Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Middle South

April, 2011
Regional Report

Plant Fragrant Grasses

Gardeners look to ornamental grasses for texture, movement, and sometimes color in the garden, but what about fragrance? Yes, believe it or not, some grasses also have an appealing scent when brushed or crushed. A few of the best include sweetgrass (Hierochloe odorata), lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus), and citronella grass (Cymbopogon nardus).

Remove Peat Pots

More and more herbs, vegetables, and even some perennials are being sold in peat pots with the notion they should be planted, pot and all, together in the garden. Theoretically, plant roots will grow through the pot and the peat will decay, but this is not always the case. Unless I see roots have begun to grow into the peat, I always remove some or all of the pot, especially the top portion that often rises above the soil. I've found discarded pots make a nice addition to the compost pile, however.

Eradicate Mint and Other Runaways

I've made lots of mistakes as a gardener, but few top planting runaways such as mint, 'Limelight' artemisia, and gooseneck loosestrife. Since these plants spread by runners with multiple growth nodes, all of which can start a new plant, hand weeding only makes the problem worse. Instead of pulling, use a digging fork to lift the soil and then carefully sift it though the tines, removing the plants and as many runners as possible.

Rotate Annuals

Though most annual plants such as marigolds and zinnias are fine when planted in the same spot year after year, it's always a good idea to rotate annuals. Moving things around or trying something new will confuse the bugs, help avoid nutrient depletion, prevent the buildup of soil-borne diseases, and best of all, stave off boredom.

Clean Cloudy Vases

If a good scrub with soapy water fails to get your glass vases clean, try a 15 minute soak in a mix of hot water and white vinegar. If this doesn't do the trick, fill the vase with hot water again and add two or three tablets of denture cleaner. Allow the container to sit at least two hours before rinsing and drying with a soft cloth.


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