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Gardening / Potpourri


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  • Southern Gardening - Potpourri for May

    Judge Peggy Givhan|May 1, 2024

    The old adage, "April showers bring May flowers" will hopefully hold true for May 2023. And with these showers come many weeds. Before getting down to the business of actually planting, preparing the beds is a must. And this includes weeding, adding any soil or organic material, and applying fertilizer. Over the years, many newer gardeners have asked how much water do flowers and shrubs require. Of course, some plants need more water than others. As a rule of thumb, a woody stemmed flower...

  • Southern Gardening - Potpourri for April

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Apr 1, 2024

    Did you know that the term of one having a "green thumb" has been declared a type of intelligence. A Harvard professor who studied educational psychology in college, Howard Gardner, declared this fact in his "Theory of Multiple Intelligences." He found areas of the brain which 'light up" when certain abilities are activated. We have known people with abilities in the areas of music, mathematics, and languages. He calls this green thumb knowledge "naturalist " intelligence. These are the people w...

  • Southern Gardening - Potpourri for March

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Mar 1, 2024

    They say March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. I have also heard that March is a great time to fly a kite. And we have all heard about "beware the Ides of March". However, March to gardeners could be termed the turnaround month, between winter and spring. The weather in the River Region is usually mild, with cooler nights and warm days which indicates the perfect time to start seeds, plant cool weather flowers and bulbs. Before we just jump out in our gardens with a random...

  • Southern Gardening - Potpourri for February

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Feb 1, 2024

    February is the iconic month for Valentine's Day. And who does not like receiving happy cards, chocolate candy, and flowers. Even if your New Year's Resolution includes fasting from candy, I declared that Valentine's Day can be an exception. Just do not go overboard. As Ben Franklin admonished, "everything in moderation". But how many people realize we also have a Federal and State holiday, President's Day, which falls on February 19th. President Thomas Jefferson, one of the founding fathers...

  • Southern Gardening - Potpourri for January

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Jan 1, 2024

    With the waning days of December, we should look back at all the good things we were given over the last 12 months...good health, love from family and friends, finally a hard enough freeze to kill even the most stubborn of insect eggs. The bitter cold did damage to my Sago palms, but after I prune all the fronds back, new growth will emerge and it will live on bigger and better. It is best to totally cut back all of these to the trunk and not just those that look damaged. The same goes for the...

  • Southern Gardening - Potpourri for December

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Dec 1, 2023

    Christmas time is here again with all of the chores of decorating inside and out. But I have been noticing decorations, gift baskets, Christmas wrapped candy and Christmas themed cookies since Halloween. It appeared that Thanksgiving was lost in the shuffle. I just hate to rush the season, but it is truly time now to get ready to have the finest Christmas ever. One thing, that with all the reminders, we should be well prepared with no last minute shopping this year. If you are searching for a...

  • Southern Gardening - Potpourri for November

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Nov 1, 2023

    November has sneaked up on many of us and it proves to be a busy month. First of all there is Veteran's Day on the 11th and Thanksgiving on the 23rd. As far as getting into the fall mood, I will leave the artificial pumpkins, fake fall leaves and other fall looking decorations in place while adding some pilgrim figures etc. for Thanksgiving. Another great plant you can use in fall decorations is pyracantha berries which should be plentiful in November. Sumac with its crimson long flower heads...

  • Southern Gardening - Potpourri for October

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Oct 1, 2023

    October heralds in the first full month of fall, with cooler temperatures and of course "falling" leaves. So after doing all the weeding during summer, we now have the task of raking leaves. One good thing about these leaves is that they make good soil in a compost pile. So as with most unpleasant things, there is a happy ending. We also celebrate Columbus Day on October 9th, however, I believe there are a few States that are trying to cancel this holiday. There may have been other countries who...

  • Southern Gardening - Potpourri for September

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Sep 1, 2023

    When we reach the month of September, we say goodbye to summer. Labor day barbeques and festivities abound. The children settle back into the routine of school, vacations have been planned and executed, and conversations begin to wrap around football whether it be college or high school. September is also a transition month as far as gardening is concerned where some annuals have flagged and need to be pulled out, and some perennials have flagged and need to be cut back. Caladiums, which we...

  • Southern Gardening - Potpourri for August

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Aug 1, 2023

    Recently I had a disaster in my flower garden with a rogue armadillo rooting and digging up some expensive Pentas that I had just planted a few days before. The unfortunate incident occurred at the farm which is in south Dallas County. I have had trouble with these critters before, and I ordered from Amazon a product named Armadillo Scram. It seems like I used up the whole bag in 2 areas about a year ago. So what do they say, out sight, out of mind. After replanting these Pentas which most survi...

  • Southern Gardening - Potpourri for July

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Jul 1, 2023

    Where does the time go? I am barely over Christmas and now we are past the mid mark of the year. The Fourth of July should be a time to demonstrate patriotism, honoring our founding fathers and all who have made America great. Red, white and blue bunting adorn porches, smaller flags peek out of flower pots and gardens, and I saw at one store red, white and blue solar string lights. Using white vinca, red begonias, and blue ageratum in the flower beds complete the theme. I chose to plant a...

  • Southern Gardening - Potpourri for June

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Jun 1, 2023

    We have had a relatively cool spring, with plenty of rain which has done wonders for flowers planted last month. Recently I went to the big box stores looking for summer annuals and perennials to plant to fill some areas of my garden. I was not just amazed, but stunned at the huge hike in prices, even since March. There were no 6 packs, just quarts which were $6.00 per container. And the herbs were not much cheaper since a 6 inch pot was $5.78. Earlier in February I tried my hand at getting up...

  • Southern Gardening - Potpourri for May

    Judge Peggy Givhan|May 1, 2023

    The old adage, "April showers bring May flowers" will hopefully hold true for May 2023. And with these showers come many weeds. Before getting down to the business of actually planting, preparing the beds is a must. And this includes weeding, adding any soil or organic material, and applying fertilizer. Over the years, many newer gardeners have asked how much water do flowers and shrubs require. Of course, some plants need more water than others. As a rule of thumb, a woody stemmed flower...

  • Southern Gardening - Potpourri for March

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Mar 1, 2023

    March is the month when serious gardening tasks must take place to make life easier later on. The first task would be weeding. Unless you have mulched during the winter months, there would be pesky winter annual and perennial weeds that need to be extracted. Winter weeds have shallow root systems which support large clumps of plant material, so it is rewarding to view the huge pile of weeds which resulted from very little effort. For one thing we do not want these to grow and go to seed,...

  • Southern Gardening - Potpourri for February

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Feb 1, 2023

    In February, our thoughts first go Valentine's Day with Cupid firing off his arrows of love. I can remember as a child picking out boxes of small Valentine cards at Woolworth's Dime store to give to classmates. They were adorned with flowers, funny valentine greetings and were appreciated by all. I really have not noticed in today's world with Email, Tik-Tok, texts, Instagram, and Facebook whether these silly little valentine cards are still sold. February can certainly be named the red and...

  • Southern Gardening - Potpourri for December

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Dec 1, 2022

    Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells...Christmas is upon us. We can count our blessings to include no lockdowns, no mandatory anything, where we can attend our houses of worship, and freely visit family and friends. One does not know how much we have while living in America until certain freedoms are taken away. Let's pray we never have to go through the last 2 years again. It is time to bring home pots of bright poinsettias, narcissus, mulling spices to fragrant the home during the holidays, Christmas...

  • Southern Gardening - Potpourri for November

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Nov 1, 2022

    November, which celebrates Thanksgiving Day on the 24th this year, should instead be a celebration for the whole month. And we do have much to be thankful for . Our military is not sending our boys to war, the pandemic is over (according to the President),we still have gasoline in the stations, and food on the grocery shelves. Although everything is more costly, Americans have a way of making do. This is probably a great time to be on a diet by eating less, drinking less and driving less. Let's...

  • Southern Gardening - Potpourri for September

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Sep 1, 2022

    Bring out the red, white and blue flags, and bunting one more time. Labor Day is a national holiday that we celebrate the hard work of those who have made our nation a better place to live and work. Labor Day marks the end of the summer and what used to be the beginning of the school year. So let's get into the garden and see what work (labor) needs to be accomplished for a wonderful garden this fall. First of all, later this month you will need to cut back spent summer blooming perennials to...

  • Southern Gardening - Potpourri for August

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Aug 1, 2022

    Recently I had a disaster in my flower garden with a rogue armadillo rooting and digging up some expensive Pentas that I had just planted a few days before. The unfortunate incident occurred at the farm which is in south Dallas County. I have had trouble with these critters before, and I ordered from Amazon a product named Armadillo Scram. It seems like I used up the whole bag in 2 areas about a year ago. So what do they say, out sight, out of mind. After replanting these Pentas which most survi...

  • Southern Gardening - Potpourri for Uly

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Jul 1, 2022

    “A Little 4th of July Funny” Well, Happy Fourth of July and here's to all the festivities, family and food. As I have said in past articles, we as Americans should go out of our way to show our patriotism. I am proud to be a United States citizen and try to do my part to express this sentiment in quiet ways, such as planting a red, white and blue flowerbed for everyone to see. I display the flag out in front of my home, and always have family and friends over for an old fashioned barbeque whe...

  • Southern Gardening - Potpourri for June

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Jun 1, 2022

    Although gas prices have become a topic of discussion with their ever-increasing prices, June could bring a surge in travel. For gardeners, this is a great opportunity to view botanical gardens or other plantings around our state or out of state. If you are in Fairhope, just look around the downtown area to be amazed at their municipal plantings. From hanging baskets to bedding plants, the color combinations and variety of flowers cannot be matched. The extensive rose garden near the municipal...

  • Southern Gardening - Potpourri for May

    Judge Peggy Givhan|May 1, 2022

    May reminds me of a time when children danced around a Maypole with an assortment of ribbons hanging down from the top. The end result would be the pole covered in a woven design of brightly colored ribbons. Truly a magical sight to behold. I came across an article last year, which promotes using newspapers in the garden. I have always heard of using newspaper in the bottom of a birdcage, but the garden? The following are tips I remembered from the article. First use was to layer newspapers on...

  • Southern Gardening - Potpourri for April

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Apr 1, 2022

    Not too long ago a small child told me there were 2 holidays this April – April fool’s day and Easter. How cute is that statement. One of my favorite expressions is “April showers bring May flowers.” This is my rule of thumb in the garden setting as to when I sow seed and set out small plants. Usually by mid March to late March, the chances of a hard freeze dissipates, so I begin sowing seed and setting out plants for spring and early summer garden. Once these seedlings and plants get establishe...

  • Southern Gardening - Potpourri for March

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Mar 1, 2022

    When I think of the month of March, I see kite 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...

  • Southern Gardening - Potpourri for February

    Judge Peggy Givhan|Feb 1, 2022

    I have always thought of February as being the transition month between winter and spring in Alabama. Of course, it is the month when thoughts turn to love on Valentine’s Day with the expression of “Be my Valentine.” And what could be more welcome than candy and flowers to express well wishes? Everything about Valentine’s Day just warms my heart. So be sentimental this month with cards, candy and bouquets of flowers. Did you know that St. Valentine was a 3rd century Roman Christian from Terni,...

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