Coastal and Tropical South

April, 2007
Regional Report

Protect Yourself in the Garden

Don't be a gardening statistic: keep insect repellant handy and use it every time you go into the garden. Mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus have been found in every month of the year. Likewise, in our region the sun's rays are a year-round threat to your skin. Use sunscreen everyday, and wear a hat.

Be Color-Wise

Use bright colors in containers that will be in full sun all summer. Pastels can look washed out in sun, but more vibrant hues sparkle even at noon. Look for screamers like lime green or purple sweet potato vine and pair them with yellow zinnias or red periwinkle.

Clean Birdbaths

Clean concrete birdbaths weekly in hot weather, more often in shady spots or if algae is a problem. To keep the bath safe for birdie visitors, use muscle before cleaning products. Take a wire brush and scrape the bath clean, using just a little soap if it's really needed.

Tending Ferns

Potted ferns can be difficult to water if planted directly into decorative urns. Instead, let their drooping fronds cover the edge of that plastic pot while it sits in the attractive but impractical container. Ferns in pots need to be submerged in water with fertilizer added at least occasionally.

Don't Let the Bough Break

Branches can grow heavy with fruit long before ripening begins, sometimes breaking under the weight. If pears, citrus, or plums begin to bend badly, take a look at the overall health of the tree and fruit. Prop up a healthy, overburdened branch, or consider thinning some of the fruit.

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