Carolina Yellow Jessamine

Carolina yellow jessamine (or jasmine) is the state flower of South Carolina. This plant is a twining vine that is native to the Southeast US, so it is well-adapted to our LA climate. Carolina yellow jessamine can grow up to 3-6 meters high when given suitable climbing support. The leaves are evergreen and a beautiful dark green. The trumpet-shaped yellow flowers arise in clusters and sometimes have an orange center. The flowers are strongly scented and produce nectar that attracts a range of pollinators.

Historically, this plant was used as a topical to treat the symptoms of measles, tonsillitis, and headaches. However, all parts of this plant exude chemicals that are toxic to people and animals, so should not be consumed. The nectar is also toxic to honeybees, which may cause brood death when the nectar is gathered by the bees and brought back to their hive. Despite the potential hazards, this is a popular garden plant in the south and is frequently trained to cover walls.

Being a native plant it tends to be hardy and well-adapted in the residential or commercial landscape. Established native plants can grow with little to no fertilizer and pesticides, and may require little to no irrigation. In this way, native plants generally help protect water resources, allowing gardeners to reduce fertilizers, pesticides, and irrigation practices which otherwise can contribute to stormwater runoff pollution and degradation of downstream water quality.

Can’t Go Wrong with Salvia Cultivars

There are about 900 species of annuals, perennials and soft-wooded evergreen shrubs in the genus Salvia, including many species used for culinary and medicinal herbs and as ornamental plants.

These attractive subshrubs (freezing to the ground in winter and sprouting back in spring) are hardy throughout Louisiana and thus can be grown as perennials or as container plants.

Most varieties begin to bloom in mid-to-late summer and continue to produce flowers until mid-winter.

The blooms will attract bees and some birds, pollinators which will keep your garden healthy all season long.

Salvia ‘Argentina Skies’ and Salvia ‘Lady in Red’ are my particular favorites; the green stem of Argentina Skies uniquely contrasts the light blue flowers, and the plant itself reproduces asexually via large underground tubers, so splitting plants to get more for your money is easy!

Lady in Red produces large, deep red blooms that are equally strikingly beautiful, but what puts this plant on my list of favorite Salvia cultivars is that it is a wildflower native to the southern United States (so it’s quite heat-resistant); furthermore, whether it’s planted in a garden or in a container, this variety’s red clusters are huge hummingbird magnets.

Aug2013-1-3
What’s more is that the majority of Salvia cultivars are free of plant diseases or major insect problems, so you can’t go wrong!!

Greenman Dan can help you update your garden.

Heat-Tolerant Perennials

These perennials have proven themselves time and again in the blisteringly hot LA summer landscapes, have been recommended by LSU AgCenter horticulturists, and may be planted this month:

Goldsturm rudbeckia:Mar2014-2-1

This classic, tough plant was named the
Perennial Plant of the Year in 1999 and a Louisiana Select Plant in 2000.

 

 

 

 

Ruellias:Mar2014-2-2

aka Mexican
petunias come in dwarf and tall forms that bear beautiful lavender flowers.

 

 

 

 

Salvias:

Beautiful natives that we have highlighted
Here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lantana:Mar2014-2-3

Many variations of flower colors, which change as the flower ages. Like salvias, these will attract butterflies to your garden!

 

Pink Flowers

Perennial Planning

Purchase and plant perennials without carefully setting the stage, and the result may be chaos in the garden and disappointing results. Proper garden planning begins with the site and not the plants themselves.

February through March is the optimal time to plant or transplant perennials, roses and other shrubs. Some questions you should ask yourself before rushing off to the nursery: How large is the bed? From which direction will it be viewed? How much light does the area receive? Is the drainage good? What existing trees, shrubs, or other features will contribute to the composition?

Keep in mind that flower colors are important – they must harmonize, blend, or contrast attractively with one another. Time of bloom should also be considered – select perennials that will bloom at various times to get the most out of this planting season. Be sure to research how tall the plants will grow, and put the taller plants toward the back of the garden bed. Finally, choose perennials with a variety of textures.

Remember New Orleans is the 3rd rainiest city in the country. As Times-Picayune columnist Dan Gill says, here “To survive here, perennials also must be able to endure the heat, humidity and rain of summer and the diseases that season brings.”

Once you have a picture in your mind of your perfect spring beds, research and find the plants that will fit into that dream!

For ideas or plant installation, give Greenman Dan a call! Assured to be stress-free.