In the Garden:
Coastal and Tropical South
June, 2008
Regional Report

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Worn-out lawn areas can be repaired now anywhere drought is not an issue.

New Plants Welcome

There's lots to do in the New Orleans' garden. It's hard to watch potted plants abandoned beside the porch next door go into decline after the neighbors moved. That's how we ended up with three score of daffodils and enough iris to line one side of the courtyard! The daffodils were already half browned, so their leaves just needed a trim before planting. The iris, though, were blooming when their stewards left. Two weeks later, the flowers were as dark as the empty house. It was a simple, 30-minute job to cut off the flowers, trim the leaves into a fan shape, and plant them.

Bulb Deals
It's hard to resist a good deal, and if you are able to water at least weekly, there are some good plants waiting for you online and locally, too. It's the end of the shipping season for bulbs and perennials, and your favorite nursery would like to clear a few shelves, too, as customers find free time taken up with summer visitors and vacations. Buy only what has a good chance of getting planted and surviving, such as bulbs, caladiums, dahlias, sedums, and all the tropical vines. For the first time since Katrina, the courtyard is finding its colors again, one half hour at a time.

Popped Pot
Few plants in the courtyard please like the old rose growing in a big pot. Our region is home to lots of China roses for their durable good looks and Noisettes bred from them for hot, humid places. Most can adapt to pot culture, sometimes too well, like this old rose. Its roots have cracked the pot -- not a hairline that could be ignored, but a half-inch-wide, dirt-spilling, root-exposing gap. To encourage new growth, it is time to move the rose up to a pot an inch larger all around than the one it just broke. Root pruning to control future growth of container plants by repotting them in the same size pot is possible, but the process is usually more successful if done when it's not in active growth as it is now.

Be careful when repotting plants that have been outdoors for several months -- they're a good place to find fire ants!


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