So the past couple of weeks I have been happily tearing out shrubs and nondescript bushes around my house and replacing them with plants that I feel have real character… native plants. Plants that will do well here once established because, well because they grow here.

I do not understand why nurseries and big-box garden centers persist in stocking (and selling) flowers and plants that grow well in zones where there is no humidity (that’s not here), or the night temperatures never exceed 60* (not here, either). I fell for that. I’d see an exotic or beautiful plant and snatch it up, carefully reading its little happiness parameters– whether it liked sun or shade, dry or damp soil, but completely ignored that it could not survive in sandy soil (definitely here). I would be deeply saddened as I watched this lovely flower slowly succumb to its inevitable demise.

So I planted many things, tiny presently but which will, in only a few years, I hope grow into their natural mature states. Carolina allspice (sweetshrub), clethra (I cannot find a common name for this fragrant little shrub). Elderberry, sweet bay and red buckeye which are all understory trees, or trees that do not grow much more than 10 feet or so.

Then I planted native flowers– echinacea, blackeyed susan, butterfly weed (aesclepias), fennel which swallowtail butterflies lovcaterpillar-562104_640.jpge. That’s the wonderful thing about native plants. There are often insects or caterpillars that have a symbiotic relationship with them. A milkweed (aesclepias) plant can be completely denuded of leaves and blooms by a monarch caterpillar.

(not my picture)

After it has eaten its fill it happily goes away to make its cocoon and become its beautiful butterfly self gran-canaria-171555_640.jpg (also not my picture) while the host plant grows back.

I planted gaillardia (blanketflower) because I love its warm orange and yellow and red colors and because it is probably the most native of all coastal flowers here. And it spreads (hence its name)  images.duckduckgo.jpg(public domain image)

I also planted some hibiscus which you never know what color their flowers are until they actually bloom for the first time. Anything from pink to red to white, purple or blue. And oxeye daisies. I recently learned these are considered weeds. How anyone could call a daisy a weed I’ll never know. But there they are, nestled among the hydrangea and wildflower seeds I scattered- zinnias, among other annuals.

So we’ll see. I live in a neighborhood that prides itself on its homeowner’s association’s perfection. Well, they can have their perfection in my front yard. But the backyard is mine.


Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”   –Matthew 6:28


Vacation plans, career plans, family plans, college plans, wedding plans, dinner plans, weekend plans.

Landscape plans?

I took a good, long look at my house and yard today. Rectangular  depth, one story brick, just like every other house in the subdivision. With a very strict and binding homeowner’s association the backyard is really all I can play around with. To quote each officer in the HOA, “we wouldn’t want houses with pink shutters and orange polka-dots, would we?”

Why not??

So I can’t do anything, really to my front yard., not much more than I already have. But I can put a helipad in my backyard, or a scale model of the Eiffel tower, or basically anything I’d like as long as (per HOA) “it can’t be seen from the front”.

So that opens everything pretty wide for anything I can imagine. I have never liked lawn turf. Grasses are hard to maintain, they need a lot of water, feeding, this isn’t normal.

Ornamental grasses- purple fountain grass, pink muhly grass, millet, sea oats– these are basically weeds and take care of themselves. So I figure if I use all native flowers, shrubs, grasses after a few weeks of watering in they can pretty much manage well without a lot of feeding, watering and attention. I have always wanted something like a jungle around my house. Anything to block out any sign of civilization leaving only nature. The birds, squirrels and other little critters will enjoy it. My philodendron are climbing the walls in the master bath. They are draping themselves gracefully down the bookcases and desks through the house.

So I will find something I like that is natural and easy. Gravel and slate pathways, maybe a small pond with a fountain. Or not. Anyway it will keep me busy during the next several months.

And the HOA do not have to see a thing.