Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Gardening in the South

Today is Blooming Tuesday at Ms. Greenthumb Jean's Blog HERE.

After thirty years with my daughter, I am pleasantly surprised to learn that we have a love of gardening in common!

My daughter, grandson and I visited a country garden center this past weekend. Not pictured are acres of landscape plants that you drive through, put want you want in your vehicle, and then pay for before leaving.

My 85 year old mother's vegetable garden:

She tends this garden using a rolling walker with a seat. The plastic chairs are positioned so she can sit in them when she needs to. (those are grape vines behind the chairs) One of my brothers used a tractor to make the garden rows. The rows were made extra wide so she could roll the walker between them. Another brother has been tilling the garden to help her keep the weeds down. Other than that, she has been doing the work herself. I'm sure I will soon be the recipient of lots of garden goodies such as yellow squash, fresh potatoes and tomatoes. Thanks Mama!

Here are some things I've been doing this Spring:

1. I always, always, hit the plant clearance isle at Lowes and Walmart, every time I go, especially this time of year. Both stores have way more spring plants than they can sell, both annuals and perennials. I typically find nice plants for a dollar or less.

To further sweeten the deal, look for plants that have more than one plant in the pot which you can divide before planting.

This is a nice pot of oregano I bought for $1.00. I used it along with a pink geranium and a little basil in a large pot.

2. The public library is absolutely full of gardening books. So if you can't get enough gardening during the day, at night you can study about gardening all you want. These books are great for learning how to propagate plants for free, what plants are easy to grow in your area and many other ideas. Right now I am really interested in heirloom southern plants and have found many books that address this subject.

3. Growing plants from seeds is very frugal, you just have to be patient. I especially LOVE plants that reseed themselves. Impatiens are great for this. I currently have three pots full of them that self-sowed last year.

Here is the progress of one of the pots of Impatiens.

4. You can order free seed/plant catalogs online from Park Seeds and Burpee Seeds. These companies often have sales and you can also get plants that aren't available locally. Its also fun to look through these catalogs at all the plants and you can learn about planting timetables as well as other information.

5. I am always open to "pass along plants" from friends and family. My mother has a hydrangea bush that I am planning to either take a cutting from or dig a small piece from. Also, I have become proficient at rooting roses, so I am on the lookout for roses that are easy to grow.

These are some Indian Summer Rudbeckia plants I dug up from my former home and transplanted to the side bed of the farmhouse. I planted them from seed last summer, not realizing that since they were perennials, they would not bloom until the following year. Once they are established I will have "black eyed susans" blooming all summer.

I plan to plant more perennial flowers from seed later this summer so that I will have blooms next year and for years to come.

6. I try to always wear gloves and closed in shoes (not flip flops) when gardening. I regularly see Black Widow Spiders in dark damp places underneath rocks, tree roots and plants. AND Sunday my good friend's sister-in-law was bitten by a copperhead snake when she reached down to pull a weed from a flower bed. This happened about 60 miles from my home. Thankfully her husband was nearby and was able to take her and the, by then dead, snake to the hospital at about 100 mph. She has received anti-venom, but is still hospitalized. I'm not sure if we have copperheads around here, but I do know there are water moccasins (cotton mouths). We don't have any water near our home, so hopefully I won't see any of them either!

Happy Gardening!


Terri said...

What wonderful tips, Debbie. Thank you! Your mother's garden is just outstanding!

Denise said...

Yes, thanks for the tips. Reading about the spiders and snakes that you might encounter makes me appreciate the harmless garter and milk snakes that I sometimes meet in my gardening. May God bless and protect you as you work the land he has provided for you.

The Working Home Keeper said...

Love your mother's garden! Thanks for the tip about clearanced plants at Lowes. I was planning on putting herbs in pots this weekend, so I'll check there for some deals!

Mary Ellen

Pen Pen said...

I enlarged the pic. of your mom's garden and felt like I was there. I miss the "true" country! And the dirt is gorgeous... I still hate our red clay dirt. I'm so sorry your friend was struck by a snake... oh my.... how scary. I hope she gets better soon!!!

Susan said...

I loved looking at your mother's garden! Having grown up in SC, I can just feel that humidity and heat and smell the breeze just by looking at the picture! :) My husband's grandparents are in their 90s and still garden; it's amazing.

One thing I don't miss about the South is the snakes. I haven't seen or heard of any snakes here (west coast of Canada), although that doesn't mean there aren't any! I hope your friend will recover fully from her snake bite. Praise the Lord her husband was nearby!

Bonnie said...

What a wonderful post about your family gardening together. Loved your tips!

Becca's Dirt said...

I am scared to death of snakes. I live near them. My back and side yard is nothing but woods. Great tips. I like to garden on the cheap too. Come visit me. Becca

Jean said...

Welcome to Bloomin' Tuesday! Your Mother must be quite a woman! Thanks for all the great gardening tips. Jean

Melissa @SavingCentswithSense said...

I love the picture of your mother's garden- that is so amazing and inspirational. I just started gardening last year and absolutely love it. Growing my own veggies is so rewarding, and educational for my children.

Thanks for your tips, too! Feel free to link up on my gardening post, too: http://www.savingcentswithsense.net/2010/05/garden-update-tomatoes/

Elizabeth said...

Hi Debbie,
I love all your plants. I wish we lived closer so we could share cuttings. I got a Hen and Chickens from my neighbor yesterday. It is so good to see your mama back to doing the things she loves.

Suzanne said...

These were wonderful tips. I can attest to many of them! I don't know if I would have the love of gardening like I do if I had to contend with Black Widows and snakes. Yikes! Would you give your mother a high five next time you see her for me. She must be one awesome lady!

Paula said...

Great tips - so sorry about the snakes - it gets too cold here for anything but rattle snakes and they stay up in the mountains. I love your mom's garden - kudos to her!
Thanks for sharing, Paula from Idaho

Anonymous said...


What a great post on many aspects of gardening. And, thank you for the news and picture about your mother's garden. She is one tough lady!


Lyn said...

What a pretty garden center, Debbie. Your mama's garden is so big! God bless her. Also, it shows how hard you have been working in your yard. You have your own little oasis, just lovely.

Alexandra said...

Your mother is amazing!

Prayers for your friend - how scary!

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