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Southern Gardening - Potpourri for March

I remember the old saying that if one does not have a lot to do someone would suggest, just go fly a kite. With all the social lockdowns and quarantining, flying a kite might be a good idea. Of course, kite flying takes place in the great outdoors and the month of March should have plenty of breezes to let it soar to the heavens. And why stop at just one kite, get your children and your grandchildren take part in this fun activity. Naturally, I suggest that we do our gardening chores first. As they say, the time for planning is over; the time for planting is now.

I would like to report on the hardy plants in my garden that have thrived in 15 degree temperatures. The pansies were actually on their sides, but when it warmed up to above freezing, the plants were up and sporting their blooms as if nothing happened. The dianthus withstood these low temperatures with no drooping nor frost bitten blooms. Lambs ears, and verbena also did well in the freezing weather, plus the daffodils seemed to thrive in the sub freezing temps. In my vegetable and herb beds, the collards, kale, Swiss chard, rosemary and parsley came through like champs. We will see if the tulips, which are still in the ground, do well. After all, we have to refrigerate them for 2 months before planting so they should survive just fine.

March chores in the flower garden include weeding, planting perennials, annuals and bulbs. Also this is a good time to sow seed for late spring bloom. The weeding chores should not be too onerous, as these late winter weeds spread out but have shallow root systems. I have had an invasion of pink buttercups or primroses, which every year at this time I have to pull out. This low growing flower is part of the oenothera family and not the true buttercup, which is of the genus Ranunculus. And then there is the presence of common wandering jew, commonly called the inch plant, a member of the spiderwort species. Cool weather plants include geraniums, begonias, snapdragons, calendula, dianthus, dusty miller, petunias, larkspur, alyssum, lobelia, cynoglossum, nasturtium, African daisies, daylilies, and flowering kale to name a few. Bulbs would include canna lilies, elephant ears, and ginger lilies. Unless one buys mature pansies to set out now, the heat of late April, early May might cause these plants to fade. Please do not forget to fertilize and water these plants right after planting.


Rudbeckia is a plant genus from the Asteraceae family and features a central raised disc, which is dark in color. Black-eyed Susans have a black or dark brown middle disc, whereby other coneflowers in the same genus may have green discs. They thrive in a sunny location with moist, but well drained soil. These are large plants and get to heights of 3 feet. All have a daisy like petal formation and commonly yellow or golden colored and these blooms last until frost. Black-eyed Susans brighten up areas outside the cultivated gardens and such a joy to see in late summer and fall along the side of the road.



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