Upper South

May, 2012
Regional Report

Web Finds

U. S. Drought Monitor
Has it really been a drier than normal spring?To find out this information, visit Drought Monitor. You'll be able to click on your region or state. In addition, there are links to the Climate Prediction Center, which will give both short- and long-term predictions for temperature and precipitation.

Favorite or New Plant

Autumn Sage
Contrary to its common name, autumn sage (Salvia greggii) produces an abundance of 1-inch red flowers from spring until autumn, drawing in hummingbirds for months. Native from southwest Texas through the Chihuahuan desert and further into Mexico, autumn sage is a highly variable plant, but it generally grows 3 feet tall and as wide, with small, dark evergreen to semi-evergreen leaves. Hardiness is usually listed to 0 degrees F, but this past winter, it survived -5 degree F temperatures in my garden. A named variety survived the winter in a pots set inside an unheated building. Besides red flowers, there are forms with blooms in shades of fuschia, purple, orange, yellow, salmon, or white. I've planted autumn sage in one of the driest areas of my garden, and it has flourished. If I wanted a smaller plant, autumn sage can be pruned to maintain size or shape. The question now remains whether it will survive a harsher winter, but even if it doesn't, I would buy another. Even one year of bright flowers so attractive to hummingbirds makes it well worth the price.

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