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Your USDA Hardiness Zone

Featured Articles!

Backyard Birds
Keep feathered friends flocking to your garden

"Tea-kettle, tea-kettle,"sings the little Carolina wren as it crouches in the garden shed waiting for the most opportune moment to sneak from its perch to the suet hanging from the old oak tree. Nearby, a shy and diminutive Carolina chickadee scolds the gray squirrel with a "chickadee-dee-dee" for stealing the small sunflower seeds that were destined for his early morning breakfast.

>> read “Backyard Birds”    
Branch Rot of Annual Vinca

Branch and stem rot can be a major disease problem for annual vinca (Catharanthus roseus) once the disease organism has been introduced into the residential or commercial landscape environment. This disease is caused by a soil-borne fungus called Phytophthora parasitica that can persist in the soil for several years. Under conditions of overhead watering or heavy rainfall, this disease can spread rapidly in a vinca planting. The fungus is often ...

>> read “Branch Rot of Annual Vinca”    
Making a Comeback
Self Seeding Annuals and Biennials

I will never forget the year I planted my front flowerbed near the road. To my delight, I literally had cars stopping in front of my house and strangers coming by to ask about my beautiful garden. Of course, it was not the switch grass and daylilies that everyone was so enamored with. My showstopping combination was a haphazard mix of blue larkspur and red poppies. A friend gave me the seeds and I literally threw them over the garden in mid-November, thinking they might help add a little color while the perennials were filling out.

>> read “Making a Comeback”    
Prime Perennials for Shady Areas

A shady garden is much more than a place that is not dominated by sun. A leafy ceiling, a soft brown floor and pretty plants that come and go with the seasons make a shade garden an irresistible spot to relax and feel the cool beauty of Mother Nature as she likes things to be. After all, if we did not need open spaces for our houses and roads, the forests that once covered the South would slowly return.

>> read “Prime Perennials for Shady Areas”    
First Aid for Summer Squash

As we enter mid-July with August right around the corner, there are some pretty rough-looking summer squash patches that I have visited around the state in my role as a vegetable specialist. From backyard gardens to commercial growers, everyone that has grown summer squash knows the challenges that the late season can dish out ...

>> read “First Aid for Summer Squash”       #Advice   #Disease   #Pests
Gear Up for Cold Weather Gardening

It’s hard to keep an avid gardener cooped up inside all winter. The gardener starts to go stir crazy and, in turn, drives all those around her – those who are perfectly content to remain cozied up on the couch, mind you – just as crazy. But on the coldest winter days it can be just as difficult for the gardener to put on enough layers to keep out the chill without morphing into an awkward creature that ambles through the garden like the unfortunate love child of Sasquatch and a penguin.

>> read “Gear Up for Cold Weather Gardening”    
Variegated Plants
Exclamation Points in the Garden

When I designed the perennial border in the garden of our first home, it was a process of trial and error. All the books I studied told me I should first create an evergreen “backbone” to provide year-round interest, and plant so that something of interest was blooming each season.

>> read “Variegated Plants”    
Putting Your Equipment to Bed for the Winter

As we head into the later months of autumn and get closer to winter, our minds are filled with thoughts of a Thanksgiving feast, Christmas trees and New Year’s celebrations. Perhaps the last thing we think about is our garden or landscape, since most of us tend to put these on autopilot during the cooler months. While our gardens and landscape can survive the cold winter months without much assistance ...

>> read “Putting Your Equipment to Bed for the Winter”    
Edible Chrysanthemum
They're yellow and they're tasty. Try the Chrysanthemum

Every family in the Gu's village where I spent my childhood had a row of edible chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum nankingense) along the north side of their house and very close to the wall. Starting in early summer we pick the tender tips, about 1 inch long, and use them in stir-fry or soup. It has a very refreshing taste. This continues until early or midfall, depending on whether we want flowers. Picking encourages more growing tips (and flowers later on) and keeps the plant short and rounded. It flowers in late fall if picking stops around early fall. In late fall, tons of tiny, 1/2 inch golden yellow flowers cover and fill the plant. [Edible chrysanthemum brings sunshine to the landscape in late fall.] Edible chrysanthemum is the most shade-tolerant and pruning-tolerant chrysanthemum that I have ever seen. It not only flowers on the outside, but also the inside of the plant canopy, probably because of its shade tolerance.

>> read “Edible Chrysanthemum”       #Hot Plants
Fragrant Gardens
Captured by the Spell of the Smell

I was walking on a Caribbean beach one evening heading toward a favorite spot for jerked chicken when I was captured by the fragrance of a large, blooming shrub. Now if I were relegated to growing only one plant for the rest of my life, it would be that plant, the night-blooming jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum).

>> read “Fragrant Gardens”    
Rose Black Spot

Rose black spot is perhaps the most devastating disease of roses in the South. This disease is caused by a fungus (Diplocarpon rosae) that attacks the foliage of many rose varieties in home landscapes. Many dedicated rose growers battle black spot year after year. The disease can flare up virtually anytime of the year when the leaves remain wet for a period of six or more hours at a time. Frequent rainfall with cloudy days or periods of high humidity can result in disease onset.

>> read “Rose Black Spot”    
Trees for Winter Interest
It’s all about the bark and berries.

Bark is beautiful. Berries are also beautiful. So says Dr. Leonard O. Miller, who suggests selecting and planting items for winter interest. Dr. Miller is the developer of Lendonwood Gardens in Grove, Okla., and donated the property to a nonprofit corporation in January 1997. Lendonwood Gardens is at its peak in the spring and summer.

>> read “Trees for Winter Interest”    
 
 
 

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