Saturday, January 8, 2011

Top Articles on your southern garden

Gardenia brighamii (flower). Location: Maui, S...Image via Wikipedia
It is no secret South Carolina has a long growing season as does most of the southern states. However, even with this one advantage there are many challenges to overcome in the gardens in the south. There are drought issues, high humidity levels, and a large variety of pests that must be dealt with  on a regular basis to have any luck. Here are a few articles that focus on great plants and shrubs that are particularly well suited to the specific challenges our southern climate offers as well as a few must haves that are just worth the trouble.

Great plants for the novice southern gardener
When we buy our first home, there is usually an urge to put our own touches on it to make it truly our own. Either we start painting, or we add some special touches to the yard to improve it. Luckily there are some plants that a novice gardener can feel pretty confident about having success with. In Southern states like South Carolina, finding plants that can stand up to our somewhat harsh zone 8 conditions can be a real challenge.  This list will give you a few to try that should be able to fill the bill. For the complete list, see: Great plants for the novice southern gardener

Blooming shrubs and trees for your southern garden
In South Carolina, as well as other parts of the southeast, Springtime cues the shrubs and trees to produce magnificent blooms and blossoms galore. Here are a few that are well worth the money to have in your yard, especially for zone 8 areas and warmer. For the complete list see: Blooming shrubs and trees for your southern garden


Taking a look at beautiful Gardenias
If you are looking for a beautiful shrub for your South Carolina yard, you can't go wrong with the lovely Gardenia. Gardenias are a flowering shrub that belongs to the coffee family. There are at least 142 species and the blossoms, growth habits and sizes vary. Beautiful to look at, and with a heavy floral scent that is to die for. This shrub is an evergreen and adapts well to the South Carolinian soils and environment. Zones 8-10 are ideal locations for a gardenia to flourish.
Find out more about this charming floral wonder here:
Taking a look at beautiful Gardenias



Encore Azaleas, a bloom for all seasons
One of the most exciting parts of the onset of Spring in the south is the burst of brilliant colors delivered by gorgeous Azaleas. Ranging in colors like white, pink, red, purple etc. they are a true standout in many landscapes in South Carolina. Read more here: Encore Azaleas, a bloom for all seasons
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Blooming shrubs and trees for your southern garden




Crepe Myrtle Blossoms

In South Carolina, as well as other parts of the southeast, Springtime cues the shrubs and trees to produce magnificent blooms and blossoms galore. Here are a few that are well worth the money to have in your yard, especially for zone 8 areas and warmer.


Oleander

Oleanders are a poisonous shrub, but when used in a landscape for beautiful focal points are perfectly safe to handle, and trim. This shrub tolerates drought, heat and requires little care aside from pruning on a yearly basis. They can grow up to 20 feet tall, and thus need to be kept to a manageable size. The flowers are beautiful and fragrant and usually begin blooming in May. Trim branches with gloved hands and never use the wood for a barbecue. These shrubs are seen all over the south, along road sides, old homesteads, and many are seen en route to Beaufort SC as you cross bridges to go to the near by islands. A beautiful addition to a yard, if shown proper care and respect.

Crepe Myrtle

Crepe Myrtle


 Crepe Myrtle shrubs come in a variety of colors, is easy to grow, drought and heat tolerant and some blossoms of some varieties are fragrant. These shrubs are not very expensive, can be trimmed to remain a shrub or trained to become a tree. They come in white, reds, purples, pinks and are a gorgeous easy growing show stopper in bloom.


Cornicus Florida (Dog Wood)

Dogwood

 This flowering tree has beautiful white blossoms in Spring and red berries in the winter. It is easy to grow if you live in an area with moist acidic soil. Many grow wild in the woods in the southeast and can live in low light conditions. They do benefit from morning sun though. Many are thrive best in homeowners yards and not in areas where intense heat and drought would be.

Azaleas 

Azaleas

 Few shrubs can offer the brilliance and promise of Azaleas. The blossoms completely cover the shrubs in early Spring. Some varieties are now able to bloom several times a year. This shrub loves shady, acidic, well drained soil that has rich composted material. They can be planted at the base of trees, and also planted en masse in a shaded area where other things will not flourish with low levels of light. That being said, most Azaleas do well with morning sun and respond well to regular watering. Easy to care for and beautiful to look at these shrubs grow large and can live a long time. A great choice for the novice gardener in southern areas of the US.

Yoshi no Cherry Tree 
The Yoshino Cherry tree is a beautiful small sized tree that is great in zones 5-8. The blooms are  beautiful clustered and showy,fragrant and arrive in Spring.  They prefer a moist yet well drained soil and generally do well in full sun. Well worth the investment for your yard as few trees can complete with these beautiful trees that also attract many birds to your yard.

Magnolia Grandiflora/Southern Magnolia/Bull Bay  

This is the flowering tree of all trees. A common fixture in the south and in many southern landscapes, the Magnolia is a magnificent giant flowering tower capable of reaching nearly a hundred feet in height. One of the largest blooming trees around, the Magnolia is slow growing, and able to produce dozens of large, fragrant blossoms during the summer months. Once the flowering season is done, the blossoms leave behind large pods that produce brightly colored red seeds. Birds and squirrels are particularly fond of these and having a Magnolia in your landscape will definitely attract wildlife. Don't expect seeds to be produced in trees younger than ten years of age.
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Great plants for the novice southern gardener

Crepe Myrtle
Crepe Myrtle photograph by Dawn Gagnon
   

When we buy our first home, there is usually an urge to put our own touches on it to make it truly our own. Either we start painting, or we add some special touches to the yard to improve it. Luckily there are some plants that a novice gardener can feel pretty confident about having success with. In Southern states like South Carolina, finding plants that can stand up to our somewhat harsh zone 8 conditions can be a real challenge.  This list will give you a few to try that should be able to fill the bill.

Easy to grow and care for plants for the new southern gardener...


 Crinum Americanum aka Swamp Lily
Crinum Americanum
Swamp Lily-Photograph by Dawn Gagnon



A relatively large growing lily, this plant can produce unique and exotic blossoms during the summer. Easy to grow, and very tough, this lily is a easy plant for any southern garden. Flowers are fragrant, come in a variety of colors such as pink, purple and white and will give you blooms until Autumn. They prefer moist soil, and full sun but can endure some drought.

 Canna
English: Canna hybrida flower and foliage. Pic...English: Canna hybrida flower and foliage. Pictured in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania Français : Pied de Canna (variété ‘hybrida’). Photo prise dans la province de Kilimanjaro, en Tanzanie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 Cannas are tall, tropical and fast growing. They spread readily so be sure to plant them with that in mind. Flowers grow on top of long spikes in the midst of wide green leaves. They are usually a great plant to place in the background of shorter growing flowers. Beautiful along fences, and stunning colors, this plant is fairly easy to grow providing they get enough water. Put out a few beer traps at the base of their bed though, snails love this plant.
  Black Eyed Susan 

English: Black-eyed Susan blossom.Image via Wikipedia
 
These beautiful  flowers thrive in hot conditions and will not be afraid of the tough growing conditions most plants crumble under. If you enjoy an informal wild and casual garden these beauties can't be beat and you will no doubt have success with them as a first time gardener. Buy plants from a reputable garden center and follow the directions and get ready for some pretty results come summer.

  Lantana
Lantana
Lantana- Photograph by Dawn Gagnon


 Lantana are beautiful and great for covering bare spots in any garden setting. They have vivid colors and can tolerate harsh growing conditions often seen in the south. Heat, and drought do not seem to affect this plant and they have a pungent aroma to boot. Bright colors of yellow, orange and red, among others will set your garden off and once they are planted, very little worry is in order. They will come back year after year and do their part in your garden to make it lovely. Butterflies will love this addition to your yard as well.

Phlox

English: Garden phlox Français : Phlox panicul...English: Garden phlox Français : Phlox paniculé Latina: Phlox paniculata (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Phlox are low growing, colorful and fragrant and start blooming in the early part of the summer months. They are most aromatic in the evening time. Many times this versatile, easy to grow flower is seen planted on either side of walk ways and as a border around garden beds. For beauty and ease of care, this lovely flower is a sure winner for the southern gardener.   
Liriope
Liriope
Liriope- Photograph by Dawn Gagnon
Liriope aka Monkey Grass, Spider Grass and Border Grass 

This is a tough little plant. Once established this border plant will definitely hold up. It does well along walk ways, flower beds and is seen all over southern landscapes. Make sure you plant these attractive plants where you want them to be permanently because they will not be easy to get rid of. A great way to line a flower bed.

Day Lily 
English: A red and yellow Daylily. Daylilies f...English: A red and yellow Daylily. Daylilies fall into the Hemerocallis genus plants. This color combination is generally called a Red Magic lily. Français : Une fleur d'hémérocalle rouge et jaune. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


There are few negatives that can be said for this adaptable perennial. They can grow in almost every zone in the US and you may have seen them even along roadsides. They spread easily, have stunning varieties of flowers and can endure heat and drought conditions with little problems. Once planted, these plants will not fail to give you blooms year in and year out. They require no special care, and will make any novice gardener seem like a pro. They are beautiful planted along fences, as a backdrop to low growing flowers and will fill a garden in no time.
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