By Steve Cummings
If you missed the Wildlife Tasting Buffet, you missed a really good program and some good food. Drew Poppelreiter showed us how he made it all the way to Hollywood on the American Idol show.
His singing was outstanding and I was impressed with his song writing. He performed one of his original songs. Dr. Sherry Surrette, Endangered Species Coordinator for the State Wildlife Department, gave a very informative program on endangered animal and plant species in Mississippi.
The main part of the tasting buffet, of course, is the wildlife dishes. Congratulations to the winners in the wildlife tasting buffet. In the most unusual category the winners were first place – Betty Baker Thomas, second place – Tyler Wortham, and third place – ST. White. Winners in the best tasting category were first place – Eddie Fly, second place – Brian McCullough, and third place – Ronnie Stark. Thanks to all who assisted in making the Wildlife Tasting Buffet Seminar and Buffet a success. Special thanks to Sherry Bennett, Bobbie Williams, and Tony Mason for preparing the wonderful chili and stew.
Grow Anywhere Garden: Container and Raised Beds
If you have space problems, soil problems or physical problems, or if you just want to learn more about this type of gardening this program is for you! Learn how to create and maintain a “garden” in containers and raised beds. Techniques, design tips and suggested plants to create a beautiful, functional and an economical addition to your garden will be covered in this program.
Lelia Kelly, PhD, Consumer Horticulture Specialist, Mississippi State University Extension Service
Learn how to be a better gardener and how to protect yourself, your family, your land, and your environment by practicing some common sense and age old techniques. As gardeners we want to have an attractive, functional landscape, but we also want to leave behind a “positive footprint”. Topics include: How to manage your use of pesticides and other chemicals to lessen the negative impact. How to design for ease of maintenance. How to practice some organic gardening techniques.
Dr. Lelia Kelly, Consumer Horticulture Specialist
Every gardener has perennial flowers. My grandmamma had a peony that flourished in the same location for “nigh on 75 years.” For some of us a definition for a perennial might be, “a plant that will grow indefinitely, if it lives!”
Some tips for perennials: 1. Choose a location that suits the plant. If it needs full sun don’t think it will grow well in shade. If it likes a dry location, don’t think it will grow in an area that floods. 2. Amend the soil if needed. Add organic matter or slow- release fertilizers to improve the soil. 3. Provide maintenance such as supplemental watering during times of drought and keep an eye out for insect and disease problems. Mulch, but keep the mulch away from the crown to prevent disease problems and rotting.
Yes, all of the above are common sense, but one problem that plagues some enthusiastic gardeners is overcrowding due to planting too close or failure to divide when the plants become overcrowded. Overcrowding can lead to several problems—weak plants, less flowers, disease and insect problems and overall an unattractive and unproductive planting. Now, is the time to assess your perennial plantings and take action to nip overcrowding in the bud, so to speak!
To avoid interrupting flowering, dig up summer and fall-blooming perennials when the new growth is a few inches high—that is in the early spring. Now is not the best time to dig up and divide the spring flowering plants such as peony and iris. Some fast-growing perennials need to be divided between one and three years after planting. Some examples of these are: aster, astilbe, beebalm, boltonia, garden mum, garden phlox, rudbeckia, Shasta daisy. Divide ornamental perennial grasses before new growth emerges. Cut back the old culms to within 4 to 6 inches of the ground and use a sharp shovel or in some cases an axe to slice or hack one or more wedges out of the crown. Immediately plant them elsewhere.