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Winter Perennials in Memphis Are Exquisite Surprises in Brown and Bare Gardens 

Memphis is a wonderful location for gardeners.  With some planning, over time, we can have beautiful foliage and blooms every day (and nights) of the year.

   

Golden Oregano is happy all year long and really pops in Janury.  Mine grows beside my front path
  

  Above, the wallflower just hunkers down in the snow, waiting for the sun to warm it up again. Wallflowers are unappreciated by Memphis gardeners, I think because they almost disappear in our summer heat and, like winter bulbs, can get damaged as we shift and plant while they are dormant.  Plant where they get really good drainage and bright winter sun for years of blooming when most other plants are sleeping.
  Above, day after snow, around 34 degrees and the wallflower is beaming back at the winter sunny sky.  Enlarge the photo to see all the buds clustered in the tops of the stems.  

Also in bottom of photo is little snapdragon.  He will grow whenever temps get above about 50 and sun shines, then draw in and slumber when it gets really cold.  I love snapdragons but they get sickly in our humid summers if not in pots.  Planted around walkways in our climate, they give a great show from late spring through early summer and the drier bed conditions might help escape the mildew that tags a lot of bedding plants
  

  Wallflower cluster of flower buds starting to open
  Carnations, dianthus, pinks, all have lovely silver foliage in the winter and will be in full scented bloom in April through hot weather. Violas in left corner are shivering after the snow, but a few hours of warm sun will make all the difference you need for happy faces smiling up at you
 

Verbena Bonariensis is a wonderful butterfly plant.  A rambling perennial, it grows large then subsides, throughout the year.  It will start blooming in late March or early April on small, almost tentative early stalks that grow hearty as the heat rises.  Three foot waving spikes of purple flowers feed the bees and hummers as it rambles through your flower beds by seeds and runners. 

 I’ll have some at my annual Almost Mothers Day Plant Sale and Faire this May.  Follow this page for notice of sales and events, and please post questions or comments

Author Nancy Morrow

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