Wednesday, May 1, 2013


by Leigh

Can you believe today is the first day of MAY?  This is the time of year when my profession as a landscape designer and my obsession with photography really come together.  I can take the time while out on jobs to photograph all the beautiful flowers.  I don't know about you, but  I'm always on the lookout for new perennials that dazzle year after year or new shrub varieties that are brand new on the scene.  I know that there are a lot of you out there with green thumbs so let's have a virtual plant swapmeet! 

  • What is your favorite tree and what makes it special?
  • What is the perennial that you always recommend to fellow gardening buddies?
  • Love annuals?  what are your favorite combinations for sun and shade?
  • Any evergreen fans out there?  what are your tried and true favorites?
  • Is there a particular plant or flower that always reminds you of your grandmother's house?
  • And we can't forget about the lovely groundcovers that create carpets of color in our gardens.  What is your favorite? 
You can post your answers in the comment section here on the blog or our Flickr group discussion board.

And even better, how about showing us some photos of your favorites!  I love combining hot pink Geraniums with purple Homestead Verbena in containers.  They dazzle throughout the hot summer months!

I keep a pretty small plant pallet due to our wide range of weather here in Oklahoma.  Here is my "tried and true" list of favorites.

  • 'Oklahoma' Redbud-profuse purple flowers in early spring followed by heart shaped leaves
  • Autumn Blaze Maple-great as a multi trunk with outstanding fall color
  • Chinese Pistache-ugly ducklings when small so start big.  The fall color is worth the extra $$$.
  • 'Caddo' Sugar Maple-Another stunner in the Fall and very drought tolerant.  Does not like to be in an irrigated lawn.
  • Shantung Maple-a medium sized shade tree that can take the hot sun.  Great leaf shape and early spring blooms 
  • Sienna Sunrise Nandinas-a new cultivar of an old fashioned shrub.  Year round interest with beautiful foliage color and berries.
  • Nellie Stevens Holly-my go to plant for a tough evergreen.  
  • Saybrook Gold Juniper-great low growing evergreen with gold foliage
  • Knockout Roses-longest bloom time (spring through frost) and virtually no maintenance thanks to self deadheading flowers.
  • Oakleaf Hydrangeas-beautiful white panicled flowers and large oak shaped leaves.  Beautiful fall color too!
  • Stella d'Or Daylilies-long blooming yellow flowers throughout spring through summer
  • May Night Salvia-long blooming purple flower spikes spring through summer
  • Carolina Jessamine-evergreen vine that is covered with yellow blooms in early spring
  • Peonies-my favorite 'old fashioned' flower
  • Shasta Daisies-white flowers with yellow centers.  Blooms profusely in summer and multiplies!
I could go on and on!  So let's see your favorites!


Dotti said...

Such a timely post, Leigh! We're filling in with new perennials and will soon do annuals so I welcome new ideas. Your photos are fantastic and a great introduction to our May Theme, Flowers.

terriporter said...

We have an even more limited number of things that will survive our summers (except cactus, of course!) I just planted some protulaca which are supposed to flower throughout the hot summer months so I'm looking forward to that. Your photos are stunning and whenever I see any of your landscape designs it makes me wish you were closer so I could have you design my yard!

Anonymous said...

I Love the yellow flowers photo with the play of light.

kelly said...

oh my goodness, well don't get me started on my favorite plants! (haha) so being a fellow okie i share many of your plant selections. :) as far as my own particular yard and garden...several years ago (after the big ice storm) we replaced some trees with shumard oaks which have been performing really well so far. as far as evergreens, i have a couple of different varieties of laurels planted (otto luyken and schipka) which have done well in the partial shade of my backyard. and i also love my dwarf burning bushes. i am definitely going to check out that carlina jessamine - i remember seeing that at the dallas arboretum. and as far as perennials go, 'may night' salvia is one of my top five faves. i also love shasta daisies and pink cusion flowers. oh and i love all varieties of irises. and finally my favorite annuals are impatiens for the shade and zinnias for the sun. love sweet alyssum in pots too. wow...i could go on all day, so i think i'll just stop here. :)

Anonymous said...

I love ginkgo biloba trees, peegee hydrangea shrubs among others and this summer I have some heirloom flower seeds I'm going to try: white sunflowers, single hollyhocks and zinnias. We're going to build an arbour and plant climbing vines like clematis. I love your suggestions Leigh and your beautiful images.

Cathy H. said...

Beautiful flowers, Leigh. I love your color combinations! Not being able to handle the heat of summer, I have reduced my flower beds considerably. I do have three shade gardens filled with hostas and azaleas. My favorite perennial...clematis. Favorite annual...lantana (it will take the heat and my neglect!) Favorite shrub...Chinese Fringe Flower (Loropetalum)which has gorgeous pink flowers spring and fall. I do have one small bed that I'm redoing, I'll be checking out some of the above suggestions.

CarolHart said...

Your profession as a landscape designer must be so rewarding! I am a self-taught gardener who could go on and on about favorite plants! I think I will go to the discussion board on Flickr for this one! Lovely images by the way!

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