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December 2011 • Southern Rural Route

Make it your New Year’s Resolution to transform yourself from a brown thumb to a green thumb. Grow food in 2012! Here’s how to get started on the cheap: Save a gallon milk jug, water jug or nursery pot. Cut the milk jug in half and toss the spout end. Poke some holes in the bottom and bottom edges with an ice pick or drill. Buy a small bag of good quality potting soil … Read More

I dropped in to see my car insurance agent. While waiting in the lobby, I spied these itty, itty bitty pinecones in a dish beside me. They were about 1 or 1.5 inches long and a half inch wide. I went bug-eyed at such a small pinecone. Immediately, my greedy gardener’s mind said, “Ooooo, I wonder if they have any seeds?” Not that I would have stolen my agent’s pinecone but a … Read More

I just stuck my hand out the door and waved it around.  My hand did not encounter 70 degrees so I snatched it back in and slammed the door. I don’t like cold weather and I don’t like what it does to the garden.  Our two beautiful cypress trees lose all their greenery, the hydrangeas get some sort of spotted dog disease, and precious little blooms. Each time the weatherman … Read More

The weeds found my plot of paradise, long ago, without benefit of the bug’s air traffic controller. Stachys floridana was the most annoying for many years. It is also known as Florida Betony or Rattlesnake Weed because of underground tubers resembling the tail of a rattlesnake. Assuming, of course, the rattlesnakes in your neck of the woods are albino because the tuber is … Read More

This is justicia carnea more commonly known as Jacobinia, Brazilian plume, King’s Crown or Plume Flower. It hails from South America and grows in the U.S. in Zones 9 to 11 but will come back from the root in Zone 8. It was blooming yesterday next to the steps where I have about 3 plants in filtered shade. I have another 5 or 6 in the Wildflower Bed grouped in a mass planting in … Read More

Due to budgetary constraints, clothing is not high on my list of discretionary purchases. Shoes don’t even make the list. I know, it’s a gender anomaly but I have a lot of them. Most of my gardening shoes are $3 canvas flats from back in the days when you could still get canvas flats for $3 on clearance at the end of summer. Needless to say, I haven’t purchased any in recent … Read More

My cousin asked me what I did about bugs in my new 12×25 spring garden plot. “I don’t have bugs,” I replied, my brows knitting together quizzically. God love him, he didn’t point out my naiveté and I learned the hard way that it takes a while for the bug population to recognize your garden plot as an address. My plot went on the bug radar over the summer. By the fall, my poor … Read More