Science, or para-science, tells us that geraniums bloom better if they are spoken to. But a kind word every now and then is really quite enough. Too much attention, like too much feeding, and weeding and hoeing, inhibits and embarrasses them. ~Victoria Glendinning
Geraniums, natives of South Africa, have been popular in the United States since the days of Martha Washington. The first, First Lady, even has a geranium named for her. These aromatic plants grow in full sun and do well in beds, baskets and containers. Available in a variety of colors, cultivars produce blossoms throughout the summer months. However, some fail to blossom in the extreme heat of a Gulf Coast summer. So if one finds a Southern belle wilting in the shade of a live oak, just call her Geranium and bring her a glass of sweet tea. She will not be inhibited nor embarrassed.
More About Geraniums
And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.
~Percy Bysshe Shelley, “The Sensitive Plant”
Thriving in zones 4-9, Shasta daisies are European natives, that have naturalized across the U.S. Requiring full sun, and rich, well-drained soils, these perennials must be dead headed to continue the blooming season and plants should be divided every two or three years, in the springtime. Butterflies and bees love these plants, so plant an abundance in the garden fair.
When I go into the garden with a spade, and dig a bed, I feel such an exhilaration and health that I discover that I have been defrauding myself all this time in letting others do for me what I should have done with my own hands. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Tomato Seedlings Under Grow Light
“There ain’t nothin’ in this world better than home grown tomatoes…” Songwriter, Guy Clark, has just about said it all for the devoted (obsessed, really) tomato gardener. Let skeptics laugh at tomato enthusiasts with grow lights taking up good counter space in January and February. Those warm, winter soups and stews, filling the soul with earthy goodness, will be worth all the ridicule. Take for granted the abundance of sweet goodness awaiting the garden browser in June. Vitamin C on the vine-so divine! Adkinson, Homestead, Early Girl, Juliet, Sweet Million, Super Sweet 100, Improved Whopper – grow my little pretties; planting time is just around the corner. Count yourself lucky if you know tomato gardeners willing to share their bounty of tomato devotion (obsession). Sing it again, Guy.
Alabama Cooperative Extension Service
Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!” ~Robin Williams
Blush Pink nandina is one of those shrubs wearing their party dresses all year long. Requiring full sun to part shade, this compact dwarf evergreen, Nandina domestica ‘AKA’ PP19916, adds a festive vive to the landscape. Click on the link below to learn more about Blush Pink and other nandinas flouncing their party dresses.
Blush Pink Nandina
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