Garden expert extols dirt delights

Published 5:00 am Thursday, October 15, 2009

They have names like Tumbling Tom Tomato, Sweet Caroline andSlim Jim Eggplant, and they could be living in your garden.

And, according to Mississippi State University Extension ServiceHorticulturist Norman Winter, with the right color schemes, theycan be very attractive.

Winter was in Brookhaven Wednesday morning to talk about whatgardeners can expect at this weekend’s Crystal Springs ExperimentStation Gardening Extravaganza, which features all the latest andmost important trends in gardening. Winter said he’s not sure whatall the recent rain will do for the expo, but that there will benew plants and combinations of garden flowers, herbs and vegetablesto explore.

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“But I haven’t been out to the experiment station since westarted the 40 days and 40 nights,” he joked about recent heavyrainfall.

Meanwhile, he also brought a slide show with pictures of waysflowers and plants can be used in different eye-catching colorschemes in a garden.

“You can use blends of the same color. That’s how guys getdressed for church,” he joked. “And it doesn’t have to beboring.”

He also discussed analogous color schemes. Using a color wheel,he showed the groups what to expect from complementary colorschemes.

“It’s basically the same as when you see a couple, and you say,’Don’t they complement each other?’ And really it’s because they’reas different as night and day,” he said. “It’s like that in thegarden. You can use a cool blue and a hot orange together, and theycomplement each other.”

Winter also extolled the use of different grasses, telling thegroup they add greatly to any gardening scheme.

“If the only grass you grow is the grass you mow, you’re missingout,” he said, showing a slide of his favorite brown grass, theToffee Twist Carax and adding that grass, contrary to popularbelief, does not have to be all green.

“My wife and I were at a show and I pointed some out and said,’Look at that beautiful Toffee Twist Carax,’ and she said, ‘Why didthey let it die?'” he said. “As pretty as a garden can be, what’sthe finishing touch? Grass. Never underestimate the power of a goodgrass.”

And another rising trend, Winter said, may be tied to thefinancial climate around the country.

“Herbs and edibles are skyrocketing in popularity,” he said.”Blame it on the economy if you will, but everyone wants to growsomething they can eat now.”

Winter told the group more than anything, the important thing isto keep gardening.

“Hopefully you saw something that will get you revved up to digin the dirt,” he said.