Spring is in the air in the Heights! Flowers are blooming, grass is green, trees are covered in fresh new leaves, and the weather is gorgeous. We don’t know about you, but all this vibrant new growth has put us in the mood for a little gardening. Now is the perfect time to plant new flowers, trees, and shrubs, before the summer heat arrives and makes it harder for them to take root. If your yard could use a little Spring spruce-up, here are a few tips to make things easy and keep your outdoor spaces looking gorgeous all year.
While you could certainly try your hand with some exotic plants and fancy imported ornamentals, those are much trickier to grow than native plants that thrive in the wild in our climate. There are loads of beautiful plants that feel right at home here in southeast Texas and require minimal care and upkeep to thrive. If you want something that flowers, look for Black Eyed Susans, Texas Lantanta, or Red Turk’s Cap. In the market for a shrub? Try Southern Wax Myrtle or Yaupon Holly. In addition to increasing the likelihood that your plants will survive, choosing native species is also good for the environment, because native plants tend to do just fine without being watered, unless draught conditions are severe.
While we love the look of a healthy, blossoming garden, we’re not exactly blessed with a green thumb, and native plants are a great way to pretend otherwise. Luckily, there are two nurseries in the Heights specializing in native plants, and the knowledgable staff at either one will be happy to help point you in the right direction. Check out Buchanan’s Native Plants on 11th Street or Joshua’s Native Plants and Garden on 18th Street for a wide selection of plants that grow easily in this area and advice about how to maintain them.
If you hate the idea of looking at bare twigs all winter, choose evergreen plants like Mexican Heather, Hibiscus, and Oleander. Some plants bloom gloriously only a few weeks out of the year and then remain green bushes the rest of the year (looking at you, Azaleas), so if you prefer flowers year-round, seek out plants that have a long blooming season like Katy Ruellia, Knockout Roses, and Esperanzas. Side note-if you just love Azaleas but hate that they have such a short blooming season, consider Encore Azaleas. They cost quite a bit more than the regular variety, but bloom several times per year.
“Lazy gardeners” who don’t want to plant new flowers every year should be sure to opt for plants marked “perennials” that come back on their own yearly, rather than annuals that are good for one year, die out, and have to be replaced. Planting perennials is not only easier in the long run, it’s also very cost effective. No judgement if you fall into the lazy gardener category. So do we!
Consider Lawn Conditions
Before you race to the garden store and choose things that you think are pretty, take a few days to really observe the conditions in the parts of your yard that you want to beautify. How much direct sunlight does the area get? Is the soil sandy, or does it have a higher clay content? How is the drainage? Being aware of the light and soil conditions will help you make educated choices of plants that will thrive in the space you have. Even if you love the look of ferns, they aren’t a good choice for full-sun areas. Conversely, lavender would be grow poorly in a shaded yard, but does great in sunny spots. Set yourself up for success by choosing the right plants for the space you have, and you’ll save yourself the trouble and expense of ripping out dead shrubs a few months from now and replacing them.