Gardening is learning, learning, learning. That’s the fun of them. You’re always learning. Helen Mirren
Flat Leaf Parsley
(The above photo was taken on January 30, 2020.)
Curly Leaf Parsley
Parsley, a biennial, is a highly nutritious herb providing vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and iron as well as other benefits. In addition to being a favorite addition to table fare, parsley is also a host plant for the eastern black swallowtail butterfly. When planting, include enough for the table and enough for the colorful caterpillars that will devour the leaves.
Eastern Black Swallowtail Caterpillars
Learn more about parsley at the following sites.
“People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.”
Happy, coastal gardeners are an exception to Mr. Chekhov’s observation. They plant according to seasonal opportunities, with winter offering some very nutritious choices, including red cabbage. A cultivar of the Brassica oleracea group of plants, this leafy vegetable is high is vitamin C and vitamin K. In addition to adding nutritional value, red cabbage adds crunch, color and substance to the salad bowl. It is also a member of the cruciferous vegetable group, identified as “super veggies”. These vegetables have earned this title due to connections to lower cancer risks. Learn more about red cabbage and its family members at the following links.
“A garden in winter is the absolute test of the true gardener. ”
Brussels Sprout Plant
Brussels sprouts, winsome additions to the winter garden, not only produce edible sprouts, the colorful leaves are edible as well. Adept at hide and seek, this member of the brassica family, is highly nutritious. Learn more about this odd but valuable plant at the following link. Wikipedia
There they are – Brussels sprout buds!
“Winter blues are cured every time with a potato gratin paired with a roast chicken.”
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
“There ought to be gardens for all months in the year, in which, severally, things of beauty may be then in season.”
– Sir Francis Bacon
Young collards plants waiting to be planted
Coastal gardeners, having the benefit of year round gardening, often focus on members of the brassica genus during the cooler months. Turnips, mustard, cabbage, kale and collards are included in this genus. Collards, surpassing kale in nutrient value, is an old southern favorite. Leaves can be picked as needed throughout the winter months. Add these to your supper table with ham, baked sweet potatoes, hot buttered corn bread, iced tea and sweet memories of your grandmother’s kitchen.
Click on the following Wikipedia article to learn more about collards. Collard plant
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
“Regardless of geographical region or culture, gardening is perhaps the most common and shared experience of Nature.”
― S. Kelley Harrell, Nature’s Gifts Anthology
Ruby-throated Hummingbird Sipping Nectar From Cardinal Spear
Gardeners have their favored places; places with bins of seed and bags of Black Cow, places with gloves for pulling and tools for digging; places where chicks are peeping and green thumbs twitching; places with shelves and shelves of seedlings and even more friendly advice just for the asking; places where you’re always welcomed with a smile and a “y’all come back now” when you leave. Ready to get up and go?
Here are few places to get your green thumb twitching!
St. Elmo Feed and Seed
Bryant Career Technical Center
Bing’s Booth at the Mobile Flea Market, 401 Schillinger Road
Shore Acres Plant Farm
Underwood Pecan Farm – fruit trees, blueberry bushes
Special Event: Mobile Botanical Garden Spring Plant Sale – native species
Green Thumb Resources
Alabama Cooperative Extension Service ANR0063 Planting Guide for Home Gardening in Alabama
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.
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
Gardeners with itchy green thumbs may still find splashy ornamental kale and cabbage available in garden centers. These sun lovers are perfect for Mobile winters, so scratch that itch and fill a border or large container with these cold-loving annuals. Learn more at the following links.
Ornamental Cabbage and Kale