When plans start including Encore azaleas, drift roses, knockout roses and colorful annuals like petunias, salvias and begonias, it means spring is fast approaching and it’s time to liven up the yard with color and greenery.
These are the typical bestsellers in spring, said Jennifer Osburn, owner of Martin’s Nursery in Luling. They are loved for their colors and ability to do well in the Louisiana climate.
For more choices and growing tips, Osburn also refers customers to the LSU AgCenter’s Super Plant program to identify “super plants” or those tested as most suitable for Louisiana. They include everything from flowers to citrus trees.
“Louisiana super plants have been put to the test, trialed in experimental gardens and all prove to be outstanding performers for our heat, our cold, too much or too little water … whatever Louisiana can throw at them,” she said.
While flowers are a yearly favorite for landscaping and beautifying, Osburn said herbs have been popular for years.
In landscaping, Osburn said the trend is moving to formal gardening with many shades of green and textures.
The ongoing customer request is for low-maintenance gardening.
“I think this can be achieved with some minor work,” she said. “The most important thing is keeping weeds to a minimum and the rest kind of takes care of itself with proper plant selections. I think that’s what a garden center offers is knowledge to help you choose the proper plants.”
Osburn said container vegetable gardening inside boxes made of wood such as cross ties, bricks or metal like tin is easy to maintain, weed and keep neat.
Gardeners are inclined to work at it because it’s manageable and feels manageable, which promotes a feel of success with growing vegetables.
“I really do see that, especially when you get a tomato that’s been grown in a hothouse and doesn’t have as much zest to it when you compare it to something homegrown,” she said.
Growing a small garden in pots is especially good for people with limited space or ability to handle a larger garden, Osburn said. It’s also a cost effective way to do a garden, and there are additives for the soil to help keep the soil moist during the typically hot Louisiana weather.
“If you don’t have the yard or energy, you can’t go wrong with a beautiful pot,” she said. “It will add the look of a garden with the least amount of maintenance.”
Osburn said her mother grows lettuce in pots. She mixes in flowers so they’re always beautiful and her mother also gets a salad.
More people also are gardening for health.
“It’s good for your body,” Osburn added about getting exercise. “Don’t underestimate gardening. You use every inch of your body. It really is an underestimated activity.”
The trend is more people are getting into gardening, especially small gardens.
“I think more people are interested in small vegetable gardening now than 20 years ago,” she said. “We have many people in St. Charles Parish who grow gardens and have been doing it for years.”