SPRING is HERE! Yes, I know, it has pretty much been here since Fall, but it is OFFICIALLY here now! And it is the perfect time to freshen up those flower beds. At this point you are probably assuming that someone who is writing about gardening knows A LOT about Horticulture, well you would be wrong. My husband and I are the worst when it comes to plants; forget brown thumbs, ours are black. But there is something so therapeutic about going outside and digging in the dirt. And it is perhaps the one household project I can do with my kids and not be reminded of how little patience I actually have. It is the perfect family activity: buckets, shovels, dirt, water, MUD! And at the end of the day, you have something pretty to look at!
As some of you know we built our own home last year and moved in before it was 100% complete, so we have many projects on the “To Do” list. We are finally tackling some of the landscaping, a daunting task when you have a track record like ours, but a gratifying one to check off the list. After visiting the big box stores and some local nurseries we ended up at Southern Horticulture on the Island.
We have had such an amazing experience there, my kids LOVE it. They want to touch ALL of the plants and the employees couldn’t be more accommodating. As a bonus, they love to take a dip in the fountains.
Bonus for me? Everyone there is so knowledgeable and helpful. So far we have decided on Firebush for the front yard and I think it was the right choice especially after reading that they are “practically bullet proof once established.” As a border, we chose the “weedlike” Ruella or Mexican Petunia*, and the African Iris * an evergreen grass that has one of the most gorgeous flowers I have ever seen! (*truthfully we had both of these at our old house and didn’t kill them, so we thought they might stand a chance again). There are SO many plants to choose from, I always felt completely overwhelmed at the thought of trying to figure out what use, but I think you just have to figure out your criteria. We wanted all -if not mostly- native, something that would attract bees and butterflies and most importantly it had to be “hearty.” My best advice? Once you have a basic idea go to the experts and ask them for help!
I asked Maggie at Southern Horticulture to tell me some of her TOP FIVES in a few different categories and here’s what she said:
Easy Flowering Plants
Red Flowering Salvia
Begonias (good in the shade and forgiving if you forget to water them)
Tall Red Pentas
Honey Bee Favorites
ALL herbs when blooming
Harmful – Careful! These Plants can Pack a Punch
Pencil Cactus – The sap of this succulent is toxic and can lead to burns and numbness.
Oleander – the leaves are toxic and will make you sick if ingested; let’s face it with kids and pets, this is a distinct possibility.
Poinsettia – This one is commonly thought to be dangerous, but actually only is if you eat the whole plant, maybe more.
Lantana – These beautiful flowering plants produce berries that when consumed unripe, can make you very ill.
Vinca – According to gardenguides.com “If any part of the plant is ingested, vinca poisoning causes abdominal cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, a drop in blood pressure, lethargy and/or tremors or seizures.”
Happy Gardening or mud making… either way have FUN!