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Southern Gardening - Potpourri for October

Is it possible that we are getting back to a normal life? When watching the football games on Saturday, there were many cheering fans crowding the stands, which was good to see. We are certainly ready for some happy times with all the gloom and doom we are hearing in the news.

But there is one thing that has not changed and that is we can still go out of doors and garden without masks. I weeded a flower bed in the misting rain the other day, the experience was rather fun. And speaking of rain, I think I can be absolutely sure that whatever drought we were experiencing in Alabama over last 2 to 3 years is over. One plus to all the rainfall in the Montgomery area can be summed up to saving on monthly water bills, for those who have sprinkler systems.

Let's turn our attention to the wonderful world of ground covers which in many situations can cover a multitude of problems. I have seen steep slopes in neighbors' front yards that presents problems with cutting if clothed in grass. The problem was solved with monkey grass, which held in the soil and prevented erosion.

Monkey grass (liriope) has been used though out the south to edge everything from driveways, to flower beds, you name it and monkey grass fits the bill. Both the dark green and variegated varieties, I believe are best suited as ground covers, but that is a matter of preference. The barrier that monkey grass creates is so thick that weeds and grass do not cross the line. Whether the area is shady or sunny, monkey grass will thrive. However, monkey grass borders for flower beds distract from the flowers, and gives a weedy appearance. Again, this is just my preference.

Other examples of popular ground covers are as follows: (1) asiatic jasmine (2) vinca minor (3) Blue Rug juniper (4) ajuga (5) pachysandra (6) hosta (7) English ivy (8) clover.

PLANT OF THE MONTH:‚ÄąPachysandra terminalis

As stated in the prior paragraph, this is used mainly as a ground cover for shady areas. If you have a difficult spot under a tree, this plant may be the solution. When it is first planted, space the plants about 3-4 inches apart for a better and quicker cover. If spaced 12 inches apart, then do not expect cover until after 3 years. The first year not too much spread, but after the second year growth is rapid. An evergreen, and once there is a complete carpet, rooted pieces taken out of the ground can be replanted elsewhere.

Happy Labor Day and Happy Halloween!


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