Tropical South

March, 2004
Regional Report

Web Finds

Vireya Rhododendrons
Since the vireya rhododendron that my publisher and friend forced me to buy not only survived but became such a hit in my garden (click on my name above to see a photo of this), and since I have yet to see another one growing, this Vireya Rhododendrons Web site has been a great source of information on these plants. They have been written about and available since the mid-19th century, and they grow very easily in the ground in our region and in containers in other regions. This excellent site has history, culture, classification, where to see and buy, and 600 photos from which to make your wish list.

Favorite or New Plant

Nothing like Nasturtiums
The nasturtiums are blooming brightly now, spreading like a ground cover and climbing like a vine. A handful of them makes a bouquet more beautiful than jewels, and their subtle fragrance is delightful. All parts are edible and great in salads or as a garnish. If you didn't plant seeds in the fall, you can sometimes find plants, especially at herb shops, for instant color. "Nasties" will die out in the heat of summer, but for years now I've had volunteers return every fall. They like full sun, but one friend has a self-sustaining bed in partial shade with caladiums that take over when the nasturtiums die back, and nasturtiums that come back when the caladiums go into winter rest.

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