SOUTH­EAST

Country Gardens - - Grassroots -

1 Ack­er­man camel­lias ‘Win­ter’ se­ries

Fall- and win­ter-flow­er­ing camel­lias thrive in our climate with­out pam­per­ing. My fa­vorites are the fall-bloom­ing hy­brids bred by the late Wil­liam Ack­er­man. In my gar­den, ‘Win­ter’s Charm’ starts to bloom in late Oc­to­ber and keeps on bloom­ing un­til af­ter Thanks­giv­ing. The soft pink flow­ers’ gen­tly ruf­fled pe­tals, with a splash of golden sta­mens in the cen­ter, stand out grace­fully against the shrub’s deep green ever­green fo­liage.

2 Hol­lies (Ilex ver­ti­cil­lata) Hol­lies of every de­scrip­tion add sparkle to a gar­den through the win­ter. I’m par­tial to de­cid­u­ous hol­lies, which drop their leaves in fall, re­veal­ing branches cov­ered with bright berries. ‘Mary­land Beauty’ (Ilex ver­ti­cil­lata ‘Mary­land Beauty’), which grows to about 5 feet tall, has a dis­tin­guished place in front of a big stand of tall, tawny switch­grass (Pan­icum vir­ga­tum) in my gar­den. The tight clus­ters of berries turn from green to orange in Au­gust, be­com­ing cherry red in early fall, and re­main long af­ter the fo­liage drops. Birds eat the berries, but usu­ally not un­til some­time af­ter the hol­i­days.

3 ‘Bright Lights’ Swiss chard (Beta vul­garis) My gar­den feels in­com­plete with­out a few food crops. In mid-au­gust or early Septem­ber, I sow seeds of ‘Bright Lights’ Swiss chard in a raised bed. I thin the rows by snip­ping off tiny plants for sal­ads, leav­ing plenty of room for the re­main­ing plants to pro­duce big, quilted leaves, with their vivid red, orange, and yel­low ribs. As the weather turns, row cov­ers pro­tect my crop from freez­ing tem­per­a­tures. I can count on pick­ing a ra­di­antly col­or­ful and de­li­cious har­vest well into De­cem­ber. Marty Ross is a syn­di­cated gar­den­ing colum­nist for Univer­sal Uclick. She gar­dens and writes about gar­dens, gar­den­ers, and gar­den­ing from her home in Tidewater, Vir­ginia.

Camel­lia In the South­east, fall is a mild, lin­ger­ing sea­son of sur­pass­ing beauty. Here are three charm­ing and col­or­ful plants that keep the land­scape lively into the win­ter.

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