Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Coastal and Tropical South
June, 2006
Regional Report

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Individual perennial hibiscus flowers may last only a day or two, but they are plentiful for months.

Annuals and Perennials; Indoors and Out

A few years ago, in an unfortunate development, gardeners began taking sides. Those who like annual flowers, who wait each year for the newest colors and plants introduced from around the world, began to feel snubbed. Perennial enthusiasts bragged that their plants just came up and bloomed every year, giving the distinct impression that annuals (and we who grow them) are somehow unworthy.

Truth is, you can decide to grow any kind of plant you want, and in our region, the lines separating annuals and perennials are quite blurry. In our gardens, annuals often adapt and become "perennialized," reseeding abundantly. Perennials often spread faster than advertised, but few will bloom for years unless we dig and divide them every two or three years.

I say, "Who cares what category our plants are in." Read about the plants you like and grow them, no matter what the neighbors say. Make smart choices, avoid seriously invasive species, and brag when they bloom!

Opting Indoors or Out
If you have a porch, balcony, or lanai, you are on the cutting edge of garden design. Publications are full of "indoor-outdoor relationships," which is really our way of life. Articles suggest that plants can soften the edges of architecture, bring the outdoors in, and smooth the transition between indoors and outside.

Put a pot of bromeliads on the deck, and another on the dining room table to move the eye easily between the two and reinforce the design strengths of both. Growing the same plant in a windowsill indoors and a window box outside has the same effect, as does a pair of hanging pots mirroring each other on either side of a window.

When you place plants, pots, and accessories outside and in, the message is clear: life flows easily between the two parts of your home, sometimes more readily than the breeze.

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