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Musings About Family, Travel And Gardening With Allen Martinson.


Plant Nuts

MID-SEPTEMBER AND I felt a little something in the air this morning that gets me excited. After all that rain we received this summer I think we are good to go for a while. Usually with cooler temperatures the humidity falls and after the transition from sweltering to doable is settled we usually get less rain. I expect there will still be some showers coming along with the transition.

This is a great time to cut back your bedding plants that have probably grown like gangbusters this summer. With the relatively cooler temperatures and clear blue skies that I’m dreaming are coming our way you could get quite a good show between now and pansy season. I like to wait until October 16 to plant my winter annuals. The summer stuff is still looking good, the ground is still warm enough to get some good root growth before it gets too cold and that gives the annuals time to root out better. There will be pansies on the shelves before that date, mainly because that is about all the growers have to offer other than mums this time of year and nurseries are itching to get something back on their tables, that is understandable. I try not to jump the gun on planting them, I don’t even get tempted to plant those pansies that show up in September, usually grown up in Michigan where they will never meet our heat.

I am already seeing pumpkins and gourds popping up around town. They are a great way to decorate for fall without having to do any planting. Some of the pumpkins will make it for quite a while and they can easily be replaced as they begin to decay. I think our crazy pumpkin and gourd selection will be coming in next week. I hope all this rain didn’t have a negative effect on the crop from where we get them. I know we have an 18-wheeler truck full of gourds coming our way. We hope they will be wonderful. A nice wagon load of pumpkins and a few mums for the home or office is a great way to say that fall is here.

When the mums are finished blooming, they can be planted somewhere with lots of sun. They will bloom again in the spring and then again in the fall. They are perennial plants but mostly get thrown away after they have done their thing, like poinsettias. Mums have great colors and look great mixed in with pumpkins to give the entrance a welcoming feel.

This is the time to be getting your plans made for fall. If you are going to create more beds with well-drained soil for fall planting you can start figuring out the shape of the beds and what great soil to use so the plants can make it through a cold, wet winter. Think about the type of mulch you will use and then think about what plants will make your day while winter lumbers on into March.

If you like snapdragons, which deer don’t generally feast on, be prepared to be able to deadhead them so you can get the next big flush of blooms in the early spring. Snaps last a long time and make great cut flowers for your vases so plant way more than you think you might need. The word is out that deer don’t eat snapdragons like they do pansies so get your snaps as soon as you see them available or you might not get any if you wait too long.

If you like to see foxgloves and poppies and delphiniums and hollyhocks blooming in the springtime, make sure to plant them this fall so they can get gigantic over the winter months and bloom like crazy first thing in the spring. Those plants require at least six hours of direct sunlight to give you a good bloom show. We grow our bedding plants at Garden Works so we try to keep those plants stocked so they can be planted at the proper times. We will also offer those plants in the spring when most people remember that they love those plants but the difference in planting them in the fall or the spring is huge.

MIMI HAS TAKEN Garden Works to the next level with her wide variety of indoor plants that she seeks out from all over. There is a craze going on with plant collectors, they are trying to find the most unusual and bizarre tropical plants. She is finding these hard to find plants to offer at our place, it’s been a huge hit. I had no idea we had so many odd plant collectors here in Mississippi. The word got out that she is bringing in the collectibles and they are driving in from out of state to grab up the coveted plants. When she realized how much people really want these hard to find plants, she and the team decided to have a plant swap on September 24th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. You can bring whatever you have that is rooted and swap someone for something that tickles your fancy that is an indoor plant. We will have speakers there on hydroponic growing and other great topics.

So far, the response has been huge. We have people coming from every corner of the state and some from New Orleans. Plant nuts. Our kind of people. You should come to see the unusual plants that sell for up to $800. I’ve never seen plants like these but there are people that have been searching and wishing for these kinds of events so they can learn and teach, all levels of gardeners come to these things just for fun. I’ve never been as proud of our place and our crew and Mimi as I am now.

Together they have brought our community a place that we can all enjoy no matter your age, budget or your level of gardening. It’s fun to visit all the garden centers in town and experience all the different vibes that each has to offer, just make some room in your vehicle because you are going to need it.

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