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Plant Hunter

By The Ugly Duckling House on Jun 14, 2012
As you can imagine with this week's impromptu outdoor post theme, both my interview with HGTV's Kristan Cunningham and this week's effort on the side of the house has me thinking about color I'd like to bring to the yard.

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And if you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you might recall that I have a tendency to kill plants.  So, I'm on the hunt for a few new ones to fill some sparse areas around the yard.  Armed with a simple set of criteria, I'm doing a little research and trying to find plants that:
  • tolerate the hot, Georgia summer
  • don't require replanting next year (at least for the areas that should be more maintenance-free, like the area near the camelias and the side of the house)
  • bloom, but don't have that "run over wet" look when they aren't flowering
  • are Sarah-proof in terms of neglect, overwatering, and overzealous pruning
Speaking of pruning, I read that a British study found that plants communicate to each other through emitting gases or making clicking noises with their roots (pretty much the same traits as my drinking buddies).  They do this to tell other plants to grow, or to alert each other when there is danger, like a caterpillar or a gardener carrying giant shears.  I now think I owe mine an apology.  But I wonder, what exactly can you bring them?  Cut flowers certainly would be the opposite of apologizing.


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Plant maiming aside, I think I have a few top contenders to pick up later this weekend (and get my plantin' on):


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Endless Summer Hydrangea - hits all of the criteria and would look amazing next to the camelias in the front yard.  I know from growing up that they did quite well at my parents house in our back yard, and we did nothing to keep them alive.


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SunPatiens - these are apparently a new hybrid (or something, I'm still a budding gardener - ha!) that are sun-tolerant impatiens.  Perfect for the mailbox and will bloom spring through early fall, but I'll have to replant next year (which is okay for a small space like that - gives me a chance to change it up with new colors).


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Gardenia - this one is particularly special to me because we had one next to the back door at my parents house.  It's still there, so my Mom is trying to grow an offshoot of the original for me to place next to my front door (right where she killed my white mum).  The flowers are so fragrant and bring back a lot of childhood memories (Mom even had them in her wedding bouquet), so it seems appropriate that at least one of these special plants hold a spot in the front.  I'll  have to wait on this one for a little while until Mom can get me the sprout/sapling/thing, but I'm looking forward to this fragrance next year.

Most of these ideas are for dressing up the curb appeal (you can see the side of the house as you drive up the road), but the back yard could use a little love, too.  I've already got azaleas and other blooming shrubs back there, so it's more of a cleanup job before I can get to new planting.  I still have lots of plans, and much of it remains the same as the original plans I drew up (only I think I'm going to either put a short cedar deck or pea gravel instead of the pavers to save cost).

For now, I will still have to hack away at the existing shrubbery and get some semblance of order before I can do much more.  But with my new information, I think I might also take a radio outside and let the plants enjoy some tunes.  At least it will drown out the clicking.


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