Today’s photos come from Debbie Folton.
The stunning ginger above is a variety of Curcuma. The rhizomes of one species of curcuma is the source of the spice tumeric, and all of them are beautiful garden plants with attractive broad leaves and dramatic, very long-lasting spikes of flowers. Most varieties are hardy to Zone 8, and in warm climates they are a great option for shade gardens, outperforming things like hostas that really thrive best in cooler climates. Even better, they are resistant to hungry deer, voles, and other pests.
Growing curcumas in pots is a great way to display them, especially if you live somewhere too cold for them to overwinter reliably. Just move the pots into a place like a garage or basement where they’ll be protected from hard freezes for the winter, and then bring them out again when the weather warms in the spring.
Wide view of Debbie’s garden, with beautiful fencing and lots of azaleas.
Passion flowers (Passiflora incarnata, Zones 7–11) are some of the most unusual and most beautiful flowers out there. Most of the genus is tropical, but this species is a North American native and can take quite a bit of cold. I’ve even seen it growing in Zone 6. If you grow it, you’ll provide food for the caterpillars of the beautiful gulf fritillary butterfly. But be warned—when happy, this vine can spread aggressively, both above and below ground.
Japanese maples (Acer palmatum, Zones 5–9) are always stars in the garden.
Every garden needs some zinnias (Zinnia elegans, annual). They are easy to grow from seed, they make great cut flowers, and butterflies adore them.
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