Middle South

April, 2001
Regional Report

Sow Sunflowers


The best flower beds include some type of backdrop. My favorite is a hedge of branching sunflowers, and now is a great time to sow seeds of big, bushy varieties such as 'Italian White', 'Lemon Queen', 'Velvet Queen', and 'Ebony & Gold'. Besides their value as backdrops, these sunflowers produce excellent stems for cutting.

Plant Silver Foliaged Plants


If you're getting confused about color patterns in your flower beds, remember that silver- or gray-foliaged plants are "clash insurance" against loud-colored flowers. Annuals such as dusty miller and perennials such as lamb's ear (Stachys) and artemisia will quiet down the most rowdy plant partnerships.

Grow Early Tomatoes


Set out tomato transplants now of early-maturing varieties such as 'Early Girl' and most cherry-type varieties. These tend to tolerate the cool spring weather better, setting fruit fast and staying productive further into summer than late-maturing varieties.

Trap Slugs


If slimy slugs and snails are chewing holes in your lettuce, hosta, or any other plants, control them with traps baited with beer. Shallow dishes set out at night work best. Set the traps near ground level so slugs and snails can slime up to the bar and then drop into the brew and drown. What a way to go!

Plant Torenia


Impatiens and begonias are great annual shade plants, but if you want something different, try torenia or wishbone flower. This shade-tolerant annual produces lots of pretty blossoms in purple or pink, and it stands up to the heat like a champ.

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