ShadyGardens Blog

January 3, 2012

A Native Garden in Winter

Filed under: American, Cypress, gardens, Georgia, holly, jasmine, native, nursery, pachysandra, plants, Shady, source, yucca — shadygardens @ 6:14 pm
Gelsemium sempervirens – Carolina Jasmine

Since a Georgia winter has frequent warm days, we enjoy spending a lot of time outdoors even in January and February. Finding native plants that are showy in winter can be challenging.


We do have many non-native evergreens in our garden, but we find it important to plant native plants whenever possible. After much searching, I have come up with a few suggestions of American native plants you should add to your winter garden:

  • American Holly, of course for the berries!
  • Carolina Jasmine, Gelsemium sempervirens, also known as Carolina Jessamine, begins blooming often as early as December. Profuse bloom in winter hides the leaves, which are evergreen in most of the South. This easy to grow vine will climb anything or can be grown as a spreading groundcover, but it is never considered invasive.
  • Pachysandra Procumbens, often referred to as Allegheny Spurge, is a non-invasive groundcover that develops a silvery mottling to its leaves in fall and winter.
  • Evergreens are an important addition to any garden. One I like in particular that looks just as good in winter as any other time of year is Arizona Cypress.
  • Yucca provides spikey interest year round and provides contrast in the garden. I like ‘Golden Sword’ for its bright yellow stripes appearing like sunshine in the garden.
In addition to being beautiful year round, these plants offer the added benefit of being drought tolerant, which is an important asset to consider after the drought we’ve endured for the last few years.

Source for these plants: Shady Gardens Nursery.

January 22, 2010

Winter Garden in Georgia with Native Plants

Since a Georgia winter has frequent warm days, we enjoy spending a lot of time outdoors even in January and February. Finding native plants that are showy in winter can be challenging.

We do have many non-native evergreens in our garden, but we find it important to choose native plants whenever possible. After much searching, I have come up with a few suggestions of American native plants you should add to your winter garden:

  • American Holly, of course for the berries!
  • Pachysandra Procumbens, often referred to as Allegheny Spurge, is a non-invasive groundcover that develops a silvery mottling to its leaves in fall and winter.

  • Lonicera fragrantissima begins blooming in January with sweetly fragrant and delicately beautiful blooms. This large growing shrub is commonly referred to as Winter Honeysuckle.
  • Evergreens are an important addition to any garden. One I like in particular that looks just as good in winter as any other time of year is Arizona Cypress.
  • Yucca provides spikey interest year round and provides contrast in the garden. I like ‘Golden Sword’ for its bright yellow stripes appearing like sunshine in the garden. The top photo shows Golden Sword Yucca in its January splendor.

In addition to being beautiful year round, these plants offer the added benefit of being drought tolerant and perfect for xeriscape gardens, which is an important asset to consider during today’s uncertain water conditions!

October 27, 2007

Native Plants for Dry Soil

Filed under: agave, drought tolerant, dry garden, Golden Sword, native plant, plants, yucca — shadygardens @ 6:13 pm

There are some interesting plants that not only tolerant dry conditions but actually enjoy dry soil! This is an exciting topic to me, since we are forced to endure dry soil here in Georgia. Although we’ve received some good rainfall recently, we can’t be sure it will continue. Native plants are the best way to responsibly landscape and garden without the extra effort of watering when it doesn’t rain. Yucca might not be your favorite plant, since it is famous for those spines at the tips that bring blood when an unsuspecting person bumps into it, but there are some less common varieties that are eye-catchers in the garden! Golden Sword has leaves striped with yellow, giving the garden a spiky focal point even in winter. This variety does not have the sharp spines at the tip of the leaves, but does send up the beautiful and quite showy fragrant white bloom spike in summer. Another beautiful variety that is sometimes available is Red Yucca, not a true yucca, but a very drought-tolerant Texas native that is virtually maintenance free! Red flower stalks extremely attractive to hummingbirds are sent up several times during the season, beginning in spring. Fruits will develop that provide food for the birds, so don’t remove the flower stalks. Yes, Red Yucca is hardy here, tolerating temperatures down to 10° F. Agave, usually referred to as Century Plant, comes in several different varieties including variegated ones and blue-tinted ones. All prefer dry soil, but make sure it’s hardy in our winters before planting it outdoors. Yucca and Agave both like dry soil so much that they can be planted even in the middle of a drought! They prefer full sun but grow well in partial shade too. Be careful with the agave though—I’m told the sap will cause a reaction far worse than poison ivy! Another good quality possessed by these plants—deer don’t eat it! So get out there and plant some drought-tolerant plants, but first thank God for the rain!

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