March 15 2013

Sun or Shade – which plants to use: Part Two

In Part 1 of this series, we talked about the best plantings for shady areas. If you have a sunny yard, congratulations! Gardening in sunny spots is easier because of the huge variety of plants that grow well under sunny conditions. In the previous article, we went over some of the factors to consider when selecting plants, and you can always ask your landscaping professional for suggestions.

Once you’ve considered the general surroundings in which you live, it is time to think about the actual spot where you garden. Each and every garden will consist of plenty of different microclimates. A microclimate is an area within your garden or yard that is different from the general overall conditions in your region.

Do you have a bed along your home that stays warmer than surrounding areas? Do you live near the ocean and have areas that are sometimes sprayed with saltwater? Do you have a spot that tends to stay wet or cooler than anywhere else? Do you have an area that is sheltered from the wind? There’s a myriad of factors that contribute to microclimates. Being attentive and learning what your microclimates are will help you identify the plants that will do best for each spot in your home garden. It can also help you find a spot where a plant that you didn’t think you could grow will prosper.

The primary thing that you have to worry about in a sunny garden is that your plants are getting enough water. Here are some of the top plants to use in heavy sun areas:

*  Roses: Almost all roses need at least six hours of sun a day to bloom their best, so roses are ideal for all your sunny spots. Most people think that roses are hard to grow, but they don’t have to be. An easy way to give your roses a boost is to plant your empty banana peels around the bushes. Bananas have potassium, which is as nutritious for roses as it is for people. Roses that are well-nourished will produce more, larger blooms with stronger perfume, which is always crowd pleaser.

*  Butterfly Bush: A perfect choice for lawns and gardens, butterfly bushes are very tolerant of heat and humidity. They flourish in difficult conditions like very sunny spots and have tons of beautiful blooms, which can vary in color from blue to lavender, pink to red, and even white. As you’ve guessed from their name, they also invite butterflies and bees to your garden, which is fun for both children and adults.

*  Daisies: There are few flowers as cheery as daisies. A mass planting of daisies in bloom is certain to bring a smile to anybody’s face, and they are ideal additions to any sunny garden. For the flowers to bloom more than once a season, just cut off the bloom once it has faded, a practice commonly known as deadheading. You can also just cut the flowers when they are in bloom and enjoy them inside the house.

*  Lilies: Another great bloomer for your sunny garden area is the lily. There are numerous varieties of lilies available today, from the typical tiger lilies to deep purple Black Jacks, yellow Flamboyants, pink lilies called Spanish Flame, and even delicate lilies that look like orchids. Lilies are planted from bulbs, which makes them very easy to care for. Plant one time and you will have blooms for a long time to come.

*  Lavender: A great choice for a sunny walkway is the lavender plant. Lavender looks great in bunches and rows, such as along a sidewalk. You might consider placing the plants so that people run into them as they walk to your house; this will release the fragrance of the flowers. Lavender is drought-tolerant and the flowers are great for drying, using in crafts, and cooking. They add a useful touch as well as beauty to any sunny garden.

There are many other plants that to choose from that would fit in well in your sunny garden, but these five superstars are a great way to begin your adventures in gardening in the sun. If you have partial shade, it can affect your planting choices as well, and we’ll cover that in a future article.