Growing and sharing flowers and ornamental plants is a Southern tradition - as satisfying now as it was in the beginning days of Southern history when commercial sources were scarce and friends and neighbors provided one another with treasured "starts" of garden favorites to use in decorating home, church, weddings and other festive occasions.
In The Bountiful Flower Garden readers will learn some of the practical possibilities between annuals (plants that complete their lifecycle in a year or less) and perennials (those with a longer lifespan) and shrubs, trees, and vines useful for decoration. More than 300 full-color illustrations as well as plant hardiness zone maps, descriptions of available varieties, and suggestions for color combinations and cultivation requirements help the gardener to visualize successful, personalized plants.
Material is included on recognizing, growing, cutting and treating foliage for arrangements - broken into categories such as garden plants, ferns, ornamental grasses, palms and others. Also covered are major Southern fruiting plants of distinction such as ardisia (Christmas berry), callicarpa (French mulberry), bittersweet, Carolina snailseed, hawthorns, Japanese persimmon, deciduous hollies, golden rain tree, flowering carbapples, nandina, pyracantha and viburnums.
Conditioning of cut plant materials is emphasized in a special chapter with instructions concerning when to cut, time of day, cutting stems and removing foliage, floral preservatives, ethylene gas, prolonging the life of flowers, drying and preserving in glycerin, and even preservation by dehydration.
For those interested in cut flower production, there is a chapter covering the basic tenets that need to be considered before embarking on the business of growing cut flowers. Included in this topic are discussion of production costs, market prices, seasonality in production and demand, grading, competition, and advice on how to get started.
Dr. William C. Welch is an Extension Landscape Specialist in the Department of Horticultural Sciences at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. For many years he has served n the Board of Texas Garden Clubs, Inc. and is a Member-at-Large of the Garden Club of America. His interests in heirloom plants, antique roses and Southern (especially Texas) garden history has been instrumental in the development of the renaissance of the Cottage Garden style of landscaping, and has caused many old plant varieties to again become available to the gardening public.
Dr. Neil G. Odenwald is Professor Emeritus and former Chairman of the Department of Landscape Architecture at LSU. He is the author of several books on landscape gardening including Southern Plants, an authoritative text which is a useful guide for designers, landscape architects and others interested in selecting plant material for Southern Gardens.
The Bountiful Garden is published by Taylor Press, Dallas, Texas, 2000. ISBN# 0-87833-235-9.