I admit it. I’m in zonal denial. I love the huge tender leaves of bananas, the glorious hanging trumpets of Brugmansia, and anything so wild and lush that it makes me feel like I’m on vacation to the kind of rainforest-y tropics that have monkeys and great winding green snakes and crazy bugs that remind you of your oddly charming uncle, the one with the giant glasses and earnest surprised eyebrows.
Unfortunately so many of my favorites are juuust out of reach for my climate. I can grow a lot of these lovelies, but they usually spend half the year either melted and disheveled from the frost, or recovering from such. My idea of the tropics doesn’t include anything that turns to blackened mush at certain times of the year. So anything I can get my hands on that’s both hardy in my zone 9 climate and looks drippingly lush? Surefire winners for me.
If you’re the same, I’m sure you know about Fuchsias and Cannas by now, but I wanted to share a few lesser-known favorites you might not be growing yet: [Read more...]
If you’re gardening on the sea coast, the wind can make it hard to enjoy being outdoors. Using fast-growing hedges or screening plants can help you block the wind and enjoy hanging out and working in your garden.
How to use hedges and screens successfully to block wind:
- First, think of what direction the wind comes most strongly from, most often. Could you put a section of tall screening shrubs just along one side of your property and block the majority of the wind?
- Next, think about light: most screening plants will grow faster and thicker with full sunshine. Can you put your screening shrubs far enough away from any other plants or structures that they will get full sun? (What does full sun mean?)
- Consider the view. Obviously, you love the beauty of the ocean and don’t want to block your view! Think about whether you can create little “viewing corridors” from the places you sit most, so you can block a lot of the wind but not ruin your view. [Read more...]
Here are a few favorite options for a shady seacoast garden:
Recently I discussed some of the challenges people face when gardening in windy coastal conditions, and some counter-intuitive tips for gardening on the sea coast. The biggest struggle is finding plants that will thrive and bloom even with all that wind and salt. Trial and error is a big part of gardening, but it’s nice to have some plants that you KNOW will work, too!
I’ve tested all of these in gardens that are right on the bluffs above the ocean and they are all tough performers:
(Click on each photo to view larger) Clockwise from top left: Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’/ Hardy Stonecrop, Geranium ‘Rozanne’/ Rozanne Hardy Cranesbill, Leonotis leonuris/ Lion’s Tail, Phlomis fruticosa/ Jerusalem Sage, Geranium ‘Patricia’/ Patricia Hardy Cranesbill, Salvia leucantha/ Mexican Bush Sage, Rosa x ‘Noatraum’/ Pink Flower Carpet Rose, Erigeron karvinskianus/ Santa Barbara Daisy or Fleabane, Euphorbia or Spurge in center.
Some other great choices? [Read more...]