally transplanted my fall tomato crop. Several varieties of heirloom determinant tomatoes will start producing about the third week of September and continue all the way to the first hard frost.

Small clusters of tiny flowers extend uniformly out from a wispy center stalk.
August 10, 2020 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Herb Gardens

In the late summer and into the fall, some of my favorite garden plants are the annual herbs.

On top of my list of annual herbs are basil and dill. These herbs are aromatic and really easy to grow. And have I said they’re delicious?

Red and black fruit rise vertically above green leaves.
August 3, 2020 - Filed Under: Other Vegetables, Flower Gardens

Last week, I told you about culinary peppers that I like to grow and ultimately consume. This week, I want to share another way to use peppers in our second summer garden and landscape.

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