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{best of 2013} garden variety

December 27, 2013

While the landscape will always be a work in progress, it helps to focus on past performance as we formulate bold plans for the coming year. Let’s acknowledge plantings that performed well in 2013 and vow to keep them abundant in the new year.

Here’s my list of the best in the homesweet homemade 2013 garden:


1. Geraniums

Nonstop blooms January through December.  Hands down our number-one performer. While they didn’t do as well in the front yard, they thrived in flowerpots out back, so I’m going to bring the front yard geraniums to the back this year.


2. Mexican petunias

This sprawling groundcover in the back yard eclipsed my notice for several years, only because it required no care.  However in 2013 I discovered its identity and tested transplants with outstanding results.  It spreads rapidly and tolerates both sunny and shady locations.  This plant will be making a debut in the troublesome front yard flowerbeds in 2014.

source: Southern Living

3. Tomatoes

Our first foray in cultivating tomatoes was truly remarkable.  I planted 3 seeds (Sweet 100 grape tomatoes) with 100% success.  While I plan to move them to a different location, I’ll definitely grow them again.  The photo below is my own – actual vine-ripened fruit.


4. Milkweed

We can’t get enough enjoyment from watching the caterpillar-to-butterfly cycle of life.  Our butterfly garden could benefit from some freshly cultivated cuttings of this hardy plant.


5. Zinnias

The sturdiest blooming plant that I know of for producing cut flowers.  The prickly stems aggravate my allergies terribly, but I keep coming back for more of the colorful old fashioned garden blossoms that give us the prettiest ever bouquets all summer long (image below from our very own cutting garden).


6. Amaryllis

The previous homeowners left a few bulbs behind and we relocated them to a new bedding area where they appear to be happily thriving.  Last spring we saw blooms, thankfully, and are counting on more in 2014.

source: Gardening with Nature

7. Hummingbird bush

Probably not its technical name, but it absolutely attracts hummingbirds and that’s what we like around here.  We noticed one rogue plant that sprouted up unexpectedly in a remote part of the landscape, but that’s what we love about this nectar plant.


8. Parsley

As I discovered through observation, this plant is a biennial, so I need to germinate new seeds each year. Easy to grow, it’s a true staple for our kitchen garden.


9. Basil

Another easy-care kitchen garden inhabitant, we’re enjoying 3 varieties – sweet basil, thai basil and lime basil. The Thai basil is incredibly robust, but we use sweet basil most frequently for culinary purposes.  New seedlings will be germinating soon.


10. Compost

We bought a compost barrel last spring and have been adding clippings, coffee grounds and paper scraps for months. The barrel’s contents will provide hearty nourishment to the garden soil come springtime. In 2014 we’ll focus on increasing the portion of paper bulk in the barrel and eliminating woody organic matter that takes a long time to break down.

source: Urban Farmer


stay tuned for more {best of 2013} in another day or two 🙂

thank you for stopping by!


One Comment leave one →
  1. December 28, 2013 11:29 am

    Oh man….you make me wanna dig up some milkweed from the ditches and transplant them. I love butterflies. And that petunia is something I’m going to research. We might be a wee bit out of the zone though…..oh but it is soooo pretty.

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