The winter weather last month has left gardeners with a lot of questions about their plants. The Memphis area is fortunate to have ample resources for answering those questions.
Saturday mornings, 6 to 8, you can listen to the radio program “Mid-South Gardening” on 990 AM or 107.9 FM. The hosts, Vador Vance, Jim Crowder and Kenneth Mabry, have almost 120 years combined experience in the Memphis nursery business.
If you listen to the live broadcast, you can call in questions. You can listen to past episodes at the program’s website www.mighty990.com/mid-south-gardening/.
On Thursdays at 11 a.m. and Saturdays at 3 p.m., Dr. Chris Cooper hosts other gardening experts on “The Family Plot” on WKNO Channel 10. Each episode includes questions that viewers have sent by email. Past shows are also available for viewing at the show’s website www.familyplotgarden.com or through the Channel 10 website.
“What’s Growing On,” hosted by Extension Agent Booker Leigh, is recorded monthly by the Library Channel WYPL and airs at various times throughout the month.
Extension Service websites provide printable publications specific to our region and backed by university research. The website for Tennessee Extension is https://extension.tennessee.edu/publications. Because climate and soil vary so much across the long state of Tennessee, I sometimes also check the Arkansas and Mississippi Extension sites, https://www.uaex.edu/publications/ and https://extension.msstate.edu/publications.
Our Shelby County Extension office provides a resource for gardening questions, the Master Gardener Hotline at 901-752-1207. Although COVID has reduced public access to the office, the phone line is still open on weekdays during business hours, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Facebook has a reputation for circulating inaccurate information, but when the Facebook group is “Mid-South Gardening: Gardening in USDA Zones 6, 7 & 8,” administered by Jim Crowder, you can count on good advice. You can post questions to the group and get responses that are relevant to our region. The nearly 4,000 members also post some beautiful garden pictures.
My favorite garden book, “Mid-South Garden Guide,” has been around as long as I can remember. An early edition was in my home when I was growing up, and the book is now in its seventh edition. It’s always a good gift for gardeners who are newcomers to our area.
The book’s section on lawn care also has monthly guides for different kinds of grass. The information is based on our local conditions, which makes it a realistic guide.
For plant selection, I reach for “The Southern Gardener’s Book of Lists” and the more recent “Native Plants of Tennessee: A Book of Lists.”
Publications by “Southern Living” often specify whether a plant grows better in upper, middle, lower or coastal south. “Southern Living” publishes books and specialty periodicals in addition to its flagship magazine. Unfortunately, we can no longer get “Tennessee Gardening” and its sister magazines published by State by State Gardening. That company went out of business in August 2019.
This year many classes and workshops, including those at Memphis Botanic Garden and Dixon Gallery and Gardens, have moved online as webinars or Zoom meetings. Herb Society, Horticultural Society, Hosta Society and Orchid Society have all offered online programs. Although these groups have missed meeting in person, the silver lining is that they’ve been able to “bring in” some outstanding speakers without the extra expense of travel and accommodations.