Ava Middleton is a garden writer and garden coach who maintains a cottage garden on a small lot in historic Midtown Memphis, Tennessee. Her postage-stamp front cottage garden is an ever-changing tapestry, taking on new characteristics each season. Her garden Zone is 7B. She is an avid plant collector and is a featured garden writer for The Commercial Appeal newspaper in Memphis. She is a member of The Garden Writer's Association and travels to visit gardens whenever possible. Some of her favorite plants include hydrangeas, heucheras and long-blooming perennials, such as salvia and coreopsis.

Recent Blog Posts

May 07
Gardening Through Generations  

Mar 19
Garden Surprises   (2 comments)

Apr 19
Modern Cottage Gardening  

Feb 21
The Petunia’s Last Stand  




The Petunia’s Last Stand
by Ava Middleton - posted 02/21/12

The petunia in fall

I’ve been fascinated by a petunia in a planter basket on my front porch. Although straggly and leggy, it somehow has hung on despite intermittent freezing temperatures. Once I realized that the first night below 32 degrees didn’t kill it, I’ve been allowing it to hang on, watching it in fascination. While it does receive some protection from the porch overhead, it’s not really in what you would think of as a protected area. Although we are having a warmer winter, we certainly have had a number of nights well below 32 degrees. I’m sure my neighbors wonder why I have this straggly plant versus a basket overflowing with pansies. I feel like it deserves a chance if it’s that willing to hang on, so I’m waiting to see if it’s going to be able to make it to spring. If it does, it will be interesting to see if it can rebound completely and whether it will be more susceptible or less susceptible to disease.


The petunia in February




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