It’s coming to that time of year again friends!
All the frost is past and Spring is in the near future. Who else is pumped for the upcoming 70° February days? I. Can’t. Wait. I have already begun to plan for my Spring plantings and I want to choose some real winners that will keep my garden vibrant with little maintenance. I know, I want my cake and eat it too. Whatever that means.
So, I’ve gathered some typical varietals that flourish on the south east coast where weather is not the most consistent and temperature can vary up to 30° on any given day. My space consists mostly of wooded area, one large full sun bed, and a small, partial shaded bed closer to the house. Here are some main players I collected and I’ll tell you why:
Hosta- I love Hostas. These guys are multipurpose growers and so easy to maintain. I use Hostas to fill in large areas that do not necessarily get a lot of sun. Be careful though, most Hostas like sun to partial shade so check your varietal for specifics. Hostas make for a great ground cover and keep a lock on erosion control. So, for a shady hilled area difficult to maintain, Hostas are a great choice. I purchased Guacamole Hostas which have bright green leaves and a lovely summer bloom that smells similar to Gardenias. Oh, so sweet! There are also variegated and blue species which show off a little more color.
Fern- For more shaded areas, I have been investigating different fern options because of their ease of care and the funky texture they bring to the space. Again, depending on the variety, most ferns prefer shade but some will take part sun. As long as the soil is good and moist a fern is in its place! I found some lovely Japanese Painted ferns which showcase a silver to white to purple tint that appears painted on the leaves. I could fill the whole forest floor with these eye-catchers. Plus, ferns keep their color all year long. Bonus!
Hydrangea- The hydrangea is a perfect shrub to fill a larger area with partial shade. My favorite characteristic of this bush is the huge, bouquet clusters of flowers that hang from the branches which look amazing as cut flowers for the house. Flowers range from white to blush (Blushing Bride) and deep pink to purple/blue (Blue Bonnet) depending on the pH of your soil. This can be manipulated in the spring to vary your color outcome. This hardy shrub is disease resistant and will begin blooming Spring and well into the Summer. Minimal maintenance includes cutting back the shoots in the Fall.
Black-Eyed Susan- Being a native to this area, the Black-Eyed Susan is a natural showstopper with intense warm colored blooms radiating in the summer sun. These take better to sunny spots and work well for layered gardens. Moat varieties are between 1ft and 8ft tall and range between brilliant yellow, orange, and reddish brown. Also, being a native plant, these beauties will attract local wildlife such as birds and butterflies. Black-Eyed Susan will bloom late and give you nice end of summer color when most other plants have called it quits.
Begonia- The classy, yet spectacular Begonia, can really impress when clustered in mass groups. They showoff brilliant red, pink, or white blossoms with dark to light green, thick foliage. Plant these in areas with a lot of sun and water regularly and you will cultivate an annual that reaches 3ft tall by 3ft wide. These plants are suited for the lazy gardener as they thrive in summer heat and they self clean by dropping old flowers and immediately blooming again. That’s right, no need for deadheading these beauties!
Vinca- Another low growing annual I use to fill the beds close to the house are various types of Vinca, and there are many. These darlings come in an array of purple, red, and pink varieties giving your space a tropical feel with intense, deep tones. Easy maintenance allows Vinca to grow in all garden types from organic to raised beds and even grow well in baskets. Check out some available trailing Vinca for a dramatic hanging basket.
So, these are some of the easier, go-tos on my list and many of the plants will stay with you year after year (excluding the Begonia, Vinca, and some varieties of Black-Eyed Susan). Mostly, I chose these for their easy care and the natural beauty they will bring to any landscape. If you are unsure of where to start with planting your space, or you’re not necessarily a plant Guru, try some of these hardy plants and you will surely be surprised with results! If you need more help deciding what to do, CSE is just an email or phone call away! We’ll be here for you. Happy planting!