March 20th, 2015 – Williamson County Weekend Gardener
Especially when we get a harsh winter, many of us will head back out to the yard this year to find some things that just didn’t make it. Or maybe this is the Spring you finally get out there and plant that new landscape bed you’ve been wanting. Here are five suggestions that have been very successful here in Williamson County over the past decade of testing:
(1) Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’
Also known as Hummingbird Mint, here is a drought-tolerant top-performer that gives you that beautiful blue color with little or no maintenance. This is also EXTREMELY bee-friendly and attracts a lot of butterflies, too. Plant it near a window so you can watch the insects. This is also a great plant to replace anything that keeps getting eaten by deer; they don’t like this one.
(2) Nepeta x faassenii
Also commonly known as Catmint, this is another one of those plants you can put almost anywhere — even in terrible soil — and it just grows and grows, no matter how hot or dry the weather gets. The foliage starts out every Spring looking very grey-green, and then it blooms with the beautiful blue/lavender colors.
Also commonly called Coneflower, Echinacea has been long-touted for its many health benefits. I’ve always loved it for being a solid performer in the garden. Shown here in white, it also comes in a myriad of pinks, yellows, oranges, and even reds lately. This is another one of those plants that just doesn’t seem to care where you plant it; but I’d recommend putting it near the driveway or deck so you can take advantage of the wonderful fragrance.
If you need more of a shrub or tree, try one of the many varieties of Buddleia. With pruning, these will range between 2-3 feet in a dwarf variety, all the way to 6-8 feet tall in some of the more vigorous types. This is a shrub-type plant that grows foliage in the Spring and then breaks loose with long plumes of color — and they come in all sorts of colors, even black. Easy to grow, fantastic color, and this is also EXTREMELY bee-friendly. Mine are often COVERED in butterflies in the afternoons.
If you keep losing plants because they won’t grow in the shade, here is the ultimate option for low-light spots — under trees, in dark corners around the house, and other spots where you just can’t seem to get enough light for other plants to grow. Hostas come in literally dozens of shapes, sizes, and color combinations — many of which will bloom. These don’t generally mind the Southern heat, and they fill a lot of space with foliage and color that otherwise might be unplantable. My favorites are the grey-green types because they add unusual colors to the garden.
Williamson County Gardening Resources:
Williamson County is in USDA Hardiness Zone 7a (0 – 5 degrees)
USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map