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Plant or Pot?

What comes first? This question is as old as the chicken and egg.

It should be a serious question when you’re doing container gardening. What do you believe is more important; the plant or the container?

The answer is different for everybody but for me it’s an easy answer.

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Let me explain…

The container you’re planting the plants into can often be the most expensive part of your gardening budget. You put a lot of time and thought into picking out the right container. From selecting the right location, to finding the exact color or style you want to use. You may also need to consider finding a container in your price bracket. Finally, you need to place the container in its permanent position, and if it’s a large container, that may take extra manpower.


It could easily be a container you’ve had around the house. Perhaps one you’ve enjoyed for years and now want to highlight. Perhaps it was a gift and you want to give it a place of honor. Or maybe when you were at the local garden center you saw it in your heart cried out “I’ve got to have it”. In all those instances you selected the container before you had the plant. Once the container has been placed in the location that you want, you can begin your selection of plants.

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It’s hard to select the plants until you know where they will go and how much room you have for planting again. This supports my reasoning of the container being the more important piece of the equation. If your plant choice requires a lot of drainage, you need to know your container has substantial drainage holes.

And another reason the container is so important is because the container is the one piece it can be reused year after year. Once this becomes a stable foundation for your planting, you can enjoy your plants; changing the selection in the container every year or even every season. Changing the container every year could get to be a very expensive habit.

So, the next time you go to the garden center, head over to the container section first. Once you find the right container, then go have fun in the flower and plant area. Take your time picking out the plants that will be perfect for that container so you can enjoy them for as long as possible.

Posted in gardening

The Garden’s Melody

Listen Well…

There are those who will tell you the garden is the quietest spot to spend an afternoon, but I beg to differ. The garden is full of all kinds of sounds; you only need to take a moment and listen.

Sure, there are all the everyday sounds we hear all the time outside; children playing hard, doors slamming, the sound of music coming out of the window, conversations between neighbor. The list goes on and on. But those are all man-made sounds and we want to talk about the sounds of Nature’s Garden.


 When you listen to your garden there are many things will stand out to you. Do you hear the bull frog croaking loudly? The cackle of a crow as he steals his food from another bird? The chattering of the Blue Jay as she chases the intruder from her nest? Is there a dog barking or a squirrel scolding? There is so much to hear when you stop and listen.

Then there are the second level sounds; subtler to the ears. These sounds take a little more effort to hear, you really must listen for them. Like the sounds of the Katydid Beetle in the heat of the summer, beating its wings to make its distinctive sound. Or the sound of a Ground Dove cooing as it makes its way around the ground to get to her nest. Perhaps you hear a Mockingbird speaking to other birds, using the five or six different tones it has in its repertoire. It’s as if he’s having a conversation with each type of bird. You may hear a tapping from the Woodpecker’s beak as he searches for food in the bark of the shade tree you so enjoy. From this to the chattering of the Squirrels as they run across the yard playing tag with each other.


No, wait a minute… listen a little closer and you will hear it. There’s a buzzing of a Bee as it goes from flower to flower gathering nectar and there is the beating of a Dragonflies wings as it settles itself on top of a pond of water looking for a drink. The lizards scurrying in the leaves looking for the next meal or the rustling of the leaves from a soft breeze add to the garden melody.

Yes, if you listen closely you can hear all kinds of adventures going on in your garden. I have a challenge for you: take your lawn chair out and settle yourself in the center of your garden. Close your eyes, and really listen. What are the sound you hear?


What is your garden trying to tell you?


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It’s a cold start!

The start of 2018’s weather hasn’t been easy! Frigid temps, icy roads and record setting snowfall have made the celebrating the holiday season challenging for our northern friends and family.


Even down here in the south, we are bracing for frosty weather. Heavy rains are beating against the windows as I write, to be followed by a cold front that threatens not only our comfort, but could also cause damage to our plants.

Many have gone to great lengths to get their gardens in tip-top condition for the holidays. We want our guest to enjoy the beautiful flowers of the south, and maybe even smirk a little because we can enjoy the tropics year-round.


We can’t control the weather, but we can take steps to protect our gardens against the elements.

First off, don’t begrudge the rain. It’s helpful to keep the plants well-watered and strong against the beating winds. Be sure the pots are not sitting in water-you don’t want to create a situation where rotting can start.

Next, be thankful for a little wind. That will help keep the frost from settling on the leaves, flowers and fruit. But too strong of a frigid wind can burn the leaves, leaving behind brown tips and falling leaves. If you can move smaller pots out of the wind, do so. If not, try to cover them with a lightweight blanket or sheet. Try not to use plastic, it can often cause more damage than it protects by burning the plants as the sunlight magnifies through it.

Keeping the plants strong and in good health all year long will also help them recover quickly if they suffer from the cold. Remember, you may not see the damage until several days or even a week later.

After the cold has passed, don’t be in a big hurry to get out there and cut back the plants. Remember it’s only January, and there could be colder weather on the way. Instead, keep the falling debris cleared to make sure that bugs and disease do not have a place to hide, keep the plants watered and be patient. Often, you’ll notice new growth starting on within a week after a freeze. What you may think is dead can rejuvenate and become a beautiful plant again.

So, relax and view your garden from the windows until the cold passes. And be thankful we don’t have to deal with all that snow!!