THE PERFECT SUMMER GARDEN
A flourishing garden makes for a cheerful grower. We invited local landscape and nursery experts to impart their green-thumb wisdom on healthy soil, proper moisture and the best way to harness that balmy Lowcountry sun.
“When first starting out, you need to know your sunlight,” says Bruno Landscape and Nursery manager Jordan Bruno. “After that, we just have fun exploring ideas.”
Custom greenery specialists on the island since 1989, Bruno Landscape understands how our semi-tropical climate affects what and where to plant for the most favorable growth. A picture of your garden area is the best way for staff to gauge available space and make suggestions in line with your vision.
“Daily watering down here can be brutal,” Bruno said.
Make sure that your blooms’ soil isn’t over- or underwatered, particularly during the first two weeks.
“Espoma makes an organic fertilizer we call magic food,” she says. “Place your flower/plant directly into the hole with those granules, and no other supplement is needed to kick off the root system.”
Over-fertilizing can burn the plants, and the Espoma product will help balance the surrounding soil. Summer is not the time to uproot or transplant your greenery because they could go into shock. Spraying for healthy plants is best done late day rather than during the heat and humidity of midday. This is also suggested to avoid attracting more bugs.
Vinca is a carefree, hot-weather-loving, annual flower. Their pink, rose and lilac color palate stays hearty until the first frost.
“It’s probably our most popular this season,” says Bruno. Low maintenance and deer-resistant, this perennial will attract a lovely collection of butterflies too. Another summer favorite is the bush daisy, boasting little effort to keep them reaching skyward. These sub-tropical beauties love the sun and are deer-proof.
Marilyn Newberry is gardening manager at Hilton Head’s Carolyn’s Landscaping, a company with 40 years of regional growing experience. She said creativity is the key.
“As designers, we prefer to be as creative as possible,” she said.
Limited plant availability from the pandemic and a late-season freeze didn’t dampen Carolyn Landscaping’s original planning this year.
“Good soil is a must,” Newberry said. “The Lowcountry ground tends to be sandy, less able to hold nutrients and water.”
Newberry recommends adding organic matter like a mushroom compost and a quality planting mix of soil. She warns that watering can be a challenge since our hot summer days can quickly lead to wilting foliage.
“Check soil moisture before watering by poking your finger two inches into the dirt profile to determine the water need,” she suggests.
Carolyn’s summertime favorites include annuals like the flowering penta plant, which is rich and colorful, deer-resistant, and low maintenance. A tropical blooming annual with a five-point flower petal, it is able to take the stress of our summer temperatures. Perennials like hydrangeas and agapanthus are also popular.
“However, both are not deer resistant, so they need to be used wisely,” Newberry said.
Mulching is great way to level out soil nutrients, moisture and excess sun exposure.
Wood chips, shredded bark and pine straw spread throughout your landscape can keep ground temperatures steady, slow weeds from spreading, and temper water loss due to evaporation.