“You can spend your whole life traveling around the world searching for the Garden of Eden, or you can create it in your own backyard.” Khang Kijarro Nguyen
When planning your own Garden of Eden, start with easy-to-grow marigolds. Native to the New World, marigolds were cultivated by the Aztecs for religious, medicinal, and magical purposes. The large seeds make these annuals good choices for children’s gardening activities. Seeds as well as plant cell packs can be found at local garden centers. Plants require full sun and larger blossoms are achieved in poor soils. Better soils result in greener growth and fewer blossoms. For more information click on the link below.
“Happiness is a butterfly, when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” Nathaniel Hawthorne
Make your pursuit of butterflies much easier by planting rudbeckias. Also known as black-eyed Susans and coneflowers, plants are drought resistant and grow from 1-3 feet and spread 12-18 inches. Native to North America, these perennials thrive in full sun or part shade. Deadheading spent flowers will prolong the blooming season. Show some butterfly love and add these to your landscape. Learn more about rudbeckias by clicking on the following link. Rudbeckias
“My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.” Claude Monet
Bromeliads, native to Central and South American rainforests, provide an abundance of color through stiff spiny leaves as well as blossoms. Most are epiphytic, meaning they grow on other plants, but obtain nutrients from the air, rain, or debris accumulating around them. Two of the most common bromeliads are pineapples and Spanish moss. In the Mobile area, some do well in outdoor beds. Avoid damage in cold weather by covering or bringing plants inside. Learn more about these exotic plants by clicking on the link below.
“Gardening requires lots of water… most of it in the form of perspiration.”
Philodendron selloum, native to the rainforest floors of Brazil, thrive in Mobile gardens. Requiring an area receiving partial sun and having ample space for growth, these tropicals can reach heights of 8-10 feet, and attain more width than an antebellum hoop skirt. While harsh winters turn the lush, verdant split leaves into mush, new growth will appear in the spring. For more information about these tropical beauties, click on the link below.
“All gardening is landscape painting.” William Kent
The focal point in this shade garden is the pot of heart shaped caladiums situated by the trunk of the oak tree. Caladiums, native to the banks of the Amazon river, are tropical plants that require soil temperatures of 70 degrees, and thrive in partial sun and shade.Tubers can be planted in pots, hanging baskets and in mass plantings. For more information about these beautiful plants, click on the link below.
“The most lasting and pure gladness comes to me from my gardens.” Lillie Langtry
Impatiens, a must have for southern gardens, thrive in hanging baskets, large containers, and beds. These shade lovers need regular watering, are easily propagated from cuttings, and provide an abundance of beauty in the landscape. Gardeners lacking in shade may opt for the sunpatien, another showgirl with longer limbs and bigger blossoms.
For more information about these southern showgirls, click on the following links.
“Happiness held is the seed; happiness shared is the flower.” Unknown
Gardening centers are overflowing with spring planting selections, including the sun loving vinca. Fast growing and available in a variety of colors, these annuals are pollinator magnets. For more information and planting instructions, click on the sites below.
“My spirit was lifted and my soul nourished by my time in the garden. It gave me a calm connection with all of life, and an awareness that remains with me now, long after leaving the garden.” Nancy Ross
Female monarch butterfly rests on a tropical milkweed plant.
Monarchs overwinter in Mexico, journey north and arrive in Alabama in February and March. Two beautiful adventurers were spotted in a garden in South Mobile County on February 2. Landing on a bedraggled tropical milkweed, the female deposited her eggs and then continued her journey north. Learn more about these remarkable Lepidoptera at the Journey North website.
Make a calm connection with life by developing a garden attracting pollinators, including the monarch. The following links will help in making appropriate choices.
Shore Acres, located on Bellingrath Road in South Mobile County, is a commercial plant farm that welcomes backyard gardeners. It sells a huge variety of plants and an excellent potting soil. Plan a trip to South Mobile County soon.
US Hardiness Zones Big box stores sometimes sell plants that may not be suitable for the local climate. Avoid disappointment by referring to a hardiness zone map to determine the zone in which one gardens.