Odoriferous Lantana

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” Marcus Tullius Cicero

Lantana is about everything you need to attract butterflies. Clusters of multicolored flowers will keep pollinators happy throughout the summer months. Plants require at least 6 hours of sun, well drained soil, and ample space for growth. Caution should be exercised in using this plant in landscapes where small children and pets are present. It is toxic. Refer to the link below to learn more about this Gulf Coast perennial.


Marigold Merriment

“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.


Butterfly Bait

“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

Bold Bromeliads

“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.

How to Care for a Bromeliad

Tropical Treasures

“Gardening requires lots of water… most of it in the form of perspiration.”

Louise Erickson

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.

Philodendron selloum

Made in the Shade

“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.

Classic Caladiums

Southern Living

Showgirls of the Southern Garden

“The most lasting and pure gladness comes to me from my gardens.” Lillie Langtry

Impatiens in Shade Garden

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.

SunPatiens thrive in shade or sun and come in compact and vigorous sizes.

For more information about these southern showgirls, click on the following links.



Vibrant Vinca

“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.

How to Grow Vincas or Periwinkle

Annuals Buying Guide

Clearwing Moth Sipping Nectar From Vinca

Zesty Zinnias

“Flowers always make people better, happier and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine to the soul.”

Luther Burbank

Native to the American Southwest, Central America and South America, zinnias are a generational favorite. Colorful additions to American gardens, these easy to grow sun lovers attract lots, and lots, and lots of butterflies. Similar to their sunflower cousins, zinnias produce large seeds, making direct sow planting easy for little fingers. For those wanting immediate results, garden centers offer zinnia seedlings, including border perfect dwarf varieties . So, visit a local garden center with a little buddy, choose some zinnia seeds or seedlings and get busy-Spring is here! More information about zinnias can be found at the following sites.


Harvesting History

Single Flowered, Dwarf Zinnias Attract Painted Lady

Gardening Choices

“Your first job is to prepare the soil. The best tool for this is your neighbor’s garden tiller. If your neighbor doesn’t own a garden tiller, suggest that he buy one.”

Dave Barry
Raised bed gardening is a good choice for small spaces, sloping spaces, limited time for gardening spaces, and I like order spaces. Refer to the Alabama Extension Service Lawn and Garden website for information on planning and development of your space.