Sassy Savoy

“Winter blues are cured every time with a potato gratin paired with a roast chicken.”
–Alexandra Guarnaschelli

Mama will surely  comment about the above menu, ” I raised you better than that. Where are the greens?”  Appease Mama and add Savoy cabbage to the table. A milder form of cabbage than the familiar green cabbage, Savoy will add sassiness to the plate-just cook the roughly chopped leaves  in a little olive oil, with onions and peppers. As Savoy is not a common find in the produce section,  plan on adding a few plants to  the winter garden.  Now you’re cooking!

Learn more about Savoy cabbage at the following links.  Wikipedia


Scintillating Chard


Swiss chard, a member of the beet family, is a highly nutritious leafy vegetable, very high in vitamins A, K and C.  Grown in zone 8 as a cool season vegetable, chard is also a colorful, vibrant addition to winter gardens. The above picture   of the variety, Bright Lights, highlights the red, yellow and orange stems that support rich green leaves-double bonus for Mobile gardens.  Find more information at  the links below.


Farmers Almanac -Swiss chard 

Burpee- Swiss chard

Pulchritudinous Pansies

A pansy blossom is more than a pretty face. Blossoms can add interest and surprise to a salad on one’s table as well as adding color to a winter bed or garden container.  Thriving in  the Mobile winter landscape, these annuals can be purchased in a variety of colors at local garden centers. Learn more at the following link.



Pansy Facts

Dainty Dianthus

While many gardens in the United States are covered in snow, Gulf Coast gardens display a variety of flowers including  the pinked  blossoms of dianthus. Loving full sun and part shade, dianthus brighten the landscape from October till spring. Learn more about these winter bloomers at the following site. Dianthus





Gulf Coast Resource Conservation and Development Council Supports Keep Mobile Beautiful, Inc. Outreach Program

Through the generosity of the Gulf Coast RC&D Council, the KMB outreach program will have more opportunities to  address  its mission  of motivating Mobilians to take greater individual responsibility in their community environment. The $9,030 grant award  will  be used  to support campus beautification, school recycling,  school  presentations,  and community  interactions and cleanup activities.  An example of  GCRC&D support can be found in the December blog postings.  GCRC&D funding made it possible for the  illustrations to be made into posters for use in presentations and interactions.

Due to  GCRC&D support,  KMB outreach coordinator, Phyllis Wingard, will conduct a teacher workshop on January 30, 2020, at the Jon Archer Agricultural Center to apprise schools of  $500 campus beautification grants available to  schools in Mobile County.  Information concerning the workshop  is being sent to school principals. Thank you to Gulf Coast Resource Conservation and Development Council for helping to make Mobile County a greener, cleaner and more beautiful place to live.

Learn more about the Gulf Coast  Resource Conservation and Development Council at the following link. GCRC&D

December Beauties

“Gardens and flowers have a way of bringing people together, drawing them from their homes.”
― Clare Ansberry, The Women of Troy Hill: The Back-Fence Virtues of Faith and Friendship

Camellia sasanqua, a   traditonal favorite in southern gardens, is wearing her finest in December.  Bellingrath Gardens, nestled on the banks of Fowl River, is ready to show off these exotic beauties in their finery.  Take  time to stroll the walkways with friends  and partake of the delicate blossoms gracing the landscape. You will not be disappointed!

Learn more about sasanquas at the links below.

Dresses of Red and Gold

Come, little leaves,” said the Wind one day, “Come to the meadows with me and play. Put on your dresses of red and gold; For Summer is past, and the days grow cold.”
― George Cooper

Vibrant signs of autumn can be found in L.A.  They include  the  dramatic chrysanthemum displays at Bellingrath  Gardens and the unique leaves of ginkgo trees, also found  at Bellingrath. 

Learn more about ginkgo trees at the following links.


Or The Blossoms Sway In The Evening Breeze

Fall, not spring, is the time in this region to clear away dead leaves and branches, to renovate the borders, to start new gardens…. And even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn. ~Elizabeth Lawrence, A Southern Garden

While the leaves may be turning in some southern gardens, Mobile gardens still have an abundance of flowers to enjoy. In the photo, the large blue flower is  plumbago or Plumbago auriculate, while the smaller one, is pigeon berry or Duranta erecta.  Both attract a plethora of pollinators.  However, pigeon berry may not be suitable for all gardens as the small yellow fruit is toxic.

Click on the following links to learn more about these perennials.

Duranta erecta  

Plumbago auriculata

Doing Something Better

The most noteworthy thing about gardeners is that they are always optimistic, always enterprising, and never satisfied.  They always look forward to doing something better than they have ever done before ~ Vita Sackville-West, 1892 – 1962

Saltbush or Groundsel

Baccharis halimifolia, known as saltbush, groundsel, or sea myrtle is a common sight along salt marshes and wetlands in Mobile. A long-lived, salt tolerant perennial, this native woody shrub grows in full sun to light shade, reaching heights of 7-15 feet and widths 5 to 7 feet. Plants produce clouds of creamy white flowers in the fall, providing nectar for migrating Monarch butterflies. While not a commonly planted species, specimens can be used to form screens and buffers, and can be pruned to suitable heights. Learn more about this member of the daisy family at the following links.

Florida Native Plant Society

UF/IFAS Garden Selections