Upper South

October, 2009
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Southern Comfort Alumroot
Need a colorful ground cover for sun t shade that is deer-resistant and thrives in heat and humidity? 'Southern Comfort' alumroot, derived from the native hairy alumroot (Heuchera villosa) fits the bill. The 7- to 9-inch leaves range in color from cinnamon peach to burnished copper to amber. Hardy in Zones 4-9, 'Southern Comfort' forms a mound 2 feet across and 14 inches high, with spikes of tiny flowers reaching 2 feet. It grows best with humus-rich, well-drained soil but tolerates poor, dry soil, especially after becoming established. Although considered evergreen, by spring the foliage will be a bit raggedy. Simply trim this off to showcase the beautiful new leaves. In addition to 'Southern Comfort', there are other varieties being introduced, including 'Autumn Bride', 'Caramel', 'Citronelle', and Mocha'.

Clever Gardening Technique

Persimmon Pudding
Autumn is the perfect time to celebrate this native fruit with a persimmon pudding. There are dozens of different recipes, but this version is my favorite. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a bowl, beat together 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon canola oil, and 1 large egg (or 1/4 cup egg substitute). Stir in 1 cup persimmon pulp. Beat in 1 cup white whole-wheat flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1 teaspoon baking powder, then beat in 1/2 cup buttermilk (or milk substitute with 1 teaspoon vinegar added). Pour into a greased 8x8-inch pan. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out dry.

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