Southern Gardening - Potpourri for September
September 1, 2020 | View PDF
We are coming up on the shank of the year: what a curve ball we were thrown with the Covid-19 virus. Hopefully, Alabama and the SEC, plus a few other conferences, will play football, but baseball has been decimated. Sports in general have been affected adversely with all the social distancing, etc. The one good thing about gardening is that we can do most of the tasks alone, outside in the sunshine and fresh air. No need for masks here. So the healthiest hobby right now in the United States, I say, would be gardening.
I think this year, more than others, we should express patriotism and national unity, by displaying flags, colorful bunting on porches, balloons, and perhaps red, white and blue wreaths on our front doors. And of course we can express the American theme through flowers in pots and in flowerbeds.
In past articles, I believe I have focused on the shady garden, and I want to mention that these can be as spectacular as a garden in the full blazing hot sun. For one thing, the shade garden is more comfortable to work in. One time, I took an outdoor thermometer and placed it in the shade and then changed it to a sunny location. I was amazed that there was 17 degrees difference between the two areas. This year, I concentrated on my shady beds and believe they were totally successful. I created a serpentine style border to highlight masses of lime wizard coleus with blocks of a variegated hosta and royal standard hosta in the back. On either end of the flowerbed were a couple of extra large terracotta pots, 28-30” in diameter, which were filled with bright pink impatiens. This set the stage for some sparkle. Another semi-shady bed was planted with pink caladiums with green veins, which are super simple to grow and to maintain. Just wait to plant bulbs in late May, and water daily until they emerge from the soil.
Because they create immediate shade onto the ground as they grow, one does not have any weeds. Throughout the extreme heat of the summer, just make sure they get watered daily.
PLANT OF THE MONTH–LILIES OF THE NILE
Lilies of the Nile or Agapanthus afri-canus have delightful blue-to-lavender flower stalks rising above dark green strap like leaves. This plant had been established in the lily
family, but later was given its own family, Agapanthaceae. It hails from Africa, and South Africa is the only place that this lily occurs naturally. Also known as the African lily, it is fragrant, blooms from mid summer through late fall and makes a wonderful cut flower. It does need fertilizer in the early spring and is hardy from zone 7 to zone 10. It was discovered and brought to Europe in the 1600s, where it was quickly dispersed to the world. I grow mine in pots, and just mulch heavily in the winter.
Happy Labor Day