Lifestyle * Travel * Food

Jul 13, 2017

Garden Chat- Let's Talk About Summer Plants

Today I wanted to talk a little bit about plants and share some of the things I have learned over the years. First of all, you can have a full and colorful garden for a very low cost. We have been getting what I like to call "second hand plants" for years now. We have family members who share clippings, small plants, bulbs, and seeds with us and we trade with some of what we have existing in our garden. 

If you are looking for vibrant pops of color that are low maintenance, a lantana is the way to go. They come in quite a few colors and can grow in even the hottest and driest of conditions. We have more than a half dozen of these in various parts of our yard and they get so big that we have to cut them back a few times each season. The best part is they come back year after year. Lantanas also attract butterflies. We have some right off of our back patio near one of our bird feeding stations, and it is so pretty to watch the butterflies flutter around. 

Lantana
If you would like to attract hummingbirds, pentas are a great choice. Every evening we watch the hummers go to war so they can dominate this plant I got for Mother's Day. I keep it in a pot under a tree so it doesn't get too much sun although it claims it can take full sun. Nope. Not in the South Carolina sun! 

Penta
Something I learned about my delicate herbs and peppers is that the South Carolina heat will hinder growth. I actually brought some of my plants inside of my patio door in order to save them. When I noticed the leaves were yellowing, I figured the elements outside were just too harsh. Since doing that, all of my edibles have flourished. I take them outside periodically when we are having a rain shower. The plants tend to get an extra boost from the rain water. 

Hot pepper, broad leaf thyme, lavender, Rosemary, and spearmint
Another great trick I learned from my husband's uncle is to not throw away your potted flower plants at the end of their growing season. Instead, you can clip the old growth off and take it inside until the Winter frost is gone. Once you bring it back outside in the Spring, it will re-grow and you can enjoy your blooms again and again. The flower plant below cost us about $15 and it came back beautifully this year! I have it growing on the side of my home in a semi-shaded spot along a trellis, and it blooms all summer long. I get so many compliments about it and many ask of they can take it home.  


This year we decided to get some mosquito repelling plants since they are usually really bad every summer. We planted some marigolds in hanging baskets at the bottom of our back deck and have a few pots of citronella (mosquito plant) on the patio area. Let me tell you, those mosquito plants really work! We take a leaf or two and press it to release the oils and rub it on our exposed skin when we are hanging outside. The scent is very lemony and we really love it. I have yet to get a single mosquito bite when I do this. 

One of out larger plants broke from a storm we had a couple months ago and my husband took the broken part and put it into an old pot with dirt. I figured it would simply die, but it turns out that his experiment worked and the plant survived and grew in nicely. As a matter of fact, he has done this with a few other plants and trees and they are all growing. 

Citronella, also known as the mosquito plant
We will be bringing in all of our potted plants before the winter and keep them alive for next year. With all that we have done over the course of a few years, I anticipate we will not have to spend any money on plants or trees next year. 

What are you growing this year? 
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