Dear Master Gardener: Oh dear! My azaleas, hydrangeas and Bradford pears all look terrible after the recent freezing weather. What can I expect?

Dear Scarlett: Don’t worry. There is always another day. I have also been watching the plants in my yard and some have fared better than others. My Lady Banksia Rose has come through the freeze unscathed, as have my daylilies. However, my hydrangeas were hit hard. My azaleas were doing very well until the last freeze, and then they just couldn’t take it anymore. They drooped the next day. The irises are seeming to hold up fairly well.

If you left houseplants outside, I don’t think they will recover. Hopefully, you remembered to bring them inside.

Did you plant tomatoes? If so, you will probably need to plant, again.

Mike Rast, who is a horticulturist at Edisto Gardens, was telling me about how the gardeners at the Masters put ice around their azaleas to keep them from blooming and then running warm water underneath them when it is time for the golf tournament to make them bloom. That would be impossible for the average homeowner. So, hopefully, March will go out like a lamb and the weather will continue to warm up and our plants will recover.

According to Master Gardener Jeanne Gue, the third week in March is the time for the hummingbirds to arrive, so now is the time to put your hummingbird feeders out.

Dear Master Gardener: I have trouble growing tomatoes, so I thought I would try putting my tomato plants in pots this year. Do you recommend any particular soil for my pots?

Dear fellow quilter: I consulted a master gardener, Rick Jackson, who does a lot of container gardening. He recommends the following: mushroom compost, rotted gin trash and good potting soil or top soil purchased at the better stores. Beware of the really cheap soil. 

Do not be tempted to use the straight cow manure that comes in a bag, as it is too strong. 

I have read where tomatoes can be grown in bales of straw, but I think a pot would be easier.

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I would like to add that you need to be sure to water your plants regularly because they will dry out faster in a pot.

Your plants will also need fertilizer, you will definitely have to stake them just as you would a tomato plant in the garden.

Just for fun, try some Roma and cherry tomatoes, as they are easier to grow than the larger varieties.

Go to on the internet for information on the pesky bugs that are inevitable.

Good luck.


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