Southern landscaping can be tricky when you consider the humidity and blazing sun that seems to go with it. Every landscape has its disadvantages just as each one boasts redeeming virtues. There are many plant species that grow well in the South, while some struggle to barely survive. Choosing the right plants and garden ideas for your region can mean the difference between success and failure.
Take advantage of the warmth and try planting a tropical paradise. Look for plants that are hardy in your zone. For "must haves" that require warmer winter temps try using pots so overwintering them indoors does not have to involve disturbing the roots. Another idea is to install a small pond and patio. Try to find colors that seem like something you would see while one tropical vacation for the patio tiles and accessories. Tropical-looking plants good for the colder parts of the south include dwarf Orinoco bananas (Musa,) canna lilies (Canna generalis,) hardy blue passion vines (Passiflora incarnate,) Japanese ginger (Zingiber mioga) and elephant ears (Alocasia wentii.)
Bug Free Sitting Area
Those warm summer evenings are loved by more than people, mosquitoes and other insects thrive in hot climates. To enjoy your gardens with less biting, try installing a sitting area that is covered with mosquito netting. You can make your own or purchase one already made. For natural insect control, try setting up bat houses around your property. Not only do the houses give the bats a place to live, they will repay you with their never-ending search for biting insects. Adding a solid roof to the mosquito proof patio will make it possible to enjoy a cool, misty evening out of doors.
If a pond is to be installed, create one large enough that fish can safely reside there. Mosquito fish or some other hardy, ravenous species will consume mosquito larva before they have a chance to become biting adults. Adding a waterfall or some other systems to keep the surface agitated will prevent most female mosquitoes from laying their eggs.
Romantic Garden Sitting Area
Try using voile (or mosquito netting) to drape over garden pillars that are spaced out in the size room you want. This will create a cozy room within the garden. Surrounding the area with heavily scented flowers such as gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides oraugusta) and jasmine (Jasminum tortuosum) will add further romantic appeal. Instead of building solid walls, try using lattice or inexpensive lumber slats to grow fragrant vines on. The addition of an aviary to house doves in will top the whole plan off. Diamond doves (Geopelia cuneata) are tiny and perfectly suited to areas with warm winters. They do well in smaller aviaries and can be housed indoors in parakeet cages when cold weather threatens. Their muted coos are a nice addition to a romantic garden plan.