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Southeast Gardening: Southeast Gardening Tips for 2013

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Southeast gardeners, do you want to garden smarter in 2013? See what lessons you can learn from a Lowe's gardening contributor in Alabama.

A complementary group can include lamb's-ears, White Diamonds hydrangea, Frances Mason golden abelia, white snapdragons and Garden White caladiums.

This is undeniably the season for planning, as well as planting. It is the time when all things seem possible. In my mind’s eye the garden of 2013 will be better than ever. I’ll plant the right plants at the right time in the right places. I will water when the rain doesn’t fall. It will be wonderful. Here’s how I plan to make it happen.

1. Avoid the Trap of Enthusiasm

Rather than planting one of every plant I can find, I will try to plant in groups such as the lamb’s ears (top). This is especially good if the plants are small or subtle. If a plant is a specimen (see ‘Frances Mason’ abelia top), I resolve to make a winning composition with a compatible and visually pleasing combination.

Concrete bird ornament brings a smile to an otherwise humdrum planting.

2. Ban Boring Beds

Areas of peaceful, uninterrupted planting have merit, but I want to have more fun in my garden. I intend to plant surprises by tucking a playful ornament or two where they can be discovered.

3. Mulch More

Not only will pine bark and pine needles shade the weeds and keep beds moist, but an organic blanket also will decay, feeding worms and microorganisms while releasing nutrients into the soil below. Let there be much mulch—say that three times quickly!

4. Find a Purpose

I want to have a purpose and place in mind before I bring a plant home. Although I smile when I visit a gardener and notice that he/she has a holding area like mine, it is really a torture chamber for a plant left too long in its nursery pot, awaiting the perfect spot. Of course I reserve the right to change my mind in my own yard.

Plant lettuce when it’s the right time.

5. Pay Attention to the Seasons

My lack of attention to the rotation of spring, summer and fall vegetables had consequences: less than ideal results. I will plant at the optimum time. I will plan ahead to have the right seeds and plants on hand. And we will all eat a healthier diet with the baskets of fresh produce that I pick from the garden.

Optimistic? Of course. If I don’t dream of a better garden, I will never have one.