The Garden is in Transition
All of the spring flowers are spent. I took an early morning stroll through the garden. The night before we had a nice thunderstorm – we’ve entered that season. Most of the gorgeous roses are nearly spent. It’s time to clear them away, now, we have the flowers that will show and transition from spring to an early summer garden.
It has been said that the ‘holy trinity’ for southern gardens are Azaleas, Camelias and Hydrangeas. You can find these flowering shrubs in most southern gardens – especially older gardens. These hydrangeas are either gifts or pass-along plants. Two are dear in that one is from my mom’s garden and the other my mother-in-law’s garden. The newest is a gift for Mother’s Day from Dearest.
Another constant in a southern garden is the Gardenia. These fragrant blooms can be quite intoxicating, especially when combined with another fragrant flower, the Magnolia.
Statuesque, these trees fill the southern garden landscape. We had one, the flowers in this picture are my neighbors. Ours, was too close to our house, it’s roots compromised our foundation. It was where now the brick patio is. I can, however, enjoy the beauty and the fragrance of this towering tree next door – as it’s lemony fresh fragrance mingles with the heady sweetness of the Gardenia.
The Potted Garden
I love adding summer annuals and some perennials in pots. They add interest, color and height to each garden. One of my favorite flowers to add is the Geranium.
I have geraniums in hanging pots, pots on the ground and these stone planters at our front porch. If I were to start all over again in my garden, I’d have roses, hydrangeas, and gardenias. They’re so prolific and welcoming.
In every garden bed at our home, I have roses. I have Lavender in the garden on the west side. It is such a wonderful thing to harvest your own Lavender.
Daylilys are another perennial that does quite well in the southern garden – there’s a variety of orange daylily that has been in garden for decades, you can find them where houses once stood – and oftentimes in the ditches along the roads.
We have this magnificent Montezuma Balled Cypress tree in our front garden. Its feathery leaves cast a romantic shade on the front lawn. Sadly, this tree is also at the sidewalk near powerlines. Late winter we received a brochure from the power company outlining that they were coming out to trip trees near these lines. They pictured careful trimming. That’s not what ended up happening. This is what the tree looks like from the street. We hope it survives – it definitely won’t recover – it is at its mature growth.
These are always welcomed in my garden, I do have to take care, they will show up any where they want!
Caring for Your Hydrangeas
We have this very large, very old Oakleaf Hydrangea that graces the garden on the east side by the barn. I don’t do anything to it other than make sure it has enough water. These blooms will begin to dry on the shrub later this summer; they’ll turn a lovely rust color.
Hydrangeas make wonderful garden shrubs. What do you need to know if you wish to plant one or more in your garden?
plant in full shade, dappled shade all day or early morning/late evening sun and shade for the rest of the day.
Hydrangeas require ample, regular watering as well as well-draining, well amended soil.
The critical thing to know is what type of Hydrangea you have to know how and when to prune
- Blooms on Old Wood: macrophylia (bigleaf), quercifolia(oakleaf), and serrata
- Blooms on New Wood: arborescens (smoothleaf hydrangea), aspera and paniculata (hardy hydrangea)
- New variety – rebloomers: prune when the flower becomes spent – cutting the stem to the ground. These will re-bloom on new growth.
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