Cummings and Goings in Agriculture

Saddle Club Represents Yalobusha At State Show

The Yalobusha County Homemaker’s Council will present a program on self-defense.  Sheriff Lance Humphreys will conduct this program at the Yalobusha County Multipurpose Building on September 18 at 10 a.m.  This program is free and open to the public.  Everyone is encouraged to attend and learn some helpful steps on self-defense.

The State of Mississippi Championship Horse Show was held this past weekend in Jackson.  Several Coffeeville Saddle Club members qualified for the show and placed extremely well.  Shae Ward was named the Junior High Point Gaited Exhibitor for the 2007 state show.  She placed second in Junior Gaited and third in Padded and Flat Shod Gaited.      

She also won first in both 13- 17 year-old Western Pleasure and 13 – 17 year-old Walk Trot.  In addition, Delta Gill won first place in Junior Gaited and sixth in Gaited Trail Pleasures.  Casey Moss won Pony Halter 48” and Under, and placed sixth in Buck-A-Roo. C.J. Easley placed fifth in Lead Line.  

In the adult classes, Kim Moss placed second in Hunter Under Saddle, and Julie Stevens placed seventh in Ladies Gaited.  Several other Coffeeville Saddle Club members that live out of the county and do not show 4-H in Yalobusha County also placed well.  Tri Lakes Western Horse Show Association did very well in the state show.  All Tri-Lakes shows are held at the Yalobusha County Multipurpose Building.  Congratulations to all of these exhibitors.

 Horticulture Tips:

The National Weather Service forecast for October through December predicts higher than normal temperatures and normal rainfall.  This means that the warm season crops you now have in the garden should keep producing a little longer than normal. It does not mean that frost will be later, but it does mean temperatures should not be as cold and protecting plants from short intervals of low temperatures should be worthwhile. Who knows, you may be able to pick the green beans for Thanksgiving from your own garden.

Speaking of Thanksgiving dinner, adventuresome gardeners may be able to grow their own English peas.  Short vined, short season varieties such as Knight, Dakota, and Spring still have time to make peas before the feast.  It is still too warm for best success with peas, but gardeners looking for a challenge should try a packet. Peas for Christmas should be planted at the end of September and later maturing varieties such as Laxton and Mr. Big can be used.

The Autumnal equinox is September 23 this year. This is the day when sunrise to sunset (or sunset to sunrise, depending on your point of view) is twelve hours long. Decreasing day length means more days to harvest for plants started now.  Shorter days also mean fewer hours to work in the garden, so plan accordingly.

Best Fall Salvias for Mississippi Gardens

Have your summer-flowering annuals and perennials peaked and just about dried slap dab up?  Mine surely have!  Especially since we have had one of the worst droughts on record.  Thank goodness I have a bunch of salvias in my garden that are tough and really come into their own in the cooler temperatures of early fall. If you have some of these garden stalwarts you can be thankful, too, if not, read on to learn more about these great plants.

Mexican bush sage, Salvia leucantha, is a true fall perennial. It produces scads of purple flowers from late summer to the first frost.  This is no garden pixie either. It produces the flowers on 3-5 foot high plants—even taller in some parts of the state. It truly is a showstopper in the fall garden.  Don’t be fooled into thinking because of the word “sage” in the common name that this is a culinary plant, as it is not edible.

‘Indigo Spires’ is a robust and floriferous salvia for the fall garden that begins flowering in summer and just keeps right on going all the way until frost.   John MacGregor, a horticulturist who found it growing in the Huntington Botanical Garden in the 1970s, introduced this chance hybrid of S. farinacea and S. longispicata to gardeners. It is a perennial that can reach heights of 6 feet or more. It does tend to flop which is perfectly fine in my garden as I have it planted behind a rather stout lantana that tolerates the floppy salvia well.  ‘Mystic Spires’ is the dwarf version at around 18-24” in height.

Other great salvias for fall include, one of my personal favorites, S. uliginosa, or Bog Sage and yes, you can grow it in dry areas.  Despite it’s funny name it is a perfectly beautiful tall (6’) plant that has flowers the color of a clear, summer sky. The poets called the color azure. I call it sky blue. I love this plant. Propagate it by division of the crown or it does reseed around the garden. Mealy-cup sage, S farinacea, forsythia sage, S. madrensis, and S. guarantica-which doesn’t really have a common name, are all great selections for the fall garden. Mealy cup is not dependably winter hardy in my far north Mississippi garden, (Zone 7), and it is one of the shorter salvias (18”) with bluish-purple flowers. Forsythia sage is an anomaly in this family of red, blue and purple flowers, as it has gorgeous yellow flowers and supposedly is winter hardy all the way to Raleigh, NC.

All the salvias are hummingbird magnets and all these listed grow best in full sun.  Most tend to be tall and floppy and can be pruned back or deadheaded, as well, to keep in bounds and blooming until Jack Frost gets them.

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