Liz Odom, aka the Garden Doctor, builds and maintains gardens around Lake Conroe in Texas and is sharing photos of some favorite moments from those gardens.
Lake Conroe sits on the edge of Zones 8 and 9, meaning that winter annuals aren’t limited to the pansies that those of us in colder climates have to rely on. Petunias, sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima), and florist cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum) can bloom through the mild Texas winter and then be replaced before the heat of the summer arrives. If you live in an area with cool summer temperatures, these plants can be grown as summer annuals.
Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus) is another plant that’s great for winter color in Zones 7 and warmer, or for summer color in areas with cooler summers.
More snapdragons, and behind them, delphiniums (Delphinium elatum). Delphiniums are hardy to Zone 3 and are the queens of the summer garden in the North. In hot climates, grow and enjoy them fall through spring.
Blue pansies (Viola × wittrockiana) may be the plants that can be grown the most places. In Zones 6 and warmer, plant them in the fall for winter and spring color. North of that, they’ll often bloom right through the summer. Mixed with them is asparagus fern (Asparagus densiflorus), which I have long grown as a houseplant but is perennial in Zone 9 and warmer, and the dramatic yellow-striped leaves of variegated shell ginger (Alpinia zerumbet ‘Variegata’ Zones 8–10).
A rustic fence makes a dramatic feature in the garden.
Variously called fernleaf, California, or Egyptian lavender, Lavandula multifida (Zones 8–10) has finely cut fragrant leaves and classic spikes of lavender flowers and is a better choice for hot climates than traditional English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia, Zones 5–10).
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