Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Lower South

December, 2005
Regional Report

Bring In the Berries

Cut branches of berrying plants to brighten an indoor arrangement. Yaupon and possumhaw hollies are great native choices. Keep in mind that yaupon holly berries are poisonous and should be avoided if small children are around. Other berry good choices for brightening a winter day in the lower south include standard nandina, pyracantha, and several other species of landscape hollies.

Grow More Salads

Here in the south we can grow many salad vegetables all winter. Plant lettuce in small sections every two weeks to keep you in fresh salads all winter. Other winter greens include spinach, arugula, kale, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, green onions, and chard. Give these cool-weather veggies a cover on a bitter cold night, and they'll keep going all winter.

Extend the Life of Holiday Plants

To keep your poinsettias and holiday cactus beautiful, maintain the soil moisture and provide them with bright light. Remove the plastic or foil pot wrap, drench the soil, allow it to drain well, and then replace the pot wrapping. Keep them out of warm drafts and they should provide more than a month or two of beauty.

Prepare Landscape Equipment For Winter

Drain gasoline from power tools and run the engine until fuel in the carburetor is used up before storing them for winter. Drain and store garden hoses and watering equipment in a readily accessible location in case they are needed during an extended winter dry spell. Water left in a hose can cause damage to the hose when it freezes.

Clean Up Flower Beds

Now that a few freezes have zapped the remains of our warm-season flowers, it's time to remove the annual plants and cut back the top growth on the perennials. Then apply a layer of mulch to deter winter weeds. Areas to be planted in spring can be prepared now by rototilling in an inch of compost.


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