Garden Update – A Year’s Difference

Sunday, 26 October 2014, 11:58 | Category : Gardening
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A little over a year ago, I posted about a new perennial bed I’d made in the back. Now it’s a year down the road, and you can see the difference a year makes in the life of a garden. Here’s an original photo:

and the same shot this morning, about 14 months later:

Another shot from last year:

and today:

The asters hadn’t been transplanted into that bed at the time of the earlier photos. The azaleas have grown, but they’re overshadowed by the asters. In the next year or two, once the azaleas have grown more, I’ll have to start moving some perennials away from them. I hadn’t realized how much the Vitex had grown until I compared the photos. And I added the border using blocks I removed from the front yard, which I think really helped the looks of the new bed.

Unexpected Bloom

Saturday, 4 October 2014, 16:42 | Category : Gardening
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I do believe I have a dahlia blooming. I’d forgotten about these, picked them up in the clearance bin at Walmart in May.

Using Old Potting Soil

Saturday, 3 May 2014, 8:41 | Category : Gardening
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I’m emptying/refreshing a bunch of pots this year, and I’ve gotten quite a bit of used potting soil. What should I do with it? I’ve thought of 4 possibilities:

1) Add it to the compost pile. My concern here is that it might “overwhelm” the compost, unless I could find lots of green stuff to add along with it – plus, it’s really going to add more than my current structure can hold.

2) Start a “potting soil compost” bin, holding (mostly) just the potting soil.

3) Get a couple of big garbage cans, dump it in, and use it for later pots or to add to pots that have settled.

4) Add it to raised garden beds.

Are any of these good/bad? Got any other ideas?

The Night Zone 8 Came Home

Thursday, 9 January 2014, 22:19 | Category : Gardening
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Gardening in central Mississippi is, or can be, close to a year-round endeavor. If you’re willing to endure a bit of cold weather, it’s possible to have something blooming at any time of the year. Pansies, one of the most-poorly named flowers out there, can easily take nights in the mid-20s and keep right on blooming. Snapdragons, not normally considered a winter flower, can take a freeze and roll on. Begonias, surprisingly, while they will die back to the ground, will often come back in th e spring and flourish the next year. Gardeners here have gotten used to having lantana act like a true perennial, coming back year after year. In USDA Zone 9, it is dependably perennial. But here in zone 8, lantana, like some other tender perennials, has come back because we’ve had a series of relatively mild winters. But this past Monday and Tuesday, Zone 8 came home. The USDA says Zone 8 should have low temperatures reaching down the 10 to 15°F, and we hit that Tuesday morning. More than that, we were below 25°F for about 48 hours. There’s going to be a lot of empty spaces in flowerbeds come spring. That’s not a reason to never plant things like lantana, but it is a reason to pay attention to the term “tender perennial”. Be thankful for the years they do come back.

Greenhouse Lessons

Friday, 3 January 2014, 11:25 | Category : Gardening
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With all the gardening I’ve done, one thing I’ve never had is a greenhouse. Last fall, a friend told me about a closeout sale at Tractor Supply – what looked like a nice, small (6’x 8′) greenhouse, one of those with a metal frame and a mesh covering. It was less than half price, and I decided to take the plunge. The frame alone seemed nearly worth the cost:

greenhouse frame

greenhouse
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