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Plants that keep on giving



  So maybe you did not get the great gardener gifts that you wanted for Christmas. If you received money instead, think about purchasing something that will give you pleasure for years to come.

Daphne odora Ďalbaí in bud.          Special photo

  I love Amaryllis - canít help myself. Itís like magic; one day they are just a dead looking ugly bulb and within a short week or two, they have produced a giant mass of flowers.  They are just amazing for long-term growth and many will survive our temperatures if planted outside. If you find those red ones on sale, buy them for your flowerbed - they will bloom in the late spring every year. I collect different sizes and colors and keep them in pots. Potted ones bloom best if grown throughout the summer and dried off in September (no water at all) and are allowed to lose their foliage. Then you begin watering in mid-November for Christmas or New Year bloom. The most beautiful Amaryllis pot that I have ever seen was one that was allowed to reproduce for years and repotted up from a 6-inch pot each year to a size larger until it had 7 bulbs in a 14-inch pot and all of the bulbs produced a flower stalk at the same time. Wow!

  A bag of daffodils can still be planted if you can find them. There may still be some on-line at bulb companies with deep discounts. Love to plant them this time of year - they will bloom with the tulips. Of course next year, they will bloom at their regular late winter/early spring. I know of daffodils and narcissus that have survived and continue to bloom for 50 years. They are a real investment in the garden. Next summer and fall plan to order a variety of kinds to make your gloomy winter days sparkle.

  Daphne odora has to be on every gardenerís list. This sensitive shrub is evergreen, with an attractive shape that only gets (at best) about 3 feet tall. The clusters of tiny flowers fill a winter garden with a scent that would make Chanel envious. The reason it is sensitive has to do with drainage in the root zone - not cold weather. Be sure to work the soil very well and even mound it up so that this plant never rests its roots in soggy soil. It will not survive poor drainage. I have always said that Daphne is a plant that will eventually break your heart - when it does, plant another and then plant another. She is worth the heartbreak.

  For those of you who just want a good show in the landscape with no problems, choose one of the many hollies that are available in the nursery. Know the different sizes and choose one that is appropriate for your spot. The Red Holly cultivars are superb. Hollies have outdone themselves this year with berries - good year for fruit.

  Evergreen trees such as Chamaecyparis and Arborvitae species and cultivars always make a southern garden beautiful in winter. Be careful to choose the proper height and width to fit the space.  Many of them grow very quickly into mammoth specimens here in our warm climate.

  This is a wonderful time to visit your local nursery and look at plants that make your garden a beautiful place in our mild winter days. It is also a great time to plant hardy shrubs and trees.  

  This is definitely a gardenerís time of the year.

  By the way, Wilson Brothers Nursery in McDonough can help you with your Japanese Persimmon acquisition.



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