Thursday, April 30, 2009
It's impossible in a short blog post to write about the Southern garden. The south is a big region with several different growing zones. Plants that do well in my yard in the foothills of South Carolina might not thrive along the coast. So, this post deals with some of the most common plants used in zone 7. These are plants I've seen in southern gardens since I was a child. I've also limited the post to early spring-say February through mid-April. I'll probably leave out someone's favorite plant so I'd appreciate it if you'd leave a comment telling me about your favorite. It doesn't have to be Zone 7 either. The pictures are from bottom to top thanks to the fact that I put them in backward without meaning to.
Number one is the nandina bush. The leaves of the nandina have a reddish tinge, but what I really like are the red berries. They add a jolt of color to late winter/early spring gardens and will attract birds who eat the berries.
Number 2 is the daffodil. Daffodils wake up and poke their heads out of the ground in late February or early March. I don't think there's a single house in my neighborhood without daffodils. You can get them in pink shades now, but I only have the yellow because the color reminds me of sunshine and balmy weather.
Number 3 is phlox or what older gardeners call thrift. It comes in pretty shades of purple, pink, and white and makes a wonderful ground cover. My grandmother planted thrift on top of a rock retaining wall in her front yard. Every spring the flowers cascaded down the wall in a beautiful fall of color.
Number 4 is the azalea. To my mind nothing says the south more than the azalea. They come in shades of purple, pink, white, and red, and when you see them massed together it can take your breath away. Some people like to plant only one color, but I like the technicolor effect. You can get azaleas in orange, but I don't like them. You can also buy azaleas that bloom in both the spring and fall, but I don't have any of those yet.
Number 5 is the dogwood tree. Dogwoods come in pink, red, or white. My own are white because I like the way they set off my colored azaleas, but the pink ones are just spectacular.
Number 6 is the iris. They're showy and come in various colors. My own are lavender, but I like the yellow ones too. My neighbor has a deep, burgandy-purple with a yellow throat that reminds me of the coloring in a pansy.