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Old 06-13-2010, 06:03 PM
Location: Knoxville, TN
2,172 posts, read 6,991,713 times
Reputation: 1527


Oops. Should have said you can't grow lettuce here during the summer. I do get it at the farmers' markets in Spring and Fall but I was thinking of not being able to get it now when the tomatoes are getting really good.
This whole thing started as part of a post about flowers and veggies that don't do well in the heat of the summer in the South.
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Old 06-14-2010, 03:00 PM
2,063 posts, read 6,707,289 times
Reputation: 2723
When I read the initial diatribe I had the same sense of 'in the North things are much better' that gets so many hackles up here. I'm originally from the north and it bothered me!!! For the life of me I can't even understand the OP's complaint since she herself DOES NOT GARDEN with the exception of some killed balcony plants! To generalize a whole region based on limited exposure to an area that is all new and suburban, with the prerequisite 'landscaping' of those who never leave air conditioned comfort to do anything just seems especially strange.

Originally Posted by syracusa View Post
That's what I thought too; but then again, we went through many places in the larger state of Georgia as well as Alabama and a bit of Tennessee- and I don't see much difference from your typical Atlanta suburb in the way of "flowers surrounding the house".

Maybe if you traveled off of the interstates and major highways to communities of similar age and financial means you might have made a real comparison. New Atlanta is not the same as old Massachusetts, as is the climate for growing. The fixation on the annual Geraniums in pots as gardening might make the comparison a bit difficult, too, since many of the southern gardeners I have met, including those that just have flower pots includes a greater variety of plants than I ever found "up north' where the least "green thumbs" went for a pot of geraniums already planted and stuck it on the front porch. That kind of gardening will likely get you dead geraniums in the southern heat.

It must be the hot weather after all and people's disinclination to be outside and fuss over flower pots or what have you, when you deal with 90+ temperatures and high humidity. After all, I myself only tried flowers on the balcony only once when we were there and we managed to kill them in two weeks top. Never tried anything else ever since.
Originally Posted by syracusa View Post
Yes, pelargoniums. I have read about pelargoniums being incorrectly called geraniums by the general public, so this is why I called them that way.

Either way, it is encouraging to hear that it CAN be done in the South - in case we move back, which we probably will, in a year or two top.

When I brought those three geranium (that is, pelargonium) cuttings from Europe, it was end of July in Atlanta; they bloomed soon but not much and the plants were thin and leggy. Not much foliage and modest blooms. But I was still glad I got a flower. T
Then they began getting some kind of spots on them and I knew something was going wrong. Finally, in December my husband drove them cross country to Massachusetts, forgot them in the car overnight somewhere on the way, and the northern winter took care of them in a few hours. Next day he found them frozen. Yey.

Spring came and I was so excited to see that all stores in Massachusetts, even grocery stores, were selling the geranium I had struggled to fly over the ocean and then move cross country in a car.
Final conclusion: what an idiot.
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
you have obviously hit a nerve accusing Southerns of not loving natural beauty and being too lazy. We Southerners are tired of Northerners coming to our beautiful region and start whining about "Up north we have such and such" and "why don't you people have this and that"

We hear it all the time and get tired of it. Would you go into somebody's home and say "Why is your sofa covered in that yucky fabric?' or "In my house I have the most beautiful rugs. You should have some too."

That is what your original post sounds like and we take offense.
I took offense to the picture painted of an entire region because the OP couldn't figure out how to buy geraniums, which in this part of the south are available in front of nearly every grocery store, Home Depot and Lowe's as well as seasonal plant stands and farm stand I have been to. There are more plant selling places available here than I ever had in the north, and I have met more gardeners in a short period of time here than I did up there. There are less Geraniums and more of other plants at all of those sources, however, so maybe this is the Op's problem?

Originally Posted by knoxgarden View Post
Instead of pining for what you didn't have -- geraniums -- you should have looked for what you could grow. Those don't do well with hot Southern nights. They prefer the cooler nights you get in Northern States along with full sun during the day. I thought about buying some when I was in Lowe's the other day, but knew from experience they would be dead in July. The full sun is too hot for them here. That's true of a lot of things. I would love to grow Sweet Peas. That's not going to happen. Too hot. Lettuce? Same thing.
There are many plants that flourish in the South that you probably never heard of. Sweet shrub is one.
Southerners love flowers and gardening. And preserve a lot of the heirloom flowers that may not be as showy as the new fancy hybrids but have a beauty and charm of their own.
Maybe the showy part is what the OP is hung up on, as I never have thought it was really gardening to have pots of plants all around. To me pots are what lazy non gardeners (or the very inexperienced wanna-be gardener) buy preplanted to set out on their back deck or patio. It also seems to be the plant of choice for urban balconies, NOT true gardens. I've got those, too, mixed in with other plants on my deck, except I plant them from scratch. They don't grow as lushly as they did in NY and I am not big on them anyway; they have always seemed somewhat common to me. By comparison one of my very southern neighbors has tons of impatiens in baskets beneath her many trees, and spots filled with annual vinca as well as some zinnia, but it is all low key, mostly close to the ground. If you drive by quickly they won't register in a big splashy way as a window box with preplanted geraniums might When you get a bit closer her whole yard actually has a ton of smaller and unusual perennials, a huge variety of lilies and dwarf trees. It isn't "showy" like a bunch of pots filled with geraniums but it is certainly more gardening than those pots will ever be. Several of the neighbors up and down the street have added plants to areas around their yards, none is an avid gardener but everyone seems to like to have some color around. The least colorful one is actually one that is very much tended, because that neighbor has planted an edible garden... she plants only those things that will provide food or spice. Of course I am rubbing off on her now, too, since she has added some decorative plants. LOL

Since I also have family spread between TX, VA, NC, TN, SC and some formerly down in FL I have seen gardens in many southern states. Any place fairly newly built up (Atlanta is a prime example!) tends to look suburban bland but everywhere I went there were gardens, garden centers and gardeners. European cities I have been to seemed to have more plants in pots visible on the whole than in American cities, but as I said earlier I don't think that qualifies as gardening. Maybe we should all be defining what "gardening" and "south" mean because I have not had the same first hand experience as the OP.
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Old 06-14-2010, 11:29 PM
Location: Native Floridian, USA
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I guess we tole her, huh.........LOL
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Old 06-15-2010, 01:29 AM
Location: Spokane via Sydney,Australia
6,613 posts, read 11,554,053 times
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Originally Posted by J&Em View Post
Maybe the showy part is what the OP is hung up on, as I never have thought it was really gardening to have pots of plants all around. To me pots are what lazy non gardeners (or the very inexperienced wanna-be gardener) buy preplanted to set out on their back deck or patio. It also seems to be the plant of choice for urban balconies, NOT true gardens.
Sometimes we are restricted to container gardening (rentals etc) but sorry, I STILL consider that "gardening", and until I get my own place again it will have to suffice.
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:31 AM
Location: Coastal Georgia
39,093 posts, read 48,037,614 times
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Well it looks like you struck a nerve, but I sort of get what you are saying.
Firstly, I would think that geramiums would do very well here, since they like full sun.
I am new to GA and while we are in a very well manicured neighborhood, it is pretty devoid of flowers. Everyone has the same, ubiquitous shrubs and trees, and the dreaded pinestraw. I've already figured out it's because it's so dang hot that I'd need to spend my life watering.
I noticed that there was a nice healthy looking hydrangea up the street, so I bought one and planted it. If I don't water it every day it starts to crash. I'll give it until next spring and then it's on it's own.
I hung a lovely planter full of live plants on my front door, with visions of a billowing cascade of impatiens and vines etc., and the same is true for that. I check it 2x a day for fear it will dry out (it's been in the 100s this week) and it's barely making it.
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Old 06-16-2010, 01:17 PM
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,498 posts, read 45,489,802 times
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a friend of mine hung a beautiful live wreath on her front door only to have birds build a nest in it. Ahhhh---isn't that sweet until the babies hatched and the entire front door became covered in bird poop. Soon it covered the front porch and she can't wait for the whole family to leave.
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Old 07-12-2010, 04:59 AM
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 68,663,387 times
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I believe the OP's main observation (aside from geraniums) was that the FRONT of most houses in the South did not have much in the way of gardens.

I think we all agree that most of us in the South spend our energy gardening around the patio/decks in the back. (I am in Charlotte, but have lived other places and have family and friends in Atlanta burbs)

I would also mention that in my region of the South, wh/ also includes Atlanta, we were in a drought that lasted for four seasons, and we were not allowed to water plants except on a mandated schedule. When that occurred, we had to forego planting in the front and cut back on what we planted in the back, as we simply could not keep things alive without more frequent watering.

Sadly, we lost a lot of foundation plants in the front (7), many on the sides and back of house, and several trees b/c we couldn't water over four seasons.

I would also mention that in new subdivisions, HOA restrictions often dictate just what can be put in the front. I know of one subdivision that only allows azaleas near the street level, and only in odd numbers (3, 5, 7, etc) clumped together - and they have to be a particular variety and color. I know of other subdivisions that do not allow any sort of fountain, sundial, etc. in the front yard and they prescribe how many feet any flower bed can extend from the house.

Here in Charlotte, we put out pansies as soon as the frost is over, but by May, they are dead and we have to tear them out and plant something else (we typically put in impatiens, cause they are simple and cheap). To me, it is a pain in the tookus to have to replant again, so after 4 years of not planting anything (due to drought) . . . this year we didn't put out the pansies and I was fine with that.

My neighborhood does not have strict rules on front landscaping, so we installed a fountain and a rose garden in the front. However, we had to tear out the rose garden this month b/c evidently, the ice storms this winter killed our roses, wh/ had survived since 2002. I don't know that I will put them back in. That was an expensive loss.

So I am wondering how much of what OP has seen was affected by both drought situations (or water restrictions, in general) and by HOA restrictions. I know these two factors have certainly affected neighborhoods where I live in south Charlotte.

I think from now on, I am gonna concentrate my gardening efforts on the back of our yard as far as any annuals (I have a lot of perennials back there now) . . . and I doubt I am going to spend as much effort on the front of the house.

I might add . . . with the style of home many of us have in Charlotte (all brick Georgians) hanging baskets on the front look too casual. On a brick Georgian, any hanging baskets would be appropriate only in the back on most homes. I would be very surprised (and probably find it unattractive) to have hanging baskets on the front of most homes in my area, as they are somewhat formal and don't have "porches" as such.
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Old 07-14-2010, 08:55 PM
Location: NC
4,534 posts, read 7,528,058 times
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OP...you've hit on some of the reasons...a biggie being the heat and amt of water it takes to maintain the type of garden you are referring to. I am in Raleigh, NC, originally from the UK. I love gardening just as many of my neighbors do who are from the South, NY/NJ, you name it. But in the last few yrs we have had water restrictions due to drought conditions. In our area based on odd and even # of your home address, you can water on alternate days. With most flowering plants, if your yard is full sun or mostly sunny, this isn't enough water to stop them from drying up. I know that Atlanta has had the same issues.

However, I do also know what you mean about some of the new homes...big, nice, but they have the typical builder grade shrubs. You have to realize that many people who own those homes are often young, early career. They spend more time on their career and squeeze in leisure time rather than using it working in the yard. Many don't have a clue what to do with a yard, they are learning, just as we all have had to.

I suspect Atlanta is like any other Southern city, if you go into the older neighborhoods, or the more upscale or historic ones, you will find the kind of yards you expected to see. As for container gardening, hanging baskets, window boxes...I have some of those, and see them in the older neighborhoods here. Again, it depends on the style of house and interest of the homeowner. Right now the heat is taking out a lot of my plants, it's so hot it is scorching the leaves of my camelia bush and my grass is brown even after watering it 3 days/wk. I imagine Atlanta is even worse.

BTW- there is a huge Southern culture of beautiful home gardens and vegetable gardens, Aboretum's, etc.. I'm sorry you never got to see this.
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Old 03-24-2011, 07:21 AM
Location: Silver Springs, FL
23,417 posts, read 32,621,474 times
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Originally Posted by graceangela9 View Post
According to me south people keep them busy in technologies or their area of interest is taste.But north people are mostly nature loving therefore they are much intersted in gardening .
You've obviously never been to the South.
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Old 03-24-2011, 07:57 AM
Location: Two Rivers, Wisconsin
12,265 posts, read 12,008,540 times
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Wow! I see this post is very active! I really HATE generalizations! Moving 140 miles from NE Illinois to NE Wisc., people said, you will hate winter (similar to Illinois with more snow), you love plants, you won't have much of a summer to grow anything!

Where do people get these ideas??? When you live in a different area, climate, you learn to adjust and grow things that work well with heat/cold. This is not rocket science, although a little common sense does help!!!

Now my sister in Upper Michigan has a shorter season than I do, so she does patio tomatoes so she can roll the tub around to catch the sunshine. There is a poster on here, who lives up by Ashland (think Lake Superior) she has a garden.

Years ago I had a friend who moved from So. Cal to Atlanta, hated it at first. She said it is so hot, I can't grow anything! Gradually she got a handle on it! I always went to visit in April when things were just starting up north and her yard was always so nice!

Sorry for the long post, but plants, yards, gardens are what you make them no matter where you are!
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