The people's voice of reason

Southern Gardening - Potpourri for April

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 who go on vacation and tour botanical gardens, are

comfortable outdoors, more interested in what plants they will add to their garden in the coming year, than keeping up with ball games. So, all of you green thumbs, it is time to get outdoors in our own flower beds and gardens.

I heard a woman in the garden center exclaim that she had to hurry to plant her caladiums and this was the end of March. I wanted to tell her that planting them now was a waste of time since 1. the squirrels will probably dig many up and 2. caladiums will not shoot up until the ground temperatures are almost 60 degrees. After years of trial and error, May is the best month to get these caladiums in the ground. Now that the spectre of a hard freeze is over, time to plant begonias, impatiens, all sorts of bulbs, except tulips, and perennials. Sowing seed directly into the garden soil such as Cleome, Zinnias, and Cosmos should be done this month. Other seeds are better sown in a flat of soil and then transplanted into the garden area, but these flowers do better directly sown into the garden.


The common name for this tough ground cover is bugleweed or carpet bugleweed. Ajuga is a shade loving ground cover that once established is trouble free as far as maintenance is concerned.

No pruning back, hardly ever allowing weeds in its mat of roots, and a prolific bloomer. It needs well drained soil, moderate fertilizer, and shade. It can tolerate some sun, and definitely will not survive wet feet. The tiny bugle of blue flowers are the most common, but does come in white, 'Alba'; pink 'Rosea'; and burgundy 'Bronze Beauty. The foliage has crinkled leaves about 6 inches long and can be metallic tinted, solid green or variegated. This plant is cold hardy and is even grown in Nova Scotia. Once established you will be enjoying Ajuga for years to come.



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