Weather Affects Plant Availability
At our recent Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama nursery association meeting in Mobile, Alabama, the buzz among the professionals was about this winter's high heating bills. The result will be smaller plants, later arrivals, and hopefully only slightly higher prices this spring at nurseries. The growers who usually start plants from seed are waiting, keeping their greenhouses unheated, and buying baby plants a bit later on. They'll grow them for a very short time, then send them off to your local nursery, ready for you to plant. I expect we'll see a smaller number of varieties, so if you really like a certain odd-colored impatiens, consider starting some of your own from seed.
Gardening Aggie Style
I'm a huge fan of Dr. William Welch, author of the classic book Perennial Garden Color. If you've never read his takes on many of our favorite plants, get with the program of southern garden writers and check him out. His day job keeps students at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, on their toes and allows the rest of us to get his insights free via the cooperative extension's Web site;
Recommended Ornamentals for Texas
The plant list at this site is a great one, broken up into zones so coastal gardeners can find recommended plants. It carries a wide array of information with clear lists and links to desired topics. My gardens in Louisiana and Mississippi include at least a dozen plants discovered in trips to the Lone Star State. Like Texans at the recent presidential inauguration, these plants are big and bold and have made themselves right at home.