In the Garden:
Coastal and Tropical South
This succulent garden is filled with odds and ends.
Garden Odds and Ends
No major hurricanes, tornadoes in December, more rain more often than even we are accustomed to ... 2006 was unusual. Conditions took their toll on many gardens, including more than a few blighted tomato plants. A ride through new subdivisions and newly replanted areas now reveals a mix of healthy and devastated plants, not all due to Katrina. Too many trees and shrubs planted in spring (instead of winter) last year succumbed to the summer drought. If your To-Do list includes new woody plants, get them in now. Every tree and shrub will benefit from getting new roots going before hot weather arrives.
Succulents for All
Among the plants that best tolerated -- even thrived -- last year were the aloes, agaves, and other succulents. As long as their soil is well drained, you can grow literally hundreds of these very different-looking plants in containers and beds. Spiky aloes and agaves, waxy, round string of pearls, and spoon-leaved jades create a wild display in any sunny spot. Beware only of waterlogged soil, and fertilize less during dry months.
Best Chance, New Plants
The All America Selections for 2007 include some that have great potential in our region. Tested for nationwide performance, not every selection thrives for us, but these annuals deserve our attention. So often the racks of annuals seem to go on endlessly in spring, and most gardeners simply grab and go. Be smarter in the coming season and go with varieties that have made the grade. Celosia 'Fresh Look Gold' was chosen for its exceptional weather tolerance and less browning of plumes as they age.
A "new" Pacifica vinca made the list, called 'Burgundy Halo' for its painted petals. Big white centers are surrounded by the deepest burgundy yet. This one has all the good breeding of its parent, in a gorgeous, bold color scheme. When fertilized and regularly irrigated in well-drained soil, this plant grows to a foot tall and is in bloom continuously without much deadheading.
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