I miss lilacs. Against the advice of every book I read when I first started gardening in the South I defiantly planted a lilac bush and nursed it through three years of misery before it finally gave up on me. Mother Nature’s compensation for depriving me of that scent, comfortingly sweet in the soft night air, heady and almost too heavy in the midday sun, is magnolias with their bright lemon scent and those show off camellias that bloom when I still don’t expect to see flowers. Though I miss the Spring riot of peonies I could never keep a gardenia alive back home and roses and rosemary are so much less finicky here. It is difficult to feel cheated when planting pansies in the fall, cheerful, bright and hinting at the intoxication of Spring in the South, but I still manage to feel put upon when I find myself cutting the grass in December.
Naturally I have a battered copy of Don Hasting’s Month-by-Month Gardening in the South but here are a few other titles in the collection you may find helpful.
Bulletproof Flowers of the South by Jim Wilson, Gardening in the Humid South by E.N. O’Rourke, Questions and Answers by Deep South Gardeners by Nellie Neal, Gardening with Native Plants of the South by Sally Wasowski and Commonsense Vegetable Gardening for the South by William D. Adams