Keith Hansen, Smith County Extension Agent, writes a column each week which is published in the Tyler Morning Telegraph. http://www.tylerpaper.com/TP-Gardening
The link above is to Keith’s blog which includes his column and other gardening news and tips.
Dee Bishop, Smith County Master Gardener, writes a weekly column which is published in the Tyler Morning Telegraph each week.
November 13th Column
If you enjoy fragrance in the garden as much as I, stock is a lovely addition for you. The softly sweet fragrance reminds you of grandma’s talcum powder. Stalks of softly colored flowers harmonize wonderfully with viola and pansies. I love planting containers for my deck so I can look out upon them while in my kitchen. Stock is one of the fall through winter plants I love using.
This year I chose this lovely purple stock and surrounded it with little white and purple viola. The colors blend beautifully and oh, the smell—-heavenly! I don’t know which smells the most delicious, the stock or the violas.
Stock (Matthiola sp.) is an old cottage garden plant used often in the South for fall and early spring flowers. Originating in the Mediterranean region, stock prefers cool temperatures and well-drained rich soils that are of a light texture. They will not grow in heavy soils that stay saturated after rains. If you love growing plants from seeds, get a packet of stock seeds now while you have more to choose from. Save them until February and plant outside late in the month. They come up and grow quickly and will bloom in April and on until it gets too warm. Better yet, plant some next fall, in mid to late September for November through winter color. They will not set buds during the coldest part of winter, but light freezes and frost does not hurt them. They will come right back after a freeze and continue to bloom (unless the winter is severe for months at a time). If you have really acidic soils, add some lime at planting time, scratching it down into the root zone. Like many other Mediterranean herbs, stock like lime and perfect drainage.
Stock, another old garden gem that needs to make a strong come-back.
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