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Zone Appropriate Plants

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January 7, 2014
Here on the coast we've just had several nights of below 30 degrees. I'm visiting my friends Lisa and Marty to see how their new landscape has withstood the cold temperatures. While some of the more tropical plants were sensitive to the cold, the bulk of Lisa and Marty's landscape are plants that are appropriate for their planting zone. The primary groundcover plant is Chocolate Chip ajuga which has narrow foliage that is dark green with chocolaty-bronze highlights. This is an enthusiastic grower and it has been planted where the growth can be contained. Butterfly weed, known botanically as Asclepias tuberosa, was chosen as a Mississippi Medallion native plant in 2012. Butterfly weed grows up to 36 inches tall and 24 inches wide. This plant has an upright, clumping growth habit. Even late into the year, the clusters of tubular flowers with various shades of orange, yellow or red, are still attracting Monarch butterflies. Shell ginger continues to provide color throughout the landscape. Planted around the large urn fountain, the variegated leaves are dramatic with their striking irregular green and yellow stripes. Garden art always adds to the landscape interest. The Mississippi Medallion winner Shi Shi Gashira camellia with its pink blooms is the perfect background for their Saint Francis statue. Adding interest are the Satsuma orange trees planted in the front beds, which will make for some really delicious edible landscaping. As you can tell from this landscape, zone appropriate plants can help to prolong garden beauty. I'm horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.

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