Friday, May 24, 2013

My Top 18 flowers for spring in the South

With the summer heat really rising, I wanted to take a moment to look back on some of my favorite flowers from the spring. Here are my top 17 picks from my yard. The best of spring in South Louisiana!

#1) Apostle's Creed
Love these! They are called Apostle's Creed or Twelve Apostle plants. Each bloom lasts only a day, but where they fall to the ground, they sprout a new plant :) They bring a nice bloom to a shady spot and are super hardy. Definitely a top favorite.

#2) Petunias
This is a pretty commonplace flower in the south- Petunias. Reliable bloomers, and lots of colors to choose from. You can't go wrong. And the white flowers behind them (in the pic on the left) is what my mom calls a "wishbone" plant- not sure of the technical name, but it blooms constantly from spring through fall and reseeds each year if the ground goes undisturbed.

#3) Louisiana Iris

Louisiana Iris, obviously a good choice for south Louisiana. Mine have been growing from baby transplants, so this was their first year to bloom. Well worth the wait!

#4) Dianthus

This photo has a combination of Petunias, "wishbone" flowers, Vincas, and Dianthus. The Dianthus are a must have in any southern garden. In the warm temperatures they are perennials. I bought some three years ago- they have never stopped blooming, have continued to grow in size, and even propagated new plants. This is the perfect touch of year round color!


#5) Gaillardia

Gaillardia comes in several varieties- two of them are shown here. I started with a few plants a couple of years ago, and as fast as the old ones die off, new ones reseed around it. They bloom year round and add a brilliant splash of color.

#6) Canna Lily

Canna Lillies come in many colors, but the brilliant white is my personal favorite. It completely dies down in winter, but it makes up for lost time in the spring with huge gorgeous flowers.


#7) Black Eye Susan

Another perennial that readily reseeds and blooms spring through fall is Black Eye Susan's. I started with one plant grown from seed and now have a garden full! (Bonus question: Can you spot the chicken? My chickens all come running when I pull out the camera...)



#8) Roses

On the left is a bloom from my climbing rose. (Can you spot the chicken now?) And on the right is a bloom from the knock out roses. Knock-out roses are the best plants ever! One plant gets huge and blooms consistently almost year round. Prune it to whatever size you want it to be. Super low maintenance and still has all of the beauty of a rose.

#9) Coreopsis
Coreopsis is another plant I started from seed that didn't die down last winter and have multiplied in the garden. There are two varieties shown here- one with a few large yellow flowers and the other (a wildflower variety) that has literally hundreds of little flowers with brown centers. Both varieties love my yard. (How about the chicken in this one?)

#10) Amaryllis

Amaryllis blooms are just breath-taking. They are bulbs so you just stick them in the ground and forget about them until this bloom the size of your head comes up in spring and makes all the neighbors stop and gaze :)

#11) Tulips

Tulips are another easy bulb to grow are Tulips. The comes in so many colors and varieties! The only problem is that they only bloom once and they aren't the cheapest bulb to buy, so I use them sparingly.

#12) Daffodils

Daffodils are one of the happiest flowers in the garden :) They bloom year after year, and who can resist this bright and smiling flower in spring???

#13) Agapanthus

Agapanthus or Lily of the Nile is a perennial that stays green and leafy year round and sends up these beautiful bunches of blossoms in the spring. I started these from baby transplants, so this is the first year that they bloomed for me. No maintenance at all!


#14)Sparaxis

I planted these bulbs last year and nothing. I thought they had rotted or just didn't like where I had put them, but this year they all came up in bunches and gave off a huge show of blooms. I immediately bought more and planted them...and nothing. I guess I'll wait until next year to see about those!

#15) Gardenias


Gardenias seem to personify the south- delicate, fragile, and sweet. I have two different varieties, and love them both. I can tell they are blooming before I see the flowers because the whole yard smells like honey! Another good flowering plant for shady spots.

#16) Azaleas
Sadly, I somehow ended up with no pictures of my azaleas this year! Azaleas are beautiful flowering shrubs. They may only bloom a few weeks out of the year, but it is definitely worth the wait with so many blooms you can't even see the leaves!

#17) Fruit trees

I know this isn't your typical garden flower, but I love seeing all of my fruit trees bloom in the spring because it means delicious edibles in late summer and fall. The in the picture is a satsuma- a citrus fruit unique to Louisiana. I have lemon, grapefruit, satsuma, blood orange, kumquat, apple, pear, mulberry, blueberry and pomegranate. Seeing these blooms always brings a smile to my face and makes my mouth water :)

#18) Best for last- Double Ruffle Amaryllis

















I absolutely love my double ruffle Amaryllis plants. Each plant blooms multiple times a year with multiple blooms per stalk, and each bloom is easily 12 inches across. The double ruffle is just breathtaking, and it makes a wonderful cut flower. A friend gave me these, so I have no idea where to get more, but every time I get to divide them I get so excited to add another to my collection. God had fun making this one :)

These are just a few of my tried and true favorites. What are yours?