Coastal and Tropical South
Fashion a Natural Centerpiece
For a quick, dramatic centerpiece, grab a pumpkin or any kind of hard-shelled squash. Slice the top off, hollow it out, and stick in a piece of soaked floral foam (oasis). Cut long stems for mums, grass flowers, a branch of colorful leaves, and/or a spray of berried nandina. Arrange and enjoy!
Try This Veggie
Maybe you're new around these parts, or just discovered vegetables. Either way, say "mur lee tonn," alligator pear, or chayote, and start stuffing. This vining native is harvested in fall, stores well, and is delicious stuffed with meat and rice or seafood. Put one in a gallon-size pot and let it grow.
Smother Insects With Oil
Horticultural oil sprays are hugely helpful when growing crape myrtles, azaleas, and many other woody plants. If you hesitate to use chemical sprays or soil drenches to control whiteflies, aphids, and scale insects, you'll be glad to know that oil sprays can combine with good garden sanitation to stifle many of them.
Spruce Up Garden Furnishings
Bright sun, humid air, and rainfall can take a toll on garden furnishings. Sanding and new paint will spruce up wooden pieces, but don't forget to tighten the screws, too. Plastic pieces can fade, but new paints made for these surfaces work well. Pick your garden signature color and freshen up the furniture.
Test Your Soil
Lots of gardening advice exhorts us to test our soil, and this is a good time of year to do it if you need to 1) determine whether lime is needed to grow a healthy lawn or vegetable garden, and 2) diagnose why little or nothing grows well in a particular area.