The people's voice of reason

November Potpourri

November in the South can be summed up as "a good weather" month. The weather is good for going to ball games, hiking, traveling to places far and near and best of all, for gardening. Anything I have ever planted in this month, whether annuals or perennials, have thrived. Not too hot and not too cold, and in the words of the Three Little Bears, "just right". I have searched through the gardening centers and have noticed the Johnny Jump Ups (violas), pansies, and different varieties of dianthus that are available now. These are tough plants which crowd out weeds, have a heavenly scent, and make a brilliant short stemmed bouquet. Small vases of both dianthus and of pansies can also be "just right" for a powder room.

Planning for something new in the garden or just freshening up garden orna-mentals is an easier task at this time of the year. Between September and October many of the spent flowers have been dug out or if perennials, cut back and beds weeded. If we sowed seed, those areas are noted on the garden plan and left bare with no mulch. So for those who may want to plan for something new, bold, or exciting here are a few simple garden concepts:

1. Framing the view: For example, I have a lovely stone angel on a pedestal which had been obscured by an overgrowth of vines. I spotted an opening in a line of Knock-Out roses which marched down a black privacy fence. This opening happened to be on a perfect axis to my back door, so I moved my statuary and pedestal into the niche. With a little trimming of errant rose branches, it was an instant success. This garden concept can be used with anything such as a wall fountain with Autumn Blooming Clematis or Confederate Jasmine arched around. Go through some garden design magazines, cut out pictures you like and keep these in a folder. Anything and everything is possible.

2. Pots: These can be used with great affect in the flower beds. They may be used to define the four corners of a formal bed or a large amphora turned on its side to give a whimsical look. The one caveat for any garden ornamentation would be do not over do or mix trellises and garden furniture willy nilly. Too little is always better that too much and we certainly do not want a cluttered appearance.

3. Overplanting: This concept is easily completed with bulbs and then a lower growing annual. Tulips and daffodils planted with pansies, dianthus, or even dusty miller are a successful combination. I have also planted Gaura (see below as Plant of the Month) overplanted with begonias.


Gaura lindheimeri or Wand Flower:

A plant native to Texas and Louisiana which grows to about 2 1/2 feet to 4 feet, is a perennial which has a very long bloom cycle. The pink flowers bloom directly on the stalk and, much to my liking, drops its dead blooms. These flowers many times start off white and develop into pink and rosy shades as they age. These blooms should be cut to prolong the bloom period. They do require good drainage and the tap root helps in times of drought. Do not over fertilize, in fact these will thrive with very little fertilizer. If the soil is too rich, they get a leggy appearance and are sparse bloomers. I have purchased Gaura this year in Montgomery.



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