March is the time I really start jonesing to get out into the yard and get things rolling on the garden. When we first moved to the Manse, the property was pretty neglected. There were so many trees, the grass barely grew. After we finished the renovation, my yard needed a major overhaul. This season, I’m anxious to get out and continue planting.
I’ll share with you my do’s and don’ts. On the definitely DO list, I’ll tell you about my top three favorite plants. If you’re just getting your feet wet around the garden, these are plants that will have you feeling like an expert in no time. The criteria for me when choosing plants is a) low maintenance and b) flowers! Of course I have others to round out the overall look, but I want a garden with color and these beauties deliver!
Know Your Gardening Zone
The gardening bug bit me when my kids were getting older and I could spend more time on the weekend out in the yard. I’m the one who mows the lawn (and now it’s really fun because we have a riding mower!). As much as I love getting my hands dirty, I’ve found that fussy plants aren’t fun.
We live in New Jersey – Zone 6 on the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. If you’re new to gardening, check out the map and know your zone. In this neck of the woods, the most crippling issue in the winter isn’t snow, it’s the winter wind, which brings me to my first “generally not too fussy” plant.
The only thing I’m more obsessed about than hydrangeas is vintage homes, and hydrangeas just seem to fit with any vintage home. Last count, I had 29 and it will probably grow. I’ll do a future post in detail on them, but for now, I’ll tell you my 2 faves of the bunch: Endless Summer and Limelight.
Endless Summer Hydrangeas
Endless Summer blooms a LOT. The soil dictates whether you’ll get pink or blue. You can add aluminum sulfate to the soil to go blue, which I prefer. They’ll change pretty quickly (usually after about a year with frequent applications). These beauties hold up pretty well in winter. The only maintenance they REALLY need is to be watered pretty well, and keep them out of areas where deer might take a nibble. One other thing to note about Endless Summer…they prefer partial shade. If they’re in full sun, make sure you give them extra water. In hot sun, they wilt to protect themselves, but give them a drink of water in the evening, and they’ll be just fine.
The other favorite hydrangea is Limelight. These have large greenish white flowers that turn to a light pink in the fall. They’re awesome for drying and using indoors. And they are prolific bloomers. I’ve planted these babies to create a hedge. I brought tiny ones from my former home and they are thriving beautifully. They can get upwards of 10′ tall if you let them. But there are also miniature versions if you don’t want them getting too large (PeeWee Limelights). Limelights are fine in full sun, as well as partial shade, and tend to be hardier all around.
If you’re interested in getting my info on Hydrangea care, please comment below and I’ll send you my handy PDF of everything you need to know to grow them.
Spirea comes in a lot of different varieties, but my faves are ‘Anthony Waterer’, ‘Goldmound’ and ‘Little Princess”. They have different green tones on their leaves, they all blossom throughout the summer (small pink flowers), and they are hardy as heck! What’s more, deer don’t typically eat them. To date, I’ve got 37 of them (Spirea, not Deer!).
About 25 of them line the back of our property (we have just under one acre). I never water back there, so I only grow plants there that are drought and deer resistant.
03. CATMINT “WALKER’S LOW”
If you love the look of lavender but have a hard time growing it, you’ll adore this Catmint. These little darlings grow just about anywhere and all they need is an occasional trim back. They will then reward you with another round of blooming.
I have so many of these, I’ve lost count, but if I had to guess, I have over 75. These are great as borders because they keep weeds from encroaching on your flower beds. Bees and butterflies love them. I like helping the bee & butterfly population.
All three of my favorites are great for lots of flowers and low maintenance. Another bonus with all three plants: They are relatively fast growers so you can start with a smaller plant and save some bucks.
Often with gardening there is a lot of trial and error. Where you plant and how you plant can literally mean life or death for a plant. But these three plants are hardy in every area of my garden.
I have lots more to tell you on this subject (just ask my husband!), so stay tuned! And check out a few of my favorite things below. Those garden shears? The best!
My Gardening Faves
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