Garden Photo of the Day

Plants That Take Heat and Humidity

An Alabama gardener has found the plants that thrive in his climate

My name is Jim Smith from Hartselle, Alabama, and I want to share a few photos of my garden. The garden is about five years old. I had minimal gardening experience except for helping my dad grow vegetables in my youth. I started out just wanting my home to look better, and then it turned into a bit of an obsession. My first investment was the white picket fence, then I began digging by shovel about four feet deep every evening and weekend for the next year, removing the bad soil and bringing in amended soil. I then began investing in shrubs and flowers, learning by trial and error what plants liked my soil. It stays very humid and hot in north Alabama, and the flowers that have worked the best in my garden are the Knock Out roses (Rosa ‘Radrazz’, Zones 4–9), which just keep putting out flowers all season long. I also have a ‘New Dawn’ rose (Rosa ‘New Dawn’, Zones 5–9) climbing along the fence, and multiple Austin roses scattered in the garden. My favorites, and the longest bloomers, are the purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea, Zones 3–9), daylilies (Hemerocallis hybrids, Zones 3–9), Rudbeckia (Rudbeckia fulgida, Zones 3–9), and ‘Rozanne’ geranium (Geranium ‘Rozanne’ Zones 4–8), which all have long blooming seasons. I also keep about 25 containers and hanging baskets full of annuals to add to the cottage-style garden.

I enjoy looking at other people’s gardens and get many ideas that I use for my own garden. My wife and I enjoy spending many mornings and evenings sitting on our porch watching the birds, butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds buzzing throughout the garden.

I simply enjoy gardening!

Jim started with this white picket fence … and then some plants … and then some more plants. Pretty soon he had a beautiful obsession on his hands.


Masses of perennials and colorful annual containers give this garden a rich, cheerful, cottage-garden style.


This front porch is liberally planted with beautiful, full containers. What a perfect, inviting place to sit on a summer’s evening.


Another view of the lush plantings along the front porch.


When you find something that works, plant more of it! These rudbeckia clearly love this garden, and this big mass of them is putting on a pretty incredible show. Click here to see plants that do well in heat.


Have a garden you’d like to share?


Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!

To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.

If you want to send photos in separate emails to the GPOD email box that is just fine.

Have a mobile phone? Tag your photos on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with #FineGardening!

You don’t have to be a professional garden photographer – check out our garden photography tips!

Do you receive the GPOD by email yet? Sign up here.

View Comments


  1. user-7017435 08/29/2018

    Good morning Mr. Smit, I believe your plant selections compliment your home. Your photos look like they jumped out of Country living magazine. Removing 4 ft. of soil was backbreaking I'm sure but the results are outstanding. Thank you for your post & good luck, Joe

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 08/29/2018

    Loved reading your story, Jim and seeing how your chronic condition of garden-itis has manifested itself. Ha, don't look for a cure because the results are all beautiful and really create a delightful Norman Rockwell type charm to your home.

  3. User avater
    user-7007816 08/29/2018

    Jim, What a great job you have done. You followed the old adage, "grow the soil and let the soil grow the plants. Nice work and beautiful results.

  4. User avater
    treasuresmom 08/29/2018

    Amazing!! Love that you have one of my favorite faves rudbeckia.

  5. sandyprowse 08/29/2018

    Mr. Smith: Just absolutely out of this world. What a delight to view while having my morning coffee. Well done sir!

  6. Maggieat11 08/29/2018

    Very charming and inviting! And congratulations on your "new-found obsession". Excellent results both on the outside.. AND inside! Enjoy!

  7. katherine_8 08/29/2018

    Jim, you've created a meadow-like oasis and it is truly breath-taking. I love seeing that massive expanse of what I like to call Black-eyed-Susans (Rudbeckia)!! Both your house and garden are very welcoming and beautiful. You should feel very proud of yourself!! Enjoy :)

  8. poest 08/29/2018

    Beautifully done!!!

  9. btucker9675 08/29/2018

    Wonderful story of yet another person claimed by the addiction of gardening... what a beautiful place you have made by the sweat of your brow!

  10. Sunshine111 08/29/2018

    Good morning Jim! Seeing your photos made me smile, because your house is so much like mine. I have a cape also with a front porch, that I sit on in the mornings, Enjoying the sunrise, my coffee and the hummingbirds. Greetings from New Hampshire!

  11. wittyone 08/30/2018

    Sorry I missed your post earlier. This front yard is absolutely gorgeous----so lush, full, and colorful. I bet your neighbors love it and I can imagine all the traffic passing by just to look at your work!

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Related Articles

The Latest