Bulbs in the Southern Garden

Fall—time to plant bulbs for next year’s spring color

Here are some of my favorite bulbs and Alison Monaghan’s (fictional heroine of Carolina Reckoning), too.

irisIris species—Iris danfordiae—Zone 5-9
Late winter blooms. Full sun. Large colony.

daffodilDaffodils—Narcissus spp.—Zone 6-9
Try to find species daffodils (not hybrids) which will return year after year and increase.

squillSiberian squill—Scilla siberica—Zone 2-8
Early spring. Full sun to part shade. Naturalize for mass effect.

tulipTulips—Tulipa spp.—Zone 2-8
Full sun. Hybrids short lived in South so find species bulbs for returning blooms each year. Elegant and formal.

For more gardening photos, visit http://pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/carolina-reckoning/.


Start Planning Next Year’s Southern Garden

My favorite garden books—and Alison Monaghan’s (fictional heroine/landscape designer of Carolina Reckoning), too.

These recommended reads for a Southern garden are a visual treat when summer fades away and the days become gray and dreary.

Peter Loewer Gardens of North Carolina—for the reader/traveler Loewer

Susan A. Roth The Weekend Garden Guide—my first and still garden go-to book.
gardenhomeP. Allen Smith Garden Home

southerngardenElizabeth Lawrence A Southern Garden—a classic


For more gardening photos, visit http://pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/carolina-reckoning/.

Other Plant Favorites in the Old-Fashioned Southern Garden

Although gardeners—like mothers—shouldn’t admit to favorites, here are plants that make Alison Monaghan’s, fictional heroine of Carolina Reckoning, all-time favorite list.

moonvineMoon Vine

jacob's ladderJacob’s Ladder



Wood Hyacinths


vabluebellsVirginia bluebells




Lenten roses

For more gardening photos, visit http://pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/carolina-reckoning/.

Annuals in the Southern Garden

Two of my Favorite Annuals
Johnny-jump-upViola tricolorjohnnyjumpup
Full sun or part shade. Self sow. Can be invasive but oh so sweet for late winter color with their cheery purple/yellow faces.

spicyglobebasilSpicy Globe Basil—cultivar of Oscimum basilicum minimum—Elegant rounded edging to front of border, also great container plant. Plant after last danger of frost. Edible and harvested like other sweet basils.

What’s growing in your garden? What are your favorite annuals?globebasil

Favorite Shrubs in the Southern Garden

hydrangeaNikko blue HydrangeaHydrangea macrophylla—Zone 6-9
Part shade. Blue flowers in acid soil, pink in alkaline. My absolute favorite shrub of all time. Takes me back to summer evenings on my grandmother’s porch. A simpler time. So blue it might make you cry for the sheer beauty of it.
carolinaallspiceCarolina allspiceCalycanthus floridus—Zone 5-9
Sun to part shade. Fruity fragrance. Plant where you can enjoy fragrance. Foundation planting or border path in woodland garden.

daphneDaphneDaphne burkwoodii—Zone 4-7
Small, slow growing. Blue green. Fragrant white blossoms. Full sun to light shade. Great foundation plant.

forsythiaForsythiaForsythia intermedia—Zone 5-8
Full sun. Informal hedge border. Give lots of room to enjoy arching branches which turn golden leafed in fall.



camelliaCamelliaCamellia sasanqua—Zone 7-9
Evergreen. Glossy. Must-have for winter blooms. Pick from white, pink, red, to salmon. Full sun.

gardeniaGardeniaGardenia jasminoides—Zone 8-9
Rounded, elegant, evergreen, glossy dark green leaves. Highly fragrant. Can use as border plantings. Quintessential to Southern garden come summer.

mountainlaurelMountain laurelKalmia latifolia—Zone 5-9
Full sun or deep shade, keep soil cool in hotter location. Evergreen, flowers dark to pale pink or white, bloom late spring. Nothing says Blue Ridge Mountains like mountain laurel. Thanks Mike—Carolina Reckoning—for reminding us.

rhododendronRhododendronRhododendron maximum—Zone 4-8
Another mountain favorite. Rose pink or purple pink flowers. Mid summer blooms. Native to woodlands of NC mountain region. Thanks again Mike.

See more behind-the-scenes photos of Carolina Reckoning on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/carolina-reckoning/.

What are your favorite garden shrubs?

“Like Black Spot on Roses”

imagesSublime, romantic, fragrant and a whole lot of bother.

Roses are a Proceed-at-Your-Own-Risk gardening venture. Old-fashioned, heirloom roses tend to be more trouble-free. But roses, no matter the variety, are the divas of the plant kingdom.

As Alison Monaghan—fictional heroine of Carolina Reckoning—says of her best friend, Val Prescott, once Val seizes onto something she’s “like black spot on roses.” And believe Master Gardener Alison, black spot is not something you want in your Southern garden.

Black spot on roses is a plague that thrives in the humid environment of the Southern garden. And like the plague, black spot is highly infectious to your other rose bushes.black spot

Either plant black spot resistant specimens or be prepared to battle this invader along the epic proportions of Braveheart.

Alison’s Garden Tips

1. Never spray leaves or foliage when watering the plant. Water close to the ground around the base of the rose. Avoid watering in the late afternoon when the water droplets may fail to evaporate with the coming of the night.
2. During the rainy season, remove any infected leaves daily.

1. Spray foliage once a week throughout growing season with commercial fungicides available at your local home improvement store or gardening center.
—If you prefer a more organic approach, try 2 tsp of baking soda to a gallon of water plus a drop of bleach free dish detergent. Spray both sides of the leaves.
2. Rake and destroy any fallen leaves.
3. Spray entire plant with lime-sulfur dormant spray in late winter.
4. Apply 1-2” of fresh mulch atop rose bed each spring.

And good luck.

Any tips for treating black spot?

I’d love to hear from you. Join in the discussion. Send me a photo of your beautiful roses to share with readers at lisa@lissacarterauthor.com.

Celebrating Red Rose Day—June 12

Old-fashioned/Heirloom Roses in the Southern Garden

Alison Monaghan—Master Gardener, landscape designer, garden docent at Weathersby Historic Park, fictional heroine of Carolina Reckoning—gives her top 10 picks for color, fragrance, bloom.

zephirine_drouhin-600Zephirine Drouhin—my absolute favorite, thornless, spicy fragrance

madameisaacpereireMadame Isaac Pereire—raspberry color, star quality fragrance

reinesdesviolettesReine Des Violettes—purple rose with spicy fragrance

souvenirdelamalmaisonSouvenir de la Malmaison—tea fragrance

honorinedebrabantHonorine de Brabant—rare striped rose


La Reine Victoria—endearing cabbage shape



Lady Banks—yellow, thornless, explosive climber

madamealfredcarreireMadame Alfred Carriere—pale pink/white, fragrant

jospeh'scoatJoseph’s Coat—warm blend of colors



oldblush Old Blush—fragrance like sweet peas

See http://pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/carolina-reckoning/ for more photos concerning Carolina Reckoning.

What’s your favorite rose?

Send a jpg to lisa@lisacarterauthor.com and I’ll share your photo.