In the Garden:
Coastal and Tropical South
March, 2006
Regional Report

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Native plants like this phlox are among the sturdiest survivors of last year's storms.

What's Coming Up?

Each year, seeds find their way into our gardens in many ways. We plant some, others emerge as soils are cultivated. Some of the seeds that sprout unexpectedly will be undesirable, just weeds that found their way to our soil. Before I realized a certain phlox had reseeded, I pulled at least a dozen seedlings. Obviously, I only slowed its progress, but all of this beauty came from one small plant, and would have spread faster if I had let the seedlings grow large enough to recognize.

Reports from the Mississippi Coast
Sometimes weeds come to us after terrible hurricanes. Environmental Educator John Guyton of Biloxi writes of his garden after Katrina: "We are taking the loss of plants as an opportunity to make a few changes. Most enjoyable is our yard weed investigation. [The famous 19th-century paleontologist] Louis Agazziz once commented that he spent his summer traveling and only got halfway across his backyard, and we have adopted this as our strategy to get to know our yard. We have been leaving weeds until we can find out what they are, and there are a few new ones since Katrina. Watching nature begin to heal Katrina's scars is inspirational and a reminder that time heals all."

Every part of our region hit by hurricanes in the last two years is in a replanting mood this spring. News stories focus on flowers blooming in the debris, and bulbs sprouting around slabs where homes once stood. John Guyton says, "Slowly gardens are coming back, and we have noticed much public interest in the new gardens on Biloxi's town green.

"Lynn Meadows Discovery Center, Mississippi's first hands-on children's museum, was heavily damaged but now has a memorial tree that is certainly a refreshing sign it will soon be back," he says. "The Clower/Thornton Nature Area in Gulfport is also well on its way to being cleared of fallen trees by the Coastal Plains Native Plant Society and local garden club members." Good news, indeed!


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