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  • Potpourri for December

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Dec 1, 2019

    Jingle bells are ringing, mistletoe is hanging, and Christmas time is in the air. In fact, I even wondered what happened to Thanksgiving? It is amazing to me how quickly 2019 has whizzed by, is this a time warp? The River Region area has a lot going on to make the holidays bright including the Shakespeare Theatre, the Zoo, and soon, the Christmas Tree lighting at the Capitol. I call it a magical time of the year with Nutcrackers, Santa Claus, gifts for young and old, manger scenes, and best of...

  • Potpourri for November

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Nov 1, 2019

    My how quickly this year has sped by, almost as if we were in a time warp. Thanksgiving is upon us on November 28th, let the holiday seasons begin. One thing we need to remind ourselves and be thankful for is our good fortune in living in America. Politically we all have our differences and preferences, but we can all coalesce around our patriotic oneness as Americans. My grandmother always said that in a diverse group settings, do not speak of religion or politics, but mostly about the...

  • Potpourri for October

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Oct 1, 2019

    When I was young, growing up in South Alabama, when October came around, our thoughts turned to all the fun things that would be happening. The county fair was always a big attraction, not only for all of the rides, but for funnel cakes, cotton candy, caramel popcorn, boiled peanuts, and the prize bulls. Of course, just walking around and people watching brought smiles to our faces. Usually, around that time rodeo events would have entertained us. Those were simpler times, but very nostalgic....

  • Potpourri for September

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Sep 1, 2019

    The month of September usually brings in cooler temperatures and colorful falling leaves from Sumac, Popcorn, Catalpa, Oak, and Crepe Myrtle, to name a few. Also on center stage are the football rivalries demonstrated by flags showing the emblems of elephants and eagles seen frequently throughout Alabama and hearing the schools' fight songs blasting through radios. Fall Garden seminars are a fun way to spend a weekend with like minded gardeners and an excellent one is a Landscape Conference in...

  • Potpourri for August

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Aug 1, 2019

    Southern Gardening The dog days of summer are upon us and for the most part, the flowers we have been tending should now be mature and in full bloom. If we have been weeding all along, we should not have too much to do in this area. For instance, most of my beds are sunny with masses of tall zinnia. These Pacific Giants, thankfully, have shaded out most of the weeds. However, in another area, I lost a stand of phlox due to over watering and must go to work weeding. The area though is ideal to...

  • Potpourri for July

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Jul 1, 2019

    The Fourth of July marks the midway point of summer. Celebrations abound on our country's birthday, fireworks, bands, parades, flags, bunting, and of course food. Think barbecued ribs, chicken, hot dogs, potato salad, Cole slaw, and of course home churned ice cream. However, this is a critical time in the garden, so let's not be a slacker. Now is the perfect time to prune back flowers that will go on to have a strong second wind of bloom. Many of these flowers will go into the fall, which not on...

  • Potpourri for June

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Jun 1, 2019

    With school out, and Memorial Day behind us, summer has begun for those in our region. Suddenly the big box stores such as Lowe's and Home Depot are swamped with customers searching for something to plant. I can see in their shopping carts 2 of this plant, 2 of another and so forth. I talked to one lady about her selection, thinking they were being planted in a group in a pot, but no, she told me she was planting them about 4 feet apart because they would spread. Obviously she had not thought...

  • Potpourri for May

    Judge Peggy Givhan|May 1, 2019

    We have all been waiting for this month in order to kick into high gear with our garden and our pot gardens. If we have been diligent in picking out the winter weeds, preparing the soil, and making the garden plan, we should be ready to dash out and almost complete an instant garden. If you have completed the plan, and already have marked off the areas that seed has been sown and where cut back perennials live, it is time to get out a credit card or your check book for obtaining the spring and...

  • Potpourri for April

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Apr 1, 2019

    April, one of the most glorious months of the gardening year, beckons us outside and into the garden. This clarion call should get us motivated to display the finest flower beds one can create. I am sure inspiration will come by viewing the spring time blooms on Yoshina Cherry trees. azaleas, forsythia, bridal wreath, wisteria, the subtle orange blossom scent of pittosporum, crab apple, and late blooming daffodils. If you liked the garden plan you utilized from last year, tweak it a bit by intro...

  • Potpourri for March

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Mar 1, 2019

    The month of March brings in windy, kite-flying days, and much activity in the garden scene. March is the official month of Spring, and the harbinger of warm balmy weather. The dormancy of most trees and shrubs is broken with a burst of buds on the limbs and stems. We have already seen the flowering of the majestic Japanese magnolias, the fragrant old-fashioned Kiss-me-at-the-gate, beautiful camellias and sasanquas. Every time I see these flowers, it makes me so grateful I live in the south. The...

  • Potpourri for February

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Feb 1, 2019

    By the time February rolls around each year, there seems to be a reawakening. Bulbs shoot forth and flowering trees come out of what I term hibernation. Montgomery and the surrounding counties will soon have the appearance of a fairyland of flowers shrubs, trees and bulbs. Pansies planted last fall will perk up and bloom along with snap dragons, and dianthus. We should be seeing evidence of poppies forming tiny gray-green clusters close to the ground. Nurseries should be stocked soon with...

  • Potpourri for January

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Jan 1, 2019

    Hip. Hip. Hurrah...a brand new year is before us and I suspect we can look back and find plenty of New Years' resolutions in the offing. With the Christmas trees disposed of and decorations nestled in boxes and sacks, there is much time to reflect, not only on our lives, but on garden improvements. It is always good to assess our lives as to what can be improved upon, and the same reflection can be utilized for the garden scene. I, for one, had gotten lazy about cleaning trowels, spades, and...

  • Potpourri for December

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Dec 1, 2018

    December is always a busy month being with friends and family, cooking, buying and wrapping gifts, trimming the tree, decorating the home...and finally, eating all the treats that come in for the season. This is why we have New Year's resolutions-- to purge the extra calories from the Holidays, so eat, drink and be merry. I was at a presentation recently where lecturer shared a delightful idea for teaching gardening techniques to some very young grandchildren ages three and four, visiting...

  • Southern Gardening - Potpourri for November

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Nov 1, 2018

    Just when I have gotten the year 2018 imbedded in my brain, we are approaching 2019. The month of November seems to fly by with Veteran's Day, and then practically the whole week off for Thanksgiving Holidays. Where does the time go? With our eyes now on Thanksgiving, it is fun just thinking about flower arrangements with a fall theme. There are plenty of wild ageratum, black-eyed susan, golden rod, roses, wild asters and even wild grasses such as pampas, that make a great arrangement. Of...

  • Southern Gardening - Potpourri for October

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Oct 1, 2018

    And who does not love the fall of the year especially children thinking about and getting ready for Halloween. I can remember hay rides, high school football games, and going to outdoor movies theaters with a car load of friends. Kids today probably would not know what I am referring to. However it was great entertainment, and most times the parents were involved. I am just reminiscing of times gone by. The month of October can be counted on for bright sunlit and clear blue skies in which the...

  • Southern Gardening - Potpourri for September

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Sep 1, 2018

    Where has the summer gone. Seem like it was just yesterday that we were getting ready for Memorial Day, flying flags, putting up red, white and blue bunting and watching parades on television. Now it is Labor Day with the summer days winding down to fall. I will have to note that this summer is the wettest one in recent history. Surely the drought is over, and our ground water filled to the brim. Garden chores are not as intense this time of year as in the early spring, especially if you have...

  • Southern Gardening - Potpourri for August

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Aug 1, 2018

    The dog days are upon us which usually conjures up hot, sultry days and nights. The term is of ancient origins. The Romans called these humid days "dies caniculares" which they associated with the Dog star, Sirius, the brightest star in the constellation of Canis Major (large dog). This constellation is prominent in the skies this time of year. And speaking of stars, let's look to the garden to see what star is sparkling during these "dog days". Most summers the beds sparkle with masses of...

  • Potpourri for July

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Jul 1, 2018

    SNAP. CRACKLE. POP. Firecrackers, fireworks and even laser light shows celebrate the 4th of July. We see flags displayed throughout towns and neighborhoods even red, white and blue market lights a blaze at night. Everyone wants to say Happy Birthday to our country in their own way, but please be aware of the dangers of the myriad fireworks. Always have a safety plan in case things go south. Now lets turn our attention to the garden setting and size up what needs to be done. First of all, I am...

  • Southern Gardening - Potpourri for June

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Jun 1, 2018

    June is the month that most people are in earnest about their gardens. If you do not believe me, just go to nurseries and garden centers on these warm sunny days. Women and men are filling shopping carts full with an array of summer annuals, perennials, bulbs and tropicals. The congestion can get frantic and the lines long, so I suggest going during the week days and avoid the week ends. Also early in the mornings the gardening trade would be lighter. If you are starting from scratch or have...

  • Southern Gardening - Potpourri for May

    Judge Peggy Givhan|May 1, 2018

    Where are all the May Day parades, and the fun children would have making May Poles and then dancing and weaving the colorful ribbons hanging down. Perhaps people are too busy, or have forgotten how much fun group activities can be. The garden can and should also be a location for group activity. With the beautiful weather this month, children and grandchildren would love to be included in outdoor endeavors, with gardening at the top of my list. Of course a little supervision is warranted, but...

  • Potpourri for April

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Apr 1, 2018

    April really puts on a show for us in Montgomery. The azaleas with blooms from top to toe remind me of Southern Belle dresses; the lacy dogwoods, pink and white, remind us of Easter: and the gorgeous Japanese Magnolias with their stunning purple and white blooms, make an arresting sight. And let's not forget the Snow Ball Viburnum which are very showy. We have Spring well underway for zone 8, the River Region Zone. While the nights are still cool, it is good to allow certain plants to get establ...

  • Potpourri for March

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Mar 1, 2018

    When I think of the month of March, I see kites flying with colorful tails dancing in the wind, I see bright yellow daffodils bobbing their heads, and tulips bursting into bloom. I see the harbingers of spring. And what a sight to see. There are also so many wonderful scents such as the old fashion French hyacinths which return year after year at the farm planted years ago in gumbo soil. The daffodils which multiply and come back year after year are: Mount Hood, Ice Follies, and Carlton. If you...

  • Potpourri for February

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Feb 1, 2018

    We all celebrate this month as the month of cupids fluttering around dispensing love and kisses to everyone. With our lives bustling around us, we may do well to be quiet and think of all the things in our lives which give us joy and love. Gardens can do just that--giving us peace, well being, and a profound sense of creativity. As I have said before, I feel closest to God when I am outside working in and admiring my garden. In winter, I may only be viewing a Kiss me at the Gate shrub blooming...

  • Potpourri for January

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Jan 1, 2018

    Several years ago about this time, I viewed my beds after all the perennials were cut to the ground, and the bulbs had not bloomed, and naturally I saw huge empty spaces in the garden. Then in my mind's eye I imagined what beauty would be forthcoming, and realized that my garden was underground now and out of sight. One of the great joys of gardening is the anticipation of what is to come. With a good plan for the whole year, one knows in advance the parade of colors, textures, and flow of...

  • Potpourri for December

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Dec 1, 2017

    I just love Christmas music which increases the magical spirit this time of year. Jingle bells, ginger bread men and silver wrapped Hershey Kisses are just the ticket to amp up the joy and happiness for the season. From Thanksgiving to Christmas we all have an opportunity to increase our joy and bestow joy on our family and friends for Christmas and Hanukah. It appears that Christmas just gets earlier and earlier. This year I saw Christmas ads and gifts with Christmas wrap before Halloween. One...

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