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Burstin into Bloom

By Staff
LONGTIME GARDENER – Jimmy Jackson has taken care of the gardens at First Christian Church in downtown Meridian since 1955. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Penny Randall / staff writer
June 8, 2003
The sight of orange and yellow daylilies in bloom outside homes, businesses and churches in East Mississippi is surely eye-catching.
At First Christian Church in downtown Meridian, one man has been tending the gardens for almost 50 years.
In 1955, Jimmy Jackson began work as the custodian and over the years has been the only person to nurture the flower beds at the church.
Jackson said he doesn't have a "green thumb" just a love of gardening.
Another garden lover, Coralie Richardson, calls a day outside digging and planting in her yard "delicious."
The Master Gardener course takes 12 weeks. It's free, but participants agree to use the skills they've learned to give back to the community through volunteer service.
A hobby
Jackson and Richardson are two of many people who consider gardening their hobby.
Cultivating a stunning yard takes a lot of work and sometimes a lot of expense.
But MSU Extension Service agent Steve Strong says you can make your yard beautiful by using plants that produce their own seed like zinnias or wild flowers. Just collect the seeds and resow them year after year.
This also cuts down on expense.
Strong suggests plants that need less water and shrubs that are adaptable to our environment.
Home remedies
When it comes to using home remedies to help your lawn, Strong suggests wood ashes from a fireplace.
Strong said the maximum application is 25 pounds per 1,000 square feet of lawn or garden bed.
Strong said plain dish washing soap mixed with water can be used to kill soft-bodied adult insects.
Barbara Wells, also a Master Gardener, says planning is the first step for beginning gardeners.
Next test your soil. Do you have a yard that drains well or does water tend to stand?
These are questions to ask when deciding what flower to plant in your yard.
What to plant?
Here are a few annuals and perennials that do well in the East Mississippi area in different seasons.
WINTER
What: Pansy, viola, Johnny-jump-up
Features: Low-growing late fall, winter and spring color
Colors: White, orange, yellow, rose, blue, wine and purple
Soil Needs: Rich, well-drained
Water: Medium
Light: Full sun
SPRING
What: Azalea
Features: Requires excellent drainage; waterlogged soil kills many azalea.. They signal a lack of water by dropping or losing their leaves.
Colors: Shades of pink, white, purple, red, peach
Soil Needs: Moist
Water: Every 10 to 14 days
Light: Part shade to full sun
SUMMER
What: Zinnia
Features: Brilliant colors from summer to frost, good for cutting
Colors: White, orange, pink, red, yellow and lavender
Soil Needs: Well-drained, fertile
Water: Low to medium
Light: Full sun
What: Chrysanthemum or "mum"
Features: Mounds of colorful flowers
Colors: White, yellow, bronze, red, lavender and pink
Soil Needs: Light, well-drained
Water: Medium
Light: Full sun

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