Coastal and Tropical South

November, 2011
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Shishi Gashira Sasanqua
The stunning contrast of deep green evergreen leaves and bold pink, semi-double flowers with clusters of golden stamens at their center gives Camellia sasanqua 'Shishi Gashira' an edge over other fall bloomers. Shishi will be wider than tall, grows slowly, and is sometimes labeled as a dwarf, though that is misleading. Given time and no pruning, it will reach 5 feet tall and 8 feet wide in a decade and continue growing if left alone. Fortunately, this sasanqua responds well to annual pruning after its flowers finish, usually in December. It can be shaped to keep it neat in a row or large container. The flowers last a week in the vase, if you can bear to cut them.

Clever Gardening Technique

Plan for Tulips
For garden gamblers, tulips are a guilty pleasure we cannot resist. Even if we refrigerate them for a month or more before planting, there are no guarantees they will bloom on time or for very long in the garden. Still, in the years that have enough cool weather for the bulbs to put flowers up and no thunderstorms flatten them, tulips are a treasure. I cannot resist them and make room for the bulbs to join with overwintering annual flowers even if the bulbs won't go in until weeks later. I make space for the tulips among the flowers by planting annuals with 6 inches between centers in a diamond pattern. As soon as the bulbs have chilled sufficiently, it is easy to interplant them. This spacing leaves room for their leaves without crowding the flowers.

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Special Report - Garden to Table

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