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Anticipating Spring in the South


Today we are on our way to the warmth of Zone 8 and look back with Caroline Williams on the beauties of last spring. She has been playing in the flower garden for over 40 years. While roses, peonies, amaryllis, salvias, and snapdragons are some of her favorites, she all loves flowers. She looks forward to starting a flower from a cut and watching how it succeeds. Your hope for the future is that your garden will resemble a botanical garden. To be in the flower garden is like walking in the presence of God. You can feel peace, sit back, relax, and enjoy the blessings.

Flower containers mix with the colorful background of blooming azaleas (rhododendron hybrid, zones 7-10).

Spring peoniesBeautiful spring peonies (Paeonia hybrid, zones 3–8). Peonies need cold temperatures in winter to grow and bloom well. Therefore, Zone 8 is the warmest place most of them can be grown successfully, and most do best in Zones 7 and colder.

Louisiana group of hybrid irisA beautiful iris that appears to belong to the Louisiana hybrid iris group (zones 4–9). This group of irises comes from hybrids between species native to the American Southeast, and they’re good choices for hot, humid climates where bearded iris may struggle.

Pots of brightly colored annualsCheerful pots of brightly colored annuals add long-lasting color and beauty to the garden.

amaryllisWhile many gardeners consider amaryllis (species of Hippeastrum and hybrids) to be delicate houseplants, some of them are surprisingly hardy perennials. This is the old-fashioned hybrid Amaryllis ‘Johnsonii’ which is hardy in zones 7-10 and can survive in even colder gardens if given a sheltered spot. Its flowers are smaller than those of the large hybrids that normally grow inside, but it more than makes up for it with strength and hardiness.

large-flowered clematisIt is difficult to cut the wonderful vines of a large-flowered clematis (Clematis Hybrid, Zones 4–11) to enhance the effect of the flower display.

Plants bloom in summerCaroline says she dreams of her garden looking like a botanical garden. I would say she is on her way! What a dream place to sit and enjoy the beauty that it has created.

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