Author: MOBILE MASTER GARDENERS

The perennial return of autumn

By Brenda Bolton, Mobile Master Gardener | [email protected] Q: I need suggestions for more fall-blooming plants in my perennial garden, including some for birds, butterflies and hummingbirds. A: Despite the heat of August, the promise of fall shimmers on the horizon. I love a fall garden of perennials, our reward for surviving summer. We often enjoy planting a bloom-filled spring garden, only to see it collapse just when the butterflies and hummers need it most. The main cultural requirements for a successful perennial garden are sunlight, soil, sustenance and, beyond that, patience and timing. Our problem with seasonal perennials...

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Strolling through the Children’s Park

By Nancy Adams, Mobile Master Gardener | [email protected] Love grows by giving. The love we give away is the only love we keep.” — American author Elbert Hubbard If you live on the Gulf Coast and have never experienced the Geri Moulton Children’s Park, which is alongside the entrance drive to the University of South Alabama Children’s and Women’s Hospital, you are in for a treat. The entrance to the hospital complex is like an exquisite art gallery, but outside … in a park. Anchored in a setting of majestic oak trees and beautifully landscaped grounds with constantly blooming...

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Use ferns to create a serene garden

By Judy Weaver | Mobile [email protected] Q: I have a shady yard at my new house and am interested in planting ferns. What works best in coastal Alabama? A: Fortunately, one of our Mobile County Master Gardeners, Sue Stephan, became interested in ferns three to four years ago and now tends 114 varieties. I visited Sue’s garden to learn more, and could hardly bring myself to leave the beautiful garden rooms she has created. Fern basics Hardy ferns are ancient plants, older than dinosaurs. Most thrive in partial to full shade and a moist environment. Some ferns tolerate sun...

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Hot-blooded edibles for the summer table

By Brenda Bolton, Mobile [email protected] Q: Can you suggest some easy backyard vegetables I can grow here in the summer? A: The annual joke at my house on that first sultry morning of Mobile summer is that no one settled this land in July. Or August. We laugh at the old joke and then go out into the heat to cut okra for the freshly shelled peas on the stove. Spring is gone, but gardening and its rewards are not. We do need to know which edibles are heat worshippers, and we must follow their calendar. Find those calendars...

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Have you tried growing a hardy hibiscus?

By Alice Marty/contributing writer Q: Recently our garden club had quite a discussion about the hardiness of hibiscus in the Mobile area. I say they are not, but several members thought otherwise. Perhaps you could settle our disagreement. A: Well, how about a hardy hibiscus? Yes, some hibiscuses are hardy in Alabama. Local gardeners have long loved the tropical hibiscus, hibiscus rosa-sinensis, seen commonly in the landscapes of south and central Florida. These evergreen shrubs with dark, glossy leaves and large, flamboyant flowers in shades of red, gold, orange, yellow, pink and white are popular in pots and in...

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