Lower South

February, 2005
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

'Marie Pavie' Rose
'Marie Pavie' is an incredibly easy-to-grow and versatile rose that can turn anyone into a successful rose grower. This polyantha-type rose produces fragrant, pale cream flowers with pale pink centers throughout the growing season on 3- to 4-foot bushes. A variation called 'Marie Daley' is available in some parts of the south and produces blooms that are a deeper shade of pink. The stems of both varieties are almost thornless, and the foliage is resistant to powdery mildew and partially resistant to black spot. Even when affected, these tough roses bounce back well without sprays. The bush type growth habit makes them well suited for large containers. Give them a soil with some compost mixed in and a bright, sunny spot and you'll be rewarded with easy-care beauty all season long.

Clever Gardening Technique

Jump-Start Your Tomatoes
If you plant tomatoes too early, they may be injured by frost or they may just sit there pouting about the cold blasts of early spring air and cool soil. To get a two- or three-week jump on the season, place a milk jug filled with water up against the new transplant, or even one jug on each side sandwiching the new plant. Then place a cover over the row of tomatoes. Clear plastic suspended over PVC hoops works well. Leave the ends open during sunny days to allow heat to escape, and close them at the end of the day to hold in the warm air. You will be surprised at just how much of a jump you can get on the season this way.

As an alternative to the plastic-covered hoop tunnel, place tomato cages around the transplants and water jugs. Then wrap the cages in clear plastic, rolling and stapling the edges. Leave extra plastic extending above the cage tops. Open the tops on sunny days and fold them over at night.

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