When temperatures reach their peak this summer, we can always escape indoors to air-conditioned comfort. Our home’s exterior isn’t so lucky. It must bear the brunt of summer’s heat and humidity.


Frequently it’s the little things in life that add surprise and pleasure to the daily routine, and nowhere is that more evident than in the garden.

Although most gardeners seek out the big, showy flowers that flaunt bright colors for a brief season, at the same time it’s the smaller reliable ones, the workhorses, that quietly provide the background and foundation for the splashier ones.

Sometimes these are groundcovers, which may have little bloom, but have an interesting form and texture. More often they will be small annuals with persistent long-term flowering — and maintaining extended bloom in the summertime extremes of a Lowcountry garden is much to be desired.

0510_shortsaleShort sales have become the financial fix of choice for homeowners facing foreclosure or other circumstances that has left them owing more on their homes than the house is worth.

It’s May, the merry month, and what merrier way to celebrate its arrival than to stroll the garden paths of some special private spaces on Hilton Head and neighboring Bluffton?

0410_garden“Oh, to be in England now that April’s there,” quoth Mr. Browning. Meanwhile, thoughts of April in Paris evoke romantic and nostalgic feelings.

Homeowners with a particular kind of stucco insulation on their houses can obtain money through a major settlement because the material was found to cause serious water damage.

gardening_0310Imagine grabbing your gardening tools instead of your grocery bags as you head out the door to gather food for dinner tonight.

“Gardening gives people satisfaction of seeing something grow rather than see something canned or boxed or fruit that never ripens,” said Phil Taylor, landscape architect with Sunshine Nursery. “If you buy fruit that is in cold storage, it never ripens. Grocery store tomatoes might sit for two weeks and mold and rot before they ever ripens.”

Hilton Head Island is known for its natural views and green space. And every islander enjoys living among the draping trees, expansive marshes, rare birds and pristine beaches. Now the Hilton Head Area Home Builders Association is helping area residents take this nature-loving attitude to the next level by going green.

hodges_0310“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
- Anais Nin

Although Nin may have been referring to something more elusive, to winter-weary Lowcountry gardeners it means that spring is about to put in its long anticipated appearance. Following a cruel and damaging winter, forsythia, spiraea, azaleas and cherry blossoms are the first garden plants to take the risk of blossoming.

Focal point arrangementGardening is art, science and philosophy all wrapped together in one mysterious and sometimes unattainable enterprise. But that has never stopped anyone from pursuing it. A satisfying garden requires a basic knowledge of the science of horticulture in order to meet the physical demands of growing plants; sufficient knowledge of the primary principles of art to combine them harmoniously; plus your personal philosophy of what represents the ideal garden.

Get help identifying the horticultural and physical requirements of your plants through nurseries, catalogues, books and online. State or county extension agents and the Master Gardeners program are also useful. The book “Bulletproof Flowers for the South,” by Jim Wilson, features high-heat and humidity-resistant flowers. When searching these resources, be sure to seek information for your specific area and do not succumb to glossy catalogues from other regions.