Tupelo’s Gardening Experts Tell All

What is your favorite plant to grow indoors? Why?

Marian Hill: My favorite plant to grow indoors is an African Violet, because it’s easy to keep and it blooms again, and is very vibrant when it does. I like color!

What is your favorite kind of gardening to do?

Dodie Caldwell: Container gardening has become a hobby because I have a pool and like to enjoy the backyard. I can change out my containers with the seasons. I mostly use pots, primarily ceramic and clay. They’re filled right now with pansies, violas, and cabbages. I will change that out for summer plants soon. I also grow herbs in containers, and tomatoes do really well. My parsley, as a matter of fact, wintered over, so it is coming back.

When is the best time to start gardening?

Nancy Diffee: For annuals, I don’t start until after Easter. I would say the middle of April is the time to start, because I am trying to get everything in by the beginning of May. So, you still have time!

What is your favorite flower to grow?

Doyce Deas: My favorite is daffodils. I started the project in Tupelo to plant the daffodils all over town. I just love planting bulbs. I also take care of the grounds at First Presbyterian, and we’ve planted thousands of bulbs there over the years. Any true gardener pines for sunshine, and daffodils are the first harbinger of spring. They give me hope of renewal in the Earth. Each fall, I plant thousands all over Tupelo.

What tip would you give a first-time gardener?

Joan Ball: I think one of the most important things is to find out if you have sun or shade before you think about planting anything. That’s going to determine the plants you have. A great example is my next-door neighbor. Their home was damaged by the tornado, and they went from shade to sun and it completely changed what they could grow. I have sun, and I grow a lot of herbs. I basically stick to perennials. I have never been big on annuals, even though they give you a splash of color, but I want something that has a chance of coming back. I am always digging and moving.

You also have to have rich, loose soil and you have to know what your soil’s PH is to know what you can grow.

My basic theory of gardening is if it doesn’t make it, I pull it up and plant something else. I have no rhyme or reason to what I plant where.

Photo by Lauren Wood // Interview by Carmen Cristo


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