Photo: Ralph Anderson
Grow Now: Paperwhites
With fragrant flowers and multiple blooms, paperwhites are seasonal favorites. Great for a new gardener or one with a green thumb, these bulbs are so carefree that they don't even have to be planted in soil to bloom (they can grow in pebbles or water). Start by choosing large, plump bulbs from a garden center or a mail-oder source. Select a glazed pot or bowl, and fill partway with pebbles; place bulbs on pebbles. Add a few more pebbles to support the bulbs. Pour in water up to the bases of the bulbs. Flowers should appear in three to six weeks. Stake, if needed (just cut bare branches from your yard). No time for all that? Buy bulbs prepotted and ready to grow. Easy - and remember, they make great gifts!
Buy Now: Sasanqua Camellias
These evergreens work great in pots and as specimens, espaliers, or hedges. Try 'Orchid,' 'Kanjiro,' 'Pink-a-Boo,' 'Bella Rouge,' 'Bonanza,' and 'Inspiration.' Some of these are in the SL Plant Collection. Buy sasanquas at your local nursery.
Piles of leaves can become wet blankets after rains smother your grass. Rake leaves from your lawn regularly throughout the fall, or gather them with the bagging attachment on your mower. Add the chopped leaves to shrub beds or flower beds to mulch plants and enrich your soil.
In the Lower and Coastal South, dig up and divide daisies, irises, and daylilies. Use a garden fork. Gently pull apart lifted plants with your hands. Set divisions back at the original growing depth, firm soil around plants, and water.
The elegant foliage of these beautiful houseplants will illuminate any room in your home. Leaf colors can come in pinks, purples, greens, and silvers (they pair perfectly with the blooms of African violets). They prefer bright, indirect light. Let the soil dry slightly between waterings.
In the Lower and Coastal South, the blooms of the Confederate rose (Hibiscus mutabilis) will surprise you with their size and beauty. Flowers can be 4 to 6 inches across, opening white or pink and then turning red.