Upper South

May, 2012
Regional Report

Be Adventurous with Annuals

Garden centers are offering a wider range of annual flowers than ever before, so be sure to add some of these to your flower beds and container plantings. Or, if you want to stay with the more familiar plants such as petunias or impatiens, then why not try some of the newer color possibilities, like the black petunias or yellow impatiens? There's nothing wrong with the tried-and-true, but by trying at least a few plants that are new to you, you might find something that will make your garden more beautiful than ever.

Give Azaleas and Rhododendrons a Boost

For azaleas and rhododendrons to thrive and bloom, feed them soon after they bloom, using a fertilizer for acid-loving plants. Follow the manufacturer's directions for the amount, just scattering it on the ground and then watering well. Feed again six weeks later. Mulch the plants to keep the soil evenly moist, as azaleas and rhododendrons have shallow roots.

Use Ear Plugs

It isn't just giant banks of speakers at music concerts that can damage hearing. Power garden equipment, such as lawn mowers, string trimmers, rototillers, or chainsaws, can hit 100 decibels, which is harmful if subjected to repeatedly. Buy some ear plugs at the drug or hardware store and don't forget to wear them when working with power equipment.

Plant Plenty of Parsley

Many people think of basil with summer food, but parsley is an even more adaptable and useful herb. Rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, parsley has a fresh, balanced flavor that adapts well to a a wide variety of both fresh and cooked foods. Use it in a chimichurri sauce for grilled foods, add it to green smoothies, or simply include parsley leaves in a mixed green salad. Plus, you'll want to dry some for winter. To have plenty of parsley, grow at least three or four plants this summer.

Pay Attention to Water Needs

Whether planting annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs, or vines, all plants need time to send out new roots and established themselves in the garden. During this time, it's important that the roots receive adequate water. Usually there is plenty of rainfall during the spring, but not always. Plus, spring often means windy days, which pull the moisture out of plants. The bottom line: check newly planted plants at least every other day to see if there are any signs of wilting and water accordingly.

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