Meridian Star


March 2, 2014

Three garden shows offer treats to state

MERIDIAN — Medical issues made it really tough on me this past year to do garden and landscape-related activities. At this point, I’m ready to start putting plants in the ground!

    I know there are plenty of other gardeners in the same boat, and we all suffer from cabin fever that seems to set in earlier every year. So of course we are in the midst of the never-ending winter.

    Our cold weather has not been constant but is spaced out about every two weeks. When it gets warmer for a couple of days, the big box stores put out some annuals. I even saw tomato plants for sale at the end of February, even though we are at least six weeks from the last frost date.

    What arrives in the mail isn’t helping matters. You’re probably being bombarded with colorful seed and plant catalogs. I’ve received no less than 15 different catalogs, not to mention duplicates, just in case I missed the first three mailings.

    What’s a frustrated, spring-fever-ridden gardener supposed to do?

    March is going to be a good month to help Mississippi gardeners get ideas and scratch those gardening itches. Three really good gardening shows happen in March. No matter where you live in Mississippi, you will be fairly close to one of these:

    • Coast Garden and Patio Show, March 7-9, in Biloxi

    • Jackson Garden and Patio Show, March 14-16, in Jackson

    • Everything Garden Expo, March 21-22, in Starkville

    These events are great opportunities for the home gardener to get inspired to plant the newest trees, shrubs, and flowering annuals and perennials for the home landscape and garden. Daily seminars will feature some of the leading horticulture and landscape professionals in the Southeast.

    There will be flowering plants available that are sure to hold you over until spring finally returns. Two if my early-spring favorites are African daisy and pericallis, which add some landscape color. Both like the lower, early-spring temperatures and can be used exactly like the mums we use in the fall.

    African daisies have that familiar center disk and colorful petals, and they come in colors ranging from white to yellow to bluish purple. Some selections have spoon-shaped petals that add more visual interest.

    Senetti pericallis have a color palette that is more in the blue to purple range. There are even bicolor selections that have attractive center white halos. Both of these plants work well as single container plants or as colorful additions to combination containers. Their colors combine well with golden yellow Lysimacchia –commonly called Creeping Jenny – that spills out over the container edge.

    The upcoming shows will also have vender displays from local garden centers and landscape professionals, many of which will have display gardens. A new feature for the coast and Jackson shows is gardening demonstrations for adults and children.

    Come to one of these shows for the chance to see how good these beautiful plants could look in your landscape and learn how to grow them successfully.

    • Dr. Gary Bachman is an assistant Extension research professor of horticulture at the Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi.

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