This compact kitchen herb garden ensures that all the fresh seasonings you need for a savory Italian dinner are just a snip away. Six hours of sunlight a day and minimal care are all these hardy plants require to provide tasty herbs year round.
Camellia sinensis is the plant you want for growing traditional tea leaves. Dried mature leaves produce black tea; young leaves yield a less acidic brew known as white tea. Allow plants to reach 3 to 5 feet before picking leaves, which you can do twice a year. Prune plants when they’re young to cause branching, which gives you more stems to harvest. Plants are winter hardy in Zones 8-10. Grow them in pots in other zones. Feed tea plants lightly—only in spring.
Gardeners in hardiness zones 9 and warmer can plant freesias in the fall. In other zones, freesias should go into the ground in spring; they’ll need to be dug and stored at the end of the growing season so they don’t perish in the cold. If you don't want to dig them back up, simply start over next year with fresh bulbs (technically, they’re corms). Freesias are usually inexpensive. Plant the corms 2” deep in soil that drains easily, and give them a spot that gets sun to light shade.
Individual blossoms on the flower spike of gas plant appear to have eyelashes, thanks to long, curling stamens. Gas plant offers a long flower season, from late spring through midsummer, and you can find varieties with blooms in shades of lavender, pink and red. Once flowers fade, seedpods form that linger into early winter and make a nice addition to autumn arrangements. Site this perennial where you want it (full sun is best), because it doesn’t transplant easily. Small seedlings tend to form around the mother plant, and those can be moved with little fuss. Deer- and rabbit-resistant plants grow 28 to 32 inches tall by 18 to 24 inches wide. Hardy in Zones 3-7. Good vase companions for gas plant: bearded iris, peony, bee balm and lady’s mantle.
Hardy in zones 6-11, cast iron plants can be grown as houseplants or outdoors in shady garden areas. They tolerate heat and arid conditions and make a lush backdrop for smaller plants that also love shade.
Forget about store bought horseradish sauce. You can make your own from plants or root cuttings placed in well drained soil in the spring or fall. The cold-hardy perennial is one of the easiest to grow edible plants and when it is minced up with a little cider vinegar and beet juice, it adds a flavorful zing to mayonnaise, salsa, hummus or sushi (use it instead of wasabi paste).
Cheerful daffodils are classic spring flowers. For a natural look, toss them around your yard or landscape and plant them where they fall. Choose big, healthy bulbs and plant them 6" deep about 2 to 4 weeks before your ground freezes. They need sun to part sun and will come back year after year; they're hardy in USDA zones 3-8. 'Sunshine Boys,' pictured here, is a blend of early-blooming daffodils.
There are many different types of tulips, including Darwin hybrids, Fosterianas, doubles, parrots and more. Tulip 'Akebono' is a Japanese tulip that blooms in mid to late spring. Plant this double beauty in fall in part sun to part shade. It's hardy in zones 3-8.
If you’re pushing the hardiness envelope, give tender plants an extra measure of warmth by providing a layer of insulation. You can wrap shrubs with burlap, insulate with a Styrofoam cover or use a pop-up type plant protector. With any of these methods, provide extra insulation by stuffing the covering with chopped autumn leaves.
Fall-planted Dutch iris are easy to grow and make lovely cut flowers. Get the bulbs into the ground before the first hard freeze and give them a site with full sun to partial shade. They should be planted about 4-6” deep and 3” apart. Let the leaves remain on the plants until they die back naturally, and the bulbs, which are hardy in zones 5-9, should flower again the following year.
If you’re having trouble finding true-blue flowers for your garden, look for muscari, or grape hyacinths. Hardy in zones 4-8, these little bulbs, which are available in white and various shades of blue and purple, like full sun and soil that drains easily. They mix beautifully with other spring-blooming flowers, such as daffodils and tulips. Plant them in the fall, 2-3” deep, spacing them every 3-4”.
The landscape designers for this expansive property were among the first to use Southern Living's Sunshine Ligustrum. The brilliant yellow plant has a compact look and despite its delicate appearance is a hardy evergreen.
To fill out a small outdoor space, look for easy-maintenance plants that look good though the seasons. For an Atlanta courtyard, Cultivators Design and Landscape used sedums, bamboo and acorus grass, which are hardy and easy to grow, says landscape architect and owner Derrick Lepard.